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The Canada report

By JIM FOX

© St. Petersburg Times, published October 22, 2000


Chretien expected to call for elections

Prime Minister Jean Chretien is expected to announce today that Canadians will elect a new government Nov. 27.

While taunting right-wing Canadian Alliance leader Stockwell Day on Thursday, Chretien said: "We're going into an election." He refused further comment.

Chretien is expected to meet today with Governor-General Adrienne Clarkson to ask for the formal dissolution of the government, setting the stage for parliamentary elections in which he will seek a third term for the Liberals.

Meanwhile, a new round of income tax cuts highlighted the government's pre-election offerings. Finance Minister Paul Martin said the cuts are possible because of a growing budget surplus.

Federal taxes will drop one percentage point to 16 percent for incomes of less than $30,754 a year; 2 percentage points to 22 percent up to $61,609; and 3 percentage points to 26 percent up to $100,000. There's no change in the 29 percent rate for income above $100,000.

Under the cut, a two-income family of four earning $60,000 a year will save $1,021 in taxes next year.

Also:

Low-income families will receive a rebate of up to $250 to offset home heating costs.

Capital gains taxes will be cut from 66.66 percent to 50 percent.

An additional $500-million will go toward university research facilities.

Toronto making big plans to redevelop waterfront

A massive redevelopment of Toronto's waterfront costing about $1.5-billion is planned as a prelude to the city's bid to host the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Prime Minister Chretien and Ontario Premier Mike Harris said Friday that their governments will contribute $500-million to assist in the first phase of the work.

There will be a thorough environmental cleanup of the area, including the Don River, and the creation of additional parks and green spaces, athletic facilities and relocation of the city's port.

In brief

Hurricane Michael slammed into southern Newfoundland late Thursday with 100 mph winds that rattled windows, ripped siding off houses and caused power outages. Ferry service to the island province was disrupted as the storm tracked up the North Atlantic and into Canada's Maritimes. It quickly lost its punch once it went inland.

Citing personal reasons, Rod Morrison resigned Friday as president and chief executive of Via Rail, Canada's passenger railway, effective Nov. 3. Under his leadership, Via Rail has secured government money to buy new equipment, upgrade facilities and expand schedules. Via Rail chairman Marc LeFranois will take over as acting president.

Canada's annual inflation rate rose to 2.7 percent in September due to rising gasoline and fuel oil prices, Statistics Canada reported. That's up from 2.5 percent a month earlier. Gasoline prices are up 17.7 percent, natural gas up 24.5 percent and fuel oil up 44.5 percent over last year.

Facts and figures

Canada's dollar recovered to 66.10 cents U.S. on Friday while the U.S. dollar was worth $1.5128 Canadian, before bank exchange fees.

There was no change in the Bank of Canada key interest rate of 6 percent or the 7.5 percent prime lending rate.

Canadian stock markets are mixed, with the Toronto 300 Index at 10,485 points Friday and the Canadian Venture Exchange index at 3,320 points.

Lotto 6-49: (Wednesday) 2, 9, 11, 23, 27 and 45; bonus 17. (Oct. 14) 1, 10, 14, 19, 38 and 45; bonus 18.

Regional briefs

Former British Columbia Premier Glen Clark will stand trial for breach of trust and fraud, Royal Canadian Mounted Police said Friday. He is accused of helping a friend in a failed bid to obtain a conditional casino license from the provincial government. After a police raid on his house to search for evidence in 1999, Clark resigned. Clark's friend and neighbor, Dimitrios Pilarinos, was also arrested.

The deal to send Toronto's trash to an abandoned northern Ontario mine was abruptly scrapped Friday. After weeks of protests and debate, Mayor Mel Lastman said the deal was off because potential costs became too high. Toronto will now try to sign a deal to ship its garbage to Michigan.

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