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By William Marsden November 22


Section grower Morgan Blenk sorts marijuana plants at Tweed Marijuana Inc. in Smiths Falls, Ontario, on March 19, 2014. (Blair Gable/Reuters)

MONTREAL — It’s been a wild ride for Canada’s marijuana companies, whose stocks enjoyed an exhilarating high in recent days before mellowing out.

Last week, marijuana stocks suddenly skyrocketed, leaving market analysts bewildered. The enormous upswing in stock prices was even more amazing given that the government is giving every indication it plans to go slow in its promise to legalize recreational marijuana use — a move that the government estimates would unleash a $5 billion to $7 billion Canadian industry.

Stock in the largest marijuana company, Canopy Growth Corp., leapfrogged last Wednesday to a high of $17.86, from $9.75 Canadian. The increase happened so fast that the Toronto Stock Exchange issued four stop-trading orders during the day after the stock rose more than 10 percent in five minutes. More than 24 million shares traded that day.

The trading drove the company’s market cap to more than $2 billion Canadian even though its most recent quarterly financials showed total revenue of only $8.5 million.

Canada’s other four publicly traded pot stocks also showed large increases, but nothing like front-runner Canopy.

While the increases may have gotten a boost from pot legalization votes in four U.S. states, Neal Gilmer, a marijuana stock analyst for Mackie Research Capital in Toronto, said nothing in the fundamentals accounts for the sudden upswing — which was followed days later by a drop back to more normal levels.

“There is no fundamental change in the outlook for the industry,” he said. “It’s obviously just a sign that there is a lot more interest. There’s more buying and selling that drove the prices up, no one particular event.”

The price increases come a few weeks before the Canadian government’s nine-member Task Force on Marijuana Legalization and Regulation is scheduled to deliver its report.

Comprised primarily of medical and legal experts who have in the past expressed their support for legalization, the task force has received about 30,000 submissions from groups and individuals and has visited U.S. states such as Colorado and Oregon to study their legislative experiences with marijuana.

The government has promised legislation to legalize marijuana next spring. In Canada, marijuana comes under federal jurisdiction, unlike in the United States, where regulation is shared by the states and federal government. Since 2000, Canadians have been allowed to possess and grow small amounts of pot for medical use. The government began licensing such companies as Canopy Growth in 2014 to grow mass amounts of marijuana to meet a growing demand from patients suffering from diseases that cause chronic pain, seizures and nerve problems.

“The task force will use what it has heard to advise the government on the design of the legislation and the regulatory framework that will include a new system of strict marijuana sales and distribution,” Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould has promised.

Anne McLellan, the task force’s chairwoman and a former Liberal cabinet minister who now is an adviser to a law firm that has pot-related companies as clients, recently stated that she believes the government should tread lightly with legalization.

“One of the things we have learned, or we have heard . . . from states like Washington and Colorado . . . is take your time because it’s much harder to pull something back,” she told the Toronto Star.

She said that she was particularly concerned about packaging in Colorado that makes edible pot resemble candy.

The Canadian Medical Association also has recommended a “go-slow” approach. Although it has not taken a stand on legalization, it said in a recent report to the task force that recreational use of marijuana should be banned for people under 21.

It also recommends that levels of THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in pot, should be restricted for people under 25 because their brains are still developing.

The Canadian Association of Police Chiefs has also recommended a minimum legal age limit but has left the designation to health professionals.

A joint submission to the task force by the Arthritis Society, Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana and the Canadian AIDS Society recommended that regulations would ensure that supplies of medical marijuana held priority over recreational use.

EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that Canopy had never made a profit.

Read more:

Justin Trudeau may have made the best case for legal pot ever

Canada has just approved prescription heroin

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By William Marsden November 22


Section grower Morgan Blenk sorts marijuana plants at Tweed Marijuana Inc. in Smiths Falls, Ontario, on March 19, 2014. (Blair Gable/Reuters)

MONTREAL — It’s been a wild ride for Canada’s marijuana companies, whose stocks enjoyed an exhilarating high in recent days before mellowing out.

Last week, marijuana stocks suddenly skyrocketed, leaving market analysts bewildered. The enormous upswing in stock prices was even more amazing given that the government is giving every indication it plans to go slow in its promise to legalize recreational marijuana use — a move that the government estimates would unleash a $5 billion to $7 billion Canadian industry.

Stock in the largest marijuana company, Canopy Growth Corp., leapfrogged last Wednesday to a high of $17.86, from $9.75 Canadian. The increase happened so fast that the Toronto Stock Exchange issued four stop-trading orders during the day after the stock rose more than 10 percent in five minutes. More than 24 million shares traded that day.

The trading drove the company’s market cap to more than $2 billion Canadian even though its most recent quarterly financials showed total revenue of only $8.5 million.

Canada’s other four publicly traded pot stocks also showed large increases, but nothing like front-runner Canopy.

While the increases may have gotten a boost from pot legalization votes in four U.S. states, Neal Gilmer, a marijuana stock analyst for Mackie Research Capital in Toronto, said nothing in the fundamentals accounts for the sudden upswing — which was followed days later by a drop back to more normal levels.

“There is no fundamental change in the outlook for the industry,” he said. “It’s obviously just a sign that there is a lot more interest. There’s more buying and selling that drove the prices up, no one particular event.”

The price increases come a few weeks before the Canadian government’s nine-member Task Force on Marijuana Legalization and Regulation is scheduled to deliver its report.

Comprised primarily of medical and legal experts who have in the past expressed their support for legalization, the task force has received about 30,000 submissions from groups and individuals and has visited U.S. states such as Colorado and Oregon to study their legislative experiences with marijuana.

The government has promised legislation to legalize marijuana next spring. In Canada, marijuana comes under federal jurisdiction, unlike in the United States, where regulation is shared by the states and federal government. Since 2000, Canadians have been allowed to possess and grow small amounts of pot for medical use. The government began licensing such companies as Canopy Growth in 2014 to grow mass amounts of marijuana to meet a growing demand from patients suffering from diseases that cause chronic pain, seizures and nerve problems.

“The task force will use what it has heard to advise the government on the design of the legislation and the regulatory framework that will include a new system of strict marijuana sales and distribution,” Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould has promised.

Anne McLellan, the task force’s chairwoman and a former Liberal cabinet minister who now is an adviser to a law firm that has pot-related companies as clients, recently stated that she believes the government should tread lightly with legalization.

“One of the things we have learned, or we have heard . . . from states like Washington and Colorado . . . is take your time because it’s much harder to pull something back,” she told the Toronto Star.

She said that she was particularly concerned about packaging in Colorado that makes edible pot resemble candy.

The Canadian Medical Association also has recommended a “go-slow” approach. Although it has not taken a stand on legalization, it said in a recent report to the task force that recreational use of marijuana should be banned for people under 21.

It also recommends that levels of THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in pot, should be restricted for people under 25 because their brains are still developing.

The Canadian Association of Police Chiefs has also recommended a minimum legal age limit but has left the designation to health professionals.

A joint submission to the task force by the Arthritis Society, Canadians for Fair Access to Medical Marijuana and the Canadian AIDS Society recommended that regulations would ensure that supplies of medical marijuana held priority over recreational use.

EDITOR’S NOTE: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that Canopy had never made a profit.

Read more:

Justin Trudeau may have made the best case for legal pot ever

Canada has just approved prescription heroin

(Photo Credit: iStock.com/DragonImages)

Small business is big business in Canada. According to Statistics Canada, small businesses account for 97 per cent of businesses across the country. They contribute about 30 per cent of their respective province’s GDP and employ over 70 per cent of Canada’s total private workforce.

Despite playing such an integral role in this country’s economy, small business are the most susceptible to economic fluctuations – especially those tied to interest rate changes.

“Rate changes have an impact on small businesses because [small businesses] have [fewer] sources of cash and harder times getting money,” says Rudy Fischer, CPA, CMA and business consultant with RK Fischer and Associates.

“Anyone who relies on…any kind of funding will feel the impact of an interest rate increase, particularly if they have a lot of debt.”

StatsCan data released in June 2016 shows that just over half of the small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Canada sought external financing, with more than 80 per cent of start-ups using personal financing to fund their new businesses — that’s a lot of small businesses at mercy of interest rates.   

‘An interest-rate increase comes straight out of profits’

Manufacturers, construction companies and any businesses that  hold a large amount of inventory feel the sting of interest rate hikes the most, because these types of businesses have  upfront costs that can’t be recouped.

“The cost [of an interest rate increase] comes straight out of profits,” says Fischer. 

For example: a construction company buys all the materials for a project in advance, but gets paid for a job when it’s complete. They can’t charge a client more if interest rates change halfway through a build.

Luckily for us, interest rates in Canada are still at rock-bottom lows — with no increase in the forecast.

The same can’t be said for our US neighbours. In late September, US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen announced that a winter rate increase is coming.

Pierre Cléroux, chief economist for the Business Development Bank of Canada, says that a US interest rate increase itself will have little impact on small businesses in Canada, but the downward pressure it puts on our already-volatile Canadian dollar is another matter.

Higher interest rates in the US mean the Canadian dollar may fall, and that’s bad news for businesses that import from the US )and other countries that trade using the greenback), like wholesalers and retailers.

Low loonie highs

Clearly, a low dollar isn’t great for anyone who buys products or services from the US, but it’s good for those who sell to the south – like seafood exporters, car part makers, those who sell professional services and those in the tourist industry.  A low loonie makes it cheaper for other countries to buy our wares. Right now, about 11 per cent of SMEs in Canada export, which accounts for 25 per cent of all our exported goods and services.

A low dollar can also force Canadians to shop locally and encourage Canadian businesses to source local producers. Once shipping and exchange rates are factored into the cost of items from the US, they may be more expensive than products found right here at home.

Despite the unknowns, what-ifs and impacts  interest rate changes,  Cléroux says that now is a good time for small businesses in Canada.

Hungry for deals and an audience with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, a group of Chinese tycoons is preparing for its first trip to Canada, only weeks after a pair of high-profile visits between leaders of the two countries.

The China Entrepreneur Club has been called the world’s most exclusive, its 50 members including billionaires who oversee companies that together amass nearly $600-billion (Canadian) in annual revenue.

On Saturday, the club will launch an eight-day tour that will bring several of its members into rooms with Canada’s political and business elite.

The visit comes as China seeks a new “golden” era with Canada, while its businesses conduct a global hunt for companies and assets.

Last year, Chinese firms invested $118-billion (U.S.) abroad, a tally that is expected to rise rapidly in coming years, amid a quest to procure global innovation that will create new questions about the degree to which countries like Canada are prepared to see high-tech assets fall into foreign hands.

“We want to lubricate the business environment,” said Maggie Cheng, the club’s secretary-general.

Previous visits have taken the club to the United States, Britain, Germany, Australia and elsewhere with a similar strategy: to arrange a series of face-to-face meetings, in hopes of easing suspicions and smoothing the way for future deals.

“Building trust means lowering the costs of trade,” Ms. Cheng said.

Canada is the eighth-largest destination for Chinese overseas spending, but Chinese businesses are eager for more, and the club will visit Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver.

The federal government, which has promised a doubling in trade with China by 2025, has been eager to work with the billionaires. Mr. Trudeau met with the club in Beijing in late August, and is expected to spend 90 minutes with it in Ottawa next Tuesday.

Some of the club’s most recognizable faces, including Alibaba founder Jack Ma, will not be there. The delegation will instead include leaders of companies involved in real estate, digital technology, tourism, railways, private equity and fashion.

They have scheduled time with Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and cabinet ministers in several provinces. They will also meet a raft of corporate leaders, including bank chieftains, tech entrepreneurs and Canada’s own reclusive rich, such as Ron Mannix and Jimmy Pattison.

Conspicuously absent from the agenda, however, are oil executives – or Alberta, once the destination for most of China’s billions. The CNOOC Ltd. takeover of Nexen still stands as one of the largest Chinese acquisitions of a foreign company.

The omission reflects how Chinese companies today are chasing new quarry, pursuing ideas and technology that they can use at home, rather than merely resources and property.

The changing priorities reflect a shift in China itself, where the central government is struggling to move away from rusting industry toward a more creative economy with a lighter environmental footprint.

“Chinese companies are in the midst of major transformation,” said Xu Jinghong, chairman of Tsinghua Holdings, the investment arm of Tsinghua University.

Mr. Xu, who is among those planning to visit Canada, said they “have a growing wish to enter the world, and their pace is growing faster.”

And, he added, “Canada is a good choice to co-operate with.”

But that shift also creates a set of potential problems for Canada, which, after struggling with the sale of oil assets to state-owned companies, will now increasingly have to determine whether it wants its brightest innovations to fall into Chinese hands.

Conservative foreign affairs critic Peter Kent called it a case of caveat venditor, urging the government to exercise caution. He recalled former prime minister Stephen Harper saying, “When we say that Canada is open for business, we do not mean that Canada is for sale to foreign governments.”

One example of the new wave of investments is Tsinghua Holdings, a Chinese technology investor with nearly $7-billion (Canadian) in assets that has already established a beachhead in Canada and is moving to rapidly expand. Last year, Tsinghua-backed firms partnered with Simon Fraser University for a new China Canada Clean Tech Innovation Centre, whose goals include investing Chinese money in Canadian startups.

The centre has already picked up stakes in companies developing electric car charging technology, advanced materials, new kinds of batteries, wind turbines and advances in medical imaging and radiation scanning. It has made other investments in cultural industries, including the musical adaptation of a Chinese play.

Centre president William Li says it acts as a “golden bridge,” bringing Chinese money into the Vancouver tech scene, while also providing Canadian entrepreneurs with new paths into China’s vast market.

Mr. Li hopes to persuade Chinese investors to buy more than Canadian real estate. “If they have the opportunity to invest in a unicorn like Uber, they will be more happy than if they buy a house,” he said.

But in its ambition, the centre is already setting up clashes. It is looking to create a $100-million investment fund by the end of this year, 60 per cent of which it hopes will come from China. For the remainder, it is looking to Ottawa and Victoria, with the idea that governments can commit money that will help pry open wallets in China.

In British Columbia, however, local investors say none of the money from a planned provincial venture capital fund should go to Chinese interests. “That would be the wrong way to go,” said Wal van Lierop, president of Vancouver venture capital firm Chrysalix, citing fears that B.C. money would be put toward investments outside the province. “Venture capital from the B.C. government should not leak away to China,” he said.

Mr. van Lierop said Canada should “really embrace what China can offer” in money and market access. But he said, “Do you have to be careful in dealing with China? Yeah, you should.”

Fears of intellectual-property theft remain.

“We in the Official Opposition would urge prudence and caution in these upcoming talks with major Chinese investors,” Mr. Kent said.

“Prime Minister Trudeau must do due diligence on the investment history of the visiting billionaires … and ensure they are not fronts for Chinese state-owned enterprises. Also, there must be a deep background check on the human rights history of these gentlemen’s businesses.”

China also has a history of using foreign technology to buttress its authoritarian rule, including hardware used to censor the Internet and curb free speech.

Mr. Xu himself has publicly supported government management of the Internet. But asked whether Canadian companies should be wary of exporting savvy to China on human-rights grounds, he demurred. “That’s not something I can talk about,” he said. “I can only promise that any collaboration with Tsinghua Holdings will certainly be used in the marketplace.”

Who’s who in the entrepreneur club

Jiang Xipei

Chief executive officer of Far East Holding Group Co. Ltd., which built an empire on electrical cables, becoming China’s top manufacturer for 18 straight years. It has expanded into pharmaceuticals, the Internet of Things and smart cities. On the Hurun list of China’s richest, ranked No. 358 last year, worth $1.4-billion (U.S.).

Ma Weihua

President and CEO of China Merchants Bank from 1999 to 2013, a time when it expanded from a single location to 900, growing to 50,000 employees in China and listing it on the Shanghai and Hong Kong stock exchanges. China Merchants Bank is today among the world’s top 100, and Mr. Ma has been called one of China’s “most innovative bankers.”

Wang Chaoyong

Founding chairman and CEO of ChinaEquity Group Inc., a venture capital and private equity firm that has invested in Chinese success stories like Baidu, Sohu and Huayi Brothers, as well as international brands like Aston Martin. Its equity value exceeds $3-billion, and last year, Mr. Wang reached No. 793 on the Hurun China rich list, worth $750-million.

Wang Ruoxiong

Chairman of Tentimes Group. Co. Ltd., a property development firm that has been a leader in branding and green housing. No. 947 on last year’s Hurun China list, worth $630-million. A villa he owns has been named one of China’s top-10 luxury homes. In recent years, he has become an outspoken Christian executive. “I am merely a housekeeper of Jesus, assisting him in taking care of the company,” he told the BBC.

Feng Jun

Chairman of aigo Digital Technology Co Ltd. He got his start selling computer keyboards at a tiny profit, and built his company into a major manufacturer of digital cameras, USB flash drives and music players. Corporate revenues of nearly $400-million a year.

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OAKLAND, Calif. & TORONTO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Sungevity, Inc., a technology-driven solutions provider offering high service levels and a broad range of options to residential and commercial solar energy customers, and Solar Brokers Canada, Canada’s largest solar energy reseller generating over 12 MW of business in 2015 throughout the Canadian market, today announced a partnership to market Sungevity Energy Systems to prospective residential customers in the Unites States. Enabled by Sungevity’s industry-leading software technology platform and actively commencing in October 2016, the partnership will cover the U.S. states in which Sungevity currently services residential customers, with an initial focus on California, the nation’s leading state in solar adoption. The deal between Sungevity and Solar Brokers Canada, which will operate as Solar Brokers America in the U.S., links two companies with similar partner-based business models, and who share a mutual focus on providing a high degree of customer service.

“We are excited to continue our rapid growth, and scale our presence in the American solar market,” said J.C. Awwad, Chief Executive Officer, Solar Brokers Canada. “We chose to partner with Sungevity primarily because our complimentary business models create synergy between our two companies. We are confident that this partnership will add value to the marketplace.”

“Our new partnership with Solar Brokers Canada is another proof point that we provide a highly attractive, efficient solution for businesses looking to scale their solar offering,” said Andrew Birch, Chief Executive Officer, Sungevity, Inc. “We are very pleased to join forces with them as they enter the U.S. solar marketplace.”

About Solar Brokers Canada

Solar Brokers Canada Corp. has established itself as an industry leader in the field of residential solar energy solutions in Canada. Having brokered over 12 MW of solar business in 2015, the firm has helped thousands of homeowners adopt solar. Through strategic alliances with top tier partners, Solar Brokers Canada’s focus on quality assurance and project management ensures a professional and industry-compliant installation – every time!

About Sungevity

Sungevity, Inc. is a technology-driven solutions provider, offering high service levels and a broad range of options to residential and commercial solar energy customers. Sungevity’s asset-light business model focuses on value-added in-house services for software platform development, project management and customer experience; this focus is enabled by a strong, scalable network of third-party providers for asset-intensive and/or lower margin provision of hardware, installation services and financing. Sungevity’s disruptive and competitive model delivers greater value directly to customers and, for stockholders, captures immediate financial value at the time of sale. For more information visit www.sungevity.com.

Amazon has launched a streaming music service, but similar to its streaming video services it’s not available in Canada yet.

Starting today, Amazon Music Unlimited will be available to customers in the U.S., bringing its catalog of  ”tens of millions of songs” for $9.99 US a month. The price drops to $7.99 for people who are members of Amazon Prime, the company’s premium service that offers faster delivery times and a growing suite of perks.

Owners of an Amazon Echo smart speaker, meanwhile, can get the service for just $4 a month. Again, that offer doesn’t include Canadians, who are free to pay for Prime membership but don’t get the video and music streaming service that it has come to be synonymous with in the U.S.

Amazon did not reply to a request for comment from CBC News as to if and when the service might be available to Canadians. The company said in a press release it plans to roll out the service in the U.K., Germany and Austria later this year.

The launch comes amid a sea change in the music industry, the streaming side of which is growing quickly. According to data from U.S. ratings firm Nielsen, more than half of people who subscribe to a streaming service do so for an audio service such as Spotify or Rdio— not video, such as Netflix or CraveTV.

Digital downloading is down by almost a quarter, while streaming is up 59 per cent this year compared to last, Nielsen says.

Many streaming services offer similar catalogs of music, which means they are trying to differentiate themselves based on other things, such as ease of use and the ability to work on multiple devices.

“There is definitely room to grow the pie simply because more and more music consumers are choosing this way of accessing their music,” eMarketer analyst Paul Verna said.

When paired with Amazon’s virtual assistant service Alexa, an Echo speaker has voice control and gives the user the ability to search for songs or artists, or even play songs by saying a fragment of the lyrics.

Amazon is using services such as the new Music Unlimited business both as revenue generators but also as a way to get people to sign up for Prime, which might compel them to buy more online. “With Alexa and Echo, Amazon can create a loyal base of users (including its Prime members) who will spend more on its e-commerce website,” research firm Trefis said of the company in a recent note.

Despite the low price for Echo-only subscriptions, Amazon and the labels are likely betting that consumers will be motivated to upgrade so they can listen on more devices, said Ted Cohen, managing partner of TAG Strategic.

“At a certain point you’ll get frustrated and go, ‘Oh, what the heck,’” he said.

MONTREAL – A member of the European Parliament who opposes the Canada-EU free-trade deal has been allowed to stay in Canada after being threatened with expulsion.

Just a few hours before being scheduled to board an Air France flight out of Montreal on Wednesday, Jose Bove found out about the reprieve from the Canada Border Services Agency.

“I’ve just had the customs supervisor on the phone and he told me ‘there’s been a bit of a U-turn in your file,’” Bove told reporters after a news conference.

Bove, who was to pay $200 for the document that will allow him to stay for seven days, will actually leave the country this Saturday.

“Maybe I will also thank the prime minister (Justin Trudeau), who seems to have understood it wasn’t a good idea to stop me from coming here,” Bove said jokingly.

Earlier, he told the news conference he wanted Trudeau to tell him why he was being kicked out of Canada.

“I feel like asking Mr. Trudeau: ‘What’s got into you? And why do you, someone who always wants to come across as the most open person on the North American continent, accept such a situation?’ It is pretty incongruous.

“Is it because the French prime minister, Mr. (Manuel) Valls, who supports the (EU-Canada) free-trade agreement, arrives in Ottawa today? Is it because you (Trudeau) will be in Europe next week to try to sell the deal?”

Bove was detained for several hours at Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport on Tuesday and was allowed to leave the airport on the condition he return Wednesday afternoon.

He says he was told he could not stay in the country because of convictions in France in 2001 and 2002 for incidents in 1999.

One of those incidents targeted a McDonald’s restaurant and the other involved genetically modified organisms.

Bove said he is sure he would have been put on the plane Tuesday night if Air France had another Paris-bound flight.

“If I’m here today (Wednesday)…it’s because there’s only one Air France plane a day going to Paris,” he said. “So thank you Air France for having only one plane.”

A Canadian business group that has been a major proponent of a free trade agreement with Europe fears the accord could be derailed by Belgium at the 11th hour even though the continent’s most powerful leaders are calling it the “good” kind of trade deal.

EU trade ministers vote on Oct. 18 at the European Council on whether to approve the Canada-European Union deal. Belgium’s federal government favours the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, but needs the backing of the country’s three regions to give its formal approval. Lawmakers in the southern Walloon region say they oppose the pact because they fear a flood of farm imports.

“We remain optimistic about the vote on the 18th but is frustrating that not a week goes by without a member state raising some concern – sometimes seemingly out of nowhere – and the fear is that Europe is not seeing the forest for the trees,” said Jason Langrish, executive director of the Canada Europe Roundtable for Business.

Subscribers: Europe’s trade test: Can its leaders sell the Canada deal?

Globe editorial: It’s tough to win over a couple of dozen EU countries at a time

Other European Union member states, including Austria, Slovenia, Hungary and Romania, have signalled they are uncomfortable with or opposed to the existing Canada-EU deal.

“They are focusing on local interests and not recognizing that if they vote No, this could effectively kill the EU’s trade agenda,” Mr. Langrish, whose organization represents Canadian and European companies. He said he hopes deal-making behind the scenes will temper Belgian opposition.

“It appears there could be some horse trading going on to secure votes, but, yes, we are at the same time concerned, because we need [Belgium’s vote] for the agreement,” Mr. Langrish said.

The Canada-EU deal would eliminate duties on tens of thousands of products, covering more than 95 per cent of everything Canada now sells to Europe, and dismantle many non-tariff barriers to commerce. It would give Canada-based auto assemblers and beef and pork producers significant access to EU markets.

Expert opinion is divided on whether a country such as Belgium will thwart the vote. The European Council’s decisions are usually made by consensus. A Canadian official speaking on background on Tuesday suggested countries could abstain rather than disrupt a consensus.

A spokeswoman for the European Union’s delegation in Canada confirmed on Tuesday the decision will be made on a consensus basis.

The Canadian government is dispatching an envoy to the Walloon region to speak to local government leaders this week. David Lametti, parliamentary secretary to the Minister of International Trade, already in Europe to promote CETA, is journeying to southern Belgium to meet with regional representatives. He met with legislators from Walloon’s parliament in Canada last weekend.

Brussels and Ottawa have long expected to clinch the CETA deal this month. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to travel to Europe at the end of October to sign it. The three-step approval starts with the EU Council, and continues with a vote by the 751-member European Parliament by late 2016 or early 2017.

Once it passes the EU Parliament, a 2017 implementation date would be set and the agreement would go into effect on what is called a provisional basis. Each country would have to ratify the deal, and the 10 per cent or so of it that is under national purview in each member would come into force after each state issues its own approval.

Asked if it is confident the deal is on track, International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland’s office said: “Canada is working hard with its European partners so CETA can be signed in October and implemented next year.” It pointed out that Ms. Freeland has been in Europe to talk up the agreement and has twice been to Belgium for meetings with national leaders. The minister also recently visited Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern.

France’s Prime Minister, Manuel Valls, arrives in Canada on Wednesday for meetings with Mr. Trudeau that will include talks on CETA. He expressed optimism, but offered no guarantees.

In an interview with The Globe and Mail, he said France will work to have the deal signed on schedule, along with the EU’s other largest nation, Germany, and the European Commission in Brussels. “Listen, if France and Germany provide the drive, with the European Commission – [European Commission President] Jean-Claude Juncker said it himself again, in the name of the commission – the impetus, in my opinion, will be strong and convincing,” he said.

After Brexit, and a backlash against a planned trade pact between the EU and the United States, France’s government is highlighting the agreement with Canada as a balanced package Europeans can accept.

“We can say there are good agreements – Canada. And there are others that are bad, so we cannot sign those ones,” Mr. Valls said. “But when they are good, when they are useful to both parties, we must move forward.”

In Europe, the political left of Germany and Austria have expressed opposition to investor-state mechanisms that allow companies to sue governments – in particular, raising fears of an agreement that would allow U.S. firms to fight national regulations for the environment or other areas before arbitrators.

Mr. Valls noted that Canada accepted the idea of establishing a public court to handle such matters, and argued that such commitments respond to the concerns expressed in places like Germany and Austria. He also noted Canada agreed to recognize France’s agricultural geographic indicators – the regional labels applied to products like cheese or wine that can only be used by goods from that area – but the United States did not.

With a report from Reuters

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MONTREAL – Molson Coors wants to offer Canadians a wider selection of imported beers after closing its US$12-billion acquisition of Miller brands that makes it the third-largest global brewer.

Several craft and mainstream brands from the United States and Europe — including Leinenkugel, Miller High Life, Sharp’s, Staropramen and Franciscan Well — could make their way onto store shelves next year, Molson Coors CEO Mark Hunter said.

Meanwhile, Canadian craft beers like Creemore and Granville Island could be exported to the large American market.

“It’s potentially going to be a two way street,” Hunter said in an interview.

“We’re doing all of our planning right now for 2017 so you’d expect to see some of these emerge in our portfolio once we get probably into the spring of 2017 so they’re there for peak selling time.”

The Denver and Montreal-based brewer (NYSE:TAP) has acquired SABMiller’s 58 per cent stake in MillerCoors, a U.S. joint venture formed in 2008.

It also gained the international rights to Miller brands and royalty-free U.S. licences for SABMiller import and license brands including Peroni, Pilsner Urquell, Fosters and Redd’s.

The transaction stemmed from Labatt parent company Anheuser-Busch InBev’s blockbuster US$107-billion takeover of SABMiller that gave it about 31 per cent of the global beer market.

To avert regulatory concerns, InBev agreed to the Miller deal with Molson Coors.

Molson Coors expects the doubling in size will reduce ingredient and administrative costs while a more integrated North American network will make its supply chain more efficient.

Part of that comes from using its Canadian facilities, for example, to brew and sell beers into the U.S. market, something that wasn’t possible under the MillerCoors joint venture.

Hunter said any changes will emerge by the end of 2017 or early 2018. Its new facility in British Columbia is expected to open by the end of 2018 while it is a few months away from announcing its modernization plans for Montreal.

“As we look at the footprint for that (B.C.) facility we want to make sure that it meets the needs of Canada and potentially some of the U.S. market, if required,” he added.

The increased size will help offset sluggish North American beer sales while also closing the large operating margin gap with InBev, Hunter said.

Industry analyst Brittany Weissman of Edward Jones said there’s no reason Molson Coors can’t close the gap.

“If they can close even a small piece of that gap we think that that represents a strong earnings growth story and so we think that there’s a lot of levers and things they can do by simplifying the structure of this business,” she said from St. Louis.

While Molson Coors focus over the next two to three years will be to reduce its debt, Weissman anticipates the company will eventually boost its dividend and could pursue more acquisitions following a “cooling-off period.”

Nadia Matos, CTV Kitchener
Published Tuesday, October 11, 2016 3:23PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, October 11, 2016 7:06PM EDT

For the first time, residents of Six Nations of the Grand River can now get a double-double and a box of Timbits without travelling too far.

The first full-service Tim Horton’s officially opened today, at its new location on Chiefswood Road in Oshweken.

Carmel Bomberry was at the ribbon cutting ceremony, she likes that it will bring jobs into the area, she also likes the idea of a coffee shop nearby.

“I think it’s perfect, when I need to get time away from home I can just go around the corner instead of going into town,” says Bomberry.

The Chiefswood location is Canada’s first, native owned Tim Horton’s on native territory.

The coffee shop has been open for about a week now and has hired 61 native employees.

Co-owner Landon Miller says he has been working on getting the store open for about seven years.

“It’s been extremely busy. The community obviously was waiting for it and they supported us from day one,” said Miller.

Now that it’s finally up and running Miller said it’s a proud day for him.

“So far this is just our way of giving thanks and appreciation through our learning curve and hopefully we can move forward with providing a service that everybody expects from Tim Horton’s,” said Miller.

In Six Nations territory, only people from Six Nations can own property.

Miller says the biggest obstacles to overcome were land ownership and taxation.

“I’m in six nations so I have to follow six nations governing bodies both confederacy and elected, so that was one aspect that needed to be addressed and I’m happy to say was met,” says Miller.

Anyone buying coffee or food at this store won’t pay provincial sales tax, making your coffee or meal eight percent cheaper.

Hockey Star Ted Nolan is the shops co-owner.

He says growing up in Garden River Ontario all they wanted was an opportunity.

“The best thing about this is that we are creating economic growth.
There is nothing better than a young person having a job and learning how to work, that’s the bottom line, is that the more work we can create the healthier or communities are going to be,” says Nolan.

Six Nations of the Grand River elected Chief Ava Hill says they are open to the possibility of bringing in more popular franchises to the Six Nations community

“I think it’s excellent and I think it’s going to help boost our economy and it’s going to be good and maybe help bring more people to our community as well,” says Hill.

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