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Sunday, September 17, 2017

U.S. might not support Canada in enemy attack: NORAD official

   Canada column for Sunday, Sept. 17/17

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Canada might have to go it alone should the country ever face an enemy attack.
   U.S. policy is “not to defend Canada,” said Lieutenant-General Pierre St-Amand, top Canadian officer at the North American Aerospace Defense Command in Colorado.
   While Canada would have no say in what to do if North America is targeted by a missile, the U.S. could ultimately decide to intervene at the last moment, he added.
   That’s largely due to the Liberal government upholding a 2005 decision to remain outside the U.S. missile shield after a divisive national debate.
   While many people are calling for Canada to get back in the pact, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the country’s position is “not going to be changed any time soon.”
   St-Armand delivered news to the Commons defense committee that is concerned about missile tests and threats by North Korea.
   One piece of good news was there has been “no direct threat to Canada,” said Mark Gwozdecky of Global Affairs.
   He said the North Korean government sees Canada as a “peaceful and indeed a friendly country.”


   The half-million or so Canadians who own property in Florida can expect insurance costs to soar by up to 20 percent due to Hurricane Irma.
   Brad Hubbard, of National Flood Experts in Tampa, told Canada’s CTV Network that property owners need to have both hurricane and flood insurance.
   The higher premiums will come from greater insurance losses and reinsurance companies determining a higher risk of more frequent severe storms.
   Condo owners could also face special assessments if their building had heavy damage not fully covered by insurance or if the policy has a high deductible.


   News in brief:
   - Canada’s proposed airline passenger’s bill of rights isn’t intended to “pick on the airlines,” said Transport Minister Marc Garneau. It’s aimed at making sure passenger rights are respected, he said. It would allow for “hefty fines” for airlines where a passenger has been bumped from an overbooked flight, had luggage lost or damaged or was stuck on a tarmac for too long.
   - The Office of the Privacy Commissioner is investigating the U.S. Equifax Inc. data breach and said the credit-monitoring company will notify affected Canadians in writing. The company was the victim of a massive cyberattack that might have compromised the personal data of 150-million people. It said only Canadians with credit files in the U.S. were likely to be affected.


   Facts and figures:
   Canada’s dollar is slightly lower at 82.04 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.218 in Canadian funds before exchange fees.
   The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate remains at 1 percent while the prime-lending rate is 3.2 percent.
   Stock markets are higher, with the Toronto exchange index at 15,173 points while the TSX Venture index is 779 points.
   The average price for gas in Canada is down to $1.149 a liter or $4.36 (Canadian) for a U.S. gallon.
   Lotto 6/49: (Sept. 13) 18, 22, 24, 28, 29 and 33; bonus 7. (Sept. 9) 5, 9, 18, 29, 39 and 47; bonus 35. Lotto Max (Sept. 8) 1, 2, 15, 16, 22, 29 and 41; bonus 27.


   Regional briefs:
   - The Canadian Real Estate Association says house sales are expected to drop to their lowest level in three years in 2018 largely due to a decline in Ontario. It expects sales will fall 2.3 percent next year after a decline this year to 506,000 homes. Sales in British Columbia and Ontario will fall by 10 percent this year after record highs in 2016 with policy changes to restrict foreign buyers and interest rate increases.
   - A “hyperloop” is being suggested to cut travel time in the Toronto-Montreal corridor to 39 minutes from five hours. The technology promoted by Tesla founder Elon Musk would have passengers and cargo travel in a cylindrical vehicle that accelerates by electric propulsion in a low-pressure tube above a track using magnetic levitation. The route is among 10 international entries for future study.


Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com

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