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Nation in brief, Nov. 8

by The Concordian November 8, 2011
It’s a Canadian family affair
As of Nov. 4, the federal government has stopped accepting immigration sponsorship applications for parents and grandparents until 2014 in a bid to reduce a backlog of 165,000 applications. According to the Toronto Star, the government hopes to halve that number in two years. The federal government will accept 25,000 parents and grandparents in 2012, 43 per cent more than this year, but is lowering its quotas in other categories. While the family reunification count will be up from 65,500 this year to 69,000 in 2012, the quota for spouses and children is being reduced from 48,000 to 44,000. Immigration Canada will hold consultations next year to redesign the process to avoid future backlogs next year.

OxyContin to be phased out
Purdue Pharma Canada has announced it will cease production of OxyContin and gradually replace it with a safer drug which is more difficult to misuse, the CBC reported. The company received a notice of compliance from Health Canada in August 2011, then sent out a letter to the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Newfoundland and Labrador in late October saying that it is developing plans to introduce OxyNEO onto the Canadian market. Oxycodone is present in both drugs. When OxyContin is used as prescribed, it slowly releases oxycodone. When misused, the drug produces a euphoric effect similar to that produced by heroin. Purdue Pharma developed OxyNEO to be more resistant to oxycodone extraction. In Ontario, overdoses involving oxycodone caused more than 450 deaths between 2004 and 2009.

Cherry turns down award
Hockey Night in Canada fixture Don Cherry has declined an honorary degree from the Royal Military College of Canada after a professor from the college sent an open letter to a newspaper in Kingston, Ont. criticizing Cherry, according to the Canadian Press. In the letter, the professor criticized Cherry for his views on French Canadians, immigrants and the gay community, and said giving the award to the hockey commentator would give the wrong message to students. Cherry cited “personal reasons” for his decision, according to a RMC spokeswoman. The college made his decision public on Saturday. He was due to receive the award on Nov. 17.

Plastic bills a potential problem for money counters
New plastic Canadian currency may not be be able to be processed by the cash-counting machines currently in use. That’s what Ted Brosnan, president of John Poulet Cheque Writer Service, is saying. According to QMI Agency, a polymer version of the $100 bill will go into circulation this month, with the $50 bill entering circulation next year and the $20, $10, and $5 bills implemented as of late 2013. Brosnan said the transparent window placed on one side of the new bills will confuse the machines. Bank of Canada spokesperson Julie Girard told the Toronto Sun that adjustments have to be made every time there is a transition to a new currency and said it has been working with equipment makers to solve the problem. The bills are harder to counterfeit and will last two and a half times longer than the old bills, according to the Bank of Canada.

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