Canada. The January 23 election led to a change of power for the first time in twelve years. The Conservative Party of Canada received 124 of the 308 seats against just over 103 seats for the Liberal Party. The election was also a success for the Social Democratic New Democratic Party, which received 29 seats, an increase of ten compared to the 2004 election, while the separatist Bloc Québécois stepped back somewhat and stayed for 51 seats. The turnout was almost 65%. The result was interpreted as a reaction to the corruption scandal within the Liberal Party that was revealed in 2004. But behind the Liberals’ defeat, there was also a desire for change. The Conservatives had, among other things, gone to elections with promises of increased transparency in government affairs, tougher gun laws and shorter care queues. Conservative leader Stephen Harper formed a minority government on February 6. The budget presented by the new government later that month contained a number of tax cuts. The Liberals’ leader, former Prime Minister Paul Martin, resigned after the election.
According to CountryAAH, major public holidays in Canada include Independence Day (July 1) and New Year (January 1). Canada had over 2,000 troops in Afghanistan in the NATO-led force in the troubled area of Qandahar, where fierce fighting was taking place. On his first trip abroad, Harper visited Afghanistan and his own troops there. A barely majority of the lower house voted in May for the Canadian force to remain in the country until 2009. However, the issue of the Canadian presence in Afghanistan sparked a lot of debate. By mid-September, a total of 32 Canadian soldiers and a diplomat had been killed in Afghanistan since the force was sent there in 2002.
In May, it was clear that Canada was unable to limit its greenhouse gas emissions to the extent promised in the Kyoto Protocol. Emissions were reported to be as much as 35% higher than promised.
Seventeen Canadian Muslims, most of whom were born or raised in Canada, were arrested in early June in the Toronto area accused of planning multiple terror attacks. Five of the arrested were younger than 18 years. The men were prosecuted under the anti-terrorism law of 2001. The intelligence service claimed that there were sixty groups and over 300 individuals under surveillance because of suspicions that they sympathized with terrorists.
In June, Prime Minister Harper apologized to Canadian-born Canadians for apologizing for how immigrants from China had been discriminated between 1885 and 1923, when they were charged a special tax of up to $ 500. The purpose was to prevent Chinese immigrants from taking their families with them, and from 1923 all Chinese immigration was stopped for 25 years. The government now decided to pay a symbolic damages of nearly $ 18,000.
The Conservative Party won the provincial election in Nova Scotia in June. However, the party went back and its leader Rodney MacDonald was allowed to form a minority government. In New Brunswick, there was a change of power in September when the Liberals took over the province. In the Yukon Territory, a regional party, the Yukon Party, won ten of the eighteen seats in the October elections.
A public inquiry in the fall criticized federal police for how it acted in the case of Maher Arar, a Syrian-born Canadian citizen who was deported from the United States to Syria in 2002 after Canadian authorities mistakenly identified him as a Muslim extremist. Arar claimed he was tortured during the eight months he was imprisoned in Syria, which was confirmed by the investigation which also freed him from any suspicion of involvement in terrorist activities. Parliament apologized publicly for how the police acted in Arar’s case. In early December, the country’s chief of police resigned after admitting that several mistakes had been made in the case.
In November, the House of Commons voted for Quebec to be recognized as “a nation” within the Canadian Federation. The vote took place on the initiative of Prime Minister Harper, who hoped that this – despite the decision not giving Quebec any new formal rights – would reduce support for the separatist Quebec Party (PQ) in the upcoming provincial election.
In early December, the Liberal Party appointed former Environment Minister Stéphane Dion a new party leader.
Canada imposes sanctions on Belarus
Canada, along with Britain, is imposing sanctions on President Alexander Lukashenko, his son and several other high-ranking officials in Belarus for human rights abuses committed in the country.
New benefits for the unemployed can win support from the NDP
The Liberal government seems to be able to get support for its budget from the Social Democratic NDP. Among other things, the prize seems to be a new grant of 500 Canadian dollars a week to be paid to people who are unable to work due to the corona pandemic. A special sick pay must also be introduced for people who have to be quarantined after having been in contact with someone who is ill with covid-19. In order for the budget to be adopted, the Liberal Party must win the support of at least one of the opposition parties. NDP leader Jagmeet Singh says he will probably plead for approval, but that the decision will be made by the party.
One million new jobs and expanded childcare promises in the throne
One million new jobs to get the Canadian economy back on its feet and crisis measures to meet a second wave of covid-19 in the autumn. There are two important points in the so-called throne speech, which is read out by Governor-General Julie Payette, who lists important parts of the government’s program for the future. Measures against homelessness and climate change, as well as plans to introduce a new national childcare program and to give Canadians access to affordable medicines. Training initiatives for employees are also promised. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stresses that the number of cases of covid-19 is already increasing in the country’s four most populous provinces: Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia and Alberta. The Conservative Party criticizes the government’s line for not taking into account the “needs of ordinary Canadians”. that it allows the budget deficit to grow and that so few concrete proposals are presented. The budget deficit for 2020 is expected to be around 16 percentGDP.
The US backs away from decisions on customs duties on aluminum
The United States has decided not to implement a 10% increase in customs duties on certain Canadian aluminum, which was announced in August. It comes the day before Canada was about to impose countermeasures against the United States. The US government justifies its decision by saying that aluminum imports were about to decline in any case, after a boom.
PCP retains power in New Brunswick
The Progressive Conservative Party (PCP) wins the election in New Brunswick with just over 39 percent of the vote. The party thus retains power in the province. The Liberals get just over 34 percent of the vote and the Green Party just over 15 percent. Turnout is about 66 percent.
Canadians are fined for refusing to protect their mouths
Two Canadians will be the first to be fined 1,000 Canadian dollars each for refusing to wear mouth guards on passenger flights in June and July. Mouthguard requirements have been introduced on all passenger flights to prevent the spread of covid-19. To date, Canada has had nearly 132,000 confirmed and probable cases of the viral disease and 9,000 people have died of covid-19. The province of Québec has had the most cases with almost 63,500 cases, followed by Ontario with just over 43,000 cases and Alberta with almost 14,500 cases. In Quebec, the number of infections appears to be flattening out, while they are increasing rapidly in Alberta and British Columbia.