Monday, December 18, 2017
News Roundup

Kenney: Alberta's right must unite

Federal Member of Parliament Jason Kenney is calling on former Prime Minister Stephen Harper to help him "unite-the-right" in Alberta.

The Calgary politician has decided against making a bid to succeed Harper as Conservative leader to instead seek to become leader of the party in the western province.

He plans to resign from his federal position on Oct. 1 when the Alberta leadership race begins.

An endorsement from Harper would be "more than welcome" to unite Alberta's right-wing parties – the Conservatives and Wild­rose.

This would be an attempt to defeat the ruling socialist New Democrats led by Premier Rachel Notley in the 2019 election.

A merged "free-enterprise party" would bring back the "Alberta Advantage" slogan of the long-gone days of balanced budgets and huge oil and gas revenue surpluses that are under attack by the New Democrats' policies, Kenney said.

Other measures would include scrapping the planned carbon tax and reviewing the government's moves to cancel the flat income tax system and raise corporate taxes.

Mail still flowing amid postal strike threat

The mail continues to flow under the threat of a strike or lockout of postal workers on Monday.

Canada Post bargainers said the government corporation that faces decreased demand for its services cannot afford the wages and benefits demanded by the Canadian Union of Postal Workers.

The union has called for a 30-day "cooling off" period to allow the two sides to negotiate a new contract without a strike or lockout.

The postal service has given notice that it will lock out the 50,000 unionized employees starting Monday if there's no deal.

News in brief

• Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders have expressed sympathy over the sniper deaths of five police officers in Dallas. Trudeau said Canadians are shocked by the attacks and Canada's solidarity is with all victims of violence. Saunders, Toronto's first black chief, tweeted his force's heartfelt sympathies, thoughts and prayers to the Dallas Police Department.

• Canada's employment situation was little changed last month with some gains in service jobs and drops in factory and construction work. Statistics Canada said there was a net loss of 700 jobs across the country as the unemployment rate fell to 6.8 percent from 6.9 per cent. British Columbia had job gains of 16,000 positions but the labor market decreased or remained largely unchanged elsewhere.

Facts and figures

The Canadian dollar is lower at 76.64 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.304 in Canadian funds, before 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 14,324 points and the TSX Venture index at 750 points.

The average price for gas in Canada has dropped to $1.03 a liter or $3.91 (Canadian) for a U.S. gallon.

Lotto 6/49: (July 6) 7, 12, 22, 35, 39 and 43; bonus 13. (July 2) 1, 16, 28, 33, 39 and 45; bonus 13. Lotto Max: (July 1) 10, 12, 14, 28, 36, 39 and 45; bonus 26.

Regional briefs

• The wildfire that devastated Fort McMurray and the Alberta oil sands country is estimated to be the costliest disaster in Canada. The Insurance Bureau of Canada said there was about $3.58 billion in damage in the May fire. That is nearly twice as much as the January 1998 ice storms in eastern Ontario and southern Quebec at $2 billion in damage.

• The somewhat derogatory term "come from away" should be banned from the Atlantic Canadian vocabulary, says Nova Scotia federal politician Scott Brison. The enduring slight reflects an apprehensive attitude toward newcomers by Maritimers. "It's in our collective interest, economically and socially, to not use terms that reflect a negative view of people who choose to make Atlantic Canada their home," he said.

• So many people wanted to attend the wedding next month of the mayor of Whitchurch-Stouffville, east of Toronto, and his bride that they're inviting the whole town. Mayor Justin Altmann and bride-to-be Jenny Hillier said they want everyone to come out to watch the ceremony, have some cake and meet them after the ceremony.

Jim Fox can be reached at [email protected]

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