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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Security for Canada's political leaders under review

   Canada column for Sunday, Aug. 24/14

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Security for Canada’s political leaders is being reviewed after a break-in at the Ottawa home of Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.
   At the time, Trudeau was in Winnipeg and his wife and their three children were asleep upstairs at home.
   The Mounties are conducting a “risk assessment” to determine whether Trudeau needs a security detail as a result of the incident.
   The intruder left a threatening letter atop several large kitchen knives and other items taken outside advising them to consider locking their doors.
   “Honestly, we're a little bit shaken,” Trudeau said of the incident, calling it a “wake-up call for us or at least a highlighting of some of the real challenges that we face.”
   Security protection is given only to the prime minister and governor general and not to any of the other federal party leaders, except during election campaigns.
   Party leaders, cabinet ministers, members of Parliament and federal justices can be provided with police security if the public safety minister determines there is a danger.
   Former prime ministers are not given security protection as incidents involving federal politicians are rare in Canada.


   The Economist has named three Canadian cities among the top 10 places to live in the world.
   The magazine poll ranked Vancouver as the third most livable city followed by Toronto while Calgary tied for fifth place with Adelaide, Australia.
   Melbourne, Australia topped the list of 140 cities for the fourth year with Vienna, Austria coming in second.
   Rounding out the list were Sydney, Australia; Helsinki, Finland; Perth, Australia; and Auckland, New Zealand while Damascus, Syria was ranked the least livable city.
   The rankings are based on 30 factors including stability, health care, culture, environment, education and infrastructure.


    News in brief:
   - Canada's broadcast regulator has proposed major changes in television service that would require cable and satellite providers to offer basic service primarily of Canadian channels for $20 to $30 a month. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission also wants a “pick-and-pay structure” to allow a choice of individual channels along with basic service.
   - The cost-of-living index fell to 2.1 percent in July from 2.4 percent in June. Statistics Canada also reported retail sales figures for June rose for the sixth month by 1.1 percent to $42.6 billion. General merchandise stores led the sales rise in June, up 3.9 percent.


   Facts and figures:
   Canada’s dollar is lower at 91.37 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.0944 in Canadian funds, before bank exchange fees.
   The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate is steady at 1 percent while the prime-lending rate is unchanged at 3 percent.
   Stock markets are higher, with the Toronto exchange index at 15,544 points and the TSX Venture index at 1,001 points.
   The average price of a liter of gasoline in Canada is down at $1.2942 (Canadian).
   Lotto 6-49: (Aug. 20) 7, 8, 10, 20, 30 and 31; bonus 3. (Aug. 16) 9, 18, 41, 42, 48 and 49; bonus 10. Lotto Max: (Aug. 15) 9, 16, 17, 27, 32, 38 and 47; bonus 37.


   Regional briefs:
   - The Transportation Safety Board of Canada has found fault with the railway company and the federal government over the runaway oil tanker train that killed 47 people in Lac-Megantic, Quebec. The board’s report on last year’s disaster that leveled part of the downtown cited lax safety measures by Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway as well as Transport Canada for not auditing railways thoroughly enough.
   - Vancouver city council is asking the Federal Court of Appeal for a judicial review of the National Energy Board’s process to consider Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline proposal. The city wants the board to take climate change into account for the $5.4-billion project to almost triple the capacity of the pipeline carrying Alberta oilsands crude to the port in Vancouver.
   - A Canadian Border Services Agency officer has lost her job over allegations of accepting a bribe from singer Justin Bieber’s entourage. Reports say she allowed two U.S. citizens with criminal records to enter Canada at Niagara Falls, Ontario in exchange for backstage passes to the pop star’s shows.


Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com

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