The Canadian Press CALGARY — Drilling firm Ensign Energy Services Inc. is reporting a 72 per cent increase in revenue in its first full quarter since buying Trinidad Drilling Ltd. late last year.The Calgary-based company says revenue came to $445 million in the first three months of 2019, up from $258 million in the same period a year earlier, mainly due to its winning the battle for Trinidad over larger rival Precision Drilling Corp.Ensign lost $22.3 million or 14 cents per share in the quarter, down from a loss of $26.7 million or 17 cents the year before.Analyst on averaged expected a loss of 31 cents, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.Trinidad’s U.S. oilfield operations were seen as the biggest attraction for its suitors. Ensign says the companies’ combined U.S. operations in the first quarter accounted for $274 million or 61 per cent of its revenue.Its Canadian arm contributed just 24 per cent of revenue and its 56 per cent increase in operating days compared with the year-earlier period was dwarfed by activity in the U.S. which more than doubled.
BERLIN — Protesters are holding rallies in several European Union countries to demand tougher action against global warming, as the 28-nation bloc votes to fill the European Parliament.Thousands attended a rally Friday in Berlin, where mostly young people waved banners with slogans such as “There is no planet B” or “Plant trees, save the bees, clean the seas.”Many protesters will be too young to vote when Germans cast ballots Sunday in the European Parliament election, but are pressing family and older friends to consider the world’s long-term future.Clara Kirchhoff said the election for the EU’s 751-seat assembly was particularly important for tackling climate change on a continental level.The 17-year-old says “there’s no point in Germany doing a lot for the climate and others not pulling their weight.”The Associated Press
25 September 2007Alarmed at the stigmatization and hostility faced by those working to advance human rights in Serbia, an independent United Nations expert has called on that country’s authorities to give political recognition and legitimacy to human rights defenders and their work. “This stigmatization of defenders, which portrays them as ‘enemies’ of the country, is not countered by supportive statements of State authorities that would give them legitimacy,” Hina Jilani, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative on the situation of human rights defenders, said in a statement released in Belgrade, following a visit to the country. She urged State authorities to firmly condemn attacks and campaigns against the “vibrant and active” human rights community in Serbia and acknowledge the importance of their work. The Special Representative said a major concern was the hostile attitude against human rights workers, who are constantly under attack, mainly in the media. This animosity appears to be linked to their work on transitional justice and minority rights – issues that she said “some sectors of the political establishment are not willing to address.”She noted that Serbia is a country in transition, confronted with the challenges coming from its recent past, as well as those linked to the future, including uncertainties regarding the status of Kosovo. “This environment slows down the advancement of the country on many fronts, including and in particular on human rights.” Ms. Jilani made a similar appeal to the Government of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, in a statement released in Skopje following her visit to the country. While several new laws pertaining to the work of human rights defenders had been adopted since her last visit to the country in 2003, she was not satisfied with their implementation, noting that mechanisms that defenders can use to report cases of non-compliance and protect victims “are still lacking, are insufficient or do not function properly.”“This has created an environment in which Government responsiveness is limited or absent,” she stated. Another concern is that human rights defenders do not have access to detention centres and police stations, which seriously impedes their monitoring and protection role. The reports of Ms. Jilani’s visits will be presented and discussed at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva next March.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today voiced concern about the decision by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement to suspend its participation in the Government of National Unity.In a statement released by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban also called on both parties to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) to “resolve the situation in a manner that preserves the integrity of the Agreement.”He urged the parties, particularly the National Congress Party, “to urgently take the necessary steps to address the outstanding issues related to the implementation of the CPA,” the spokesperson said, pledging the UN’s readiness to help accelerate progress, restore the necessary trust between them and keep the CPA on track. Struck on 9 January 2005, the CPA ended a 21-year civil war between North and South Sudan. The UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS) is now deployed to monitor compliance with the accord. 12 October 2007United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today voiced concern about the decision by the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement to suspend its participation in the Government of National Unity.
Ten people were slightly injured in the midday blaze at Goz Amer camp, believed to have been caused by an untended cooking fire that then spread rapidly because of the high winds.Many refugees lost all their food rations and meagre belongings, and numerous stick and mud shelters that had been constructed in 2004 when the Darfurians first arrived in Goz Amer also ignited easily.The newly displaced are being housed at three camp schools, while tomorrow more tents and aid supplies – including sleeping mats, blankets and kitchen sets – will be distributed. The UN World Food Programme (WFP) is also handing out additional monthly food rations.High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres said from Geneva that he was relieved there had been no loss of life from the fire.“The refugees have already suffered so much tragedy and now face yet another trauma… We will do everything we can to help and to get shelter and food supplies to them as quickly as possible,” he said.UNHCR staff have started opening up stockpiles in the area and delivering blankets and aid supplies, an effort they plan to continue throughout the weekend by drawing supplies from around eastern Chad.Emmanuel Uwurukundo, the agency’s acting head of office in nearby Koukou-Angarana, said “everyone around, refugees and all our partners alike, rushed to the spot and tried to extinguish the fire with whatever they had – clothes, extinguishers and water.”He said bricks should be used in the future instead of stick and mud shelters to avoid such incidents.Goz Amer, which lies about 70 kilometres from the border with Darfur, is host to about 20,500 people and it is the southernmost of 12 UNHCR-run camps in the region that are home to more than 240,000 Darfurians in total, all fleeing conflict that has raged in their homeland since 2003.The remoteness of the region, which is also home to about 180,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs), already makes it an extremely difficult environment in which UNHCR has to operate. 11 April 2008Some 3,000 people from Sudan’s war-torn Darfur region are again homeless after fire swept through part of a refugee camp in eastern Chad today, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported.
Dame Billie Antoinette Miller and the New-York based Family Care International were recognized for their “outstanding work in contributing to population and development issues, and in improving the health of individuals.” Ms. Miller was the first woman to serve as a minister in her home country and made a powerful speech for gender equality at last year’s General Assembly, as well as chairing a major committee at the milestone International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo in 1994. Family Care International seeks to ensure safe motherhood, promote sexual and reproductive health for adolescents, and to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS, working out of eight field offices in Africa and South America. Presenting the awards, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information Kiyotaka Akasaka said: “Both have made significant contributions to providing life-saving information and services to individuals. Thanks to their efforts, countless people have been able to plan pregnancies, avoid recourse to unsafe abortion, practice responsible sexual behaviour, and prevent the spread of HIV.” The recipients were selected by the UN Population Award Committee – comprisig 10 Member States – which is administered by the UN Population Fund (<"http://www.unfpa.org/news/news.cfm?ID=1131">UNFPA). The awards were presented today at a ceremony at UN headquarters in New York. 22 May 2008A former deputy prime minister from Barbados and the non-governmental organization (NGO) Family Care International received the United Nations Population Award today.
2 July 2008Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has deplored the deadly violence that has erupted in Mongolia following last weekend’s parliamentary elections, calling on all parties to engage in dialogue to resolve the current crisis. Five people have reportedly been killed and over 300 injured as thousands of protesters took to the streets yesterday in Ulan Bator, the country’s capital and largest city, after it was announced that the ruling party won Sunday’s polls. President Nambar Enkhbayar has declared a state of emergency in the wake of the unrest. “The Secretary-General deplores the resort to violence to protest the conduct of the parliamentary elections,” his spokesperson said in a statement issued today. Mr. Ban urged all parties to exercise restraint and engage in dialogue, and appealed to all demonstrators to refrain from any further violence. “Mongolia has made a peaceful transition to democracy, and the Secretary-General encourages all parties to respect this achievement and find ways to settle the current crisis, fully respecting the rule of law,” the statement added.
27 October 2010Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is mourning the death of Néstor Kirchner, the former President of Argentina and a “friend of the United Nations,” who reportedly died of a heart attack this morning. A statement issued by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson stated that it was with “great sadness” that the Secretary-General learned of the passing of Mr. Kirchner, who was the husband of the country’s President, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner. “A friend of the United Nations, Mr. Kirchner was a national and international leader who believed in multilateralism,” the statement added. The 60-year-old former leader was Executive Secretary of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and current Deputy in the Argentinean Congress. The Secretary-General extended his sincere condolences to Mr. Kirchner’s family, as well as to the Government and people of Argentina.
The United Nations human rights chief today welcomed the approaching entry into force of a landmark new treaty to deter enforced disappearance after Iraq became the 20th State to ratify the convention, paving the way for it to become effective in the next 30 days. The International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance is designed to prevent enforced disappearance, punish those who perpetrate the practice and protect victims. Iraq ratified the Convention yesterday. “An important legal gap in international human rights legislation has been filled in the fight against enforced disappearance, one of the most serious and distressing crimes on the international stage,” said Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. “This ground-breaking Convention provides a solid international framework to put an end to impunity and pursue justice, and as a result will hopefully have a significant deterrent effect. “It should provide the friends and relatives of victims a significant boost in their efforts to find out what happened to their loved ones. The pain of not knowing, sometimes for decades, whether someone is healthy or suffering, or even dead or alive, is excruciating – almost a form of torture in itself,” Ms. Pillay said. The Convention, which has 45 articles, outlaws enforced disappearance without exception. Article one states that: “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification for enforced disappearance.” Signatories to the Convention are prohibited from holding anyone in secret detention and are required to hold criminally responsible “any person who commits, orders, solicits or induces the commission of, attempts to commit, is an accomplice to or participates in an enforced disappearance.” The treaty also characterizes as a crime against humanity the widespread or systematic practice of enforced disappearance. It also obligates States to take steps to protect complainants, witnesses, relatives of disappeared individuals, their defence counsel and investigators. The Convention, adopted by the General Assembly on 20 December 2006, had to be ratified by 20 States before coming into force. In addition to the 20 States – Albania, Argentina, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, France, Germany, Honduras, Iraq, Japan, Kazakhstan, Mali, Mexico, Nigeria, Paraguay, Senegal, Spain and Uruguay – a further 70 States have taken the preliminary step of signing it, an expression of their intention to ratify it at some point in the future. The implementation of the Convention will be monitored and assessed by a committee made up of 10 independent and impartial experts with recognized competence in the field of human rights who will serve in their individual capacity. 24 November 2010The United Nations human rights chief today welcomed the approaching entry into force of a landmark new treaty to deter enforced disappearance after Iraq became the 20th State to ratify the convention, paving the way for it to become effective in the next 30 days.
27 June 2011The Security Council today established, for an initial six months, a United Nations peacekeeping force for the area around the Sudanese town of Abyei, which is contested by both north and south and has been the scene of renewed fighting in recent weeks. The Security Council today established, for an initial six months, a United Nations peacekeeping force for the area around the Sudanese town of Abyei, which is contested by both north and south and has been the scene of renewed fighting in recent weeks.Violence and looting broke out in Abyei town after northern troops took control of the area last month, displacing tens of thousands of people, just weeks before Southern Sudan formally separates from the rest of the country, following a referendum held in January.Last week representatives from the Government of Sudan and their counterparts from the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), representing Southern Sudan, reached an agreement that provides for temporary administrative arrangements for Abyei and the withdrawal of troops from both sides.Sudanese troops will be replaced by the UN Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA), which was set up by the Council today and will be made up of Ethiopian troops.By the resolution adopted today, UNISFA is mandated to ensure that the area is demilitarized from any forces other than those of the UN and the Abyei Police Service, provide de-mining assistance, and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid and free movement of humanitarian personnel. The Council took its decision “recognizing that the current situation in Abyei demands an urgent response and constitutes a threat to international peace and security,” according to the text.The Force has been authorized – under Chapter VII of the UN Charter – to take “the necessary actions” to protect UN and UNISFA personnel, facilities, installations and equipment, protect civilians in Abyei under imminent threat of physical violence and protect the area from incursions by unauthorized elements, among other tasks. The Council called on the Government of Sudan and the Government of Southern Sudan to urgently fulfil their commitments under the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement – which ended the long-running north-south civil war – to peacefully resolve the final status of Abyei.UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kyung-wha Kang, who recently toured Abyei as part of her visit to Sudan, said some of the simple thatch-roofed houses in the area were still smouldering during her visit there, and looters still roamed among the ruins in the presence of the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF). “All the civilians are gone,” she told reporters in the national capital, Khartoum. “The utter devastation I saw in Abyei was a chilling warning of what might become of the border area.” She urged all parties to agree to a ceasefire and make protection of civilians a priority, adding that they must do their utmost to facilitate access for humanitarian actors to assist those in need and for human rights officers to speak with victims.“A military solution to the conflict in the border is not an option. The recent agreement regarding Abyei is encouraging, but a broader political solution will be necessary to stem the current conflict in South Kordofan and to prevent it from spreading further,” stated Ms. Kang.UN officials have been calling for an immediate cessation of hostilities in South Kordofan state where northern and southern forces have also been engaged in fighting in recent weeks. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported today that the information it has received indicates continued air strikes and artillery shelling by the SAF in South Kordofan. Due to the security situation, the Office added, it is difficult to verify reports or properly assess the overall impact of the ongoing military operations on civilians. Estimates by UN agencies and aid groups suggest that at least 73,000 people have been displaced throughout the central and eastern parts of South Kordofan due to fighting.Humanitarian partners are still unable to freely access civilians in Kadugli, the main town in South Kordofan, including the 7,000 people who were instructed by local authorities to return to the town after having sought refuge near the UN compound. “Access to this group for monitoring and needs assessment continues to be denied, despite clear indications that authorities used coercion to expedite returns,” the Office said in an update.The World Food Programme (WFP) and its local partners have distributed food to 42,000 vulnerable people in the area and are prioritizing distributions to locations that are expected to be inaccessible when the rainy season starts. In addition, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has provided essential medicines and supported mobile clinics in the area.
14 October 2011United Nations agencies are on standby to deliver aid in South-East Asia where over 600 people have died and more than eight million others are affected by flooding and typhoons, with the situation expected to worsen amid more rains, high tides and river run-off over the weekend. No requests for international aid have so far been made, but UN agencies have activated assessment teams and contingency planning in the two worst affected countries, Thailand and Cambodia, as well as in Vietnam, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported in a news release today.In Thailand, where the UN World Health Organization (WHO) has offered to provide emergency health kits and necessary stockpiles, 2.4 million people have reportedly been affected, 700,000 of them children, with Bangkok, the capital, and 12 provinces on high alert for heavy rains and overflowing rivers following four back-to-back typhoons.In Cambodia, where more than 1 million people have been affected and flood waters continue to rise, WHO, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) are carrying out assessments together with various ministries and non-government organizations (NGOs). WFP plans to provide 500 tons of food to some 10,000 households with a ration of 50 kilograms for one month.UNICEF, which before the flood season had provided 480,000 water purifying tablets, 5,000 jerry cans and 5,000 bars of soap to the ministry of rural development, cited access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene as areas of particular concern.In Vietnam, where the Government said flooding had submerged nearly 60,000 homes and caused an estimated $55 million in crop damage, UNICEF is providing funds for water and sanitation, education, child protection and health and nutrition supplies.In the Philippines over 4 million people have been affected with at least 250,000 needing assistance, while in Laos almost 500,000 people have been hit by flooding and landslides which have damaged over 64,000 hectares of farmland, 323 roads and 42 bridges.
A downturn in the housing market may not be as bad as feared because the important 25-34 age group will continue to buy houses — some with help from their well-off parents, says a senior economist at CIBC World Markets.The analysis takes aim at a theory that population growth won’t be strong enough to sustain demand, putting downward pressure on housing prices that have risen dramatically during a years-long period of low interest rates.“This demographically driven fear is much ado about nothing,” Benjamin Tal, deputy chief economist at CIBC World Markets, said Thursday.Demographic projections suggest there will be fewer Canadians under the age of 25 and between the ages of 45 and 54, but Tal notes those groups account for a small portion of home buyers.This is actually the first generation that the parents are better off than the kids and those parents will write a nice chequeTal said the group aged between 25 and 34 — the age group that makes up the vast majority of first-time buyers — will continue to grow.While that growing population of young people may have to postpone buying a house for a couple of years due to their student debt level, their parents can help them out, Tal said from Toronto.“Many of those young people, they’re lucky, they have wealthy parents,” Tal said in an interview after his housing report was published.“This is actually the first generation that the parents are better off than the kids and those parents will write a nice cheque,” he said. “The student debt level is not significant enough to really kill the housing market.”This group of young people also have the option of living with their parents while paying down their debt and saving for a down payment, he said.[np-related /]Tal said once they move out, the younger generation will be “extremely dynamic” in terms of self-employment and being employable, which will help them buy houses.“They will be employable, they will work and they will make money.”But Capital Economics economist David Madani said while the 25-34 age group is helping drive sales they are more vulnerable to downturns.“Right now, if a younger person has put down a small deposit on a home, let’s say in the last couple of years, obviously they are the most exposed to a price decline,” said Madani, Canada economist at the Toronto-based Capital Economics.“So they could see the little amount of equity that they do have in their homes go up in a puff of smoke. That leaves them significantly under water.”Madani said average house prices in major cities such as Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal, Ottawa and Calgary could drop by 25% in the next couple of years.The Canadian average price for homes sold in July 2012 was $353,147, down two% from the same month last year. Excluding Greater Vancouver from the calculation, the average was up 1.1% from a year ago.It’s harder for younger people to buy homes because mortgage lending rules have been tightened, he said.“I’m sure there’s some fraction out there whose folks belong to richer families and therefore their mum or dad gives them a deposit,” said Madani.“That’s all well and good, but what happens when house prices begin to fall?”But Tal also sees immigrants continuing to contribute to home ownership in Canada.With more of an emphasis on skills when they come to Canada, they will be more employable and have money to buy houses, he said.“In fact, after 10 years in Canada the propensity among immigrants to own a house is higher than among native born Canadians,” Tal said in his report.He expects a correction, or lowering, in housing prices will not be seen as “being up in the sky” and should follow inflation.Tal added that growth in the housing market could be even stronger due to immigration.Overall, the CIBC economist said the next decade will see an annual population growth of 0.9%, in line with growth seen in the past decade — a period of strong demand for residential real-estate and a sharp jump in housing prices.“It’s not about everything is rosy, it’s about what is after the storm clouds.”He said the 1991 downturn in the housing market was accompanied by a severe recession and demand for housing went down. Follow FP Personal Finance on Facebook
TORONTO — The Toronto stock market closed higher Tuesday as a strong earnings report from oilsands giant Suncor Energy (TSX:SU) raised expectations for other energy companies reporting this week.The S&P/TSX composite index climbed 52.2 points to close at 14,583.11.Suncor posted operating earnings of $1.79 billion, or $1.22 per share, widely beating the average analyst expectation of 93 cents and its shares were up 3.05% to $42.60.The Canadian dollar was up 0.62 of a cent to 91.32 cents US.A better than expected earnings season pushed New York’s Dow Jones industrials up 86.63 points to 16,535.37.The Nasdaq gained 29.14 points to 4,103.54 and the S&P 500 index climbed 8.9 points to 1,878.33.After the close, social network company Twitter reported earnings per share, ex-items, showing it broke even, better than the three cent a share loss that had been expected. Revenue of $250 million beat expectations of $241 million but its shares fell about nine% in after hours trading, giving back Tuesday’s advance of 4.64%, amid a slightly weakerthan expected revenue forecast.U.S. corporate earnings are currently expected to grow by 1.4% in the period, compared with growth of 5.2 percent in the same period as a year earlier. Two weeks ago, companies were expected to report a decline in earnings.Investors also looked to the U.S. Federal Reserve, which wraps up its two-day meeting Wednesday. Policy-makers are expected to further trim the central bank’s bond-buying program and provide further insight into the state of the world’s biggest economy.Traders will also look for further indications of when the Fed might start to raise short-term interest rates, which have been near zero since the financial crisis.Suncor’s performance helped send the energy sector up 1.6% as June crude in New York rose 44 cents to US$101.28 a barrel. Traders will be taking in earnings from other heavy hitters in the sector this week, including Cenovus (TSX:CVE), Imperial Oil (TSX:IMO) and Canadian Natural Resources (TSX:CNQ) amid a sharp change in the fortunes for these companies.One of the improvements revolves around a sharp narrowing in the price between oilsands crude, known as Western Canadian Select, and West Texas Intermediate, a lighter crude used as the U.S. benchmark.“That narrowing has gone from roughly $31 at the end of the fourth quarter last year to $21, so that’s a 33% improvement right there,” observed John Stephenson, portfolio manager at First Asset Funds.He also pointed out that the Canadian dollar weakened in the quarter.“So you have an industry where you’re getting revenues in U.S. dollars and paying expenses in the lower Canadian currency, so you’re making a spread there. And there’s a record number of deals and activity happening in the oilsands year to date.” July copper was down two cents to US$3.07 a pound and the base metals sector rose 1.13%.Gold faded $2.70 to US$1,296.30 an ounce and the sector was up about 1%.In other corporate developments, Quebecor Inc. (TSX:QBR.B) shares were 62 cents lower to $26 with the announcement that its president and chief executive is retiring. Robert Depatie, who was promoted to the post last May when Pierre Karl Peladeau stepped down, announced Monday that he was retiring for health reasons.
OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper has slammed the door on regulating Canada’s oil and gas sector, calling it a “crazy economic policy” under current global oil prices.His comments in the House of Commons come as international talks are underway in Lima, Peru, in an effort to reach a new post-2020 global agreement on curbing greenhouse gas emissions.Harper was emphatic that Canada will not move unilaterally to curb fast-rising emissions from Alberta’s oilsands.“Frankly, Mr. Speaker, under the current circumstances of the oil and gas sector it would be crazy, it would be crazy economic policy to do unilateral penalties on that sector. We’re clearly not going to do that,” Harper told the House as Conservative MPs roared their approval.“In fact, nobody in the world is regulating their oil and gas sector. I’d be delighted if they did. Canada will be there with them.”An Environment Canada briefing memo revealed last month by the Globe and Mail shows that the United States, in fact, placed what were called “significant” limits on its oil and gas sector in 2012.“For oil and gas, recent air pollution regulations are expected to result in significant GHG reduction co-benefits, comparable to the reductions that would result from the approach being developed for this sector in Canada,” states the June 2013 memo obtained by Greenpeace under an Access to Information request.The Conservative government has been promising to regulate the oil and gas sector since 2007 as part of its sector-by-sector approach to curbing emissions, an approach the government calls a made-in-Canada plan.Emissions in developing world to surge 50%: ExxonNew emissions from Canada’s oil sands ‘extremely low,’ says IEA’s chief economistHarper was responding to questions about Canada’s poor record in meeting its previous Copenhagen emissions targets, which a government report this week showed are far off track.The Environment Canada report shows that increasing GHG emissions from the oil and gas sector — principally the oilsands — will almost completely offset major reductions in the electricity sector by the year 2020.In fact, the report says Canadian emission reductions flatlined over 2010, 2011 and 2012 and are set to begin rising again in absolute terms to 2020.Nonetheless, the prime minister maintains his government is cutting emissions.“Our commitment to Canadians is that we are going to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while preserving, protecting and growing Canadian jobs,” Harper told the Commons.“That’s our commitment, that’s what we’ll continue to do.”Harper’s comments came at almost the same moment his minister for the environment, Leona Aglukkaq, was speaking to the Lima conference.“Our record speaks for itself,” Aglukkaq told the gathering. “We have shown that it is possible to protect the environment while supporting economic growth.”Aglukkaq noted that as the country looks beyond 2020, it is depending heavily on provinces and territories, “who hold many levers for taking substantive and innovative action on climate change.”“They have been an important part of Canada’s progress and I expect their actions will be an important part of Canada’s contribution under a new international climate agreement,” said the minister.Earlier Tuesday on the sidelines of the Lima conference, four provinces representing almost 80 per cent of Canada’s population signed an international agreement among sub-national governments to combat climate change.Environment ministers from British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec joined with 12 other sub-national governments — ranging from New South Wales in Australia to Scotland — to form a group that will present the results of a new pilot program on emissions reporting and climate change action.
CALGARY — It may seem odd to hear Big Oil tout a policy that would make it costlier to do business.But experts say recent calls for a carbon tax have pragmatic — not just public relations — motivations.Michal Moore, an energy economist at the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy, said savvy companies see a higher price of carbon as “inevitable” and want to influence how those policies take shape.That’s why the likes of Suncor Energy boss Steve Williams have been publicly advocating tougher carbon pricing, Moore said.Look, we’re not going to be blindsided by whatever comes down the road When it comes to the impacts of climate change, there’s no “plausible denial anymore,” he said. Take, for instance, the drought ravaging California.“I can’t read Steve’s mind of course, but I can certainly create good reasons why it makes sense to get out ahead of this and to send a signal to your investors: ‘Look, we’re not going to be blindsided by whatever comes down the road,’” Moore said.Williams, whose company is Canada’s dominant oilsands producer, made his carbon price pitch at a speech in Calgary last month, the sentiments of which were echoed by an executive with Cenovus Energy, another major oilsands player.But the push came with a caveat: that any carbon tax be “broad-based” — applied to consumers and industry alike.Alberta’s current carbon pricing regime expires at the end of this month, and it’s not clear yet how exactly it will change under the province’s newly elected NDP government.The Specified Gas Emitters Regulation, the first scheme of its kind in North America, currently charges $15 a tonne for large industrial emitters that exceed a certain threshold. There have been calls to replace it with something more stringent and far-reaching.Terence Corcoran: When Big Oil champions a carbon tax, we’d best be sure we know what the industry is up toCarbon tax should apply to companies and consumers, says Suncor Energy Inc’s CEO“If you’re a policy taker, sometimes you don’t like the policy that you get,” said Ed Whittingham, executive director at the Pembina Institute, an environmental think tank.Suncor has not only come out in favour of stronger carbon pricing, but has stated how it wants such a policy to look, he said.“I’m sure that was heard up in Edmonton.”Last month, the CEOs of six major European energy companies signed a letter to the United Nations making a similar pitch ahead of the Paris climate change talks later this year.“Pricing carbon obviously adds a cost to our production and our products — but carbon pricing policy frameworks will contribute to provide our businesses and their many stakeholders with a clear road map for future investment, a level playing field for all energy sources across geographies and a clear role in securing a more sustainable future,” the letter said.Energy firms want certainty and consistency, said Warren Mabee, an energy policy expert at Queen’s University.“Nobody wants a situation where there are a few jurisdictions where there is no carbon price, and yet the companies are playing on the international market,” he said.Dave Sawyer, an environmental economist with CMC Research Institutes, said companies like Suncor are trying to show they’re “good corporate citizens” and are onside with public sentiment.But they’re also “afraid of bad policy.”“Are they going to try to influence the design of that policy and minimize the impact? Absolutely. That’s their job.”The Canadian Press
In October 2015, Alberta kept the sliding scale for provinces in the New West Partnership at that time — Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia — but made all other brewers pay the maximum $1.25 regardless of how much or how little they sold.Opponents argued this was a violation of free trade and Alberta ultimately acquiesced. A year ago, it changed the beer rules again.This time, it made all beer producers in Alberta and elsewhere pay the same $1.25 a litre. But it also introduced grants to help Alberta producers expand their businesses.Artisan Ales filed a complaint with the internal trade panel. The brewer argued the incentive program and the one-price markup were effectively retaining the previous approach through the back door.Alberta argued that the $1.25 across-the-board markup and the grants are two different things and are both allowed under interprovincial free-trade rules.In a 2-1 decision, the panel agreed with Artisan.Ceci declined to elaborate on the legal arguments the government will use to try to overturn the decision when the appeal goes before another panel.Alberta has the most open liquor market in Canada — vendors simply have to fill out a form to sell. Access to shelves in other provinces is controlled by liquor boards.Ceci said he is watching ongoing talks among provinces on revising liquor trade rules under the new Canadian Free Trade Agreement.“I’m certainly hopeful that will bring some better co-operation amongst all provinces.” EDMONTON — Alberta’s beer war is opening on a new front.The government says it will appeal a trade panel ruling that found the province’s incentive for Alberta brewers violates interprovincial free-trade obligations.“We stand firmly with Alberta small brewers. We will not abandon them now,” Finance Minister Joe Ceci said Tuesday at the legislature.“There have been 18 small breweries opened up in the year since the program started. It’s doing what it’s intended to do. Jobs are happening.”Three weeks ago, a three-member dispute resolution panel of the Agreement on Internal Trade determined that the incentive violates trade rules agreed upon by all provinces and the federal government.The challenge was filed by Artisan Ales, a Calgary-based importer of beer from places such as Quebec and Europe.Artisan Ales co-owner Mike Tessier said he was not surprised Ceci has chosen to appeal. He said the province can’t give ground when it is also facing court challenges from two out-of province brewers over the program.“They more or less have to do this,” Tessier said in an interview.The price changes have damaged his business and hurt other distributors, he said.“They’ve had the rug ripped out from them overnight.”Ceci should have pursued options to help small brewers in a trade-compliant way without inflicting collateral damage on others in the industry, Tessier suggested.Ric McIver, finance critic for the United Conservative Party, said Ceci needs to accept the trade ruling and fix the incentive program.McIver said the party wants businesses, including small brewers, to thrive but “we do not, however, agree that violating trade agreements with protectionist measures does anything to help these businesses thrive.”The dispute began almost two years ago when Ceci announced changes to government markups on beer sales. Until then, beer producers had been charged a markup on a sliding scale. Large producers paid the maximum of $1.25 a litre.They’ve had the rug ripped out from them overnight
Highlights at the close Monday at world financial market trading.Stocks:S&P/TSX Composite Index — 15,705.00, up 70.06 pointsDow — 22,557.60, up 152.51 points (record high)S&P 500– 2,529.12, up 9.76 points (record high)Nasdaq — 6,516.72, up 20.76 points (record high)Currencies:Cdn — 79.97 cents US, down 0.16 of a centPound — C$1.6601, down 1.15 centsEuro — C$1.4687, down 0.55 of a centEuro — US$1.1745, down 0.67 of a centOil futures:US$50.58, down $1.09(November contract)Gold futures:US$1,275.80 per oz., down $9.00(December contract)Canadian Fine Silver Handy and Harman:Monday $21.693 oz., $697.43 kg.(Friday: $21.840 oz., $702.16 kg.)
Quotations for key foreign currencies in terms of the Canadian dollar. Quotations are nominal, for information purposes only.Canadian dollar value on Wednesday, the previous day, three-months and one-year: Currency Wed Tue 3 months Year U.S. dollar 1.2498 1.2501 1.2920 1.3241 British Pound 1.6506 1.6504 1.6610 1.6058 Japanese Yen 0.0111 0.0111 0.0113 0.0128 Euro in U.S. 1.1847 1.1802 1.1435 1.1056 Euro in Cdn 1.4806 1.4754 1.4774 1.4639Quotations provided by the Bank of Canada
VICTORIA — The British Columbia government will announce changes today to the province’s public auto insurer amid predictions the agency will lose $1.3 billion by the end of the fiscal year.Insurance Corporation of B.C. chairwoman Joy MacPhail and Attorney General David Eby will hold a news conference in Victoria this morning to detail the changes.In January, Eby described the crisis at the corporation as a “financial dumpster fire.”He blamed the former Liberal government for ignoring warnings and recommendations made in a 2014 report and noted that before the last election, the Liberals said the losses would be $11 million.The insurance corporation has already posted a net loss of $935 million in the first nine month of its fiscal year.Eby has said the financial situation will have implications on the provincial budget.
Earlier the UNP had said it will boycott the PSC untill some of its concerns are adressed by President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa today named a 19 member Parliament Select Committee (PSC) to propose changes to the constitution.The PSC will be led by Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva, and includes Minister G.L Peiris, Maithipala Sirisena, W.D.J Seniviratne, Anura Priyadharshana Yapa, Douglas Devananda, Susil Premjayanth, A.L.M. Athaulla, D.E.W Gunasekera, Rishard Badurdeen, Champika Ranawaka, Wimal Weerawanse, Basil Rajapaksa, Lakshman Seniviratne, Vasudeva Nanayakaara, Muttu Sivalingham, Sudarshini Fernandopulle and Janaka Bandara. The government had yesterday said that while necessary amendments to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution will be instituted in the future, elections for the 3 provincial councils including the elections for the Northern Provincial Council will be held in September under the present constitutional status.Cabinet spokesman and the Minister of Mass Media and Information Keheliya Rambukwella had said that the 13th Amendment to the constitution and the Indo Lanka Agreement were imposed on the country without the consent of the people, the government information department reported. (Colombo Gazette) Notable absentees from the list was that of opposition members. The Speaker however said that opposition members of the PSC will be included once the opposition nominates its members.