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Sunday, January 29, 2017

Canadian PM awaits Trump visit; Keystone XL plan faces test



   Canada column for Sunday, Jan. 29/17

   THE CANADIAN REPORT
   (c) By Jim Fox

   As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau awaits a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump, TransCanada Corp. is again seeking U.S approval of its proposed Keystone XL pipeline.
   Former President Barack Obama rejected the multi-billion-dollar pipeline plan in 2015 but Trump has signed an executive order inviting the company to reapply.
   The pipeline would carry 830,000 barrels of Alberta oil a day 1,180 miles to Nebraska where it would connect with other lines leading to refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast.
   TransCanada CEO Russ Girling said the project will help meet America’s growing energy needs and create substantial jobs and economic benefits on both sides of the border.
   “We look forward to working with all stakeholders as we develop this project in the interest of both our countries,” he said.
   The project has faced significant environmental opposition that is resuming.
   Canada has the third largest oil reserves in the world and is the largest supplier of foreign oil to the U.S.
   Trudeau congratulated Trump on his election win and invited him to visit Canada first – a tradition for incoming presidents between the world’s largest trading partners.

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   General Motors is cutting up to 600 jobs at its assembly plant in Ingersoll, Ontario as it shifts production to Mexico.
   The layoffs take effect in July at the CAMI Assembly plant that builds the GMC Terrain, to be moved to Mexico, and the Chevrolet Equinox.
   GM Canada said the “employment impact” was the result of a changeover of older model Equinoxes to the next-generation Equinox.
   Jerry Dias, Unifor’s national president, said this is a clear sign the North American Free Trade Agreement needs to be renegotiated.

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   News in brief:
   - The Ontario government has put up a roadblock in Toronto’s way to start charging tolls on the Don Valley Parkway and Gardiner Expressway. Premier Kathleen Wynne said the city can instead get its needed transit infrastructure money from additional fees to be shared from gasoline taxes. Mayor John Tory said he expects the province to take “serious and immediate action” to address Toronto’s needs.
   - Canada’s iconic Tim Hortons coffee and bakery shop chain, founded in 1964 by the late Toronto Maple Leafs’ hockey player, is expanding to Mexico. Restaurant Brands International Inc. said it will be a joint venture with Mexican investors. The company earlier announced similar agreements in the Philippines and United Kingdom for the 4,400-store chain.

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   Facts and figures:
   The Canadian dollar has advanced to 76.16 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.312 Canadian, before exchange fees.
   The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate is steady at 0.5 percent while the prime-lending rate is 2.7 percent.
   Stock markets are higher, with the Toronto exchange index at 15,553 points while the TSX Venture index is 805 points.
   The average price for gas in Canada is lower at $1.079 a liter or $4.10 (Canadian) for a U.S. gallon.
   Lotto 6/49: (Jan. 25) 2, 14, 19, 28, 42 and 44; bonus 34. (Jan. 21) 8, 22, 23, 36, 40 and 42; bonus 5. Lotto Max (Jan. 20) 4, 10, 21, 28, 29, 37 and 45; bonus 20.

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   Regional briefs:
   - The Supreme Court of Canada has upheld a British Columbia law requiring someone to register before sponsoring political advertising during a provincial election. The ruling doesn't apply to someone who wears a T-shirt with a political slogan or has a bumper sticker on a car, the court said.
   - Atlantic Canada’s premiers net Friday with several federal ministers to discuss the Atlantic Growth Strategy. Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil and Treasury Board president Scott Brison hosted the meeting that was highlighted by discussion about increasing immigration to the region and ways to cooperate in areas such as energy.
   - Marineland has been charged with six more counts of cruelty by the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. They concern allowing elk and deer to be in distress at its Niagara Falls, Ontario park and failing to provide the standards of care. Five cruelty charges were laid earlier over the treatment of peacocks, guinea hens and black bears.

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Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com

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