NASTY, BRUTISH AND SHORT: Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney predicted that the current recession will be deep and painful but relatively short-lived. The bank’s first detailed analysis of the country’s economic condition showed three quarters of contraction that began last fall and is expected to continue until the economy begins to bounce back as soon as July — a much earlier date than many private-sector economists have predicted.
Carney said that the unprecedented amount of stimulus spending being injected by governments worldwide will be instrumental in rescuing economies. The federal government will be part of that activist club to the tune of as much as $64 billion in deficit spending over the next two years. The figure — leaked by an official who claimed the government wanted to halt an out-of-control guessing game — was accompanied by a prediction of renewed surpluses in five years.
GREEN WATCH: The NDP said it obtained a copy of a government memo that suggested the
Conservatives want to gut the federal role in environmental-impact
assessments. Environment critic Linda Duncan said that plan — which allegedly calls to scrap such assessments for any project worth less than $10 million — is evidence that the government is using the economic crisis, and the accompanying need to speed up construction projects, as an excuse to weaken environmental oversight.
ON A DOWNTOWN TRAIN: People scrambled to get out of a downtown Toronto subway station as gunfire rang out in the middle of a business day. Witnesses told police that a group of young men had gotten into an argument, when one of the men involved shot another. The 19-year-old victim, who was known to police, was shot once in the stomach and once in the thigh and was taking to hospital with injuries that weren’t life threatening.
SABOTEUR: A Nova Scotia man who admitted he poked holes in his girlfriend’s condoms in an attempt to get her pregnant was acquitted of aggravated sexual assault. Craig Hutchinson claimed he sabotaged the condoms because he suspected his girlfriend wanted to break up.
WE ARE NOT AMUSED: Former Alberta premier Peter Lougheed said he was “disappointed” in the way recent provincial governments have handled the development of the oil sands. Claiming that he is “not easy to handle” when he’s disappointed, Lougheed also singled out the dwindling contributions being made to the Alberta Heritage Savings Trust, a fund established by Lougheed to be used by future generations.
GOING NUCLEAR: More than thirty years after Canada angrily stopped nuclear co-operation with India after the government
used plutonium from a Canadian reactor to build an atomic bomb, a memorandum of understanding was signed by the two nations that paves the way for co-operation on next-generation nuclear technology. A three-decade ban on nuclear dealings with India, a long-time nuclear renegade, was lifted in September — even though the country had yet to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
CAME-NOT: Caroline Kennedy’s ill-fated foray into national politics came to a chaotic and hasty end this week, putting a dent in the vaunted “Camelot” dynasty and reportedly causing a rift in the tight-knit Kennedy clan. Sen. Ted Kennedy — who suffers from brain cancer and made headlines when he took a seizure on President Barack Obama’s inauguration day — and his immediate circle are said to be furious that some of his niece’s handlers said she withdrew because of issues related to the senator’s health.
GREETED AS A LIBERATOR: President Obama made good on a promise to sign an executive order to close the U.S. prison camp in Guantanamo Bay within a year, as well as outlawing so-called “enhanced interrogation” methods such as waterboarding. Human rights observers at the facility applauded the move, while a military prosecutor expressed hopes that halted military trials of terrorism suspects would continue.