Canada column for Sunday, March 15/15
THE CANADIAN REPORT
(c) By Jim Fox
The Canadian government is moving to deport without a trial a Pakistani man accused of planning to bomb the U.S. Consulate and targets in the financial district of Toronto.
Canada Border Services officers arrested Jahanzeb Malik, 33, saying he is an Islamic State sympathizer who planned to build remote-control bombs.
Malik came to Canada in 2004 as a student and became a permanent resident in 2009.
The Toronto flooring contractor is being held pending a hearing on Monday on whether he should be deported.
Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney said only that Malik was “willing to commit a terrorist attack on Canadian soil.”
Authorities haven’t said why they are seeking deportation instead of a trial, which his lawyer Anser Farooq called “absurd.”
“He’s getting a one-way ticket out of Canada, that's what's going to happen,” he said.
This is no longer your captain speaking after a Florida-based company responsible for calling Canadians with claims they won a free cruise to the Bahamas has been fined $200,000.
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission said Caribbean Cruise Line Inc., owned by Consolidated Travel Holdings Group. Inc., paid the penalty for violating laws that prohibit unsolicited telemarketing calls.
The commission said many Canadians complained about the repeated automated phone calls with an annoying ship’s horn despite registering on the national do-not-call list.
The company has agreed to stop making the calls.
News in brief:
- Sergeant Andrew Doiron was killed and three Canadian soldiers wounded by “mistaken” combat fire in Iraq. It’s the first Canadian casualty as part of the U.S.-led coalition’s war on the extremist Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Conflicting reports said that a rendezvous with Kurdish troops went awry and Dorion, 31, originally from Moncton, New Brunswick, was shot.
- The drop in oil prices and corresponding fall in gasoline prices will add another $11 billion in consumer purchasing power this year, RBC Economics estimates. The bank said the sharp fall in energy prices will be offset by stronger consumer spending and the growth of exports. Oil-rich Alberta will have significantly lower economic growth while Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec will have stronger prospects.
Facts and figures:
Canada’s dollar has dropped to a six-year low at 78.19 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.2789 in Canadian funds, before bank exchange fees.
The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate is steady at 0.75 percent while the prime-lending rate is 2.85 percent.
Stock markets are lower, with the Toronto exchange index at 14,650 points and the TSX Venture index 663 points.
The average price of a liter of gasoline in Canada is lower at $1.0533 or $4.00 (Canadian) for a U.S. gallon.
Lotto 6/49: (March 11) 7, 9, 21, 40, 44 and 45; bonus 42. (March 7) 4, 10, 15, 18, 26 and 41; bonus 16. Lotto Max: (March 6) 2, 8, 9, 10, 24, 26 and 41; bonus 37.
- British Columbia’s minimum wage will rise to $10.45 an hour in September from $10.25 as the province ties it to the rate of inflation. Jobs Minister Shirley Bond said if the inflation rate falls, the minimum wage will remain the same for the year. The provincial government wants to “protect the most vulnerable” as most minimum-wage earners either live at home or are in school, she said.
- There’s good news for natural gas customers in Ontario as Union Gas says they can expect a drop of 11 percent to 20 per cent in their bills. The Ontario Energy Board has been asked to approve the rate cut effective April 1 that will save the average customer up to $168 a year. It is due to a decline in wholesale gas prices with the discovery of new supplies in the past five years.
- Taber, Alberta, population 8,104, intends to remain peaceful after imposing a law against bad behavior. It calls for a $75 fine for spitting in public and a $150 penalty for yelling, screaming or swearing along with limits on noise from bars. Opponents say it is too much like a scene from the 1984 movie Footloose and want the film’s actor Kevin Bacon to come to join their protest party.
Jim Fox can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org