A grass roots social media movement is under way to draft Star Trek actor William Shatner as Canada's next governor general.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has given no indication of the person he will appoint to the ceremonial role representing Queen Elizabeth II in Canada. Governor General Michaëlle Jean's five-year term won't be extended when it expires in September.
Facebook and Twitter fans want Shatner, 79, who was born in Montreal, to take over the role.
"It's time for Canada to boldly go where no country has gone before," the 10,000-strong Facebook group said.
"Imagine Mr. Shatner reading the Speech from the Throne (opening Parliament) in that classic Captain Kirk style we have all come to know and love," it added.
TheMarkNews.com website ran a poll with 13 potential candidates for the role, and Shatner led with 43 percent. Paraplegic athlete and activist Rick Hansen had 11 percent, while singer-songwriter-poet Leonard Cohen was third at 10 percent.
"Would they accept me if I campaign for salmon's rights?" Shatner asked his 250,000 followers on Twitter.
Not wishing this "ceremonial role," Shatner said he doesn't have time to run for prime minister.
Guergis hopes to put scandal behind her
Independent Member of Parliament Helena Guergis, who was expelled from the Conservatives and her Cabinet post, said she hopes to rejoin the party soon.
She was suspended from the caucus for still-unspecified ethics allegations that Prime Minister Stephen Harper has asked the Mounties to investigate.
"Since all of the charges are spurious and bizarre, I hope justice will be done quickly and I will be free to stand as the Conservative candidate in Simcoe-Grey (north of Toronto)," Guergis said.
Her husband, Rahim Jaffer, former Alberta Conservative member of Parliament, appeared before a government committee and denied he used his political connections as a paid lobbyist.
News in brief
• Sales of cars and auto parts led Canada's retail sales gains in February as they rose for a third consecutive month. Spending was up 0.5 percent at $36 billion, while vehicle and parts sales jumped 2.9 percent. Some of the gains were driven by the expiring tax credit on home renovation costs.
• TorStar Corp., owner of the Toronto Star, Canada's largest daily newspaper, has emerged as the leader of five bidders for Canwest's cash-strapped newspaper chain. Canwest has filed for bankruptcy as creditors are trying to recoup about $950 million in losses by selling its 46 publications, including the National Post and Ottawa Citizen. The courts have approved the separate sale of Canwest's broadcasting division to Calgary-based cable operator Shaw Communications for an estimated $95 million.
Facts and figures
Lower-than-expected inflation figures calmed speculation that interest rates will start rising soon, causing the Canadian dollar to drift lower from almost $1.01 U.S.
The Consumer Price Index rose 1.4 percent last month, largely because of higher fuel prices, while "core inflation" was up 1.7 percent. It was 2.1 percent in February.
Canada's dollar returned $1.0003 U.S. on Friday, while the U.S. greenback was worth 99.98 cents Canadian, before bank exchange fees.
The prime lending rate remains at 2.25 percent as the Bank of Canada's key interest rate is steady at 0.25 percent.
Stock markets were higher, with the Toronto exchange index at 12,239 points and the TSX Venture Exchange at 1,670 points.
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• Manitoba is considering allowing online gambling. This would be a trustworthy alternative to the largely unregulated world of online gambling, Lotteries Minister Steve Ashton said. The government's options include setting up its own website or partnering with other provinces to offer online versions of casino games.
• Last-minute shoppers looking for holiday gifts might be able to find them in Toronto on Christmas Day. The City Council is considering allowing stores to open on statutory holidays, including Christmas and New Year's Day. Now, only stores in designated tourist areas can open while others face stiff fines.
• The two Winnipeg high school teachers suspended for performing a simulated lap dance at a Spirit Week rally have lost their jobs. The School Board has accepted the resignation of Chrystie Fitchner and won't renew the contract of Adeil Ahmed.
Jim Fox can be reached at [email protected]