Day: October 7, 2019

Mayor Ford addresses allegations

Here is the entire news conference… 00:00:00 | 00:00:00::Projekktor V1.3.09 00:00:00 | 00:00:00::Projekktor V1.3.09 (Update)It has been eight days since a story broke alleging that Toronto Mayor Rob Ford was caught on camera smoking crack cocaine…Friday afternoon, the Mayor finally broken his silence on the subject. But to many people, what Rob Ford said, after mounting pressure from seemingly everyone around him, hasn’t answered the key question…Sean Leathong spent the day at Toronto city hall and joins us with the Mayor’s words and the subsequent fallout…

Tim Hortons has fallen out of favour with Canadians new survey suggests

A new survey suggests Tim Hortons has fallen out of favour with Canadians, plummeting 25 points and dropping more than 40 spots from 2017 in an annual corporate reputation ranking.The coffee-and-doughnut chain dropped from fourth place to 50th on a ranking of 100 companies Canadians most admire in a study conducted by Leger and National Public Relations.National’s managing partner Rick Murray says in the report that Tim Hortons was “a perennial top five brand that we’ve previously believed impervious to issue, but has fallen mightily in the court of public opinion.”Tim Hortons recently faced an onslaught of negative publicity as some of its Ontario franchisees clawed back employee benefits, like paid breaks, to help offset the province’s minimum wage hike, claiming their corporate parent did not provide assistance. The move sparked nationwide protests and prompted some consumers to boycott the chain.However, the survey shows it’s possible for Tim Hortons to move back up in the standings next year. Samsung went from 24th place to fifth this year after fixing issues with some of its smartphones overheating and catching fire.About 2,100 respondents 18 years and older assessed each company in the online study between Dec. 19, 2017 and Jan. 29, 2018.The polling industry’s professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population. read more

Crescent Point shareholders reject dissident slate of directors but vote against sayonpay

CALGARY — The CEO of Crescent Point Energy Corp. is vowing to work harder to address complaints after shareholders rejected four dissident directors at its annual meeting on Friday, but refused to support the company’s approach to executive pay.Scott Saxberg acknowledged that the Calgary-based company has faced questions for years from investors critical of its spending, debt levels, executive pay and share performance but insisted it has already made changes and is willing to do more.“We’ve spent a lot of time listening to our shareholders … what they feel we need to do to succeed and improve our share price performance,” he said after the meeting.“And our view is we’re going to meet and exceed those expectations.”He defended the company’s entry into new oilfields in Utah, Saskatchewan and Alberta in the past few years. He said there are no plans to issue new equity and dilute share value in the current environment to pay for any further expansion projects.The company’s annual general meeting in Calgary was closed to the media, but loud applause echoed down the hall as the director voting results were announced.All 10 nominees put forward by the company were elected.Former investment banker Thomas Budd, one of the four defeated dissident nominees, said the action by activist Cation Capital Inc. has drawn attention to the many problems at Crescent Point.“Basically, the board has let Scott do whatever he’s wanted for three years,” he said after the meeting, adding the CEO’s pay hasn’t reflected the company’s troubled share price.He also suggested he owns more stock than the re-elected directors.“I bought stock when it was cheap,” he said. “Those board members that understand the company more than me, where have they been?”Sixty-one per cent of shareholders voted down a “say-on-pay” motion asking them to endorse the way Crescent Point pays its executives. The company also lost a similar motion at its 2016 annual meeting.Saxberg said he thinks the negative vote on compensation was more of a vote on its share price, which fell nearly 40 per cent in the 12 months before Cation launched its proxy challenge in early April.He said the share price has been hurt because investors lump Crescent Point in with the rest of the Canadian energy sector, which has been dogged by market access concerns, even though the company has few problems getting its mainly light oil production to market in pipelines. read more

Ontario reverses course to limit pot shop licences to 25 because of

TORONTO — Months after saying it would not cap the number of licences for retail pot shops after cannabis was legalized, the Ontario government has reversed course, saying it will now only be able to issue 25 licences by April.In a statement Thursday evening, the province says it plans to take a “phased approach” to authorizing retail cannabis outlets because of “severe supply shortages” across the country.Only a limited number of licences will be handed out for the launch of private retailers on April 1, with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario implementing a lottery system to determine who is eligible. The results will be announced in January, the government says.Crop failures, bankruptcies and U.S. competition: Why 2019 could be a complicated year for cannabisExploding demand for pot fuelling a jobs boom that has Canadian firms importing workers to keep upCanada’s cannabis shortage is so severe retailers watch 24/7 for chance to scoop up fresh supply“Taking into consideration the required investments for a prospective Ontario private legal retailer, we cannot in good conscience issue an unlimited number of licences,” said a joint statement from Finance Minister Vic Fedeli and Attorney General Caroline Mulroney.When the Progressive Conservative government introduced legislation to create a regulatory regime for cannabis sales in August, it said it expected a flood of applications from those looking to run private stores. There could be as many as 1,000 retail pot shops in the province after cannabis was legalized, the Tories said at the time.There were to be no caps on the number of stores when the retail model launched, but the government’s legislation allowed for flexibility when it came to the concentration of stores in individual markets.On Thursday, the province blamed the federal government for the cannabis shortage, saying the Liberals must address the issue.“We will continue to urge the federal government to take immediate action to ensure licensed producers ramp up production in order to meet the anticipated market demand for recreational cannabis,” the statement said.The Progressive Conservative plan for pot was a stark change from the previous Ontario Liberal government’s rules.The Liberals had planned to open 40 government-run retail cannabis shops by the summer of 2018, with the network of stores to expand to 150 by 2020.The Tories changed the cannabis retail model because they said expanding the number of stores and moving to a private system would better address demand and curb black market sales.NDP Deputy Leader Sara Singh said the government’s decision will only help the illegal cannabis market to thrive.“The Liberal plan to open just 40 cannabis storefronts was a disaster waiting to happen — an open invitation to the illegal cannabis market to operate in Ontario,” Singh said in a statement.“(Premier) Doug Ford’s change of plan to restrict the number of cannabis stores to just 25 is going to make that problem so much worse.”The Cannabis Council of Canada, an industry group representing licensed producers, applauded the Ford government’s decision, calling it a “measured and responsible approach.”“We feel that this will help us ensure that stores are well stocked with the quality cannabis Ontarians demand with the consistency they expect,” executive director Allan Rewak said in an email.“For anyone who might be disappointed in the initial number of stores, I would say that we must remember that legalization is a process, not an act.”The announcement comes on the same day councillors in Toronto and Ottawa voted to allow privately operated retail stores to open within their boundaries.The only legal way for Ontario residents to currently acquire recreational weed is through a government-run website, the Ontario Cannabis Store, which has experienced its own shortages. read more

CannTrust applies to list its common shares on NYSE

VAUGHAN, Ont. — Licensed marijuana producer CannTrust Holdings Inc. says it has applied to list its common shares on the New York Stock Exchange.The Vaughan, Ont.-based pot company is the latest to seek a listing south of the border and access a broader investor base.For example, Canopy Growth Corp. has listed its shares on the Nasdaq and Aurora Cannabis on the NYSE, while HEXO Corp. has also filed an application to list on the NYSE.Beacon Securities analyst Russell Stanley says there are just five Canadian licensed producers currently trading on U.S. exchanges.Stanley says a U.S. exchange listing would significantly expand CannTrust’s profile and investor audience.CannTrust says its application to list on the NYSE remains subject to approval by the exchange and contingent on the satisfaction of all listing and regulatory requirements. read more

WatchAndrew Scheer pledges longer mortgage terms end of stress test on renewals

VAUGHAN, Ont. — Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer laid out a plan this morning he says would make it cheaper for Canadians to buy homes, loosening rules put in place by the former Conservative government during the global financial crisis.Scheer pledged he’d return to allowing first-time homebuyers to take out 30-year mortgages to help lower monthly payments.“For millions of Canadians their home is the largest investment they will ever make,” Scheer said.[related_link s/]Beginning in 2008, the Harper Conservatives began reducing the maximum mortgage amortization rate for insured mortgages. They started by knocking it down from 40 to 35 years, and in 2011 reduced it to 30 years.Conservative finance minister Jim Flaherty reduced the maximum amortization period to 25 years the following year. He said at the time that while monthly payments would be higher, it would result in less interest and help people pay off their mortgages faster.The move at the time was meant to address the growing debt burden on Canadians. A major factor in the panic that locked up financial markets in the late 2000s was mortgages that owners couldn’t pay, on properties that were worth less than the loans taken out against them.When asked why a new Conservative government would now reverse course, Scheer responded the longer mortgage period would allow more people to buy homes. He added that “it is important that we have strong regulations around the financial sector.”Statistics Canada reported in August that the median mortgage debt of Canadian families that have them almost doubled between 1999 and 2016, rising from $91,900 to $180,000 in 2016 dollars.Scheer also promised to ease what’s known as the stress test on mortgages and remove it altogether from mortgage renewals. The test is meant to make sure people taking out mortgages could still afford the payments if interest rates were to rise.The Liberals brought in the policy last year and it has been criticized by the construction and real-estate industries. Both the Canadian Home Builders’ Association and the Canadian Real Estate Association welcomed Scheer’s promises Monday.A Conservative government would also make surplus federal real estate available for development to increase housing supply, and launch an inquiry into money laundering in the real estate sector, Scheer said.“Justin Trudeau has put the dream of home ownership further out of reach for so many, especially young Canadians,” Scheer said. “As prime minister, I will fix his bad policies and work to get more homes on the market to lower the price of housing.”Scheer is campaigning Monday in the Toronto-area suburb of Vaughan and then moves on to St. Catharines, Ont.King-Vaughn, which was a new riding in 2015, was won by Liberal Deb Schulte by just over 1,700 votes last election.Scheer said he is not concerned with polling that shows the Conservatives and Liberals neck and neck in key ridings despite recent controversies around photos and videos of Justin Trudeau wearing black- and brownface.“We’ve got campaigns all across the country where two or three years ago people were writing us off,” Scheer said.“We are going to win those seats.” read more

Construction of Trans Mountain pipeline still faces hurdles as landowners dig in

Robin Scory, another landowner in the Fraser Valley who has not yet signed an agreement, said that the pipeline’s owners have offered him “lowball” sums that are only a fraction of the property’s value. Streams on his land run directly into the Fraser River and the corporation has not explained how it would mitigate the impacts of a spill, he said.“It’s a disaster waiting to happen. I’m not against the pipeline and I’m not a ‘pay me millions of dollars’ kind of guy, but it’s just so badly run,” Scory said.Trans Mountain said its key objective is to treat each landowner along the route fairly and it bases its compensation on a formula related to market value, but the landowner retains ownership. The corporation also strives to be a leader in emergency preparedness and has plans for quick response in the event of any spill, it said.It’s a disaster waiting to happenRobin Scory, landowner Numerous hurdles remain before significant construction can begin on the massive project. Trans Mountain Corp. has not signed agreements with 33 per cent of landowners, no part of the detailed route has been approved, about half of the necessary permits are outstanding and it must meet dozens of conditions with the Canada Energy Regulator, formerly the National Energy Board.Further, it faces resistance in southwest B.C., where landowners are digging in their heels, Indigenous groups are filing legal challenges and protesters are planning to ramp up activity. Trans Mountain pipeline faces fresh legal challenges after court allows six appeals to proceed Trans Mountain pipeline construction to restart, but prospective buyers stay on sidelines Environmental activists’ latest attempt to block Trans Mountain pipeline targets insurance coverage The federal Liberal government bought the pipeline for $4.5 billion last year. The parliamentary budget officer has said that if the expansion is not complete by the end of 2021, it would be fair to conclude the government overpaid for the asset.The government now says the expanded pipeline will be operational by mid-2022.“If all goes according to the government’s plan and hopes, then that is a realistic timeline,” said David Wright, an assistant law professor with the University of Calgary. “But there’s the significant caveat that not a lot has gone as hoped or planned from the government’s perspective in the last couple years.”The Finance Department disagreed with the parliamentary budget officer’s conclusion that construction delays would reduce the value of the project and mean the government had overpaid.“The government continues to consider its investment in the Trans Mountain entities to be a sound investment,” it said, adding construction was proceeding “as quickly as possible.”There are more than 2,500 tracts of private, Crown or Indigenous land to which Trans Mountain must gain access to build the expansion. As of July, some 1,730 — or 67 per cent — of owners had signed agreements granting the corporation entry.Eighty-three per cent of landowners in Alberta and eastern B.C. have signed, but in the B.C. Interior and Fraser Valley, that number drops to 54 per cent. In the Lower Mainland, just 14 per cent of landowners have signed agreements.The current Trans Mountain pipeline already runs through Gard’s property. Her frustration with the pipeline’s owners began in 2011, when she alleges workers sheared some 232 trees on her land, 80 of which they cut down entirely. The corporation denied any wrongdoing and the debate over the damage has dragged on for eight years, she said.Gard said the corporation has not offered her fair compensation for the risk that the expansion poses to her property’s delicate ecosystem or has it explained how it will restore vegetation and protect wildlife. The process feels extremely unbalanced, where she’s facing off against the corporation’s trained negotiators and legal team, she added.Pipe to be used in the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion in Kamloops, B.C. VANCOUVER — Barbara Gard calls her three-hectare property, nestled below the forested peak of Sumas Mountain, a “miniature Stanley Park.” Its lush trees and flowing creek reminded her of Vancouver’s majestic park, and she immediately knew she wanted to call it home.But she said her peaceful retreat in Abbotsford, B.C., now feels more like a nightmare. Gard is among thousands of landowners along the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion route who have not yet granted the Crown corporation access, and she said her dealings with the project’s owners over the years have shattered her mental health.“It’s caused me emotional devastation,” said Gard, a 64-year-old school psychologist on medical leave from work. “They are killing me through stress and legal fees.” Dennis Owen/Reuters files In cases where Trans Mountain can’t settle with a landowner, the Canadian Energy Regulator provides a process to address differences of opinion, it said, and the regulator may ultimately grant right of entry to allow the corporation to build the pipeline.Before a court decision last August halted the project, a process was underway to confirm the detailed route of the expansion. After the project was approved a second time in June, the regulator said the corporation must redo that process.It means none of the detailed route has been approved. Trans Mountain has begun notifying local communities of its proposed route and is waiting for statements of opposition from affected people over 30-day periods. The energy regulator then reviews the statements and decides — segment-by-segment — whether detailed route hearings will be held and when.The lack of route approval is already having an impact. Trans Mountain noted in an Aug. 19 letter to the regulator that it must begin construction of the Burnaby Mountain tunnel portal immediately and earth works must occur prior to the start of the peak rainy season in November. The regulator responded that it could not start work because the route is not approved.“It’s hard to see the (detailed route approval) happening before the rainy season that they’ve cited,” said Wright.The corporation has begun work on its two terminals in Burnaby. But Sarah Buehler, a spokeswoman for protest group Protect the Inlet, said activists aren’t staging demonstrations right now because major construction has not begun.“At this stage, there is not enough significant construction going on for us to try to stop it. … When the time comes, you’ll probably see something like Burnaby Mountain in 2014,” she said, referring to protests that drew hundreds and led to arrests.Trans Mountain also isn’t allowed to start work on its Edmonton terminal because a variance is still being processed and some pre-construction conditions haven’t been met. The company said it plans to begin work at the site this month and will soon start construction along the right-of-way between Edmonton and Edson. read more