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Security Council rebuff leaves Canada on outside

Many Canadians are puzzled at why Canada is getting no respect and perhaps is underappreciated by the world after losing a bid for a seat on the U.N. Security Council.

Newspapers called it a "humiliating rejection" reflecting a stunning swipe at Canada's foreign policy under the Conservative government.

It's viewed as a personal setback for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who lobbied the U.N. General Assembly for one of two available seats.

He also followed up with bottles of Canadian maple syrup deposited on the desks of U.N. delegates and a visit by uniformed Mounties.

In the past 60 years, Canada has sought a Security Council seat about once a decade and had never been rebuffed until now.

When there was no chance of success, Canada dropped out and the seats went to Germany and Portugal.

Harper must now "acknowledge this rebuke from the global community and rethink how his government presents Canada to the world, or ignore it and accept an outsider status unique in this country's history," the Globe and Mail newspaper said.

Canada's support for Israel didn't sit well with voters from Arab and Muslim countries, while African nations were upset that Canadian foreign aid has shifted to priorities closer to home.

Canadian, U.S. dollars reach parity again

Canada's dollar reached parity with the U.S. greenback for the first time since April, but currency experts have opposing views on it going much higher.

Economic pressure that pushed the U.S. dollar lower has provided the stimulus for Canada's currency along with higher oil and commodity prices.

BMO Capital Markets said the two currencies will remain within a few a cents of each other, while economist David Rosenberg said Canada's dollar will go to "new highs" in the next several months and years.

The Toronto Stock Exchange's resource-laden index reached its highest level in more than two years.

News in brief

• There was a surprising increase in the overall price for new houses in August as builders reported slightly higher costs. The price index was up 0.1 percent with biggest gains in Hamilton, Windsor and Winnipeg, while there was no change in 10 of 21 metropolitan areas. There were price drops in Saint John, Fredericton and Moncton, Ottawa-Gatineau, Calgary, Sudbury and Thunder Bay. The national average new house price is up 2.9 percent over a year ago.

• Whistler Blackcomb, the two-mountain ski resort north of Vancouver that hosted Winter Olympic events, is going public. As America's largest ski resort, Whistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc. is making the public investor offering to help pay off part of what is owed to resort owner Intrawest. When completed, public shareholders and Intrawest will own the company.

Facts and figures

After flirting with parity with the U.S. dollar at midweek, Canada's currency eased back to 98.81 cents U.S. on Friday. The U.S. greenback returns $1.0120 Canadian, before bank exchange fees.

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

A "fear index" to gauge investor nervousness is being launched by the Toronto Stock Exchange. It will measure volatility in the market based on options traded on the Montreal Exchange.

Stock markets advanced, with the Toronto exchange index at 12,605 points and the TSX Venture Exchange at 1,814 points.

Lotto 6-49: (Wednesday) 2, 3, 23, 29, 34 and 36; bonus 17. (Oct. 9) 1, 8, 15, 36, 38 and 49; bonus 16. Lotto Max: (Oct. 8) 3, 4, 5, 8, 13, 22 and 33; bonus 32.

Regional briefs

• An underwater robot to survey the ice-covered ocean in Antarctica is being deployed by University of British Columbia researchers. The high-tech mission running until Nov. 12 is studying the effect of ice shelves attached to land masses and the mixing of sea water. It's predicted sea ice around Antarctica will be reduced by more than one-third this century.

• Police say they handled more than 400 calls to the emergency 911 service by a child near Port Elgin, Ontario, last weekend. The child, who gave the name Alex, ignored requests by dispatchers to speak with the parents and to stop calling. The calls came from a pay-as-you-go or deactivated cell phone and the location couldn't be traced, police said.

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

Security Council rebuff leaves Canada on outside 10/16/10 [Last modified: Sunday, October 17, 2010 1:05am]

    

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