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Canada Report

Martin loses Liberal challenger

By JIM FOX
© St. Petersburg Times
published July 27, 2003

Paul Martin's bid to become Canada's next prime minister has raced ahead with the withdrawal of his leading challenger.

Deputy Prime Minister John Manley abandoned his Liberal leadership bid saying it would be impossible to beat Martin, 64, the former finance minister, in his quest to succeed retiring Jean Chretien.

Culture Minister Sheila Copps remains in the race for the November leadership vote to decide the next Liberal leader, who would take over once Chretien retires early next year.

Copps said she is staying in the race although polls show her support seems no better than Manley's.

In the meantime, Chretien reaffirmed he is still in charge and won't retire earlier even though his Cabinet members are openly consulting Martin on future government policy.

"There's only one prime minister - and he's the one making the decisions," Chretien said after a Cabinet meeting.

He refuted suggestions his legitimacy as leader is slipping, saying voters in the 2000 election gave him a five-year mandate to lead the country.

Canada Post, union reach agreement, avert strike

Threats of a Canadian postal strike or lockout were averted after a last-minute tentative agreement was reached between Canada Post and its union.

Terms of the agreement for the 48,000 members of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers were not disclosed pending a ratification vote.

Job security, benefits, wages, retirement, workload and safety were key issues in dispute.

The last postal strike, just before Christmas 1997, ended when the federal government passed emergency back-to-work legislation.

In brief

- A proposed Canadian law allowing same-sex weddings could lead to people marrying their pets or members of their family, a group opposing the law says. Canadians Against Same-Sex Marriage, made up mainly of religious groups, said the federal government's attempt to legalize the marriages is an "attack on the very nature of a nation - the family unit."

- Toronto is preparing to host up to 500,000 people at an outdoor rock concert featuring the Rolling Stones on Wednesday. The event, running from noon to 11 p.m., was organized to give the city's SARS-battered economy a boost. MuchMoreMusic cable channel will broadcast the event live.

- A second Toronto nurse died of SARS last week, raising the death toll to 41. Her husband contracted the disease from her and died several months ago.

- Free meals will no longer be included in Air Canada economy-class service on medium-haul flights. Instead, passengers can pay up to $12 for "restaurant-quality" food. Cara Operations, which owns Swiss Chalet, Montana's Cookhouse, Kelsey's, Harvey's and Second Cup chains, will provide "fresh, tasty, value-priced hot and cold meals and hearty snacks to replace current complimentary meal and snack service."

Facts and figures

Canada's dollar has erased earlier losses after news of possible further U.S. interest rate cuts. The dollar was higher at 72.46 U.S. cents Friday while the U.S. greenback returned $1.380 Canadian.

The Bank of Canada's key interest rate remains at 3 percent while the prime lending rate is 4.75 percent.

Canadian stock exchanges were higher Friday, with the Toronto index at 7,251 points and the Canadian Venture Exchange 1,151 points.

Lotto 6-49: (Wednesday) 2, 7, 15, 36, 37 and 49; bonus 9. (July 19) 4, 13, 33, 36, 41 and 47; bonus 46.

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