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Thursday, October 8, 2015

Conservatives lead in polls heading toward Oct. 19 election

   Canada column for Sunday, Oct. 4/15

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Canada’s ruling Conservative government has a “clear lead” in public support in advance of the federal election on Oct. 19.
   Support for Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives jumped to 34 percent in a Forum Research poll.
   Should the results hold up, the Conservatives would form a majority government with 151 seats in the 338-seat House of Commons.
   The socialist New Democratic Party (NDP) would form the opposition as before with 104 seats, the Liberals would have 76 members, Bloc Quebecois six and the Green Party, one.
   The poll put NDP support at 28 percent and the Liberals with 27 percent while the Bloc and Green are tied at 5 percent, and the remaining 1 percent is for “other” candidates.
   “Canadians know that this election presents a serious choice between experience and dangerous risk,” said Conservative spokesman Stephen Lecce.
   “It’s a choice between our Conservative low-tax, balanced budget plan and the Liberals’ dangerous approach that will raise taxes on all workers, cancel benefits to families and put our country into permanent deficits,” he said.


   An accused drunk driver arrested after a Toronto-area crash killed three children and their grandfather is in jail awaiting a bail hearing on Oct. 19.
   Marco Muzzo, 29, of King Township faces multiple counts including impaired driving causing death and dangerous driving.
   Police said an SUV crashed into a minivan carrying six members of a family last Sunday afternoon.
   Daniel Neville-Lake, 9, his brother Harrison, 5, sister Milly, 2, and their grandfather, Gary Neville, 65, were killed. A grandmother and great-grandmother were seriously injured.
   Muzzo’s family, which owns, Marel Contractors,  is listed as one of the richest in Canada worth about $1.8 billion.


   News in brief:
   - Eighty-seven percent of Canadians say they are proud of being citizens of this country, data from Statistics Canada says. The agency’s social survey named Canadian history, the health-care system, Armed Forces and the Constitution as greatest achievements. Leading values were human rights and respect for the law, both at 92 percent.
   - Toronto-based Hudson’s Bay Company is cutting 265 jobs in corporate offices across North America, two years after it acquired Saks Inc. and earlier buying Lord and Taylor. The department store chain, founded in 1670 and has 45,000 employees, also bought German store chain Kaufhof in June for $3.3 billion.


   Facts and figures:
   Canada’s economy grew 0.3 percent in July, the second consecutive monthly gain as the country eases away from a “mild” recession in the first half of the year.
   The Canadian dollar is higher at 75.72 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.3206 in Canadian funds, before bank exchange fees.
   The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate is steady at 0.5 percent while the prime-lending rate is 2.7 percent.
   Markets are lower with the Toronto Stock Exchange index at 13,263 points and the TSX Venture index 523 points.
   The average price of gas is higher at a national average of $1.0593 a liter or $4.02 (Canadian) for a U.S. gallon.
   Lotto 6/49: (Sept. 30) 1, 6, 8, 13, 21 and 26; bonus 3. (Sept. 26) 6, 13, 14, 24, 32 and 34; bonus 12. Lotto Max: (Sept. 25) 1, 7, 15, 18, 21, 30 and 45; bonus 22.


   Regional briefs:
   - Former Quebec Lieutenant-Governor Lise Thibault, 76, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for fraud and breach of trust. Thibault, who is appealing the verdict, was also ordered to pay back $300,000 of the $700,000 auditors said were improper expenses paid when she held the vice-regal post between 1997 and 2007.
   - Two British Columbia federal Liberal candidates have withdrawn over contentious Facebook posts. Cheryl Thomas of Victoria referred to mosques as “brainwashing stations,” criticized Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians and said “Santa has to be white.” Also dropping out was Maria Manna of Vancouver Island who questioned the origins of the 9-11 attacks.
   - Twelve Markham, Ontario co-workers have claimed the record $60-million cash jackpot from the Lotto Max lottery. A jokester Dennis Cartier, ticket holder for the Canadian Black Book car evaluation workers, told his colleagues they should quit the lottery pool as they’d only ever won $90. He then produced the jackpot winner worth $5 million tax-free each.


   Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com

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