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Showing posts from June, 2017

Canada increases defence spending by 70 percent over next decade

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Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan reveals that the Canadian government will increase defence spending by 70 percent over the next decade.
Canada's defense spending will increase from $18.9 billion now to $32.7 billion. When asked where the money would come from Sajjan would not say but promised it would be there when required. Money spent on defense is money not available for other programs such as medical care, infrastructure improvements, and other expenditures that arguably would be of much greater value to Canadians. Sajjan said that Canada will add hundreds of new elite special forces commandos, wage offensive cyber warfare, and also deploy armed drones to international battlefields as part of its military response to global security threats. No doubt these efforts will relieve some of the burden on the US of being a global policeman. As a recent article notes the secrecy that surrounds all the work of the Canadian special forces, and expansion of cyberattacks "rai…

President Trump appoints woman as Canadian ambassador

U.S. President Donald Trump is poised to nominate Kelly Knight Craft as the next American ambassador to Canada. The post has been vacant since the former ambassador Bruce Heyman appointed by former president Barack Obama resigned on January 20.  1 of 2 TheWhite House announcedin a statement late Wednesday that Craft had been picked for the post. Maryscott Greenwoodwho heads the Canadian-American Business Council praised the choice saying: "I think it's an inspired choice on the part of the president. It's a complement to Canada that the White House would choose a person of Kelly's calibre, intellect and talent, so I am excited about the prospect." Her nomination will need to be approved by the Senate. The Trump administration hopes to get her nomination approved quickly so she can be ambassador before the NAFTA trade negotiations begin in August. Craft is married to billionaire Joe Craft, president and CEO of Alliance Resource Partners LP, one of the largest coal…

Rail service to northern Manitoba port of Churchill suspended

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The northern Manitoba town of Churchill has lost its only rail service into the town as OmniTrax the Denver-based company that owns the rail line into the community from the south announced that the rail bed was washed away in 19 locations.
Five workers in Churchill were let go as a result of the service suspension. Business owners in the town say that there could be more layoffs. The owner of the 31 room Tundra Inn and hostel, Belinda Fitzpatrick said that it was upsetting and heartbreaking to layoff the 5 workers. She had intended to open a seasonal restaurant next week but the suspension of rail service caused her to drop her plans. She describes the rail line as the lifeline to the community. There is no road into the community from the south. The road ends at Gillam near where there is a large hydro development. The rail service ends there now as well.Churchillis a further 300 km from Gillam. Omnitrax describes the damage as catastrophic and said that the damage would be not fixe…

More and more Canadians borrowing against their home equity

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According to some Many Canadians may now be turning to their home equity as a way to raise money to fund a lifestyle that could be unaffordable for some.
A recent article in BNNpoints out that more and more Canadians are using their homes as if it were an ATM from which they could withdraw. Since 2011 the number of Canadians who have taken out a home equity line of credit (HELOC) has risen by 40 percent. As many householders are still paying on mortgages and other debts such as car loans, the added debt can sometimes not be managed. Many are not able to even make regular payments on time. The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada's(FCAC) commissioner Lucie Tedesco said: "At a time when consumers are carrying record amounts of debt, the persistence of HELOC debt may add stress to the financial well-being of Canadian households." The Agency's report says there are about three million HELOC accounts in Canada, and the average outstanding balance is $70,000. Canada's d…

Manitoba Conservative government may privatize home care services

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The Manitoba Progressive Conservative (PC) government of premier Brian Pallister is looking to save money on provincial home care service programs and may even privatize the service.
However, Pallister won't sayyet whether he plans to privatize the service saying: "I'll continue to say that we are looking for results and improving results. We shouldn't be close-minded about it. All across the country other provinces have faced up to these challenges — some private improvements, lots of changes within the public sector delivery model. We are pursuing these things. We are looking for options." A private company will operate the service only if it makes a profit so unlike a public service it needs to aim for more than just covering its costs. It would not want to incur a deficit to handle expanding needs. either. In spite of Pallister's remarks, the Manitoba Government and General Employees'' Union (MGEU) revealed that the Winnipeg Regional Health Author…

Ontario economy grew at twice the Canadian average last year

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For years while the price of oil was high, Ontario's growth lagged behind that of Alberta and Saskatchewan the main oil producing provinces. However, now its growth is surging while the oil producers are hard hit.
Canada's large banks predict that this year Ontario's growth will be near the top of all provinces. The jobless rate, 5.8 percent, is the lowest since 2001. Thenational averageunemployment rate is 6.5 percent itself the lowest since 2008. In 2016, Ontario added 96, 800 full-time jobs and surprisingly part-time jobs actually decreased by 10,200 a plus for many workers. Manitoba has the lowest rates at 5.4 percent and British Columbia 5.5 percent. However there are still 437,000 Canadians looking for work according to Statistics Canada. In 2016 the province grew at twice the national average. The growth is not related to just one sector but includes manufacturing, real estate finance and technology. Tax revenue from corporations grew 16,.8 percent last year and 19.…

Quebec unions shut down construction sites

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(May 28)Unions representing 175,00 construction workers in Quebec launched a general strike shutting down major construction projects in Quebec after months of failed labour negotiations.
 1 of 2 Labour federations and construction companies had negotiated late into the night last Tuesday but could not reach a deal before a midnight strike deadline. Workers in the industrial sector want more stable work schedules, but salaries are believed to be the main issue in the residential construction area. Michel Trepaniera spokesperson for the alliance of construction unions said; "Employers are asking us to sacrifice time with our families to be available for work... There are limits and they've been reached." Collective agreements had expired on April 30. Some large projects in the city of Montreal were halted by the strike, including work on the new Champlain Bridge and the CHUM hospital. Hundreds of workers picketed at the two sites. Montreal is replete with orange construct…