Ottawa continues mulling how to endorse UN declaration

first_imgAPTN National NewsOTTAWA–The federal government is still examining “how to best formalize” its endorsement of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, but appears to stand by its position outlined during debates last week at the UN Human Rights Council that collective rights to not equate to human rights.Truth and Reconciliation Commissioner Willie Littlechild said Tuesday that the Canadian delegation at the council had resisted attempts to equate human rights with the collective rights of Indigenous peoples during debate on the wording of a resolution extending the mandate of a UN official tasked with monitoring Indigenous rights around the world.Littlechild said this position was an “attack” on the rights of Indigenous peoples and made him wonder if he could ever reconcile with Canada.Foreign Affairs issued a statement Wednesday saying that Aboriginal treaty rights were already “recognized and affirmed in our Constitution.”The statement also seemed to affirm the distinction between human rights and collective rights.“Canada fully supports that indigenous individuals are entitled, without discrimination, to all human rights recognized in international law, and that indigenous peoples also possess collective rights,” said the Foreign Affairs statement.“In the domestic context, Aboriginal and treaty rights are already recognized and affirmed in our Constitution. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms further provides for the protection of the rights and freedoms of all individuals, including Aboriginal individuals, noting that they should be balanced with the public interest as part of the fundamental values of Canadians,” the statement said.During an appearance before a Senate committee Tuesday morning, Littlechild demanded Canada meet its Speech from the Throne promise and endorse the UN declaration.The department said the government was working on the issue.“The government of Canada remains committed to taking steps to endorse the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in a manner that is consistent with Canada’s Constitution and laws,” said the statement.“The government is currently looking at how to best formalize its endorsement. Canada supports the overall aspirations of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and believes endorsement will build on this government’s commitment towards a stronger and more respectful relationship,” the statement said.last_img read more

For The Record Martin Luther Kings daughter

first_imgAPTN National NewsBernice King, daughter of American Civil Rights hero Martin Luther King, gave the opening address at yesterdays reconciliation walk in Vancouver.King called the past treatment of First Nations appalling and applauded Canada for holding a truth and reconciliation process.For the record here is what she had to say to the 70000 people who came to walk in support of reconciliation and healing.last_img

Just water Labrador hunger striker talks about taking extreme measures to stop

first_imgTom FennarioAPTN National NewsBilly Gauthier says he hasn’t had anything to eat since starting a hunger strike to protest the flooding associated with the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric site.It’s been more than a week now, and Gauthier now has company.Tom interview Gauthier about the drastic measures he’s taking to stop progress of the dam and where this action is heading.tfennario@aptn.caFollow @tfennariolast_img

Boushie family confident concrete change to come following Ottawa meetings

first_imgAPTN NewsThe family of Colten Boushie says they’ve gotten exactly what they had hoped from their trip to Ottawa where they met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and several of his cabinet ministers.And that is a commitment from the Trudeau government to change the justice system.“There was a general consensus that there are systemic issues regarding Indigenous people in the judicial system,” said Jade Tootoosis, Boushie’s cousin Tuesday afternoon. “Each person has promised to work with us to make concrete changes within the justice system.“That’s exactly what we came here for.”More from the press conference that took place in Ottawa After meeting ministers Jane Philpott and Carolyn Bennett on Monday, Boushie’s spoke with Trudeau, as well as Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale Tuesday.“I thanked them for their thoughtful sharing of the story and the difficulties they faced with both the justice system and with the police,” Trudeau said following the meeting. “They are very much focused on making sure that we have improvements to our system so that no family has to go through the kinds of things they went through.”Raybould said it was a “very honest, very emotional” meeting.“I don’t know if the right word is hopeful but they reflected broadly on the criminal justice system and how we need to build relationships and work together to make improvements to the criminal justice system from speaking about all actors, whether it be in the courts, in corrections,” said Wilson-Raybould.An all-white jury found Gerald Stanley, a white farmer in Battleford, Sask., not-guilty in Boushie’s death on Friday. The verdict sparked cross-country rallies and calls for an overhaul of the criminal justice system.Wilson-Raybould said the government will have more details about a justice review in “the near future.”Meanwhile, Goodale echoed condemnations for the racist comments that have flooded social media in the days following the verdict.“There is absolutely no place for that in a province like Saskatchewan or anywhere else,” Goodale, who represents the Regina-Wascana riding, told reporters. “We all have to recognize our common interest in peaceful, secure safe communities and all of the forces and factors that go into creating those kinds of communities. We’re all in this together and we need to work very carefully together.”Boushie’s relatives have said RCMP officers were insensitive and initially treated family members like suspects on the day of his death Aug. 9, 2016. Goodale said the independent Civilian Review for Complaints and Commission is looking into it.last_img read more

Canada to restart consultations with Indigenous groups on Trans Mountain

first_imgJustin BrakeAPTN NewsCanada announced Wednesday that it will not appeal a federal court’s recent ruling on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and says it will re-engage with First Nations and Métis communities impacted by the project.The announcement by Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi Wednesday morning comes amid ongoing debate around Canada’s duty to consult Indigenous peoples on the pipeline, and on resource projects developed on Indigenous lands more broadly.On Aug. 30 the Federal Court of Appeal ruled on a case brought forth by a number of First Nations, the Cities of Vancouver and Burnaby and the Government of British Columbia that the National Energy Board’s “process and findings were so flawed that the Governor in Council could not reasonably rely on the Board’s report,” and that Canada “failed to fulfil the duty to consult owed to Indigenous peoples.”Responding to that decision on Wednesday Sohi announced the federal government is appointing former Supreme Court of Canada Justice Frank Iacobucci to design and oversee a new consultation process in which Canada will “work to address concerns of First Nations and Métis communities to move forward in the right way on this project in accordance with the Court’s direction.”In May Canada announced it was buying the embattled pipeline—which has faced fierce opposition from Indigenous groups for years while garnering the support from some First Nations and Metis communities—from Texas oil giant Kinder Morgan for $4.5 billion.At that time Indigenous leaders from a host of Nations and communities—and with grassroots people asserting their rights and jurisdiction on the ground in unceded Tsleil-Waututh, Squamish, Musqueam, Sto:lo and Secwepemc territories—vehemently and publicly opposed the Trudeau government’s assertion that it would see the pipeline through to completion.Critics of the project maintain that in building a pipeline through their lands without Indigenous peoples’ free, prior and informed consent violates Aboriginal rights and contradicts Canada’s commitment to upholding the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action, including the imperative to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Following the federal court of appeal’s announcement in August Indigenous representatives gathered in Vancouver for a joint news conference. “It was a hard fight, but I’m glad today the courts heard the teachings of our culture, and our spirit, and how we carry ourselves,” Tsleil-Waututh Chief Reuben George announced.  “The people up here that represent the nations could have negotiated for millions, but we can’t put a price on the things that we love.”Asked by reporters how Canada will carry out its consultations with Indigenous groups, Sohi said Wednesday the feds “are going to engage in good faith and in a meaningful way,” adding Canada will “offer accommodation where accommodation is possible.”Sohi said the NEB is conducting its own review of marine shipping and the impacts on species at risk.Meanwhile, Canada will begin its consultation process, he added.“We will follow the direction that has been given to us by the federal court, [which] has said that meaningful consultation can take place in a focused and efficient manner.  “So with that we’ll be going into the communities with an open mind, and engaging and listening and learning from them, and accepting their help in designing and the input into how we need to move on this important project.”jbrake@aptn.ca@justinbrakenewslast_img read more

Shopping while brown InFocus tackles racial profiling

first_imgInFocusRacial profiling can come in many forms. Have you ever been followed by store staff while shopping? Do you seem to get served differently in restaurants or in stores? Does it happen regularly?  Has you changed the way you act in stores because of this?If you said you yes, you may be the victim of racial profiling.  This week, Host Melissa Ridgen put Shopping While Brown InFocus.What exactly does it mean to be racially profiled in store?Tomee Sojourner-Campbell is a Master of Laws candidate at Osgoode Hall Law School at York University and founder of Prevent CRP (Consumer Racial Profiling).She has been working for years to bring awareness of this problem and works with businesses to prevent it.“Consumer racial profiling is when you walk into a store and someone is following you and it’s the assumption that the person they see in the store or going into the bank, usually racialized Black or Indigenous is going to do something wrong,” she said. “Because it’s often, not only the assumption that somebody is a threat but its in the way you get treated.”“It’s not just about people assuming that you’re going to steal but its about the lack of context, the lack of respect that’s afforded to the individual that’s come into the store to purchase an item.”Amy Anderson is a Winnipeg resident who has had enough of these experiences.  She told Ridgen that she recently had an unpleasant experience in a local restaurant that is frequented by many Indigenous patrons.Anderson, along with her parents were ignored after they sat down.  They had to ask multiple times to have someone take their drink order.  When they finally got to order their food, they waited for an hour for it come – and once it arrived, she found a pubic hair in her dish and her mother’s chicken wings were undercooked.“My parents have been at this hotel numerous times and it seems like it’s the same service, the same treatment and it just so happened that both my mom and my food was tampered with. How could that be a coincidence?” Anderson said.“It did feel discriminatory towards us.”last_img read more

Manitoba CFS changes ignore First Nations demands for jurisdiction say chiefs

first_imgManitoba Families Minister Heather Stefanson announced block funding for CFS on Feb. 11.Editor’s note: A previous version of this story stated an AMC spokesperson said the organization wants to see the Manitoba-specific legislation tabled after the broader federal bill is introduced. It was in fact a Dec. 2018 AFN resolution that stated this.Justin BrakeAPTN NewsFirst Nation leaders in Manitoba say the provincial government’s announced child welfare reform this week ignores efforts by Indigenous communities that are trying to regain jurisdiction over their own children.On Wednesday the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC) issued a statement criticizing Monday’s announcement by the province that it will move to block funding for child welfare in April of this year.“Provincially-designed and imposed decisions continually miss the mark in reforming what’s known as the Manitoba humanitarian crisis of child welfare,” said Acting AMC Grand Chief Glenn Hudson of Peguis First Nation.On Monday Manitoba Families Minister Heather Stefanson said block funding for Child and Family Services (CFS) will fund the province’s four CFS authorities up front “to improve outcomes for children and families, not by the size of their caseloads or the length of a child’s stay in care.”The province, which has the highest rates among provinces and territories of Indigenous children in state care, had come under fire for operating a child welfare system in which agencies were funded based on the number of cases.Under that model, First Nation leaders and other critics have argued, agencies are incentivized to have children in care while also lacking resources to support families and prevent child apprehension.Manitoba was also criticized for forcing CFS agencies to turn over federal funding they received through the Children’s Special Allowance. The province previously argued those federal funds were a duplication of its existing investments into CFS.That practice will end with the block funding, Stefanson said Monday.“We want to give agencies the freedom to devote more money to prevention, early intervention, community and kinship involvement, and other positive supports,” the minister said, adding “the new model helps reduce their administrative burdens and improves autonomy and accountability.”But, potentially days away from the Trudeau government’s promised child welfare legislation, Manitoba chiefs aren’t pleased with the province’s move.“The province of Manitoba continues to ignore the longstanding position and resolutions of the AMC Chiefs-in-Assembly that seeks to reassert First Nations’ jurisdiction and approach to our children and families,” Hudson said in Wednesday’s statement, adding the province did not consult with First Nation leadership on the decision.The AMC has been fighting 30 years for First Nations jurisdiction over their own child and family matters.Presently, more than 11,000 children in Manitoba are in care. Ninety per cent are Indigenous.It’s 2014 “Bringing Our Children Home” report recommended, among other things, transitioning to a First Nations CFS system and a model of care focused on prevention.A subsequent 2017 report titled “Keewaywin: Our Way Home” determined that Manitoba’s CFS system “is simply an extension of cultural genocide practices found in the residential school system and 60s Scoop.”It put forth a First Nations-led plan for CFS reforms and options for implementing Jordan’s Principle.Keewaywin’s first recommendation was to “restore First Nation jurisdiction of children.”“First Nations never conceded jurisdiction of our children,” the report reads. “This was taken from us through years of purposeful, adversarial and invasive government Indigenous child welfare policies.“First Nations must lead child-welfare reform with reform options informed, mandated, designed and implemented by First Nations and First Nation leadership and citizens.”In December 2017 AMC signed a memorandum of understanding with Canada to address the province’s child welfare crisis.Former Indigenous Services minister Jane Philpott said the MOU was “an important step forward,” and that the parties were “focusing on improvements that First Nations in Manitoba want to see in the child welfare system.”AMC Grand Chief Arlen Dumas said at the time that “grassroots citizens insist we take back jurisdiction of our children and enhance First Nation capacity in all areas to address the Child and Family Services crisis in Manitoba.” The Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs and Canada signed an MOU on child welfare in December 2017. AMC photo.Last year talks began between the AMC and federal government for First Nations in Manitoba to have their own federal child welfare legislation.The AMC consulted with community members, its women’s council, and then began drafting its vision for federal legislation it hopes Canada will table in the House of Commons.The Bringing Our Children Home Act was taken to ceremony and feast, and later reviewed by the AMC Women’s and Elder’s Councils.It was officially adopted in an AMC resolution last October.In December it was supported by the AFN at its special chiefs assembly in Ottawa.Last week AFN Regional Chief Kevin Hart told APTN News that Manitoba is among the provinces said to be resisting the Trudeau government’s impending child welfare bill.A number of sources have also come forward to say the latest draft bill doesn’t include the transfer of full jurisdiction over child welfare from the provinces to First Nations, which some leaders have said they were told was “doable” by Philpott.Current Indigenous Services Minister Seamus O’Regan, and Trudeau himself, have indicated the feds are considering First Nations’ concerns and working to table the legislation soon.With only 12 weeks remaining on Parliament’s sitting schedule before the fall election, there’s already a significant chance any newly tabled legislation won’t make it through the legislative process in time.A resolution passed at December’s AFN assembly in Ottawa calls for Canada and Manitoba First Nations to “jointly draft a mutually agreeable draft Bill” of the Bringing Our Children Home Act “for Canada to introduce in the House of Commons in the very near future, after the federal enabling legislation has been passed.”Last September, the Manitoba government produced its own review of the CFS system.A report for the province’s Legislative Review Committee concluded that those who participated in consultations and information gathering processes “generally agreed that the existing CFS legislation, standards and regulations need to be fundamentally reformed, to develop a system that better supports and provides greater control and influence to families and communities.”A spokesperson for Manitoba Families told APTN Wednesday that the funding changes announced this week “build on Manitoba’s commitment to reform the child welfare system as outlined in the [report].”The report does not discuss Treaty Rights, nor does it recommend returning to First Nations jurisdiction over their children.It’s against this backdrop the AMC says Manitoba’s funding model change fails to account for what First Nations themselves say their children and families need.First Nation leadership “is working on reviving our inherent laws on families,” Swan Lake First Nation Chief Francine Meeches, who chairs the AMC Women’s Council, said Wednesday’s AMC statement.“Sadly, with the Province of Manitoba’s announcement, they continue to ignore us.”The AMC maintains that “the funding dollars for children in care should go straight to the First Nations so they may apply their own First Nations family laws to help keep our children with our families and within our Nations,” said Hudson.jbrake@aptn.ca@justinbrakenewslast_img read more

Utilities commission seeks more data on Site C before final recommendation

first_imgVANCOUVER – The BC Utilities Commission has released a preliminary report into the future of the controversial $8.8-billion Site C dam project in the province’s northeast.But the commission said in its report released late Wednesday night that it does not have enough information in several areas to recommend whether the project should proceed.BC Hydro has said it has already spent $1.8 billion on construction for the massive hydroelectric dam, but Premier John Horgan’s NDP government asked the commission to review the economic viability of the project after taking office.The panel did conclude in its preliminary report that as of June 30 when BC Hydro submitted its must recent quarter-end report, the project was on track for its planned completion in 2024, but did not have enough data to determine whether the project is currently on budget,It also said it also does not have sufficient information to predict possible budget overruns once the Site C project is complete, or the total costs for the project in the event it is suspended and restarted later.Hydro’s 866-page submission to the commission said completing the dam as planned would still be best for ratepayers and terminating the project would cost $7.3 billion on a present-value basis.The commission also warned Wednesday night that if a diversion of the Peace River is not achieved in September 2019, the project will not stay within its budget.The commission said it will now conduct an “extensive consultation process” on the preliminary findings and submit a final recommendation on Nov. 1.The BC Hydro submission said demand for electricity is growing and without the dam, the province will face an energy shortfall by 2031.A report submitted for the commission’s review by the auditing firm Deloitte LLP concluded that putting the project on hold until 2025 would cost about $1.4 billion, while cancelling it outright would cost $1.2 billion.The Deloitte report says that the dam’s construction faces major risks including contractor performance problems, unforeseen geotechnical conditions and cost issues related to major contracts that haven’t been awarded yet.last_img read more

Mealkit trend grows into 120M industry in Canada

first_imgMatthew Richardson decided it was finally time to change his cooking habits.After moving in with his girlfriend this past summer, Richardson, 36, figured they should put a stop to their frequent eating out and make a real effort to prepare their own meals at home.But he didn’t know where to start. Elaborate recipes felt intimidating and he had no clue where to look for easy, healthy food that would appeal to both of their tastes.“She’s a vegetarian, I am not a vegetarian,” says Richardson, who lives in Saint John, N.B.“I was looking for ways to learn some recipes, and figure out how to prepare things I don’t know how to prepare.”So he turned to home-delivered meal kits, a phenomenon that has quickly grown into a $120-million industry in Canada, according to the market research company NPD Group.Meal-kit companies offer consumers a menu of ready-to-prepare dishes that are typically marketed as easy to make, healthy and delicious. Meal ingredients arrive pre-portioned with a recipe for consumers to follow.The meal-kit industry started in Sweden, according to Robert Carter of NPD Group, and has spread globally over the last five years. The industry has roughly doubled in Canada since 2014, Carter added.“It’s grown fairly aggressively in the U.S. marketplace, and kind of filtered here into Canada,” he said, adding that meal kits are “now one of the fastest-growing food segments in the Canadian marketplace.”On a friend’s recommendation, Richardson first signed up for Goodfood, a meal-kit company founded in Montreal in 2015. The largest family-sized meal-kit boxes start at $8.75 per person per meal and recent options have included whisky rubbed pork chop with scalloped potatoes, red lentil stew with sweet potatoes, and acorn squash tacos.One of Richardson’s favourite meals — quinoa-stuffed peppers — arrived boxed with portions of poblano peppers, corn, spinach, cilantro, quinoa, cheese, tomatoes, an onion, panko crumbs and a spice blend. It took Richardson and his girlfriend about 45 minutes to make.For Jayne Zhou, an HR co-ordinator in Vancouver who’s been on maternity leave since early in the year, meal kits have made life a little simpler.She says it initially took some trial and error to figure out how much food to order for her family of four. She started getting weekly meals delivered but found some food would get wasted if her family met up with friends or went out to dinner.They now order meals for two people every other week. Zhou says she loves that as a self-described “newbie cook” she’s built confidence in the kitchen.“We had ginger pork meatballs and I was like: ‘That wasn’t too hard, maybe I’ll be able to make this recipe again,’” she says.Richardson also believes his kitchen chops have improved. In the fall, a few months into his flirtation with meal kits, he visited his family’s farm in Nova Scotia and decided to pick some chanterelle mushrooms to make a risotto.“A year ago, I wouldn’t even consider making a risotto,” he says. “It would seem like this huge, intimidating task that I would never tackle. It definitely gave me more confidence, to go out and try dishes that I normally would be like, ‘That’s something that somebody who’s a professional would make.’”Both Zhou and Richardson say meal kits have been a cheaper alternative than ordering in or going to a restaurant but they’ve definitely been more expensive than doing their own grocery shopping.Graham McDonnell, a stylist from Dartmouth, N.S., was lured by the convenience of having meal kits delivered to his door but has gone back to doing his own grocery shopping.He and his partner used to shop for groceries often but would end up throwing away a lot of food since they didn’t plan properly. Now they’ve refocused their energy on meal planning.“If you take the time to plan your meals and not over-shop … you can kind of organize (a meal-kit type experience) yourself, basically,” McDonnell says.While meal-kit companies often market their food using buzzwords like “farm-fresh,” “sustainable,” and “antibiotic- and hormone-free,” one nutritionist says it’s too early to assess the health benefits of buying into a meal plan given few real studies have been done on the subject. But University of Guelph Prof. Jess Haines does see the appeal of the service, particularly for people who work long hours or don’t have a lot of time to think about shopping for food. And some of the meal kits she’s seen “appear to have very healthful options,” Haines says.After about three months of using Goodfood, Richardson and his girlfriend decided to try some of the competition. Richardson heard others swear by Toronto-based Chefs Plate but personally found the ingredients to be a little less fresh than what he was used to. He liked German company HelloFresh but found the vegetarian options lacking.The couple continues to try meal kits from new companies looking to cash in on the trend, especially since social media ads targeted to them are often offering a few free meals.“Apparently I’m looking at these things enough that the advertisers know that that’s what I’m into,” he says.last_img read more

Lebanons lung to Gulf markets choked by politics

first_imgAL-MASNAA, Lebanon — Lebanese exporters rejoiced last month when the Syrian government opened a key land crossing with Jordan that had been closed by years of war, restoring a much-needed overland trade route to lucrative Persian Gulf markets.But lingering disputes between Lebanon and Syria, and political gridlock in Beirut, mean that many Lebanese businesses still rely on longer and costlier transport by sea, further stalling efforts to restore an economy battered by years of war in its larger neighbour.The reopening of the Naseeb-Jaber crossing allowed Mohammed Araji, owner of a trucking firm in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, to retrieve two trucks that had been stranded in Jordan since 2015, when Syrian rebels captured the crossing. Two other of his refrigerator trucks had been parked in front of his house for the last three years.Even before the crossing officially closed, his brother was briefly abducted by rebels while driving a truck through Syria, underscoring the perils they faced in trying to keep the route open.The crossing was Lebanon’s “lung,” Araji said, and its closure was a “death blow” to the economy, affecting farmers, merchants, industrialists and drivers. So he was pleased when Syrian government forces reopened the crossing and secured the route.But for weeks he was unable to find exporters ready to give him shipping contracts. Finally, on Saturday, he sent his first truckloads to Saudi Arabia after offering an exporter an attractive price.“People are still waiting to see what will happen,” he said.The land route through Syria, Jordan and Iraq is vital to Lebanon, which is squeezed between Syria, the closed border with Israel, and the sea. Lebanon’s exports plunged from a high of 78 per cent of GDP in 2008 — three years before the start of Syria’s civil war — to a low of 36 per cent in 2017.Before Naseeb’s closing, more than 250 trucks a day headed from Lebanon to markets in Syria, Jordan, Iraq and the Gulf. After the closure, that dropped to some 300 trucks in a good month, bound only for Syria, customs officials said.An estimated 550,000 tons of vegetables and fruits a year used to be exported through the Syria-Jordan crossing, according to Ibrahim Tarshishi, head of the Bekaa farmer’s union. Since the shutdown, that flow has dropped by nearly 40 per cent, to no more than 330,000 tons. Exports from Bekaa to Saudi Arabia have dropped by 60 per cent, according to figures from the Bekaa chamber of commerce.After the crossing reopened, Syria and Jordan imposed new transit tariffs on trucks heading to the Gulf. The Syrian increase alone was five-fold, Tarshishi said. Lebanon meanwhile subsidizes transport by sea.Traders hope improved ties between Syria and Lebanon will lead to reduced tariffs, but Lebanon’s political leaders are fiercely divided between supporters and opponents of President Bashar Assad, and they have been unable to form a government since elections in May.Contacts among Lebanese and Syrian officials remain personal and partisan — and some complain Syria is using the tariffs to force normalization. Experts say opaque policies and decision-making have also hindered trade.Charles Zarzour, the head of the government agency for agricultural exports and imports, said the opening of the crossing has at least offered “psychological relief” to traders.“God willing, when we have a government in Lebanon, it lays down a wise policy that serves the country’s interest,” including tariff reductions, he told The Associated Press.Syrian officials had no immediate comment.Tarshishi has pressed for an end to the sea shipping subsidies and other government action to revive land exports, but in the caretaker government “no one wants to take responsibility,” he said.On a recent afternoon at al-Masnaa, the Lebanese side of the crossing into Syria, nearly a dozen trucks loaded with bananas were bound for Damascus. Just one truck, carrying cleaning supplies, was heading to Jordan. None were bound for the Gulf.Talal Darwish, a produce exporter, is still sending his grapes, apples and pears by sea, and on a recent day, workers raced to prepare a shipment bound for Kuwait. By land would be cheaper and faster — a five-day trip as opposed to 25.He has heard talk of efforts to reduce tariffs, but says “we still don’t know officially, so there is no rush.”___Associated Press writer Hiba Delwati in Beirut contributed to this report.Sarah El Deeb, The Associated Presslast_img read more

Suncor CEO says hes encouraged new pipelines will be built after PMs

first_img“The simple measure will be we want to see shovels in ground and pipelines being built.”Suncor reported that the discount paid for oilsands blend Western Canadian Select compared with New York-traded West Texas Intermediate crude widened to an average of US$24 per barrel in the first quarter, double the US$12 per barrel average in the fourth quarter of 2017.The higher difference is blamed on difficulty in getting heavy crude out of Western Canada because of a lack of pipeline space.Williams said he’s “greatly encouraged” by what Alberta and federal governments are saying recently and believes even the Trans Mountain expansion project will be built, despite proponent Kinder Morgan threatening to abandon it if it isn’t reassured about its construction by the end of May.He said he also believes Enbridge Inc.’s Line 3 pipeline replacement project into the U.S. Midwest will proceed, despite an ongoing disagreement in Minnesota over its routing.Suncor reported lower production in the quarter ended March 31 because of cold weather-related outages at its Base Camp north of Fort McMurray, Alta., and the nearby Syncrude Canada oilsands mine. It said operations returned to normal at Base Camp in February after a water line leak caused a power outage in the upgrader. At Syncrude, a blockage in a bitumen transport line led to the company starting a planned eight-week maintenance shutdown a month early.Total upstream production came in at 689,400 barrels of oil equivalent per day in the first quarter, compared to 725,100 boe/d in the prior year quarter, as oilsands output fell to 404,800 barrels per day from 448,500 bpd.The operations “fell short” of Suncor standards, Williams said on the call, adding, “We need to do better and, be assured, we will.”Suncor reported net earnings fell to $789 million, compared to $1.35 billion in the same period of 2017. CALGARY, A.B. –  The CEO of oilsands giant Suncor Energy Inc. says he’s confident new oil pipelines will be built after hosting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at its newly opened Fort Hills oilsands mine in early April.The message he left with Trudeau was that pipeline access must be assured if the industry is to attract the capital it needs to grow, Steve Williams said on a conference call on Wednesday.“We don’t want these new projects to have to bear the burden of some of these (oil price) differentials,” he said, reiterating Suncor’s commitment to build no new major oilsands projects without new pipelines.center_img Williams said the differential had no impact on Suncor’s earnings, however, because what was lost in the pricing of oilsands was recovered through the company’s marketing and refining operations, which benefited from low-cost feedstock as well as high capacity utilization and profit margins.First-quarter earnings included a $329-million non-cash loss on foreign currency denominated debt.There was also a non-cash gain of $133 million from a deal to buy a 37 percent interest in Canbriam Energy Inc. in exchange for northeastern B.C. mineral land holdings and $52 million.(THE CANADIAN PRESS)last_img read more

Pipeline protesters defy eviction order say theyll meet with officials

first_imgBURNABY, B.C. – Protesters at an anti-pipeline camp in Burnaby, B.C., say they will meet with officials to discuss safety measures, but they will not comply with a city-issued evacuation order.The City of Burnaby says there are safety concerns surrounding “Camp Cloud,” including a two-storey wooden watch house and a fire that protesters describe as sacred and ceremonial.Protest organizer Kwitsel Tatel says the participants will not leave, nor will they extinguish their fire. Tatel suggests the structures around the camp’s sacred fire could be modified if only to refocus the attention away from the physical camp and back to the anti-pipeline protest.She adds that snuffing out the fire would constitute a breaking of both B.C. Supreme Court and Coast Salish law.The protesters say the city’s notice, which was issued on Wednesday and expired early Saturday, was written without adequate consideration of a recent court decision or consultation with camp residents.The B.C. Supreme Court ruled in March that both the camp and a nearby watch house could remain in place in response to a court injunction filed by Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd., the company behind the Trans Mountain expansion project.Tatel said the residents of the camp have had conversations with the City of Burnaby about the demands set out in the eviction notice, and they are willing to negotiate in good faith. But she said the city has not engaged in those discussions.“The executive assistant to (Burnaby Mayor) Derek Corrigan came many times with orders instead of questions and concerns. I’m respectfully announcing that is not good faith discussion or negotiation,” Tatel said Saturday. She added that they spoke with the City of Burnaby fire department overnight about the sacred fire, and that a load of timber would be dropped off by the department.Tatel said she will request federal intervention if need be, citing the protesters’ charter right to peaceful demonstration.“I’m asking for (federal Justice Minister) Jody Wilson-Raybould to step up and assist, to pull her goons and her dogs,” said TatelShe and several other camp residents said they saw between 30 and 60 “paramilitary” individuals in and around “Camp Cloud” and the woods around the Kinder Morgan tanker terminal late Friday night, and said additional audio and video surveillance near the entrance to the terminal had recently been installed.center_img Demonstrators are angry over the expansion of the pipeline between Alberta and B.C. that would triple its capacity to carry bitumen destined for export.In May, the federal government announced it would buy the pipeline in an effort to see the expansion completed.(THE CANADIAN PRESS)last_img read more

PRRD holds special meeting on next steps for Caribou Recovery

first_imgAccording to Brownsey, they have two goals that focus on the recovery of caribou and ensuring the success of the affected communities, while also maintaining a form of dialogue that will allow community members to have future input on the matter.Doyle says establishing a leadership table and a common knowledge base is important when it comes to Caribou Recovery.“That’s exactly what we were thinking through is a leadership table that would be able to oversee and provide input for the development of the Section 11 and the Partnership Agreements. I think that establishing a common knowledge base is really important to ensure that everything is known, from on the state of the caribou, on the economic analysis, and that is shared and everybody has an opportunity to question the experts that have done that work.”Lekstrom says he remains optimistic that they can develop a path forward, adding that it will take everybody at the table to form a resolution on the Caribou Recovery Program.“I remain optimistic that we can find a path forward but it will take, as it was laid out here, everybody at the table to find that resolution.”The full special meeting can be found on the Regional District’s website. DAWSON CREEK, B.C. – The Peace River Regional District Board held a special meeting on Friday, August 23, to hear about the next steps for Caribou Recovery in the Peace Region.Presenting to the Board on the next steps for Caribou Recovery were Community Liaisons Blair Lekstrom and Lorne Brownsey. Also in attendance was Cassie Doyle of Environment and Climate Change Canada.Brownsey says he was appointed by Premier John Horgan to facilitate an engagement process that aims to establish a pathway to conclude the Caribou Recovery agreements and in a manner that reflects the concerns of all community members.last_img read more

SC asks Narasimha to play mediator BCCI bodies happy

first_imgNew Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday asked P S Narasimha, amicus curiae in BCCI matters, to also act as mediator for the state associations of the Board of Control for Cricket in India. The Bench of Justices SA Bobde and A.M. Sapre has asked Narasimha to hear the state associations’ concerns and suggest the way forward to the Committee of Administrators (CoA). A senior BCCI official said the move has come as a huge relief for the state associations, which now have the option of getting their issues heard. It will also bring to an end the generic affidavits being filed by the CEO in violation of the newly registered constitution, he added. Also Read – Dhoni, Paes spotted playing football together”This is a huge relief for several associations, which were shocked and disappointed at the generic affidavits being filed by the CEO in violation of the constitution finalised by the Supreme Court. These were actually bordering on contempt since as per the constitution finalised by the court, it is only the acting secretary who could have filed an affidavit on behalf of the BCCI,” the official said. The SC also barred all courts in the country, including the high courts, from entertaining any plea relating to the BCCI and its state affiliates, that it is hearing. Also Read – Andy Murray to make Grand Slam return at Australian OpenThe Bench also asked Narasimha to look into the release of funds by the SC-appointed CoA to various state associations. Almost all the associations have cited lack of release of funds as a burning issue. Commenting on this, a senior state association official said the order was like a wave of relief for the state bodies of the BCCI. “A wave of relief has swept through the cricketing fraternity after today’s order of the SC. The members of the cricketing fraternity are grateful to the court for its observation that the game must go on.” “The restriction on the flow of associations’ own funds had all but brought the development of the game of cricket at the grassroots level to a standstill and this empathetic view will potentially bring an end to this unfortunate stalemate. The member associations have full faith in the new amicus and for us, his non-partisan approach is a breath of fresh air,” he smiled. At the previous hearing, the Bench had appointed Justice (retired) D K Jain the ombudsman of the BCCI and Lt. Gen. Ravi Thodge the third member of the CoA.last_img read more

Marrakesh Airport to install highspeed hold baggage explosives detection system

Tinjdad– The international Marrakesh Menara Airport will install the HI-SCAN 10080 XCT, a high-speed hold baggage explosives detection system, which willdetect explosives in luggage, according to AsiaTraveltrips.The same source said that the Smiths Detection Group has just been awarded a contract by the Morocco Civil Aviation Authority (ONDA) to install this new security system in the international airport of Marrakesh, one of the busiest airports in the kingdom. “The HI-SCAN 10080 XCT provides an imaging solution based on Smiths Detection’s dual-energy, dual-view X-ray technology and Computed Tomography (CT),” AsiaTraveltrips said.According to the same source the new explosives detection system for high-speed baggage, the first of its kind in North Africa, has a “large tunnel opening and fast belt speed of 98 feet per minute (0.5 metres per second)” that will enable the screening of up to 1800 bags per hour. Andrew Davis, Head of Market, Europe South & West at Smiths Detection, said, “This revolutionary technology offers an ideal, cost-efficient combination of enhanced baggage security and faster throughput.” read more

Morocco France Discuss Means to Boost Cooperation in Fisheries

Rabat – Morocco’s Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Aziz Akhannouch held talks on Wednesday in Rabat with French Secretary of State for Transport, Sea and Fisheries Alain Vidalies.Talks focused on the means to boost cooperation between the two countries in scientific research, aquaculture, training and trade.Following talks, the French official praised bilateral cooperation in international fora and highlighted, in a statement to MAP, the convergence of the views of the two countries on the development of aquaculture and exchanging experiences in this field. The meeting was an opportunity to discuss the means to boost cooperation between France and Morocco in aquaculture and the protection of fishery resources in the Mediterranean, Akhannouch told MAP.With MAP read more

Fez to Host 2nd International Artists Gathering

Rabat – The 2nd International Artists Gathering in Fez is a festival that seeks to unite different world cultures through art.Through a series of exhibitions, panels and workshops, the gathering will be held on 12-15 January to explore the theme of Art in the Time of Crisis.In its second year, the gathering seeks to provide a platform to connect countless diverse artists from all over the globe. Congregating in the sacred city of Fez, the gathering will be filled with discussions, exhibitions and workshops that are open for everyone to take part in. They will discuss very pertinent issues that permeate various parts of the world today. Founded and directed by local Fez photographer, Omar Chennafi, the gathering this year explores the theme of “Art in the Time of Crisis.”“We want to give these major issues a different perspective and open up the dialogue,” Chennafi said.The guest of honor at this event is no other than the European country, which has accepted the largest number of refugees, Germany. Not only is the country a pivotal cultural and artistic hub in the European continent, at the time of this crisis, it is using its economic might and strong political position to welcome and integrate refugees into its society.The 2017 Gathering will host five new art exhibitions, selected by German curators Pascual Jordan, and Evi Blink, that will blend together through photography, installations and paintings. The artwork covers a broad range of topics, such as the refugee crisis, war, Islamic extremism and a lack of global education. Exhibited artists will come from all corners of the globe.The gathering also aims to promote art education amongst Moroccans, as all events are free and open to the general public. In doing this, the event is accessible to all, artists and non-artists, Moroccans and foreigners; its doors are open to all those who wish to discover more about art and its role in crises.The gathering further seeks to promote artistic expression and its role in combatting extremism. Morocco is a world leader in combatting Islamic extremism and it is via the promotion of cultural initiatives such as the International Artist Gathering in Fez that this can be achieved.On his hopes for the gathering Omar Chennafi said, “I believe that art can help us face the problems that arise out of these various political, religious, and economic crises. By bringing an international group of artists together here in Fez, we will create a forum for sharing art, encouraging cross-collaboration across geographical borders, and discussing positions on the role of art in the time of crisis.”“Muslim culture celebrates art, but it isn‘t given the right exposure. We are trying to open up this conversation globally to show the world that there is a place for art in Islam. Religion without culture is extremism and culture without art is dogma and art is the opposite of dogma,” Chennafi added.Upon its conclusion the gathering will be reviewed and participants will be able to give their feedback on the event. The entire festival will be filmed, documented and subsequently shared on social media. Coverage will also include one-on-one interviews with artists and participants.“We want to archive everything that happens, so that anyone who has an interest in cultural research can have access, ” Chennafi said.For more information about the International Artists Gathering and for a full breakdown of the schedule, please visit, www.fezgathering.com. read more

Maryland bill would further curb police use of DNA databases

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Maryland’s legislature is considering expanding restrictions on how law enforcement uses DNA databases to identify criminal suspects.Maryland is the only state that already prohibits police from using familial DNA searches of samples within criminal databases. Del. Charles Sydnor tells The Daily Record that using commercially available databases like AncestryDNA or 23andMe would undermine that law and violate Marylanders’ constitutional rights.His legislation would extend the ban to include those private, commercial databases.With familial DNA searches, police use samples from unknown suspects to find potential relatives. California investigators used such a search to help crack the Golden State Killer cold case last year.Speaking on behalf of associations representing Maryland police chiefs and sheriffs, John Fitzgerald called the bill a mistake, saying customers upload their data voluntarily.___Information from: The Daily Record of Baltimore, http://www.thedailyrecord.comThe Associated Press read more

EUMorocco Fisheries Deal Will Moroccos Firm Position Alter ECJs Ruling

Rabat – When judges of the Luxembourg-based ECJ convened on 27 to deliver on the “legality” of EU-Morocco fisheries agreements, the overwhelming majority of European observers and legal experts were of the opinion that ECJ would not make the unwarranted step of meddling into political matters. But not only that: they also thought that ECJ judges would not, could not, possibly make a decision that would arouse the wrath of a strategic partner.However, on Tuesday this week, deaf to this sea of warnings, and in total disregard of the conclusions of a European Commission-sponsored study, ECJ judges ruled almost in favor of ECJ’s former Advisor General Wathelet Melchior’s early January ‘opinions’ that the EU-Morocco fisheries agreement, as it involves “waters adjacent to Western Sahara”, should be annulled.In its verdict, the ECJ said that the agreement “is valid in so far as it is not applicable to Western Sahara and adjacent waters.” Which, however intelligent a move to “distance” ECJ from Melchior’s call for annulling the deal, did echo the Belgian’s claim of territorial legitimacy, questioning Morocco’s rights over its southern provinces. This did not, however, alarm relevant Moroccan authorities who, right after ECJ’s ruling, announced that the Kingdom would reiterate its commitment to its EU partners, and that the ruling would in no manner whatsoever affect the strategic and longstanding partnership between Morocco and the E.U.“ECJ did not clearly mention a ban,” said Moroccan Minister of agriculture Azziz Akhannouch, later explaining that the two parties, Morocco and the EU, would maintain their relationships. Nasser Bourita, Moroccan minister of foreign affairs, made similar remarks in a recent interview. “Nothing in the ECJ ruling challenges the political legitimacy of Morocco to conclude agreements regarding the Moroccan Sahara with the EU,” he said, adding that the court had distanced itself from the opinions of its Advocate general who had called for the agreement to be annulled.So, days after ECJ’s obviously biased ruling, Moroccan officials had a different reading, as they chose to tenaciously commit themselves to a relationship which the other party’s highest judicial body was already questioning.No Sahara, No Deal?But after what we might now call a period of evaluation and hedging, like a student anxiously considering options of a multiple choice quiz before committing to one, Moroccan officials are now toughening their stance, they seem to have finally located the right option. They are now saying what observers had expected them to say right after the ruling: Morocco is not ready to commit to a partnership that does not respect its territorial integrity.At a government council on Thursday this week, Moroccan ministers, upon thoroughly evaluating the meaning and potential ramifications of renewing the fisheries deal under the condition that “it is not applicable to Western Sahara and its adjacent waters”, came to the conclusion that any renewed agreement that would not be applicable to Western Sahara is to be declined. In his summary of the government’s position, spokesperson Mustapha EL Khalifi said the government’s position is to only engage with deals and agreements that respect the country’s national integrity. He said that although Morocco is keen on its strategic partnership with the EU, it will allow no one to question or challenge its national borders. So: ‘No Sahara, no deal.’But what happened? Why now? And can this toughening of Morocco’s position affect subsequent rulings, hence forcing the EU to compromise on its court’s decision?To be sure, Morocco’s recent move was predictable enough , for anyone with an inch of knowledge of international affairs would know this fundamental truth: although alliances are not particularly binding, failing to satisfy a strategic partner does come with severe consequences. But more importantly, in international politics, “betrayals” have a steeper price when the other party has considerable bargaining power.And Morocco does have huge bargaining power vis-à-vis its European partners. On terrorism and immigration, for example, the kingdom has been a staunch and indefatigable ally, sharing intelligence and thwarting plans of terrorist attacks targeting European cities. As for the fisheries agreement in question in this particular case, the European Commission acknowledged that the agreement is “vitally important.” “For the EU, the need is to keep an instrument supporting in-depth cooperation with an important player in ocean governance”, said a study initiated by EU’s highest institutional body, concluding that: “For EU shipowners, there is still a need for fishing opportunities in the Morocco fishing zone. This need could even increase given Brexit.”In Brussels, before the ECJ’s unwarranted verdict on 27 February, the crushing majority of European MPs were forthcoming about how indispensable and crucial Morocco has been in helping Europe face many of its recent challenges. Morocco is not only an economic partner, they said. The Kingdom is, above all else, the EU’s most reliable option to “maintain stability and security” in EU’s southern borders and in large parts of the Mediterranean.“Given all these positive developments,” a member of the European parliament wrote prior to the ECJ’s verdict, “the strategic partnership between the EU and Morocco, which started as early as 1960, should not be undermined by certain lobbying groups, willing to use the existing legal void to act against the Union’s best interests.”But we’re long passed that. The verdict has been delivered. Which leaves the Kingdom with only one effective move: make it abundantly clear to the EU that alliances in international affairs are like personal relationships: betrayals have consequences.Now, that does not mean shutting the EU off or boycotting any prospects of return to normalcy (the old terms of the agreement). Rather, what it means is that Moroccan officials should—as they have already started—let the EU know that they have no intention of sitting at a biased negotiation table. Or, asI said in a recent piece, Morocco, however affected by any prospects of escalations of hostilities with the EU, can turn to other partners (China, for example) for the exploitation of its stupendous sea products. As for Europe, losing Morocco’s partnership, and at this particularly crisis-laden time, would be akin to self-immolation.This is no rocket science. In fact, it is an elementary principle of international relations. It is called reciprocity: “You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.” Moroccan officials should make sure that their EU counterparts understand that. read more

Electrolux closing Memphis plant reinvesting in Springfield

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Swedish appliance maker Electrolux says it is stopping production at its Memphis, Tennessee, factory while investing $250 million in a separate facility in the state.The Stockholm-based maker of Frigidaire products said Thursday that it is consolidating all U.S. cooking manufacturing into its facility in Springfield, Tennessee. The company said in March that it was putting its plant expansion in Springfield on hold, citing President Donald Trump’s tariff announcement as the reason.Springfield is about 30 miles (about 50 kilometres) north of Nashville.Electrolux said production at the Memphis facility is expected to continue through 2020. Buttressed by $150 million in tax incentives, the company opened its Memphis factory in 2014 with the goal of producing 600,000 ovens annually while employing 1,200 people. Job cuts have reduced that to 530.Adrian Sainz, The Associated Press read more