Canada. At least 9 people were killed in the remote town
of Kangiqsualujjuac (in Quebec) by a snow avalanche that
crushed the school in the city where residents gathered for
New Year's celebrations on January 1. New Year's fireworks
probably triggered the avalanche.
On February 4, a three-year agreement was signed between
the federal government and provincial governments (except
Quebec) on how healthcare and social welfare should be
funded. The agreement allows the federal government to
establish and fund social programs without the consent of
the provinces. Healthcare received an additional grant of
11.5 billion Canadian dollars for the next five years in the
new budget presented by Finance Minister Paul Martin in
February. The increase means that the federal health care
budget has been restored to the same level as before 1995,
when the Liberal government cut health care grants to the
provinces to reduce the federal budget deficit. The Canadian
economy has improved and is now quite strong. Unemployment
fell to 7.8% in January 1999, the lowest since June 1990.
Countryaah official website, the Progressive Conservative Party, PCP, had a number of
successes in various provincial elections during the year.
PCP won the elections in Ontario June 3, in New Brunswick
June 7, and in Nova Scotia July 27. The electoral victory in
Ontario, the most populous of Canada's provinces, was a huge
success for the PCP, working hard to try to build a new
strong political base after its disastrous election defeat
in the federal election in 1993. The party received 45.1% of
the electorate's votes, giving 59 seats in Ontario's
parliament, the Liberal Party gained 39.8% and 35 seats and
the New Democratic Party 12.6% and 9 seats in parliament.
Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien appointed Adrienne
Clarkson new governor after Romeo LeBlanc, who resigned in
October 1999. Clarkson hails from a Chinese ethnic minority
in Hong Kong and came to Canada as a refugee. 1942. She
previously worked as a journalist and is the first immigrant
to be appointed Governor General of Canada.