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Price tag for summits in Canada is too high, critics protest

Sad ceremony: Comrades of fallen trooper Larry Rudd carry his casket onto a plane during a ramp ceremony in Kandahar, Afghanistan, on Wednesday. Col. Simon Hetherington described Rudd as a “gentle giant.” Rudd was killed Monday when his vehicle hit a roadside bomb.

Associated Press

Sad ceremony: Comrades of fallen trooper Larry Rudd carry his casket onto a plane during a ramp ceremony in Kandahar, Afghanistan, on Wednesday. Col. Simon Hetherington described Rudd as a “gentle giant.” Rudd was killed Monday when his vehicle hit a roadside bomb.

Critics are saying almost $1.1 billion could be better spent elsewhere than on protection for the forthcoming G-8 and G-20 summits of world leaders.

Federal documents show security spending of $933 million plus $160 million for hospitality, infrastructure, food safety and extra staff.

"With the government in deficit, that means that another $1 billion will be added to our national debt," said Bob Rae, foreign affairs critic for the Liberals.

Others say the money could have been used to create more low-cost housing, improved health care, education or a new subway line, said Kevin Gaudet of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

Police and security forces are anticipating trouble with protesters as the Group of Eight world leaders meet to discuss global issues June 25-26 in Huntsville, Ontario.

The Group of 20 summit of international finance ministers and central bank governors takes place June 26-27 in Toronto.

A man was arrested for mischief on Friday in Toronto after antisummit slogans were painted on 20 ATM machines.

So-called anarchists opposed to the summit and other issues firebombed a branch of the Royal Bank in Ottawa this month.

Central bank ready to hike interest rates

Canadians should prepare for imminent interest-rate increases.

The Bank of Canada is poised to start raising its record-low rate of 0.25 percent in the next week. It has been in place since April of last year.

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said the central bank needs to move quickly as the economy improves.

Governments should let the remaining temporary stimulus measures expire to avoid over-stimulating the economy, the organization said.

Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney said there is concern that raising rates during the European financial crisis could impair global growth.

News in brief

• The penny might soon be a thing of the past. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said it's "inevitable" the penny will go, because it costs 1.5 cents to produce each one. The Bank of Canada says the 1-cent coin has lost 95 percent of its purchasing power since it was introduced in 1908.

• The death toll of Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan continues to rise as trooper Larry Rudd, 26, of Brantford, Ontario, was killed by an improvised explosive device. A member of the army's Royal Canadian Dragoons, he is the 146th member of the Canadian military to die in the mission.

• A bank study says affluent seniors should pay for their prescription drugs. The TD Bank study said that otherwise health care spending will become unsustainable. For example, the Ontario Drug Benefit program costs $3.46 billion to cover the prescriptions of all those 65 and older, but no changes are planned.

Facts and figures

After plunging to 92 cents U.S., Canada's dollar climbed back to 95.05 cents U.S. on Friday. The U.S. greenback was worth $1.0521 Canadian, before bank exchange fees.

The Bank of Canada's key interest rate is steady at 0.25 percent, while the prime lending rate remains at 2.25 percent.

Stock markets are higher, with the Toronto exchange index at 11,694 points and the TSX Venture Exchange at 1,499 points.

Lotto 6-49: (Wednesday) 12, 13, 33, 43, 46, 49; bonus 48. (May 22) 7, 8, 19, 23, 30, 46; bonus 4. Lotto Max: (May 21)14, 16, 30, 35, 36, 45, 49; bonus 10.

Regional briefs

• Former Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant has been cleared of criminal charges in the death of a bicycle courier. Special prosecutor Richard Peck withdrew charges of dangerous driving and negligence. Evidence showed that biker Darcy Sheppard, 33, was intoxicated and had a "history of aggressiveness toward motorists and others."

• Full parole has been granted to former Mountie Patrick Kelly, who was convicted of killing his wife in 1983. Now living in rural British Columbia, Kelly, 60, was found guilty of killing wife Jeanette by throwing her off their 17th-floor apartment balcony in Toronto. The parole board was told he was a "model inmate."

• Halifax Mayor Peter Kelly was stopped from boarding an airplane because he was carrying a bullet. Kelly said he was "suitably embarrassed" by the incident at Stanfield International Airport in Halifax. Kelly said he found the 9mm bullet near City Hall and put it in his briefcase, forgetting to turn it over to the police.

Jim Fox can be reached at [email protected]

Price tag for summits in Canada is too high, critics protest 05/29/10 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 5:08pm]
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