Canada column for Sunday, April 16/17
THE CANADIAN REPORT
(c) By Jim Fox
The Liberal government – as promised during the 2015 election campaign – is moving ahead with legalizing recreational marijuana use for those 18 and older.
It’s being called a “bold and risky social experiment” by many and would include tough laws against illicit dealers and those who break them.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said legalizing pot is the best way to keep the drug from being used by younger, impressionable children.
The law change would become effective in July of next year and end the prohibition on marijuana use that Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said has been an “abject failure.”
Police forces are spending billions of dollars and countless resources dealing with drug use while dealers are profiting by up to $8 billion a year, he said.
Liberal politician Bill Blair, former Toronto police chief, said this will promote the “safe, socially responsible use” of marijuana while at the same time rigidly enforcing impaired driving whether by drugs or alcohol.
The Conservative party called the legalization a bad idea while the socialist New Democrats wanted it sooner.
Airlines operating in Canada won’t be forcibly removing passengers from overbooked planes, says Transport Minister Marc Garneau.
In fact, there will be a new air passenger bill of rights within weeks to set out clear requirements for compensation when flights are oversold or luggage is lost.
Such bumping as the incident in Chicago when a doctor was dragged off a United Airlines flight and injured will not be tolerated, he said.
Garneau said he was “disturbed” over the incident and told airlines “such an incident would be unacceptable in Canada.”
The Canadian government has also imposed tighter security measures on some Canada-bound flights “from certain countries” that weren’t named publicly.
News in brief:
- Canada’s national parks are open for free to visitors to mark the country’s 150th birthday this year. A Discovery Pass, allowing entry to the parks, marine conservation areas and national historic sites, is good for singles, couples and groups traveling together. Meanwhile, VIA Rail’s $150 youth passes for unlimited travel across Canada in July, were quickly sold out.
- Mark Wainberg, a leading Canadian HIV researcher and patient advocate, has drowned while swimming in rough waters off Bal Harbour, Fla. Wainberg, 71, was part of the medical team that discovered the first antiviral drug to treat patients with HIV. He also was director of the McGill University AIDS Center in Montreal and an Officer of the Order of Canada.
Facts and figures:
Canada’s dollar has advanced to 75.07 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.332 Canadian, before exchange fees.
The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate remains at 0.5 percent while the prime-lending rate is 2.7 percent.
Stock markets are mixed, with the Toronto exchange index down at 15,535 points while the TSX Venture index is higher at 834 points.
The average price for gas in Canada has jumped to $1.174 a liter or $4.46 (Canadian) for a U.S. gallon.
Lotto 6/49: (April 12) 7, 19, 37, 38, 41 and 42; bonus 11. (April 8) 4, 9, 10, 15, 38 and 39; bonus 49. Lotto Max: (April 7) 8, 12, 14, 34, 37, 44 and 48; bonus 45.
- Climate scientist Andrew Weaver, leader of British Columbia’s Green party, wants voters in the May 9 provincial election to consider his “dark horse” candidates. Prime Minister Trudeau, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, Yukon Premier Sandy Silver and even President Donald Trump defied the odds to win, he said. There is a need for “other viable options,” as the Liberals have been in power since 2001, he said.
- An icebreaker has escorted the Apollo ferry to port after being stranded near Blanc-Sablon, Quebec for more than 24 hours. Crews were assisting the Newfoundland and Labrador ferry that was stuck in the ice-choked waters in the Strait of Belle Isle. On what was normally a two-hour voyage, Labrador Marine said the 70 passengers on board were safe, food was available and there were cabins to spend the night.
Jim Fox can be reached at email@example.com