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Sunday, June 11, 2017

Terrorism concerns as Canada plans to celebrate its 150th birthday

   Canada column for Sunday, June 11/17

   (c) By Jim Fox

   As Canada’s capital prepares to mark the country’s 150th birthday on July 1, there are concerns about potential terrorism.
   “Could the events in Britain happen here? Sadly, the answer is yes,” said Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson.
   One of the fatalities from last weekend’s London Bridge area attack was Christine Archibald, originally from British Columbia.    
   The 30-year-old woman moved to Europe to be with her fiancé and was caught up in the deadly attack in which seven people were killed and dozens injured.
   Heightened security measures are planned around Parliament Hill but no amount of preparation can guarantee 100-percent safety, Watson said.
   Liberal Member of Parliament David McGuinty, head of a new national security committee, said the government is consulting with Canadian communities about precautions for the celebrations.
   In 2014, terrorist Michael Zehaf-Bibeau was shot and killed by security and police officers killing Corporal Nathan Cirillo, a soldier on duty at the National War Memorial, and who then stormed the Parliament Buildings.
   Last Jan. 29, six were killed and eight injured in a shooting at a Quebec City mosque.


   Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had a dinner date with former U.S. President Barack Obama at the trendy Liverpool House in Montreal.
   There’s no word – or leaks – about what they discussed as they dined on oysters, shrimp, halibut, steak, spaghetti lobster and strawberry shortcake, said restaurant owner David McMillan.
   My bonds with Canada are deep,” Obama said in a speech earlier to the Montreal Board of Trade.
   He has a brother-in-law from Burlington, Ontario and spoke of hosting this “good friends,” Justin and Sophie Trudeau last year in Washington.
   On the celebrity circuit, Trudeau can expect a mix of personal and political talk when he’s a guest Monday on “Live with Kelly and Ryan” in Niagara Falls, Ontario.


   News in brief:
   - Cross-border topics including “free trade,” taxes and infrastructure were on the agenda when Canadian cabinet ministers met with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin in Ottawa on Friday. In a bid to keep the Canada-U.S. relationship strong, most members of the Liberal cabinet have had discussions with their American counterparts. Mnuchin also met with business leaders at an event hosted by the Business Council of Canada.
   - Canada’s labor market remains hot as 77,000 new full-time positions were added to the workforce last month. Statistics Canada said that even so the national unemployment rate edged up 0.1 percent to 6.6 percent as more people were seeking work. Provinces with the biggest job gains were Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec. Hourly wages rose by 1.3 percent over a year ago.


   Facts and figures:
   Canada’s dollar has advanced to 74.44 cents U.S. as the U.S. dollar is worth $1.343 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 up at 15,480 points while the TSX Venture index is down at 789 points.
   The average price for gas in Canada is down at $1.089 a liter or $4.13 (Canadian) for a U.S. gallon.
   Lotto 6/49: (June 7) 16, 19, 23, 30, 33 and 40; bonus 46. (June 3) 7, 12, 32, 36, 40 and 44; bonus 45. Lotto Max: (June 2) 11, 12, 25, 28, 33, 41 and 43; bonus 36.


   Regional briefs:
   - British Columbia Premier Christy Clark’s Liberal government continues to govern even though it didn’t win a majority in the May 5 election. The “minority” government will stay until potential defeat in a non-confidence vote on a major bill. New Democratic Leader John Horgan said instead the province needs a working government with a coalition of his party and the Greens. The Liberals had 43 elected, New Democrats, 41, and the Green Party, 3.
   - Judicial vote recounts are being held in Nova Scotia where there were narrow margins of victory. The Liberals and Premier Stephen McNeil won the May 30 vote with a slim majority winning 27 seats in the 51-seat legislature. The Conservatives won 17 seats and the New Democrats, 7.


Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com

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