Economics & Finance & Trade

Liberals release campaign platform

The Liberal Party today released its campaign platform at roughly the mid-point of their push for a parliamentary majority in the Sept. 20 general election. Costed out by the Parliamentary Budget Officer, it includes a range of new and extended economic support initiatives as well as a commitment to enhanced employment insurance measures and ensuring banks and companies pay “their fair share” of the cost of rebuilding a post-pandemic economy [node:read-more:link]

Municipalities seeking billions

The federal government is being asked by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities to provide $2 billion over the next three years – followed by $1 billion annually – to help its 2,000 members to guard against more climate-related events such as wildfires, extreme heat, drought and floods. [node:read-more:link]

COVID-19: Global oil demand slows

The International Energy Agency reported today that growing demand for oil abruptly reversed course last month and is expected to rebound more slowly for the rest of 2021 due to continued outbreaks of the COVID-19 Delta variant. “Restrictions imposed in several major oil consuming countries, particularly in Asia, look set to reduce mobility and oil use,” the IEA said. [node:read-more:link]

Border strike set for Friday

Some 9,000 Canadian Border Service Agency employees are preparing to go on strike Friday morning if there is no last-minute contract settlement with the federal government. The Public Service Alliance of Canada and its Customs and Immigration Union, having given notice Aug. 3, say that travellers and commercial operators can expect long lineups and delays. [node:read-more:link]

Long-term care costs could double

Needed improvements in long-term care facilities, exacerbated by the impact of COVID-19, means that government funding would have to be doubled. This is according to Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux, who says in a report released today that federal, provincial and territorial governments would have to increase annual funding by $13.7 billion and expect costs to rise by 4.1 per cent annually thereafter. Spending in the last fiscal year totalled $13.6 billion. [node:read-more:link]

Pipeline politics heating up again

A pipeline carrying oil and natural gas liquids under the Straits of Mackinac between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron is the focus of renewed exchanges between the government of Ontario and Michigan, which wants to shut it down on the basis of environmental concerns. Natural Resources Canada says decommissioning the line would require a shift to “less safe, more polluting and more expensive” truck and train transport. [node:read-more:link]

Ottawa bails out major NL project

The financially-struggling Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project in Labrador is getting federal help. A $5.2-billion package announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau includes $1 billion each in direct investment and loan guarantees with the rest coming in annual transfer payments. The initial cost of the project was $7.4 billion but has ballooned to $13.1 billion. [node:read-more:link]

Car owners underestimate total vehicle costs

Private cars are responsible for about 11% of the world’s total carbon dioxide emissions. That’s the greatest share in the transport sector, which accounts for 24% of emissions overall. More than 99% of new passenger cars sold worldwide still rely on fossil fuels. If consumers systematically underestimate total costs, this could make alternative forms of transport — car sharing, alternative-fuel vehicles, public transport, biking or walking, say — seem less attractive. [node:read-more:link]

CBSA contract talks resume

Days after confirming that Canada Border Services Agency employees had voted in favour of strike action as early as Aug. 6, their unions resumed contract talks July 29 with Treasury Board. “The government is clearly concerned about . . . the possibility of major disruptions at the border,” said Public Service Alliance of Canada President Chris Aylward. “They need to bring a new mandate to address major workplace issues.” [node:read-more:link]

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]


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