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Monday, June 11, 2018

Conservatives devastate opponents in Ontario election with Premier-elect Doug Ford

   Canada column for Sunday, June 10/18

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Promising to “put more money in your pocket,” Doug Ford led his Conservatives to a sweeping victory in the Ontario provincial election.
   The popularity of the brash former Toronto city councillor along with citing a need for change after 15 years of Liberal rule, voters gave Ford’s party a majority government.
   The Conservatives had 76 members elected while the socialist New Democrats led by Andrea Horwath will form the Official Opposition with 40 elected.
   With a series of scandals, spending concerns and high energy costs, voters failed to give the ruling Liberals even official party status with just seven elected to the Ontario Legislature.
   Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne, who was narrowly re-elected in her Toronto district, resigned as party leader.
   Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner made history being the first member of the party elected in Ontario.
   The victory sends a clear message that “Ontario is open for business” and there will be an “era of economic growth and prosperity,” Ford said.


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.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Two bombers sought after 15 hurt in blast at Toronto-area Indian restaurant

   Canada column for Sunday, May 27/18

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Three people remain in Toronto-area hospitals with “critical injuries” after a crude bomb was detonated in an Indian restaurant.
   Twelve other diners injured in the blast were treated at hospitals and released after the incident at the Bombay Bhel restaurant in Mississauga during two birthday celebrations.
   Videos showed two men who had their faces covered entering the restaurant and detonating a bomb and then running away.
   Police said so far there is no indication the explosion was an act of terrorism or a hate crime.
   “Every police resource available” is trying to track down those responsible for this “horrendous act,” said Peel Regional Police Chief Jennifer Evans.
   The owners of the well-known and popular restaurant called the bombing “extremely horrific and sad.”
   The Consulate General of India in Toronto has opened a helpline to assist.
   Consul General Dinesh Bhatia said those injured were Indian or Indo-Canadian and long-time residents of Canada.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Canadian leader pitches NAFTA in New York visit

   Canada column for Sunday, May 20/18

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made his best pitch yet at Yankee Stadium for an agreement on a revised North American Free Trade Agreement.
   As Canada, the United States and Mexico looked for a speedy resolution of the talks, Trudeau was making a commencement speech to New York University graduates at the ball park.
   It was the 16th time Trudeau has taken a working trip to the U.S. since becoming prime minister in 2015 to tell his audiences that the Canada-U.S. trade relationship is critical for both countries.
   Despite his best efforts and optimism that a deal was close, Trudeau also spoke with U.S. President Donald Trump who earlier threatened to end the agreement.
   The U.S. then rebuffed Trudeau’s hope for deal for the pact first signed in 1994 and for which negotiations to modernize it began last August.
   U.S. trade czar Robert Lighthizer said a deal wasn’t imminent due to differences on intellectual property, agriculture, online purchases, energy, labor, rules of origin and other issues.
   While in New York, Trudeau received an honorary degree from the university.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Flights to Caribbean islands to resume in time for the winter by Canadian airlines

   Canada column for Sunday, May 13/18

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Canadians airlines are heading back to the Caribbean after repairs to airports and key infrastructure from devastating hurricanes.
   Air Transat’s seasonal flights will return to St. Martin/St. Maarten and San Juan, Puerto Rico from Montreal and Toronto before Christmas for four months.
   Transat’s Debbie Cabana said the destinations are mainly embarkation ports for cruises.
   Air Canada expects to operate its normal schedule to the winter destinations along with WestJet while Sunwing wants to get back early next year to St. Maarten where many of the hotels are being repaired.
   Islands hardest hit by the storms were Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, St. Barthelemy, St. Martin, St. Maarten, Barbuda, Cuba and Dominica.
   Places with less damage such as Grand Cayman, St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines benefited with additional visitors.
   A study said the hurricane season resulted in a loss of 826,100 visitors to the Caribbean and about 740 million in spending.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Canada trying to cope with massive asylum-seeking migrants at border

   Canada column for Sunday, May 6/18

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Some critics are suggesting that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau asked for what he is seeing with a massive refugee influx.
   Trudeau said last year: “To those fleeing persecution, terror and war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength.”
   Since then, the illegal refugee influx at the U.S./Canada border, largely in Quebec, is becoming unmanageable.
   There are so many – 4,000 migrants crossing into Quebec recently – that the Mounties are having to build a police station along the border to cope.
   More than 80 percent of the immigrants are going through the U.S. from Haiti, with the rest including people from India, Mexico, Colombia and Turkey.
   In the past year, there have been more than 20,000 illegal border crossings into Canada by those seeking asylum.
   Those entering the country illegally are subject to arrest but are released to await hearings and appeals to stay in Canada while they are allowed to work, have access to “free” health care, schools and receive welfare payments.
   With the arrival of warm weather, the number of border crossers in Quebec alone, near Champlain, N.Y., is expected to reach more than 400 a day.

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.