CANADA

National Notes

December 16 1991
CANADA

National Notes

December 16 1991

National Notes

THE REFERENDUM OPTION

During a tour that took him to Montreal, Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton, Prime Minister Brian Mulroney said that his government is still considering calling a referendum on constitutional reform— but will not hold an election on the issue. Mulroney also said that an independent Quebec would have little leverage if it wanted to negotiate a free trade agreement with the United States or Canada.

VOICES OF EXPERIENCE

Two prominent Canadians told the federal government that its constitutional proposals may be too extensive to be digested by the Canadian public. Former Ontario Conservative premier William Davis and former Saskatchewan NDP premier Allan Blakeney told a parliamentary committee that Ottawa's 28 constitutional proposals would likely fail to win approval in a national vote.

GOVERNMENT WASTE

In his first report since his appointment as auditor general in April, Denis Desautels said that the federal government is wasting $1 billion a year through its poor administration of public-service pensionplan funds. Desautels also criticized the government for maintaining a fleet of 17 limousines in Ottawa for bureaucrats and foreign dignitaries, saying that three vehicles would be sufficient.

A POLICE SHOOTING UNDER FIRE

Black community leaders denounced the Toronto police force after officers shot and wounded a 19-year-old unarmed black suspect in an attempted robbery. He was the third unarmed black youth that Toronto police have shot this year.

THE POLITICS OF AUTO INSURANCE

B.C. Consumer Affairs Minister Moe Sihota said that the province's NDP government may have to increase premiums for British Columbia's publicly owned auto insurance plan by up to 24 per cent. Sihota accused the former Social Credit government, which the New Democrats defeated in October, of suppressing a rate increase out of political expediency.

FORECASTING CUTBACKS

Ontario Treasurer Floyd Laughren announced that dwindling tax revenues and soaring welfare rolls will force the province’s NDP government to cut programs and services in its next budget, expected in April. Earlier this year, the government cut back health-care benefits and sold some Crown assets to help keep the 19911992 deficit to a forecast $9.7 billion.