In an unprecedented provincewide television address on the state of the economy, Ontario Premier Bob Rae said that his government faces an “unacceptably high” deficit of $14.3 billion in the 1992-1993 fiscal year—up from the previous record deficit of $9.7 billion in the year ending in April. The projected deficit will balloon even though Rae also announced a one-per-cent limit on increases in provincial funding to schools, municipalities and hospitals.
Prime Minister Brian Mulroney invited the 10 provincial premiers to attend a first ministers conference on the economy in Ottawa on Feb. 10.
A BLISTERING RESPONSE
While Reform party Leader Preston Manning conducted an election-style tour of southern Ontario, Liberal Leader Jean Chrétien issued a blistering attack against his Calgary-based rival. In a seven-page letter to Manning, Chrétien criticized Reform proposals on official bilingualism, multiculturalism and medicare. Wrote Chrétien: “Your party’s declared principles and policies would dismantle Canada.”
SYSCO ON THE BLOCK
The Nova Scotia government announced plans to sell Crown-owned Sydney Steel Co., known as Sysco, which is losing about $4 million a month—and has cost taxpayers $1.5 billion in subsidies since 1968.
A VERDICT ON THE MOHAWKS
A Quebec Superior Court jury delivered a mixed verdict in the case of three Mohawk Warriors charged with dozens of offences related to the 1990 standoff between authorities and Indians near Oka, Que, The jury found Ronald (Lasagna) Cross guilty on 20 of 40 charges, including aggravated assault, using a firearm and uttering threats. The jury also convicted Gordon (Noriega) Lazore on nine of 16 similar charges, while acquitting Roger Lazore on all of the 10 charges he faced. Judge Benjamin Greenberg was to hear pre-sentencing arguments this week.
DISPUTING THE RESULTS
Parti Québécois Leader Jacques Parizeau claimed that his party’s victory in the Jan. 20 provincial byelection in the Montreal riding of Anjou showed that Quebecers are ready to vote for sovereignty in a referendum. But Liberal Premier Robert Bourassa argued that the result was largely due to concerns about the Quebec economy and high taxes.
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