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by Robin Della Corte November 27, 2012

City in Brief

by Robin Della Corte

→ Now don’t screw it up
Alexandre Duplessis was elected as Laval’s interim mayor in a majority vote by Laval city councillors. Duplessis won by 15 votes while the other candidate, Jacques St-Jean, earned three in a secret ballot Friday. Duplessis has served as a councillor since 2005 and will take the place of Gilles Vaillancourt, the former mayor, until a municipal election next fall. Vaillancourt stepped down from his position on Nov. 9, after allegations of corruption stemming from the Charbonneau Commission. He served as mayor in Quebec’s third largest city for 23 years.

→ Shop till you drop
Quebecers were able to take advantage of Black Friday sales thanks to new regulations that came into effect this year. The new duty-free rules allow consumers from Canada to purchase more than ever before. Visitors can now spend $200 if they spend 24 hours in the U.S. and can benefit from an $800 duty-free limit if they stay for at least 48 hours. In order to compete with the sales south of the border, some Montreal stores offered their own deals to attract customers. Best Buy, Future Shop and Wal-Mart were among the many to promote a Canadian version of Black Friday this year while the city’s underground mall also offered discounts.

→ An icy tragedy
CBC News reported that a nine-year-old boy and his 64-year-old grandfather are dead after they were ice skating on a private lake in Quebec’s Eastern Townships. The grandfather tried to save the child when the ice broke but he also slipped into the water. The incident happened on Friday around 4:45 p.m. according to police. Other family members saw the incident from their house and tried to save the two.

→ Now that’s a bad call
After hearing anti-Semitic statements on the air, the Jewish organization B’nai Brith Canada is demanding an apology from a Quebec radio talk show host. Last week, a woman by the name of Maria called into Jacques Fabi’s late night radio talk show on 98.5 FM and attacked the Jewish population, praising the Holocaust. Fabi did not stop the woman, but just said “I’d never dare say such a thing” before saying the Jewish population is “sometimes annoying” on air. The conversation lasted four minutes.

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Nation in Brief
by Matthew Guité

→ Trouble out west
Liberal leadership candidate Justin Trudeau apologized this week for comments he made in a television appearance two years ago where he said that Canada “isn’t doing well right now because it’s Albertans who control our community and socio-democratic agenda. It doesn’t work.” The comments, which were given new life recently when Sun Media aired them again, caused outrage from Conservative members of Parliament in Ottawa, who called the comments insulting and divisive. Trudeau maintained that his comments have been misinterpreted and were aimed at Stephen Harper’s government and not Albertans in general.

→ Show me the money
Canada’s foreign policy may be moving from peacekeeping and promoting democracy to generating money in emerging markets by any means necessary according to a confidential document obtained by CBC News. The document, drafted by Foreign Affairs, deals with the Conservative government’s proposed foreign policy plan. The report stresses that Canada’s trade relations with new economies must deepen, and that “to succeed we will need to pursue political relationships in tandem with economic interests even where political interests or values may not align.” It goes on to state that Canada’s international agenda will be increasingly influenced by nations such as China who are interested in the northern resource development that Canada has access to.

→ Formal attire not required
Stephen Harper awarded Justin Bieber the Diamond Jubilee Medal this week, an award reserved for those who have made a significant contribution within Canada or an achievement abroad that brings credit to the nation. Bieber, who accepted the award at a ceremony in Ottawa that included his family, was in town to play a concert that night, and accepted the award in overalls and a T-shirt. Julie Vaux, a spokesperson for Harper, said that the event was “a light-hearted thing,” and that Harper and Bieber discussed ping pong and suggested getting together sometime to play.

→ The wrong kind of poles
Towns across Quebec are coming forward with complaints about utility poles that have been left in the middle of streets and crosswalks despite attempts to have them moved. Often due to roads being redone without removing the hydro poles beforehand, residents and officials from cities near Montreal and in the Eastern Townships have expressed concern that they may be dangerous to drivers. One pole was left in the middle of a highway in Johnville for two months before complaints to the media forced its removal. In the town of Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, three utility poles have been left on a stretch of newly paved road for six months without any sign of removal.

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World in Brief
by Robin Della Corte

→ Joy riding
A naked man climbed atop the statue of 19th century Prince George, Duke of Cambridge last week, where he was ordered down by London police officers three hours later. Around noon, the individual mounted the statue located in London’s Whitehall government district and balanced himself on the statue’s head in front of a crowd of people. The area is home to several government buildings, including the prime minister’s official residence and was cordoned off while emergency services pleaded for the man to descend. Once the police were able to coax him down, he was detained under Britain’s Mental Health Act.

→ Don’t speak out
Following alleged criticisms of China’s authorities on Twitter, a petition is circulating demanding the immediate release of a Chinese man. The Twitter user, @Stariver, likened the film Final Destination to the Communist Party 18th National Congress, calling the new leadership the sixth edition of the film series. The accused, Zhai Xiaobing, was arrested by authorities days before the new leaders were sworn in on Nov. 15. Hundreds have signed the petition in support of the individual in a nation where Twitter is officially blocked and closely monitored by the government. It remains uncertain as to how Zhai was identified.

→ What goes around comes around
Following a suspension in September during an investigation linked to publishing topless photos of Kate Middleton, the editor of the Irish Daily Star newspaper stepped down from his position. The tabloid’s editor, Michael O’Kane, gave the green light to have the pictures of Middleton sunbathing topless with Prince William while on a private vacation in France published in the Sept. 15 issue. While British newspapers chose not to publish the photos, publications in France, Italy, Sweden, Denmark and Ireland spread the uncensored photos. Both co-owners of the newspaper heavily criticized O’Kane’s decision to publish the pictures.

→ What’s in a name?
A bill was sent out by outgoing President Felipe Calderon of Mexico to change the official name of the country. Calderon wants congress to amend the name to simply Mexico instead of the current United Mexican States, which was adopted in 1824 in an attempt to model itself after America. The formal name, adopted after gaining independence from Spain, is mostly used on official documents but Mexico is the widely used name. The modification, first proposed in 2003, must be approved by both houses of congress and a majority of Mexico’s state legislature.

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