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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Terror rampages have changed life for Canadians

   Canada column for Sunday, Oct. 26/14

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Life as Canadians have known it has changed after a terrorist’s rampage in the nation’s capital and two soldiers being run down by a car in Quebec.
   Canada has prided itself as a haven of civility with its government buildings quite freely open along with easy access to politicians.
   Giving Prime Minister Stephen Harper around-the-clock Mountie protection and a major review of security on Parliament Hill are among the first measures.
   This follows a rampage Wednesday by Michael Zehaf Bibeau, 32, who killed a soldier at the National War Memorial and then ran through the halls of the Parliament building shooting a rifle, wounding three people.
   Harper has drawn a link between the gunman’s actions and international terrorism.
   “We live in a dangerous world – we will be prudent, we will not run scared,” he said.
   It is believed that Sergeant at Arms Kevin Vickers, 58, a former Mountie, shot and killed Bibeau.
   Martin Couture-Rouleau, called a radicalized Muslim, ran down two Canadian soldiers in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que., on Monday killing one of them, before being killed by police.
   Politicians, police forces and intelligence officials are assessing security around the Parliament, at Armed Forces bases and across the country.


Monday, October 20, 2014

Fight against Ebola stepped up by Canada

   Canada column for Sunday, Oct. 19/14

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Canada is stepping up its measures in the fight against the spread of the deadly Ebola virus.
   Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Canada has committed $35 million and is planning additional aid as the United Nations calls for more international help.
   So far, the Public Health Agency of Canada has sent two mobile labs to Sierra Leone where Ebola has killed 4,500 people along with $2.5 million in personal protective equipment.
   One of the lab teams is working with Medecins Sans Frontieres to provide rapid diagnosis while the other is helping to improve infection prevention and control procedures.
   Canada has also offered to donate experimental vaccine, currently undergoing clinical trials, to the World Health Organization.
   Health Minister Rona Ambrose has assured front-line health workers in Canada that experts and epidemiologists are ready to provide immediate support, expertise, rapid diagnoses and emergency supplies if a threat emerges.
   Anyone arriving in Canada from an affected West African country is now being referred to a quarantine officer for a mandatory health assessment, she said.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

Canada pledges fighter jets to Middle East battle

   Canada column for Sunday, Oct. 12/14

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Canadian fighter jets and surveillance planes are being prepared to head into battle against Middle East militants to assist with a U.S.-led coalition.
   Canada’s move – approved by the Conservative majority in the Commons – was praised by former U.S. secretary of state Hillary Clinton who spoke to a gathering of 1,200 people in the capital, Ottawa.
   “I think military action is critical – in fact, I would say essential,” she said.
    To assist with the coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, Canada is pledging to commit the planes and support personnel initially for up to six months.
   The involvement by Canada faced opposition from the New Democrats and the Liberals.
   “Across the world, it isn't just Conservatives – it’s Liberals and social democrats that have understood that this is a threat that needs to be countered and needs to be countered in many ways, including militarily,” Prime Minister Stephen Harper said.


Monday, October 6, 2014

Canada's politicians to vote on joining Middle East combat mission

   Canada column for Sunday, Oct. 5/14

   (c) By Jim Fox

   The Liberal Party is opposing Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s bid to join the combat mission in the Middle East.
   Harper’s proposal for a six-month air combat mission to fight Islamic jihadists is partly in response to a request by U.S. President Barack Obama for Canada to join the effort.
   In an usual move, Harper is putting the issue to a vote by members of the House of Commons on Monday.
   Insurgents known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria intend to “launch a terrorist jihad not merely against the region, but on a global basis,” Harper said.
   “Indeed, it has specifically targeted Canada and Canadians, urging supporters to attack 'disbelieving Canadians in any manner,'” he added.
   The plan calls for no Canadian ground troops but Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said the party “cannot and will not support” going to war.
   Opposition Leader Tom Mulcair of the New Democratic Party said he wants more information while he believes humanitarian aid and diplomatic measures should come before a military assault.