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Friday, October 30, 2015

Liberals plan to act on pledges are decisive election win

   Canada column for Sunday, Oct. 25/15

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Canadian fighter jets will be called home, taxes for the rich will rise, marijuana is to be legalized and Syrian refugees will be welcomed en masse as promised under the new government of Liberal Prime Minister-elect Justin Trudeau.
   The son of the late Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau showed the Conservatives and Prime Minister Stephen Harper that he was – despite their attack ads – indeed “ready for the job.”
   Electors made a decisive choice, giving the 43-year-old Trudeau a sweeping majority government after only four years ago it ended in third place in the federal election.
   They sent the younger Trudeau back to 24 Sussex Drive, the prime minister’s residence, where he grew up and made it the first father-son dynasty in Canada’s history.
   Standings in the House of Commons after the vote are Liberals 184 seats, Conservatives, 99, the New Democrats, 44, Bloc Quebecois, 10, and Greens, 1.
   The vote ended almost 10 years of Conservative rule under Harper who was seen as controlling and not people-friendly – the opposite of Trudeau.
   “Canadians have spoken: You want a government with a vision and an agenda for this country that is positive and ambitious and hopeful,” he said.
   After the defeat, Harper resigned as Conservative leader but remains for now an elected Member of Parliament in Calgary.


   There’s still a chance of getting U.S. approval for the controversial $8-billion Keystone XL oil pipeline, a retired TransCanada executive says.
   That’s if the new Liberal government puts a price on carbon emissions to persuade President Barack Obama to approve the cross-border pipeline, said Dennis McConaghy, formerly of the pipeline company.
   Incoming Prime Minister Justin Trudeau must act swiftly on climate change, something the previous Conservative government failed to do, he said.
   The project, which would deliver 830,000 barrels a day of mostly oilsands crude to the U.S. Gulf Coast from Alberta, has been in limbo for seven years.
   Trudeau supports the project but Obama said he will not allow the pipeline if it worsens climate change.


   News in brief:
   - Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, which was “locked down” for five hours after an Internet threat of violence, had a second threat on Friday. The school stayed open this time but with extra police and security, and there were no incidents. In the first threat, Daniel Ransem, 22, of Tottenham Hale, England, was arrested for “malicious communications.”
   - Canada’s annual pace of inflation slowed last month to 1 percent with lower gasoline and energy prices while the cost of groceries, restaurant meals and many other goods were higher. Statistics Canada said the “significant depreciation” of the Canadian dollar has made imports more expensive and kept core inflation slightly above the Bank of Canada’s two percent target.


   Facts and figures:
   The Canadian dollar is lower at 75.93 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.316 in Canadian funds, before bank exchange fees.
   The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate remains at 0.5 percent while the prime-lending rate is 2.7 percent.
   Markets are mixed with the Toronto Stock Exchange index up at 13,952 points and the TSX Venture index down at 549 points.
   The average price of gas has dropped to a national average of $1.019 a liter or $3.87 (Canadian) for a U.S. gallon.
   Lotto 6/49: (Oct. 21) 8, 17, 22, 33, 40 and 49; bonus 27. (Oct. 17) 4, 5, 6, 22, 29 and 30; bonus 20. Lotto Max: (Oct. 16) 9, 14, 19, 21, 31, 32 and 40; bonus 16.


   Regional briefs:
   - A British Columbia man who ran two “very sophisticated” but unlicensed immigration consulting businesses in Vancouver has been sentenced to seven years in prison and fined $817,000. Xun Wang, 46, of Richmond collected $10 million from 1,200 people for fraudulent immigration applications and fake Chinese passports.
   - Step aside back bacon, poutine (fries drenched in gravy and melted cheese curds) and Montreal smoked meat as official Canadian foods: here comes donairs. In Halifax, known for seafood, councilor Linda Mosher wants the humble donair to be designated the city’s official food. The sweet and savory meat treat is closely related to the Greek gyro.


   Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com

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