Tag Archives: Ottawa

Canada officially enters recession

By Michel Comte

Ottawa (AFP) – Reeling from low oil prices, Canada fell into a recession in the first half of the year, government data confirmed Tuesday, putting Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper on the defensive in the run-up to October elections.

According to Statistics Canada, the economy contracted 0.5 percent in the second quarter after retreating 0.8 percent in the previous three months.

It is Canada’s second recession in seven years and it is the only Group of Seven nation in economic retreat. The figures are the weakest since the 2008 global financial crisis.

Read more » Yahoo News
See more » http://news.yahoo.com/canada-officially-recession-first-half-2015-131114485.html

Soldier dies after Parliament Hill attack, gunman also shot dead

Ottawa shooting: Cpl. Nathan Cirillo dies of wounds, gunman also shot dead

Downtown Ottawa remains in lockdown as police conduct searches around parliamentary precinct

Parliament Hill came under attack today after a man with a rifle shot and fatally wounded a soldier standing guard at the National War Memorial in downtown Ottawa, before seizing a car and driving to the doors of Parliament Hill’s Centre Block nearby.

The slain soldier is Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, 24, a reservist from Hamilton.

Moments later, MPs and other witnesses reported 30 to 50 shots fired inside the main Parliament building.

Read more » CBC News
http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/ottawa-shooting-cpl-nathan-cirillo-dies-of-wounds-gunman-also-shot-dead-1.2808710

PM Stephen Harper urges world leaders to side with Israel

The indiscriminate rocket attacks from Gaza on Israel are terrorist acts, for which there is no justification,” Harper said in a statement issued Sunday.

By: The Canadian Press

OTTAWA—Terrorists are deliberately placing people in the path of an Israeli offensive aimed at stopping rocket attacks from Gaza, says Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Harper says there is evidence that Hamas, listed by Canada as a terrorist organization, is using human shields in its attempts to stave off the Israeli offensive.

Read more » The Star
http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2014/07/13/pm_stephen_harper_urges_world_leaders_to_side_with_israel.html

CANADA – Idle No More protesters stall railway lines, highways

idle5-hour blockade of railways between Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal

By CBC News

First Nations demonstrators stopped passenger railway traffic lines between Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal today, while others stalled major highways and rail lines in parts of Manitoba, Alberta, New Brunswick and Ontario as part of the Idle No More Movement’s national day of action.

Protesters also gathered in Windsor, Ont., near the Ambassador Bridge to Michigan, slowing down traffic to North America’s busiest border crossing for several hours, the CBC’s Allison Johnson reported.

Activities including rallies, blockades and prayer circles were staged across the country Wednesday as part of the grassroots movement calling for more attention to changes that were contained in Bill C-45, the Conservative government’s controversial omnibus budget bill that directly affected First Nations communities.

Read more » CBC
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/idle-no-more-protesters-stall-railway-lines-highways-1.1303452

Shipbuilding contract holds $250M mystery

Cost of Arctic patrol ships’ design sparks warning of another procurement ‘fiasco’

By Terry Milewski, CBC News

A CBC News investigation has uncovered a $250-million mystery at the heart of Canada’s ambitious shipbuilding program.

Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose and Defence Minister Peter MacKay announced March 7 in Halifax that Ottawa will pay Irving Shipbuilding $288 million just to design — not build — a fleet of new Arctic offshore patrol ships.

Irving will then build the ships under a separate contract.

However, a survey of similar patrol ships bought by other countries shows they paid a fraction of that $288 million to actually build the ships — and paid less than a tenth as much for the design.

In addition, the design of Canada’s new ships is based upon a Norwegian vessel whose design Ottawa has already bought for just $5 million.

The Norwegian ship, the Svalbard, was designed and built for less than $100 million in 2002.

Experts say the design price is normally 10-20 per cent of the total cost of the ships.

Another country with Arctic interests, Denmark, acquired two patrol ships for $105 million in 2007.

They have modest ice-breaking capability, similar to the Canadian project, which allows for the ships to crunch through “summer ice” – about one-metre thick.

The Irish navy now is building two offshore patrol ships for $125 million.

In all cases, these prices include the design.

Why is Canada paying more?

Ambrose, MacKay and Public Works officials running the Canadian project were not able to explain why Canada would pay so much more to get so much less: shelling out more than twice as much merely to produce a blueprint for similar ships, without building any.

Continue reading Shipbuilding contract holds $250M mystery

Canadian dollar falls after highest job losses since recession 4 years ago

Canadian Dollar Tumbles After Unexpected March Employment Loss

By Ari Altstedter

The Canadian dollar fell in its biggest decline in nine months against its U.S. peer after the nation unexpectedly lost jobs last month by the most since the last recession four years ago.

The currency declined against 13 of its 16 major peers as Canada had 54,500 fewer jobs in March, compared with the 6,500 gain predicted in the median estimate of a Bloomberg survey of 24 economists. The nation’s jobless rate increased to 7.2 percent from 7 percent. The U.S. added 88,000 jobs in March, versus estimates of a 190,000 gain. The Bank of Canada’s March 6 policy statement called for the economy to “pick up through 2013” on its way to 2 percent annual growth.

“Huge miss on both numbers, but particularly the Canadian number after many months of surprisingly strong employment data, we’ve finally seen some give back, so pretty swift reaction for the Canadian dollar,” said Blake Jespersen, managing director of foreign exchange at Bank of Montreal, by phone from Toronto. “There’s a lot more room for this to run, I think this is just the beginning of what could be a series of weaker employment numbers in Canada.”

The loonie, as the Canadian dollar is known for the image of the C$1 coin, fell 0.5 percent to C$1.0176 at 5 p.m. in Toronto. Earlier, it fell 1.1 percent to C$1.0236 per U.S. dollar, the largest drop since June 28. One loonie buys 98.27 U.S. cents.

Bonds Gain

Canada’s benchmark 10-year government bonds rose, with yields falling four basis points or 0.04 percentage point to 1.75 percent, touching the lowest level since Dec. 11. The 1.5 percent security maturing in June 2023 rose 36 cents to C$97.68.

Crude oil, the country’s biggest export, fell 0.3 percent to $93.02 per barrel in New York, after touching its lowest point since March 7. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index of U.S. stocks fell 0.4 percent.

Canada’s jobs figures brings the labor market more in line with other parts of the economy, where output growth slowed to a 0.6 percent annualized pace in the fourth quarter and inflation has lagged the central bank’s 2 percent target since May. Last month’s figures mean Canada posted a net loss of 25,700 jobs in the first three months of the year.

’Ugly Across’

“It was ugly across the board, there wasn’t one redeeming feature for the Canadian employment report,” said Mark Frey, chief market strategist at Cambridge Mercantile Group, a corporate currency broker, by phone from Victoria British Columbia. “When you look at the overall employment figures for Q1 in Canada, you’re seeing a pretty bleak outlook that has turned almost on a dime from the last five months of 2012.”

A separate report showed Canada recorded its 11th straight merchandise trade deficit in February, the longest streak in at least 25 years, with the shortfall unexpectedly widening as exports of metals declined.

The deficit of C$1.02 billion ($1 billion) followed a January figure that was revised to C$746 million from C$237 million, Statistics Canada said today in Ottawa. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg forecast the string would end with a C$100 million surplus, based on the median of 21 forecasts.

“Obviously disappointment on both sides of the border,” said David Tulk, chief macro strategist at Toronto-Dominion Bank (TD)’s TD Securities unit by phone from Toronto. “The labor market is sort of catching up to the wider economic backdrop that we’ve always argued is still quite subdued, so this helps a little bit.” ….

Read more » Bloomberg
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-05/canadian-dollar-extends-loss-after-unexpected-march-jobs-decline.html

China Dips Toes in Arctic Waters

By Christoph Seidler

You didn’t hear much Chinese spoken on the Mackenzie River until the summer of 1999. But then excitement swept through the sleepy Tuktoyaktuk settlement in Canada’s Northwest Territories, when a vast ship with a crew from the Asia-Pacific unexpectedly docked in the port. Local authorities were caught off-guard by the arrival of the research icebreaker Xue Long, which means “snow dragon.” The vessel — 170 meters (550 feet) long and weighing 21,000 metric tons — had in fact informed faraway Ottawa of its intention to sail into Canada’s arctic waters, but the message hadn’t been passed on.

Today, such an incident probably wouldn’t happen. States around the North Pole keep careful and regular watch on visitors from China. Its “growing interest in the region raises concern — even alarm —

Read more » Spiegel
Link – http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/growing-chinese-interest-in-the-arctic-worries-international-community-a-879654.html

Canadians quickly losing faith in their democracy, survey suggests

By: Kim Mackrael, The Globe and Mail

Ottawa — Canadians’ satisfaction with democracy has dipped to a new low, research suggests, with many people pegging the problem on weak performance by their federal MPs.

About 55 per cent of Canadians say they are satisfied with democracy in the country, according to a new research paper by Samara, a not-for-profit organization aimed at improving political participation. That’s down 20 points from 2004, when similar research suggested about 75 per cent of Canadians were satisfied with their democracy.

We’ve known for a long time that there is declining trust and satisfaction with democracy,” said Alison Loat, Samara’s executive director. “But to see such a large decline in a short period of time was a surprise to us.”

Samara published the findings in a paper called “Who’s the Boss?” which it released Monday morning. It’s part of a series of reports the organization is writing to analyze the results of a wide-ranging democratic engagement survey it conducted earlier this year.

Monday’s report suggests that only 36 per cent of Canadians are satisfied with the way elected officials do their jobs. Asked to assess Parliamentarians’ performance in several categories, respondents said MPs do a relatively good job of representing the views of their political parties, giving them a score of 61 per cent. But Canadians panned MPs’ performances when it came to holding the government to account and representing the views of their constituents, with scores of 45 per cent and 46 per cent respectively. They also gave MPs a score of 44 per cent in managing individual constituents’ concerns.

“I think there’s a bit of a sense, at least among the public, that perhaps MPs are representing their political party at the expense of their ability to represent constituents,” Ms. Loat said.

Continue reading Canadians quickly losing faith in their democracy, survey suggests

Idle No More movement gets sympathy from ‘Occupy’ protestors

It’s been widely reported that the Idle No More movement is getting international attention.

Media from around the world have covered the movement, and the January 11th global day of action drew rallies in at least 6 different countries.

Well…INM is now getting attention …

Read more » Yahoo News
http://ca.news.yahoo.com/blogs/canada-politics/idle-no-more-movement-gets-sympathy-alleged-american-214955487.html

Idle No More Movement – The plight of Natives in Canada.

Chief on hunger strike demands action within 72 hours

BY: GLORIA GALLOWAY

OTTAWA — Canada’s native leaders have petitioned the Prime Minister and the Governor-General to gather three weeks from now to discuss perceived failings in the treaty relationships – but an Ontario chief on a hunger strike to force such a meeting says she can’t wait that long.

Theresa Spence, the chief of the impoverished community of Attawapiskat, who has been fasting for 24 days to demand the face-to-face discussion, has told her supporters and other native leaders that a meeting must occur within the next 72 hours, and she will not start eating until it has begun. Raymond Robinson, an elder from the Cross Lake First Nation in Manitoba, is forgoing food along with her. ….

Read more» The Globe & Mail
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/chief-on-hunger-strike-demands-action-within-72-hours/article6894436/

Idle No More rallies held across Canada as movement grows

By: CTVNews.ca Staff

The national Idle No More movement showed no signs of slowing Friday as activists and protesters across Canada brought their call for protection of First Nations rights to the streets.

Peaceful gatherings took place in Winnipeg, Edmonton, Ottawa, Saskatoon,Toronto and Nova Scotia.

Manitoba First Nations groups rallied Friday morning at the Winnipeg International Airport, circling in cars, honking their horns and hoisting placards, one reading “Shame on you Canada.”

The group planned to join an Idle No More rally at the legislative building. A demonstration along Highway 102 in Truro, N.S. caused delays for about eight kilometres but was otherwise peaceful.

Hundreds also braved a snowstorm to march through the streets of Ottawa to denounce what they say is the systematic destruction of indigenous rights.

First Nations leaders say Ottawa’s policies toward First Nations are oppressive and they are concerned that federal government is preparing to siphon power from band councils.

Particularly concerning, activists say, is the recently passed Bill C-45, the omnibus budget bill that according to movement organizers will fasttrack the process for aboriginals to surrender their reserve lands. Organizers also protest the new law because it includes clauses they say will slash the number of federally protected waterways and jeopardize lands they rely on. First Nations groups say they were not sufficiently consulted on the legislation.

At a panel discussion Friday, Nova Scotia aboriginal activist Shelley Young said the government is ignoring the plight of the First Nations. She said the Idle No More movement has “spread like wildfire.”

“We’re not just speaking up for ourselves, we’re speaking up for the rest of Canada,” she said. “We know that our treaty rights protect the waters and waterways. We want to do something about it.”

Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/idle-no-more-rallies-held-across-canada-as-movement-grows-1.1088765#ixzz2Fn5koC5O

 

Toronto Sun – Pakistan’s the problem, not Taliban

National Defence Minister Peter MacKay speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa February 7, 2012. (REUTERS/Blair Gable)

By Peter Worthington

Whatever one thinks of Defence Minister Peter MacKay’s penchant for taking military helicopters on fishing trips, the country should support him chiding elements in Pakistan for helping the Taliban.

While there’s nothing new in NATO leaks that elements of Pakistan’s intelligence service and military are helping co-ordinate Taliban attacks on coalition forces, the fact these reports keep surfacing has to be upsetting.

Pakistani denials ring hollow — nearly 10 years of denials.

Good on MacKay for not brushing the NATO leaks aside. He said if such reports are reliable, and if Pakistan wants western allies to continue working for “peace and security” throughout the region, then Pakistan’s co-operation is not only required, but is demanded. And “demand” is what MacKay is doing. But is anyone listening?

That’s fairly tough talk. Ever since Navy SEALs took out Osama bin Laden at his Pakistani retreat, there’s been substantial evidence Pakistan is playing a double game.

There are even suggestions China hopes to exploit a rift between western allies and Pakistan — a possibility that makes traditional diplomats shudder. But, if true, Pakistan and China cuddling each other seems destined to be an enormous headache for both these hypersensitive, paranoid, nuclear states.

U.S. Defence Secretary Leon Panetta has made the curious observation that after next year, U.S. policy in Afghanistan will be one of “advise and assist,” rather than actually fighting. What on earth does that mean? One supposes it means that by 2014, Panetta hopes the Afghan National Army and National Police being trained by coalition troops, including Canadians, will be able to handle Taliban incursions.

Don’t bet on it.

By having a safe haven in Pakistan, and a seemingly endless supply of fighters, the future has got to look encouraging for the Taliban. They can lose battles indefinitely against American forces — and win the war once the Americans have had a bellyful.

Time is on the Taliban’s side. And patience is their virtue.

There’s not much that can be done. Clearly, coalition countries don’t intend to stay in Afghanistan, and the U.S. especially wants out with an election looming in November.

When Barack Obama’s predecessor, George Bush, was president and flailing away in Iraq, Obama made Afghanistan (relatively quiet at the time) the war he’d prosecute. Well, Afghanistan has turned bad for Obama. So he wants out, and has fired those generals who thought they could win the damn thing.

MacKay says he doesn’t give much credence to the so-called secret NATO report that says the Taliban are gaining confidence and are sure they’ll win in the end.

He thinks that’s what the Taliban would say no matter what — “an overly optimistic view of what’s happening on the ground … in battlefield skirmishes they always lose.” But the Taliban leadership is not in disarray — although coalition leadership may be approaching that state.

If the U.S. were realistic, it would consider cutting aid to Pakistan — $12 billion in military aid, $7 billion in economic aid over the last 10 years.

That may be the only way to get the attention of those who rule Pakistan.

Like hitting a mule on the head with a two-by-four.

The problem is not the Taliban, but the Pakistan leadership which seems hell-bent on wrecking relations with western allies, and gambling we are too timid to do anything about it.

Courtesy: Toronto sun

http://www.torontosun.com/2012/02/10/pakistans-the-problem-not-taliban?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=recommend-button&utm_campaign=Pakistan%27s+the+problem%2C+not+Taliban

BlackBerry maker vows privacy safeguard amid probe

By AFP

OTTAWA — Research In Motion vowed Tuesday to defend the legal privacy rights of BlackBerry users after a judicial commission in Pakistan ordered copies of smartphone communications in a scandal probe.

The Canadian firm reacted to news that a Pakistani commission was seeking records for a probe into an unsigned memo purported to ask for Washington’s help to rein in Pakistan’s military.

The highly controversial memo was allegedly an attempt by a close aide of President Asif Ali Zardari to enlist the US military’s help to head off a military coup in May in Pakistan. …..

Read more » http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iH0E_CyR0Lc1k_N63vVDrY0MThqg?docId=CNG.3ec81592b40bb5358c1575a97cd5b5ce.201

Canadians losing faith in religion

– Many link traditional institutions with religious conflict, survey finds

By Teresa Smith

It’s no secret fewer Canadians attend church today than 20 years ago, but what may be surprising is almost half of Canadians believe religion does more harm than good, according to the results of a survey conducted by Ipsos Reid.

Explanations from experts vary – from fear of extremists and anger toward individuals who abuse positions of power, to a national “forgetting” of Canadian history.

“In the past few years, there have been several high-profile international situations involving perceived religious conflicts, as well as the anniversary of 9/11, and I think when people see those, it causes them to fear religion and to see it as a source of conflict,” said Janet Epp Buckingham, associate professor at Trinity Western University in Ottawa.

Religion seems to be a key player in many of today’s top stories, from stand-alone events – such as the 2005 riots in the suburbs of Paris linked to the French government’s proposed burka ban, and rightwing Christian Anders Behring Breivik’s shooting rampage in Oslo, Norway – to more drawn-out sagas, such as child abuse in the Catholic Church, and the perception that Christians are constantly campaigning against gay marriage and abortion. ….

Read more:→ http://www.timescolonist.com/life/Canadians+losing+faith+religion/5420900/story.html#ixzz1YUqS2IDX

 

Canada eyes exit from Afghanistan via Pakistan

Request to Islamabad suggests military faces trouble using its secret air base near Dubai

– Allan Woods, Ottawa Bureau

OTTAWA – Canada wants to use Pakistani air bases to withdraw from Afghanistan next year, a development that provides the first hard glimpse of the military’s pullout plans and signals that an end to Canada’s decade-long war is at hand.

A Pakistani foreign ministry spokesman confirmed to the Daily Times newspaper in Pakistan Friday that a formal request had been received from Ottawa but Islamabad is still considering it.

The foreign office must first consult Pakistan’s powerful defence ministry [Military establishment] before agreeing to Canada’s massive logistical understaking. The request to use Pakistan’s military facilities for the pullout suggests there are problmes using camp Mirage, Canada’s secret air base located near Dubai, which is the transit point for Canadian troops and supplies entering and leaving the Afghan battlefield. And experts say moving through Pakistan is less than ideal from a security standpoint. The country has a weak government compared to the United Arab Emirates, many Pakistanis have built-up resentment toward western countries and there is a strong force of insurgent fighters and Taliban sympathizers who are relatively free to plan and carry out attacks from Pakistan’s tribal regions, said Michel Drapeau, a retired colonel and logistic expert.

Last year, Islamabad was under attack by Taliban militants, a threat that prompted a massive offensive on the Swat Valley to beat back insurgents in the tribal regions, which border on Afghanistan. Those hostile elements make no distinction between U.S. forces and and the Canadian forces, Drapeau said.

Canadian diplomatic and military officials refused to explain the request to use Pakistan as throough fare for the 2011 withdrawal. “It is too early to provide any details,” said Catherine Loubier, a spokeswoman for Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon.

A sopkesperson with the Canadian Foces Expeditionary Command, which plans and oversees international military missions, said military officials must move hulking metal shipping containers, tanks and armored vehicles and thousands of kilograms of other equipment out of Afghanistan between the time the mission ends in July 2011 and the parliamentary deadline for the withdrawal from Kandahar in December 2011.

The very fact that Canada has had to request Pakistan’s help suggests there are difficulties conducting the pullout through Camp Mirage, a base that was “designed” for staging Canadian military operations in the Middle East and Asia. All Canadian military personnel, supplies and equipment currently pass through the base and Canadian Air Force crews are posted to Mirage because of how frequently it is used.

“There’s an issue with Mirage as to why they can’t use it, or won’t use it,” Drapeau asserted. Those issues could range from the absence of permission to fly over certain countries on the way out of Afghanistan, or limitations imposed on Canada by the United Arab Emirates.

Courtesy: TORONTO STAR, Saturday, April 17, 2010, page-10

CANADA GETS TOUGH ON PAKISTAN

Canadian defence minster Peter MacKay names Pakistan as the most dengerous country

OTTAWA – Extremely concerned over the current volatile situation in Pakistan, Canadian Defence Minister Peter MacKay has termed Pakistan as the most dangerous country in the world. “I’m extremely concerned. The instability in Pakistan in my view makes Pakistan the most dangerous country in the world”, MacKay was quoted as saying.

Addressing a press conference at St. John’s MacKay said it was very difficult for the Pakistan Army to quell the insurgency that has engulfed the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) of the country. As long as insurgency is allowed to foster and to incubate inside Pakistan, the problem remains very real, very difficult, he added.

MacKay said the operation against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan would not yield the desired results until the extremists are rooted out from Pakistan, and some greater strides are made in taking on the insurgency in Afghanistan as well. He also highlighted that beside a surge in deployment of troops in Afghanistan, it was also very necessary to cut-off the supply lines of the Taliban, as only then peace and stability could return to the country.

Continue reading CANADA GETS TOUGH ON PAKISTAN

U.S. Canada relationships- Obama’s visit to Canada

OTTAWA- “I love this country (Canada). We could not have a better friend and ally.” Barack Obama, U.S. President said in Canada.

Geography has made us neighbours. History has made us friends. Economic has made us partners. And necessity has made us allies. Those whom nature hath so joined together, let no man put asunder.” -John F. Kennedy