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Monday, November 7, 2016

Former "confidant" of PM fined for illegal lobbying



   Canada column for Sunday, Nov. 6/16

   THE CANADIAN REPORT
   (c) By Jim Fox

   A “confidant” of former Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been fined $50,000 for illegal lobbying.
   Ontario Court Judge Catherine Kehoe said the fine for Bruce Carson is a necessary deterrent.
   He was convicted on three counts for his work on the national energy strategy while a director of the Canada School of Energy and Environment and later vice-chair of the Energy Policy Institute of Canada.
   Court was told he was under a five-year prohibition from lobbying public office holders since he had worked in the Prime Minister’s Office until February 2009.
   He had been paid about $600,000 for lobbying work from 2009 to 2011 and the judge ruled he had contact with officials of numerous government offices.
   “It is necessary to impose a significant fine to deter Mr. Carson and others who would engage in lobbying and ignore the law, which goes to the heart of the integrity of government and public trust of government,” the judge said.
   Carson was found not guilty last year of influence-peddling for attempting to have government officials buy water filtration systems from a company that employed his former escort girlfriend.

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   Authorities are reviewing security measures at British Columbia schools after a homeless man stabbed and killed a 13-year-old girl and wounded a second student.
   Police called it a random attack when the barefoot man walked into Abbotsford Senior Secondary School and attacked the girls before staff confronted and restrained him.
   Gabriel Klein, 21, is facing a murder charge for the death of Letisha Reimer, a Grade 9 student, and aggravated assault for the attack on a 14-year-old girl.
   Investigators said there is no known connection between the two students and Klein.
  
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   News in brief:
   - The Canadian government expects that a loosening of foreign-investment rules will spur competition and allow more low-cost airlines. Transport Minister Marc Garneau said allowing foreigners to own up to 49 percent of an airline, up from 25 percent, should drive down fares and offer travelers more choice. There are also exemptions now to allow aspiring discount airlines Canada Jetlines and Enerjet to find more international investors, he said.
   - Canadians might get their wish to view the big-budget U.S. ads during Super Bowl games. One impediment remains though as the Federal Court has agreed to hear a Bell Media appeal of the ban on substituting Canadian commercials for the American ones. The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission ruled against allowing the practise after hearing complaints from Canadians.
   - Canada’s economy gained 44,000 net new jobs last month largely due to part-time employment. Statistics Canada said there was a gain of 67,000 part-time jobs while full-time jobs fell by 23,000. There was no change in the 7.0 percent unemployment rate.

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   Facts and figures:
   Canada’s dollar has dipped to 74.53 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.341 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 lower, with the Toronto exchange index at 14,527 points while the TSX Venture index is 759 points.
   The average price for gas in Canada has risen to $1.051 a liter or $3.99 (Canadian) for a U.S. gallon.
   Lotto 6/49: (Nov. 2) 4, 7, 9, 21, 25 and 42; bonus 49. (Oct. 29) 21, 25, 26, 29, 36 and 45; bonus 38. Lotto Max: (Oct. 28) 3, 5, 19, 29, 33, 34 and 44; bonus 41.

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   Regional briefs:
   - Two prominent Ontario Liberals face Election Act bribery charges over allegedly offering a key post for now Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault to switch to the provincial Liberals from the federal New Democratic Party to win last year’s by-election in Sudbury. Liberal re-election campaign chief Patricia Sorbara and Sudbury businessman Gerry Lougheed have denied any wrongdoing.
   - The Quebec government plans to hold an inquiry into freedom of the press and police surveillance of journalists. Montreal police and the provincial police have admitted monitoring the phones of several journalists to identify information leaks. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said spying on reporters was not happening at the federal level.

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Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com

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