Canada

Canada Notes

January 24 2000
Canada

Canada Notes

January 24 2000

Canada Notes

Canada

Vancouver tops the list

A survey of the world's cities by international consulting firm William M. Mercer put Vancouver at the top of the list for quality of life, along with Zurich and Bern in Switzerland, and Vienna, Austria. It is only the latest praise for Vancouver: in its 1999 edition of The World in Figures, for one, The Economist magazine also placed the city first.

Flying high

The RCMP arrested seven Torontoarea men on suspicion of running a cocaine ring with links to Pearson International Airport. The men, including one terminal supervisor, allegedly moved drugs from the United States into Canada in a variety of ways, but used the airport to send money south, using inside knowledge to get around U.S. Customs. American authorities are asking for extradition of the seven.

Dangerous offender

Terry Driver, who rose to infamy as the so-called Abbotsford killer, was declared a dangerous offender. Driver terrorized the Fraser Valley community in British Columbia with a string of sexual assaults that culminated in the 1995 murder of Tanya Smith, 16. He was convicted of first-degree murder.

Taking sides

Former premier Mike Harcourt endorsed Attorney General Ujjal Dosanjh in the race for the leadership of the B.C. NDP Earlier in the week, after former finance minister Joy MacPhail dropped out of the race and endorsed Dosanjh, former premier Dave Barrett weighed in with support for his main challenger, Education Minister Gordon Wilson (privately, past premier Glen Clark has also been supporting Wilson).

Over their heads

Protesters waiting to block a test shipment of U.S. plutonium reacted angrily when it was secretly transported by helicopter, instead of road, from Sault Ste. Marie to the Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. laboratory in Chalk River, Ont. The shipment was part of a proposed plan to help dispose of Russian and U.S. weapons-grade fuel.

Singing and arguing over farm aid

The spotlight was on helping farmers, as performers, including rock legend Ronnie Hawkins (centre), prepared for a weekend benefit concert in Toronto. Federal Agriculture Minister Lyle Vanclief announced Ottawa would commit a further $1 billion over two years to Canada’s beleaguered farmers—if provinces ante up about $350 million a year. Western premiers said the plan was insufficient.

The politics of personality

The United Alternative convention in Ottawa at the end of this month was supposed to be about hammering out the principles and policies needed to bring together a bigger swath of Canadas political right under a new partisan banner. But last week, those dry deliberations were all but forgotten as the politics of personality took over. The only question that seemed to matter: is this Preston Manning’s last hurrah on the national stage?

After declaring that he would step down as Reform leader if his party re-

jected his push to turn it into the UA, Manning held a news conference in Calgary to rally his loyalists—and they no doubt needed bucking up. Embarrassing infighting saw the party’s executive council chairman, Gee Tsang, an opponent of the UA, resign in anger. B.C. MP Dick Harris, one of the most outspoken opponents of the UA in Manning’s caucus, turned up the heat by declaring he will run for the Reform leadership if the UA fails. The final outcome will not be decided at the convention, but in a spring referendum. “It’ll generate controversy,” Manning said, “but it will also generate debate, and that’s what democracy’s all about.”

Saying ‘Oui’ to a French-language school

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled in favour of francophone parents in Summerside, PE.L, saying they had the right to a French-language elementary school. The case began in 1995, when the parents lobbied for a French school that would initially accommodate fewer than 50 students, with more expected in the future. The province said no, claiming that a small school might provide an inferior education. The court dismissed the argument, saying “the province cannot avoid its constitutional duty by citing insufficient proof of numbers.”