Hurting Canada’s reputation – Castanet.net

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

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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,…

Canada looks to buy 18 Super Hornet jets on interim basis

TORONTO – Canada’s defence minister said Tuesday the country will enter into discussions with the United States and Boeing to buy 18 Super Hornet jet fighters on an interim basis and will hold an open competition to buy more planes over the next five years.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said Tuesday they need an interim fleet to replace Canada’s aging fleet of CF-18s.

Sajjan said Canada remains part of Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program. The government previously said it would honour its campaign pledge not to buy the next generation F-35 fighter from Lockheed Martin’s troubled program. Canada had previously talked about buying 65 jets from the program, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said he wants a cheaper option.

The F-35 is the Pentagon’s most expensive weapons program, aiming to replace a wide range of existing aircraft for the U.S. and several partner countries.

Judy Foote, Canada’s Minister of Public Services and Procurement, said they have a sense of what the cost will be for the 18 Super Hornets, but won’t know for sure until negotiations. Foote said the duration of the open competition for the remaining planes will take five years.

The government said the interim addition of 18 Super Hornets is needed to meet its NATO and North American defence obligations. The current fleet of planes is 77, down from 138.

“We have a capability gap,” Sajjan said.

Australia bought 24 Super Hornet fighters to replace antiquated F-111 jets until newer F-35s were ready.

Denmark recently announced it would buy 27 F-35 jets, which are equipped with radar-evading technology. If approved by the Parliament, Denmark would be become the 11th NATO country to buy the jet.

The United States plans to spend close to $400 billion to buy nearly 2,500 F-35s for the Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps.

Carbon price won’t be determining factor for oilsands development: report

CALGARY – A new report says putting a price on carbon won’t likely affect oilsands development plans if the price of oil rises above US$60 a barrel.

TD Bank economist Dina Ignjatovic said that’s the estimated minimum price oilsands companies need to go ahead with their projects, and if it’s reached then the extra cost of a carbon tax likely won’t sway a decision.

If the price of oil stays below US$60 a barrel then the picture becomes murkier, said Ignjatovic, as advances in productivity and cost reduction would also need to be achieved and factored into any decision.

Ignjatovic noted that Alberta’s proposed carbon tax system would reward low-emissions oilsands producers and penalize high-emission projects, with Alberta Environment and Parks estimating most projects would see costs per barrel getting between 50 cents cheaper and 75 cents more expensive with carbon pricing.

The announcement of a federally-mandated carbon tax brings more uncertainty, since it pushes the price of carbon higher than what Alberta’s proposing by 2021, said Ignjatovic.

But even still, she said if the structure of the province’s carbon tax is followed, it shouldn’t be a driving force in rejecting a project, with the price of oil, more pipelines and greater efficiencies the key factors for project approval.

Drill, baby, drill? Election reignites offshore-oil debate

The controversy over drilling for oil in the Atlantic Ocean has been reignited by the election of Donald Trump, and environmentalists and coastal businesses say it could be the first major fault line that divides them from the new president.

The Obama administration has moved to restrict access to offshore oil drilling leases in the Atlantic, as well as off Alaska. Commercial oil production has never happened off the East Coast — and environmentalists consider that a major victory during Obama’s tenure.

But President-elect Trump has said that he intends to use all available fuel reserves for energy self-sufficiency — and that it’s time to be opening up offshore drilling.

While supporters say that expanded oil exploration is poised to become one of Trump’s signature accomplishments, environmentalists and other opponents see oil drilling policy as a looming conflict. Jacqueline Savitz, vice-president of the ocean conservationist group Oceana, said she fears a return to the hard-fought struggles environmentalists faced with the previous Republican administration.

“We’re hoping we’re not about to fall back into the ‘drill, baby, drill’ way of thinking,” she said. “Offshore drilling in the Atlantic is not a good investment.”

The American Petroleum Institute, a key voice of the oil and gas industries, has long said more aggressive drilling is needed for the U.S. to remain a world leader in energy production. The group accused Obama in May of lacking a long-term “vision” for fossil fuels extraction; its leaders say that Trump’s presidency represents a new dawn and that they intend to hold him to his word about fossil fuels.

“As a candidate, President-elect Trump pledged to pursue an energy approach that would include opening federal lands for oil and gas production including offshore areas,” said institute spokesman Michael Tadeo.

Early signs suggest Trump will make good on his plans for more aggressive drilling.

One of his favourites to lead the Environmental Protection Agency is Myron Ebell, director of the Center for Energy and Environment at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and a prominent rejecter of the scientific consensus on climate change. He is a longtime ally of the petroleum industry and a critic of the agency he would lead.

Trump’s favourites for energy secretary include Oklahoma oil billionaire Harold Hamm and drilling proponent Rep. Kevin Cramer of North Dakota.

The Trump transition team did not respond to requests for comment. Trump has said that it’s “incredible that we’re going slow on drilling,” and that he supports coastal drilling when it “can be done responsibly.”

Trump’s stance threatens to put a political promise ahead of science, said Cascade Sorte, a professor of biology with a focus on marine systems at the University of California, Irvine.

“I’m concerned there might not be the data that we need about what we’re destroying before we destroy it,” she said.

The Gulf of Mexico is the main offshore area that the U.S. plumbs for oil and gas. But in March 2010, Obama’s administration released a report that said the Gulf alone can’t be expected to meet increasing energy demands. The report included the possibility of opening up offshore Virginia for oil and gas exploration, and the administration signalled leases in the middle and southern East Coast were possible.

The plan got immediate pushback from environmental groups, who feared it would damage ecosystems. A month later, the Deepwater Horizon explosion in the Gulf of Mexico put a hold on plans for expanding drilling.

Environmentalists say any attempt to reverse Obama’s restrictions on Atlantic and Alaskan drilling would galvanize resistance, as happened after the Gulf spill — and before that, following the 1969 Santa Barbara, California, oil spill and the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil tanker disaster in Alaska.

“If President-elect Trump tries to undo any of those measures, he will be rejecting both science and the people and he will meet opposition,” said Greenpeace spokesman Perry Wheeler.

Democratic senators on both coasts have called for Obama to block any possibility of Pacific or Atlantic drilling before Trump takes office.

Many Alaska officials strongly back opening the Beaufort and Chukchi seas in the U.S. portion of the Arctic Ocean to drilling. But Obama’s administration last week announced a five-year offshore drilling plan that blocks the sale of new oil and gas drilling rights there.

The administration also has announced the Atlantic would not be included in the next round of offshore oil leases, available from 2017 to 2022. Connie Gillette, who oversees leases for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, said that for now, the soonest any leases could be offered is 2023 to 2028.

Among those opposed to Atlantic drilling is Rep. Mark Sanford, a South Carolina Republican, who says his opposition dovetails with the conservative value of local control, including of natural resources. He said he is waiting for Trump to settle in before engaging him on the issue.

Many coastal business owners and residents have taken stands against Atlantic drilling, saying it would endanger key industries, such as commercial fishing and tourism. Frank Knapp, a South Carolina businessman who is the co-founder of the 12,000-member Business Alliance for Protecting the Atlantic Coast, said they’ll fight any attempts to drill once Trump takes over.

“I don’t know what his personal convictions are, but I do know … a Republican Congress wants to drill every place they can, including off the Atlantic Coast, and we’re very concerned that they will push Trump to accomplish that,” he said.

Tesla Motors officially owns solar panel installer SolarCity

PALO ALTO, Calif. – Tesla Motors now owns the nation’s largest solar panel installer.

Tesla’s deal to acquire SolarCity Corp. closed Monday morning.

Shareholders of both companies approved the deal last week by wide margins.

The all-stock deal valued SolarCity at $2 billion based on Tesla’s closing stock price Friday. It was worth $2.6 billion when Tesla and SolarCity announced the agreement in August, but their share prices have dropped since then.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk — who is also chairman of SolarCity — wants to sell solar panels through Tesla’s stores. Customers can buy them to power their homes and charge their Tesla electric vehicles.

Musk says the companies’ first joint product — solar roof tiles that look like traditional tiles — should be ready for installation by next summer.

Tesla Motors officially owns solar panel installer SolarCity

PALO ALTO, Calif. – Tesla Motors now owns the nation’s largest solar panel installer.

Tesla’s deal to acquire SolarCity Corp. closed Monday morning.

Shareholders of both companies approved the deal last week by wide margins.

The all-stock deal valued SolarCity at $2 billion based on Tesla’s closing stock price Friday. It was worth $2.6 billion when Tesla and SolarCity announced the agreement in August, but their share prices have dropped since then.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk — who is also chairman of SolarCity — wants to sell solar panels through Tesla’s stores. Customers can buy them to power their homes and charge their Tesla electric vehicles.

Musk says the companies’ first joint product — solar roof tiles that look like traditional tiles — should be ready for installation by next summer.

Liz Weston: President-elect Trump, save the CFPB

Editor’s Note:

This is a weekly personal-finance column provided by the website NerdWallet and distributed by The Associated Press. The opinions contained are those of the columnist alone.

______

Ten years ago, bullies had taken over the playground. Financial service firms preyed on their customers with impunity:

—Lenders made expensive, risky mortgages to people who couldn’t afford to pay the money back.

—Credit card issuers foisted overpriced insurance and other add-on products on millions of unsuspecting customers.

—Credit bureaus ignored evidence submitted by people disputing errors in their credit reports.

—Companies sold delinquent debts to collection agencies that ran amok, violating fair debt collection laws and strong-arming people into repaying debts they didn’t even owe.

People’s complaints fell on deaf ears, since consumer protection wasn’t a priority at any agency. Huge swaths of the credit and debt industries, including credit bureaus, collection agencies and payday lenders, operated with little government oversight.

Then the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau pushed back.

Created by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to repeal, the CFPB launched five years ago to defend the little guy. Now the agency itself needs a strong defender, one who understands that a truly healthy, competitive financial marketplace can’t exist without sensible regulation and enforcement. It’s unlikely to find that defender in Trump.

A SYSTEM RIGGED AGAINST THE CONSUMER

Financial companies fear and loathe the CFPB because it has teeth. In its five-year existence, the bureau:

—Created rules requiring lenders to consider people’s ability to repay a mortgage and curbed their ability to make the risky loans, such as interest-only or negative amortization loans, that set off the financial crisis.

—Ordered lenders that were illegally overcharging service members to refund millions of dollars to their military borrowers.

—Forced multiple credit card issuers — including American Express , Bank of America , Chase and Citibank — to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation to consumers over illegal practices, including unfair billing and deceptive marketing.

—Got the three main credit bureaus to finally update their dispute-processing software so that documents submitted by consumers, such as account statements or receipts, could be forwarded to companies reporting incorrect information.

—Took steps to rein in the debt collection industry, including fining Chase $136 million for selling “zombie debts” to debt buyers that included accounts that were already settled, discharged in bankruptcy or simply not owed.

PROFIT, BUT HONEST PROFIT

It’s no wonder the financial services industry is bent on destroying or at least defanging the bureau. It’s not just the billions of dollars they’ve paid out in fines and restitution. The industry would like to pretend the abuses that led to the Great Recession either didn’t happen or couldn’t happen again. It claims the agency is meddling unnecessarily in its business and thwarting the free market system.

In fact, it was the financial services companies that did their best to thwart the basic tenets of capitalism. Instead of competing based on quality and price, they larded contracts and service agreements with hidden “gotcha” clauses to increase revenue. They lied to customers about what products really cost and signed people up for services they didn’t want. They offered incentives for mortgage lenders and brokers to steer unwitting customers into high-cost loans when the borrowers qualified for safer, low-cost loans.

Just after the CFPB opened its doors, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan became the poster child for financial sector arrogance. Asked to defend a new $5 monthly fee the bank announced it would charge for using a debit card, Moynihan insisted “we have a right to make a profit.” No, actually. Under our system, companies have the right to TRY TO make a profit. That’s a huge difference, since no one has a right to profits that aren’t earned honestly.

And that’s why the CFPB exists: because many financial service companies don’t understand that distinction, and will go to any lengths to make a buck. Without an enforcer to make sure they adhere to the rules that make marketplaces transparent and fair, these companies will run roughshod over consumers.

The CFPB’s sole priority is to make sure the average person gets a fair deal. President-elect Trump, you were elected by those people — people who’ve been bypassed by the economic recovery and run over by Wall Street. If you really had their interests at heart, defending and even strengthening the CFPB would be among your highest priorities.

__________

This column was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website NerdWallet.

Liz Weston is a certified financial planner and columnist at NerdWallet. Email: lweston@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @lizweston.

RELATED LINKS:

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

http://www.consumerfinance.gov/

NerdWallet: 3 strategies to deal with debt collectors

https://nerd.me/3-nerdwallet-finance

Associated Press: Consumer watchdog structure ruled unconstitutional http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_CONSUMER_AGENCY_LEGAL_FIGHT

Liz Weston: President-elect Trump, save the CFPB

Editor’s Note:

This is a weekly personal-finance column provided by the website NerdWallet and distributed by The Associated Press. The opinions contained are those of the columnist alone.

______

Ten years ago, bullies had taken over the playground. Financial service firms preyed on their customers with impunity:

—Lenders made expensive, risky mortgages to people who couldn’t afford to pay the money back.

—Credit card issuers foisted overpriced insurance and other add-on products on millions of unsuspecting customers.

—Credit bureaus ignored evidence submitted by people disputing errors in their credit reports.

—Companies sold delinquent debts to collection agencies that ran amok, violating fair debt collection laws and strong-arming people into repaying debts they didn’t even owe.

People’s complaints fell on deaf ears, since consumer protection wasn’t a priority at any agency. Huge swaths of the credit and debt industries, including credit bureaus, collection agencies and payday lenders, operated with little government oversight.

Then the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau pushed back.

Created by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act that President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to repeal, the CFPB launched five years ago to defend the little guy. Now the agency itself needs a strong defender, one who understands that a truly healthy, competitive financial marketplace can’t exist without sensible regulation and enforcement. It’s unlikely to find that defender in Trump.

A SYSTEM RIGGED AGAINST THE CONSUMER

Financial companies fear and loathe the CFPB because it has teeth. In its five-year existence, the bureau:

—Created rules requiring lenders to consider people’s ability to repay a mortgage and curbed their ability to make the risky loans, such as interest-only or negative amortization loans, that set off the financial crisis.

—Ordered lenders that were illegally overcharging service members to refund millions of dollars to their military borrowers.

—Forced multiple credit card issuers — including American Express , Bank of America , Chase and Citibank — to pay hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation to consumers over illegal practices, including unfair billing and deceptive marketing.

—Got the three main credit bureaus to finally update their dispute-processing software so that documents submitted by consumers, such as account statements or receipts, could be forwarded to companies reporting incorrect information.

—Took steps to rein in the debt collection industry, including fining Chase $136 million for selling “zombie debts” to debt buyers that included accounts that were already settled, discharged in bankruptcy or simply not owed.

PROFIT, BUT HONEST PROFIT

It’s no wonder the financial services industry is bent on destroying or at least defanging the bureau. It’s not just the billions of dollars they’ve paid out in fines and restitution. The industry would like to pretend the abuses that led to the Great Recession either didn’t happen or couldn’t happen again. It claims the agency is meddling unnecessarily in its business and thwarting the free market system.

In fact, it was the financial services companies that did their best to thwart the basic tenets of capitalism. Instead of competing based on quality and price, they larded contracts and service agreements with hidden “gotcha” clauses to increase revenue. They lied to customers about what products really cost and signed people up for services they didn’t want. They offered incentives for mortgage lenders and brokers to steer unwitting customers into high-cost loans when the borrowers qualified for safer, low-cost loans.

Just after the CFPB opened its doors, Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan became the poster child for financial sector arrogance. Asked to defend a new $5 monthly fee the bank announced it would charge for using a debit card, Moynihan insisted “we have a right to make a profit.” No, actually. Under our system, companies have the right to TRY TO make a profit. That’s a huge difference, since no one has a right to profits that aren’t earned honestly.

And that’s why the CFPB exists: because many financial service companies don’t understand that distinction, and will go to any lengths to make a buck. Without an enforcer to make sure they adhere to the rules that make marketplaces transparent and fair, these companies will run roughshod over consumers.

The CFPB’s sole priority is to make sure the average person gets a fair deal. President-elect Trump, you were elected by those people — people who’ve been bypassed by the economic recovery and run over by Wall Street. If you really had their interests at heart, defending and even strengthening the CFPB would be among your highest priorities.

__________

This column was provided to The Associated Press by the personal finance website NerdWallet.

Liz Weston is a certified financial planner and columnist at NerdWallet. Email: lweston@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @lizweston.

RELATED LINKS:

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

http://www.consumerfinance.gov/

NerdWallet: 3 strategies to deal with debt collectors

https://nerd.me/3-nerdwallet-finance

Associated Press: Consumer watchdog structure ruled unconstitutional http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_CONSUMER_AGENCY_LEGAL_FIGHT

CRTC renewing most TV provider licences for one year instead of the usual seven

OTTAWA – The CRTC says it’s renewing the licences of most TV service providers for one year, rather than the usual seven-year term.

The federal regulator says the change will allow it to closely monitor the way companies implement the new TV choices that will be available to customers later this year.

Since March 1, licensed television service providers must offer a basic package priced at no more than $25 a month, not including the cost of equipment.

They must also offer additional channels either individually or in small packages of up to 10 channels.

Starting on Dec. 1, television service providers will have to offer customers the additional channels both individually and in small packages.

The CRTC says the new options will enable Canadians to create their own packages for TV services.

Toronto stock market soars, dollar up, as key commodities rise this morning

TORONTO – The Toronto Stock Exchange is outperforming the major U.S. markets this morning, with resource stocks leading the way.

The S&P/TSX composite index was up 164.28 points points, or 1.1 per cent, at 14,990.37 after nearly two hours of trading. The Canadian dollar was at 74.57 cents US, up 0.57 of a U.S. cent from Friday’s close.

A number of companies in the oil and gas sector and the mining sector were up sharply, including Encana Corp., Precision Drilling and HudBay Minerals.

The January crude contract was up $1.58 at $47.94 per barrel, December natural gas rose 11 cents to US$2.95 per mmBTU and December copper contracts advanced five cents at US$2.52 a pound.

December gold rose $5.10 to US$1,213.80 an ounce.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average rose a minimal 3.12 points to 18,906.94 and the S&P 500 advanced 4.58 points to 2,191.70. The Nasdaq composite rose 12.83 points to just under 5,346.80.

EU plans centre to combat hybrid warfare in Finland

HELSINKI – Finnish officials say the European Union is planning to set up a hybrid threat centre in Finland to combat a growing number of cyberattacks and hybrid warfare, including disinformation and false news sent over social media sites.

Jori Arvonen, a government official in charge EU affairs, said Monday that the United States and 10 EU countries — including Germany, France, Britain, the Baltic countries, and Sweden — are taking part in the venture which was agreed upon last week in Helsinki. The agency will work closely with the EU’s foreign affairs council and NATO, which has several cyber centres.

Arvonen says recent reports indicate that neighbouring Russia and extremist groups have maintained a hybrid influence in Finland.

A final decision on the centre is expected next spring.

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