Friday, November 24, 2017
News Roundup

Two disgraced Canadian senators face criminal charges over expense claims


Two disgraced senators are facing criminal charges for fraud and breach of trust over travel and living expense claims.

The Mounties have arrested Patrick Brazeau, a suspended former Conservative senator, and Mac Harb, a former Liberal senator who resigned from the upper house last summer.

"I can assure you that we continue our work on other significant files," said assistant Police Commissioner Gilles Michaud.

He was referring to investigations of allegedly fraudulent expenses claimed by suspended former Conservative senators Mike Duffy and Pamela Wallin.

Police are also looking into the circumstances of $90,000 that Nigel Wright, former chief of staff to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, gave to Duffy to repay disputed expenses.

The investigation into Brazeau and Harb concern allegations they improperly declared homes outside the nation's capital as their principal residences, allowing them to receive expenses to live in Ottawa near the Parliament buildings.

Harb has repaid the Senate $231,649, Brazeau refused to reimburse $48,000 and Wallin has returned about $150,000 in travel expense claims.

Tighter citizenship rules proposed

Proposed changes to Canada's Citizenship Act mean it will take longer to become a Canadian.

The overhaul is aimed at tightening the rules, cracking down on fraud and stripping Canadian citizenship from dual nationals who engage in terrorism.

It will require maintaining a "physical presence" in Canada for four out of six years, instead of the current three out of four years, and to have paid Canadian income taxes.

There will also be more stringent language requirements and the passing of a knowledge test.

"Our government expects new Canadians to take part in the democratic life, economic potential and rich cultural traditions that are involved in becoming a citizen," said Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander.

News in brief

• It's been said that the Mounties "always get their man," in this case Toronto Mayor Rob Ford. While in Coquitlam, British Columbia, attending a funeral, Ford was given a $109 ticket for jaywalking. Ford, who has been openly critical of Toronto police investigating his alleged relationship with drug dealers, said the officer "singled me out when she said, 'You're Rob Ford, come with me.' "

• TD Bank suggests housing prices in Canada are about 10 percent overvalued, considering current expectations for higher interest rates. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. predicts fewer houses will be built as contractors adjust to rising rates and a slowdown in demand from first-time buyers. It expects about 187,300 housing starts this year and 184,900 next year compared with 187,923 in 2013.

Facts and figures

The Canadian dollar got a boost from Friday's report the economy gained 29,400 jobs in January, dropping the jobless rate by 0.2 percent to 7.0 percent.

The dollar advanced to 90.58 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returned $1.1039 in Canadian funds, before bank exchange fees.

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

Stock markets are higher, with the Toronto exchange index at 13,787 points and the TSX Venture index 960 points.

Lotto 6-49: (Feb. 5) 3, 16, 18, 21, 28 and 47; bonus 5. (Feb. 1) 10, 14, 18, 27, 31 and 48; bonus 1. Lotto Max: (Jan. 31) 6, 10, 16, 27, 38, 40 and 45; bonus 39.

Regional briefs

• Quebec Provincial Police say the death toll in a fire that destroyed a seniors' home in L'Isle-Verte has risen to 28, with four people missing. There was speculation the fire early on Jan. 23 was caused by someone smoking. Police Lt. Guy Lapointe said the cause hasn't been determined.

• Winnipeg — often dubbed "Winter-peg" — is having its coldest winter in 64 years, with 12 days below -30C (-22F) in January after a frigid December. The good news was that groundhog Winnipeg Willow didn't see her shadow, with the folklore calling for an early spring. It was the same with Nova Scotia's Shubenacadie Sam but Ontario's Wiarton Willie saw his shadow, meaning another six weeks of wintry weather.

• Eastern Canada has been enduring bone-chilling cold along with a series of snowstorms that have closed Highway 401, Canada's busiest highway, numerous times due to collisions. The latest was a pileup of 115 cars and trucks west of Belleville, Ontario, on Wednesday in icy conditions and blowing snow, injuring several people.

Jim Fox can be reached at [email protected]

Jon Mott wins record fifth Times Turkey Trot 10K

Jon Mott wins record fifth Times Turkey Trot 10K

By BOB PUTNAMCLEARWATER — The Tampa Bay Times Turkey Trot has long been a fixture on Jon Mott’s sporting calendar. Not even a 103-degree fever Tuesday could keep him away from the event, in its 39th year. Mott, a record four-time 10k champion, added ...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Bucs players, coaches say they cherish getting game balls for special feats

Bucs players, coaches say they cherish getting game balls for special feats

TAMPA — In the jubilant moments after a Bucs win, Dirk Koetter will sometimes ask for a game-used ball from his equipment staff, hold it high in the locker room and present it to the player who was most crucial to the victory.NFL players can ask for ...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Updated: 7 hours ago

Updated: 7 hours ago
Woman killed in Largo motorcycle crash could ‘out-game any dude’

Woman killed in Largo motorcycle crash could ‘out-game any dude’

LARGO — Sydney Pender, 27, loved riding her motorcycle, even though she knew the dangers. Three years ago, her friend said, a delivery truck hit her. But she kept riding. On Thanksgiving, it was a crash with a taxi cab that killed her.Pender, a St. P...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Valrico intersection closed after car-sized hole opens in road

VALRICO — A hole the size of a vehicle opened up beneath the intersection of Nature’s Way Boulevard and Elm Grove Lane, Hillsborough officials said.The cause of the depression is unclear, but the intersection was blocked off to traffic.Hillsborough C...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Days after a high fever, Jon Mott wins his fifth Times Turkey Trot 10K

Days after a high fever, Jon Mott wins his fifth Times Turkey Trot 10K

CLEARWATER — On Tuesday, Jon Mott had a 103-degree fever. That was not enough to keep him from maintaining his dominance Thursday at the 39th Tampa Bay Times Turkey Trot.The former Northeast standout added to his record with his fifth title in the ev...
Updated: 9 hours ago

Update: Mother, toddler hit by car in critical condition at TGH

TAMPA — A mother and one of her two small children who were hit by a car while trying to cross Dale Mabry Highway on Wednesday were still in the hospital on Thanksgiving, according to Tampa General Hospital.Cassandra Marie Spicola, 29, and 18-month-o...
Published: 11/23/17

Pasco County put under immediate tornado warning

The National Weather Service has put out a tornado warning for Pasco County. Thunderstorms capable of producing a tornado and strong winds are expected over Jasmine Estates, New Port Richey and Hudson until 1:15 p.m., according to the NWS warning. Ba...
Published: 11/23/17
Thanksgiving forecast: Rain today, but sunny skies this weekend

Thanksgiving forecast: Rain today, but sunny skies this weekend

It’s going to be a wet Thanksgiving across Tampa Bay, but sunny skies are coming during the long weekend, according to WTSP 10Weather meteorologist Ric Kearbey. 10News WTSPThe latest Tampa Bay-area radar 10...
Published: 11/23/17