Canada column for Sunday, March 25/18
THE CANADIAN REPORT
(c) By Jim Fox
The Canadian government plans to get tough with people buying guns and crimes.
While not an epidemic in this country, gun crimes are increasing with 223 firearm-related deaths in 2016, up 44 from a year earlier.
A wide-ranging firearms bill outlined in the House of Commons would assist police in investigating gun trafficking and other crimes, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said.
At a time when a survey finds 69 percent of Canadians support an outright ban on guns in urban areas, the government wants to also respect law-abiding firearm owners.
The bill would tighten Canada’s firearms law with enhanced background checks for anyone seeking a firearms license and mandatory record-keeping for gun sellers.
Police would conduct a more extensive background check and follow-up to include criminal, mental health, addiction and domestic violence records.
Canadian crime rates have been declining for more than 20 years but firearm offenses – homicides, domestic and gender-based violence involving guns, criminal gang activity and gun thefts – are up significantly, Goodale said.
Party Leader Elizabeth May and New Democrat politician Kennedy Stewart were arrested at a protest against the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.
May said there is a “climate crisis” that’s a “crime against future generations.”
The Kinder Morgan project to triple the amount of crude oil to 900,000 barrels a day shipped to the British Columbia coast from Alberta has been approved by the Canadian government.
About 100 people have been arrested for civil contempt in demonstrations at two terminal project sites on Burnaby Mountain.
They say the $7.4-billion project would drastically increase the number of oil-carrying ships in the Georgia Strait.
News in brief:
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau suggested he is more confident that Canada and Mexico can resolve differences and agree with the U.S. to a revised North American Free Trade Agreement. Soon after, the U.S. put added pressure to reach a deal by setting a May 1 deadline or the neighboring countries would face tariffs on steel and aluminum. U.S. trade adviser Peter Navarro said if a better deal isn’t reached, “we're going to have something happen.”
- Higher gas and food prices drove Canada’s annual pace of inflation higher to 2.2 percent last month. It was the fastest pace in more than three years and above the Bank of Canada’s ideal target of two percent. A month earlier, the rate was 1.7 percent and the higher number could lead to an interest-rate increase sooner than earlier predicted, possibly by the summer.
Facts and figures:
Canada’s dollar has advanced to 77.59 cents U.S. while the U.S. greenback returns $1.288 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 15,223 points while the TSX Venture index is 817 points.
The average price for gas in Canada is up to $1.244 a liter or $4.72 (Canadian) for a U.S. gallon.
Lotto 6/49: (March 21) 1, 5, 9, 12, 39 and 41; bonus 28. (March 17) 16, 17, 35, 43, 44 and 46; bonus 49. Lotto Max: (March 16) 13, 24, 29, 31, 35, 36 and 42; bonus 37.
- Prospective tenants are being asked to provide landlords with too much personal information in the tight housing market in British Columbia. Canada’s Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner said the improper information requests include credit card details, bank statements and whether they are immigrants. A report calls for landlords to make clear, specific purposes for collecting personal information.
- In the appropriately named community of Heart’s Content in Newfoundland, residents cheered and honked their horns as dolphins trapped by ice were freed. The group of white-beaked dolphins had lost their way and got stuck. Fire Chief Stan Legge led the rescue using excavators to clear a channel for the stranded animals.
Jim Fox can be reached at email@example.com