Thursday, May 31, 2012

RCI Cyberjournal

Edition 30 May 2012
Canadian International Financial Weather

Canadian govt. chided for attitude toward UN
A long list of human-rights groups, lawyers and activists wants the federal government to apologize for criticizing the UN food envoy during his recent visit to Canada. Signatories include former NDP leader Ed Broadbent, former Progressive Conservative minister Flora Macdonald, as well as organizations such as Amnesty International. Earlier this month, several cabinet ministers lashed out at the special rapporteur, Oli1vier De Schutter, after his trip across Canada led him to express "extremely severe" concerns about the ability of aboriginal people and families on social assistance to afford the food they need to stay healthy.
In an open letter issued Wednesday, more than 150 organizations and individuals say Ottawa is undermining the authority of the United Nations by publicly attacking its envoys to Canada. The letter points to personal attacks against Mr. De Schutter by Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq, Immigration Minister Jason Kenney and others, in which the ministers said the UN envoy was "ill-informed" and "patronizing", and his mission was "completely ridiculous." Since her initial comments, Mrs. Aglukkaq has since said she didn't mean to imply there are no hunger problems in Canada's North, but she resented being getting advice from an outsider who has never been there.

Canada reacts to UN choice of Mugabe
Canada is withdrawing from a United Nations body over the appointment of Robert Mugabe as a special tourism ambassador. Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird says the appointment of the Zimbabwean leader as international tourism ambassador symbolizes what is wrong with the UN. Mr. Mugabe is currently under a European travel ban because of human-rights abuses in his own country. His appointment is being made by the United Nations World Tourism Office. In the House of Commons, Mr. Baird called the move outrageous, and announced that Canada will be withdrawing from the tourism office next month. Mr. Mugabe has been in power for more than three decades and has been blamed for his country's economic ruin, resulting in food and fuel shortages, rampant inflation, high poverty and unemployment.

Mexico wants to send Canada more Mexicans
Mexico wants to increase its foreign workforce in Canada, despite the Conservative government's new employment insurance rules that aim to fill vacant jobs with unemployed Canadians instead. Mexican Foreign Secretary Patricia Espinosa pressed for the expansion of the temporary workers programs to sectors other than agriculture during a visit Wednesday to Ottawa. Seasonal workers from Mexico have provided a source of labour to the Canadian agricultural sector since the mid-1970s. Mrs. Espinosa said she envisions expanding the program to the service and hospitality sectors, as well as construction. She brushed aside suggestions that Ottawa's proposed EI changes might make that more difficult for Mexico. The government has recently announced changes to the EI system, and has said that bringing in temporary foreign workers is not acceptable if there are Canadians willing to work.

NDP chief to visit oilsands
Alberta's oilsands are under stricter environmental oversight as the Alberta and federal governments implement a monitoring plan announced earlier this year. The Alberta Environment Department says scientists are now looking at more sites, more often and for more contaminants than before. That's in line with what the plan recommended when it was released in February. It came in response to years of criticism that the province was doing a poor job of tracking changes massive energy development was creating in northern Alberta. Those charges have fuelled increasing opposition to the oilsands
in Canada and abroad and the new monitoring system is seen as a wayto answer the industry's detractors. Federal New Democrat Leader Tom Mulcair is to visit one of the oilsands mines tomorrow to see for himself how the industry works.

Ontario, doctors show signs of compromise
Ontario doctors have not agreed to return to the bargaining table with the Liberal government, but both sides are expressing optimism for the first time in weeks. Health Minister Deb Matthews says she had a very positive meeting Wednesday with Dr. Doug Weir, president of the Ontario Medical Association. Mrs. Matthews says they agreed to have their officials meet to hammer out exactly what they want to talk about at the bargaining table before the OMA will agree to resume negotiations. Dr. Weir describes his meeting with Matthews as positive, and says there was enough movement to justify another meeting. The OMA, which represents 25,000 physicians, walked away from contract talks after the government imposed $338 million in fee cuts. The cash-strapped government wants a two-year wage freeze for more than one million public sector workers, including doctors.

Ottawa to move to correct RCMP discipline problems

Canada's Public Safety Minister, Vic Toews, is planning to introduce laws to improve the process of enforcing discipline within the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Mr. Toews says that the process is too antiquated to deal quickly with recent issues of abuse among RCMP officers. Several female officers have accused fellow officers of sexual harrassment. On Monday, Commissioner Bob Paulson criticized the discipline process, saying that he had too little power to enforce rules. The RCMP bill was initially going to deal as well with a proposal to bring a labour union into the RCMP, but Mr. Toews says that the proposal was dropped because the issue is taking a long time making its way through the law courts.

Police have suspect in body parts case

Police have named a suspect in the shocking case in which dismembered body parts were mailed to Ottawa, including the headquarters of the governing Conservative party. Montreal police say 29-year-old Rocco Luka Magnotta is wanted in connection with a suspected homicide. A man by that same name has a presence on the Internet as a low-budget adult film actor and for controversial videos he has posted online in the past. Mr. Magnotta, believed to be originally from Toronto, was renting an apartment in a Montreal building that is now at the centre of the body-parts investigation. It was behind that blue-collar mid-rise apartment that a man's torso was found in a locked suitcase Tuesday. On the same day, a foot was found in a package opened at Conservative headquarters and a hand was found at an Ottawa postal warehouse.


Myanmar opposition leader visits expatriots in Thailand
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, on her first foreign trip in nearly a quarter-century, offered encouragement to impoverished migrants whose flight from their homeland is emblematic of the devastation wrought there by decades of misrule. In the town of Mahachai, home to Thailand's largest population of Burmese migrants, thousands of Myanmar's downtrodden crowded aroundher and chanted: "Long Live Mother Suu!" After speaking to the crowd, Suu Kyi met with migrant workers who told her they are mistreated by employers but don't know their rights and have no legal means to settle disputes. Suu Kyi arrived in Thailand on Tuesday night. The Nobel Peace Prize winner lived 15 of the last 24 years under house arrest and dared not leave during the intermittent periods of freedom because she feared the then-ruling military junta would not allow her to return.

More Syrian envoys expelled over massacre
Turkey and Japan expelled Syrian diplomats on Wednesday, joining Canada, the U.S. and several other nations in protesting against a weekend massacre of more than 100 people in Syria, including women and children. The move came as Syrian forces bombarded rebel-held areas in the same province where the Houla killings occurred, although no casualties were immediately reported. Survivors blamed pro-regime gunmen for at least some of the carnage in Houla as the killings reverberated inside Syria and beyond. The massacre has further isolated President Bashar Assad and embarrassed his few remaining allies. The Syrian government denied its troops were behind the killings and blamed "armed terrorists."

Romney is U.S. presidential candidate
Mitt Romney has clinched the U.S. Republican Party's presidential nomination with a win in the Texas primary. Mr. Romney surpassed
the 1,144 delegates needed to win the nomination during Tuesday's primary. It's a triumph of endurance for a candidate who came up short four years ago and had to fight hard this year as voters flirted with a carousel of Republican rivals. Mr. Romney reached the nomination milestone with a steady message of concern about the U.S. economy, a campaign organization that dwarfed those of his Republican opponents, and a fundraising operation second only to that of his Democratic opponent in the general election, President Barack Obama.

Chinese activists wants answers

The blind Chinese rights activist, Chen Guangcheng, wants China's government to explain why he was punished for seven years. Mr. Chen arrived in the United States earlier this month after China's government allowed him and his family to emigrate. He had escaped from house arrest and gained international attention when he took refuge in the U.S. embassy in Beijing. In an article in The New York Times on Tuesday, Mr. Chen writes that China does not lack laws, but the rule of law. He called his punishment illegal. Mr. Chen was active in uncovering social abuses in China. He is studying law at New York University.

Wikileaks founder can be extradited
Britain's Supreme Court has ruled that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange may be extradited to Sweden. Mr. Assange is wanted in Sweden for alleged sex crimes. Mr. Assange had argued that a European arrest warrant was invalid. He has two weeks to contest the ruling, which came at the end of an 18-month legal battle. Mr. Assange expressed concern that Sweden might extradite him to the United States, where he is wanted for revealing U.S. government documents on his WikiLeaks Web site. But Sweden and the United States do not have an extradition treaty.


End of rail strike imminent
Canada's Conservative Party government used its majority in parliament to pass legislation overnight Tuesday to force striking Canadian Pacific Rail workers back to work. The Senate is expected to pass the bill as well. About 4,800 workers should return to the job on Friday. They declared a strike earlier this month after labour negotiations failed. The strike brought freight traffic on Canada's second-largest railway to a halt, but left passenger traffic largely untouched. The leader of the opposition New Democratic Party, Thomas Mulcair, is accusing the government of making legislated settlements the new norm in labour relations.

The Toronto Stock Exchange on Wednesday: 11,432 - 177. Canadian dollar: US97 US. Euro: $1.27. Oil: $87.47 - $3.29.


British Columbia on Thursday: rain, high C17 Vancouver. Yukon: mix sun cloud. Northwest Territories: sun. Nunavut: rain. Whitehorse 11, Yellowknife 22, Iqaluit 4. Alberta 20, Regina 21, Winnipeg 22. Ontario: sun north, mix sun cloud south. Quebec: rain. Toronto 20, Ottawa 17, Montreal 16. Atlantic Canada: rain. Fredericton 19, Halifax 20, Charlottetown 14, St. John's 9.

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