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Toyota delayed alerting Canadian officials of problems

The Canadian government is investigating Toyota Canada's delay of more than three months in advising customers about serious safety problems.

Transport Minister John Baird suggested a criminal inquiry is possible in the review of the recall process and notification.

Toyota officials were grilled by members of Parliament over when the company reported problems with sticky gas pedals that could cause vehicles to unintentionally accelerate.

The company received the first complaints in October, Toyota Canada managing director Stephen Beatty told a House of Commons committee. Transport Canada wasn't told until January, when Toyota recalled 270,000 vehicles.

Baird said the government would also consider tightening the law on notification of problems by automakers based on the facts emerging from this investigation.

The government has more than 650 pages of complaints about Toyota products since 2000, he said, while the company has now recalled more than 737,000 vehicles in Canada.

Multiple murders occur across country

There have been multiple murders in Edmonton, Ontario and Montreal.

Parts manager Garth Radons was shot and killed after suspended worker Dave Burns stormed into Great West Chrysler in Edmonton with a shotgun. Another worker was seriously wounded before Burns killed himself, police said.

In Ontario, Tracy Hannah and her daughter Whitney, 14, of Ameliasburgh, near Trenton, Ontario, were found dead inside their home. Daughter Shannon, 18, was wounded and is recovering.

Shannon's ex-boyfriend, Dean Brown, 18, of Belleville, faces two counts of murder.

Police said a gang-related shooting resulted in the deaths of two men in the Flawnego clothing boutique in Montreal. Two other people were injured.

In Surrey, British Columbia, a 17-year-old unidentified youth was shot and killed while he sat in a parked car.

News in brief

• The embattled Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) took another hit when police pulled over a bus and arrested the driver for being impaired. Other public relations concerns include photos taken of workers sleeping on the job and taking extended coffee breaks as buses with passengers waited. TTC chairman Adam Giambrone abandoned his bid to become mayor after news of his affair with a university student became public.

• Veterans Affairs Minister Jean-Pierre Blackburn is the second Cabinet minister to publicly apologize for a "temper tantrum" with airport security officials. He became upset when an over-the-limit bottle of tequila was confiscated at the Ottawa airport. Helena Guergis apologized for an outburst when she arrived late for a flight at the Charlottetown airport.

Facts and figures

Canada's dollar is continuing its march toward parity with the U.S. currency after topping 99 cents U.S. on Friday. It settled lower at 98.40 cents with the U.S. greenback returning $1.0163 Canadian, before bank exchange fees.

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

Canada's core inflation rate rose 2.1 percent in February increasing speculation the bank might be forced to hike interest rates.

Stock markets were lower Friday, with the Toronto exchange index at 11,947 points and the TSX Venture Exchange 1,564 points.

Lotto 6-49: (Wednesday) 5, 6, 21, 38, 42 and 45; bonus 46. (March 13) 3, 13, 15, 28, 41 and 47; bonus 40. Lotto Max: (March 12) 17, 18, 19, 21, 32, 40 and 49; bonus 6.

Regional briefs

• The controversial seal hunt in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and off Newfoundland could be scaled back because of poor ice conditions. Fisheries Minister Gail Shea said there would "probably be a limited hunt," to begin later this month. The quota had been raised by 50,000 animals to 388,200 harp, hooded and gray seals.

• Environment Minister Jim Prentice says Parks Canada has developed an avalanche warning scale that will be used across North America starting next winter. His comments follow the deaths of two people in an avalanche during a snowmobile rally in the back country near Revelstoke, British Columbia.

• About 400 people were left homeless after a massive fire destroyed a four-story condominium complex in Calgary. The cause of the afternoon blaze at the 159-unit building at 23 Millrise Dr. is being investigated. No residents were injured.

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

Toyota delayed alerting Canadian officials of problems 03/20/10 [Last modified: Monday, November 7, 2011 5:08pm]
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