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Conservatives survive again

The minority Canadian government has survived defeat again in another overthrow attempt by the opposition Liberals.

Members of the House of Commons voted 144-117 against a Liberal motion to bring down the Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. The socialist New Democrats abstained from voting, allowing the government to survive a while longer.

Under Canada's parliamentary system, the government can be ousted and an election held if the opposition parties approve a motion of nonconfidence.

New Democratic leader Jack Layton said his party will continue to prop up the government at least until legislation providing about $930 million in enhanced benefits for the unemployed is passed.

Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff, vowing to continue his attempts to defeat the government, said the Conservatives could "change Canada beyond recognition."

In seeking support for his nonconfidence motion, Ignatieff mentioned Conservative "failures," flip-flops and broken promises.

He highlighted his lack of confidence in the economic stimulus package and concerns over the growing federal spending deficit.

Hand washing might not work with H1N1

An article published by the Canadian Medical Association Journal said hand washing might not be as effective as thought in stopping transmission of the influenza virus.

Microbiologist Donald Low said it is still a good idea to wash your hands but unlike ordinary cold viruses, receptors for the swine flu (H1N1) virus are far back in the respiratory tract. The virus is more likely transmitted when inhaled, with the greatest risk being close to someone with the flu.

The Public Health Agency of Canada said, however, that hand washing is an effective way to reduce the risk of transmission of viruses.

News in brief

• The Conservative government is being accused by opposition politicians of being somehow involved in the Olympic Games' apparel logo that bears an uncanny resemblance to the party's logo. Sport Minister Gary Lunn said the government was not involved in the design but conceded it does bear a resemblance to the Conservative logo. The Winter Olympics are being held in Vancouver and the surrounding area next year.

• Ontario has launched a lawsuit to recover smoking-related health costs from a dozen cigarette manufacturers and their parent companies. The suit seeks $46.3 billion as representative of the "costs of health care related illnesses directly tied to tobacco from 1955 until now," said Attorney General Chris Bentley. Similar suits have been filed in British Columbia and New Brunswick.

Facts and figures

The Canadian dollar ended the week higher at 92.38 cents U.S. while the U.S. greenback was worth $1.0825 Canadian, before bank exchange fees.

The Bank of Canada's interest rate is unchanged at 0.25 percent and the prime lending rate is 2.25 percent.

Stock exchanges are lower, with Toronto's composite index at 10,961 points and the TSX Venture index at 1,236 points.

Lotto 6-49: (Wednesday) 4, 10, 29, 33, 39 and 46; bonus 2. (Sept. 26) 5, 6, 14, 18, 30 and 35; bonus 2. Lotto Max: (Sept. 25) 5, 17, 19, 25, 31, 38 and 46; bonus 4.

Regional briefs

• Claiming that Toronto-centric Liberal Party executives have little understanding of Quebec, Denis Coderre has quit as the party's chief lieutenant in the mainly French-speaking province. Four of Coderre's staff — including a key Quebec organizer, fundraiser and candidate recruiter — quit as well.

• Financially troubled CKX-TV in Brandon, Manitoba, signed off Friday after a would-be buyer backed out of a deal to take over the station for $1. Owned by the CTV Television Network, CKX employed 39 people. In Victoria, British Columbia, Canwest Global Communications planned to close CHEK-TV but found a buyer last month.

• Former Newfoundland and Labrador politician Wally Andersen was sentenced to 15 months in jail for an expenses fraud. He admitted forging expense reports and filing excess claims amounting to about $83,000.

• Humboldt squid are on a feeding frenzy on the beaches of Tofino, British Columbia. Josie Osborne of the Raincoast Education Society said people should stay away from them as they are known to attack during feedings. She suggested they might have been washed ashore by strong surface currents and ocean waves.

Jim Fox can be reached at

Conservatives survive again 10/03/09 [Last modified: Saturday, October 3, 2009 2:57pm]
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