Economics & Finance & Trade

Money laundering snowballing?

There is a significant disparity between the number of money-laundering complaints reported by Ottawa banks to federal authorities in the past 10 years and the number of persons charged: more than 10,000 versus 20. The Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada concedes there has been a jump in the number of monthly complaints in the last two years but says it could be due to increased vigilance rather than an increase in criminal activity. [node:read-more:link]

Seventies nationalist movements monitored

Newly-accessed documents show that the growing nationalist movement in Canada a half-century ago was closely monitored by the RCMP Security Service. The Committee for an Independent Canada, founded in 1970 to promote economic and cultural independence, was among the targets seen as ripe for “exploitation or manipulation” by radicals. [node:read-more:link]

Quebec abandons LNG project

Having initially supported a planned liquified natural gas facility in the Saguenay region north of Quebec City, the provincial government has done an about-face in response to public opposition. The $14-billion project would have carried Western Canadian gas across the province for shipment to export markets. [node:read-more:link]

U.S. urged to revisit NEXUS

A report that the U.S. is revoking three times as many NEXUS cards as Canada has prompted former deputy prime minister John Manley, who negotiated the trusted traveller program, to call for a review of how they are managed. “It's stunning that the numbers are as great as they are and the exercise of the authority to cancel is being done in a manner that seems somewhat capricious and unjustified,”, he said July 7. “I think it would be only with pressure from Canada that the U.S. would change their procedures.” [node:read-more:link]

COVID-19: digital tax to offset recovery costs

European Commission Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager expects a levy on hundreds of digital companies to offset some of the cost of recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic. Commenting on an OECD agreement on a minimum 15 per cent tax, she said the European Union would follow suit but did not say at what rate. [node:read-more:link]

Key government bills passed by Senate

The federal government’s omnibus budget implementation bill and a couple of key pieces of legislation were approved by the Senate only a few hours before adjourning June 29 for the summer. Other bills that cleared the Upper House included one to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by mid-century and another to amend the Broadcasting Act. [node:read-more:link]

Climate change impact on infrastructure alarming

The annual cost of dealing with natural disasters attributable to extreme weather now averages $1.9 billion or nearly five times as much as a decade ago, and Natural Resources Canada says current efforts to address the impact on infrastructure are “insufficient in the face of rapidly accumulating social and economic losses” and “the window to reduce increasingly severe impacts is rapidly closing.” [node:read-more:link]

COVID-19: weakness in EI system

A House of Commons committee is suggesting that the COVID-19 pandemic has disclosed flaws in the unemployment insurance system, saying in a June 17 report that EI “no longer reflects the realities of today's labour market.” The committee chairman says that when the pandemic erupted, “the system didn't have a chance of covering off the people that were thrown out of work through no fault of their own.” [node:read-more:link]

Procurement policy overhaul recommended

An all-party House of Commons committee says the government should give more weight to national security than costs of information technology and security hardware procurements. In its report to Parliament, the committee expressed concerns about Chinese state-owned enterprises and recommended more rigorous screening of contractors who install and maintain equipment in sensitive facilities such as embassies. [node:read-more:link]

EU has “carbon leakage” in crosshairs

Only weeks before the European Union is expected to impose globally-unprecedented carbon dioxide emissions costs on some imports, including ferrous metals, aluminum and fertilizers, Canada and the other G7 countries agreed June 13 to work together to address the risk that some countries’ climate policies could compel companies to relocate. “We need to address carbon leakage to create (a) global level playing field,” European Council President Charles Michel explained. [node:read-more:link]

Turkey announces plan to tackle slimy "sea snot"

A thick slimy layer of organic mucilage has spread through the sea south of Istanbul, posing a threat to marine life and the fishing industry. Turkey’s environment minister announced plans to make the entire Sea of Marmara a protected area, reduce pollution and improve treatment of waste water from coastal cities and ships which has contributed to the sea snot spread. [node:read-more:link]

COVID-19: Australia's conundrum

With COVID-19 infection rates near zero and life mostly normal, Australia has been one of the world's success stories during the global pandemic, having closed its borders early. However, it now seems that the prospect of restrictions remaining in place until mid-2022 is under attack as critics say it will cause long-term economic and societal problems. [node:read-more:link]


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