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Sunday, October 15, 2017

Sears Canada winding up business after 65 years



   Canada column for Sunday, Oct. 15/17

   THE CANADIAN REPORT
   (c) By Jim Fox

   Sears Canada, a retailing giant here for 65 years, will soon be no more.
   The company is winding up its business, closing the remaining 130 stores and ending the jobs of 12,000 employees. It closed 59 stores and laid off 2,900 workers in June.
   Sears received court approval Friday to liquidate its remaining stores as no viable buyer could be found for the struggling retailer.
   Judge Glenn Hainey of the Ontario Supreme Court said he was satisfied there was no viable alternative after restructuring attempts and a sale failed to materialize after it received protection from creditors in June.
   Retail analysts said Sears was unable to adapt to a changing marketplace as it lost customers to Walmart, Canadian Tire, Best Buy, Costco, Winners and Amazon.
   The company had sales declines for more than a decade after being given a lifeline with the demise of iconic department store chain Eaton’s in 1999 when Sears bought its remaining assets.
   Sears Canada began as Simpsons-Sears in 1952 with a mail-order business in partnership with Sears Roebuck Co. of Chicago. It was spun off from U.S. based Sears Holdings in 2012.

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Monday, October 9, 2017

TransCanada cancels Energy East pipeline: reaction mixed



   Canada column for Sunday, Oct. 7/17

   THE CANADIAN REPORT
   (c) By Jim Fox

   The decision by TransCanada to cancel its proposed $15.7-billion Energy East pipeline has been greeted with cheers and disappointment.
   Environmentalists were thrilled while opposition politicians blamed the Liberal government for the demise of the plan to build the 2,800-mile pipeline.
   It would have carried 1.1-billion barrels of crude oil daily from the Alberta oilsands in the west to refineries in the east in Quebec and New Brunswick.
   Also canceled was the Eastern Mainline project of 230 miles of natural gas pipeline in Ontario.
   TransCanada president Russ Girling announced the decision that followed the National Energy Board’s revision of its policy to now also review indirect greenhouse gas emissions.
   Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the move a “business decision” because of dropping oil prices.
   It is a “grave disappointment” as the project would have created thousands of jobs, said Perrin Beatty, president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
   He said court challenges with the Trans Mountain expansion in British Columbia and that province’s now-abandoned NorthWest natural gas project can be blamed on Canada’s “convoluted” regulatory framework.

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Monday, October 2, 2017

Bombardier battered by 220-percent duty, with more expected



   Canada column for Sunday, Oct. 1/17

   THE CANADIAN REPORT
   (c) By Jim Fox

   Trade winds are buffeting Montreal-based Bombardier Inc., caught in a subsidies battle with the U.S. and Brazil.
   The U.S. Department of Commerce has announced a nearly 220 percent countervailing duty against Bombardier’s CSeries planes.
   Now, at the request of Brazil’s Embraer S.A., the World Trade Organization is also establishing a panel to review subsidies the airline company receives.
   Still more bad news is expected Wednesday when Bombardier believes the U.S. will announce it will impose a large anti-dumping duty on CSeries planes.
   Boeing complained that the Canadian aircraft maker has benefited from improper government subsidies, giving it an unfair advantage when selling its CSeries jets in the U.S.
   The Brazilian company said government subsidies have allowed Bombardier to sell the CSeries jets at artificially low prices that distort the global market and harm competitors.
   The Canadian government is “very confident” its support of the aerospace industry respects international trade rules and will defend the interests of Bombardier, said Joseph Pickerill of the International Trade department.

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Sunday, September 24, 2017

Canada might withdraw Boeing order over trade rift: Trudeau

   Canada column for Sunday, Sept. 24/17

   THE CANADIAN REPORT
   (c) By Jim Fox

   Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada won’t buy planes from U.S.-based Boeing if it follows through with a trade battle.
   Canada won’t do business with Boeing while it’s “busy trying to sue us and trying to put our aerospace workers out of business,” he added.
   At issue is Trudeau’s contention that Canada will withdraw from its $6-billion purchase of 18 Super Hornet fighter jets unless Boeing drops its action against Montreal-based Bombardier.
   Boeing accuses Bombardier of selling its CSeries passenger jets to U.S. airlines at “absurdly low prices” due to government subsidies.
   The U.S. International Trade Commission is expected to release preliminary results of its investigation on Tuesday that could result in fines or tariffs against Bombardier.
   Boeing wants the U.S. government to impose preliminary countervailing duties of 79.41 percent and later anti-dumping duties of 79.82 percent.
   Canada might also exclude Super Hornets from bids to replace the aging fleet of CF-18 jets, with the cost for 88 airplanes as much as $19 billion.

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Sunday, September 17, 2017

U.S. might not support Canada in enemy attack: NORAD official



   Canada column for Sunday, Sept. 17/17

   THE CANADIAN REPORT
   (c) By Jim Fox

   Canada might have to go it alone should the country ever face an enemy attack.
   U.S. policy is “not to defend Canada,” said Lieutenant-General Pierre St-Amand, top Canadian officer at the North American Aerospace Defense Command in Colorado.
   While Canada would have no say in what to do if North America is targeted by a missile, the U.S. could ultimately decide to intervene at the last moment, he added.
   That’s largely due to the Liberal government upholding a 2005 decision to remain outside the U.S. missile shield after a divisive national debate.
   While many people are calling for Canada to get back in the pact, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the country’s position is “not going to be changed any time soon.”
   St-Armand delivered news to the Commons defense committee that is concerned about missile tests and threats by North Korea.
   One piece of good news was there has been “no direct threat to Canada,” said Mark Gwozdecky of Global Affairs.
   He said the North Korean government sees Canada as a “peaceful and indeed a friendly country.”

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Sunday, September 10, 2017

Canada Navy ship heads to the Caribbean, Florida with relief supplies, aid



   Canada column for Sunday, Sept. 10/17

   THE CANADIAN REPORT
   (c) By Jim Fox

   A Royal Canadian Navy ship is en route to Florida and the Caribbean islands to offer aid to areas devastated by Hurricane Irma.
   HMCS St. John’s was being deployed for a training exercise in the Caribbean when it returned to Halifax to be loaded with additional relief supplies and a CH-124 Sea King helicopter.
   The ship, with a crew of about 250 along with an air detachment, is carrying humanitarian assistance supplies and disaster response equipment, said National Defense spokesman Daniel Le Bouthillier.
   Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his government has been in contact with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency and others in the U.S. to determine the needs and to co-ordinate potential assistance as requested.
   Among the relief aid, the ship carries water purification systems, primary medical care supplies, food and items to keep people warm and comfortable for “a rapid response,” Le Bouthillier added.
   Global Affairs Canada has been in touch with Canadians in the path of the storm and offered assistance to those requiring emergency services, Trudeau said.

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Sunday, September 3, 2017

Canadian gas prices soaring due to speculators, hurricane



   Canada column for Sunday, Sept. 3/17

   THE CANADIAN REPORT
   (c) By Jim Fox

   Speculators, not Hurricane Harvey or oil shortages, are being blamed for Canadian gasoline prices soaring.
   Prices jumped nearly 10 cents a liter (38 cents a U.S. gallon) since Harvey roared ashore in Texas and more big jumps are happening this weekend.
   Gas prices jumped to $1.23 a liter in Ontario and will rise another 9 cents this weekend, said Dan McTeague of Gasbuddy.com.
   Montreal drivers will be paying as much as $1.42 per liter ($5.39 a U.S. gallon), he added.
   Price watchers say things will remain high until refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast return to normal operation as flood waters recede and damage is assessed.
   With inventories declining and wholesale prices rising, there will be a bigger impact in Eastern Canada more than in the west because that is farther from the problems.
   Canadians have had to pay about 75 cents more a U.S. gallon than a week ago in Toronto while the typical increase in affected states is only about 20 cents, McTeague said.
   “We don’t have enough supply in Canada . . . we’re just not in a position where we can sell spare capacity,” he said.

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