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Sunday, March 18, 2018

Trudeau assures steelworkers as President Trump says he tried to "mislead" Canada

   Canada column for Sunday, March 18/18

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has assured steelworkers that he “has their backs” in the event of punishing tariffs threatened by U.S. President Donald Trump.
   Trudeau’s assurances came during visits to steel plants in Hamilton and Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan.
   Canada and Mexico have been temporarily reprieved from worldwide tariffs of 25 percent on steel and 10 percent on aluminum as the North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations continue.
   Trump, however, now admits trying to mislead Canada by insisting to Trudeau that the U.S. has a massive trade deficit with Canada.
   In a fundraising speech, Trump said he “had no idea” of the numbers, adding: “I said, ‘wrong, Justin’ . . . I didn’t even know.”
   Figures from the 2018 White House Economic Report signed by the President says the U.S. has a trade surplus of $2.6 billion with Canada on a balance-of-payments basis.
   Canada sells about 85 percent of its steel and aluminum to the U.S. as the country’s largest foreign provider.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Trans Mountain pipeline expansion will go ahead despite protests: Trudeau says

   Canada column for Sunday, March 11/18

   (c) By Jim Fox

   * News Update *
   Doug Ford wins Ontario Conservative Party nomination for leader.


   The $7.9-billion expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline will be built despite widespread protests in British Columbia, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says.
   The Kinder Morgan project, approved by the Trudeau government in 2016, would triple the amount of crude oil shipped to the west coast port of Burnaby from Edmonton, Alberta to 890,000 barrels a day.
   “This project is in the national interest and it will get built,” Trudeau said.
   “We will continue to ensure that we are protecting the environment while growing the economy and working across the country to ensure the projects that are in the national interest move forward,” he added.
   Permit disputes and environmental concerns have delayed construction as political leaders from both provinces warn of trade-war sanctions.
   British Columbia said it will not allow increased oil shipments until it does more research on pipeline safety and responses to possible spills.
   Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said there has been a loss of millions of dollars in revenue and thousands of jobs due to bottlenecks in the existing pipeline.


Sunday, March 4, 2018

Trump accuses Canada of "smooth" moves in trade as steel, aluminum tariffs loom

   Canada column for Sunday, March 4/18

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Canada’s a “smooth” operator when it comes to trade with the U.S., says President Donald Trump.
   His comments come as U.S. lobbyists are pushing to spare Canada from punishing tariffs on steel and aluminum.
   Such penalties to be detailed in the coming week are “ill-conceived and counter-productive” as Canada buys more American steel than any other country, the Wall Street Journal commented.
   “Mr. Trump is punishing our largest trading partner in the middle of a NAFTA renegotiation that he claims will result in a much better deal,” it added.
   The United Steelworkers union is calling for Canada to be excluded from the tariffs that are primarily aimed at China.
   We have an integrated economy and if it gets undone, America will pay a heavy price,” the union said.
   Despite a cozy relationship with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Trump is unwavering.
   “We lose a lot with Canada – people don’t know it. Canada is very smooth. They have you believe that it’s wonderful – and it is – for them. Not wonderful for us,” he said.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Ontario wants to retaliate against states with Buy American provisions

   Canada column for Sunday, Feb. 25/18

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Retaliation against U.S. “protectionist measures” has already begun by the Ontario government.
   Premier Kathleen Wynne said her Liberal government will target states that adopt Buy American provisions with regulations that reduce procurement opportunities proportional to the restrictions imposed.
   International Trade Minister Michael Chan said the policy outlined in a bill will “ensure that Ontario businesses and workers have access to other markets and are treated fairly when operating within those markets.”
   The aim is to create a “level playing field” for Ontario and the U.S. but opposition politicians say it could be a risky move.
   Such issues should be dealt with by the Canadian government, not the provinces, as it “might cause some bigger problems for the nation,” said socialist New Democratic Party Leader Andrea Horwath.
   “When jobs and opportunities for Ontario workers are threatened, my government will always respond,” Wynne said.


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Ontario Conservative's turmoil continues; Patrick Brown seeks to regain leadership

   Canada column for Sunday, Feb. 18/18

   (c) By Jim Fox

   The Ontario Conservative party’s disarray continues after former leader Patrick Brown seeks to win his job back and clear his name of sexual misconduct allegations.
   Brown, 39 and single, has entered the race to select a new leader on March 10 even as interim leader Vic Fedeli expelled him from the party.
   He left his job on Jan. 25 after CTV News reported that two young unnamed Barrie, Ontario women accused him of inappropriate behavior from years ago.
   Staunchly denying the allegations and after some of the report’s facts have been challenged for accuracy, Brown said he is suing the network.
   “You lied – you defamed me,” an embattled Brown said after several witnesses have also contested the allegations by the women who have not taken their complaints to the police, as Brown has urged them to do.
   Others in the leadership race are Tanya Granic Allen, Christine Elliott, Doug Ford and Caroline Mulroney ahead of the June 7 provincial election.
   Meanwhile, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said she is looking into “troubling allegations” of sexual assault complaints against a former unidentified Liberal cabinet minister from 12 years ago.


Sunday, February 4, 2018

Oh, say can you see the new gender neutral words in O Canada?

   Canada column for Sunday, Feb. 4/18

   (c) By Jim Fox

   “O Canada,” the country’s national anthem, is going to be reworked to make it more gender neutral.
   For the sake of political correctness, the Senate has approved a bill to change the second line of the anthem from “in all thy sons command” to “in all of us command.”
   The change fulfills the dying wish of Liberal politician Mauril Belanger who had sought the change for years.
   It gained more urgency when he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease and it was passed by the Commons two months before his death.
   Also in a case of correctness, Halifax councillors decided to immediately remove a statue of Edward Cornwallis from a downtown park.
   This followed protests to end the reverence of colonial figures as part of reconciliation with the country’s native people.
   After a 12-4 vote, the bronze figure of Halifax’s contentious military founder was placed in storage until a decision is made on its fate.
   Cornwallis is viewed by some as a brave leader while others say he was the commander of a bloody and barbaric extermination campaign against Mi’kmaq inhabitants.


Sunday, January 28, 2018

Ontario Conservative leader quits after sexual misconduct claims

   Canada column for Sunday, Jan. 28/18

   (c) By Jim Fox

   The Ontario Conservative party has been thrown into disarray after leader Patrick Brown abruptly resigned over sexual misconduct claims by two unidentified women.
   Brown, 39, a bachelor, denies being involved in inappropriate actions with the young women about 10 years ago.
   In his fall from power, Brown says he will remain a politician for Simcoe North as he fights the accusations.
   The bombshell comes just months before Brown was to lead his party into the June 7 provincial election as a favorite against the ruling Liberals and New Democrats.
   The Conservatives appointed finance critic Vic Fedeli to be interim leader while naming Brown’s successor will be done by March 31.
   Fedeli suggested that Brown take a leave of absence to defend himself, adding that he “believes the women.”
   Meanwhile, Kent Hehr has resigned from the federal cabinet as sport and disabilities minister after being accused of making inappropriate sexual remarks while a provincial politician a decade ago.
   “Harassment of any kind is unacceptable and Canadians have a right to live and work in environments free from harassment,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.