Canada column for Sunday, April 29/18
THE CANADIAN REPORT
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.
Sexual harassment allegations against popular TVOntario host Steve Paikin have been found to be unsubstantiated by an independent third-party investigator.
The TV network’s CEO Lisa de Wilde said the 11-week investigation found Paikin did not violate internal policies.
This concerned former Toronto mayoralty candidate Sarah Thomson’s allegation that Paikin propositioned her at a lunch in 2010 and at political meetings.
Paikin remained at his job while the investigation was conducted and said there wasn’t “a shred of truth” to the claim.
News in brief:
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s popularity is slipping, according to a Forum Research poll that shows 58 percent disapprove of him and 33 percent approve, with 9 percent not commenting. “Voters seem to have turned away from the Trudeau Liberals,” said Lorne Bozinoff, Forum Research president. There were 43 percent of the 1,585 respondents supporting the Conservatives while 30 percent backed the Liberals.
- Canada’s central bank has held interest rates steady while Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz said it’s only a matter of time until they will rise from their current low levels. As the economy has improved and adjusted to lower oil prices, the bank has raised rates three times since last July to just 1.25 percent.
Facts and figures:
Canada’s dollar is lower at 77.96 cents U.S. while the U.S. greenback returns $1.282 in Canadian funds before exchange fees.
The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate remains unchanged at 1.25 percent while the prime-lending rate is 3.45 percent.
Stock markets are mixed, with the Toronto exchange index up at 15,668 points while the TSX Venture index is down at 783 points.
The average price for gas in Canada has climbed to $1.33 a liter or $5.05 (Canadian) for a U.S. gallon.
Lotto 6/49: (April 25) 10, 14, 15, 16, 40 and 46; bonus 6. (April 21) 12, 19, 20, 30, 41 and 49; bonus 9. Lotto Max: (April 20) 6, 14, 16, 22, 30, 42 and 45; bonus 35.
- The family of Adam Herold, 16, a hockey player among the 16 people killed in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash, wants the Saskatchewan government to improve safety at highway intersections. Police continue to investigate the circumstances of the April 6 crash with a semi-truck near Tisdale, Saskatchewan. “Fixing all the dangerous intersections in the province” should be a priority, Adam’s father, Russ Herold said in a message to the provincial government.
- Former Ontario Conservative leader Patrick Brown, who lost his job over sexual misconduct allegations that he is fighting, broke the government’s ethics laws, Integrity Commissioner David Wake said. He is calling for a reprimand for Brown’s failure to disclose rental income from his house and a loan from a potential Conservative candidate.
Jim Fox can be reached at email@example.com