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Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Punitive U.S. tariffs on Canada called "ridiculous" by Trudeau

   Canada column for Sunday, June 3/18

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the punitive tariffs President Donald Trump placed on Canada are “ridiculous” and will backfire.
   In what was called the worst case of anti-Canadian sentiment in history, the U.S. imposed punishing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada, Mexico and the European Union.
   Canada responded with retaliatory dollar-for-dollar “countermeasures” on up to $16.6 billion in U.S. imports.
   Trump said the days of the U.S. being taken advantage of in trade deals “are over” at a time of an impasse in the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
   “We’re actually going to see hardship happening on both sides, particularly on the American side of the border, as the unintended consequences of putting trade tariffs on their closest ally and trading partner begin to be felt,” Trudeau said Friday.
   It’s not known if Trump will expand on his comments next week at the G7 summit Trudeau is hosting in Quebec.
   Canada’s tariffs will make a long list of U.S. products more expensive beginning July 1.

   The curtain didn’t rise for the star-studded opening of the season at the famed Stratford Festival in Ontario due to bomb threats.
   The opening night of the 2018 season at the Shakespearean festival was cancelled when police evacuated the Festival Theater over an “explosive threat” received at show time.
   Plans were being made to reschedule the opening night for The Tempest while all six planned productions for the week continued as scheduled.
   An exhaustive search of the Festival and Avon theaters turned up no suspicious items or packages, police said.
   Increased security measures have been implemented to ensure patrons feel safe and know they are protected, said Antoni Cimolino, artistic director.


   News in brief:
   - The Canadian government is paying $4.5 billion to buy the much protested Trans Mountain pipeline between Alberta and British Columbia and related infrastructure to ensure an expansion project proceeds. The short-term purchase, to be later sold to investors, is to “ensure a vital piece of energy infrastructure gets built,” said Finance Minister Bill Morneau. “Make no mistake, this is an investment in Canada’s future,” he added about the deal reached with Kinder Morgan.
   - A short-lived strike by 3,000 engineers and conductors at Canadian Pacific Railway employees ended after 16 hours. The Teamsters union and railway reached a tentative agreement along with a separate deal for a union representing signal workers.


   Facts and figures:
   Canada’s dollar has advanced to 77.22 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.294 in Canadian funds (exchange fees extra).
   The Bank of Canada has kept its key interest rate steady at 1.25 percent while the prime-lending rate is 3.45 percent.
   Stock markets are lower, with the Toronto exchange index at 16,060 points while the TSX Venture index is 762 points.
   The average price for gas in Canada is lower at $1.34 a liter or $5.09 (Canadian) for a U.S. gallon.
   Lotto 6/49: (May 30) 9, 14, 17, 21, 38 and 39; bonus 22. (May 26) 12, 13, 16, 23, 39 and 44; bonus 2. Lotto Max: (May 25) 7, 10, 13, 19, 24, 31 and 41; bonus 1.


   Regional briefs:
   - The Canadian government will contribute an initial $50 million to Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba to help pay the extra costs of processing an influx of illegal asylum seekers. Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said the “continued influx” of people illegally crossing the Canada-U.S. border is placing a burden on cities and provinces to provide shelter and social services. Quebec has seen the most asylum seekers arriving through a forest path in Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle and will receive $36 million. Ontario will get $11 million while Manitoba will receive $3 million.
   - Police now believe it was a man and a woman involved in the bombing of the Bombay Bhel restaurant in Mississauga, Ontario. Two people entered the restaurant during two birthday parties and set off a crude bomb that injured 15 people. The heavily disguised suspects walked into the restaurant with an improvised explosive device, said police Supt. Rob Ryan.


Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com

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