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Friday, March 6, 2015

Canada-U.S. relations cooling off after pipeline decision



   Canada column for Sunday, March 1/15

   THE CANADIAN REPORT
   (c) By Jim Fox

   Just like the weather, the relationship between Canada and the United States is “as cool as I can remember.”
   Allan Gotlieb, Canada’s elder statesmen of former ambassadors to the U.S., gave that assessment after President Barack Obama vetoed legislation to build the Keystone XL pipeline.
   Gotlieb, 86, was ambassador in Washington from 1981 to 1989 and even with cross-border differences, U.S. presidents paid special attention to Canada-U.S. issues, he said.
   Unlike other presidents, Obama has only made one bilateral visit to Canada – the largest trading partner with the U.S. – in his first month in office, he added.
   The Keystone pipeline project, which would carry 800,000 barrels of Alberta crude oil a day to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries, has been “handled with considerable insensitivity,” Gotlieb said.
   It could be that Obama “sees his legacy, maybe, as standing up to big oil and Canada's interests are secondary,” he added.
   “We're still partners – and like every partnership, there are challenges – and yes, there are opportunities,” Bruce Heyman, U.S. ambassador to Canada, said in a speech to the Chamber of Commerce in Ottawa, Canada’s capital.

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   Toronto police are puzzled over the reason why someone elaborately constructed a tunnel in the woods near a venue for this July’s Pan Am Games by York University.
   It’s not believed at this time there was any criminal intent by those who built the bunker by digging it by hand and taking away the dirt, said Deputy Chief Mark Saunders.
   The tunnel, which has now been filled in, was six-feet, four-inches high and had plywood walls and beams reinforcing it.
   There was also a gasoline-powered generator, lighting and a sump pump to remove groundwater.

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   News in brief:
   - Four boys were killed when fire destroyed a farmhouse near Kane, Manitoba in -27 weather. Mother Doralee Eberhardt and three children escaped unharmed but were unable to recuse the four children asleep upstairs. Killed were Henry, 9, Danny, 10, Timmy, 12, and Bobby, 15. Her husband, Jake Froese, and an 18-year-old son saw smoke coming from the house when they returned from work.
   - Loblaw Companies, Canada's largest grocery and pharmacy chain, is considering taking over some Target locations as the company winds up business and closes its 133 stores. In the short term, Loblaw will be negatively impacted by Target’s liquidation sales but will rebound, president Galen Weston said.

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   Facts and figures:
   Canada’s dollar is slightly lower from a week ago at 79.83 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.2525 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 advanced with the Toronto exchange index at 15,307 points and the TSX Venture index at 702 points.
   The average price of a liter of gasoline in Canada is higher at $1.044 or $3.96 (Canadian) for a U.S. gallon.
   Lotto 6/49: (Feb. 25) 15, 17, 25, 29, 30 and 35; bonus 14. (Feb. 21) 3, 4, 9, 14, 23 and 48; bonus 26. Lotto Max: (Feb. 20) 26, 34, 38, 41, 46, 48 and 49; bonus 10.

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   Regional briefs:
   - Elijah Marsh, 3, who died after wandering outside on a bitterly cold night in Toronto dressed only in a shirt, diapers and boots, was “just a perfect little dude,” said godmother Laila Bellomy. The boy was staying overnight at his grandmother’s house when he slipped out undetected before dawn. An online campaign to help the family has raised about $175,000.
   - Quebec Education Minister Yves Bolduc has quit politics to return to work as a doctor after a controversy about allowing strip searches of high school students. He said such searches would be permitted as long as they were conducted in a manner that was “very respectful.” The issue erupted after a 15-year-old girl said she felt violated after being searched for drugs.
   - The Edmonton “Freezeway” is being proposed by University of British Columbia landscape architecture grad Matt Gibbs. Building the seven-mile-long ice path through the Alberta city could encourage residents to skate to work, school and home while embracing winter. Existing pathways and underused railway tracks through the downtown could be flooded, he said.

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Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com

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