Day: October 8, 2019

WTO backs Canada again in countryoforigin labelling appeal

DUNDURN, Sask. — An international trade referee has sided with Canada in a long-running dispute over labelling beef and pork products produced in this country.The World Trade Organization has ruled that U.S. rules that force country-of-origin labels on Canadian products violate trade agreements.[np-related]The decision is on an appeal of an original ruling from last fall that also went Canada’s way.Canadian meat exports to the United States have dropped sharply since that country first brought in country-of-origin labels.Shipments of feeder cattle and slaughter hogs have dropped by about half since 2009.Federal Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz welcomed the trade organization’s decision. read more

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Target Corp speeds up its Canadian exit plans to wind up all

TORONTO — Target Corp. is planning to close all of its Canadian stores even faster than originally planned.[np_storybar title=”First Target, now Future Shop — What’s happening to retail in Canada?” link=”https://business.financialpost.com/2015/03/30/future-shop-latest-canadian-retail-casualty-to-succumb-to-amazon-effect/”%5DIt’s been a tough year for retail in Canada, with stores closing across the country at the cost of thousands of jobs. Saturday, Future Shop was the latest casualty, when its owner Best Buy abruptly killed off the brand, permanently shutting 66 stores. Read on [/np_storybar]A court-appointed monitor overseeing the windup of the Target Canada stores says all 133 locations across the country will be permanently shut down by “as early as mid-April,” which is about a month ahead of schedule.Some locations have already ceased operations — 17 stores closed in the middle of March. Another six Target locations will shutter on Monday, while 23 are slated for closure on April 1, and 32 more on April 2.“It is anticipated that the pace of delivery of vacate notices … will continue to increase over the next two weeks,” the monitor wrote in an update filed with the court.“All stores are expected to be closed to the public as early as mid-April 2015.”Target Corp. announced in January that it was making plans to leave Canada, saying it would take years to turn a profit after a bungled launch hurt its reputation with consumers. The company is in the process of closing all 133 stores across the country, most which opened in 2013.A liquidation has been underway since last month, while lawyers are in court trying to iron out the details of Target’s departure. A variety of creditors that include landlords, suppliers and others impacted by the closures, are trying to determine what will happen to money they’re owed.On Monday, the court will consider approving the US$2.22-million sale of a variety of intellectual property assets from Target Canada back to its U.S. parent company, including both in-store and outside signs, 28,000 branded shopping carts, and 912,000 shopping bags.Court documents say that unlike other items owned by the stores, which include electric scooters and shopping cart corrals, the Target-branded items can’t be sold in the liquidation process because they’re all permanently stamped with the company’s name.“It is not possible to remove the Target branding from most of the (intellectual property assets) without destroying or substantially decreasing their value,” the monitor said, noting an outside appraiser was involved in the process.“The external signage cannot be repurposed and in any event has no value based on the third party bids (and) estimates of value that have been received.”In addition to the sales price, Target Canada believes it will save an extra $1.9 million by shifting the responsibility for removing and disposing of the branded items over to Target Corp. read more

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Northern Gateway pipeline gets handed another setback from BC Supreme Court

VANCOUVER — An alliance of First Nations is celebrating a British Columbia Supreme Court ruling that it says could set back the Northern Gateway pipeline by years and throw a wrench into another high-profile project review.The case was brought forward by the Gitga’at First Nation and Coastal First Nations, which represents nine aboriginal communities along B.C.’s northern and central coast, including the Gitg’aat.At the centre of the challenge was an equivalency agreement in which British Columbia gave the National Energy Board the power to review the controversial pipeline proposal. The court found the province “breached the honour of the Crown” by failing to consult with the Gitga’at and Coastal First Nations.That means the equivalency agreement is invalid and the province must make its own decision on Northern Gateway — after consulting with and accommodating First Nations along the route.“We’re now at the point where if Northern Gateway as a company wanted to move ahead, it would almost have to start over,” said Art Sterritt, a member of the Gitga’at who’s been a staunch opponent of Northern Gateway.Northern Gateway has had a federal permit in hand — with 209 conditions attached — since mid-2014, but the company has not officially committed to building the project. Instead, it has been looking to garner support from First Nations along the route.The ruling is the latest setback for the project, which aims to ship 525,000 barrels of oilsands crude a day to the port of Kitimat, B.C., for export to Asia. The federal Liberal government has said it wants to formalize a tanker ban on B.C.’s north coast — a move many say would essentially kill the project.Northern Gateway spokesman Ivan Giesbrecht said Enbridge remains committed and that the NEB’s review was one of the “most exhaustive” in Canadian history.With B.C.’s rejection of Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, Canada’s diversification strategy is unravellingTrans Mountain review looks for closure as pipeline expansion becomes increasingly difficult in CanadaFirst Nations spar over pipelines“This decision from the British Columbia Supreme Court does not change that approval,” he said, adding the company welcomes the court’s direction for more aboriginal consultation and will continue to work with all levels of government.“This comes down to a jurisdictional matter between the federal and provincial governments.”Joseph Arvay, lead counsel for the petitioners, said it’s a “very significant” decision that goes beyond Northern Gateway.“The court said that the province abdicated, gave away its powers to the federal government over the Northern Gateway project when it entered into this so-called equivalency agreement with the NEB. But it entered into exactly the same equivalency agreement with the NEB on the Kinder Morgan project,” he said.The B.C. government said this week it could not support Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain expansion, which would triple the amount of crude shipped from Alberta to the Vancouver area, because it hasn’t met its five conditions.“As far as I’m concerned, the province should congratulate us on this win even though they opposed us in the court,” said Arvey. “The court essentially provided the province with the legal backbone that it didn’t have up until this point.”B.C. Justice Minister Suzanne Anton said the province is reviewing the decision, but the interpretation so far is that the province won’t have to duplicate the entire review process.“Our reading of it is not that the judge is requiring us to do everything all over again. But what we do have to do is assess our B.C. requirement as per our B.C. statute and make sure that we’re complying with those requirements,” she said.Tara O’Donovan, a spokeswoman for the National Energy Board, declined to comment on what the ruling would mean for other projects under review.Sterritt, with the Gitga’at. said he’s been pleased with the shift in tone at the federal level when it comes to aboriginal engagement, and he’s hoping Wednesday’s ruling spurs a similar change in B.C.“Maybe this will be that final straw that will make British Columbia realize that you don’t just agree with First Nations when they like your project,” he said. “You basically have to listen to them and work with them even when they don’t like your project.” read more

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Energy East Pipeline review topics to be released may include GHG emissions

CALGARY — Canada’s national energy regulator is expected to release a list of topics later today to be considered in its review of the Energy East Pipeline which could for the first time include broad consideration of upstream and downstream emissions.The National Energy Board invited public input last spring on topics that should be considered during upcoming hearings, including the issue of greenhouse gas emissions related to increased consumption of oil from completion of the 4,500-kilometre conduit.The original Energy East review was derailed in September 2016 after members of the regulatory panel overseeing the hearings resigned amid questions about a potential conflict of interest.In January, the NEB invalidated nearly two years of decisions made by the previous panel, a setback for TransCanada’s (TSX:TRP) $15.7-billion development, and a new panel was appointed.Energy East as proposed would carry 1.1 million barrels of crude per day from Alberta and Saskatchewan to refineries in Eastern Canada and an export marine terminal in New Brunswick.The Energy East review is taking place at the same time that the government considers a sweeping overhaul of the NEB following a report in May that said the system is broken and the NEB should be split into two agencies. read more

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Trump administration expected to defend tariffs on Canadian solar modules in US

TORONTO — President Donald Trump’s decision to hit imports of Canadian solar energy modules with staggering tariffs, starting this month, has sparked another court battle over the extent of his powers to push through his America First agenda.Three Ontario-based manufacturing companies are suing the U.S. government in the U.S. Court of International Trade over a Trump presidential proclamation that began imposing 30 per cent tariffs on imports of their products as of Feb. 7.Silfab Solar Inc. of Mississauga, Heliene Inc. of Sault Ste. Marie and the U.S. subsidiary of Canadian Solar Inc. of Guelph jointly argue that Trump has overstepped his authority under U.S. law in several ways.For one thing, they say Trump ignored the position of the U.S. International Trade Commission, a quasi-judicial body that would be required to recommend global tariffs on imports of solar cells and modules — mainly from Asia.They also claim Trump disregarded an exemption for the Canadian companies, under the North American Free Trade Agreement, because they haven’t caused significant harm to the few remaining American manufacturers.They argue that U.S. law bars the president “from taking safeguard actions against a NAFTA country in this circumstance.”The Trump administration was expected to file its defence on Tuesday, as ordered by CIT chief judge Timothy Stanceu, who is overseeing the case in New York City.Trump’s move does have the support of SolarWorld Americas Inc. of Portland, Ore., one of the companies that prompted the ITC’s investigation last year, which says the president does have the authority to impose the tariffs.“SolarWorld is the last remaining U.S. producer of solar cells still in operation in the United states; the remaining U.S. cell producers have all been driven out of business by foreign imports,” SolarWorld’s lawyer said in a briefing to the court.The Canadians say the U.S. International Trade Commission concluded last year that solar cells and modules from Canada accounted for only about two per cent of crystalline silicon photovoltaic cells used in the United States.They also say the commission found the Canadian imports don’t meet the threshold required for the United States to include a NAFTA country in the president’s general action against imported photovoltaic cells and modules.The Canadian companies do have supporters in the United States, including from two Minnesota state senators: Republican Paul Gazelka and David Tomassoni of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor party.“In recent years, Minnesota has made significant and growing investments in the solar industry, often in partnerships with Canadian solar companies,” they wrote in a letter to the trade court.“These partnerships have resulted in the creation of jobs for Minnesotans and aided the rapid expansion of Minnesota’s solar industry.”The Minnesota briefing says Trump’s proclamation is problematic because it didn’t follow a “careful and balanced process” that the executive branch needs to follow before imposing safeguard measures on foreign imports.“The executive branch did not follow that careful process here,” it asserts.“By imposing a tariff on Canadian imports anyway, the proclamation contravenes the deliberate process Congress designed. . . . Furthermore, the proclamation has written Congress out of the vital oversight role to which the statute entitles it.” read more

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Over 1000 charged for drunk driving

The most number of drunk drivers were nabbed from Kandy, Nugegoda and Kuliyapitiya, the police media unit said.According to the police, 68 were nabbed in Kandy, 63 in Kuliyapitiya and 62 in Nugegoda during this period. According to police statistics 1056 drunk drivers were charged since September 11 and this included 912 three wheel drivers and motorbike riders. The police had decided to begin special operations to nab drunk drivers after several accidents were reported involving drunk driving. The police had filed action against 9 bus drivers during this period for driving under the influence of liquor. Over 1000 people have been charged with drunk driving since September 11 this year, the police media unit said today.The police said that legal action had been filed against the drunk drivers after the police began special operations to curb drunk driving. read more

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Internet freedom in Sri Lanka at risk says report

In November, the government suddenly announced a policy requiring websites that carry “any content related to Sri Lanka” to register with the authorities, and a prominent online journalist and cartoonist remains “disappeared,” apparently in police custody. Internet freedom in Sri Lanka is at risk, according to a mew study by a U.S based research and advocacy group.The Freedom on the Net 2012: A Global Assessment of Internet and Digital Media report by Freedom House says in Sri Lanka although internet penetration remains at around 15 percent of the population, since 2007 there has been an incremental growth in the influence and use of online news sites and social-media tools for civic and political mobilization. The government has responded with arbitrary blocks on news websites and occasional attacks against their staff, a dynamic that has intensified since January 2011. The country’s judicial system has proven a poor safeguard against these infringements, with the Supreme Court recently refusing to even open proceedings on a petition that challenged the arbitrary blocking of five prominent websites focused on human rights and governance.In June 2012, police raided two news websites’ offices, and in July the government announced new registration fees for such sites, illustrating thepotential for further assaults on internet freedom in the coming year, the report said. read more

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Fake job agent arrested

Following the complaints made to the police a woman was arrested and passports obtained from the victims were found in her house.The police said that the main suspect and his mother, who was also involved in the scam, are absconding arrest. (Colombo Gazette) The people who made the payments were told they would be sent to America, Canada, Germany and Britain. According to the police media unit the suspects had collected more than Rs. 3.5 million from the people. A fake job agent has been arrested in Kadawatta following complaints lodged by 16 people.The police said that a woman was arrested while two others are absconding after taking money from the people and promising to send them overseas. read more

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TNA MPs and TNA PC members hold key meeting

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Members of Parliament and TNA Provincial Council members held a key meeting today.TNA Provincial Council members from the North and East attended the meeting headed by TNA leader R. Sampanthan. Issues related to the TNA, the policy of the party and a political solution were among the matters discussed at the meeting held in Kilinochchi.The proposed new Constitution was also discussed at the day long meeting. (Colombo Gazette)

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Lanka keen on tieup with Kerala to promote indigenous medicine

Sri Lanka’s Health Minister Rajith Senaratne has called for a tie-up between his country and the Government of Kerala in promoting indigenous systems of medicine, The Hindu newspaper reported.Addressing the inaugural of the five-day Global Ayurveda Festival, Senaratne said it was important to strengthen and modernise these systems of medicine instead of relying only on modern medicine. “I would like to work with the political leadership of Kerala for a long-standing partnership in this area,” he said. Pointing out Kerala’s strengths in promoting and sustaining Ayurveda, he called for collaboration in research, skill development, ensuring adequacy of raw materials and in expert inputs for mutual benefit. Former envoy to the United Nations Dilip Sinha; organising chairman of the festival P.V Madhavankutty Varier; Member of Parliament M.K. Raghavan; Mayor V.K.C. Mammad Koya; and former Union Minister of State for Railways O . Rajagopal; were among those who stressed the need for documenting the efficacy of Ayurveda and promoting it as an effective area of medical science. Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan inaugurated an exhibition of various Ayurvedic forms of treatment and medicines.The festival, organised by various Ayurveda institutions, health centres and organisations, opened with a fervent call to propagate the efficacy of this system of medicine and even make it the first choice of medicine globally. Apart from those within the country, delegates have come from Sri Lanka, Russia and some South-East Asian countries. Prime Minister Narendra Modi would address the festival on February 2. (Colombo Gazette) Kerala Minister for Agriculture K.P. Monahan called for concerted efforts to change the mindset among the people and make them aware of the benefits of Ayurveda.“Kerala was the hub of Ayurveda, and there were times when even every blade of grass in the backyard was seen to have medicinal property. Unfortunately, plants with such properties had bèen replaced with decorative orchids. It was time to turn things around so that Ayurveda got its due place.’ read more

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Government to look at alternative to foreign judges in probe

“But what we are saying is there are many other variations in which we can guarantee that same credibility and we are looking at those options,” the Minister said. He said that anyone can put forward opinions and recommendations but as a responsible Government the Government will take the right decisions. (Colombo Gazette) The Government says the call for international judges in the process to investigate incidents related to the war comes from the fact that the local judiciary lost credibility when the Mahinda Rajapaksa Government was in power.Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera told reporters today there is a call to ensure impartiality in the accountability process and international participation is one way of ensuring impartiality. read more

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BBS says it is being unfairly accused of links to violence

The monk had visited Kandy and there was a feeling that he instigated the violence but Gnanasara Thera insisted that he attempted to calm the people in the area. The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) says it is being unfairly accused of links to violence targeting innocent Muslims.General Secretary of the BBS, the Venerable Galagodaatte Gnanasara Thera said that every-time an incident takes place the BBS is blamed. Gnanasara Thera said the BBS has concerns over some Muslim groups in Sri Lanka but is not taking a confrontational approach to address its concerns. (Colombo Gazette) He told reporters today that the BBS has changed its ways and is pushing for unity among all communities. read more

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