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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.


   Ford Motor Company will hire an additional 1,000 workers at its assembly plant in Oakville, Ontario to produce the 2015 Ford Edge crossover utility vehicle.
   The hiring at the Toronto-area plant will increase employment to more than 4,000 by the end of the year after a jump of 300 jobs last year.
   Ford said it is investing $700 million to upgrade the plant to produce the next generation of the Ford Edge and Lincoln MKX vehicles.
   The Oakville Assembly also produces the Lincoln MKT and Ford also has an engine plant in Windsor, Ontario.


    News in brief:
   - Statistics Canada said weaker exports of cars and crude oil caused the country’s merchandise trade balance to slide to a deficit of $610 million in August. During the month, merchandise imports rose 3.9 percent while exports fell 2.5 percent. Export Development Canada chief economist Peter Hall said even though the trade number have taken a one-month hit, it’s just a “pause in a very strong trend.”
   - Six legendary National Hockey League defensemen from the Original Six teams are being honored on Canadian postage stamps. This includes Tim Horton, Bobby Orr, Pierre Pilote, Red Kelly, Doug Harvey and Harry Howell. The stamps also feature Canada’s NHL teams and the Zamboni ice resurfacer. “It’s a real thrill,” said Boston’s Orr.


   Facts and figures:
   Canada’s dollar has slipped to 88.86 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.1253 in Canadian funds, before bank exchange fees.
   The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate remains at 1 percent while the prime-lending rate is unchanged at 3 percent.
   Stock markets are lower, with the Toronto exchange index at 14,792 points and the TSX Venture index at 879 points.
   The average price of a liter of gasoline in Canada is higher at $1.2909 (Canadian).
   Lotto 6-49: (Oct. 1) 17, 21, 27, 37, 48 and 49; bonus 11. (Sept. 27) 2, 18, 22, 27, 44 and 45; bonus 49. Lotto Max: (Sept. 26) 2, 3, 5, 18, 37, 38 and 46; bonus 33.


   Regional briefs:
   - New Brunswick’s new Premier Brian Gallant and his Liberal government will be sworn into office on Tuesday. Voters defeated past premier David Alward’s Conservatives and he has quit as party leader but remains a member of the Legislature. The Liberals won in 27 ridings and the Conservatives in 21 while Green Party Leader David Coon was also elected.
   - British Columbia Premier Christy Clark and Alberta Premier Jim Prentice are opposed to the federal government’s restrictions on temporary foreign workers, saying it’s causing labor shortages. Clark called it a “tragically misdirected” policy that limits the number of workers and tightens workplace inspections. The program should be called “Potential new Canadians,” because they're coming here to help us build our country, Clark said.
   - An undisclosed settlement has been reached in a $50-million lottery dispute during a civil trial in Toronto. Christopher Bates was suing for a $2-million share of the jackpot claimed by 24 of his fellow Bombardier aircraft workers. He was on vacation the week the group won and hadn’t put in $5 for his share but the winners said it was a casual “no pay, no play” arrangement.


Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com

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