Canada column for Sunday, Nov. 29/15
THE CANADIAN REPORT
(c) By Jim Fox
The family of a Syrian boy whose body washed up on a Turkish beach will be “fast-tracked” among the 25,000 refugees being resettled in Canada.
Relatives confirmed the family of Alan Kurdi, 3, who drowned when a boat packed with refugees sank, has been accepted by Canada.
The country will admit 10,000 refugees by year’s end, with the remaining 15,000 by Feb. 28 under a revised commitment to ensure proper security and health screening.
The first group making the trip will be made up largely of privately sponsored refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war.
Immigration Minister John McCallum said priority will be given for government-sponsored newcomers to families, women at risk, members of sexual minorities and single men identified as gay, bisexual or transgender or part of a family.
They will arrive in Toronto or Montreal and be resettled in 36 cities across Canada.
So far this year 3,100 Syrian refugees have arrived under previous government commitments.
Canada is also giving $100 million to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, making almost $1 billion the government has spent in response to the Syrian crisis.
Canada’s broadcast regulator says cable and satellite TV providers must offer consumers the option of a “basic” package costing $25 a month by March 1.
They must also switch to a pick-and-pay system or offer smaller bundles of channels by then, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission ruled.
The change is to ensure consumers have more choice and less-costly packages.
The basic package would include Canadian and U.S. networks, at least 10 local or regional channels and aboriginal and minority French-language or English channels.
News in brief:
- Canada’s murder rate continues at its lowest level in 50 years, with 516 homicides nationally last year, Statistics Canada said. The government agency found that aboriginals accounted for a disproportionate number of victims. Thunder Bay, Ontario was Canada’s murder capital with 11 deaths while Manitoba had the highest provincial homicide rate. Guns were involved in 156 of the deaths, the second-lowest total in 40 years, and 83 percent of the victims knew their killers.
- Canadian teachers are among the highest paid educators in the world, says a report by the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development. In the survey of 34 countries, it found salaries for experienced teachers at $84 U.S. an hour at the primary level and $90 in high schools. The average of the countries surveyed was $53 and $63-$71, respectively. It also found Canada spends more per student for education, with 54 percent of Canadian adults having university degrees or college diplomas compared with the average of 34 percent.
Facts and figures:
The Canadian dollar is lower at 74.78 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.337 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 lower with the Toronto Stock Exchange index at 13,380 points and the TSX Venture index 520 points.
The average price of gas is higher at a national average of $1.025 a liter or $3.89 (Canadian) for a U.S. gallon.
Lotto 6/49: (Nov. 25) 1, 2, 3, 4, 29 and 48; bonus 21. (Nov. 21) 7, 16, 28, 29, 48 and 49; bonus 9. Lotto Max: (Nov. 20) 12, 21, 28, 34, 36, 45 and 48; bonus 26.
- A deadly prank – “sucker” punches – has left three people dead in Vancouver. Police say 10 people have been knocked unconscious after being punched unexpectedly in the head. The number of attacks, blamed on drinking and bravado around downtown bars, is increasing, said Constable Brian Montague. Arrests have been made in several of the cases, including that of a man who had severe brain injuries when attacked after leaving a comedy club with his wife.
- James Carr, Canada’s new Natural Resources minister, is setting the tone with Alberta oil industry executives, saying there will be a “new approach” in environmental responsibility. He praised Alberta’s social New Democratic government for its ambitious policy for a carbon tax and cap on greenhouse gas emissions in the oilsands.
Jim Fox can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org