Canada column for Sunday, Aug. 14/16
THE CANADIAN REPORT
(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.
Two of the “new-age” fighter jets that are to replace Canada’s 1980’s era CF-18s made their debut at the Abbotsford International Airshow.
The F-35s have been a concern due to cost overruns and delays as well as the current Liberal government’s opposition to the previous Conservative government’s choice to buy 64 of the jets.
The new jets have stealth technology, advanced radar and a threat detection system that were praised by Lt.-Col. George Watkins of the U.S. Air Force’s 34th Fighter Squadron.
He flew one of two new planes to British Columbia for the show from Hill Air Force Base in Utah and called it “awesome.”
News in brief:
- The Canadian government is establishing a “non-partisan” advisory board to select potential new judges for the Supreme Court. This is designed to bring more transparency and less partisan bickering to the process. The board will be chaired by former Prime Minister Kim Campbell and is formed just as Judge Thomas Cromwell from Nova Scotia is to retire.
- Farmers across Canada are having to contend with two different summers this year – extreme heat and drought in Ontario and southern Quebec, and flooding out west. Record dryness and heat in the high 80s and low 90s are resulting in smaller fruit and vegetable crop yields in the east. But on the Prairies, heavy and numerous rainstorms have increased the risks of rot and disease in crops.
Facts and figures:
Canada’s dollar has advanced to 77.19 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.295 Canadian, before 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.
Stock markets are higher, with the Toronto exchange index at 14,776 points while the TSX Venture index is 839 points.
The average price for gas in Canada is $1.01 a liter or $3.83 (Canadian) for a U.S. gallon.
Lotto 6/49: (Aug. 10) 6, 25, 26, 29, 37 and 43; bonus 41. (Aug. 6) 2, 7, 22, 26, 32 and 38; bonus 20. Lotto Max: (Aug. 5) 4, 6, 10, 20, 40, 46 and 47; bonus 39.
- “Significant progress” is being made in battling 10 wildfires across Nova Scotia. The province’s Natural Resources Department said the largest blaze is a 1,000-acre fire at Seven Mile Lake as conditions remain very dry. There are restrictions on activities within forests on hiking, camping and fishing.
- A class-action lawsuit has been filed by an Alberta woman against California-based Niantic Inc., creator of Pokemon Go. Barbra-Lyn Schaeffer cites invasion of privacy as her home in Torrington has been inundated by Pokemon Go players. It has become the site of a Pokemon gym where players can duel it out. “It’s been nothing but grief,” she said of the smartphone game trespassers searching for the digital game monsters.
Jim Fox can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org