Kenney wants ‘reprisals’ for blocking Keystone — but what are Canada’s options?


When U.S. President Joe Biden signed an executive order revoking the presidential permit enabling construction of the cross-border Keystone XL pipeline Wednesday afternoon, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney suggested the future of this project could still be up for negotiation, if only the federal government would get tough.

And if U.S. Democrats want to move on and not continue what Kenney called “a constructive and respectful dialogue” about the energy and environmental issues the project raises?

“Then it is clear that the government of Canada must impose meaningful trade and economic sanctions in response to defend our country’s vital economic interests,” he told reporters. “Not doing so would create a dangerous precedent.”

In an interview Thursday with CBC News Network’s Power & Politics, Kenney said he was worried about the precedent that could be set for other pipeline projects if the Americans start retroactively repealing permits.

“The Biden administration refuses to give this country sufficient respect to hear us out on this pipeline. In that policy context then, yes, there absolutely must be reprisals,” he said. “We need to stand up for ourselves.”

WATCH: Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says Ottawa ‘folded’ on Keystone

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says the federal government ‘folded’ in response to U.S President Joe Biden’s decision to revoke the Keystone XL pipeline. 2:14

But what does Kenney mean by “reprisals”? What’s legally possible? And what’s wise, at this point in Canada’s relationship with a new administration?

Let’s start with the most obvious legal path: seeking damages under Chapter 11 of the original North American Free Trade Agreement.

New NAFTA protects ‘legacy investments’ 

After the Obama administration blocked Keystone’s permit, its owner — then called TransCanada — used NAFTA’s investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) process to seek $15 billion in damages.

The company later dropped its case when U.S. President Donald Trump reversed the decision. 

Critics of Chapter 11 proceedings say governments should not be constrained in their ability to regulate in the public interest by the threat of lawsuits from corporate investors.

The new NAFTA tried to address this, with stronger measures on the environment and weaker investor protections.

Canada and the U.S. agreed, however, that their ISDS process would continue for three more years, offering “legacy investors” like TC Energy some continued protection.

Because of its $1.5 billion equity stake, the province of Alberta could join the company’s action and try to recoup its own losses. Kenney told Power & Politics he believes Alberta’s case is strong.

But it isn’t a slam dunk. Both TC Energy and the Alberta government could have anticipated that Trump would lose the election and their permit could be revoked. Democratic pledges to block the pipeline should have factored into their investment risk calculations.

On the other hand, Biden wasn’t deterred by the risk of re-igniting a legal case by re-revoking the permit.

“It does set an unfortunate precedent and possibly even has a cooling effect on this type of investment, so I do think Canada should fight hard for this,” trade lawyer John Boscariol told CBC News.

A settlement that compensates for costs and future lost profits could be pricey for the American taxpayer, but it would not reverse Biden’s decision.

Biden acted on ‘climate imperatives’

Chapter 31 of the revised NAFTA also has a state-to-state dispute settlement process — for the times when one country feels another isn’t keeping its commitments.

The U.S. recently initiated a Chapter 31 consultation on Canadian dairy import regulations. Could this executive order on Keystone trigger a Chapter 31 complaint by Canada?

When President Barack Obama made his move, TransCanada argued that Congress, not the president, has the proper constitutional authority to regulate pipeline projects.

Since Democrats will control both the Senate and the House for the next several years, it’s not clear there’s any point in reviving that argument now.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, right, meeting with Joe Biden in Ottawa in 2016. (Patrick Doyle/The Canadian Press)

Has the U.S. violated anything in the new NAFTA? That’s also unclear, especially since one of the goals of its do-over was to give governments more power to regulate or legislate in areas like the environment.

Biden’s executive order said the pipeline “disserves the national interest” because the U.S. and the world are facing a climate crisis, and domestic efforts to reduce harmful emissions “must go hand in hand with U.S. diplomatic engagement” as it exercises “vigorous climate leadership.”

“Leaving the Keystone XL permit in place would not be consistent with my administration’s economic and climate imperatives,” it said.

Reacting to the executive order, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau didn’t mention any perceived violations of U.S. trade commitments and made no threats.

“While we welcome the president’s commitment to fight climate change, we are disappointed but acknowledge the president’s decision to fulfil his election campaign promise on Keystone XL,” the prime minister said in his statement Wednesday evening.

International Trade Minister Mary Ng’s office said Thursday that stands as the federal government’s official response.

So what about ‘sanctions’?

Punishing countries that threatened American industries was a feature of Trump’s trade policy.

His administration’s use of “national security” as justification for tariffs on sensitive global commodities like steel and aluminum was denounced as an abuse of measures intended only for emergency situations, such as wars. 

Protecting domestic companies from harm may be important politically, but it’s not “urgent” in a way global trading rules allow.

Retaliation is sanctioned as a remedy following the successful arbitration of a dispute. Even then, it’s meant to be proportionate to the damage done.

When the Trump administration was lashing out with tariffs, Canada joined other countries in demanding a return to “rules-based trade.” 

Canada has tried to play a leadership role on reforms to make the World Trade Organization more effective in resolving disputes.

So it’s difficult to imagine the Trudeau government striking back at Biden’s order with sanctions, however strongly Alberta’s premier insists on retaliation.

While Kenney may resent the fact that steel and auto workers were supported with retaliatory tariffs, while oil and gas workers apparently won’t see the same, the United States’ behaviour in the two cases isn’t really comparable. The steel tariffs were condemned as illegal under global trading rules. Biden’s executive order is not.

Any improvised tariffs Canada could consider now would amount to more taxes on Canadian consumers, at a time when the government wants the economy to grow, not recede further. Lashing out in some other tit-for-tat regulatory fashion to harm the U.S. would most certainly be called out and punished.

Trade wars are not — as Trump once famously suggested — easy to win. Particularly with a much-larger neighbour you need to work with on other files.

“We are going to focus on all of the areas of cooperation,” Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau told Power & Politics Wednesday. “When you develop a relationship with somebody, you take into consideration everything, and there are going to be areas where we have a difference of opinion.”



Thank you for dropping by My Local Pages and checking out this story regarding International and Canadian news and updates published as “Kenney wants ‘reprisals’ for blocking Keystone — but what are Canada’s options?”. This story was posted by My Local Pages as part of our local and national news services.

#Kenney #reprisals #blocking #Keystone #Canadas #options



Source link

Canada’s Couche-Tard drops $20 bln Carrefour takeover plan after French govt opposition-sources


Article content continued

The plan included a pledge to keep the new entity’s global strategic operations in France and having French nationals on its board, he said.

Couche-Tard, advised by Rothschild, was also going to pump about 3 billion euros of investments into the French retailer which was working on the deal with Lazard.

The proposal was widely backed by Carrefour which employs 105,000 workers in France, its largest market, making it the country’s biggest private-sector employer.

France’s rejection of the deal less than 24 hours after talks were confirmed sparked grumbling in some business circles over how French President Emmanuel Macron, a former investment banker, is turning away foreign investment.

Some politicians and bankers said the pushback could tarnish Macron’s pro-business image, while others highlighted that the COVID-19 crisis had forced more than one country to redefine its strategic national interests.

WHITE FLAG

Amid a trans-Atlantic flurry of lobbying, Couche-Tard’s Bouchard – who started his convenience store operations in 1980 – flew to Paris to explain the merits of the deal to Le Maire, the source said.

But the finance minister reiterated his opposition without listening to the terms of the transaction and said any such deal should not be revisited before France’s presidential elections in 2022, the sources said.

Couche-Tard initially explored the possibility of pursuing its offer despite the government’s stance on the deal, but later decided to raise the white flag and avoid a political storm, one of the sources said.

Thank you for dropping in and checking this news update involving the latest World Business News items named “Canada’s Couche-Tard drops $20 bln Carrefour takeover plan after French govt opposition-sources”. This news release is presented by MyLocalPages Australia as part of our local news services.

#Canadas #CoucheTard #drops #bln #Carrefour #takeover #plan #French #govt #oppositionsources



Source link

Coronavirus: Quebec doctor’s death by suicide sends shockwaves through Canada’s medical community


The death of a Granby, Que., emergency physician has sent shockwaves throughout the Canadian medical community.

Dr. Karine Dion, 35, who was also the mother of a young son, died by suicide earlier in January. Her family said it was the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic that led to her death.

“Her family and her husband have gone public with this death to let the public know the immense distress that health workers are experiencing on the front lines of this pandemic,” said Dr. Naheed Dosani, a palliative care physician and a health justice activist.

Read more:
25% of Canadians say their mental health is worse than in 1st coronavirus wave: poll

“Throughout this pandemic, our health workers on the front lines, my colleagues, have experienced significant mental stress, losses, trauma, grief, and a burden that is really hard to put in words.”

Story continues below advertisement

The burnout rate of doctors practicing emergency medicine is estimated at around 86 per cent, according to a recent survey by the Canadian Association of Emergency Physicians (CAEP), the national organization representing emergency physicians across the country.

The same survey found “frontline staff will be adversely affected by COVID-19 both during and after the pandemic.”

Read more:
‘A pandemic of its own’: How COVID-19 is impacting mental health

Around 14 per cent of those surveyed had contemplated suicide during their staff career in emergency medicine, and of those physicians almost six per cent had actively considered suicide in the past year.

“We know whenever there’s stress with the added pressure, and the stress becomes prolonged, we feel there is a sense of powerlessness, helplessness. It does increase or can increase the risk for psychological risk conditions, physical risk conditions, and also burnout as well,” explained Dr. Katy Kamkar, a Toronto-based clinical psychologist.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

Dosani said the pandemic has increased the pressure felt by frontline health-care workers exponentially.

“Working in health care on the front lines at baseline is a very stressful proposition and experience for people that stress, that mental anguish, it has doubled, it has tripled, it is exponentially grown,” he said.

Read more:
Canadians reporting higher levels of anxiety, depression amid the pandemic

Story continues below advertisement

“There is so much that health workers are seeing and experiencing and this is leading to a sense of loss and grief that many of us have not experienced before.”

Dosani also said it means “grief circles” are more frequent for himself and his team.

“Our grief circles have doubled in number, we’re having more than ever before because more people are sick and more people are dying than ever before,” he said.

“For many people, what we hear is this is the first time that people have actually had space to just talk. For all the talk about improving people’s health and health care, we spend very little time actually supporting our own around mental health and their resilience and well-being.”

Read more:
Many Canadians dealing with mental health issues due to coronavirus: survey

Dosani said the gatherings have been an answer to this, but he is concerned they are “just scratching the surface.”

He explained a “grief circle” is designed for the health-care team who cared for a patient who has died or after a traumatic event to pause, perhaps light a candle, and reflect.

During the pandemic, the team can meet virtually.

Story continues below advertisement

Dosani said if the mental health of frontline workers is not prioritized now, “we won’t beat COVID-19.”

Read more:
‘We’re at a breaking point’: Addressing mental health during COVID-19

“Our health workers will experience more mental distress, more grief, more loss, more trauma and this will put them in a situation where they won’t be able to better serve our communities. And we don’t want to come through this broken, more broken than we already are,” he said.

Dr. Doris Grinspun, CEO of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO), said the issue of grief and mental health support is not unique to emergency physicians.

“Every time I think about my colleagues in the front lines … it scares me, it frightens me,” she said.

“Hang in there, doctors, nurses, EMS, any person in essential services, teachers included, hang in there.

Read more:
‘We need fuel’: Front-line workers prepare for stress of second wave of COVID-19

“Remember, one out of five people has a mental health illness (and) nurses, doctors, PSWs are no different.”

A friend of Dion started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for her son, Jacob. More than $29,000 was raised as of early Tuesday.

Story continues below advertisement

Donations can also be made to the Canadian Mental Health Association.

If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate help.

For a directory of support services in your area, visit the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention.

Learn more about how to help someone in crisis here.

View link »





© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.



Thank you for visiting My Local Pages. We hope you enjoyed seeing this news article regarding Canadian and Political news published as “Coronavirus: Quebec doctor’s death by suicide sends shockwaves through Canada’s medical community”. This story is presented by MyLocalPages Australia as part of our Australian news services.

#Coronavirus #Quebec #doctors #death #suicide #sends #shockwaves #Canadas #medical #community



Source link

Burning Questions: Will Canada’s most oil-dependent provinces bounce back next year?


Article content continued

The economic shocks to Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador are particularly tough as they came at a time when both provinces were expected to shake off the previous oil-price shock of 2014 and return to substantial growth in 2020, said Robert Hogue, senior economist with RBC.

Hogue doesn’t expect Alberta to recover to pre-pandemic levels of economic activity until 2023 — and even those 2019 levels are a steep drop from a peak in 2014.

“There’s so much frustration and in some cases, people are getting into fairly desperate situations. That frustration is not a surprise given how deep and how long this downturn has been,” Hogue said.

A volunteer packs hampers at the Edmonton Food Bank in April. Photo by David Bloom/Postmedia News files

Saskatchewan, which sits atop a massive light oil formation and is the second largest oil-producing province in the country, also posted a sharp contraction of 4.7 per cent of GDP but is expected to make a full recovery, posting 4.7 per cent real GDP growth, in 2021 thanks in part to its rebounding mining and agriculture sectors, RBC Economics forecasts.

While the worst of the economic downturn is behind Saskatchewan, there are still downside risks in both Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador, which are reflected in the negative trends associated with both provinces’ credit ratings, said Travis Shaw, senior vice-president, public finance at ratings firm DBRS Morningstar.

“We’ll hear the provinces and some economists talk about ‘when is GDP going to return to pre-COVID levels’ but even at that point, when the broader economy returns to pre-COVID levels, provincial finances aren’t going to look like what they looked like in pre-COVID times,” Shaw said.



Source link

Foreign raiders are targeting Canada’s tech, but Ottawa thinks it has an answer


Article content continued

The announcement received little attention at the time, as it was crowded out by bigger spending commitments, nor was it obvious that the money had a specific purpose. But in fact, the commitment was a recognition by the government that the post-COVID merger-and-acquisition scene will be wild, and that Canada could come out a net loser if unprepared.

Bains called the $250 million a “down payment,” suggesting more money is coming. The initial pledge was intended to give him additional flexibility to invest in “IP-rich” companies that might otherwise be claimed by international investors. The additional contribution is too small to allow Bains to become a player in negotiations involving bigger companies such as Verafin, but it might be enough to protect startups that have developed promising innovations, but are still too small to resist takeover.

“We’re focusing a lot of developing IP,” Bains said. “We want to see economic benefits here. That’s why we put money forward in the fall economic statement.”

Bains’s plans will irritate many in Canada’s policy establishment, which tends to disapprove of politicians inserting themselves into conversations between willing buyers and sellers. Balsillie has long accused the Ottawa establishment of putting intellectual purity ahead of recognizing how the world actually works.

The former group, which includes veteran bureaucrats and think-tankers that dictated the federal government’s approach to investment for three decades, appears to be losing the argument. Canada and other countries are getting increasingly comfortable with the idea that the state has a key role to play in the development of the digital economy.

“We were turning the corner,” Bains said, reflecting on how the technology industry has become a driver of investment and economic growth ahead of the pandemic. “We were able to do that because we had a strong industrial policy and innovation and skills plan.”

• Email: kcarmichael@postmedia.com | Twitter: carmichaelkevin





Source link

Provinces should impose tougher COVID-19 restrictions now, Canada’s chief public health officer says


OTTAWA – Canada’s chief public health officer is calling for tougher COVID-19 restrictions to be imposed immediately in many parts of the country as new case numbers continue to rise.

Provinces like Ontario still have hotspots where the epidemic is not under control, Dr. Theresa Tam told reporters in Ottawa on Friday, and the situation threatens to overwhelm critical-care workers.

Tam said provinces need to re-evaluate the measures they have in effect now because case numbers are continuing to grow.

“I believe that in many areas of country, stricter measures should be put in place as soon as possible, given that we’re not seeing this deceleration,” she said.

Tam said the most troubling indicator is hospitalizations and intensive care occupancy “because that is related to something that happened at least two weeks ago.”

She said across Canada, the past week has seen an average of more than 6,650 new COVID-19 cases each day. On Thursday, more than 7,000 new cases were reported.

Canada will record more than 14,000 deaths from COVID-19 through Friday, with 115 deaths now being recorded on an average day.

The grim tally also includes 488, 638 COVID-19 cases in Canada to date, 76,310 of which remain active.

Tam said with ongoing high rates of infection, the number of those most severely hit are rising, with more than 4,000 hospitalizations and 650 Canadians in intensive-care units.

“You can have very stringent restrictive public health measures but the public has to be on board,” she said. “We are still accelerating and we’re still increasing, so that epidemic curve in many parts of the country is not bending.”

She said health officials are “a bit anxious about the holiday period because naturally people want to get together and people want to go shopping.

“Now is not the time to go and get into crowded malls or shops,” Tam said, urging people to look at online deliveries “and other ways of getting your gifts sent to people, maybe virtually.”

Loading…

Loading…Loading…Loading…Loading…Loading…

Her warning was echoed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“We need to take this very seriously as numbers head in the wrong direction,” he told reporters. “Our fight against this virus is not over, even as we’re preparing to say goodbye – and good riddance – to 2020.”

JOIN THE CONVERSATION

Q:

Do you think provinces should impose tougher COVID-19 restrictions? Share your thoughts:

Conversations are opinions of our readers and are subject to the Code of Conduct. The Star does not endorse these opinions.





Source link

Hailstorms, floods and ‘snowmageddon’ make Environment Canada’s top 10 weather stories of 2020


Environment Canada has released its top 10 weather stories of the year, and no part of Canada was spared.

From the record “snowmageddon” in St. John’s in January to an endless hot summer in eastern Ontario and Quebec to the smoke-filled skies over Vancouver, there was no shortage of stories that affected Canadians weather-wise in 2020.

It’s a far cry from the earliest days the list was put together, said Environment and Climate Change Canada’s senior climatologist, David Phillips. 

“I remember one story in the first year was retail sales were pretty good because people actually went to the stores or they sold shovels or garden equipment because of favourable weather, and now, my God, it’s all pretty well misery, hardship and misfortune,” Phillips, who has been compiling the list for 25 years, said. “Now, there’s … never a shortage of extreme exceptional weather.”

Topping the list? A hailstorm that pummelled Calgary, with insurance costs that are estimated to be roughly $1.3 billion.

On June 13, hot and humid air hung over Alberta, triggering severe storms that just strengthened into the evening. At about 7 p.m. local time, temperatures dropped by roughly 5 C, as hail as large as golf balls and tennis balls in some parts dropped on the city.

Wind speeds of up to 70 km/h roared, and the hail broke windows and downed trees. There was widespread flooding as hail drifts of 10 cm piled up, making a June day look more like December. But the damage wasn’t limited to the city: Hundreds of thousands of canola, barley and young canola crops suffered massive damage.

Dee Manning rests on a snow shovel in front of her parents’ house on June 14, the day after the hailstorm in Calgary. Winds reached speeds of up to 70 km/h, and the hail broke windows and downed trees. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

These sorts of weather stories aren’t new to Calgary, Phillips said.

“I can’t imagine doing the top 10 weather stories without mentioning Calgary,” he said. “There’s something about that city — the size of it, the economic aspect of it, the fact that it’s in an area where the weather changes can attack you from every direction … the fact that they’ve had the worst flooding in Canadian history and now they can add another weather superlative to their list.”

The second story of the year was a good news/bad news story: While fewer fires raged across British Columbia compared with 2019, it was the smoke from fires burning in California, Washington and Oregon that hung over the province.

A cyclist rides on the beach in Tofino, B.C., on the west coast of Vancouver Island, as smoke from fires raging in the U.S. hangs over the city. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Phillips said the smoke was so thick in the atmosphere that it even brought temperatures down roughly six to 10 degrees in some places. Special air-quality statements were issued by Environment and Climate Change Canada as the thick smoke hung near the ground.

“There were five consecutive days where every hour in those five days had smoky hours in Victoria and Vancouver,” Phillips said. “It has a direct effect on four million British Columbians.”

Here is the complete list:

  1. Calgary’s billion-dollar hailer 
  2. B.C.’s September skies: All smoke, no fires
  3. The flood of a century in Fort McMurray, Alta.  
  4. Endless hot summer in the east
  5. St. John’s ‘snowmageddon’
  6. Record hurricane season — and Canada wasn’t spared
  7. The year’s most powerful tornado
  8. Frigid spring helps Canadians self-isolate
  9. Fall in Canada: winter in the west and summer in the east
  10. August long-weekend storms: east and west

Stories are about people

The list of about more than just the weather, Phillips said. It’s about people and how they’re affected.

“Why did I select those [stories}? Because they had impacts on people,” he said. “They’re dealing with pandemic at the same time they’re being bombarded by smashing hailstones or things like that. Really, the economic, social upheaval and the environmental disruption from these things go into my consideration.”

His list highlights how a snowstorm in St. John’s — “a city that knows snow” — brought people to their knees. 

A woman makes her way through the snow-covered streets in St. John’s on Jan. 17. States of emergency were declared in St. John’s and neighbouring communities, and some 20,000 people were left without power. (Andrew Vaughan/The Canadian Press)

 

States of emergency were declared in St. John’s and neighbouring communities, some people had to dig their way out of their homes and some 20,000 people were left without power.

Another story that illustrates how severe weather can affect people was the year’s most powerful tornado that occurred in southwestern Manitoba on Aug. 7. Two teenagers were killed when their pickup truck was lifted and tossed a kilometre away.

Phillips said that as the climate continues to change, there will certainly be more of these events that affect our daily lives.

“When you’re seeing that you’re getting not any new weather, it’s just that it’s more frequent, it’s more intense, it’s longer lasting and has a different return period,” he said. “It’s slowing down. Those are the things that really are what climate change is all about.”

You can read a comprehensive list that includes regional stories here.



Source link

Canada’s Experience With Emergency Support Programs Put in Place During the Pandemic May Be the Best Argument Yet for a Guaranteed Minimum Income


 

By Evelyn Forget

When public health measures put the economy on hiatus in March, Employment Insurance (EI) showed itself to be totally inadequate to the task of ensuring that displaced workers had access to enough money to meet their basic needs. As a consequence, the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) was quickly put in place.

A simple application process that made use of on-line accounts, coupled with a directive to administrators to wait until peoples’ lives had stabilized before assessing eligibility, ensured that applicants had money in their accounts within days.

After such a smooth ride with the CERB, it was reasonable to expect that the transition off the CERB to other benefits might work equally well. So what happened?

On 26 September, the CERB ended but replacement benefits were not yet in place. Two weeks later, those whose jobs had still not returned were able to apply to replacement programs – a more generous EI and the Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB).

In order to ensure that the CRB only went to people who “deserved” it, applicants were required to attest that they are willing and able to work, even though such a claim is unenforceable. Those with caregiving responsibilities turned to the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB), while those required to isolate sought out the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB). Each paid a minimum of $500 per week, but the treatment of earned income and tax obligations differed dramatically.

Those on EI had taxes withheld at source, while those on the CRB were expected to calculate and pay tax on the benefit in April. CRB benefits were not reduced until other income reached $38,000 a year, at which point applicants faced a whopping marginal effective tax rate, while EI benefits were reduced by 50 per cent of earned income from the first dollar.

Application was a bureaucratic nightmare: applicants had to wait for eligibility to be verified, which further delayed payment. Applications were not automatically transferred to the appropriate program; applying to the wrong one meant rejection with no additional information, and an hours-long wait on the telephone.

All of these programs, from the CERB to the CRB, the CRSB, the CRCB and EI, omitted the poorest Canadians – those subsisting well below the poverty line on provincial disability or income assistance. Even though many faced higher costs throughout the pandemic because they were unable to access the charities that supplemented their meager incomes, they had no emergency support. A miserly one-time $600 payment for people with disabilities was still mired in bureaucracy six months after the initial shutdown.

So, how would a Guaranteed Minimum Income help?

A permanent program would be an automatic stabilizer for a volatile economy. If someone loses income, the program would step in to assure they have enough money to meet their basic needs, whether that income loss is due to a society-wide issue like a pandemic or recession, or a personal crisis, like a job loss or a death in the family.

We wouldn’t have to rely on politicians and civil servants to dream up emergency programs to be offered on a one-time basis to meet long-standing gaps in the system. Since there is no need to determine whether someone deserves support or not, there is no need to have three different programs – the CRB, the CRSB and the CRCB – to meet a common need for enough income to survive until an applicant is back on their feet.

Applicants would not be confused about where or how to apply or what their tax obligations may be. A single program, rather than a raft of slightly different programs, means that the bureaucracy involved in adjudicating eligibility would be much simpler and, presumably, faster.

Applicants could report their income from all sources monthly or bimonthly through on-line accounts. Income tax could be withheld at source, so there are no unwelcome surprises in April when income taxes are due. The benefit could be reduced gradually as other income increases so there is no barrier or risk involved in accepting a job offer.

Expanding the program to replace income assistance for people without a sufficient job history would improve their lives and allow everyone to access job training programs.

Most importantly, it would be an automatic stabilizer.

A permanent Guaranteed Minimum Income would be available whenever a calamity like COVID-19 strikes, automatically ramping up to meet needs. It would also automatically contract as the pandemic wanes and jobs return.

When people have other opportunities, research shows they accept jobs and, with a regular wage, they need less support or none at all from a Guaranteed Minimum Income. But the program would be permanent, ensuring financial security whenever the need appears.

***

About the author:

Evelyn L. Forget is author of Basic Income for Canadians: From the COVID-19 Emergency to Financial Security for All and Professor of Economics in the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Manitoba.

This post was previously published on Quoimedia.com and is republished here under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

***

If you believe in the work we are doing here at The Good Men Project and want a deeper connection with our community, please join us as a Premium Member today.

Premium Members get to view The Good Men Project with NO ADS. Need more info? A complete list of benefits is here.

Photo credit: iStock

 





Source link

Fossil fuels to decline but remain big player in Canada’s energy use by 2050: report


The Canada Energy Regulator says reaching net-zero emissions over the next 30 years will to require a much more aggressive transition away from oil and gas.

The annual Energy Futures report released Tuesday comes just a few days after the federal government tabled a bill to enshrine into law its target to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.

But the report projects that even with many more policies to curb emissions than are currently in place, oil and gas would still make up nearly two-thirds of energy sources three decades from now.

“Achieving net-zero (greenhouse gas) emissions by 2050 will require an accelerated pace of transition away from fossil fuels,” the report says.

Net-zero means either no emissions are produced, or any that are produced are absorbed by nature or technology so no more are added to the atmosphere, where they contribute to global warming.

WATCH | Canada’s plan to reach net zero

The federal government has announced its plan to reduce Canada’s net carbon emissions to zero by 2050 in an attempt to meet climate change targets, but there are concerns the plan lacks accountability. 2:02

Regulator CEO Gitane De Silva told The Canadian Press in an interview that the goal of the report isn’t to comment on existing policy, but to paint a picture of where things could go using a variety of assumptions.

“Really, our hope is that this information will help inform that policy process going forward,” she said.

The 104-page report looks at two potential scenarios for energy use in Canada. One involves using only the climate policies already in place. Another “evolving scenario” adds in the impacts of expanding those policies, including hiking the carbon tax, lower market prices for oil and gas, and lower costs to transitioning to renewables like wind and solar.

The current carbon tax is to stop rising in 2022 at $50 per tonne of emissions produced. The government is to review it at that point. The regulator’s report looks at what would happen if the carbon tax was hiked to $125 a tonne by 2050.

Under the status quo scenario, demand for oil and gas remains relatively stable over the next three years.

In the “evolving scenario,” oil and gas demand peaked in 2019. It will fall 35 per cent by 2050 but will still account for 64 per cent of all energy used.

Canada currently gets about one-sixth of its energy from electricity, about 20 per cent of which comes from burning fossil fuels.

In the evolving policy scenario, the report projects electricity will generate more than one-quarter of Canadian energy by 2050, and that fossil fuels will provide about 10 per cent of that.

Darren Christie, the chief economist at the Canada Energy Regulator, says COVID-19 added much more uncertainty to this year’s projections, because fuel consumption and production fell substantially during the pandemic restrictions.

Pandemic ‘changes our starting point’

He says it’s also not entirely clear how, or if, the country’s work and commuting habits will return to the pre-pandemic normal.

“It really changes our starting point,” he said.

Overall energy use is down six per cent because of the pandemic, and oil production in Canada is down about seven per cent.

The evolving scenario projects that crude oil and natural gas production will both grow between 17 and 18 per cent by 2039, but will then start to fall, dropping seven or eight per cent by 2050.

WATCH | Why Canada’s oil and gas sector wants carbon offsets

Husky Energy’s Janet Annesley explains how offsets can help companies achieve climate goals. 1:47

De Silva notes that if the three oil and gas pipelines under construction get finished — Keystone XL, Trans Mountain and Enbridge Line 3 — they will together be the final pipelines Canada needs to build to handle the projected growth and fossil fuel production before it begins to decline.

The report suggests Canada will also have to seriously pick up the pace on electric vehicles to meet its current targets. Even under the evolving scenario, the report projects only half of the passenger vehicles sold will be electric by 2050, a decade after Canada wants them all to be electric.

The large driver in that is the cost of electric-car batteries, said Christie.



Source link

Follow the money: These are the stocks Canada’s biggest investment funds have been betting on


Article content continued

“Lightspeed is kind of interesting because Lightspeed’s one where they showed strong resilience and strong growth through the pandemic but on the flip side, they will also benefit clearly from the economy reopening and the world getting back to normal because of the fact their primary customer base has significant bricks-and-mortar exposure,” he said. “It’s different from other tech stocks.”

Everyone’s investing in Bill Ackman’s SPAC (PSTH/NYSE)

Hedge fund manager Bill Ackman made history in July when he brought the largest Special Purpose Acquisition Company public with a US$4 billion raise. Ackman’s Pershing Square Tontine Holdings Ltd., plans to use the proceeds of the IPO to acquire a minority stake in a company valued in the tens of billions of dollars, although he hasn’t revealed which one as of yet.

Ackman’s SPAC drew the attention of a several big-name institutional investors, including T. Rowe Price Group Inc. and Guggenheim Partners. Among them were three of the largest pension funds in Canada.

Of the three, the Ontario Teachers Pension Plan Board’s US$256 million investment, as well as another US$9 million in warrants, was by far the most significant.

Ackman and the OTPP have a history of working together. In 2012, Ackman’s Pershing Square Capital Management L.P. led a push to have the Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. change its board and chief executive and gained the support of the OTPP, another of CP Rail’s large institutional investors. Pershing’s proxy fight was successful — it saw all its nominations for the board pushed through and Hunter Harrison replaced Fred Green as CEO.



Source link