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Monday, August 7, 2017

Quebec tries to cope with huge influx of Haiti refugees from the U.S.

   Canada column for Sunday, Aug. 6/17

   (c) By Jim Fox

   The trickle of asylum seekers pouring across the Canada-U.S. border into Quebec has turned into a flood, leading to Montreal’s Olympic Stadium providing temporary refuge.
   A makeshift reception center has also been established at what was once an unmarked roadside ditch in Hemmingford.
   There has been a surge in the number of people, largely from Haiti, seeking refuge in Canada over fears they will be deported from the U.S.
   Quebec Immigration Minister Kathleen Weil said 50 people a day were illegally crossing from New York State but the number has surged to 150 daily since mid-July.
   The influx is causing authorities to scramble to provide temporary accommodation as the newcomers await a ruling on their refugee claims.
   Asylum seekers were being bused to the Olympic Stadium that will accommodate as many as 600 people until mid-September.
   “Our government is committed to offering protection for those fleeing war, persecution and natural disasters without compromising the safety and security of Canadians,” said Liberal Member of Parliament Marc Miller.


   Canadians are getting older and more plentiful, according to results from last year’s census.
   For the first time in the history of the count, seniors outnumber children with those 65 and older numbering 5.9 million compared 5.8 million for children to age 15.
   Declining affordability and seniors helped push up the number of people no longer living in single detached houses.
   Also for the first time, people living alone make up the majority of households.
   It found almost 30 percent of households are occupied by one person, up from 7.4 percent in 1951.


   News in brief:
   - Kelly Knight Craft, a Kentucky philanthropist, has been named U.S. Ambassador to Canada. She pledged to “work tirelessly to further enhance our strong economic partnership, the most extensive and integrated economic relationship of any two nations in the world.” She will also seek “new opportunities to foster further growth to create more jobs for both countries, while promoting free and fair trade.”
   - Waukesha has been granted approval to draw water from Lake Michigan by the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative. The Wisconsin city of 70,000 people has groundwater contaminated by naturally occurring radium. There was concern about other cities wanting Great Lakes’ water that supports 33-million people including eight of Canada’s 20 largest cities.


   Facts and figures:
   Canada’s dollar is lower at 79.06 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.264 in Canadian funds before exchange fees.
   The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate is steady at 0.75 percent while the prime-lending rate is 2.95 percent.
   Stock markets are mixed, with the Toronto exchange index up at 15,257 points while the TSX Venture index is lower at 765 points.
   The average price for gas in Canada has risen to $1.088 a liter or $4.13 (Canadian) for a U.S. gallon.
   Lotto 6/49: (Aug. 2) 13, 16, 24, 25, 38 and 43; bonus 48. (July 29) 12, 15, 17, 31, 47 and 49; bonus 26. Lotto Max: (July 28) 9, 12, 16, 24, 33, 45 and 47; bonus 14.


   Regional briefs:
   - Vancouver and area residents are being advised of poor air quality and an “extreme fire danger” at parks as forest fires rage in British Columbia. A second state-of-emergency has been declared with 7,000 people still displaced from their homes with some 870 fires scorching 2,000 square miles since April 1.
   - An afternoon without phones and wireless services on the Bell Aliant network in Atlantic Canada lead to massive disruptions. The outage disrupted air travel for about five hours on Friday. It affected 885 cell sites across Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador. Bell said two major fiber links were cut “during third-party construction work.”


Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com

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