Monday, December 11, 2017
News Roundup

Arrival of Syrian refugees running behind schedule in Canada

The Canadian government will meet its commitment to process 10,000 Syrian refugees for entry into Canada, but they won't all be here by year's end.

Immigration Minister John McCallum said he now can't guarantee the Liberal government will be able to meet its goal of bringing in that number by Thursday.

They will be "verified" by that date, but not all will have arrived, he said, as the government remains committed to resettle 25,000 refugees by the end of February.

Among the factors making the earlier goal unrealistic in such a short period since the government was elected in October are circumstances including poor flying weather.

McCallum told reporters that hundreds of government representatives are working all out to process the refugees coming from Lebanon and Jordan.

As of Monday, almost 2,000 refugees had arrived and flights were continuing through the holidays, he said.

To assist with cities and organizations helping to resettle the newcomers, McCallum announced the federal government would allocate an additional $15 million.

Stalled economy may mean interest rate cut

A further interest rate cut could be coming after Statistics Canada reported the country's economy didn't grow in October.

Economist Nick Exarhos of CIBC Capital Markets said the gross domestic product figures could signal another interest rate cut by the Bank of Canada. The rate is currently 0.5 percent.

The economy was stable overall in October, with gains in the resource sector offsetting declines in factory production and consumer spending.

BMO chief economist Douglas Porter said there have been five straight months of negative GDP figures, three fiscal updates, two surprise interest rate cuts and the dollar "in a swan dive."

News in brief

• They're still golfing in many parts of Canada as people in about half the country could only dream of a white Christmas this year. Unusually warm temperatures and no snow from Southern Ontario to the Atlantic provinces have set records. The weather phenomenon called El Niño is being noted for the warmth, with temperatures around 60 Fahrenheit at midweek in Toronto and Montreal, and the western provinces blanketed in snow.

• The trial of suspended Sen. Mike Duffy, 69, on 31 charges of fraud, breach of trust and bribery over expense claims, will resume on Feb. 22 with closing arguments. During 60 days of testimony, Duffy took the stand to say that all his housing and travel expenses were within the Senate's rules. "I have not broken any rules, let alone the law," he said.

Facts and figures

The Canadian dollar has advanced to 72.18 cents U.S., while the U.S. dollar returns $1.3853 in Canadian funds, before bank and credit card exchange fees.

The Bank of Canada's key interest rate remains at 0.5 percent, while the prime-lending rate is 2.7 percent.

Markets are higher, with the Toronto Stock Exchange index at 13,309 points and the TSX Venture index at 516 points.

The average price of gas is higher at 98.84 cents a liter nationally or $3.75 (Canadian) for a U.S. gallon.

Lotto 6/49: (Dec. 19) 4, 15, 20, 23, 27 and 49; bonus 25. (Dec. 23) 5, 9, 17, 31, 38 and 46; bonus 10. Lotto Max: (Dec. 18) 6, 20, 28, 29, 30, 31 and 46; bonus 45.

Regional briefs

• Dennis Oland, 47, has been found guilty of second-degree murder in the death of his business tycoon father, Richard Oland, 69, in Saint John, New Brunswick. The jury's verdict was surprising after a four-month trial that Judge John Walsh said was largely based on circumstantial evidence. Richard Oland, founder of Moose­head Breweries, was killed in his office in 2011. Evidence included a brown jacket worn by his son that had blood stains and a DNA match.

• The Ontario government called it a "holiday present" for drinkers as it allowed the first sales of beer in grocery stores, not just at Brewers Retail and Liquor Control Board outlets. Premier Kathleen Wynne bought the first six-pack of craft ale at a Toronto Loblaws store. Walmart, Sobeys, Metro and some independent grocers also were allowed to sell beer. Wynne's choice: Rhyme & Reason from Hamilton's Collective Arts brewery.

Contact Jim Fox at [email protected]

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