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Monday, February 26, 2018

Ontario wants to retaliate against states with Buy American provisions

   Canada column for Sunday, Feb. 25/18

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Retaliation against U.S. “protectionist measures” has already begun by the Ontario government.
   Premier Kathleen Wynne said her Liberal government will target states that adopt Buy American provisions with regulations that reduce procurement opportunities proportional to the restrictions imposed.
   International Trade Minister Michael Chan said the policy outlined in a bill will “ensure that Ontario businesses and workers have access to other markets and are treated fairly when operating within those markets.”
   The aim is to create a “level playing field” for Ontario and the U.S. but opposition politicians say it could be a risky move.
   Such issues should be dealt with by the Canadian government, not the provinces, as it “might cause some bigger problems for the nation,” said socialist New Democratic Party Leader Andrea Horwath.
   “When jobs and opportunities for Ontario workers are threatened, my government will always respond,” Wynne said.


   After reports of debauchery on a military flight and the arrest of a former hockey star, an angered General Jonathan Vance has suspended VIP trips to visit troops abroad.
   The chief of defence staff responded after a report by the Royal Canadian Air Force into the circumstances of a troubled Team Canada trip last December.
   Former Maple Leafs player Dave (Tiger) Williams was arrested for sexual assault and assault of a military service member who was working as a flight attendant.
   The report said there was excessive drinking and two VIPs wet themselves in their seats while others appeared inebriated when boarding and some brought liquor on board.
   Vance, Canada’s top general abroad, said that should such flights resume, alcohol will be banned on board military aircraft.


   News in brief:
   - Heavy rains and warm weather caused massive ice jams in Southern Ontario rivers that forced 2,000 people from their homes in Brantford and flooded roads in Cambridge. Police continue searching for Kaden Young, 3, missing since he was swept away by flood waters when the family van sank in the Grand River near Orangeville. Police rescued a driver whose truck was caught when a flooded bridge collapsed in Port Bruce.
   - International tourism set a record last year for Canada’s 150th birthday, with 20.8-million trips of one or more nights. Statistics Canada said there was a 3.1-percent increase in U.S. visitors at 14.3 million and a record 6.5-million visitors from overseas countries, up 7.2 percent. After three years of decline, Canadian same-day and overnight trips to the U.S. were up 2.7 percent to 42.1 million.


   Facts and figures:
   Canada’s dollar has dipped to 78.97 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.266 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 mixed, with the Toronto exchange index up at 15,581 points while the TSX Venture index is lower at 827 points.
   The average price for gas in Canada is up slightly at $1.176 a liter or $4.46 (Canadian) for a U.S. gallon.
   Lotto 6/49: (Feb. 21) 10, 11, 24, 25, 30 and 49; bonus 47. (Feb. 17) 18, 29, 31, 36, 47 and 48; bonus 17. Lotto Max: (Feb. 16) 5, 14, 22, 23, 35, 40 and 49; bonus 43.


   Regional briefs:
   - The tit-for-tat brew between Alberta and British Columbia has temporarily ended as the latter province ended its two-week-old ban on west-coast wine. The ban was in reaction to British Columbia’s plan to refuse increased crude oil exports from Alberta. The wine ban had been imposed in retaliation for its neighbor’s attempt to block Kinder Morgan’s approved $7.4-billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion to the coast over environmental concerns.
   - That’s how the cookie crumbles as U.S. food giant Mondelez said it will close its Oreo cookie and Ritz cracker factory in Montreal this year. It comes with the loss of 454 jobs as production moves to the Toronto area and Portland, Oregon. The company said five other Canadian factories will remain in production.


Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com

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