Hurting Canada’s reputation –

The Canadian Press – Nov 25, 2016 / 5:57 am | Story: 181916

Photo: The Canadian Press

Canada’s pipeline gridlock is harming its global reputation as an attractive place to invest in oil and gas projects, says a leading industry group.
Tim McMillan,…

NY’s Cuomo finds common ground with Trump on infrastructure

ALBANY, N.Y. – President-elect Donald Trump has made big promises when it comes to building new highways, tunnels, bridges and airports in America — and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is hoping he makes good on his word.

Cuomo has embarked on projects to rebuild Penn Station and LaGuardia and Kennedy airports, and to replace the aging Tappan Zee Bridge. There are also plans to invest billions of dollars into upstate highways, modernize New York City’s subways and build a new rail tunnel under the Hudson River.

Federal support could be critical to getting the work done. And while they disagree on immigration, abortion and many other issues, the Democrat Cuomo is hoping a fondness for building things can be the common ground with the Republican Trump. Cuomo said he spoke to Trump the day after the election and specifically mentioned the importance of infrastructure.

“He is a New Yorker,” Cuomo said. “Mr. Trump is very much a private sector builder. … So, he has a natural orientation toward the needs of this type of urban area. I think that’s a good thing.”

Trump has bemoaned the state of American infrastructure, saying some of it reminds him of the Third World. He has called for a massive push to rebuild roads, airports, the power grid and other infrastructure. One plan would cost as much as $1 trillion, to be funded primarily through private investment encouraged by big tax incentives.

“We will build the roads, highways, bridges, tunnels, airports and the railways of tomorrow,” Trump said in his speech at the Republican National Convention. “This, in turn, will create millions more jobs.”

Messages left with the Trump transition team regarding specific investments in New York state projects were not returned.

Trump and Cuomo have known each other for decades as the two Queens natives built professional lives in New York City. Trump had a cordial relationship with former Gov. Mario Cuomo, Andrew’s late father, that turned sour in the’90s. Trump was briefly mentioned as a possible challenger to Cuomo in the 2014 gubernatorial election.

Any co-operation on infrastructure between Trump and Cuomo could be undermined, however, by their sharp disagreements on most other issues. Cuomo has taken a harder line since their postelection phone call, expressing concerns about what Trump’s election has meant for racial tolerance and immigration. His name was also added to the list of Democrats seen as possible contenders for the White House in 2020.

“That could impact the interaction between the president-elect and the governor,” said Larry Bridwell, international business professor at Pace University. But he added that supporting infrastructure in and around New York City would have one other added benefit for Trump: “It would obviously increase the real estate value of the Trump Organization.”

Several of the projects on New York state’s to-do-list can’t be accomplished without significant federal investment. The Hudson Rail tunnel, which would ease congestion on busy commuter rail lines coming from New Jersey, is expected to cost $20 billion. New York and New Jersey have agreed to pay for half of the work, with the federal government on the hook for the remaining $10 billion.

Amtrak CEO Wick Moorman said Wednesday at a packed Penn Station that he is hopeful about Trump’s talk on infrastructure, especially because of the need for another Hudson River tunnel.

“We have two. They’re a hundred-plus years old. They have to be rehabilitated. We’re out of space in the station, we’re out of space in the tunnels, we have hundred-year-old bridges on both sides of Manhattan,” he said. “So there’re huge projects like that and we’re very optimistic that if there’s money for infrastructure a lot of these basic needs are going to be addressed.”

Federal support is also vital to maintaining the state’s drinking water and sewer systems, which will need an estimated $80 billion in repairs, replacements and upgrades over the next two decades.

Power Corp. appoints Levasseur president of La Presse, Crevier remains publisher

MONTREAL – The owner of La Presse has appointed a new president for the Montreal-based news organization, which discontinued most of its print editions early this year in a shift to primarily digital media.

Pierre-Elliott Levasseur, who is currently La Presse’s chief operating officer, will succeed Guy Crevier.

Prior to joining La Presse in 2006, Levasseur worked for Power Corporation of Canada (TSX:POW), which owns La Presse through its Gesca subsidiary, from 1995 to 2006.

Under Crevier, who became Gesca’s president as well as president and publisher of La Presse in 2000, the newspaper discontinued its weekday print editions as of Jan. 1.

Crevier will remain publisher and become vice-chairman of the board.

Gesca is part owner of The Canadian Press, through an agreement with a subsidiary of The Globe and Mail, and the parent of the Toronto Star.

Trailer Park Boys to be brand ambassadors for N.B. medical marijuana producer

MONCTON, N.B. – Some of Canada’s most notorious dope-smoking louts will be brand ambassadors for a New Brunswick marijuana producer.

OrganiGram Holdings Inc. (TSX:OGI) says TV’s Trailer Park Boys have chosen the Moncton company as their exclusive Canadian cannabis producer, business partner and brand developer.

OrganiGram, a licensed producer of medical marijuana, says it will work with the Trailer Park Boys’ production company to develop branding and packaging targeted toward recreational users.

Ray Gracewood, chief commercial officer at OrganiGram, says the arrangement is one of the company’s key “strategic building blocks” as it plans for the impending liberalization of marijuana laws.

The company did not reveal the financial value of the five-year deal.

Louis Thomas, president of Sonic Entertainment Group, says they had been watching developments around marijuana legalization and felt OrganiGram was a good partner.

The federal government has promised to introduce marijuana legislation next spring, and a committee report on the process is expected at the end this month.

B.C.’s powerhouse economy must help the 1 in 5 kids living in poverty: report

VANCOUVER – A advocacy group for children and youth in British Columbia says one in every five children in the province lives in poverty.

The 2016 report from First Call: BC Child and Youth Advocacy Coalition says that number rises to more than 50 per cent of children in single-parent families.

The study says poverty among children has dropped marginally in B.C. by 0.6 per cent since the group’s last report card last year, but more than 163,000 youngsters are still growing up poor.

B.C.’s economy is currently among the strongest in the country and First Call co-ordinator Adrienne Montani is calling for a provincial plan to help young and vulnerable residents.

She says most impoverished children have a working parent, so key recommendations of the report card focus on raising the minimum wage and welfare rates, providing affordable housing and daycare, and setting a living wage — pegged at about $20 an hour in Vancouver.

In response to the report, Children’s Minister Stephanie Cadieux says in a statement that the B.C. government’s steady approach to reducing poverty is working with targeted supports and more affordable housing, helping to cut the number of people living on low income by 27 per cent since 2006.

ACE Aviation to wind up by mid-2017 after distributing final $6.7 million cash

MONTREAL – ACE Aviation Holdings, the former parent company of Air Canada, says it expects to wind up its operations in the first half of 2017.

The Montreal-based firm says its only remaining assets, about $6.7 million of cash, should be distributed to shareholders before it dissolves.

It distributed $12 million in June as part of a voluntary liquidation process approved by the Quebec Superior Court in 2012.

Created in 2004 following Air Canada’s emergence from creditor protection, ACE Aviation held the airline’s business units.

Loyalty program Aeroplan (TSX:AIM) was spun off in June 2005, followed by Jazz air service in February 2006 and Air Canada (TSX:AC) in November 2006.

Maintenance and overhaul operations were sold in late 2007.

The moves and sale of assets resulted in the distribution of more than $4.5 billion of proceeds to shareholders.

Program trains young garbage collectors amid US shortage

OAKLAND, Calif. – Like most little boys, Corey Lever liked trucks and his favourite was always the garbage truck.

He loved to watch it roar down his Oakland street, grabbing the cans and dumping the trash into its rear compartment.

After graduating from high school, he bounced between jobs, working for various large companies and attending community college, but nothing was a good fit for the energetic, outdoors-loving guy. He tried to become a garbage collector on his own but didn’t get hired.

Then he heard about a new partnership between Waste Management of Alameda County Inc., Oakland Civicorps and unions that gives young adults — often high school dropouts from low-income communities — a chance to become teamster drivers after two years of training.

“It’s the only city garbage franchise agreement in the country to include a non-profit job training program,” said Civicorps Executive Director Alan Lessik.

The job-training program comes at a good time for an industry struggling to find drivers.

The American Trucking Association says a shortage of qualified applicants with a commercial driver’s license has more than doubled since 2011. Its latest annual report says the nation was short roughly 48,000 drivers last year, with projections of a higher shortage in years to come.

The shortfall has become more apparent as the economy picks up, said Barry Skolnick, Waste Management’s area vice-president for Northern California and Nevada.

“If commercial construction picks up, there are more houses, and (when) routes get bigger, we need to hire more drivers,” he said. “It’s really being driven by the economy. It’s a great job with great benefits.”

Apprentices work full time collecting organics from commercial businesses in Oakland.

Last year, Civicorps created six apprenticeships in partnership with Waste Management that can lead to lucrative jobs with the teamsters and unions as well as non-union administrative jobs.

Truck driver apprentices earn $20 an hour, and after two years they are eligible for union jobs earning $70,000 annually while working toward a pension, Lessik said.

“This job is environmentally friendly, and I’m doing something that kids look up to,” said Lever, now 25 and finished with his first year of training. “I couldn’t get there by myself, and they helped me get there.”

Even getting up at 2:45 a.m. and dealing with maggots — and worse — on the job doesn’t seem to bother Lever.

“I am thankful that they gave me this opportunity to do something I wanted to do,” he said.

Will Montolla was once a high school dropout headed toward Oakland gang life, but says the program changed his life.

“I was in the streets doing bad things,” he said.

Montolla had run-ins with law enforcement and says he wasn’t looking to get a job. He envisioned a future in prison or dead. “I made some real dumb decisions. All I was trying to be was the toughest street kid around.”

Montolla is now 28 and a father. Through Civicorps, he earned a high school diploma and entered the truck-driving training program.

“It’s hard work and physically demanding,” he said. “You are always watching out for cars and kids and people crossing the street, but I’ve learned how to work really hard.”

That determination has not gone unnoticed.

Operations Manager Hector Abarca earned his high school diploma through Civicorps more than 20 years ago and has a good-paying job that supports his four children. He’s been impressed with Lever and Montolla.

“They’ve definitely set the bar high,” he said. “The next guys who go over there have big shoes to fill.”

Civicorps Recycling runs five routes, serving more than 800 commercial accounts, including the University of California, Berkeley, Oakland International Airport, Mills College and the Oakland Unified School District. It also serves more than 750 small businesses in Alameda County.

“It’s really cool to watch these young adults enjoy what they are doing and get past anything that happened to them before,” said Skolnick, of Waste Management. “It’s a great win-win for them and for us and for Civicorps, and a win-win for the city of Oakland.”

ON THE LEFT: Canada regulations challenging business – Nation News


Is the viability of Barbados’ international business sector under threat?


The economically important international business and financial services sector faces risks in light of heightened global concerns. Growth in the sector – which is second in importance after tourism – has been stagnant since the onset of the global financial crisis because of regulatory changes in other jurisdictions, mainly Canada, which is the source of much of Barbados’ offshore business.

From 2001-2008, direct employment in the sector nearly doubled, from about 2 000 to over 4 000, the majority of which were locals.

The sector also became an important part of the tax base, with its contribution to Government revenues rising from 12 to 34 per cent over the same period, a 229 per cent increase from 2001 to 2007 (the peak in tax earnings), or about 22 per cent per annum.

While the global financial crisis reduced earnings and increased uncertainty, legislative changes in Canada would appear to be a key factor in the sector’s stagnation in more recent years.

Canadian companies account for approximately 80 per cent of all the business conducted in the international business and financial services sector.

Hence, changes in Canadian legislation have a particularly strong impact on it.

Two significant changes have occurred: In 2007, Canada extended its favourable “exempt surplus” tax treatment of foreign affiliates in tax-treaty countries to all jurisdictions that sign tax information exchange agreements (TIEAs).

Prior to this, Barbados had been the main destination for Canadian business investment, but the changes made other jurisdictions with lower or no taxes and a TIEA more attractive.

In response, Barbados reduced its taxation rates to remain competitive, lowering the top marginal tax rate on international business companies from 3 per cent to a range of rates from 0.25 per cent to 2.5 per cent in 2012 and 2013.

As of January 1, 2015, the Canadian government strengthened the integrity of exemption under its foreign accrual property income regime to limit the erosion of its tax base, thereby reducing the benefit of holding companies in Barbados and other favourable tax jurisdictions.

This also impacted the trust sector, which had been one of the island’s growth areas.

As a result of the Canadian legislative changes, combined with developments following the global financial crisis, such as advanced economies’ concerns over tax compliance and increased scrutiny of offshore banking centres in general, growth of the IBFS has been stagnant.

Employment has remained relatively stable since 2009 and the number of registered companies has remained at around 4 000.

Moreover, direct Government revenues have significantly declined, from $356 million in 2007 to $97 million in 2013. This represents a loss of about three per cent of GDP.

Growth prospects remain clouded.

While the sector continues to be the second most important, global competition from other offshore jurisdictions, as well as efforts from advanced economies to reduce tax arbitrage, remain challenges.

Most recently, withdrawal of correspondent banking relationships, or more broadly, “de-risking” is creating new uncertainty.

The Government continues to support the industry, including with its effort to sign double taxation agreements (18 since 2010), as well as to reform business practices and legislation, to remain competitive.

Canadian business leaders call for ‘bold leadership’ on carbon pricing – BNN

Bruce Cheadle, The Canadian Press

OTTAWA — Canadian corporate executives whose companies together employ more than a million people are urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the premiers to press ahead with collective climate action, including …

Canada may ban farm pesticide imidacloprid because it harms midges, mayflies –

WINNIPEG, Manitoba • Canada may ban an insect-killing chemical used to protect crops because it harms aquatic bugs, including midges and mayflies, while the government continues to investigate whether imidacloprid poses a risk to bees.

Imidacloprid, made by Bayer AG, should be phased out within five years, the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) said on Wednesday.

Imidacloprid is part of a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids, also called neonics, that are applied as a seed treatment or sprayed on plants’ leaves. Neonics have drawn scrutiny in recent years after research pointed to risks for honey bees, which have been in serious decline in North America, possibly due to pesticides, loss of habitat and climate change.

The European Union limited use of neonics, including imidacloprid, two years ago. There is no such ban anywhere in North America yet, said Scott Kirby, director general of environmental assessment at PMRA.

Bayer, the biggest imidacloprid manufacturer, is “extremely disappointed” in the decision, said Bayer Canada Vice President Derrick Rozdeba, in a statement.

“Canadian growers value imidacloprid due to its efficacy, safety to applicators and favorable environmental profile, when used according to label instructions,” he said.

The recommendation is a surprise, said Dave Carey, manager of government affairs and policy at Canadian Seed Trade Association, whose members include seed suppliers Syngenta AG and Monsanto Co.

“There are always concerns when a product that companies and growers rely on is taken off the market,” Carey said.

Monsanto treats most of its soybean varieties with imidacloprid, spokeswoman Trish Jordan said.

Ron Bonnett, president of Canadian Federation of Agriculture, said phasing out the chemical may not cause problems for farmers because other neonics are still available.

“I don’t see a lot of red flags right now,” he said.

The government will now hold a consultation period on the change before PMRA makes its final decision next year.

The regulatory agency is also reviewing two other neonics, clothianidin and thiamethoxam.

The move was greeted with cautious optimism by Canadian beekeepers, who have been concerned about a possible link between neonics and spikes in bee deaths.

Phasing out imidacloprid may result in fewer bee deaths, but it depends on what chemicals farmers replace it with, said Rod Scarlett, executive director of Canadian Honey Council.

Environmental Defence, an activist group, said the decision is welcome, but the phase-out is unnecessarily long.  

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