Canada column for Sunday, Feb. 5/17
THE CANADIAN REPORT
(c) By Jim Fox
Canada is not immune from senseless terrorist attacks after six men were killed and 19 wounded at a Quebec City mosque.
“All of Canada has been shaken by this attack,” but it has unified the country in solidarity with Muslims, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a funeral service for the victims.
“We will rise from this darkness stronger and more unified than ever before – that is who we are,” he added.
Police said a gunman stormed the Grand Mosque in the suburb of Ste-Foy during prayers and opened fire before surrendering.
Alexandre Bissonnette, 27, a Laval University student, faces six counts of first-degree murder and five of attempted murder.
Among the victims were Khaled Belkacemi, 60, a Laval professor; Abdelkrim Hassane, 41, a Quebec government information technologist; and Aboubaker Thabti, 44, a pharmacist.
Mohamed Yangui, president of the Islamic Centre of Quebec, said there is a need for greater understanding of Muslims.
“We as moderate Muslims are not terrorists,” he said. ‘We practise a form of Islam that means we are full-fledged and solid members of our community.”
It was “obviously crass, insensitive and exceedingly dumb” for Conservative leadership candidate Kevin O’Leary to post an Internet video showing him firing high-powered weapons, said Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale.
The video taken at a Miami gun range was posted the day the funeral was being held for victims of the terrorist shooting at a Quebec mosque.
Several hours later, O’Leary tweeted that “out of respect for today’s (funeral) service, I have taken down my last post.”
News in brief:
- U.S. President Donald Trump is calling for a swift start to negotiations to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement. Observers say this could result in rewriting the pact with Canada, the U.S. and Mexico or having one-on-one deals. The Canadian government has indicated it is willing to go either route but prefers the existing three-country format.
- Canada’s budget deficit isn't as large as the government expected because the Liberals haven't spent infrastructure money quickly enough. A federal report said the budget is on track to be $20.5 billion in the red this fiscal year, compared to the $25.1 billion deficit projected earlier.
- There are reports that Canada’s iconic retailer Hudson’s Bay Co. (HBC) is making a bid to take over Macy’s. Company officials won’t comment but the Wall Street Journal reported the two retail giants are in preliminary talks. HBC acquired several companies in recent years including Saks Inc. and Gilt.
Facts and figures:
The Canadian dollar has advanced to 76.78 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.302 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 mixed, with the Toronto exchange index down at 15,465 points while the TSX Venture index is up at 818 points.
The average price for gas in Canada is lower at $1.065 a liter or $4.04 (Canadian) for a U.S. gallon.
Lotto 6/49: (Feb. 1) 5, 9, 11, 36, 42 and 43; bonus 41. (Jan. 28) 9, 10, 23, 28, 41 and 47; bonus 17. Lotto Max (Jan. 27) 1, 3, 8, 22, 29, 38 and 47; bonus 11.
- Thousands of people in New Brunswick have been without power for several days after a massive ice storm. NB Power said there were 3,500 customers still without electricity on Friday, down from a peak of 133,000. Soldiers were called in to help clear away debris and check on the welfare of residents.
- The socialist New Democratic Party is offering British Columbia voters rebates to offset carbon-tax increases for gasoline, home heating fuels and electricity should it win the May provincial election. Party Leader John Horgan said rebates would lessen the impact of the cost increases.
- Manitoba Doctor Harvey Chochinov has turned down his appointment to the Senate. He has advised Prime Minister Trudeau that he won’t serve due to “personal, family and professional reasons.” Other Manitoba appointees were former Winnipeg Art Gallery director Patricia Bovey and human rights advocate Marilou McPhedran.
Jim Fox can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org