ARMCHAIR QUARTERBACKS: Some of Canada's former prime ministers weighed in on Prime Minister Stephen Harper's strategy
to deal with the economic downturn. Paul Martin was especially critical
of his successor, lamenting that the rescue package hadn't been
implemented earlier. For his part, Brian Mulroney took aim at Bank of
Canada governor Mark Carney's rather rosy outlook on the country's
economic fortunes.

The former leaders spoke on the same day it was announced that Canada had run its first monthly trade deficit since 1976,
a year marked by stagflation and a day of protest in which millions of
Canadians protested the economic policies of former prime minister
Pierre Trudeau. Economists who had previously made sunny predictions of
a trade surplus switched to dire predictions that the deficit could
stay indefinitely.

COULD BE WORSE: Credit-rating agency, Moody's, released a report that said, although the financial health of the provinces will deteriorate
over the next 18 months, all of them remained in relatively good shape.
The agency credited recent debt payments, most notably in Alberta, B.C.
and Newfoundland and Labrador, for their ability to withstand dwindling


STIMULUS SUCCESS: The Democratic-controlled Congress passed a compromise stimulus package
worth $790 billion, and President Barack Obama could sign the measure
within days. The Senate version of the bill watered down the
contentious "Buy American" provision that had raised the ire of Canada
and other U.S. trading partners, a compromise that was met after Obama
warned lawmakers about the dangers of protectionism.

The country's top bankers were sternly warned by Congressional leaders that it was incumbent upon them to win over a public that is disgusted
by the billions of dollars poured into the financial system to little
visible effect. The lingering suspicion of American taxpayers remained
one of the president's biggest challenges as he guides the country
through the economic crisis.

MOUTHS TO FEED: A big share of the financial burden involved in raising Nadya Suleman's 14 children could fall squarely on the shoulders of California taxpayers.
Even before the single, unemployed mother gave birth to octuplets, she
had been caring for her six other children with the aid of food stamps
and Social Security disability payments.

MAYERTHORPE APPEAL: Family members of four Mounties slain in a 2005 Alberta shooting lamented the news
that two men convicted of manslaughter for aiding killer James Roszko
planned to appeal their convictions. "Why don't they just man up and
take what's coming instead of prolonging this? It was bad enough losing
our boy," said John Duffy, Const. Anthony Gordon's stepfather.

WHAT GANG WAR?: A Wild-West style shootout that came on the heels of an escalating body count from gang-related shootings in Metro Vancouver is not evidence of a gang war,
B.C. police said. While a local expert agreed, the last cycle of
violence this severe was in the fall of 2007, a grim series of killings
that peaked with a mass murder that took the lives of four alleged
gangsters and two innocent bystanders.

POISON PILLS: The cold case surrounding the deadly 1982 Tylenol poisonings heated up last week
when investigators seized a computer and boxes of files from a
Massacheusetts home. This week, officials said the items were being
examined in Chicago and the recent activity has raised hopes for a
long-awaited break in the case.

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