(Merry Christmas, Season’s Greetings and Happy Festivus!)
Canada column for Sunday, Dec. 25/16
THE CANADIAN REPORT
(c) By Jim Fox
Oil-rich Canada is expecting a boost in prosperity should U.S. President-elect Donald Trump follow through with his apparent endorsement of the stalled Keystone XL pipeline.
That’s the controversial multi-billion-dollar proposal by TransCanada to move crude to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries from Alberta’s oil sands.
After years of delays, debates and protests by environmentalists, President Barack Obama last year rejected the plan, saying the pipeline “would not serve the national interests of the United States.”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has revealed that he has spoken by phone with Trump about the possibility of reviving the pipeline project.
“He actually brought up Keystone XL and indicated that he was very supportive of it and hoping that were going to be able to work together,” Trudeau said.
The project was touted as being the catalyst to create thousands of jobs in Canada and the U.S.
Trudeau said his Liberal government’s recent approval of two pipeline projects – the Kinder Morgan expansion to British Columbia and Line 3 through Saskatchewan and Manitoba – will create more than 20,000 jobs and expand the markets where Canadian oil will be sold.
Most Canadians don’t have to dream of having a white Christmas this year.
Across the country, many places still have snow left over from earlier in the month including Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal, Fredericton and the three territorial capitals.
Weather Network chief meteorologist Chris Scott said at mid-week he expected places with little or no snow to include the coast of British Columbia, Calgary, Halifax and St. John’s.
Storms were also brewing this weekend for most of Manitoba, part of eastern Saskatchewan and northwestern Ontario.
“I think everyone's going into Christmas feeling quite wintry for a change,” Scott said.
News in brief:
- Canada’s telecom regulator has ruled that high-speed Internet is a “basic-service entitlement” similar to having a home phone. The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission said since high-speed access is a basic telecom service objective, it will require carriers to contribute to a $750-million fund to expand networks into rural and remote communities. The agency did not say whether that would lower prices that are among the highest in the world.
- Grocery shoppers might not agree but Statistics Canada said lower food prices helped pull down the annual inflation rate to 1.2 percent last month from 1.5 percent in October. There were lower prices for fresh produce and meat compared to a year ago. Economists said this will help the Bank of Canada continue its low interest rate policy.
Facts and figures:
The Canadian dollar dropped to 73.87 cents U.S. on Friday while the U.S. dollar returned $1.353 Canadian, before exchange fees.
The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate remains at 0.5 percent while the prime-lending rate is 2.7 percent.
Stock markets are mixed, with the Toronto exchange index up at 15,356 points while the TSX Venture index is down at 726 points.
The average price for gas in Canada has risen to $1.082 a liter or $4.11 (Canadian) for a U.S. gallon.
Lotto 6/49: (Dec. 21) 16, 27, 30, 38, 47 and 49; bonus 8. (Dec. 17) 9, 16, 26, 27, 32 and 34; bonus 37. Lotto Max: (Dec. 16) 2, 9, 27, 32, 38, 39 and 43; bonus 45.
- WestJet Airlines has treated the residents of wildfire-ravaged Fort McMurray, Alberta to its annual “Christmas miracle.” The airline hosted a Snowflake Soiree featuring a concert by country music artist Johnny Reid and food along with a surprise gift for all. Parachutes dropped from the sky carrying a Christmas ornament for each family and a free round-trip airline ticket for each of the 826 people at the event.
- Alberta Parks officers are warning visitors to be wary of a huge bull moose approaching cars to lick the road salt splattered on them that’s used to melt snow and ice. The marauding moose was seen in parking lots at Chester Lake and Burstall Pass trailheads. As well, sheep are also using cars as giant salt licks in Banff National Park. One of the animals “left moose kisses all over our vehicle and that’s a pretty Canadian, rare experience,” said Theresa Malan.
Jim Fox can be reached at email@example.com