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Showing posts from 2016

Canadian Federal Government needs to invest more in airports

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Business leaders and officials from major Canadian airports have joined forces to urge Ottawa to invest more in airports to make air travel smoother and make them more competitive.
 1 of 2 The Canadian Global Cities Council released a report Thursday asking the Liberal government to invest in the growth of airports which it claimed are economic powerhouses helping the growth of the country. The Council represents 8 large chambers of commerce and boards of trade from across Canada. Adam Legge,president of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce said that policy-makers have overlooked the economic benefits and employment potential of airports saying during a discussion at the Economic Club of Canada:“Our concern is that the federal government uses airports as a cash cow and not as that enabler of global trade, global commerce, global connectivity.” Howard Eng CEO of Greater Toronto Airports Authority that manages Pearson International Airport agreed: “Airports today are economic generators for …

Ontario government officials sued over privatization of Hydro ONe.

The Ontario branch of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) has filed a lawsuit against the Liberal Premier of the Province Kathleen Wynne, Finance Minister Charles Sousa and former Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli on the grounds of malfeasance.
The suit is connected to the privatization of the provincially owned electric company Hydro One. The Ontario president of CUPE, Fred Hahn said the suit is aimed at preventing any further sale of shares in Hydro One while the province remains the major shareholder. The province earliersold about 30 percent of the shares and is planning to sell another 30 percent. The aim is to raise money to help pay down the provincial debt and to fund infrastructure projects. CUPE had notified the Ministry of the Attorney General of its intent to launch the suit. The CUPE suit claims that the Liberals had inappropriately held fundraisers with cabinet ministers and bankers who were to profit from the privatization process. One fundraiser even cost $7, 500…

Canadian kidnapped in Libya glad to be back home with his family

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Frank Poccia, a 52-year-old Canadian man was abducted by armed and masked gunmen on September 19th along with two Italians in the southwestern Libyan city of Ghat.
 1 of 2 At the time of his abduction,he along with the two Italians were working on a project at the Ghat airport. Poccia counts himself lucky to be alive and safe back home with his family in Montreal Quebec. Poccia says that after being kidnapped the three were driven out into the desert. They spent the next seven weeks confined to small rooms. He said they were reasonably well treated by the kidnappers. He thought that they were gang members rather than terrorists. However, the most terrifying day was the day of their release. He and the two Italians were ordered at gunpoint to lay on the ground. They all thought they would be killed. Instead, they were driven to the airport and freed. Otherwise, Poccia said the worst part of his ordeal was not being able to contact his wife and children. Poccia says he does not know whe…

Libyan National Army threatens to bomb Canadian aid ship

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- According to the Libya Observer, the spokesperson for the Libyan National Army (LNA) forces of Field Marshal Khalifa Hafar, Ahmed al-Mismari, said that his forces would bomb a Canadian ship bound for Ganfouda, Benghazi that is carrying humanitarian aid.
 1 of 2 According to the Observer the ship will likely arrive in mid-December. The ship is said to be carrying humanitarian aid and medicines for civilians trapped in Ganfouda. However al-Mismari claimed:“The Canadian ship will come to Ganfouda with evil intentions in the disguise of humanitarian assistance,” His statement was broadcast on Al-Rasmiya TV associated with the Al-Thinni government of the Hourse of Representatives (HoR). Haftar is commander in chief of the HoR armed forces, the Libyan National Army. Parts of the Ganfouda area are still held by members of the Benghazi Shura Council opponents of Haftar. Haftar has driven Islamic State fighters along with those of the Shura Council out of most of the city previously held by …

Prime Minister Trudeau does not attend Castro's funeral

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(November 28)  Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will not be attending the funeral next Sunday of former Cuban president Fidel Castro the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has confirmed. The PMO said only that his schedule did not permit it.
Castro seized power in 1959 and ruled until 2006 when he turned the leadership over to his brother Raul. He died just last week at the age of 90 but had been in poor health for some time. The Governor General David Johnson will attend a commemoration on Tuesday in Havana but there is no word on who, if anyone, will represent Canada at the funeral. Trudeau had issued a statement that included positive aspects of Castro's rule. The entire statement can be found on the Prime Minister's website. Trudeau had several positive things to say about Castro for example that he improved education and health care in Cuba. He noted as well his father's friendship with Castro. Castro attended Pierre Trudeau's funeral in Montreal as shown in …

Manygroups urge Trudeau to keep to his plan to price carbon

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ore than sixty business, labor and environmental groups have written a letter to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and provincial premiers urging that the government press forward with plans to put a price on carbon.
Next month there is to be a crucial meeting with provinces to finalize a plan for a national climate strategy.The letter said: "We applaud your initiative in developing the Pan-Canadian Framework for Clean Growth and Climate Change. Putting a price on carbon, to reflect the real environmental costs, is the most cost-effective way to reduce emissions, stimulate innovation and drive energy efficiency. Co-ordinated Canada-wide carbon pricing, rising predictably over time, can do much of the heavy lifting towards meeting our climate targets." The letter is signed by some oil and gas companies plus mining, cement, forestry and manufacturing firms. Some banks and insurance companies also signed. In total they produce about 15 percent of Canadian GDP, over one mil…

Canada hopes to phase out coal-fired power plants by 2030

The Liberal government intends to phase out coal-fired power plants by 2030. The move is part of the government's clean energy strategy.
 1 of 2 Environment MinisterCatherine McKenna said Monday that the goal of the strategy is to ensure that 90 percent of Canada's power comes from sustainable sources. At present 80 percent of power in Canada already comes from sustainable sources. Coal plants in Alberta, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia are responsible for 10 percent of Canada's greenhouse gas emissions. The plan allows provinces to completely phase out coal plants as Alberta is doing or they can use carbon capture and storage technology. The move is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by five megatonnes by 2030. This is equivalent to taking 1.3 milliion cars off the road. There is an agreement to allow Nova Scotia some flexibility in shifting from fossil fuels to other cleaner forms of production. The Trudeau government is also negotiating an agreement…

With Trump win of US presidency Canada has an opportunity to renegotiate NAFTA

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Donald Trump during his campaign vowed he would renegotiate the North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA). This provides a golden opportunity for Canada to alter some features of the agreement that should be changed.
Trudeau has said he was quite willing to discuss NAFTA with Trump.Trump saidthat he meant to move quickly on trade policies, according to an internal transition team document. The document claims he would drop out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TTP) unless certain demands were met. Within a hundred days of doing that the US could withdraw from NAFTA also unless his demands were met, Even if Trump did pull out of NAFTA, the 1989 Canada-US agreement of 1989 removed most tariffs so trade would continue to flow. One benefit of NAFTA failing would be that Chapter 11 of the deal, the investor-state dispute settlement section (ISDS) would be gone. ISDS provisions allow corporations to sue governments before special tribunals. Opponents argue that investor claims that certain laws…

Liberal government tables new bill that could reduce pension benefits

The Liberal government's Minister of Finance, Bill Morneau, tabled a bill this week that would allow Crown corporations and federal private-sector employers to back out of defined-benefit entitlements they agree to.
 1 of 2 For those retired and working employees who could be impacted by the change, their retirement benefits could be drastically reduced even though they have paid into the plans for years and budgeted on the basis of what they expected to receive when they retire. Defined Benefit plans require employees to give employees a monthly payment regardless of their investment returns. Accrued benefits are legally protected and cannot be clawed back. While such plans are not as cheap as alternatives such as Defined Contribution plans, they offer workers greater retirement security. The president of the Canadian Labour Congress(CLC), Hassan Yussuf, said that the bill, C-27 was an "unconscionable betrayal" and an "attack on future and current retirees.' The…

Plane has to swerve to avoid hitting unidentified object on descent into Toronto island airport

A Porter Airlines Dash 8 with 54 on board encountered a UFO at a height of about 9,000 feet as it was making its descent into the Billy Bishop Airport on Toronto Islands.
 1 of 2 In a statement Porter Airlinessaid: “The pilots noticed an object in the distance (and) as they approached the object, they realized it was very close to their flight path.” The pilots at first thought the object was a balloon but after debriefing decided it could have been a drone. At this stage the object has not been identified. Senior regional investigator for the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, Peter Rowntree,said: “Nobody knows at this point. It happened so quick. We’ve got our work cut out trying to figure out what this unidentified flying object was. What did they encounter? It definitely wasn’t a bird. It was a fairly large object.” He said it was up to three meters wide.The planewas about 55 kilometers from the airport when the incident happened. Some incorrectinitial reports actually had the…

Canadian parliament finally passes motion against Islamophobia

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There was no coverage of passage of a motion against Islamophobia approved on October 26, by the CBC, Globe and Mail, or other prominent Canadian media. In contrast, there was plenty of coverage of the defeat of a similar motion on October 6.
 1 of 3 At least, that is the claim of an article in theHuffington Post.The article notes that without any public awareness of the motion condemning Islamophobia, it is unlikely to have much effect. Much of the value of such motions it claims is in the publicity that is generated in opposition to Islamophobia. The October 6 resolution was presented by New Democratic Party leader Thomas Mulcair. Mulcair needed unanimous consent for his bill to go forward since his party is part of the opposition rather than the Liberal government that is in power. He had talked with all parties in parliament almost a week before he presented the motion. The NDP motion was based on a parliamentary e-petition that had 70,000 signatures and was sponsored by Liberal M…

Wildlife spooked by mysterious noise in area in northern Canada

Hunters in a remote community in Nunavut, in northern Canada are concerned about a mysterious sound apparently coming from the sea floor. The sound described sometimes as a "pinging", a hum, or even a beep has been heard throughout the summer.
Fury and Hecla Strait, the area where the sounds are heard is about is about 120 kilometers northwest of thevillage of Iglooik. The area is north of the Arctic Circle.Paul Quassaa member of the Nunavut legislative assembly said that the noise is scaring animals away: "That's one of the major hunting areas in the summer and winter because it's a polynya." A polyna is an area of open water surrounded by ice usually containing many sea mammals. However, this summer that were very few. Qassa told members of the legislature that the noise was emanating from the sea floor. Quassa says that Baffinland, owner of a mine at Mary River has been doing sonar surveys but the company says it has no equipment in the water. Another me…

Liberals hire pro-privatizing bank to advise them on privatization

For some time now the Liberals have been flirting with the idea of privatizing airports. The move would garner much needed funds for the government, turn the airports into profit making ventures, and generate more corporate donations for the Liberals.
A Digital Journalarticle covered the issue back in July. As a Metro News article said at the time: The federal government is looking at whether Canada’s major airports should be sold off to private investors as a way to raise tens of billions of dollars in new cash to fund other infrastructure projects. Transport Canada bureaucrats are reviewing the ownership structure of Canadian airports, now operated by not-for-profit airport authorities, to assess the possibilities of transferring them to for-profit enterprises — and collect a windfall in the process. Now an article in the Toronto Star by Linda McQuaig shows the Liberal government is continuing with its plan. The Liberal government has hired the giant investment bank Credit Suisse to …