OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper arrives in China on Thursday, facing the delicate task of improving economic ties with Canada’s second-largest trading partner without sparking voter backlash or a revolt within his own party a year ahead of an election.
Dogged by low approval ratings, a divided cabinet and popular opposition to closer ties with China, Harper needs to come away with notable victories, such as the release of a detained Canadian couple, to be able to count the trip a success.
(Reuters) – A man who killed three Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers was sentenced on Friday to five life sentences in prison, with no possibility of parole for 75 years, the harshest sentence handed down by a Canadian court since the death penalty was eliminated.
Justin Bourque, 24, pleaded guilty to three counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder in the June shootings, when he walked down the streets of the eastern Canadian city of Moncton carrying multiple weapons and then shot police who responded to calls from concerned neighbors.
TORONTO (Reuters) – Canada’s largest school district is set to end a planned partnership with China’s government-funded Confucius Institute, a move likely to irritate Beijing just days before Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is expected to visit.
Trustees at the Toronto District School Board, which oversees public schools with 232,000 students, have signalled the district will sever its ties to the language and cultural programme after parents, teachers and students protested against any involvement of the Chinese government in Canadian schools.
TORONTO (Reuters) – Toronto voters replaced their notorious mayor, Rob Ford, on Monday and rejected an attempt by his brother to take the city’s top job, electing instead a conservative politician and broadcaster who promised to unite a city divided by four years of scandal and vitriol.
John Tory, a former Progressive Conservative party leader in Ontario, won the election in a closer-than-expected race, according to local media including CBC radio, fighting off a strong challenge by the mayor’s brother, Doug Ford.
TORONTO (Reuters) – Toronto voters were set to replace their notorious mayor, Rob Ford, in Monday’s election after Ford dropped out of the race in September after being diagnosed with cancer, but his elder brother still has a shot at the city’s top job.
Ford, who made global headlines last year when he admitted to using crack cocaine while in office, threw his support to his brother Doug Ford, a city councillor, who took his place on the mayoral ballot.
OTTAWA/TORONTO (Reuters) – Security in Canada’s capital came under criticism on Wednesday after a gunman was able to run through the unlocked front door of the main parliament building, and get close to Prime Minister Stephen Harper before being taken down in a flurry of gunfire. The gunman had first shot and killed a soldier at the nearby National War Memorial in central Ottawa before running into the parliament building, according to media reports, though Canadian police said they could not immediately confirm that the two shootings were carried out by the same assailant.
“Parliament Hill … is an icon of the government, and it would be expected to be one of the hardest of hard targets in this nation. It is therefore of abiding concern that this could have transpired,” said David Harris, a security consultant at Insignis Strategic Research and a former contractor for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, Canada’s spy agency.
TORONTO, Oct 15 (Reuters) – Home resales in Canada dropped
in September from August but prices continued to climb, separate
reports showed on Wednesday, suggesting tight supply supported
prices even as momentum in Canada’s hot housing market may be
starting to wane.
The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) said sales were
down 1.4 percent last month from August, the first monthly
decline since January. Sales dropped in about 60 percent of
local markets across the country and cooled in several booming
markets, including Toronto and Calgary.
TORONTO, Oct 13 (Reuters) – While Toronto’s housing boom
rolls on, some of the housing itself is falling apart.
Canada’s biggest city has more than 100,000 units under
construction as developers and investors seek to cash in on
condo prices that are up 25.7 percent in the city over the past
five years. The trouble is, many buildings are so poorly
constructed that some residents fear that the money-spinners of
today could become the slums of the future.
BRAMPTON, Ontario, Oct 2 (Reuters) – Canada’s budget deficit
for the 2013/14 fiscal year is likely to be C$5.2 billion ($4.6
billion), rather than the C$16.6 billion forecast in February,
Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Thursday.
Harper told a business audience the improvement was due in
large part to one-off factors, but did not give details. He said
Canada would run a small deficit in the 2014/15 fiscal year
before returning to surplus in 2015/16.
TORONTO (Reuters) – Sales of existing homes in Canada rose in August from July, hitting the highest level since January 2010, the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) said on Monday, but it predicted sales will peak in the third quarter and decline in 2015.
The industry group for Canadian real estate agents said sales were up 1.8 percent last month from July. Actual sales for August, not seasonally adjusted, were up 2.1 percent from August 2013.