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Canada Report: Quebec's premier-elect survives assassination attempt

Canada could again face the eventual possibility of Quebec seeking independence after the election of a separatist-minded government in the province.

Premier-elect Pauline Marois, whose victory party was marred by violence, will form a minority government with the narrow victory Tuesday of her Parti Québécois.

A man burst through the back door of a Montreal nightclub as Marois was speaking and shot two people, killing a stage technician and wounding a club worker.

The man also set a fire inside the club packed with revelers celebrating the victory that ousted Premier Jean Charest and his Liberals from office.

When taken away by police, who said they haven't established a motive, the man shouted "the English have awoken."

Richard Bain, 62, a fishing-camp owner from Mont-Tremblant, was arrested on charges of first-degree murder, three counts of attempted murder and arson.

Marois, who wants more powers for Quebec, is expected to implement increased measures to protect and enhance the Francophone culture and French language.

Charest, 54, a career politician for 28 years and premier for nine, was defeated by voters in his home area and said he is quitting politics.

DNA may show man is ex-prime minister's son

After two years, George Dryden says he now has proof his father was the late prime minister John Diefenbaker.

The Toronto man said a dirty cotton swab from a family member obtained "discretely" by a private detective showed a genetic link in DNA testing to the Diefenbaker family.

Dryden, 43, who bears a strong resemblance to the former Conservative leader who died in 1979, claims his mother had an affair with Diefenbaker in the 1960s.

Mary Lou Lonergan Dryden was a known confidante of the prime minister, and there had been family gossip about his real father.

Diefenbaker, who had married twice, had no known children.

News in brief

• The appointment of five new senators has boosted Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative majority in the nonelected upper chamber. Named by Harper were Diane Bellemare of Quebec, Tobias Enverga Jr. and Thanh Hai Ngo from Ontario, Thomas Johnson McInnis of Nova Scotia and Paul E. McIntyre of New Brunswick. There are now 62 Conservatives in the 105-seat Senate.

• Canada has cut its ties with Iran, closed its embassy in Tehran and ordered Iranian diplomats to return home. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said there is concern about the safety of Canadian diplomats in the country after recent attacks on the British embassy. He has also warned Canadians to avoid travel to Iran.

• Japan has offered to pay for the disposal of last year's tsunami debris washing up on Canada's west coast. Aside from the expense, British Columbia is trying to figure out how to cope with massive "island of debris" drifting across the Pacific Ocean, said John Disney, economic development officer in Old Massett.

Facts and figures

News that Canada's economy created 34,300 new jobs last month, topping expectations of more-modest gains, pushed the dollar higher to $1.0229 in U.S. funds. The U.S. dollar was valued at 97.75 cents Canadian.

The Bank of Canada's key interest rate is unchanged at 1 percent while the prime-lending rate is 3 percent.

Stock markets advanced, with the Toronto exchange index at 12,243 points and the TSX Venture index 1,273 points.

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Regional briefs

• Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty failed in his bid to win a majority Liberal government through two by-elections to fill vacancies in the Legislature. Voters in Kitchener-Waterloo elected New Democrat Catherine Fife. The Liberals won in Vaughan, with Steven Del Duca succeeding retiring Greg Sorbara. The Liberals remain one member short of a majority in the 107-seat Legislature.

• Thirty-eight small earthquakes in British Columbia's northeastern corner are believed caused by a controversial technique used to extract natural gas from shale rock. The Oil and Gas Commission said the quakes in the isolated areas of the Horn River Basin were caused by "fluid injection during hydraulic fracturing in proximity to pre-existing faults." It recommended further studies to improve the methods used and reporting procedures.

Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com.

Canada Report: Quebec's premier-elect survives assassination attempt 09/08/12 [Last modified: Saturday, September 8, 2012 6:56pm]

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