Greetings to thousands of readers the past month from the United States and Canada, as well as the United Kingdom, Russia, India, Germany, France, Japan and Latvia.

Total Pageviews

Monday, August 29, 2016

Stephen Harper, Canada's former leader, has left politics for good

   Canada column for Sunday, Aug. 28/16

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, defeated in last October’s election, has resigned after two decades in politics.
   Harper quit as aMember of Parliament for Calgary in a statement and on video on Friday.
   After his election defeat to Justin Trudeau and the Liberals, Harper left his position as Conservative party leader but remained in Parliament.
   He led the Conservatives to a minority government, becoming prime minister in the 2006 election and again in 2008 before winning his first majority in 2011.
   “On seven occasions, I have been deeply humbled by your trust and support, time and again,” Harper said of his election victories.
   As he leaves politics for a career as an international issues consultant, Harper said among his “proudest accomplishments” were guiding the economy through the 2008 recession and the tough-on-crime agenda.
   Interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose also noted his foreign policy, including support for Israel and opposition to Russian leader Vladimir Putin.


Monday, August 22, 2016

Canada reviews security measures after attach thwarted

   Canada column for Sunday, Aug. 21/16

   (c) By Jim Fox

   The Canadian government is looking at toughening national security measures after police narrowly thwarted a terrorist attack.
   Of concern are peace bonds such as the one issued to Aaron Driver, 24, who was on his way to launch a bomb attack when Mountie sharpshooters shot and killed him in a taxi outside his home in Strathroy, Ontario.
   Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said there are “limitations” and the government is looking at having terrorist sympathizers undergo mandatory de-radicalization counseling.
   The government is also spending $35 million to establish a center for countering violent extremism.
   Driver was under a court-ordered bond with strict conditions to limit his movements, travel, internet communications and cell phone use after his arrest last year.
   Even so, he was able to acquire bomb-making materials, make a “martyrdom video” and set out to blow up a device to cause mass casualties in an unnamed urban area.
   His plans were foiled when the FBI advised the Mounties about the video and they were able to identify and confront him as he left the house.


Sunday, August 14, 2016

Police thwart an attempted terrorist attack in Ontario

   Canada column for Sunday, Aug. 14/16

   (c) By Jim Fox

   FBI and Canadian police worked together in a “race against time” to thwart a terrorist attack just before it was about to happen.
   It all started with an early-morning tip from the FBI about a potential suicide bomber planning an attack somewhere in Canada.
   The end came three hours later when police identified the suspect and nabbed him in a taxi leaving his home in small-town Strathroy, Ontario, west of Toronto.
   In the ensuing scuffle, a bomb was detonated in the taxi, injuring the driver, and the assailant – Aaron Driver, 24, a known terrorist sympathizer – was dead.
   The police were acting on a tip of a “martyrdom video,” showing a black-hooded and masked man warning that he was planning to detonate an explosive device in an urban center during the morning or afternoon rush hour, said Mountie deputy commissioner Mike Cabana.
   The angry video threat included a Muslim prayer in Arabic and warning of immediate retaliation for Canada’s participation in the “war on Islam.”
   The challenge for the authorities was to try to identify the man in the video and find him quickly, which they did, Cabana said.
   Driver had been under a court order not to associate with any terrorist organizations and other restrictions after his arrest last year when he praised Islamist terrorist activities and the 2014 attack on Canada’s Parliament.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Fewer Canadian women working outside the home, government report shows

   Canada column for Sunday, Aug. 7/16

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Fewer Canadian women with children are in the workforce as compared with those in many other countries, a government study shows.
   Women’s groups, including the Facebook site TorontoMummies, call it a “crisis” as mothers cope with raising children and finding available and affordable daycare that can cost $1,000 and more a month in Toronto.
   The rate of women between 25 and 54 with children younger than 15 working was 75 percent, based on 2013 statistics, said an internal federal government analysis obtained by the Canadian Press news service.
   This places Canada ninth among member countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.
   The document was prepared after last fall’s election when the now-governing Liberal party said it would draft a national framework on early learning and child care.
   The study said the job participation rate for women with young children involved factors such as education, family income and taxes, job availability, child benefits and the availability of affordable child care.