Canada column for Sunday, March 20/16
THE CANADIAN REPORT
(c) By Jim Fox
Canada’s “official” retirement age when people can begin receiving the Old Age Security (OAS) pension will be restored to 65, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.
As promised in the election campaign last fall, the new Liberal government will undo the previous Conservative government decision to move the eligibility age to 67.
It is an important step, Trudeau said, in “how we care for our most vulnerable in society.”
The previous government said it would raise the eligibility age for the OAS by two years beginning in 2023 in order to protect the sustainability of the plan.
Trudeau said he believes “a little bit of sophistication” along with the trend to people working longer before taking the pension at a higher amount will make better sense.
In a meeting at Bloomberg News in New York, Trudeau also said he is focused on an infrastructure spending program over 10 years that will lead to economic benefits for the country.
Michael Bloomberg, former New York mayor and company founder, welcomed Trudeau whom he called “Canada’s New Hope” in an opinion column.
Canadians are showing patriotism through their newest ketchup brand of choice – French’s.
It all started with a Facebook post by Brian Fernandez of Orillia, calling on Canadians to buy only French’s as it came to the aid of tomato growers after Heinz pulled out of Leamington.
French’s makes its ketchup solely from Ontario tomatoes where Heinz had operated for 104 years before closing its Leamington plant in 2014 with the loss of 740 jobs.
Liberal provincial politician Mike Colle threatened to lead a boycott against the Loblaw food store chain if it didn’t return French’s to its shelves, which it just did. It was dropped because it was outselling the store brand, a “leaked” memo suggested.
French’s also uses seeds from Saskatchewan in its mustard, said president Elliott Penner, who grew up near Cambridge, Ontario.
News in brief:
- A man described as mentally unstable was remanded in custody to March 24 over the wounding of two soldiers who were stabbed at an Armed Forces recruiting office in Toronto. Ayanle Hassan Ali, 27, faces two counts of attempted murder and other charges. Police are investigating possible terrorist links as witnesses said the man yelled: “Allah told me to do this; Allah told me to come here and kill people.”
- Prime Minister Trudeau has named seven people to the Senate to fill vacancies in Manitoba, Quebec and Ontario. Appointed were Judge Murray Sinclair; Paralympian Chantal Petitclerc; Peter Harder, who headed the Liberal transition team; Raymonde Gagne, former president of Universite Saint-Boniface in Manitoba; Frances Lankin, former Ontario politician; multiculturalism advocate Ratna Omidvar; and former Quebec journalist Andre Pratte.
Facts and figures:
Canada’s dollar at a high for year at 76.69 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.3039 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 mixed, with the Toronto Stock Exchange index down at 13,501 points and the TSX Venture index up at 580 points.
The average national price for gas has risen to 94.1 cents a liter or $3.57 (Canadian) for a U.S. gallon.
Lotto 6/49: (March 16) 1, 3, 7, 16, 17 and 37; bonus 35. (March 12) 6, 27, 30, 34, 35 and 42; bonus 16. Lotto Max: (March 11) 9, 17, 27, 30, 31, 34 and 42; bonus 21.
UPDATE: Rob Ford died on March 22/16:
- There’s growing concern over the health of former controversial mayor Rob Ford. Members of his family are at his side as he faces a “difficult time” battling cancer in a Toronto hospital. Ford, 46, now a Toronto councillor, gained international attention in 2013 after admitting to smoking crack cocaine while in one of his “drunken stupors.”
- Oh baby, Brandy MacNeil has given birth to one of the biggest babies ever born in Canada. Quinn Ava Catherine MacNeil arrived at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital and weighed 13.3 pounds and measured 22.5 inches long. The 33-year-old mother of three girls is now resting comfortably. Husband Brian MacNeil says the baby’s nickname is “The Mighty Quinn.”
Jim Fox can be reached at email@example.com