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Monday, December 4, 2017

Canadians should anticipate a "stormy winter" or a not-so-bad one

   Canada column for Sunday, Dec. 3/17

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Canada’s official weather prognosticators might have to rely on groundhog Wiarton Willie to get an accurate picture of what’s in store this winter.
   The Weather Network is expecting a “stormy winter,” while government-run Environment Canada doesn’t expect the “classic” Canadian winter of years ago.
   Chris Scott, Weather Network chief meteorologist, predicts wintry conditions from the weather system La Nina producing cooler waters off South America.
   The system resembles that from 10 years ago when Toronto had its snowiest winter ever, he said.
   Global warming and climate change have “tempered” La Nina and made it “not as brutal” as before, said Dave Phillips, senior climatologist at Environment Canada.
   The agency predicts a milder-than-normal winter in the Great Lakes region and eastern Canada while colder in the west.
   The Weather Network calls for big snow this month in the eastern half of Canada, where there has been little so far, with winter to be delayed until January out west.


   Sportsnet TV has fired former Toronto Blue Jays’ catcher Gregg Zaun for “inappropriate behavior and comments” toward female employees.
   The cable network said the Blue Jays analyst was released immediately after reviewing complaints from “multiple female employees.”
   Zaun, 46, played 16 major league seasons, including five years in Toronto from 2004 to 2008 and with the World Series Florida Marlins in 1997.
   Sportsnet said there were no allegations of physical or sexual assault.
   Zaun was also told he is no longer invited to speak at a fund-raising event at the University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, British Columbia in February.


   News in brief:
   - A newspaper swap between Postmedia and Torstar will result in closing 40 newspapers and laying off 250 people. The Competition Bureau is reviewing the deal to swap community newspapers and commuter dailies. The only papers in the deal to remain open are in Exeter, Ontario while the Barrie Examiner and Orillia Packet and Times are among those closed. Postmedia head Paul Godfrey cited high production costs and declining advertising revenues that make it no longer viable and the government denying bailout money.
   - A new wave of job creation cut the unemployment rate last month to 5.9 percent, the lowest in nearly 10 years. Statistics Canada said there were 79,500 net new jobs in November, driving the unemployment rate down 0.4 percent from October. It was the 12th month of positive job creation in Canada.


   Facts and figures:
   Canada’s dollar is higher at 78.8 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.268 in Canadian funds before exchange fees.
   The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate is steady at 1 percent while the prime-lending rate is 3.2 percent.
   Stock markets are lower, with the Toronto exchange index at 16,038 points while the TSX Venture index is 789 points.
   The average price for gas in Canada is lower at $1.159 a liter or $4.40 (Canadian) for a U.S. gallon.
   Lotto 6/49: (Nov. 29) 11, 18, 27, 33, 37 and 43; bonus 20. (Nov. 25) 16, 17, 21, 31, 39 and 49; bonus 29. Lotto Max (Nov. 24) 5, 11, 20, 22, 35, 38 and 46; bonus 45.


   Regional briefs:
   - The giant neon “Sam the Record Man” sign that was an iconic part of Toronto’s downtown will again light up the area around Yonge-Dundas Square. When the business owned by the late music promoter Sam Sniderman closed in 2007 after being there since 1959, the building received heritage status. The property was bought by Ryerson University and the sign, composed of two huge spinning discs on a red background, was saved and is now restored.
   - The party is ending for Canada’s 150th birthday year along with free admission to the country’s national parks and heritage sites. Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said the popular program will again charge for adults but new is free admission to children starting next year. The free program helped push attendance up 12 percent to more than 14-million people in the first seven months of the year.


Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com

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