Well shut this darn country down

first_imgAPTN National NewsOntario First Nations believe the Conservative government is ignoring their voices on First Nations education and they are warning of a nation-wide shut-down unless things change.“If these Conservatives continue their racist, racist agenda, we are going to have a fight on our hands,” said Anishinabek Nation Grand Chief Patrick Mahdabee. “They are not going to beat us. We’ll shut this darn country down.”On Monday, Hwy. 17, which connects northern and southern Ontario, was shut down in a rally for education.APTN National News reporter Donna Smith has more.last_img read more

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If we have to start blocking roads

first_imgAPTN National NewsBritish Columbia chiefs are threatening blockades if the province doesn’t start to deal with outstanding title and rights issues.This after a recent B.C. Supreme Court ruling that stated First Nations were not property consulted when a ski resort was incorporated as a village.Calling it an injustice, chiefs in the area now demand the province stop ignoring their concerns and sit down and negotiate.APTN National News reporter Rob Smith has this potentially explosive story.last_img read more

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Tootoo new Nunavut Speaker

first_imgAPTN National NewsThe Nunavut Legislative Assembly is back in session and the first order of business was choosing a new Speaker.Former Premier Paul Okalik held the role, but he resigned to run in the federal election.MLAs elected Iqaluit MLA Hunter Tootoo to the Speaker’s job.Tootoo is the only member remaining in the House who was there when Nunavut elected their first Legislative Assembly in 1999.Most recently he was Nunavut’s education minister.last_img

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Quebec vigil honours memories of 3 women murdered in Winnipeg

first_imgAPTN National NewsA vigil was held in Gatineau, Que., in honour of the memories of the three women who Winnipeg police say were allegedly murdered by a serial killer.APTN National News reporter Annette Francis was there.last_img

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Tensions escalating in northern New Brunswick as antifracking protest continues

first_img(YouTube video shows recent RCMP arrest of First Nations man as he drums on Hwy 126)Tim Fontaine and Jorge Barrera APTN National News ELSIPOGTOG FIRST NATION — Unspecified “industrial equipment” was torched early Tuesday morning near the area of an ongoing anti-fracking protest in northern New Brunswick, says the RCMP, as tensions continue to rise as a result of ongoing police action against demonstrators there.An RCMP spokeswoman said Tuesday afternoon that a “large piece of industrial equipment” was destroyed by fire in the early morning hours in an area near Bass River, NB.The scene of the fire sits several kilometres from the site of an ongoing protest against fracking led by people from the Mi’kmaq community of Elsipogtog.Over 30 people have been arrested, including elders and youth. Protestors have dug in to stop shale gas exploration work.  Extracting operations would likely result in the use of hydraulic-fracturing, or fracking. The exploration work is being handled by SWN Resources Canada.A controversial process, fracking involves injecting water, sand and chemicals into the ground to crack shale rock formations and draw trapped natural gas out. Opponents say this process can poison the water table.Cpl. Chantal Farrah wouldn’t say what kind of equipment was burned or who owned it, saying only that it belonged to a company “that has been doing work in the area.”Farrah said investigators have no suspects and wouldn’t say whether there was any link between the arson and ongoing protests in the area.“I can’t tie that together,” said Farrah, who is based in Fredericton, the provincial capital which sits about 165 kilometres southwest of Elsipogtog. “We had various types of activity in that area.”Farrah said before the equipment was torched RCMP officers were called to intervene when about 50 people surrounded security personnel working for the unspecified company. Farrah said two trucks belonging to the security personnel were taken to the RCMP station in Elsipogtog.Protestors claimed they had seized equipment from the site including parts for drills and explosives used in seismic testing and turned it over the RCMP.Farrah said the police force did not receive any of the equipment and investigators were not aware anything had been taken.“Nothing like that was turned over,” she said.At the protest camp, which is along Hwy 126, the atmosphere remained calm. A sacred fire continues to burn and supporters from across the country have begun to migrate to the area which has become a focal point for the stirring “Sovereignty Summer” movement headed by Idle No More and Defenders of the Land. The alliance issued a national call out Monday to support the ongoing protest.The Kahnawake Warrior Society said it was monitoring the situation and in contact with people at the protest.Katrina Clair, 26, from Elsipogtog First Nation, said there are no plans to end the protest until the exploration work stops.“No negotiations, nothing, no is no and that’s it,” said Clair.The mood, however, appears to be shifting as a result of continued RCMP actions against the protestors which included the arrests of women, elders and youth.On Sunday, RCMP officers were pelted with beer bottles after arriving at a large outdoor party in Elsipogtog which was attended by about 100 people. One officer was taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries and the cruiser was vandalized.Sgt. Dustin Ward, who has been based in the community for about a year, wouldn’t say whether the incident was connected to RCMP actions against the protestors, allowing only that the investigation would determine the link.“I am sure there are people that are upset at the situation, but for us we are still going to calls and going about our business,” said Ward.Ward said the detachment had no suspects connected to the incident.While the protest has the support of the Elsiopogtog chief and council, senior First Nations leadership in the province condemned the continued action.The Assembly of First Nations Chiefs in New Brunswick said economic development is urgently needed and accused the anti-fracking protestors of wanting to keep the Indigenous people in the area in poverty.“We cannot agree with those who want to keep our people in poverty,” said a statement from the organization issued last week. “Or those from outside our communities who do not have to live with the consequences of their rhetoric.”The statement under the title, NB Chiefs Take Strong Stand on Natural Resource Development in New Brunswick, called on the provincial government and industry to negotiate a deal with First Nations.Darcy Gray, chief councillor for Listuguj First Nation, a Mi’kmaq community about 273 kilometres west of Elsiopogtog on the NB-Quebec border, said the position of the AFNCNB was disappointing.“It is horrible, it sends a mixed message when we as First Nations people say we protect the environment above all else, but then you have the First Nations chiefs in New Brunswick saying we want a cut,” said Gray. “It’s just horrible. To say it’s a strong statement is just ridiculous.”Gray said the stakes are high in the battle over fracking in New Brunswick.“From our point of view in Listuguj this is ground zero for this fight between environment versus industry,” he said. “If they break it now, if they get the go-ahead for shale gas at this stage of the game and the chiefs don’t step up and do what’s right for mother earth, we’re all next. It’s just a matter of time.”@anishinaboytfontaine@aptn.cajbarrera@aptn.ca@JorgeBarreralast_img read more

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Winnipeg police charge man in connection with 3 murders

first_img(Jonathan Paul Ostamas charged in connection with three killings. Facebook)APTN National News WINNIPEG—Winnipeg police have charged a self-proclaimed gangster with killing two men over the weekend and a third man in April, APTN National News has learned.Jonathan Paul Ostamas was charged with two counts of first degree murder and one count of second degree murder.  The charges were confirmed by Ostamas’ lawyer, Greg Brodsky.Police formally charged Ostmas at 10:45 a.m. Tuesday.The Winnipeg police service is expected to make the official announcement of the charges at a press conference scheduled for 1 p.m. local time.Winnipeg used footage from several downtown surveillance cameras to track the suspect linked to the murders of two men whose bodies were found across the street from each other Saturday.The body of Donald Collins, 65, was found at about 12:45 a.m. Saturday. The body of Stony Stanley Bushie, 48, was found at about 6 p.m. the same day.Police have also charged Ostamas in relation to the April 10 killing of Myles Monias who was beaten to death at a bus shelter.According to Ostamas’ Facebook page, he describes himself as a gangster. He also claims to have lived in the U.S.Winnipeg police previously released images of the suspect that were captured by a surveillance camera from the Quest Inn downtown hotel.Investigators used surveillance footage from several other cameras to track the suspect’s movements through the downtown area as he passed behind homeless shelters and other downtown hotels.Surveillance cameras mounted on the outside of the APTN building in downtown Winnipeg captured the final moments of Bushie’s life who was killed shortly after 9:14 p.m. Friday.The surveillance video shows a man leading Bushie around a construction zone before dragging him to the ground and beating him with a blunt object.The video shows a man, dressed in a dark-coloured, long-sleeve top and carrying a backpack, dragging Bushie’s limp body to the place where it was later found. Bushie’s body was found 21 hours later by a security guard doing his Saturday evening rounds. The body was found behind a small trailer surrounded by a red pylon, a plank of particle board and a pile of pipes.news@aptn.ca@APTNNewslast_img read more

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Quebec First Nation waiting to see if feds appeal specific claims ruling

first_imgTom Fennario APTN National NewsA Specific Claims Tribunal in Quebec has ruled in favour of a First Nation.The Atikamekw of Opitciwan scored the win of the federal government Wednesday.People are already talking about how the money could go a long way to fixing what ails the community.But first they have to wait and see if Canada decides to appeal the ruling.last_img

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Northern Ontario doctors rebel over Health Canada rules that breach First Nation

first_imgEditors Note: Late Friday afternoon, Health Canada sent this response to the physicians letters. Health Canada has received two letters from physicians working in the Sioux Lookout Region of Ontario and will be formally responding. Health Canada has been working throughout the summer in consultation with the Sioux Lookout Zone Physician’s Working Group to address the privacy issues related to requirements for medical transportation under the Non-Insured Health Benefits (NIHB) program. We will continue to consult the Sioux Lookout Zone Physician’s Working Group on doctor-patient issues moving forward.APTN National NewsDoctors providing medical services to First Nations patients in the Sioux Lookout region of Ontario are rebelling against Health Canada over requirements that force them to breach patient-doctor confidentiality.Twenty-two doctors from the region signed a letter sent Sept. 30 to federal Health Minister Jane Philpott advising they would no longer be following the First Nation and Inuit Non-Insured Health Benefit (NIHB) program forms for patient travel support beginning Tuesday.The doctors say the forms require doctors to provide confidential medical information that violates a patient’s privacy.Download (PDF, 45KB)“On the current NIHB form, there is a field titled ‘reasons for appointment.’ It requires a physician to provide his or her medical diagnosis of the patient requiring funds for travel, either for their own or escort,” said the letter. “If such a diagnosis is not provided then the patient may be denied funds for travel for medically necessary treatment. This is a denial of access to medically necessary care. However, when a physician provides this diagnosis, we are potentially breaching patient-client confidentiality.”The letter notes that a comparable program run by the Ontario Ministry of Health does not require that level of personal medical detail.“The contrast between Health Canada’s required information and the (Ontario Ministry of Health), particularly that pertaining to travel escorts, is significant,” said the letter. “Medical necessity is a judgement made by a physician and their professional opinion should suffice as evidence of the need for both patient travel and the need for an escort.”The First Nations and Inuit Health Branch is a program within Health Canada that is responsible for paying medical expenses for First Nation and Inuit people.The program has come under severe criticism from physicians across the country for being too restrictive and bureaucratic. Medications are under the program are often denied in favour of less costly drugs, dental procedures are turned down and doctors complain that bureaucrats are making the final call on treatment when it should be the patient.A separate letter sent to Philpott, also signed by same the doctors from Sioux Lookout region, which sits 400 kilometres northwest of Thunder Bay, outlines a number of additional concerns on privacy and the delays in getting First Nation and Inuit patients the care they need.Dr. Michael Kirlew and 21 other physicians from Sioux Lookout, Ontario signed two letters to Health Canada Minister Jane Philpott.“The current process fetters access to medication as it is unduly lengthy and creates unnecessary delay in obtaining patient approval for medication,” said the letter, which was also sent Sept. 30. “The result is avoidable suffering for First Nations and Inuit people.”The letter outlines the differences on how medications are dispensed at FNIB and the provinces including Ontario.“The NIHB approval process for medications is significantly different from that of the Ontario Drug Benefit Program (ODBP). In order for a patient to get medication through the ODBP, only a three number code at the top of the prescription is required. This allows patients to receive their medication the same day. The current process through NIHB forms requires additional detailed patient information in order to approve exactly the same medication. Both the time for a physician to complete this extra paperwork and the time required to process the form is what creates a delay to receiving care.”The physicians also call out the government for not doing enough to protect the privacy of First Nation and Inuit patients. While Ontario has the Personal Health Information Protection Act, there is no federal equivalent.Download (PDF, 53KB)“The federal act does not specifically address health care and thus does not guarantee the same level of patient privacy protection as PHIPA or other similar provincial legislation,” said the letter. “It does not clearly protect the health or medical privacy of First Nations, Inuit and Métis clients and they suffer inferior protection of these privacy interests in comparison to the rest of the population.”The letter ends with a warning to Philpott that the system must change.“The current system provides care that is demonstrably inferior to that provided to non-Indigenous populations by the Ontario provincial health care system. Health Canada is obligated to support First Nations communities in receiving equitable health services and benefits and are responsive to their needs. The current method of drug approval needs to change immediately as it puts patient lives and health at risk.”Dr. Michael Kirlew, one of the authors of the letters, went before the Commons Indigenous Affairs committee in April and delivered a passionate speech about the problems with the program including the lack of physician-patient confidentiality and delays in getting patients care.Health Canada did not provide a comment when the story was posted.news@aptn.calast_img read more

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Meet Gina Wilson the most senior First Nations woman in federal government

first_imgAnnette Francis APTN National NewsAn Algonquin woman from Kitigan Zibi First Nation is being celebrated for her work in the public sector.For those that know her, she’s a role model and high achiever.afrancis@aptn.calast_img

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Keystone XL setback will cost Canadian industry millions says association

first_imgAn American judge has dealt a major blow to another Canadian pipeline project.The Canadian PressThe Canadian oil industry reacted with frustration and bitterness Friday after a U.S. judge ordered a halt to the Keystone XL pipeline project until it passes further environmental review.The decision on Thursday means longer delays in finding a way to drain a glut of oil in Western Canada that has driven price discounts to multi-year highs and stalled investment, said Tim McMillan, CEO of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.“It’s a vulnerability that we can’t control and will cost us hundreds of millions if not billions of dollars as a nation and thousands of jobs,” he said Friday.“And the only reason it does have such a massive impact on us is self-inflicted wounds here at home on projects that could have given us resilience against this sort of ruling.”U.S. District Judge Brian Morris found Thursday that the potential impact of TransCanada Corp.’s $10-billion pipeline had not been considered as required by federal law. Environmentalists and Native American groups had sued to stop the project, citing property rights and potential oil spills.The judge, who was appointed by former president Barack Obama, issued a federal court order blocking a Trump administration permit for construction of the pipeline.TransCanada remains committed to the project, spokesman Terry Cunha wrote in a brief email on Friday, adding the company has received the judge’s ruling and is reviewing it.The Calgary-based pipeline company’s shares fell by as much as 2.75 per cent in early trading but recovered to $51.49, down 1.4 per cent, by 3 p.m. EDT on the Toronto Stock Exchange.Last January, TransCanada said it had secured shipping commitments of roughly 500,000 barrels per day on the line, including a deal with the Alberta government to ship 50,000 bpd of provincially owned crude.“This ruling by a foreign court underscores once again the urgent need for Canada to build pipelines within our own borders, including the Trans Mountain expansion,” said Alberta Energy Minister Marg McCuaig-Boyd in Edmonton.“Today’s differential tells the story. We’re giving away our resources cheap.”The federal government bought Trans Mountain and its expansion project for $4.5 billion last summer only to have the Federal Court of Appeal strike down its National Energy Board approval, citing inadequate Indigenous consultation and failure to consider impacts on marine environment.Ottawa decided not the appeal the ruling and is instead working to address issues identified by the court.Vanessa Adam, a spokeswoman for Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi, said the Liberal government is “disappointed” by the Montana court’s decision because Keystone XL is needed for jobs in Canada and successful energy exports.Other Keystone XL shippers include major Calgary-based oilsands producers Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., Suncor Energy Inc. and Cenovus Energy Inc.The setback in the United States is a “wake-up call” that shows how important it is for Canada to build pipelines like Trans Mountain that take oil to tidewater, said Chris Bloomer, CEO of the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association.The shortage of export pipeline space as oilsands production grows in Alberta has been blamed for the recent widening of the difference between Western Canadian Select bitumen blend and New York-traded West Texas Intermediate to as much as US$52 per barrel, more than three times the typical discount.Analysts say as much as 110,000 barrels a day of crude oil is currently being left in the ground in Western Canada rather than being produced and sold at unprofitable prices. Oil storage levels are at record highs.“This is the world’s longest tug of war, with western Canadian oil prices as the rope,” said Zachary Rogers, a refining and oil markets research analyst at Wood Mackenzie.The judge’s ruling doesn’t kill the Keystone XL project, he said in a report, adding he expects the fight to continue in the courts or lead to an additional U.S. State Department review followed by President Donald Trump approving the line again.An appeal of the U.S. court decision might allow TransCanada to stay on schedule with Keystone XL but it’s more likely that the appeal will fail, said Fred Jauss, an American partner at the international law firm Dorsey & Whitney, noting the appeal court’s rocky relationship with Trump directives.In that case, he said, the State Department will have to provide a new environmental review, likely delaying the project by several months and making its expected construction start next spring unlikely.The 1,897-kilometre pipeline would carry as much as 830,000 barrels of crude per day from Hardisty, Alta., to Steel City, Neb., where it would be sent on through a half dozen states to refineries on the Gulf Coast.Becky Mitchell, chairwoman of the Northern Plains Resource Council, a plaintiff in the Montana legal action against Keystone XL, said her environmental organization is thrilled with the ruling.The company and opponents of the project have been in a decade-long dispute that has involved standoffs between protesters and law enforcement.In 2008, the State Department issued a presidential permit for the pipeline and TransCanada filed paperwork to expand the project. After years of legal wrangling, Obama rejected the permit in 2015.The company responded by seeking $15 billion in damages, an action it withdrew when a newly elected Trump signalled he would approve the project in February 2017.-With files from The Associated Presslast_img read more

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Ontario ministry searches Volkswagen offices in emissions scandal investigation

first_imgThe federal government should be moving ahead with action against Volkswagen in the wake of news that Ontario has charged the company and carried out a raid on its headquarters, according to an environmental organization.On Tuesday, provincial authorities executed a search warrant at Volkswagen Canada offices in the Toronto area as part of its investigation into the emissions scandal that rocked the company two years ago.The Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change said Wednesday it had charged Volkswagen AG with one count under the province’s Environmental Protection Act last week, alleging the German company did not comply with Ontario emission standards. The allegations have not been proven in court.“It’s good news, finally. Now if we could just get Environment Canada to act on behalf of the country, that would be a great thing,” said Tim Gray, executive director of Environmental Defence.He said the federal government has broader powers than the province and can impose higher fines on offenders that could be used to protect against pollution and accelerate the transition to electric vehicles.His organization and the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment filed suit over the summer to try to force Environment Minister Catherine McKenna to move forward on enforcing Canadian pollution laws allegedly broken by Volkswagen. A statement from McKenna at the time said her department is investigating and will act if necessary.Environment and Climate Change Canada said Wednesday that the federal government and the government of Ontario are investigating Volkswagen under different laws and for different potential crimes.“Consequently the evidence needed and the burden of proof will be different and each case will take its own timeframe to resolve,” said spokeswoman Amelie Desmarais.“ECCC’s investigation is proceeding in a comprehensive and methodical manner. This is a complex case involving both domestic and foreign organizations, and a number of alleged offences under CEPA…. It is not uncommon for cases of this magnitude and complexity to take this long through the investigation phase.”The Ontario government said the search warrant was part of its continuing investigation.“Yesterday, MOECC executed a search warrant at the company’s Ajax facility. Under the charge, Volkswagen is alleged to have caused or permitted the operation of vehicles that did not comply with emission standards prescribed by Ontario regulations,” said Environment Minister Chris Ballard in a statement.“If the allegations are proven in court, penalties for the offence will be determined following a sentencing hearing.”He added Volkswagen owners, dealers, service managers and technicians are not the focus of the investigation.A spokeswoman for the Ontario Ministry of Finance said it provided forensic data recovery assistance to support MOECC investigators during the execution of the search warrant.The company, meanwhile, said in a brief statement it is co-operating with the Ontario government and it would not be “appropriate” to comment further.Earlier this year, Quebec and Ontario courts approved a settlement agreement with members of a Canadian class-action lawsuit who bought or leased certain Volkswagen or Audi vehicles with diesel engines caught up in the emissions cheating scandal.It has been more than a year since Volkswagen agreed to pay more than $20 billion to settle criminal charges and civil claims related to the company’s sale of nearly 600,000 cars with “defeat devices” designed to beat U.S. emissions tests.Volkswagen pleaded guilty in the U.S. after software was found in certain diesel vehicles that made it appear as though the cars were producing fewer emissions than they really were.In fact, under normal conditions, the cars emitted 35 times Canada’s legal limit on nitrogen oxides, which have adverse effects on human health and contribute to climate change.About 105,000 of the rigged vehicles were sold in Canada and Volkswagen has a court-certified settlement program underway to buy back the cars and compensate Canadians who owned or leased them.Tony Faria, an auto industry analyst at the University of Windsor, said it’s not surprising that Ontario is laying charges two years after the scandal erupted.“Officials everywhere, not just in Canada but in the U.S., Germany, many other countries where many Volkswagen vehicles had been sold, they’re all still looking into it and at this stage Volkswagen still isn’t finished by a long shot with all of the court cases they have to face,” he said.He said the scandal has affected the entire market, noting Germany and France have announced plans to phase out diesel engines over the next 20 years.last_img read more

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Pipelines not carbon taxes bigger factor in energy competitiveness report

first_imgOTTAWA – Canada’s oil and gas producers are struggling to stay competitive with their U.S. counterparts because of the struggle to expand pipeline capacity, says a new report from the C.D. Howe Institute.The analysis by associate director of research Benjamin Dachis is the first in what he says will become an annual comparison of Canada’s oil and gas sector with its North American equivalents.The report comes just days before the federal government is expected to unveil how it plans to overhaul the environmental and regulatory review process for major energy projects.Industry expects that overhaul to be the make-or-break plan for future pipeline projects, and Dachis says the lack of pipelines to transport oil and gas to market remains the biggest factor affecting the industry’s competitiveness with the U.S.“If Canadian governments allowed pipelines to be built expeditiously, the competitiveness of western Canadian oil producers would be greatly improved,” he wrote.While carbon taxes are getting the lion’s share of political and public attention, they’re having little negative effect, Dachis said — and indeed, if they are well-designed, can actually create an incentive to cut emissions without affecting competitiveness.A lack of pipeline capacity for getting product to market, on the other hand, has a significant impact, Dachis said, with estimates that the bottleneck cuts about $5 off the profits of every barrel of oil produced in an average western Canadian well.The analysis looks only at conventional oil and gas wells and not the oilsands, the economics of which are far different and don’t compare to conventional oil wells in the U.S., he said.“This is where a lot of emerging oil and gas investment is going,” said Dachis. “It’s where the magic is happening.”Canada has watched several pipeline projects evaporate in the last year, including TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline between Alberta and the east coast, the Mackenzie Valley gas pipeline from the Beaufort Sea, and the Northwest LNG project in B.C.Proponents in all three cases cited regulatory holdups as one of the reasons for the demise of the projects, although regulation was only one factor.“The regulatory process sure didn’t help, but at the end of the day, market forces probably made the decision,” Dachis said.The plummeting price of natural gas made new pipelines less economical. In the case of Energy East, the arguments for it became less forceful when the U.S. revived the once-moribund Keystone XL pipeline.Dachis said Keystone, the Trans Mountain expansion between Alberta and B.C. and the Enbridge Line 3 replacement comprise a lot of new capacity that would make the argument for Energy East tougher to make.Trans Mountain’s expansion, which would triple the capacity of the oil pipeline, is in question again after the B.C. government proposed new limits on shipments of bitumen through the province.The regulations could block the expansion altogether. The B.C. government opposes it, but Alberta Premier Rachel Notley has said she will sue B.C. over the regulations. Notley said B.C. is overstepping its authority and that the regulation will hurt the Canadian economy.Federal Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr restated his government’s support for the project earlier this week. The Liberal government approved the project in 2016.The federal Liberals have spent the last two years consulting on how to overhaul the regulatory and environmental reviews for major energy projects, arguing the process needed to be more transparent and more fair.Legislation is anticipated next week on the matter.— follow @mrabson on Twitterlast_img read more

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Spin Master Corp buying stuffed toy brand Gund for US791 million

first_imgTORONTO – Spin Master Corp., the company behind hit children’s TV show Paw Patrol, has signed a deal to buy the Gund stuffed toy brand for US$79.1 million or roughly C$102.5 million.The Toronto-based company said Monday it is acquiring Gund from Enesco, LLC, a portfolio company of private equity firm Balmoral Funds.Spin Master said the 120-year-old Gund brand will help diversify its product line and open up opportunities for broader distribution.“Gund’s iconic portfolio of toys has won the hearts — and hugs — of children around the world for more than a century,” Spin Master co-chief executive Anton Rabie said in a statement.“We are thrilled to welcome Gund former owner and industry veteran, Bruce Raiffe, into the Spin Master family as our values closely align. We are focused on preserving Gund’s excellent reputation rooted in quality product and cherished memories that last a lifetime.”In addition to Paw Patrol, the company’s brands also include Hatchimals, Bakugan and Air Hogs.The Gund acquisition is the company’s ninth since its initial public offering in 2015.The company said it would use its internally generated cash resources and its credit facility to pay for the deal.It is expected to close on April 1.Companies in this story: (TSX:TOY)last_img read more

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CSA calls for better disclosure more transparency from real estate issuers

first_imgTORONTO – A national body representing provincial securities regulators is calling for more transparency from real estate industry issuers after a review found that the quality of disclosures related to financial measures and distributions “needs improvement.”The Canadian Securities Administrators say in a staff notice published Thursday that they came to this conclusion after a recent review of real estate investment trusts and real estate operating companies.Both types of real estate industry issuers pay out the majority of their income in the form of distributions to unitholders or shareholders.The CSA said the review found that REITs and REOCs — both of which invest in real estate and whose shares trade on a public exchange — reviewed provided adequate disclosure, except for when “excess distributions” were made.In these cases, in which distributions during a period exceed cash flows from operating activities, many real estate issuers did not disclose the source of cash used to fund that excess.As well, the CSA’s review found a “lack of transparency” about the various adjustments made when calculating certain financial measures to explain their operating performance and/or cash flows.last_img read more

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Aimia shares surge after it announced Aeroplan program changes in 2020

first_imgMONTREAL – Aeroplan’s parent company saw its share price surge more than eight per cent Friday for its biggest boost since announcing a change in CEO in April after it unveiled plans for the loyalty program once its exclusive partnership with Air Canada ends in 2020.Aimia Inc. shares closed up 19 cents or 8.3 per cent to $2.49 in Friday trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.Disgruntled shareholders caused the Montreal-based company’s shares to plummet 62 per cent in May 2017 after Air Canada announced that it would not renew its 30-year partnership with Aeroplan and was launching its own loyalty program in two years.Aimia announced Thursday evening that it plans to offer charter flights to its most popular destinations as it expands the program to broader travel rewards, including hotels, cars and entertainment.The company’s share price will build over time, CEO Jeremy Rabe told The Canadian Press in his first media interview since taking the helm.“The first thing that I wanted to do was make sure that members knew that starting in July of 2020 we were going to have an incredible loyalty program,” he said in an interview.“That was job No. 1 and I think with this announcement we’re going to provide a lot more assurances to our members in that regard.”The first test will come on Aug. 3 when it discloses its second-quarter results.Aeroplan’s five million members will be able to buy seats on any airline, any time, to any destination instead of being limited to Canada’s largest airline and its Star Alliance partners.The loyalty program’s large member base and significant purchasing volumes should allow it to use bulk purchasing and preferred airline partner relationships to allow it to secure discounts of five to 40 per cent, it says.Aeroplan is working to sign up preferred airline partners and is also introducing several new program features that will create a more flexible program and a better member experience.Starting in September, Aeroplan will introduce a new online travel booking tool that will initially enable members to earn miles when they rent a car or book a hotel using cash.Within two years, miles alone or in combination with cash will be redeemable for a variety of travel, leisure and entertainment experiences, including concerts, spas and private jets.Additional digital tools, backed by the use of artificial intelligence and machine learning, will enhance the experience by anticipating member preferences based on their travel history, Rabe said.Aeroplan plans to offer redemptions starting at the same mileage levels for about 95 per cent of its flight redemptions. That answers one of the biggest questions he’s heard from members about how Aeroplan will look after 2020, Rabe said.It is also introducing a points transfer program in 2020 that will allow members to convert Aeroplan Miles to the loyalty programs of nearly 20 airlines covering several alliances, giving them wider access to flights and hotels.Drew McReynolds of RBC Capital Markets called the details “directionally positive.”“Having said this, we believe it is still early days to be able to accurately gauge the extent to which the new Aeroplan program will resonate with members in an increasingly crowded loyalty sector in Canada, as well as the ultimate economics for Aeroplan under the new program,” he wrote in a report.Aimia is on the right track and investors should be more positive on the company’s future viability, added Neil Linsdell of Industrial Alliance Securities.last_img read more

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North American stock markets rebound Dow surges 158 loonie slips lower

first_imgTORONTO – Canada’s main stock index recovered some of the steep losses from a day earlier as investors saw tensions easing on the trade front Thursday.Markets and commodities rallied on news that the U.S. and China would hold talks in late August, the first since both countries imposed $34 billion in tariffs on each other in June.The news was seen as potential progress on trade disputes, but optimism on the meeting looks to be overblown, said Kash Pashootan, CEO and chief investment officer at First Avenue Investment Counsel Inc.“Obviously the market views that as a positive, but you have to ask yourself, is the U.S., at this point, looking to change their approach? Are they looking to all of the sudden be accommodative and co-operative with other countries?”He said markets remain surprisingly enthusiastic and optimistic given that we are in the middle of a trade war that’s only being addressed with token measures.“We’re getting band-aid solutions following threats and tariffs that are imposed, which so far are enough for the markets to shrug off the longer-term implications of a trade war.”Optimism on the trade talks helped push the S&P/TSX composite index 77.15 points to close at 16,225.65 in broad gains including base metals, financials and energy sectors after the index fell 182.17 points Wednesday. The index hit an intraday high of 16,287.7 and had 199.69 million shares traded.Base metal miners rose as the September copper contract closed up six cents at US$2.62 a pound to recover half of its losses from Wednesday.Gold miners, however, slipped further as the metal remained under pressure, falling another dollar to US$1,184 an ounce for the December gold contract after steep falls in recent days.Commodities including base metals and crude had fallen in recent days as investors worried a currency crisis in Turkey, signs of slowing growth in China, and spreading trade disputes could destabilize emerging market growth.Pashootan said the threat remains if the push towards more open trade is disrupted because of the tariff disputes.“If there is a dismantling of this approach, we’re going to ultimately dismantle what’s taken decades to put together, which is really a global structure of free trade and the ability to co-operate.”In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average closed up 396.32 points, or 1.58 per cent, at 25,558.73. The S&P 500 index ended up 22.32 points at 2,840.69, while the Nasdaq composite closed up 32.41 points at 7,806.52. A big earnings beat from Walmart helped boost the market.The Canadian dollar averaged 76.03 cents US, down 0.09 of a U.S. cent. Statistics Canada said Thursday that manufacturing sales were up 1.1 per cent to $58.1 billion in June, higher than the 0.9 per cent expected by economists, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.The September crude contract closed up 45 cents at US$65.46 per barrel and the September natural gas contract closed down three cents at US$2.91 per mmBTU.last_img read more

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Mayor of Oshawa Ont hopes report of GM closure is just a

first_imgOSHAWA, Ont. — The mayor of Oshawa, Ont., says he hopes reports of the pending closure of a General Motors plant in the city are “just a rumour.”CTV News reports that General Motors Canada plans to close its manufacturing plant in Oshawa, affecting thousands of jobs.Mayor John Henry says he has seen the published reports but hasn’t heard from the company — which is the city’s main employer.A spokeswoman for GM Canada said the company had no news to share Sunday night and would not comment on speculation.According to the company’s website, the Oshawa Assembly Plant employs 2,522 workers with Unifor Local 222.Henry says the economic impact of a closure would extend well beyond the plant itself.Jennifer French, who represents the city in the provincial legislature, says she finds the report of the plant closure “gravely concerning.”“If GM Canada is indeed turning its back on 100 years of industry and community — abandoning workers and families in Oshawa — then this is a callous decision that must be fought,” she said in a statement. The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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Retail group says holiday season off to a strong start

first_imgNEW YORK — The largest U.S. retail trade group says the holiday shopping season has gotten off to a “very strong” start.The National Retail Federation says consumer spending has been strong, fueled by a better economy and stores’ investments in online services.The trade group’s assessment comes even after a survey of more than 3,000 shoppers Thanksgiving and Friday forecast that fewer people would turn out for the five-day weekend that ended Monday compared to a year ago. It attributed the drop to stores spreading out their deals beyond the Black Friday weekend.The group now says it expects sales for November and December will be at the high end of its earlier forecast of a 4.3 to 4.8 per cent rise. That would be below last year’s 5.3 per cent increase.Anne D’Innocenzio, The Associated Presslast_img read more

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Obama health law signups beat forecast despite headwinds

first_imgWASHINGTON — The government says sign-ups for Affordable Care Act coverage next year are better than expected, with 8.5 million enrolled.That’s despite low expectations and a recent court ruling that “Obamacare” is unconstitutional.Wednesday’s numbers from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are not final, so the count will go higher.At this point enrolment is about 4 per cent less than at the same time last year. Earlier progress reports had pointed to a potential decline of more than 10 per cent.Not included are about a dozen states running their own enrolment campaigns, plus people who signed up close to last Saturday’s deadline, or left phone numbers for a callback.On Friday, a federal judge in Texas declared the whole law unconstitutional. The law’s supporters plan to appeal.Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, The Associated Presslast_img read more

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Catalent to expand Wisconsin biomanufacturing operation

first_imgMADISON, Wis. — A biotechnology company plans to add more than 100 new jobs at its facility in southern Wisconsin.The Wisconsin State Journal reports that New Jersey-based Catalent announced on Monday a nearly $100 million investment to expand Catalent Biologics Madison over the next three years. The company develops and manufactures pharmaceutical products made from living cells instead of chemicals at the Madison facility.Catalent announced a similar investment this week at its facility in Bloomington, Indiana.It will be the second expansion of operations at Catalent Biologics Madison in about two years.Catalent Biologics spokesman Bernie Clark says the latest project will build a 60,000-square-foot (5,570-square-meter) addition at the Madison site. It’s expected to be complete by 2021.Clark says the site is already hiring for dozens of open positions.___Information from: Wisconsin State Journal, http://www.madison.com/wsjThe Associated Presslast_img read more

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