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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Ontario Conservative's turmoil continues; Patrick Brown seeks to regain leadership

   Canada column for Sunday, Feb. 18/18

   (c) By Jim Fox

   The Ontario Conservative party’s disarray continues after former leader Patrick Brown seeks to win his job back and clear his name of sexual misconduct allegations.
   Brown, 39 and single, has entered the race to select a new leader on March 10 even as interim leader Vic Fedeli expelled him from the party.
   He left his job on Jan. 25 after CTV News reported that two young unnamed Barrie, Ontario women accused him of inappropriate behavior from years ago.
   Staunchly denying the allegations and after some of the report’s facts have been challenged for accuracy, Brown said he is suing the network.
   “You lied – you defamed me,” an embattled Brown said after several witnesses have also contested the allegations by the women who have not taken their complaints to the police, as Brown has urged them to do.
   Others in the leadership race are Tanya Granic Allen, Christine Elliott, Doug Ford and Caroline Mulroney ahead of the June 7 provincial election.
   Meanwhile, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said she is looking into “troubling allegations” of sexual assault complaints against a former unidentified Liberal cabinet minister from 12 years ago.


   Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould will be Canada’s first federal cabinet minister in history to take a maternity leave.
   She will return to her home in Burlington, Ontario next week to await the arrival of the baby in March and expects to be away from Parliament on leave until May.
   “I look forward to joining other new parents in the House of Commons who prove each and every day that it is possible to have a career in politics and start a family,” Gould said.


   News in brief:
   - Toronto police officers are taking a vote on whether they have confidence in Chief Mark Saunders’ leadership. Police union president Mike McCormack said the issue is addressing concerns, including work problems and stress, with “any sense of urgency.” He called it a “crisis in policing that we’re experiencing in the city of Toronto for quite some time.”
   - Shaw Communications said 3,300 of its employees – or one-quarter of its workforce – have decided to take a voluntary buyout package. When the Calgary-based company made the offer, it expected about 650 employees would take it. The company called it a “multi-year transformation of its business” and there would be “no impact on the customer experience.”


   Facts and figures:
   Canada’s dollar is higher at 79.65 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.255 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 higher, with the Toronto exchange index at 15,452 points while the TSX Venture index is 830 points.
   The average price for gas in Canada has dropped to $1.16 a liter or $4.40 (Canadian) for a U.S. gallon.
   Lotto 6/49: (Feb. 14) 8, 15, 17, 22, 30 and 43; bonus 13. (Feb. 10) 18, 20, 21, 22, 30 and 33; bonus 26. Lotto Max: (Feb. 9) 6, 19, 24, 25, 36, 37 and 39; bonus 17.


   Regional briefs:
   - The Vancouver-based rock group Hedley has been dropped from appearing at the JUNO music awards next month over “claims of impropriety” involving young fans. As well, the popular group has lost its management team, abandoned by other musicians opening for them on a cross-Canada tour and had their music blacklisted by more than 125 radio stations.
   - The good “doctor” is leaving Grand Falls, New Brunswick with the loss of 180 jobs in May. It turns out the provincial government was unsuccessful in keeping Dr. Oetker’s pizza manufacturing operations. The company said the challenges of the food industry prompted the move to facilities in London, Ontario and Lodi, New Jersey.


Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com

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