(Kanesatake Grand Chief Serge Simon holds up a Haudenosaunee Wampum Belt. Photo/Tom Fennario)Julien Gignac APTN National NewsThe Mohawk community at the centre of the Oka Crisis is leading plans to hold a ceremony aimed at solidifying an Indigenous alliance against the proposed Energy East pipeline.Kanesatake Grand Chief Serge Simon said the ceremony is expected to take place in British Columbia this coming spring.Simon said he first raised the idea of the alliance during a September Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs meeting. Simon said the “Indigenous Treaty” would create a “formal alliance between anyone who would be inclined to reject the pipeline proposals going through native territories.”Kanesatake was at the centre of the 1990 Oka Crisis triggered after the neighbouring village tried to bulldoze Mohawk burial grounds to expand a golf course.The primary goal of the treaty aims to limit the expansion of Alberta’s tar sands. Simon said the alliance would focus initially on stopping TransCanada’s proposed Energy East pipeline which would ship Alberta-mined bitumen to the East Coast.Kanesatake would be directly affected by TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline project if approved — a portion slicing straight through traditional hunting territory. The hunting grounds stretch almost 200 square miles to Sainte-Scholastique, Mirabel and all the surrounding areas, said Simon.The community is one of roughly 155 First Nations communities along the proposed path.The pipeline is projected to cost $12-billion and traverse 4,600 kilometres from Alberta to Irving oil facilities in Saint John, NB. The pipeline would transport about 1.1-million barrels of crude a day.Simon said the new treaty would include a traditionally-based Indigenous ceremony. He said the springtime event would feature the exchange of sacred objects to formalize it.The idea stemmed from discussions among chiefs in Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec, said Simon.Simon said the exchange objects would include a Haudenosaunee Wampum Belt, a Pacific Northwestern Totem Pole, and a mid-western Buffalo Robe. Simone said these objects represent elements inseparable from the cultural fabric of many First Nations people.These items have powerful meanings, pre-dating Canadian Confederation by centuries. Their presence is a ceremonial sign, commemorating kinship, honour, alliance, he said.“The Wampum Belt goes back thousands of years since the great law of the Iroquois, the great law of peace” said Simon. “It’s not only symbolic, it’s at the very heart of our identity as Iroquois people.”Made from white and purple beads, Wampum were inter-generational communication tools, documenting lineage. Wampum Belts were used as a formal means of establishing bonds between nations, legitimizing important events and upholding the promise of allegiance. They were also used during healing ceremonies.The Wampum Belt lies at the heart the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, consisting of the Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagas, Cayugas, Senecas and the Tuscarora people.Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Derek Nepinak decided to include the Buffalo Robe.“They had vision in their nation that someday the Buffalo Robe would come back over the mountain,” said Simon. “That means to them the robe would make it over the Rocky Mountains and into British Columbia.”Sundance Chief Rueben George of the Tsleil Waututh Nation in B.C. will contribute the Totem Pole, Simon said.Totem poles are traditionally used to honour ancestral ties and history, marking important turning points and milestones. They depict the crests of corresponding clans, commonly representing animals.“We bring these together and it’s the power and belief of all of these nations coming together under one treaty,” said Simon.It has the attention of others, too.B.C. Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, Grand Council of Treaty 3, encompassing First Nations communities in both Ontario and Manitoba, and chiefs from the Innu Nation are currently considering joining in solidarity.Kanesatake has a custom political system and does not fall under the scope of the Indian Act.“I can sign a treaty with whoever I choose,” said Simon. “It doesn’t matter what system I’m under. It would be hugely symbolic, but it would also help First Nations reconnect with their past and use it in the present context.”The approach is manifold.“We wish to work in collaboration,” according to a text of the proposed treaty obtained by APTN National News. “With all Canadians and all levels of government in creating a clean, just and sustainable economy, one that will both lead to healthier and more prosperous communities across Canada as well as preserve and protect our way of life.”Simon said governments and industry should take this treaty seriously.“It’s to safeguard our rights and to say no, free, prior and informed consent must be had,” said Simon. “If the industry, or the government, or both, decide to strong arm a First Nation who steadfastly says ‘no,’ then that First Nation can rest assured that they’re not alone.”Obtaining “free, prior and informed consent” from Indigenous people before development projects receive the go-ahead is incorporated into the United Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett has said Indigenous people in Canada will not be excluded from federal decisions that could objectify their land and inherent rights.Ottawa is now facing increased pressure to approve the Energy East pipeline following the rejection of TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline by the White House earlier this month.The Justin Trudeau government has openly admitted to “supporting” the Energy East project.TransCanada officials have said they consulted many First Nations and Metis communities along Energy East’s proposed route.“They (Indigenous people) need to be an integral part of everything we do at TransCanada,” said TransCanada spokesperson Mark Cooper. “So far along the project we’ve held 2,100 meetings with more than 180 aboriginal communities and organizations across Canada since 2013.”Forty-eight Metis and First Nations communities have accepted “Communications Engagement Funding Agreements,” said Cooper.These agreements involve money and allow the company to enter communities, give hold information sessions and note any concerns raised.“These dollars go to helping to provide and build the capacity within the First Nations communities to be able to provide input, attend meetings, to conduct their own studies, to meaningfully engage in the process so that we can collect the best information possible as it relates to the benefits and concerns of the pipeline” said Cooper.Impoverished First Nations are easily swayed when money is involved, said Simon.“Poverty is a hell of an incentive to sign on the dotted line,” he said.Kanesatake has received money from the energy firm, said Simon.In 2014, TransCanada cut a cheque to the community for $15,000 to conduct such a “capacity agreement,” he said.“They gave us the money with no questions asked,” he said. “There was no receipt, no accounting.”Simon told them to “get out” once the company started to ask about traditional knowledge, saying it followed too closely the types of questions asked during land claim settlements.“I don’t see the Crown anywhere in this process, the industry is the only one coming to talk to me and they’re asking me these questions that might prejudice my land claim,” said Simon. “That pipeline comes through and it’s basically a forced surrender of the land without the Crown being anywhere in sight.”The National Energy Board (NEB) is scheduling hearings allowing First Nations to voice their concerns, opinions and beliefs as they relate to Energy East.“Oral traditional evidence sessions are intended to help the NEB understand early on in the process how the Energy East Project may impact Aboriginal communities’ interests,” according to the NEB website. “For example, NEB expects to hear testimony about sacred sites, ceremonial sites, and traditional uses of the land and water in areas through which the proposed pipeline would pass.”Such a move is debatable to Simon, who believes the NEB and industry should be an arms-length away from each other.“What should have happened from the very beginning is the minister of Indian Affairs — with the mandate from the prime minister — going to each regional organization, like the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs,” he said. “You talk to them and start to hammer out a process of consultation, then you call in the industry.”TransCanada is one company pushing the idea that pipelines are the safest and most cost effective way to transport oil.“We recognize that these projects are the safest way to transport needed oil,” he said. “It’s the least greenhouse gas intensive way to transport and we have an extreme respect for the land the aboriginal communities along the route,” he said.Indications of potential risks associated with pipelines recently surfaced. In July, Nexen Energy made a public apology after one of its pipelines, south of Fort McMurray, Alta., burst, gushing five million litres of oil.In September, one of TransCanada’s natural gas pipelines exploded near Emerson, Man., sending apocalyptic flames and black smoke sky high. Two thirds of the proposed Energy East pipeline are to be converted from natural gas pipelines.“The spills are a lot worse than a tanker coming off the rails,” said Simon. “When they do burst, they burst, man, and you have major disasters on your hands.”Diane Beckett, Sierra Club Canada’s interim executive director, believes the oil should stay in the ground.“We’re being asked, ‘What poison do we want?’” she said. “The truth is when pipelines break, they’re huge oil spills.”Energy East will expand the amount of oil extracted, she said.“We don’t need new infrastructure to be put into an old dinosaur industry,” said Beckett. “We have to start putting the investments into green energy and energy conservation.”Beckett admires Simon in his attempt to unify Indigenous people across the country.“I’m very heartened that First Nations are saying no to energy infrastructure,” she said.Consultation with Indigenous people is embedded in the Canadian Constitution and industry along with government have historically ignored this, said Rodney Nelson, CEO of Global Governance Group, a policy think-tank with a focus on Indigenous issues.“Gearing together as a non-divisive force to put a stop to energy projects is an important position and a position that’s needed,” he said. “The Constitution is not an Indigenous law, it’s a Canadian law.”Simon believes it is time for Indigenous communities to act in unison.“They’ve had many years on their end to promote their project,” he said. “Now it’s our turn to speak.” email@example.com@JulienGignac
Kathleen Martens APTN NewsA national inquiry reviewing the causes of violence against Indigenous women and girls has finally made good on a promise to ask for more money and time.The remaining four commissioners signed a five-page letter to the federal minister in charge of the probe Tuesday – after first saying they’d have the request in by Christmas.So while the formal request to Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett is not a surprise, some of the reasons for seeking another two years and $50 million are eye-opening.Not the least of which is the revelation the inquiry expects to run a deficit for the next fiscal year.“We tried to hit the ground running and underestimated the infrastructure and resources required,” the commissioners say in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by APTN News.“There are several key expenditures that were not included in government’s original costing.”The expenditures are not explained in the letter but they don’t seem to deter Bennett. The minister said in a statement her government was committed to finding answers to the ongoing violence.And, she said action would soon be taken on recommendations the inquiry offered in its interim report in November.“The families of these women and girls needs answers to the systemic and institutional failures that lead to the murder of so many Indigenous women,” Bennett said.It was what Francyne Joe, president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada, wanted to hear.“We want to ensure that this national inquiry does the best work it can possibly do,” she said in a telephone interview.Joe said commissioners showed her and others a comprehensive work plan last month to help eliminate fears about ongoing internal dysfunction.“This is a plan that we wish had been prepared at the start of this whole national inquiry.”The inquiry has been plagued by staff turnover – including the resignation of a Metis commissioner – and key firings. It has lost two executive directors and senior lawyers.However, it sounds like it has been working behind the scenes to calm those waters and show it can get the results survivors, families and interest groups want.“We did have unprecedented solidarity on this issue in regards to all of the leadership in Manitoba, including the province of Manitoba, to move forward with the inquiry,” said Arlen Dumas, grand chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs.Dumas says that support should come with some strings.“The commission has not told parties how they would be carrying out Part 2, which are the expert hearings and the institutional hearings,” he said.“Canada should consider – if it extends the time – to ensure that it comes with a plan to properly inform families and survivors and parties with standing on what those next steps will be.”Pauktuutit, the Inuit women’s organization, also wants more information from the inquiry.“We’ve had our frustrations,” said president Rebecca Kudloo. “Poor communication, and our recommendations don’t seem to be taken too seriously sometimes.”Kudloo will pass her board’s opposition to an extension onto Bennett. She says her directors feel another 24 months is too long to wait for solutions.“We have the highest rates of family violence in Canada,” she said.Bennett says she will survey “families, Indigenous partners, provincial and territorial counterparts, and my Cabinet colleagues” before advising the prime minister on the request.Chief commissioner Marion Buller says the inquiry can conclude its work by the original deadline of December 2018, but it won’t be as detailed as she would like.“With an extension, the national inquiry will use the additional time to reach out to vulnerable populations, such as Indigenous women and girls who are in prisons and penitentiaries… are homeless…are involved in the sex trade…are being trafficked, or those who are living in violent circumstances,” she said in a conference call with reporters.They could easily double the number of witnesses and deepen the information they receive, she added.“The interest in participating is increasing every day.”So far, commissioners have heard from about 1,000 people at 11 public hearings and five statement gathering events.But they still want to hear from more, specifically members of the Metis Nation and the 2SLGBTQ communities, Buller said.“We don’t want to do a superficial job,” she added, “because that will reflect on our recommendations.”Buller and Commissioner Michele Audette listed a number of areas that need further research to help inform their recommendations. The result, they said, would be something all levels of government could adopt.Finally, they said they would change their leadership structure to one suggested by Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak last week, which will see the four of them co-lead the inquiry going forward.“Leaders talked about a compromise with us,” said Audette. “We listened carefully (to) their concerns.”
Minister Amarjeet Sohi. File photo.APTN NewsOn Monday Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi told reporters in Ottawa the government still has not placed a deadline on Canada’s renewed consultations with First Nations over the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.The minister was also vague on what the Liberals regard as adequate consultations, saying only that “meaningful discussion doesn’t mean a lengthy discussion.“It has to be a two-way dialogue, it has to be done in a sincere, honest way with proper focus on resolving issues and that’s exactly what our teams are focused on,” he said.The comments come amid the government’s effort to meet a Federal Court of Appeal directive last August stemming from a number of legal challenges to the project brought by First Nations.The court quashed the government’s approval of the pipeline, which if built would carry almost 900,000 barrels of diluted bitumen from the Alberta oil sands to the B.C. coast.It ruled that the National Energy Board’s “process and findings were so flawed that the Governor in Council could not reasonably rely on the Board’s report,” and that “Canada failed to fulfil the duty to consult owed to Indigenous peoples.”The decision brought the issue of constitutional responsibilities to Indigenous peoples to the fore and has pitted Indigenous rights against the desire by Alberta to maintain a prosperous fossil fuel industry.The court’s decision, however, said “the public interest and the duty to consult do not operate in conflict,” and that “a project authorization that breaches the constitutionally protected rights of Indigenous peoples cannot serve the public interest.”Amid growing uncertainty as to whether the project would ever come to fruition, the Trudeau government purchased the pipeline from Kinder Morgan for $4.5 billion and intends to sell it to new investors if it can satisfy the legal conditions.The Treaty Alliance, a coalition of 150 First Nations, has vowed to stop the project on the grounds it poses too great a threat to waters that run through Indigenous lands, and that addressing climate change requires stopping the expansion of Alberta’s oil sands.Meanwhile, the Indigenous Resource Council, an alliance of 130 First Nations has expressed interest in acquiring a majority share in the project.Sohi said Monday the renewed consultations “are going really well,” and that the Liberals “have eight teams on the ground [supported] by close to 60 individuals.”He said the “teams are properly trained and they have the mandate to have meaningful discussions with the Indigenous communities to move forward in offering accommodations where accommodations are possible to be offered.”Sohi also said he has personally met “with more than 40 Indigenous groups,” and that former Supreme Court Justice Frank Iacobucci—who the Trudeau government appointed to facilitate the consultations—“has held his roundtables” with Indigenous communities.One of those roundtables garnered national media attention last month when three members of the Tiny House Warriors were arrested after attempting to enter a pre-consultation roundtable discussion between federal officials and representatives from local Indigenous communities at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, B.C.A few days earlier, Secwepemc Chief Judy Wilson of the Neskonlith Indian Band told Trudeau at an Assembly of First Nations assembly in Ottawa that there “was no consent” from the Secwepemc Nation on Trans Mountain.“You can’t count a few [impact and benefit agreements] with some of the communities as consent because it’s the proper title holders of those nations that hold the title,” she said. “And it’s the bands that might have been under duress – but it’s not a proper process.”firstname.lastname@example.org@APTNnews
OTTAWA – Finance Minister Bill Morneau says he will deliver a fall economic update Tuesday to document the recent strong growth in the Canadian economy, but did not say whether it will include a plan to eliminate the federal deficit.Morneau says the update will “affirm” plans to reverse course and cut the small business tax rate to nine per cent by 2019.He says the update will also end tax advantages for “the wealthy few” — a plan that has landed the finance minister in a world of controversy.He made the announcement in the House of Commons despite being under siege in recent weeks from opposition critics over the proposed changes, as well as allegations of conflict of interest involving his considerable financial assets.Morneau and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau have subsequently tweaked the tax measures this week amid outrage from small business owners, doctors, farmers, fishers and even some Liberal backbench MPs.The fiscal update comes as the Canadian economy is on a roll.The Finance Department notes that real GDP growth reached a 4.5-per-cent pace in the second quarter, with a budget deficit for 2016-17 that was $11.6 billion lower than projected in the 2016 budget.The government says real GDP has grown at an average rate of 3.7 per cent—the strongest four-quarter period of expansion since 2006 — and 400,000 new jobs have been created in the last two years.In recent months, Morneau has tied Canada’s strong economic performance to his government’s strategy to run deficits, which helped it finance measures such as lower income-tax rates for middle earners and enhanced child benefits.He also says Ottawa is sticking to a plan to invest more than $180 billion in infrastructure over the next 11 years, adding to annual, multibillion-dollar shortfalls across Ottawa’s five-year budgetary outlook — and perhaps beyond.Opposition Conservatives have long been critical about the government’s plan to add to the federal debt to fund new measures, while some economists have urged Ottawa to limit fiscal uncertainty by mapping out a plan to return to balance.
Uber is coming clean about its coverup of a year-old hacking attack that stole personal information about more than 57 million of the beleaguered ride-hailing service’s customers and drivers.So far, there’s no evidence that the data taken has been misused, according to a Tuesday blog post by Uber’s recently hired CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi. Part of the reason nothing malicious has happened is because Uber acknowledges paying the hackers $100,000 to destroy the stolen information.The revelation marks the latest stain on Uber’s reputation.The San Francisco company ousted Travis Kalanick as CEO in June after an internal investigation concluded he had built a culture that allowed female workers to be sexually harassed and encouraged employees to push legal limits.It’s also the latest major breach involving a prominent company that didn’t notify the people that could be potentially harmed for months or even years after the break-in occurred.Yahoo didn’t make its first disclosure about hacks that hit 3 billion user accounts during 2013 and 2014 until September 2016. Credit reporting service Equifax waited several months before revealing this past September that hackers had carted off the Social Security numbers of 145 million Americans.Khosrowshahi criticized Uber’s handling of its data theft in his blog post.“While I can’t erase the past, I can commit on behalf of every Uber employee that we will learn from our mistakes,” Khosrowshahi wrote. “We are changing the way we do business, putting integrity at the core of every decision we make and working hard to earn the trust of our customers.”That pledge shouldn’t excuse Uber’s previous regime for its egregious behaviour, said Sam Curry, chief security officer for the computer security firm Cybereason.“The truly scary thing here is that Uber paid a bribe, essentially a ransom to make this breach go away, and they acted as if they were above the law,” Curry said. “Those people responsible for the integrity and confidentiality of the data in-fact covered it up.”The heist took the names, email addresses and mobile phone numbers of 57 million riders around the world. The thieves also nabbed the driver’s license numbers of 600,000 Uber drivers in the U.S.Uber waited until Tuesday to begin notifying the drivers with compromised driver’s licenses, which can be particularly useful for perpetrating identify theft. For that reason, Uber will now pay for free credit-report monitoring and identity theft protection services for the affected drivers.Kalanick, who still sits on Uber’s board of directors, declined to comment on the data breach that took place in October 2016. Uber says the response to the hack was handled by its chief security officer, Joe Sullivan, a former federal prosecutor whom Kalanick lured away from Facebook in 2015.As part of his effort to set things right, Khosrowshahi extracted Sullivan’s resignation from Uber and also jettisoned Craig Clark, a lawyer who reported to Sullivan.Clark didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment sent through his LinkedIn profile. Efforts to reach Sullivan were unsuccessful.Uber’s silence about its breach came while it was negotiating with the Federal Trade Commission about its handling of its riders’ information.Earlier in 2016, the company reached a settlement with the New York attorney general requiring it to take steps to be more vigilant about protecting the information that its app stores about its riders. As part of that settlement, Uber also paid a $20,000 fine for waiting to notify five months about another data breach that it discovered in September 2014.
OTTAWA – American imports into Canada could fall by $3.3 billion under the recently rebooted Trans-Pacific Partnership, the federal government has concluded, sparking fears the new pact could hurt the ongoing NAFTA renegotiation.The text of the 11-country Pacific Rim trade deal — a pact President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of last year — was released late Tuesday, but a Global Affairs Canada analysis of the deal also delves into the impact on the North American Free Trade Agreement talks, which are to resume in Mexico City next week.The Trump administration has blasted trade deficits with Canada as an underlying reason for wanting to renegotiate or tear up NAFTA. The Canadian government rejects that position, saying the statistics don’t back the U.S. deficit assertions.But the most recent analysis of the new TPP — known by the acronym CPTPP — predicts lower U.S. imports into Canada.“Under the CPTPP, Canadian exports to the United States are not expected to change significantly as the United States is not party to the CPTPP. However, there would be a decline in imports by Canada from the United States, resulting from erosion of U.S.’s NAFTA preferences in the Canadian market,” the analysis says.“Total Canadian imports from the United States are projected to fall by $3.3 billion, led by a decline in automotive products imports.”Flavio Volpe, the president, of Canada’s Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association, says that will hurt Canada at the upcoming NAFTA round, where auto remains a major obstacle between Canada and the U.S.“The report states that U.S. imports into Canada would drop $3.3 billion, mainly in automotive. If true, that is a gap smart U.S. negotiators could then be seeking to close in NAFTA 2.0,” said Volpe.David Worts, executive director of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association of Canada, said he saw no connection between the two trade deals.Worts said the government’s analysis of the CPTPP doesn’t take into account the bilateral side letter on autos between Canada and Japan that he said recognizes U.S. safety standards in Canadian-built vehicles and has an enforceable dispute-settlement mechanism.“These are significant improvements over the original TPP,” he said.But that side letter and others with Malaysia and Australia have yet to be made public. International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne has said a side letter with Japan guarantees greater access and enshrines a dispute resolution mechanism.The New Democrats criticized what they said was the late release of the text ahead of a planned signing of the deal on March 8.“The multiple side letters that have been completed, including ones relating to protection of our culture and automotive sector, will not be released until after the official signing of the deal,” said Tracey Ramsey, NDP trade critic.The government’s analysis also says, “production in the automotive sector is expected to rise very modestly, by $206 million.”The analysis concludes: “The impacts on the automotive sector are slight, with a small increase in output and exports.”Volpe dismissed those predicted gains as insignificant. He said the gain would amount to only $171 million by 2040.“Contextually, the Canadian auto sector ships about $85 billion in goods annually. This 22-year increase represents approximately 0.2 per cent on that number and when one accounts for inflationary dynamics, this represents a serious decline in real dollars.”The government analysis also concluded that the agreement would generate long-term economic gains for Canada totalling $4.2 billion, up from the $3.4 billion that was expected under the old TPP. The increase is due to improved access to member nations in the absence of U.S. competition.The analysis also said the gains would cover a broad range of sectors, including some agricultural products such as pork and beef, wood products, machinery and equipment, and transportation equipment.Canadian food producers are enthusiastic about the new TPP and the government’s predictions of increased pork and beef exports to Japan. The analysis predicted pork exports to rise by $639 million, or 36.2 per cent, and beef to increase by $378 million or 94.5 per cent.John Masswohl, the international relations director of the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, predicted Canada would make gains in Japan at the expense of the U.S., which exports about $1 billion a year worth of beef to that country.“We feel pretty good about being able to take a chunk of that from them.”
WINNIPEG – The former board chairman of Manitoba Hydro criticized Premier Brian Pallister on Thursday and defended a planned $67-million payment to the Manitoba Metis Federation.“What we need is a strong board, and we need a premier who’s prepared to take leadership in addressing some very significant issues that Hydro faces,” Sanford Riley told The Canadian Press.Riley and eight of the other nine board members at the Crown corporation quit en masse Wednesday. They said they had been unable to secure a meeting with Pallister for more than a year to discuss key issues.Pallister said the dispute stems from a proposal submitted by the board last fall to pay the Metis federation $67 million over 20 years in relation to new Hydro developments.The planned payment was unusual, Pallister said, because it did not appear to compensate anyone for lost land or displacement. Instead, the money would have been in exchange for a federation promise not to oppose several projects, including a new transmission line to the United States, the premier said.The government halted the deal, partly to protect taxpayers from having to pay “persuasion money” and partly to protect the rights of future generations of Metis to seek regulatory reviews or question future projects.“I don’t think … that signing off on your rights, at the expense of your children, is the right thing to do,” Pallister said.A copy of the proposed deal, obtained by The Canadian Press, said the Metis federation would not oppose projects currently underway as well as future domestic transmission lines, less than 250 kilometres in length, for up to 50 years.The proposal said the federation would have to support Manitoba Hydro licence applications and “agree not to appeal or contest any approvals or licences issued.”Riley said the proposal made sense in light of recent court rulings that have supported Metis rights. In 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled the country’s 600,000 Metis have many of the same rights as First Nations individuals, including the right to be consulted.Riley said the payment could be lower than the cost of legal challenges and compensation for upcoming Manitoba Hydro projects.“This made more sense from a financial and from a social perspective.”He called Pallister’s criticism “deeply cynical, offensive to the board … and wrong.”While there is no mention of lost land in the proposed deal, Metis federation president David Chartrand said the money was partly to compensate for land cleared for hydro poles.“There was clear-cutting that was done in traditional areas that were used for cultural events or berry-picking,” Chartrand said earlier this week.“We have some very famous areas where we pick our blueberries … and so it (would have) helped to develop new blueberry areas.”Riley and some other board members have Progressive Conservative connections and were appointed by the Tory government less than two years ago.Riley has served in advisory and support roles over the years for former Tory leaders. He is also a successful business executive. He said this dispute is not about partisan politics.“I’m not interested in the partisan stuff that goes on around this. I’m interested in doing the right thing for Manitoba.”Pallister said a new board would be appointed Friday.
Ian Bickis, The Canadian Press TORONTO — The Canada Post of today that finds itself struggling through rotating strikes is a very different organization from the postal service that last saw labour disruptions.Back in 2011, as the company faced a labour dispute that led to its first loss in 17 years, then-CEO Deepak Chopra unveiled a plan to restructure the centuries-old institution to adapt to major structural changes brought on by the internet, including both a plunge in lettermail and a rise in packages.“Starting in 2007, letter volumes started to collapse like a stone,” said Ian Lee, an associate professor at Carleton University’s Sprott School of Business, who has studied the crown corporation.“That was their bread and butter, their core business, and their most profitable. Vastly, by far their most profitable product was lettermail. They charged lots of money, and it cost very little to deliver it.”By 2011 the Canada Post Group of Companies, which includes subsidiary Purolator Holdings Ltd. and others, was handling about 10 billion pieces of mail a year for a 1.8-billion drop from 2007. Last year, total volume came in at 8.4 billion as the service has sustained a steady drop in its core business of transaction mail made of up letters, bills, statements, invoices and other paperwork that’s now gone digital.In response, the company switched emphasis to its parcel service, which for years had stood at a fairly stable level. But the transition hasn’t been easy, said Lee, since unlike lettermail, parcel services have stiff competition from major international players like UPS and Fedex.“People say, ok well great, you lost one product line, you get another product line. It’s not that simple…this is a very competitive space, there is no monopoly.”Still, a rapid rise in overall parcels being sent out to consumers has helped Canada Post record significant gains in the space.Last year, parcel revenue came in at $2.1 billion, or about 33 per cent of Canada Post revenue, up from about $1.3 billion or 21 per cent of revenue in 2011.Parcel volume has climbed from about 143 million packages in 2011 to 242 million last year for an almost 70 per cent increase, as the service has also looked to increase convenience of the service with delivery lockers, self-service drop-offs, and same day delivery in Toronto and Montreal.In a 2016 annual report, Canada Post said it delivered nearly two thirds of online orders by Canadians.Lee said the service has been competitive, offering somewhat cheaper rates than private operators, but it’s been saddled with labour costs, a large pension obligation, and a culture slow to change.“Canada Post, which for over 200 years was a protected monopoly of the state, is dying before our eyes, but the culture hasn’t caught up,” he said.Pivoting has been hampered by difficult labour relations, pension obligations, as well as the structure of the service itself, said Malcolm Bird, associate professor of political science at the University of Winnipeg.“They’ve got difficult labour relations, political interference in their operations, they’ve got to deliver mail to everywhere regardless of the cost, so there may be a few little advantages, but I suspect they would be far outweighed by their public service role.”A government discussion paper noted that labour costs are about 41 per cent higher than comparable businesses in the private sector.Canada Post has to deliver to every address in Canada, but the number of addresses are increasing while each customer is using the service less. Parcel deliveries is a way to offset some of its costly obligations, said Bird.“Canada post, in raw political terms, it provides mail and package delivery services to rural and small town Canada, and the north, places where private companies provide limited service, if at all….this universal service obligation is at the absolute core of its political mandate.”The requirements of delivery are what pushed the service into the community mailbox program and away from door-to-door delivery, a move that was expected to save about $400 million a year before the Trudeau government shelved the plan. Despite steady declines of between around four and eight per cent per year, lettermail still provides the bulk of Canada Post’s revenues. Last year transactional mail pulled in $2.9 billion to make up 45 per cent of revenue, down from $3.2 billion or 54 per cent in 2011. Advertising, or direct marketing mail, makes up the other main segment for the service at $1.1 billion in revenue last year.The strike, however, threatens its core business further, since companies have been using it to encourage more people to switch to digital, said Bird.“Every single company that still provides paper letters, paper bills to people, is trying to use these rotating strikes to make even more people go on to electronic bills and get rid of paper.”The rotating strike has also shown the waning necessity of the postal service, said Lee.“They had enormous leverage in the 1960s, ’70s, ’80s, ’90s because the strike would cripple, literally cripple the economy because it brought the payment system to its knees.”Today it is an inconvenience for small businesses and customers ordering online, but hardly critical, he said.“It’s a bit of an inconvenience, but it’s not the end of the world like it once was.”
BRUSSELS — Eurozone finance ministers have agreed to strengthen the single currency bloc’s defences against any future financial crisis.Eurogroup President Mario Centeno said early Tuesday that “after several months of intense negotiations and a very tough and long meeting we delivered a comprehensive plan to strengthen the euro.”Centeno said that new measures will be introduced to keep on top of any further financial crisis and to enhance debt sustainability. One proposal will see the bailout fund, the European Stability Mechanism, provide financial assistance in times of need.The discussions among the 19 eurozone finance ministers pitted France against several northern European nations.The plan now moves to next week’s EU summit of government leaders.The Associated Press
NEW YORK — Changes announced in corporate dividends Dec. 3-Dec. 7.INCREASED DIVIDENDSAgree Realty .555 vs .54Alexandria Real Estate .97 from .93Culp .10 from .09Deere .76 from .69Ecolab .46 from .41FMC .40 from .165Mastercard .33 from .25Mid-Amer Apt Commun .96 from .9225Nucor .40 from .38Paccar .32 from .28Pacific Coast Oil Tr .04097 from .01693Raymond James .34 from .30SL Green Realty .85 from .8125Stryker Corp .52 from .47Summit Financial .14 from .13TriCo Bancshares .19 from .17United-Guardian .55 from .50WP Carey Inc 1.03 from 1.025SPECIAL DIVIDENDSCamping World Cl A .0732Gaming Partners Intl .12Genpact .075Saga Communications Cl A .25Territorial Bancorp .20United Bancorp .05REDUCED DIVIDENDSGreif B .65 from .66Stock DividendsSecur Natl Financial 5pcg- Canadian fundsOTHER CORPORATE NEWS AND LISTINGS:STOCK SPLITS THIS WEEKApollo Investment 1 for 3 reverse splitACQUISITIONS AND MERGERSMINIMUM VALUE $100 MILLIONAmerican Railcar Industries – Icahn Enterprises (1.75B)Energen Corp – Diamondback Energy (9.2B)LaSalle Hotel Properties – The Blackstone Group LP (4.8B)Mitel Networks Corp – Searchlight Capital Partners LP (2B)Ocean Rig UDW Inc – TransOcean Ltd (2.7B)Sodastream International Ltd – PepsiCo Inc (3.2B)NEW STOCK LISTINGSNASDAQ GLOBAL AND GLOBAL SELECT MARKETSEnstar Group Ltd 7pc pfd EModerna IncSynthorx IncCORPORATE NAME CHANGESIndustrea Acquisition Cl A to Concrete Pumping Holding (and warrants)Oncologics Inc to Outlook Therapeutics Inc (and warrants)The Associated Press
ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. — Atlantic City’s Ocean Resort Casino is changing hands after just six months of operation, the latest indication that the New Jersey seaside resort may have bitten off more than it can chew when it reopened two shuttered casinos last summer.The property formerly known as Revel is being acquired by an outside company that will make a major investment into it.Bruce Deifik, the current owner, would not identify the new company, which would assume majority ownership of the casino.The new owner will make a $70 million investment in Ocean Resort, which plans to remain open. The transaction is expected to be finalized Thursday.The new owner would need to be licensed by state gambling regulators and its identity made known before that. Deifik and his family will retain a small, non-controlling ownership interest in the property.“It has been truly an honour for myself and my family to have taken this property, opened its doors and brought back the players, the families, the convention guests and the sports betting enthusiasts,” Deifik said. “My family and I want to thank the 3,000-plus employees at Ocean for their tireless work to bring our property to life and put it on track to become the best gaming property in New Jersey. If approved and closed, this next round of investment into Ocean will put this property on an exciting path to growth.”Ocean Resort was one of two formerly shuttered casinos that reopened the same day last June, along with Hard Rock.The reopenings brought Atlantic City’s casino total to nine, shortly after five casinos had shut down in a market that could not support them all. The Atlantic Club, Showboat, Revel and Trump Plaza all closed in 2014, and the Trump Taj Mahal closed in 2016. (The Taj Mahal reopened as Hard Rock last year.)The revival of the two casinos immediately raised questions as to whether Atlantic City was making the same mistake that led to the first wave of casino shutdowns: having too many casinos for them all to thrive.In its first incarnation as Revel, the $2.4 billion casino lasted just over two years before closing in 2014. Florida developer Glenn Straub bought it out of bankruptcy court for $82 million, and sold it last year to Deifik, a Colorado developer, for $200 million.Deifik decided to buy the casino sight unseen just over a year ago on the recommendation of his advisers, and set about renovating it, adding an indoor golf facility and one of the state’s most extensive sports betting facilities.He and his management team said they were confident they had fixed what went wrong with Revel. Deifik reconfigured the maze-like casino floor, allowed smoking on it again, welcomed gamblers of all income and playing levels, and placed a premium on customer service.He took over Ocean Resort with far less debt than what sank Revel. But the casino’s gambling revenue remained near the bottom of the pack along Atlantic City’s nine casinos.In November, the last month for which statistics are available, Ocean Resort won $15.2 million from gamblers, a figure that trailed every casino in Atlantic City except Bally’s, which won $14.5 million for the month. By comparison, the Borgata, Atlantic City’s market leader, won $61.5 million in November.In the third quarter of 2018, Ocean Resort had a gross operating profit of $1.4 million. Although it was only open since the end of June, it badly trailed Hard Rock, which opened on the same day as Ocean Resort, and posted a gross operating profit of $8.2 million.The casino plans to use the new funds to open a buffet, additional suites and rooms, and investments on the casino floor. It also plans “a substantial increase” in its entertainment programming and player events in 2019.___Follow Wayne Parry at http://twitter.com/WayneParryACWayne Parry, The Associated Press
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Staff from the City of Fort St. John’s Bylaw Enforcement and Public Works department stepped out of their usual duties this week to help the North Peace SPCA rescue a brood of ducklings that had gotten stuck down a storm drain.North Peace SPCA branch manager Candace Buchamer said the SPCA got a report at around noon on Wednesday of a number of ducklings that had fallen down a storm drain near the Fort St. John Hospital. Buchamer said that with the SPCA being short-staffed that day, one of the city’s bylaw officers responded to the situation, and managed to rescue all but one of what was believe to be a group of five baby ducks.The fifth was reportedly too scared of the officer and managed to scurry out of reach, and the SPCA resolved to get the duckling rescued the next day.On Thursday, staff with the City’s Public Works Department went back out to the storm drain and were able to rescue not one, but two more ducklings from the drain. Sadly, though the area is known as prime duck territory, a search was unable to find the mother duck and her remaining brood. Buchamer said that though the ducklings fell directly onto the cement at the bottom of the storm drain, the ducklings are all in excellent health. She said that the group of infants have left the SPCA, having been sent to the Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in Smithers to give them a chance at being released into the wild.
Los Angeles: Morgan Freeman is set to star in Ryan Reynolds’ “The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard”, the sequel to “The Hitman’s Bodyguard”. The veteran actor has joined Frank Grillo, who was last cast in the film, reported Deadline. No details are as yet available about Freeman’s character. Samuel L Jackson and Salma Hayek are set to return for the second installment. Patrick Hughes is returning to direct and Tom O’Connor has penned the script. Also Read – Hilarie Burton, Jeffery Dean Morgan tie the knot The sequel follows bodyguard Michael Bryce (Reynolds), who is enlisted by Jackson and Hayek’s characters to join them on a mission along the Amalfi Coast. Production is expected to start this month. Freeman’s last cinematic outing was Disney’s “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms”, which released months after multiple women accused him of sexual misconduct on production sets or on promotional tours over his career spanning more than five decades. He next stars in “Angel Has Fallen”.
Kolkata: The state government is laying emphasis on developing alternative hubs for the manufacture of electronic equipment, ranging from mobiles, drones, solar and other components.”We have developed three Electronic Manufacturing Clusters (EMCs) at Naihati, Falta and Sonarpur. The lands for all these EMCs are ready for allotment. Apart from mobile manufacturing, we are welcoming solar, drones, robotics and LCD TVs in these clusters as well,” a senior official of the state Information Technology & Electronics department said. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaAdditional Chief Secretary of IT&E Debashis Sen recently visited the EMC at Naihati situated on 70 acres of land and took stock of the services on offer. “The facilities in this park have been developed by WEBEL. A site office will come up soon. We are expecting a lot of electronic units here as the place has its locational advantage. It is an hour-long drive from the city and is very close to the industrial park of West Bengal Industrial Development Corporation,” the official added. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayAccording to a senior official from WEBEL, the EMC at Falta has 70 acres of land while the one at Sonarpur has 10 acres. The state government has already invited applications from investors across India for setting up electronic manufacturing units on developed land parcels in these parks. The land allotment will be processed on first-come first-serve basis. It may be mentioned that the rise of mobiles in India has been phenomenal, driven by the cheapest data in the world. In 2011, there was only one mobile manufacturing unit in the country, whereas now there are more than 400 with most of them located around Noida. The move on the part of the state government assumes significance with a top US based advocacy group recently claiming that about 200 US companies are seeking to move their manufacturing from China to India after the general elections.
Los Angeles: Actor Anne Hathaway never thought her acting career would go this well. She says she feels really lucky to be where she is now. “I never thought that things would go this well, and I never thought that I’d still be like hitting the pavement as hard as I am now. But I do love it. I really feel lucky to do it,” Hathaway told etonline.com. Despite her success, the Ocean’s 8 star says she hasn’t been able to “stop hustling”. She says acting never gets easier even when stars have achieved high levels of fame as they still have to “work just as hard in a different way”. Also Read – ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ has James Cameron’s fingerprints all over it: Arnold Schwarzenegger”I had a mistaken idea that there would be a point where you’d made it enough that you would be able to stop hustling.” “That never really happened. When people say you really have to love acting because it’s hard, like that’s an aspect of it that I don’t think people think (about). Because people think, ‘Oh, I’m gonna get famous and it’s just gonna be this really glamorous lifestyle,’ but you really will have to work just as hard in a different way than you do in the beginning when nobody knows who you are.”
New Delhi: Industry body Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) and ETSI have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to foster closer co-operation on telecom standardisation. A European standardisation organisation, ETSI is not-for-profit body with over 850 member entities gobally and offers an open and inclusive environment to support development, ratification and testing of globally applicable standards for Information and communications technology (ICT) systems and services across various sectors. Also Read – Commercial vehicle sales to remain subdued in current fiscal: Icra The MoU was signed by Rajan S Mathews, Director General of COAI and Luis Jorge Romero, Director General of ETSI. “ETSI and COAI have a common objective to perform and promote, directly or indirectly, regional and international standardisation with the aim of contributing to the establishment of global information infrastructure,” a joint statement said. Seconded European Standardization Expert, the local representative of ETSI, will work closely with COAI to strengthen their relationship and foster a closer co-operation on common-agenda items between them, and promote ETSI-India cooperation on standards-related issues. “This partnership will allow us to have a regular and continuous dialogue between European Union and India to strengthen the standardisation efforts in the field of ICT, through various workshops, conferences and meetings, Mathews said.
New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind, Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday greeted the nation on the occasion of Buddha Purnima. “Greetings and good wishes to fellow citizens and to the global Buddhist community on #BuddhaPurnima. Lord Buddha’s message of peace, non-violence and compassion hold even greater significance today. May his teachings guide us towards universal fraternity,” Kovind tweeted. Naidu in a series of tweet extended greetings and good wishes to the people of the country. “On this happy occasion, let us commit ourselves to the path of Dharma (righteousness), Karuna (compassion) and Maitri (universal friendship) shown by Lord Buddha,” he said. In another tweet, he said: “His eternal message of non-violence and compassion continues to inspire humanity across the globe to strive towards a more fulfilling life and a world where all people live together and shape it together into a peaceful, inclusive, sustainable globe.” “Lord Buddha was one of the most illustrious spiritual leaders to have walked this earth. He preached the most profound truths,” Naidu said. Modi also took to Twitter, and said: “Greetings to all countrymen on the occasion of Buddha Purnima. Messenger of truth, non-violence, mercy, compassion and peace, Lord Buddha’s message will continue to inspire the countrymen forever.”
Rabat – Moroccan activist and champion of single mothers’ rights, Aïcha Ech-Chenna, was made on Monday “Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur” a prestigious French distinction for 52 years of services to the cause of single mothers.The reward, that adds to numerous ones won by Ech-Chenna worldwide, is a tribute to “a brave, tenacious and bold woman” for her “constant, resolved, known and recognized” fight to “find a job to (single) women while securing that they will keep their children custody”, said French ambassador in Morocco, Charles Fries, who added that the recipient is also rewarded for her contribution to enriching relations between Morocco and France.Ech-Chenna said the distinction is another international recognition to “the daily work” of her association “feminine solidarity” and to the humane values for which it has been militating for 50 years now.It is time we joined our efforts to settle the real problems facing Moroccan women, she called before underscoring the total support of HM King Mohammed VI to the association and the care that the Sovereign grants to most vulnerable social groups. Other co-recipients of the Easter 2013 class of the French legion d’honneur include the French ambassador in Morocco, the medicine Nobel winner François Barré-Sinoussi, former French soccer star Lillian Thuram and other French and foreign figures.Ecchenna had been awarded in November 2009 in Minneapolis (USA) the USD 1 million Opus prize which is granted annually to recognize unsung heroes anywhere in the world, solving today’s most persistent social problems.She is also the laureate of the 1995 French Republic human rights prize.
Rabat – The announcement was made at a press conference held on the sidelines of the Arabian Travel Market, jointly hosted by World Travel Awards (WTA) President Graham Cooke, Moroccan Minister of Tourism, Lahcen Haddad, and Chairman of Innovate Marketing Solutions, Mohammed Arkobi.Speaking at the event, the WTA president said: “This is a momentous day for World Travel Awards and for the Moroccan tourism industry.”“Morocco is the ideal destination for World Travel Awards; growing rapidly to become the leading tourism destination in the region.” “There is so much to offer, from the beaches of Agadir, to the splendor of the Atlas Mountains and the cosmopolitan chic of downtown Rabat.”The first event will take place in the beautiful city of Marrakech later this year.“Securing hosting rights for the World Travel Awards Grand Final is just the latest coup for Morocco, which has been able to use its reputation as one of the most politically stable destinations in the region to significantly increase its tourism revenue in recent years,” said Cooke.“One of North Africa’s top tourist destinations, its dusty deserts, snow-capped Atlas Mountains, medieval medinas, and pristine beaches continue to delight and amaze visitors, said the Moroccan minister.“Hosting the World Travel Awards Grand Final will be a defining event in enhancing the awareness of the Kingdom of Morocco among the most powerful leaders of the travel and hospitality industry.”“We are true believers that Morocco will be among top 20 tourist destinations in the world shortly”, said the chairman of Innovate Marketing Solutions who added “We believe in Moroccan hospitality and Moroccan ability.”The World Travel Awards Grand Final will follow a series of regional Gala Ceremonies, with events this year scheduled for Dubai (United Arab Emirates), Athens (Greece), Quito (Ecuador), Abuja (Nigeria), New Delhi (India), and the island of Anguilla in the Caribbean.World Travel Awards was established in 1993 to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the tourism industry.Today, the WTA brand is recognized globally as the ultimate hallmark of quality, with winners setting the benchmark to which all others aspire.Celebrating its 21st anniversary in 2014, World Travel Awards, or WTA, – also called the “Oscars of the travel industry” – has grown into the most prestigious travel industry awards program in the world.Launched in 1993, the awards, features the winners from six regional ceremonies progressing to the grand final at the end of the year.
Fez – The mental illness advocacy association UNAHM organized a sit-in in front of parliament in Rabat to ask for an urgent intervention from the authorities to guarantee rights for the mentally challenged that follow universal United Nations conventions.UNAHM was formed two years ago to defend and improve the rights of mentally ill persons, aiming at decreasing their hardships in Morocco.Approximately one thousand people, including different national associations, supported the sit-in’s participants. They called for the betterment of 347,000 people with mental disabilities. “I do not want charity or compassion, I want my rights,” said a sign held by a child with Down syndrome in the crowd.The participant called for urgent practical and viable solutions to the problems that mentally ill children suffer.At a weeklong conference held in Casablanca, UNAHM insisted on the need to put the issue of mental disability among “national priorities.”UNAHM had already urged the government to devote a special budget to educate mentally challenged children and increase the number of beneficiaries from special services. It also called for an action plan and a strategy consistent with the Constitution and United Nations conventions.