TORONTO — A Canadian bank estimates that the cancellation or a continuing delay of the Keystone XL pipeline could endanger more than $9-billion of oil sands investment over the next seven years.[np_storybar title=”America’s Keystone XL double standard: Tale of 2 pipelines” link=”https://business.financialpost.com/2013/05/22/americas-keystone-xl-double-standard-tale-of-2-pipelines/”%5DA casual observer familiar with the Keystone XL saga would think the United States was making it very hard to build any oil sands-related pipelines. But nothing could be farther from the truth. While TransCanada Corp’s Keystone XL is mired in seemingly endless studies, a competing project that could carry hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil sands crude to U.S. refineries every day is sailing through its own regulatory review. Read more. [/np_storybar]RBC Dominion Securities — part of the group that includes Royal Bank of Canada (TSX:RY) — says a negative decision on the pipeline would be felt by construction, engineering and project management companies, among others.It estimates the financial hit would be somewhere between $8-billion and $10-billion, but does not specify how it arrived at its final estimate of $9.4-billion.Since most of the pipeline is being constructed in the United States, RBC Dominion says contractors in Canada will be affected less.The proposed pipeline — which has faced stiff opposition by environmental groups and some land owners — would bring 700,000 barrels of oil sands crude a day from Alberta through six states and to Gulf Coast refineries.Because it crosses an international border, Keystone XL requires U.S. presidential approval as well as approval from the U.S. State Department.The Canadian and Alberta governments have staunchly supported Keystone XL as a way to reach an important market but President Barack Obama has yet to make a final decision.The Obama administration rejected an earlier iteration of the Keystone XL project — which would have run from Hardisty, Alta., to the Texas coast — last year because of environmental concerns in Nebraska.The company responded by breaking up the project into two parts and going ahead with the southern leg between Oklahoma and the U.S. Gulf Coast, which does not require presidential approval. That US$2.6-billion project is about 70% complete and on track to start delivering crude late this year.Canadian Press read more
TORONTO — Prem Watsa hasn’t budged on his concerns that lofty stock market levels remain out of sync with the uncertain global economy.The billionaire head of insurer Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. said Friday that he believes financial markets in North America and Western Europe are still threatened by potential weakness in China’s economy and emerging markets.“We have said it for some time. We believe there continues to be a disconnect between the financial markets and the underlying economic fundamentals,” he told analysts during a conference call after the company’s latest earnings release Thursday.Watsa said Fairfax is responding by staying particularly cautious in the short term.The company has about $5.9 billion of cash in its coffers, representing 23% of its total investment portfolio, to take advantage of any acquisitions opportunities, Watsa said.Deflation fear rearing its ugly head again — and not just in Europe“As a result in the short-term our investment income will likely be reduced,” he added.A storm of uncertainty has been gathering over the past few months on fears that the eurozone could fall back into recession and put a damper on improvements in the U.S economy.Oil prices have fallen to four-year lows this month as demand slides but production remains abundant.Watsa stated his concerns with stock markets earlier this year, and his opinion hasn’t wavered since.Fairfax, which reports in U.S. dollars, returned to profits during the third quarter helped by gains on its investment portfolio.Net earnings attributable to shareholders were $461.2 million versus a net loss of $571.7 million in the year-earlier period.On a per share basis, the earnings were US$21.10 compared with a loss of US$29.02.Net premiums written by the insurance and reinsurance operations decreased to $1.52 billion from $1.57 billion, while net investment gains were $493.7 million versus net investment losses of $828.6 million in the 2013 period.Both Watsa and Fairfax president Paul Rivett are part of an ongoing investigation by the Quebec securities regulator over possible insider trading or tipping. Insider trading happens when an individual has access to confidential information and then uses it to trade on a stock exchange.In August, Fairfax announced plans to acquire Pethealth Inc., a medical insurer for dogs and cats based in Oakville, Ont., for $100 million. The proposal was approved by Pethealth Inc. shareholders on Thursday and should be complete by the end of this year, the company said. read more
GUELPH, Ont. — The federal and Ontario governments are handing over $101 million to a Guelph-based auto parts manufacturer that is promising to create 1,200 “high-quality” local jobs over the next decade.Linamar Corp. announced Tuesday a $500-million expansion to its Ontario operations, with the Ontario government providing a $50.25-million grant and Ottawa contributing $50.7 million in the form of a repayable loan.“There’s no shortage of regions that are willing to offer all kinds of incentives to companies,” Linamar CEO Linda Hasenfratz said at an announcement ceremony. “And I think it’s wonderful to see our governments stepping up and being competitive.”Transport Minister Lisa Raitt said the federal loan will support the project to ensure that Linamar’s total investment of over half a billion dollars stays in Canada.“Canada really is a great place to build cars, and our government is serious about supporting this industry and the well-paid, highly-skilled jobs that it represents,” she said.The province’s grant to Linamar is the first from its 10-year, $2.5-billion Jobs and Prosperity Fund, said Premier Kathleen Wynne.Linamar chief Linda Hasenfratz continues to prove she belongs at the topLinamar’s profit rises 53% amid red-hot North American auto sales“This is an example of the kind of investment, the kind of partnership that we can enter into because of that fund,” she said. “The provincial and the federal governments both have a role to play in partnering and in making sure that growth can continue.”Linamar said its $506.8-million expansion will focus on producing lighter, more efficient automobile transmission and power train parts. The $101 million from the two governments will be used to purchase new equipment and will fund research and development of new products, said Hasenfratz.“The 1,200 additional jobs will be right here in Guelph, and that’s in addition to the existing jobs that will be protected,” she said. “The (government) funding is absolutely key to enabling the investment.”The 50-year-old company — the largest employer in Guelph — already has 6,870 workers in Ontario, part of it’s global workforce of 19,000 in 12 countries.The fact the federal and Ontario governments have worked to keep corporate taxes low was also a big factor in Linamar’s decision to expand in the province, as was the Conservatives’ push for more free trade agreements, added Hasenfratz.“Our tax rate is a huge advantage, the lowest in the G7,” she said. “We have an increased focus on free trade, which I think is fantastic to open up new markets to Canadian companies.”The province said its business grants are contingent on the company meeting investment and job targets.“This is a significant investment in the future,” said Wynne. read more
TORONTO — Shoppers Drug Mart says it has resolved a computer outage that affected more than 1,300 locations, preventing customers from filling prescriptions, paying with debit cards and using the retailer’s loyalty points program.The national pharmacy retail chain, owned by Loblaw Companies Ltd. (TSX:L), says the outage was caused by a network failure that impeded stores from connecting to internal and external systems.Shoppers spokeswoman Tammy Smitham says all of its stores started experiencing “intermittent” technical difficulties Monday night and the problems continued into Wednesday morning.From mouldy strawberries to poorly trained employees: Amazon still stumped by ‘treacherous’ $800-billion grocery marketComing soon to a pharmacy near you: CanniMed signs deal with PharmaChoice to distribute medical marijuana — when it’s legalDespite the problems, customers were still able to pay for purchases with cash and credit card payments of up to $300.But they were unable to fill drug prescriptions or collect or redeem Shoppers Optimum points during the outage.Smitham said customers should be prepared for delays in getting their prescriptions filled due to a backlog caused by the technical issues.“I can’t recall something of this magnitude occurring,” she said. “I think we may have experienced issues with payment systems in the past but this was a connectivity issue that affected multiple systems.”Optimum points that were collected during the outage should automatically be added to customers’ accounts, but those with concerns can call Shoppers customer service with their receipts.The outage had prompted frustrated customers to voice their complaints on Twitter, pushing the company to apologize on the social media website.Some also complained that Shoppers needed to do a better job of communicating with its customers.Loblaw operates a network of more than 1,307 stores across the country under the Shoppers Drug Mart/Pharmaprix brand.The Canadian Press read more
These are indicative wholesale rates for foreign currency provided by the Bank of Canada on Monday. Quotations in Canadian funds.Australia dollar 0.9795Brazil real 0.3950China renminbi 0.1894Euro 1.4688Hong Kong dollar 0.164959India rupee 0.01999Indonesia rupiah 0.0000960Japan yen 0.01129Malaysia ringgit 0.3000Mexico peso 0.07167N.Z. dollar 0.9371Norway krone 0.1546Peruvian new sol 0.3959Russia rouble 0.02139Saudi riyal 0.3437Singapore dollar 0.9305South Africa rand 0.09586South Korean won 0.001121Sweden krona 0.1527Switzerland franc 1.3340Taiwanese dollar 0.04218Thailand baht 0.03776Turkey lira 0.3570U.K. pound 1.6598U.S. dollar 1.2888Vietnam dong 0.000057
She demanded the Conservatives in Ottawa and Alberta stop pretending climate change isn’t real because it’s getting in the way of getting pipelines approved.Alberta Premier Rachel Notley speaks at business luncheon put on by the Empire Club of Canada in Toronto, Monday. OTTAWA — Alberta Premier Rachel Notley issued warnings to all political parties to take off their partisan blinders or both the environment and Canada’s energy industry will fail.Notley was in Ottawa on Tuesday as part of a national outreach effort to get more buy in for pipeline expansions in Canada. In a speech at the Economic Club of Canada and a roundtable discussion with The Canadian Press, she pleaded with political allies and foes alike to work with her.“You know that this issue transcends political divides,” Notley said.She said the federal Liberals may get credit for approving Kinder Morgan‘s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion but now they have to get off their duffs and sell their decision to a skeptical public in British Columbia.Denying climate change won’t get pipelines built She saved some of her starkest words for members of her own party in Ottawa and other provinces, whose efforts to protect the environment cannot come at the expense of people.“We cannot put a generation of people out of work and then look surprised or act surprised when people reject the purpose for that, reject climate change, reject the efforts to protect the environment,” she said.She acknowledged the divide between the Alberta NDP and the federal NDP on the pipeline issue. Two weeks ago she said federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh’s anti-Trans Mountain stance is “irrelevant” and defended that Tuesday in Ottawa, saying the decision has been made and Singh should work on fighting future battles, not ones that have already been decided.Why does Canada need more pipelines?One thing Keystone XL can’t do for Canada? Wean it off the U.S.Big Oil abandoning Canada’s oilsands in quest for cleaner crudeWhile federal approval for the expansion came a year ago and some construction work has begun, completing Trans Mountain’s expansion is still far from a sure thing.The new NDP government in B.C. — elected after the approval — has vowed to stop it at any cost and the courts are now looking at a legal challenge from indigenous communities who argue they were not properly consulted.At the same time, the National Energy Board is hearing an appeal from Kinder Morgan, which says the city of Burnaby, B.C., is wrongly withholding construction permits for the project.All of that means the federal Liberals need to step up their game in explaining why they decided Trans Mountain was in the national interest, Notley said.“Part of governing is talking to citizens about what your plan is, what it’s there for, what your trying to achieve,” she said. “That’s something they could do with more enthusiasm.”The NDP is not the only party divided over the pipeline. Trudeau has members of his B.C. caucus who oppose it as well, and, like the federal NDP, concerns exist that B.C. seats could be at stake in the next federal election if the issue isn’t handled delicately.Notley has no time for that. She said the federal government relies on money from resource industries to pay for its programs and the Liberals have to step up for Alberta now.She also has no tolerance for Conservatives she said deny climate change or stand in the way of efforts to combat it. That stance, she said, is why pipelines aren’t getting approved or built in Canada. The only way to get it done is to get environmentalists onside and prove to them it can be done sustainably.“Denying climate change won’t get pipelines built,” she said. Canadian Press/Mark Blinch read more
He was referring to the many protests staged yesterday over the fuel price hike. Blake and US Under-Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Maria Otero, ended a two day visit to Sri Lanka yesterday where they had talks with President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and other government and opposition members and officials. Silva said that the US was attempting to President Rajapaksa on the electric chair by raising various allegations against the government and military. Government Minister Mervyns Silva today slammed US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake saying he is “mad” and has no right o interfere in Sri Lankan affairs.Speaking to reporters at a press briefing in Colombo today, Silva said that if he was present at the talks between Blake and the government then the outcome would have been different. However Mervyn Silva said he will not allow such a thing to take place. He also accused the US government of being behind the situation in Maldives.Meanwhile Silva also urged the government not to be shaken by protests in the country and reverse any decision it takes. read more
“This is not their original land. These people are mostly fishermen. How can they do fishing by being relocated in Thimbili. Their relatives and their place of employment is where they were originally settled,” the JVP said. Herath says the JVP is not for the full withdrawal of the army from the north but stressed that lands which belong to the people of the area should remain with them and not the army.The JVP also accused the government of staging a drama by telling India it will implement the 13th Amendment but later telling the local media it will not do so. The JVP also accused the government of grabbing land over claims it is for security purposes. The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) claims the government is attempting to relocate the remaining war displaced people in Vavuniya on some 40 perch land in Thimbili, Mullaitivu in order to meet an assurance given to an Indian delegation that the remaining displaced people will be resettled by June this year.JVP MP Vijitha Herath told reporters today that when the Indian delegation led by Indian opposition leader Sushma Suwaraj visited the IDP camp in Vavuniya last week some 6000 people remaining in the camp had pleaded for their immediate resettlement on their original lands. The JVP MP said that while President Mahinda Rajapaksa had told a visiting Indian delegation that he will go beyond the 13th Amendment and implement 13 plus as a solution to the ethnic issue, his media spokesman Bandula Jayasekera has said that no such assurance was given.“We are playing with the national issue. This is very serious and the repercussions will be even more serious,” the JVP said.The JVP reiterated calls for a truth and reconciliation commission to address the core issues of the national issue. (Colombo Gazette) read more
“They raised no issues that engaged Australia’s international obligations,” Mr Bowen said in a statement on Sunday, implying that they were not considered to be refugees.Without a valid visa, the men had no legal right to remain in the country and had been removed at the earliest opportunity, he said. The group was made up of recent arrivals from a number of different boats. The men were returned to Sri Lanka from Christmas Island on Sunday. The federal government has sent more Sri Lankan asylum seekers home, bringing the total number of Sri Lankans “involuntarily” returned to 282.Immigration Minister Chris Bowen said the 50 men were advised of their status and that they were to be removed from Australia. “The government will continue to return people where they do not engage Australia’s international obligations,” Mr Bowen said.The latest group takes to 282 the number of Sri Lankans returned involuntarily since the government announced in August it would process asylum seekers in offshore centres on Nauru and Papua New Guinea.Since the announcement, more than 380 Sri Lankans have returned home – both voluntarily and involuntarily – “as people realise that these smugglers only sell lies and false promises about what awaits people in Australia”, Mr Bowen said. (AAP) read more
Last month, Sri Lanka — through its Finance, Planning and Economic Development Secretary P B Jayasundra — conveyed to New Delhi that the lease could be finalised only if LIOC took on a Lankan company as a partner. The best way to move ahead, he told the Indian petroleum ministry, was to set up a joint venture between LIOC and a government entity like CPC on the lines of a joint venture formed between National Thermal Power Corp and Ceylon Electricity Board for a 500 MW coal plant at Sampur.An IOC official said IOC was told to submit a proposal by May on the structure of the proposed joint venture to address all issues — tank farm as well as bunkering of foreign ships at northeastern Trincomalee port through improvement of its jetty and draft. “Both countries agreed to finalise the joint venture arrangement on fast track, preferably within three-four months,” said the official.He said Colombo’s stand could have been harsher if not for the legal view by its attorney general Palitha Fernando, who opined that the issue needed to be sorted out between both parties because of a sovereign agreement between two nations. Hardening its stance after India backed a UN resolution against Sri Lanka, Colombo has indicated that a decade-old MoU on a strategic oil tank farm in the island nation would have to be re-negotiated to include a Lankan partner in its operation, the Indian Express reported today.In 2003, Indian Oil Corp subsidiary, Lanka IOC (LIOC), bought one-third share in Ceylon Petroleum Storage Terminals Ltd which operates the China Bay tank farm. Ceylon Petroleum Corp (CPC) and Colombo entered into an MoU with LIOC to grant a long-term lease for sole operation by the latter. However, the 35-year lease finalisation dragged on as Colombo insisted that CPC had no authority to sign the lease for the tank farm which was a state asset. read more
“An excellent example of this is to be found in the debunking of the alleged ‘up to 40,000 ‘ civilians killed in the final phase of the war’. The Paranagama Report makes plain that the number was unquantifiable and far short 40,000. The OISL Report agrees with the number of civilians killed as being unquantifiable and avoids any mention of the figure of 40,000. Any suggestion that UN High Commissioner considered the Paranagama second mandate report as lacking in credibility would be manifestly wrong and misleading. Indeed, it would appear that he had not read the Paranagama second mandate report at the time he made his observations in relation to work of the Commission under its first mandate,” Desmond de Silva said. Top international lawyer Sir Desmond de Silva QC, who was roped in by the former Government to advise the Missing Persons Commission, says there was never any doubt about the credibility over the second mandate given to the Commission headed by Maxwell Paranagama.“I did not work with the Paranagama Commission in connection with the original mandate of the Commission which was to do with investigating disappearances. Any legal advice given by myself and other members of the Advisory Council was in relation to the second mandate of the Paranagama Commission which was directed to the application of international humanitarian law to particular gazetted questions posed for answer. Any concerns raised by the UN High Commissioner were not in relation to the Paranagama second mandate report,” Sir Desmond de Silva said in response to a question raised by The Sunday Leader. He also said the report on Sri Lanka by Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, also known as the OISL Report, which was released in September, significantly supports some of the major findings of the Paranagama Commission’s second mandate report. Meanwhile, during the sittings held in Jaffna last week, family members of those missing asked the chairman of the Commission, Maxwell Paranagama, what the next step will be once all the statements are recorded on the missing people.Paranagama said the reports compiled by the Commission will be handed over to the Attorney General and the Attorney General will produce them to Special Courts which will be established by the new government to make rulings on those missing. (Colombo Gazette) read more
The Supreme Court has determined that the Buddhist dialogue draft bill requires a referendum.Speaker Karu Jayasuriya said that the Supreme Court has also determined that the draft bill requires a 2/3 majority in Parliament to be enacted. (Colombo Gazette)
It is reported that over 37 people have died in the series of earthquake that struck the Kumamoto Prefecture in Japan while 2000 people are reported to have been injured and over 73000 people have been evacuated from their home. President Maithripala Sirisena, in a message to Emperor Akihito expressed his deepest condolences and sympathies to the victims of the earthquake that struck the Kumamoto Prefecture in Japan on the 14th and 16th of April 2016.The President, further in his message, expressed confidence that the resilient people of Japan will overcome the calamity with their indomitable spirit and courage, the Foreign Ministry said. The President also expressed the readiness of the government and people of Sri Lanka to stand by with the people of Japan, in a spirit of friendship and solidarity at their time of difficulty. The Sri Lanka Embassy in Japan, citing Japanese government sources, has informed that no fatalities or injuries of Sri Lankans have been reported so far. (Colombo Gazette) read more
Basil Rajapaksa was arrested recently over the land issue but was later released on bail. (Colombo Gazette) Willie Gamage, a former secretary of former Economic Affairs Minister Basil Rajapaksa and another former Government official were arrested today by the police Financial Crimes Investigations Division (FCID).They were arrested in relation to a land deal in Matara which also involved former Economic Affairs Minister Basil Rajapaksa.
Four Indian tourists have been detained for violating local visa regulations, the police media unit said today.The police said that the four Indians had been arrested in Kalpitiya by the navy and police. The police said that the four tourists had been selling items to the public in Kalpitiya when they were arrested.According to the police, all four Indians are from Tamil Nadu. Local visa laws prevent tourists from engaging in business activities while in the country on a tourist visa. (Colombo Gazette)
The Tamil Nadu Government announced today that it was allocating nearly Indian Rs 106 crore for the welfare of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees in Tamil Nadu.The announcement was made when Tamil Nadu Finance Minister O Panneerselvam presented the revised budget for the year 2016-17 to the House today.
All four were admitted to hospital and one person later succumbed to his injuries in hospital. One person was killed and three others sustained injuries after a train crashed into a car at a railway crossing in Hikkaduwa today.The Police said that four people were in the car when the train crashed into it.
The High Commissioner of India, Taranjit Singh Sandhu in his address, mentioned that the project symbolizes the spirit of India, which is nothing but the spirit of sharing. He also noted that India will forever remain the ‘First Responder for Sri Lanka’. The island-wide expansion of the Emergency Ambulance Service was started with the launch in Jaffna in July 2018 wherein the Prime Minister of India Modi joined Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe through a live video conference from New Delhi. The service has been available in Northern Province since July 2018; in Uva since August 2018; in North Central Province since September; in North Western Province since October; Central Province since November 2018; and in Sabaragamuwa Province since January 2019.During the visit of Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi to Sri Lanka in March 2015, a request was made by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to the Prime Minister of India, to launch a pre-hospital emergency ambulance service in Sri Lanka. The Emergency Ambulance Service was launched in the Eastern Province during a special ceremony held in Ampara today.Daya Gamage, Minister of Primary Industries and Social Empowerment; Dr. Harsha de Silva Minister of Economic Reforms and Public Distribution; Anoma Gamage, Deputy Minister of Petroleum Resources Development; Taranjit Singh Sandhu, High Commissioner of India, and other dignitaries graced the occasion. With this, the island-wide expansion of the Emergency Ambulance Service is complete. The service is now available in all nine Provinces of Sri Lanka. The emergency ambulance service which can be obtained by simply dialing toll free no ‘1990’ on any network in Sri Lanka, is the largest Indian grant project in Sri Lanka after the Indian Housing Project.India says it remains committed to further strengthening the bilateral partnership with Sri Lanka based on Sri Lanka’s own choices and priorities and through effective implementation of people-oriented projects. Accordingly, the 1990 Emergency Ambulance Service was launched in Southern and Western Provinces in July 2016 under an Indian grant of US$ 7.5 million. This grant covered purchase of 88 ambulances, operational expenditure of the service for one year and setting up of an emergency response centre.Given the positive impact of the project, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe requested the Prime Minister of India for an extension of the Emergency Ambulance Service all across the island.Modi made an announcement regarding the expansion of the ambulance service island-wide under a GoI grant assistance during his visit to Sri Lanka in May 2017. An additional grant amount of US$ 15.02 million was provided by India to undertake island-wide expansion which covered purchase of 209 ambulances, operational expenditure of the service for one year and training costs. The External Affairs Minister of India, Dr. S. Jaishankar addressed the gathering through a special video message. He recalled his personal connect with the project since its inception. Dr. S. Jaishankar noted that the service has become a brand in itself. He also recalled how the service had helped Sri Lanka during floods and the recent terrorist attacks. He also pointed out that the project was a great example of what India and Sri Lanka can achieve together. The service has been appreciated well, given the quick response time, efficiency of operations, and employment and training involving local people. read more