Canada column for Sunday, Feb. 4/18
THE CANADIAN REPORT
(c) By Jim Fox
“O Canada,” the country’s national anthem, is going to be reworked to make it more gender neutral.
For the sake of political correctness, the Senate has approved a bill to change the second line of the anthem from “in all thy sons command” to “in all of us command.”
The change fulfills the dying wish of Liberal politician Mauril Belanger who had sought the change for years.
It gained more urgency when he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease and it was passed by the Commons two months before his death.
Also in a case of correctness, Halifax councillors decided to immediately remove a statue of Edward Cornwallis from a downtown park.
This followed protests to end the reverence of colonial figures as part of reconciliation with the country’s native people.
After a 12-4 vote, the bronze figure of Halifax’s contentious military founder was placed in storage until a decision is made on its fate.
Cornwallis is viewed by some as a brave leader while others say he was the commander of a bloody and barbaric extermination campaign against Mi’kmaq inhabitants.
Ontario’s Conservative party is scrambling to regroup after leader Patrick Brown resigned while denying sexual misconduct allegations.
As well, just months before the provincial election Conservative president Rick Dykstra has quit for similar allegations.
The Conservatives were leading the polls to replace the Liberal government in the June 7 vote and the party is rushing to name a new leader on March 10.
In the running for leader – and becoming premier should the Conservatives win the election – are former politician Christine Elliott, newcomer Caroline Mulroney, daughter of former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, and Toronto politician Doug Ford.
News in brief:
- Ontario residents can expect to endure another six weeks of winter after celebrity groundhog “Wee Wiarton Willie” saw his shadow on Friday. The wee one replaced the former Willie of Wiarton, Ontario who died last fall. Atlantic Canada might enjoy an early spring as Nova Scotia’s Shubenacadie Sam found no shadow on Groundhog Day.
- Canada’s three major grocers committed indictable offenses in a bread price-fixing scheme, the Competition Bureau said. Court documents show at least seven companies were implicated in the scheme over more than a decade. It’s alleged that wholesalers Canada Bread Co. and George Weston Ltd.’s executives agreed to increase prices and Loblaw Companies, Walmart Canada, Sobeys, Metro and Giant Tiger gave their approval. Loblaw and Weston, which are offering customers a $25 gift card in a goodwill gesture, tipped off the bureau and are receiving immunity.
Facts and figures:
Canada’s dollar dropped in value Friday to 80.5 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returned $1.242 in Canadian funds before exchange fees.
The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate is steady at 1.25 percent while the prime-lending rate is 3.45 percent.
Stock markets are lower, with the Toronto exchange index at 15,606 points while the TSX Venture index is 811 points.
The average price for gas in Canada has risen to $1.214 a liter or $4.61 (Canadian) for a U.S. gallon.
Lotto 6/49: (Jan. 31) 1, 7, 27, 31, 34 and 39; bonus 3. (Jan. 27) 7, 8, 13, 24, 28, 35; bonus 26. Lotto Max: (Jan. 26) 7, 8, 13, 19, 23, 32 and 40; bonus 9.
- Swoop, WestJet Airlines’ new ultra-low-cost carrier, will launch on June 20 with flights between Abbotsford, British Columbia and Hamilton, Ontario, and Hamilton-Halifax. It will add flights between Hamilton-Edmonton and Hamilton-Winnipeg on June 25 and Abbotsford-Edmonton starting July 25. There will be 45 weekly flights costing $39 to $99 along with a promotion offering 2,000 free seats.
- Only in Canada, eh! A man and woman who robbed a bank made a quick stop at a Tim Hortons coffee shop as police gave chase. Six police cars closed in on the getaway vehicle before the suspects had a chance to place their order in the drive through at the Canadian iconic business in Bouctouche, New Brunswick. It was said the entire incident unfolded in less time than it takes to brew a fresh pot of coffee.
Jim Fox can be reached at email@example.com