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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Love-in for Trudeau and Obama at the "Three Amigos" gathering in Ottawa

   Canada column for Sunday, July 3/16

   (c) By Jim Fox

   U.S. President Barach Obama heaped praise on Canada and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, while calling for more defense spending as the “three amigos” met in Ottawa.
   “If I can borrow a phrase, the world needs more Canada. NATO needs more Canada. We need you,” Obama said in an address to Parliament.
   His rousing speech was greeted by Canadian politicians chanting “four more years” to the outgoing U.S. president, knowing it isn’t a possibility unlike Canada.
   The heartfelt comments came before Canada Day on Friday that marked the country’s 149th birthday as Trudeau hosted Obama and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.
   “The enduring partnership between Canada and the United States is as strong as it has ever been and we are more closely aligned than ever before,” Obama said.
   Trudeau, who was elected prime minister last October, has brought “new energy and hope” to the cross-border relationship, he added.
   Obama then bluntly called on Canada and other NATO allies to contribute their “full share to our common security” in military spending and action.
   The three North American leaders pledged to enhance deeper continental integration in trade and find new initiatives on battling climate change and cleaner energy sources.


   Canadians are being told to prepare for the possibility of a national postal workers strike that could begin this week.
   Negotiations between Canada Post and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, representing 50,000 carriers, continue but both sides are “miles apart,” said union head Mike Palacek.
   The government agency said the large drop in mail volumes calls for the need to hire more temporary workers instead of paying overtime and revamping the pension plan.
   Businesses have advised customers to pay bills online or use courier services in the event of a strike.


   News in brief:
   - There has been a huge increase of United Kingdom residents looking for jobs in Canada after the Brexit vote to withdraw from the European Union. Indeed.com says the number of UK inquiries for Canadian jobs has jumped by four times the average. Investments by British employers will be “hampered and reduced and decline,” with fewer jobs, said Mel Cappe, Canada’s former high commissioner to the UK.
   - The absence of Canadian teams in the National Hockey League playoffs has hit the country’s bottom line. Statistics Canada said there was a 3.9 percent drop in the arts, entertainment and recreation sector as the economy edged up 0.1 percent in April. It was the first time since 1970 that no Canadian team made the playoffs.


   Facts and figures:
   The Canadian dollar is higher at 77.5 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.289 in Canadian funds, before 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 higher, with the Toronto Stock Exchange index at 14,064 points and the TSX Venture index at 730 points.
   The average price for gas in Canada has dropped to $1.06 a liter or $4.02 (Canadian) for a U.S. gallon.
   Lotto 6/49: (June 29) 8, 11, 20, 24, 41 and 42; bonus 47. (June 25) 4, 5, 6, 8, 39 and 42; bonus 30. Lotto Max: (June 24) 2, 17, 22, 24, 26, 42 and 48; bonus 6.


   Regional briefs:
   - Two people were killed in a massive explosion that destroyed a house and damaged dozens of others in Mississauga, west of Toronto. Police launched a criminal investigation after the body of Diane Page, 55, and an as-yet unidentified man were found. Robert Nadler, the owner of the house on Hickory Drive and Page’s partner, not been located.
   - The Federal Court of Appeal’s decision to quash the approval for Enbridge's $7.9-billion Northern Gateway pipeline is being called a major setback. The line would link Alberta’s oil sands with British Columbia ports. The court said the federal government failed to consult with aboriginal people about the project’s impacts.
   - Calgary is exploring a bid to host the 2026 Olympic Winter Games after its success with the 1988 games. For the 2024 Summer Games, Rome, Paris, Budapest and Los Angeles are finalists.


Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com

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