Economics & Finance & Trade

PSAC strike tentatively over

The Public Service Alliance of Canada says it has reached a tentative contract agreement with the government, setting the stage for most members to begin returning to work today. Meanwhile Canada Revenue Agency workers remain on strike. [node:read-more:link]

DFO obstructing energy project?

The federal fisheries department is being accused by a company of frustrating its plan to harness the energy of tidal power in the Bay of Fundy off Nova Scotia. Sustainable Marine Energy Canada is pulling a successful test platform from the area after investing $60 million. “Something is wrong here, and it needs to be investigated,” CEO Jason Hayman says. “It’s either there's something fishy going on, or it’s just complete ineptitude.” [node:read-more:link]

Political heat in Ring of Fire

Ten First Nations in northern Ontario are suing the federal and Ontario governments for $95 billion in damages and threatening to block mining critical minerals in the “Ring of Fire” in the province’s north. “We hear so much about building mines and roads, but not without our community's permission,” one chief said April 26. “Our community is not against development (but) now we're at the point where we say, ‘we do this together or we don't do it’.” [node:read-more:link]

Putin pushes back economically

A suggestion last October that the European Union could sell seized Russian assets to help to rebuild Ukraine has prompted Russian President Vladimir Putin to take what he says is temporary control of the Russian subsidiaries of German and Finnish energy companies. Putin’s decree today suggested that the EU notion is “unfriendly and contrary to international law.” [node:read-more:link]

Fiscal brinkmanship slammed

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen worries that if Congress fails to raise the government’s $31.4-trillion debt ceiling, the resulting default could trigger “economic and financial catastrophe.” She says Congress has a “basic responsibility” to increase or suspend the cap unconditionally and “not wait until the last minute.” [node:read-more:link]

South Africa backtracks on ICC

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s office said today that his government will not quit the International Criminal Court as he had suggested April 25. It blamed “an error in a comment made during a briefing.” The ICC has issued an arrest warrant for Putin who is scheduled to attend a South African summit with Brazilian, Chinese and Indian leaders. [node:read-more:link]

Increased airline passenger protection

Proposed improvements to the rights of airline passengers announced April 24 by Transport Minister Omar Alghabra would put the onus on airlines to show a flight disruption is caused by safety concerns or reasons outside their control. “It will no longer be the passenger who will have to prove that he or she is entitled to compensation,” he said. [node:read-more:link]

Putin protected by South Africa

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa says his government has decided to quit the International Criminal Court after it issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir Putin. That meant that South Africa, which has refused to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, would have had to detain him when he meets Ramaphosa and their Brazilian, Chinese and Indian counterparts for an upcoming summit. [node:read-more:link]

Government strike legitimacy questioned

PSAC President Chris Aylward has said that an “overwhelming majority” of 130,000 striking federal employees voted in favour of job action but Federal Public Sector Labour Relations and Employment Board documents indicate otherwise. They show that only 42,421 PSAC members had actually voted and, of those, 80 per cent or roughly a third of the overall union members had voted to strike. [node:read-more:link]

Ottawa betting big on EVs

The federal government plans to invest a total of $13 billion in what Volkswagen says has the potential to be the largest electric vehicle battery factory in the world. The German automaker is investing $7 billion in the project in southern Ontario where it is expected to employ up to 3,000 persons directly and create thousands of subsidiary jobs. Opposition Leader Pierre Poilievre says the federal subsidies are excessive but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says “it will be worth $200 billion to the Canadian economy over the coming decade” as VW transitions to mostly electric models. [node:read-more:link]

West Coast terminal expansion approved

The federal government has approved expansion of the Robert Banks marine cargo terminal on an artificial peninsula south of Vancouver. Announcing the decision April 20, Natural Resources Minister said the port’s capacity would increase up to 60 per cent. “By the early 2030s, our ports are forecast to be approaching capacity, and we will be unable to meet forecasted demand.” He said. “So now is the time to be planning.” [node:read-more:link]

WestJet pilots vote to strike

The 1,600 pilots who fly for WestJet and its discount Swoop operation have voted in favour of a strike mandate which could lead to a walkout before the May long weekend. Their Air Line Pilots Association representative says the dispute, which is still in federal conciliation talks, is over salaries, job protection and scheduling. [node:read-more:link]

Public service strike begins

More than 155,000 unionized federal employees went on strike today after the government and the Public Service Alliance of Canada failed to reach a deal before a midnight deadline. However, the two sides remain at the bargaining table. [node:read-more:link]

Inflation continues to drop

Statistics Canada reported today that the country’s annual inflation rate in March was 4.3 per cent, a drop from the previous month’s 5.2 per cent and continuing a downward trajectory. The effect of higher mortgage rates was softened by lower energy prices. [node:read-more:link]

New G7 wind and solar goals

Canada and the other G7 countries have pledged to add a combined 150 gigawatts of offshore windpower generation capacity by 2030 as well as installing a collective one terawatt of solar power capacity. “Initially, people thought that climate action and action on energy security potentially were in conflict,” Canadian Minister of Environment & Climate Change Jonathan Wilkinson said April 16 after their two-day summit in Japan. “But […] they actually work together.” [node:read-more:link]


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