Canada column for Sunday, July 24/16
THE CANADIAN REPORT
(c) By Jim Fox
U.S. soldiers who fled to Canada rather than fight the war in Iraq are urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to let them remain in the country.
Marine Corporal Dean Walcott, who has lived in Ontario since 2006, said he is “shocked and dismayed” court cases are still pending.
Jeremy Brockway, another Marine, came to Canada in 2007 with severe post-traumatic stress syndrome to “save his life,” wife Ashlea said.
Trudeau earlier expressed support for the two dozen or so remaining war dodgers and said the government was looking into the issue.
His father, the late prime minister Pierre Trudeau, gave sanctuary to about 100,000 U.S. deserters and draft dodgers in the 1960s.
War resister Rodney Watson, who has a Canadian-born son, has spent almost seven years in a church sanctuary in Vancouver to avoid deportation.
Michelle Robidoux of the War Resisters Support Campaign said U.S. soldiers who sought refuge in Canada should be welcome to stay.
The Canada Child Benefit plan took effect this month, giving Canadian families up to $6,400 a year for each child under the age of six and $5,400 for children six to 17.
The payments are tax-free and will help to lift 300,000 children above the poverty level, Prime Minister Trudeau said.
It will be based on family income and the full amount will be given to those earning less than $30,000 a year and be eliminated for those above $190,000.
The plan, which assists with the costs of raising children, replaces other supplement programs while families can receive an additional $2,730 a year for each child with a disability.
News in brief:
- Air Transat will compensate passengers whose flight was canceled in Scotland when the pilots were arrested on suspicion of drunkenness. Jean-Francois Lemay said the pilots have been suspended as an internal and police investigations are underway. Jean-Francois Perreault and Imran Zafar Syed were detained shortly before they were to fly an Airbus A310 with about 250 passengers to Toronto.
- The Canada Border Services Agency is moving to tighten rules under the “trusted traveler” programs such as Nexus and Canpass Air that speeds people through customs and immigration. The programs are intended only for low-risk, known citizens who go through express lanes. New rules are being planned to ban some people from getting the access.
Facts and figures:
Statistics Canada said the annual inflation rate held steady last month at 1.5 percent as lower fuel and grocery prices offset higher costs for cars, electricity and air travel.
Canada’s dollar is lower at 75.95 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.316 Canadian, 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.
The Toronto Stock Exchange index is at a high for the year at 14,585 points while the TSX Venture index is higher at 768 points.
The average price for gas in Canada has dropped to $1.01 a liter or $3.83 (Canadian) for a U.S. gallon.
Lotto 6/49: (July 20) 14, 15, 16, 43, 44 and 46; bonus 38. (July 16) 15, 25, 26, 33, 38 and 47; bonus 27. Lotto Max: (July 15) 19, 30, 31, 36, 40, 44 and 49; bonus 6.
- There are concerns over a higher number of crimes across Canada last year, with a still modest 604 murders, up 15 percent, for the whole country of 35-million people. Overall, the crime rate rose by 3 percent, the first increase in 12 years. Statistics Canada said while the per-capita crime rate was higher, it has generally fallen since the early 1990s. The rate rose 12 percent in Alberta, stayed the same in Ontario and fell 12 percent in Prince Edward Island.
- Some good luck has followed bad for Alberta forest fire evacuee Jason Wheeler who won $1 million in tax-free cash. The Lotto 6-49 winner was among the 80,000 people forced to flee a huge wildfire in Fort McMurray. He plans to give back to charities such as the Canadian Red Cross, SPCA and food banks that helped his family.
Jim Fox can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org