Canada column for Sunday, Nov. 8/15
THE CANADIAN REPORT
(c) By Jim Fox
With much pomp and ceremony, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took office with his Liberal party, promising “openness and transparency” will be a hallmark of his government.
Trudeau, 43, opened the grounds of Rideau Hall in Ottawa and invited the public to observe the procession at the swearing-in.
Ending almost 10 years of Conservative rule under former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the Liberal era includes a smaller 30-member cabinet, down nine members, with an equal number of men and women.
Commenting on the diversity of its members, Trudeau said he put together a cabinet “that looks like Canada.”
Eighteen of the government officials are rookies including Toronto businessman Bill Morneau who became finance minister.
“The swearing-in event was designed to convey openness, optimism and inclusion – a stark contrast to nearly a decade of what the Liberals call the one-man, secretive rule and politics of division of Stephen Harper’s Conservatives,” the Canadian Press newswire reported.
The Conservatives have chosen veteran politician Rona Ambrose as interim leader, replacing Harper who remains a Member of Parliament for Calgary.
The decision by President Barack Obama to finally reject the proposed $8-billion Keystone XL oil pipeline is “disappointing,” Prime Minister Trudeau said.
“The Canada-U.S. relationship is much bigger than any one project and I look forward to a fresh start with President Obama to strengthen our remarkable ties in a spirit of friendship and cooperation,” he said.
TransCanada Corp. CEO Russ Girling said the rejection of his company’s pipeline to ship Alberta crude to Texas was “misplaced symbolism chosen over merit and science – rhetoric won out over reason.”
The decision deals a damaging blow to jobs, the economy and the environment on both sides of the border, he added.
News in brief:
- Vancouver-based Telus plans to reduce its workforce by 1,500 positions “out of necessity,” said Darren Entwistle, president and CEO. The job cuts represent about three percent of its telecom workers and the estimated $125 million a year in savings will help pay for growth plans that include new technological investments, he said.
- Police have arrested four Quebec teenagers for making e-mailed threats against schools in their area along with warnings about bombs at schools in the province and Ontario. Police Capt. Guy Lapointe said no explosive devices were found in the search of about 80 schools. Acting Public Security Minister Pierre Moreau said the four were part of a group known as “Red Sceptre.”
Facts and figures:
Canada’s dollar has dropped almost two cents in the past week to 75.17 cents. The U.S. dollar returns $1.330 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 13,517 points and the TSX Venture index 532 points.
The average price of gas has risen to a national average of $1.074 a liter or $4.08 (Canadian) for a U.S. gallon.
Lotto 6/49: (Nov. 4) 2, 4, 20, 35, 39 and 42; bonus 28. (Oct. 31) 3, 14, 20, 28, 40 and 44; bonus 48. Lotto Max: (Oct. 30) 2, 11, 19, 38, 43, 45 and 49; bonus 9.
- The Liberals have a commanding lead in polls in advance of the Nov. 30 election in Newfoundland and Labrador. The party, headed by Dwight Ball, received the support of 66 percent of voters compared with 19 percent for the governing Conservatives and Premier Paul Davis. The Conservatives have been in power for four terms while there are now Liberal governments in Atlantic Canada’s neighboring New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.
- The decision by the recently merged Kraft Heinz to close seven factories and shed 2,600 North American jobs includes a salad dressing and food product facility in St. Marys, Ontario. There will be 214 workers losing their jobs at the plant. After being acquired by 3G and Berkshire in 2013, Heinz phased out its tomato-processing plant in nearby Leamington that had operated for more than a century and employed 700 people.
Jim Fox can be reached at email@example.com