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Thursday, October 20, 2016

Canadians don't like Trump's remarks about their health care program

   Canada column for Sunday, Oct. 16/16

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Canadians are taking issue with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump for referring to their health-care system as being “catastrophic.”
   Canada’s “mostly free” publicly funded doctor and hospital services can’t cope with demand, resulting in people going to the U.S. for treatment, Trump said.
   The Fraser Institute said 45,619 people sought non-emergency medical procedures outside of Canada last year largely because of long wait times at home.
   The number is about 1 percent of the patients of physicians who responded to a survey, the report said.
   Data from doctors gives a “general estimation” of the number of “medical tourists,” said Bacchus Barua of the Vancouver-based institute.
   The numbers are then applied to the total number of medical procedures carried out in Canada, as recorded by the Canadian Institute for Health Information, he added.
   Some critics are skeptical of the institute’s methodology.
   Even so, Ron Labonte, a health-sciences professor, said the number of people leaving for hospital care is very small.


   Canada’s spending deficit will be $5 billion more than predicted this fiscal year, TD Bank says.
   The sluggish economy is to blame, it said, predicting the federal government’s deficit will reach $34 billion for the year.
   This will require the government to dip into the $6-billion annual cushion set aside for “unforeseen events,” the bank said.
   Finance Minister Bill Morneau said it is “prudent risk planning,” based on the status of the global economy, to have that money available.


   News in brief:
   - An agreement has finally been reached to divide the remaining assets of Nortel Networks. There’s $7.3 billion U.S. for claimants including former employees and pensioners in one of the largest bankruptcy cases in Canadian history. Nortel went out of business in 2009 and the high-technology company was once worth $300 billion and employed 90,000 people around the world.
   - Member of Parliament Tony Clement, considered to be one of the leading contenders to become Conservative leader, has dropped out of the race, citing a lack of financial support and other issues. The successor to former Prime Minister Stephen Harper will be named next May 27. The candidates are Maxime Bernier, Michael Chong, Kellie Leitch, Deepak Obhrai, Erin O’Toole, Andrew Scheer and Brad Trost.


   Facts and figures:
   Canada’s dollar is higher at 76.22 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.311 Canadian, before exchange fees.
   The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate is unchanged at 0.5 percent while the prime-lending rate is 2.7 percent.
   Stock markets are higher, with the Toronto exchange index at 14,619 points while the TSX Venture index is 775 points.
   The average price for gas in Canada has dropped to $1.053 a liter or $4 (Canadian) for a U.S. gallon.
   Lotto 6/49: (Oct. 12) 8, 28, 31, 40, 42 and 47; bonus 37. (Oct. 8) 3, 27, 33, 38, 42 and 48; bonus 32. Lotto Max: (Oct. 7) 8, 9, 12, 24, 29, 36 and 37; bonus 17.


   Regional briefs:
   - Former Alberta Premier Jim Prentice was among the four people killed when a small plane crashed shortly after takeoff in Kelowna, British Columbia. Prentice, 60, a married father of three, was returning to Calgary. He was a federal Member of Parliament for six years and Conservative premier from September 2014 until his resignation when the party lost the May 2015 election.
   - The last hurrah from Hurricane Matthew caused massive flooding and power outages across Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. About 80,000 customers lost power as winds reached 50 to 80 mph and brought down trees. Heaviest rainfall was 14 inches in Sydney and Gander.
   - Environmentalists want the Ontario government to refuse a water-taking permit for Nestle in Center Wellington, west of Toronto. The community lost its bid to Nestle to buy the well to ensure future drinking water supplies in the fast-growing area. Nestle wants the well as a backup to its plant in nearby Aberfoyle.


Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com

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