Canada briefs – September 2


Ottawa hires Quebec company to maintain fighter jets

MIRABEL, Que. — The federal government has hired a Quebec-based company to maintain its fleet of CF-18 fighter jets until the end of their life cycle.

The $467-million contract with L-3 MAS starts this year and runs until 2017.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Defence Minister Peter MacKay made the announcement today at a news conference north of Montreal.

The maintenance work will be undertaken at the company’s facilities in Quebec and Alberta.

The Mirabel-based company has been involved in the maintenance of the CF-18s for 25 years.

Heat wave in Central and Eastern Canada

TORONTO — Shorts and sandals are the order of the day in Central Canada and the Maritimes as people there swelter under a heat wave.

Environment Canada meteorologist Geoff Coulson says temperature records have been smashed in several cities over the past few days.

A warm and humid air mass that moved into Ontario on Sunday has spread to cover southern and northeastern Ontario, southern Quebec and much of the Maritimes.

Coulson says a large area of high pressure entrenched south of the Great Lakes is acting as a big heat pump, bringing up the air mass from the American deep south. He says some relief is in store as a new air mass arrives, bringing cooler temperatures as we head into the Labour Day weekend.

While Toronto is not expected to break any records Wednesday, it did set a record on Tuesday when the mercury reached 33.7 C at Pearson airport.

Terror suspects make brief appearance

OTTAWA — Three terror suspects arrested last week have made brief court appearances by video link, and all have been ordered to reappear later this month.

Hiva Mohammad Alizadeh, 30, and Misbahuddin Ahmed, 26, both of Ottawa and Khurram Syed Sher, 28, of London, Ont., are charged under the Anti-Terrorism Act.

Sher has been ordered to reappear Friday by video link, while Ahmed is to show in person on Sept. 15 and Alizadeh is to appear by video on the 16th.

No bail has yet been set for the three suspects.

They were arrested after a year-long investigation by the RCMP, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and other agencies.

Investigators found more than 50 electronic circuit boards they say were designed to remotely detonate bombs and booby traps.

Police also seized videos, terrorist literature and bomb-related documents.

Police claim the terrorism plot stretched from Ottawa to Afghanistan, Dubai, Iran and Pakistan, but there has been no official word on the alleged targets.

Tamil migrant questioning doesn’t change ethnic vote

TORONTO — Canada’s citizenship and immigration minister says questioning Sri Lankan migrants about connections to terrorist groups has not affected the party’s image among ethnic voters.

Jason Kenney says it is Canada’s responsibility to question the almost 500 illegal Tamil migrants who arrived by boat in British Columbia last month.

He says law enforcement officials and governments of all political stripes must ensure migrants from any country have no ties to terrorist groups like the Tamil Tigers.

Speaking in Toronto after an unrelated event, Kenney said it would be “irresponsible” for a government to tell immigration officials not to enforce the law because it is worried about politics.

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