November 20, 2017

Keystone XLThe Nebraska Public Service Commission today rejected TransCanada's preferred route for the Keystone XL pipeline in a vote five to zero.

Instead, they granted a conditional approval along a different, new route the company had previously claimed would be unworkable. As reported by the Sierra Club, it would allow the pipeline to be partly built along an existing Keystone 1 route, rather than entirely along its preferred route.

The approved route still crosses the Ogallala aquifer and Treaty lands.

This raises new questions and hurdles for the fraught project. For example, there are landowners along the new route that have yet to be approached or consulted about the the project. This creates new opportunities for further challenging the project, including through legal means.

November 20, 2017

The fifth round of NAFTA talks are happening now (Nov. 18-22) in Mexico City.

On November 18, Reuters reported, "Officials [from Canada, the United States and Mexico] have so far discussed other issues such as labor, gender, intellectual property, energy and telecommunications but it is too soon to say whether there will be any breakthroughs this round, added a source familiar with the talks."

iPolitics adds, "The Trump administration on Friday [Nov. 18] issued revised NAFTA negotiating objectives, largely to reflect demands that it has already made in the talks. These include new language in line with proposals to radically change dispute settlement systems, eliminate Canadian dairy tariffs and allow U.S. protections for seasonal produce growers hurt by Mexican imports."

November 19, 2017

Westshore Terminals is Canada's largest exporter of coal - and is the most active single export coal terminal in all of North America. It is located at Roberts Bank in Delta, BC.

The Trudeau government has pledged to phase out coal-fired electricity by 2030, but has no plans to ban millions of tonnes of Canadian-mined coal exports, U.S.-mined coal exports out of British Columbia, remove the 'investment protection' provision in NAFTA (that would likely prevent such bans), nor call on the Canada Pension Plan to end its $2 billion bid for Rio Tinto coal assets in Australia.

CTV reports, "While rebuking U.S. President Donald Trump's push to revive the coal power industry, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said the federal government has no plans to shutter Canada's coal exports. ...McKenna -- fresh off her trip to COP23 where she focused her attention on extolling the virtues of decommissioning coal -- said Canada has no plans to ban coal exports to the U.S."

November 19, 2017

The Council of Canadians Hamilton chapter supports an important piece of legislation titled Bill 6, the Ministry of Community and Social Services Amendment Act (Social Assistance Research Commission), 2016.

The NDP Member of the Provincial Parliament for Hamilton East-Stoney Creek, Paul Miller, has put forward Bill 6 which calls on the provincial government to create a standing commission that would annually look at the cost of living in various regions of Ontario in order to inform social assistance rates. The bill also calls on the government to address precarious work and the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board.

November 18, 2017

The Trudeau government appears to be on the verge of beginning 'free trade' talks with the Chinese government.

The National Post reports, "Justin Trudeau is expected to announce he is heading to Beijing early next month to launch free trade talks with China. The trip has not been finalized but diplomatic sources suggest he will head east in the first week of December."

This is in keeping with what we have previously read.

On September 6, the National Post reported, "According to a Canadian government official familiar with the matter, formal exploratory talks with China wrapped up in July. Officials are crunching numbers and are expected provide analysis to trade minister François-Philippe Champagne before the end of the month. Cabinet could be discussing a decision by October, and Champagne could be on his way to China in December if there’s a green light, the official said. Experts concur talks would likely take multiple years to complete, probably past the next federal election in October 2019."