Canada Briefs

By on September 11, 2015

Canadians cannot trust their senators, says Auditor General

Canadians cannot trust their senators, said a report released by the Office of the Auditor General of Canada after discovering that 30 lawmakers used public money to pay for vacations, golf matches and home repairs.
The report of the Canadian Auditor General, Michael Ferguson, analyzed 80,000 reimbursement claims by 116 senators and ex-senators of the last two years, to reach the conclusion that the legislators unduly appropriated almost $820,000.
In nine of the 30 cases identified by Ferguson as abuse of the compensation system, the Auditor General has referred the case of the senators to the Mounted Police to investigate the possiblity of any crime.
In the other 21 cases, senators can accept the findings of the Auditor General and return the money refunded inappropriately, or resort to arbitration of disputes established by the senators.
The three senators who decided to establish a process of arbitration in cases of irregularities, instead of directly punishing the identified individuals, are named in the audit.
The report is a severe blow to the senate’s image, one of the most criticized institution for decades in Canada and since the arrival of Conservative Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, to power in 2006, has been shaken by successive scandals.
According to the Constitution, the 105 Senators of the upper house of Canadian Parliament are appointed by the prime minister to represent the provinces and territories making up the country. efe

Aylan Kurdi’s father rejects asylum in Canada

Abdullah Kurdi, the father of the drowned child Aylan Kurdi whose image has become a symbol of the tragedy of the Syrian refugees, rejected on Thursday an offer of asylum in Canada, calling on the international community to do its utmost to avoid similar sufferings and tragedies.
“The things that happened to us here, in the country where we took refuge to escape war in our homeland, we want the whole world to see this,” Abdullah told reporters in front of a morgue in the Turkish city of Mugla near Bodrum.
Abdullah said that following the tragic deaths of his wife and two children after being shipwrecked trying to reach the Greek island of Kos, his older sister, living in Canada, was interviewed on television in that country and he was then offered asylum.
Abdullah explained that he received an offer from the Canadian government to go there, but after what happened he will not go. He said that he would take the bodies of his family to Suruc, a Turkish city on the border with Syria, and then to the Syrian city of Kobani, where he would spend the rest of his life.
His sister Teema Kurdi said that her family of refugees fled from the war in Syria and wanted to go to Canada, but they could not get a visa when they applied in Turkey.
Abdullah said that 16 people of his family members were killed during fighting by Islamic State jihadists in Kobani. efe

Republican Walker feels idea of wall between U.S. and Canada “legitimate”

Republican presidential hopeful and Wisconsin Governor, Scott Walker, said in an interview Sunday the idea of building a wall along the U.S.-Canada border was a “legitimate” idea against the problem of illegal immigration and terrorism.
Talking about border security in an interview with the NBC network, presenter Chuck Todd asked Walker if he would consider building a wall not only on the southern border with Mexico, but also along the border with Canada.
“Some people have asked us about that in New Hampshire. They raised some very legitimate concerns, including some law enforcement folks that brought that up to me at one of our town hall meetings about a week and a half ago. So that is a legitimate issue for us to look at,” said Walker.
Illegal immigration and border security account for the most predominant issues debated in the ongoing campaign among Republican hopefuls for the U.S. presidential elections in 2016.
Business tycoon Donald Trump, who leads the surveys so far, and Senator Marco Rubio are strong advocates of a wall along the border with Mexico.
Trump’s strong anti-immigrant stance, which includes mass deportation of illegal immigrants and eliminating their Constitutional right to citizenship by birth, has led many of his conservative rivals to step up their game and harden their proposals on immigration.
New Jersey governor Chris Christie said that if elected to the White House, he will propose a system to track down illegal immigrants in the United States, like how FedEx courier company tracks their packages and shipments.
Christie also said that he is open to evaluating the issue of eliminating the right to citizenship by birth. efe

OAS: U.S., Canada & Uruguay top consumers of cocaine

The consumption of cocaine powder in North America is concentrated in the United States and Canada, and in Chile and Uruguay in South America, according to the ‘Report on Drug Use in the Americas 2015’ published by the Organization of American States, OAS.
More than 1 percent of the populations of the United States, Canada and Uruguay were identified as consumers of cocaine by the report, with Brazil and Argentina the countries with the next highest proportions of consumers.
According to the study, consumption is heaviest amongst people aged between 18 and 34, at a rate twice that of the general population.
Cocaine consumption patterns varied across the region in recent years.
While Argentina and Chile registered an increase in levels of cocaine use, levels are stable in Costa Rica and Peru, and continue to decline in the United States.
In the Caribbean, in 10 of the 11 countries with available data, cocaine use has increased in the past year, and is now highest in the Dominican Republic and Barbados.
The perception of ease of access to cocaine is higher in countries producing cocaine, including Colombia, Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia.
The consumption of cocaine-base paste is concentrated in South American countries, particularly Peru, Chile and Uruguay.
The report was presented in the framework of the 57th regular session of the Inter-American Drug Abuse Control Commission of the OAS, taking place Wednesday to Friday at the commission’s headquarters in Washington. efe

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