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Tax cuts, road projects are part of economic stimulus

Canada's multibillion-dollar economic stimulus plan is expected to include tax cuts to spur consumer spending as well as help those who have lost their jobs.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said his stimulus budget, to be announced Jan. 27, will have some tax cuts to help get the economy moving.

Along with spending billions on roads and bridges, the government will look at "additional tax reductions as another way of supporting the economy," he said.

Canadians are in for a difficult year with continued jobs losses, so there will also be help with job retraining and education, Flaherty said.

Statistics Canada said 34,400 jobs were lost last month, with the unemployment rate jumping three-tenths of a point to 6.6 percent nationally.

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff called for immediate economic stimulation through tax cuts, an overhaul of the Employment Insurance system, and investment in municipal projects.

The package being planned will likely create the first federal budget deficit in 15 years.

Obama plans trip

President-elect Obama plans to make his first international trip to Canada.

Transition aides said Saturday that Obama picked the United States' northern neighbor as his first venture outside the country as president. Aides said they could not discuss the date for the trip or its agenda.

A transition official said aides to the president-elect and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper discussed the trip in recent days. But the official said Obama and Harper themselves have not directly discussed the trip.

Obama meets Monday with Mexican President Felipe Calderon, his first in-person meeting with a world leader since winning the election.

U.S. presidents typically use Canada as their first international trip.

Two rescued in B.C.

Another avalanche in British Columbia has seriously injured a man from Cincinnati who was heli-skiing on Alice Mountain.

The 39-year-old man was buried in snow for about 10 minutes before being rescued. His 20-year-old son was partially buried.

Avalanches in the province have killed 10 people in the past two weeks, including eight snowmobilers near Fernie. Two other people, a skier and a snowboarder, were killed in slides in the Whistler area.

News in brief

• A global slump in commodity prices is prompting Canadian mining company Teck Cominco to cut 1,400 jobs around the world to save about $71.1-million (U.S. dollars) annually. The company also said it would reduce coal production because of the declining demand for steel.

• "Genuine compassion" and business sense over the listeriosis outbreak that killed 20 people last summer led to the naming of Michael McCain, chief executive of Maple Leaf Foods, as Canada's 2008 Business Newsmaker of the Year. The public health disaster was traced to contaminated cold cuts produced by the company.

• The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. gave an undisclosed payment to Thomas Noftall, 27, of Brampton, who held four misprinted Fruit Smash scratch-and-win tickets. About 1,100 faulty tickets were recalled, but not before Noftall bought four of them and thought he had won $113,400 (U.S. dollars). The settlement was made only because a lottery representative told Noftall in error that he would be compensated, officials said.

Facts and figures

A weaker U.S. dollar pushed Canada's currency higher over the past week to 84.20 U.S. cents. The U.S. greenback returns $1.1877 Canadian, before bank exchange fees.

Economists expect a further cut in the Bank of Canada's key interest rate, but for now it remains unchanged at 1.5 percent. The prime lending rate is 3.5 percent.

The Toronto Stock Exchange composite index was higher Friday at 9,130 points. The TSX Venture exchange index was up at 895 points.

Lotto 6-49: (Wednesday) 10, 13, 19, 35, 39 and 41; bonus 4. (Jan. 3) 4, 13, 17, 25, 36 and 48; bonus 28. Super 7: (Jan. 2) 4, 13, 19, 30, 32, 35 and 38; bonus 16.

Regional briefs

• A state of emergency is in effect in Chilliwack, B.C., after flooding and mudslides. People were forced from about 75 homes after more than a dozen mudslides in the Fraser Valley. The province's south coast has had heavy rain after near-record amounts of snow swelled rivers.

• A Saguenay, Quebec, mother faces first-degree murder charges in the deaths of her three children and helping her husband, Marc Laliberte, 46, commit suicide. Cathie Gauthier-Lachance, 36, is recovering from self-inflicted knife wounds. Police allege the couple agreed to a suicide plot after both had lost their jobs.

• Ontario's 73,000 public elementary teachers, who rejected a contract taking their top salary to $79,000 (U.S. dollars, or $94,000 Canadian) a year, are threatening to go on strike. The teachers were offered 3 percent increases annually for four years. Also in Ontario, the strike continues by 3,340 teaching assistants and contract faculty. It has closed York University in Toronto for two months.

• Politicians in Atlantic Canada are looking at controls or limits on drive-through coffee shops and restaurants over traffic, safety and pollution concerns. The City Council in St. John's, Newfoundland, ordered a moratorium on new drive-through applications, and Fredericton, New Brunswick, is considering similar action.

Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com. Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Tax cuts, road projects are part of economic stimulus 01/10/09 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 3, 2010 9:50am]
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