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Sunday, April 29, 2018

Toronto police are investigating "incel" possible involvement in horrendous van massacre

   Canada column for Sunday, April 29/18

   By Jim Fox

   Toronto police are investigating whether a recently graduated college student was inspired by a California mass murderer after a speeding van ran down and killed 10 people and injured 16 others.
   Alek Minassian, 25, of suburban Richmond Hill, faces first-degree murder and attempted murder charges in the incident on the sidewalk of busy Yonge Street in North Toronto.
   The victims, eight of them women who appeared to be targeted by the driver, ranged in age from 22 to 94 years old.
   Police homicide Inspector Bryan Bott said a “cryptic” message on a Facebook profile just moments before the incident began refers to “incel,” an online community of the “involuntarily celibate.”
   It draws inspiration from Elliot Rodger, 22, who killed six people in California in 2014 after posting a video angered about his rejection by women and sexual frustration.
   After trying to flee from the van, Constable Ken Lam confronted the driver who challenged him to shoot claiming he had a gun.
   Lam is being praised for his cool action in ordering the man to surrender without a shot being fired.


Sunday, April 15, 2018

Record high gas prices could follow pipeline fallout, dollar dip in Canada

   Canada column for Sunday, April 15/18

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Canadian drivers could be paying record-high gas prices – even hitting $2 a liter out west – this summer as a dispute over a crude oil pipeline project heats up.
   Also at play, says Dan McTeague, an analyst at Gas Buddy, are rising global oil prices and a lower-valued Canadian dollar.
   “The world is getting its oil fundamentals back in balance and supply and demand are looking a lot closer,” McTeague said.
   With gas prices topping an average of $1.30 a liter, or $4.94 (Canadian) for a U.S. gallon, it’s almost 18 cents a liter higher than a year ago.
   A major concern is the Alberta’s government threat to reduce the flow of crude oil to neighboring British Columbia in a feud over the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline.
   Environmental protesters have been hampering progress on the pipeline work to west coast ports even though it has been approved by the federal government.
   The British Columbia government is also opposing the project, leading owner Kinder Morgan to suspend work until the end of May and to threaten to cancel the project.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Possible breakthrough in NAFTA talks makes Canadian prime minister "cautiously optimistic"

   Canada column for Sunday, April 8/18

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is “cautiously optimistic” of a breakthrough in free trade talks with the U.S. and Mexico.
   Speaking in Quebec City, Trudeau said negotiations for a revamped North American Free Trade Agreement are making “good progress” in spite of challenges.
   “I believe we’re in a moment where we’re moving forward in a significant way,” Trudeau said, even as U.S. President Donald Trump has been dampening expectations for a breakthrough in the coming week.
   While Trump predicted the three countries would have something to announce “fairly soon,” he added: “We get it done right or we’ll terminate (NAFTA).”
   The talks are now involving higher-level players as Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland met Friday in Washington with U.S. trade representative Robert Lighthizer and Mexican Economy Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo.
   There’s speculation there could be an announcement when Trudeau, Trump and Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto meet in Peru at the Summit of the Americas, April 13 and 14.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Canadians rankled by President Trump's comments on pipeline, trade deficit: Fake news

   Canada column for Sunday, April 1/18

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Canadians are trying to be good neighbors to its United States’ ally in spite of more “questionable” comments by President Donald Trump.
   Mild-mannered Canadians tend to let things go but the latest “misinformed” comments have rankled many over the planned Keystone XL pipeline.
   “Trump tells another tall tale,” said the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. after he said he wasn’t thanked by the head of TransCanada for approving the controversial line to the U.S. from Alberta.
   “The boss of whatever the hell company it is never actually called me to say thank you,” Trump said in a speech promoting his infrastructure spending plan.
   “But that’s OK, we’ll remember,” he added.
    Not true, the Canadian Press news service reported, noting that when Trump signed an executive order for the project, TransCanada’s Russ Girling was next to him in the Oval Office and he thanked him twice, videos show.
   “Thank you, Mr. President. This is a very, very important day for us, for our company,” Girling said.
   Also in March, Trump boasted that he made up facts about a (not true) U.S. trade deficit with Canada while speaking to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.