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Monday, April 10, 2017

U.S. is "comfortable" with security at the Canadian border



   Canada column for Sunday, April 9/17

   THE CANADIAN REPORT
   (c) By Jim Fox

   Canadians should not be overly concerned about the possibility of stricter security or changes in travel to the United States.
   U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told a Senate committee that his concerns are mainly with the Mexican border and he’d like to see the Canadian border “even thinner.”
   He made a similar comment during meetings in Ottawa, saying he’s “very comfortable with the level of security on the border.”
   Something drawing attention is a “little bit” more enterprising Mexicans entering the U.S. illegally via Canada.
   Montana Democrat Jonathan Tester said the northern border also has its “challenges,” suggesting more stringent security as did North Dakota Republican Senator John Hoeven.
   “I’m concerned with all the borders,'” Kelly said, adding that the “absolutely great news story in the northern border is that we have Canada there that’s a friend and ally.”
   Canada has “tremendous law enforcement . . .  and they’re very careful about who comes into their country,” Kelly said.

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   Prime Minster Justin Trudeau said he discussed with U.S. President Donald Trump the need for a “political solution” to the crisis in Syria.
   He said Canada was briefed about an hour before U.S. cruise missiles were launched at an airbase in Syria.
   Canada supports the “limited focused action” by the U.S. and denounces the use of chemical weapons that killed about 80 people, Trudeau said.
   “The crimes the Syrian regime has committed against its own people cannot be ignored,” he said.

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   News in brief:
   - In a display of non-partisan co-operation, former Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney has met with Liberal members of Prime Minister Trudeau’s cabinet. He offered advice at a private meeting on the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Trudeau said Mulroney, 79, was “thoughtful and helpful” in connecting with the Trump administration. The Mulroney and Trump families are friends and neighbors in Florida.
   - Canada will have a new commemorative $10 bill on June 1 to mark the country’s 150th anniversary of Confederation. The bill shown by the Bank of Canada is a mostly purple polymer note that shows images of past distinguished parliamentarians Sir John A. Macdonald, Sir George-Etienne Cartier, Agnes Macphail and James Gladstone. There are Canadian landscape scenes on the back.

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   Facts and figures:
   The Canadian economy created 19,400 jobs last month, most of them full-time positions, Statistics Canada said. The jobless rate rose 0.1 percent to 6.7 per cent with more people looking for work.
   The Canadian dollar is worth less at 74.55 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.341 Canadian, before exchange fees.
   The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate is steady at 0.5 percent while the prime-lending rate is 2.7 percent.
   Stock markets are higher, with the Toronto exchange index at 15,684 points while the TSX Venture index is 823 points.
   The average price for gas in Canada is up to $1.11 a liter or $4.21 (Canadian) for a U.S. gallon.
   Lotto 6/49: (April 5) 3, 10, 19, 30, 44 and 48; bonus 40. (April 1) 27, 40, 41, 42, 45 and 46; bonus 20. Lotto Max: (March 31) 1, 2, 12, 15, 22, 25 and 41; bonus 34.

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   Regional briefs:
   - Soaring house prices in Toronto are raising concerns about “middle-class Canadians” being able to afford a home and debt levels. Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau made the comment in calling for a meeting with Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa and Toronto Mayor John Tory to discuss what might be done. The average selling price for all properties in the Greater Toronto Area jumped by 33.2 per cent to $916,567 last month from a year ago.
   - Some 450 icebergs drifting in the North Atlantic are affecting shipping lanes, forcing vessels to slow to a crawl or take detours of hundreds of miles. The giant ice floes near the Grand Banks of Newfoundland are in numbers not usually seen until late May or early June. It’s suggested it could be because of warmer weather causing chunks of the Greenland ice sheet break off and float away.

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Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com

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