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Mohawk tobacco firm battling provinces goes all in

first_img(photo on main page: Bradley Thomas, 20, works the cigaratte packing machine while Rainbow Tobacco president Robbie Dickson looks on. APTN/Photo)By Jorge BarreraAPTN National NewsRobbie Dickson holds a cigarette and points to a gap between the paper and the white filter.This one is no good, he says, the tobacco smoke escapes before it reaches the mouth, lungs. The full nicotine hit, diminished.“The filter paper didn’t seal properly, so it won’t give you a very good smoke,” said Dickson, president of Rainbow Tobacco. “The air will be leaking out of the filter and not going to the smoker.”Dickson, 37, fished the cigarette from a bin of discarded Deerfield smokes, the brand his company produces with the slogan, “Taste without compromise.”Rainbow is currently the only federally licensed cigarette manufacturer in Kahnawake, a Mohawk community near Montreal that has thrived off the tobacco trade.The company is in the midst of a potentially precedent setting legal battle with three Western provinces and the outcome could not only have a major impact on inter-provincial trade between First Nations reserves, but change the face of the tobacco industry in Canada.It could also break Rainbow.“This could be the Alamo for Rainbow Tobacco,” said Dickson.Deerfield’s slogan blares from a sign atop the Smoke King Tobacco Emporium, run by Dickson’s relative.The smoke shop sits next to a mixed-martial arts store owned by a woman who did her master’s thesis on the history of the Indian agent and Kahnawake. Minding the till inside the MMA store today is professional fighter Stephane Vigneault. Behind him, around a corner, is the door that leads to the factory floor of Rainbow Tobacco.Beneath high ceilings crossed by pipes and ventilation shafts, a machine, called the maker, pumps out a steady rhythm of cigarettes. Two women gather the cigarettes by hand and place them into plastic trays.Once full, the trays are loaded onto a trolley.The air is laced with the sweet scent of tobacco rising from several open bins.About half a dozen workers are minding the machines. They make between $15 to $25 an hour depending on their experience and assigned task.Cynthia Jacobs dips her hands into the flow of cigarettes and expertly groups the sticks into a bundle to place into the trays. She’s been working here for a little over a year.“It pays the bills,” says Jacobs, who is from Kahnawake.Nearby John Rambo, 47, is feeding the maker with fine cut tobacco.“It’s very enjoyable here,” said Rambo, who lives in neighbouring Chateauguay, Que., and has worked four years for Rainbow.Nearby, the machine called a packer is inserting cigarettes into packages, which are then mechanically wrapped.Bradley Thomas, 20, is working at the machine. He says the tobacco trade is part of Mohawk culture.“We’ve been doing it for thousands of years, before Europeans ever came,” said Thomas.An American flag hangs from the rafters. A Brazilian flag hangs against a back wall, a reminder of the Brazilians who installed Rainbow’s first machines in 2004.The current machines, from the 1970s, can pump out a million cigarettes a day.Dickson said a Mohawk Warrior flag also hung above the workers, but it was given to Montana First Nation in Alberta as a gift.Montana, which sits about 90 km south of Edmonton, was the first step in an ambitious plan by Rainbow Tobacco to expand its current on-reserve market in Ontario and conquer the on-reserve cigarette market in the West.On Jan. 5, Rainbow’s plans were stubbed out by the Alberta government. Agents from the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission, along with the RCMP, raided a Quonset on the reserve and seized 14 million cigarettes.Alberta said the cigarettes were not licensed for sale in the province and were illegal.The RCMP were initially called in by Chief Carolyn Buffalo a few days earlier to investigated a break-in at the site after several cartons of cigarettes were stolen. The federal police then tipped-off provincial authorities.The seizure stunned Dickson who said he has faced no interference from Ontario. Dickson said he also informed an official with the Canada Revenue Agency about the plans to ship west.“I had informed my federal agent of the prospects out west a few months before shipping out there,” he said. “According to them it was within our licensing authority to deal federal territory to federal territory so I didn’t expect any backlash whatsoever.”He believes it is not only illegal, but unconstitutional for provinces to interfere in trade between First Nations, which are exclusively federal jurisdiction, when the product is federally licensed.Dickson, however, kept pushing.In late January, he made two separate 50 carton shipments-“gifts”-to British Columbia, one to Squamish First Nation and the other to an individual. Both were seized at a courier depot by provincial authorities, with the help of the RCMP, because they weren’t licensed for sale in the province.Then, Saskatchewan authorities, with the help of the RCMP, intercepted a 100 carton shipment destined for a staff member with the Federation Saskatchewan Indian Nations.  The cigarettes were meant as “gifts” and “samples” for provincial reserves in the province.Dickson now finds himself waging a legal battle on three fronts.In Alberta, his company and Montana First Nations recently filed a $1.499 million lawsuit against the provincial government over the seizure. The lawsuit also alleges the province defamed Rainbow by labelling the cigarettes contraband.“The tobacco was seized without jurisdiction and upon false assertion…that the cigarettes were counterfeit and contraband…despite the cigarettes being marked Canada Duty Paid.”The case could go all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada.Dickson also finds himself in an unexpected and political role, championing sovereignty through the cigarette.This is all new territory for Dickson, a former high school basketball power forward who studied engineering in two universities and worked for the band council before joining Rainbow Tobacco in 2004, the same year it was founded.While he said the Oka crisis in 1990, which engulfed his community, opened his eyes to “how hard First Nations people had it in Canada” and to the country’s “racism,” he never saw himself as overly political.His father is an electrician and his mother worked in the kitchen at the Kahnawake golf course. Dickson said he was sent to Montreal during the heat of the Oka crisis along with other students so they wouldn’t miss the start of the school year in September.“I don’t consider myself a revolutionary of any sort,” he said. “Basically I am a businessman, but now it has become more than just a business fight. It has become more of a fight for Native rights and our sovereignty.”He recently received an endorsement from a group of Alberta chiefs and the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations.Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo has backed the right of bands to trade amongst themselves without provincial interference.Dickson’s company has also pledged to help First Nations draft their own tobacco laws, to trump those of the provinces.Chiefs from impoverished First Nations in Alberta and Saskatchewan see cigarettes as a short-cut to prosperity. They want to replicate the wealth on display in the communities like Kahnawake.“There’s so much poverty in my community…we have so much despair and hopelessness and part of what I wanted to do was turn that around,” said Montana Cree Nation Chief Carolyn Buffalo, who is now fighting for her political life as a result of the raid.The battle is also taking its toll on Rainbow Tobacco.The seizure cut into his company’s finances. Dickson bet heavily on selling Rainbow cigarettes on reserves in Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan.He was forced to lay off his 15 permanent employees, who now work on call. New machines worth over half a million dollars are still in their wooden crates.“We are running less than half capacity,” said Dickson. “It is putting a severe financial strain not only on Rainbow, but on all our employees and families as well.”Dickson said he allowed APTN National News into his factory in an act of “desperation.”He says Rainbow has nothing to hide. It pays hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal taxes every year to run a business selling the rolled version of a plant that has been a part of Mohawk culture long before Europeans arrived.He says the provinces are using legislation that should have no force on First Nations territory. The provinces never consulted with First Nations on their tobacco laws even though they directly impact Aboriginal rights, he says.Dickson’s decision to open his factory’s doors offered a rare glimpse into a world usually kept in shadows.The tobacco industry in general carries the stigma of making profit off a highly addictive product that can lead to excruciating death by cancer of the throat, lungs, mouth. Yet, governments at the provincial and federal level reap healthy taxes off its sales.The First Nations cigarette trade carries added baggage since many of the players, because they refuse to pay taxes to any government as a matter of principle, operate in the black market, moving their product clandestinely while dedicated units in the RCMP and provincial police forces try to disrupt their trade with the tactics of counter-narcotics agents.Mohawk communities are at the centre of this world.Akwesasne, which straddles the Canada-US border, is the source of the largest amount of black-market tobacco in Canada, according to the RCMP.Most of the cigarettes are produced on the U.S. and spirited over the border, the smuggling routes carved out during the 1990s when RJR-Macdonald, Rothmans, Benson & Hedges Inc., and Imperial Tobacco used the community to smuggle billions of cigarettes into Canada to avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes.The RCMP says human, drug and weapons smuggling also cling to the black-market tobacco trade like pilot fish and its proceeds grease the gears of a wide array of criminal activities and organizations.Kahnawake is also home to several cigarette manufacturers, but currently, only one is federally licensed: Rainbow Tobacco.Six Nations of the Grand River, an Iroquois community near Hamilton, Ont., is home to the largest and most successful federally licensed cigarette manufacturer. Grand River Enterprises sells internationally.Tobacco has been a part of First Nations spiritual ceremonies since time immemorial. Dickson says its commercial use today is now intricately linked to notions of sovereignty and identity.Tobacco is political and it’s lucrative.Over the past 25 years, the tobacco industry has created millionaires and evolved into the economic engine of Kahanwake. It has the protection of the band council and the local police force.“Tobacco is not an area we enforce, we are not tax collectors for the government,” said Dwayne Zacharie, chief of the Peacekeepers police force. “We have a number of tobacco companies, 150 stores that sell tobacco…(the tobacco industry) employs thousands of people.”During a recent call-in show on local television in Kahnawake, Dickson was asked how he could justify paying taxes to the federal government.“Not all people agree with (Dickson) having a federal license. Most of the people don’t because…we don’t believe ourselves to be Canadian citizens,” said Brian Delormier, a board member of the Kahnawake Tobacco Association.Dickson says he sees his relationship with Canada as more of a partnership, nation to nation, like the treaties signed between the Crown and First Nations.It is noon, the workers have gone to lunch, and Dickson walks through his small factory, inspecting cigarette packs and the machines. He walks past the boxed equipment.“This was supposed to be Rainbow Tobacco’s big time coming now,” he said. “We were looking at the West as a really significant expansion for our company.”With the planned price for Rainbow products set for about $5.50 a pack and $42 a carton, Dickson also knows a potential big payout looms if he beats the Western provinces.All of Canada then becomes a potential market.Reserves near urban centres are sure to draw non-First Nations smokers, eroding the dominance of Big Tobacco everywhere.The stakes are high.“It’s all in,” said Dickson.The workers slowly begin the return to the machines. The gears start churning and the cigarettes start falling.jbarrera@aptn.calast_img read more

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Tootoosis politician elder residential school survivor acclaimed actor icon

first_imgAPTN National NewsActor Gordon Tootoosis has died.The 69 year-old was known for roles that helped shine a light on Aboriginal teachings and history.His career on stage, screen and television took him from a Saskatchewan reserve to the heights of Hollywood.In 2004 Tootoosis received an Order of Canada for being a role model to Aboriginal people.APTN National News reporter Tiar Wilson has more on this extraordinary life.last_img

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Buffalo Point First Nation divided

first_imgAPTN National NewsA community stands divided on the Buffalo Point First Nation in the southeastern corner of Manitoba with a sit-in at the band office.On one side the unelected hereditary Chief John Thunder is determined to make his band a model of economic development.On the other ordinary men and women fear their traditions and lands are being sold out. They believe Buffalo Point is being run as a dictatorship.Thunder promises to have the protestors removed that have been in the office for three weeks as of Friday. He’s even gone as far as saying he will have them evicted from their homes.APTN National News reporter Ntawnis Piapot looks further at the growing problem.last_img read more

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Canada150 Country doesnt own the title to the land its celebrating

first_imgCody Bugler Special to APTN National NewsOn July 1st, 1867, the four colonies united to become the Dominion of Canada. It is now 2017, and this year Canada will be celebrating its 150th birthday.However, with this celebration, there are many uncomfortable and bitter undertones to its establishment and assertion as a nation.Some, including myself, would argue that Canada is also celebrating not only its 150th birthday, but 150 years of exploitation of Indigenous lands, and 150 years of oppression of Indigenous Peoples.I say “peoples” because Indigenous peoples are very diverse and are not all the same, and each of their identities and cultural histories should be recognized and honoured.With its festive, and expensive, celebrations, Canada is also, consciously, or unconsciously, celebrating 150 years of assuming sovereignty for land in which it does not have a title.Many treaties were signed between government agents and the Indigenous Peoples of what is currently known as “Canada.” These treaties, as oral history will confirm, were treaties of peace and friendship, and never did they cede and surrender the land.The spirit and intent of the treaties and oral negotiations, in contrast to the official Queen’s Press documents, were that we were to live well together on the land, taking only what we needed to survive, and respecting Mother Earth.This aspect was obviously not honoured, and the land continues to be exploited, ravaged, and disrespected, and this is a major footing point for the Canadian economy.The original spirit and intent of the treaties did not always align with the official Queen’s Press documents that were signed, by people whose first languages were not English, and they were quietly written in such a way that “ceded and surrendered” the land to the Crown and did not at all honour the oral negotiations.It can also be argued that since these treaties are not currently honoured, that Canada is and has been in breach of these treaties, which are conditions for European settlement in the lands for which the Treaties are outlined.It can also be argued that it is not in the interest of the current Government of Canada to fulfill its treaty obligations, as that would mean a shift in the power dynamic, creating a true nation-to-nation relationship. This would mean a redistribution of land rights and an obvious blow to the Canadian economy.The Canadian economy is based on the exploitation of lands for which it assumes sovereignty and mineral rights over.Any government in the House of Commons has the main agenda to be re-elected. To be re-elected will always come first and trumps Indigenous issues.The budget for the Canada 150 celebrations is to the number of at least $210 million. The Trudeau government finds room for these elaborate celebrations, while they are silent in their unfulfilled election promises, dedicating 50 million dollars to Indigenous Post-Secondary education, as well as their dedication to implementing the calls-to-action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.It is with a bitter taste in my mouth that I speak about Canada’s 150th birthday, and it is not because I do not believe that it should be celebrated, but I believe that there should some acknowledgement of how Canada’s reputation as the “number one peaceful nation” is tarnished by its hushed historical and current oppression and cultural genocide of Indigenous Peoples.Cody Bugler is a fourth year Indigenous studies major at the University of Saskatchewan.Want to have your say? Write to us.last_img read more

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Momentous Vale gives green light to Voiseys Bay mine expansion in NL

first_imgST. JOHN’S, N.L. – Brazilian mining company Vale says it will proceed with construction of an underground mine at Voisey’s Bay, N.L., extending operations by at least 15 years and creating 1,700 jobs.Construction is to begin this summer and take about five years.“A great day for Newfoundland and Labrador and a great day for Vale,” Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Dwight Ball said in St. John’s, N.L.Also on hand for what Ball declared a “momentous” announcement was Vale executive Eduardo Bartolomeo, Natural Resources Minister Siobhan Coady and former premiers Clyde Wells, Brian Tobin and Roger Grimes.Once operational, Ball estimates the underground mine will create an additional 1,700 jobs in the mine and at the Long Harbour, N.L., processing plant.Ball estimated an annual payroll of $370 million per year, with $69 million per year in provincial tax revenue. The premier also emphasized the new job opportunities for tradespeople and engineers.The first ore production is expected by 2021, which will kick-start operations at the Long Harbour plant.The mining operation in northeastern Labrador opened in 2005 and currently employs about 500 people.More than half of the workforce in the remote area accessible by plane is Inuit or Innu, while more than 80 per cent of contracts are with Indigenous-owned and operated businesses.Bartolomeo said his company is planning to continue working with Innu and Inuit partners for the new expansions.Johannes Lampe, president of the Nunatsiavut government, said the announcement marks “a happy day for Labrador Inuit,” with new opportunities for direct employees and contract jobs in transportation and infrastructure around the site.Labrador Inuit are guaranteed jobs in the new operations under the impacts and benefits agreement the Nunatsiat government has signed with Vale. The Innu government also has an agreement with the company.“I’m very happy that Labrador Inuit are involved,” said Lampe, adding that he hopes the Labrador Inuit will be involved in similar resource projects in the future.The premier said the success of the province’s mining industry, and Voisey’s Bay in particular, has “earned Newfoundland and Labrador a position on the global stage.”“This is a province that is open for business and people are showing up,” said Ball.Vale had halted the expansion project in 2017 as it reviewed global operations when nickel prices dropped.Bartolomeo said the underground mine was always the “natural evolution” of Vale’s operations in Labrador, and the company is eager to expand.“We are ready to fulfil a long-standing commitment to this project,” said Bartolomeo, Vale’s executive officer for its base metals division.Mining analysts say excess nickel inventory prompted global producers to be conservative about spending, but the long-term outlook is bright because of the metal’s use in electric car batteries and stainless steel.“I look forward to a long, continued partnership, well into the future,” said Ball.Memorial University engineering professor Faisal Khan, Vale’s former research chair in process risk and safety engineering, said when he was assessing the company’s mining operations, it was up-to-date with emergency preparedness and safety operations.But Khan noted that the company is entering new safety territory in Labrador with the underground mine expansion — an operation that carries more inherent risk that surface mining, and increased risks from exposure and environmental emergencies.Khan said the new expansion will require “a more rigorous approach” to identifying hazards and implementing preventative measures.“History has proven that underground mining tends to be quite hazardous and risky,” said Khan, mentioning there are higher numbers of incidents like explosions with underground mines compared to open pit mines.“That doesn’t mean it would happen here, but the nature of operations is inherently hazardous.”last_img read more

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MGM sues Vegas mass shooting victims argues it isnt liable

first_imgLAS VEGAS, Nev. – MGM Resorts International has sued hundreds of victims of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history in a bid to avoid liability for the gunfire that rained down from its Mandalay Bay casino-resort in Las Vegas.The company argues in lawsuits filed Friday in Nevada and California that it has “no liability of any kind” to survivors or families of slain victims under a federal law enacted after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.A high-stakes gambler killed 58 people and injured hundreds more last year after he shattered the windows of his Mandalay Bay suite and fired on a concert crowd below.Attorney Robert Eglet represents victims who have sued MGM and described the company’s move as “outrageous.”MGM’s lawsuits target victims who have sued the company and voluntarily dismissed their claims or have threatened to sue.last_img read more

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Bernier touts himself as the only politician to want truly free trade

first_imgOTTAWA – Conservative MP Maxime Bernier says he’s the only politician in Ottawa who supports truly free trade with the U.S., and while it’s not his role to negotiate NAFTA with U.S. President Donald Trump, he thinks it’s “sad” he’s the only one who wants to put supply management on the trading table.In the weeks following Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer’s decision to strip Bernier of his critic role, the Beauce MP has maintained a pretty low profile.But as trade tensions increase between Canada and the U.S., the staunch advocate of ending Canada’s supply management system for milk, eggs and poultry — a program popular with dairy farmers in Quebec, including in his riding — feels compelled to speak up.In an interview with The Canadian Press, he said every political party in Ottawa wants to keep the very system that Trump wants axed, and that intransigence is preventing Canada from reaching a deal.The U.S. administration has frequently lashed out at Canada’s system for controlling the price and supply of dairy, eggs and chicken — but Canada has adamantly and repeatedly insisted that’s not on the table.In a fundraising email sent recently to supporters, Bernier wrote that he’s the “only politician in Ottawa who says we should sit down with Trump and start meaningful negotiations, instead of playing politics with the 20 per cent of our economy that depends on trade with the US.”When asked in the interview what Scheer might think of his email blast, Bernier quickly interjected, “But that’s the reality. That’s the reality.“I’m the only one who supports real free trade with the U.S., I’m the only one who is against a trade war with the U.S., and I’m the only one who wants to be sure that we’ll have a better economic prosperity for our country,” he said, adding the Conservatives “must not” support the government in its trade war with the U.S.He stops short at wanting in on the talks.“My role is to try to convince the government, my party, the politicians in Ottawa, that their position is wrong,” he said.Bernier questioned why his party would support a “socialist policy” and said the dairy, poultry and egg producers are holding the economy hostage.“We just need to convince the government and it’s sad that I’m the only one. The only elected member of Parliament who’s speaking for 35 million Canadians on that issue and now the government, they’re putting our economy at risk with that position.”In June, Scheer removed Bernier’s critic title after Bernier posted a controversial chapter of his forthcoming book on his website — a book he had already agreed to postpone “for the sake of maintaining harmony in our party.”The chapter accuses Scheer of signing up “fake Conservatives” for the sole purpose of defeating Bernier in the Conservative leadership race. In April, Bernier promised to shelve the book’s publication indefinitely, but the offending chapter resurfaced the following month in the midst of a string of pointed attacks from Trump on how Canada treats U.S. dairy producers.Bernier said he respects Scheer’s decision to remove him from the shadow cabinet but says he won’t change.“I’m a Conservative. I’m speaking about conservative values, conservative principles. I’m fighting Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s socialist policy. I’m a real conservative. So I must have the right to speak about it and convince more members and more Canadians.”Bernier said he hopes the party will adopt a new approach on supply management at the Conservative convention in Halifax later this month, noting a handful of riding associations have put resolutions forward for consideration.Conservative MP James Bezan said he “disagrees completely” with Bernier’s comments on the Tories’ trade strategy, adding supply management is party policy.Bezan said he wishes Bernier would “show some loyalty to our leader.”Brock Harrison, a spokesman for Scheer, would only say: “Hundreds of thousands of Canadians’ jobs and the overall health of our economy are at stake with NAFTA. It would be the top priority of a Conservative government to get the best deal for Canadians.”In a new fundraising email sent to supporters Thursday morning Bernier announced he has paid off his leadership campaign debt and said, “an exciting new chapter is beginning.”Bernier was about $250,000 in debt following his leadership defeat in May 2017.“I am now free to devote all of my time, all of my efforts, and all of the funds I will raise in the future, to defending principled conservative ideas.”last_img read more

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Court rules against proposed pipeline project

first_imgBUFFALO, N.Y. — An appeals court in upstate New York has ruled in favour of landowners who are fighting against a gas company’s plans to build a pipeline from Pennsylvania to Lake Ontario.WIVB-TV in Buffalo reports the court ruled corporations can use eminent domain to gain access to private property only if the project is legal, which it says the planned project by National Fuel Gas is not.The state Department of Environmental Conservation previously ruled that the pipeline by National Fuel does not meet water quality standards.The suburban Buffalo-based company has issued a statement saying it remains committed to the project and is considering an appeal.Lia Oprea, one of four landowners opposed to the project, says they are thrilled.National Fuel has until Dec. 9 to file its appeal.The Associated Presslast_img read more

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New North American trade deal amplifies White House disappointment in GM Kudlow

first_imgWASHINGTON — Donald Trump’s chief economic adviser says North America’s new free trade pact is one reason the U.S. president is so disappointed with the latest job and production cuts at General Motors.Larry Kudlow, director of the National Economic Council, says both Trump and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau believe the deal was designed to help the automotive industry and auto workers, not foster job cuts.And he’s expressing no doubt that the updated version of NAFTA, now known as USMCA, will be signed by representatives of all three countries later this week at G20 meetings in Argentina.The United States, Mexico and Canada face a Nov. 30 deadline because a new Mexican president who’s much less friendly to the treaty is to take office the next day.On Monday, General Motors declared it was shutting down its flagship Canadian plant in Oshawa, Ont., putting some 2,500 people out of work, and also ending production at four major facilities in the U.S. Midwest.  GM says it’s part of a deliberate move to focus more on high-tech, connected electric cars — but Kudlow is warning the company that the White House won’t look kindly on plans to build those vehicles in China.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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US wholesale prices fell 02 per cent in December

first_imgWASHINGTON — U.S. wholesale prices fell last month, dragged down by a steep drop in gas costs, suggesting that inflation will remain tame in the coming months.The Labor Department said that the producer price index — which tracks cost changes before they reach the consumer — fell 0.2 per cent in December from the previous month. The drop follows a small 0.1 per cent increase in November.Wholesale prices rose 2.5 per cent in December from a year earlier, the same 12-month increase as in November. Excluding the volatile food and energy categories, core prices increased 2.7 per cent.Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell has said that recent muted inflation data have helped the Fed to be “patient” when it comes to raising short-term interest rates.Christopher Rugaber, The Associated Presslast_img read more

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Europe car sales grew for 5th straight year in 2018

first_imgMILAN — The European carmakers association, ACEA, says the car market rose modestly in 2018, despite contractions in the last four months due to the impact of a new emissions test.ACEA reported Wednesday that full-year car sales were up 0.1 per cent to 15.2 million passenger cars, the fifth straight year of growth. That’s despite four months of decreases, including by 8.4 per cent in December, due to the impact of an updated emissions test in September. The introduction of the new lab test for cars drove up August sales by nearly one-third as carmakers offered incentives to clear stock of vehicles not in compliance with the new standards.Only Italy registered an increase in December sales, up 2 per cent. Luxury carmaker BMW also bucked the trend, with a 9-per cent sales increase.The Associated Presslast_img read more

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BC Hydro to start preparations for eastern reservoir clearing at Site C

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – B.C. Hydro will start preparations for the eastern reservoir clearing as part of the Site C Project.Preparations for the clearing of the eastern reservoir is scheduled to start in early December.To improve safety, three pullouts will be added to a 1.5-kilometre section of Old Hope Road at the south end, closest to the future reservoir area. B.C. Hydro expects the work to take about four weeks to complete, depending on the weather conditions.Once access has been improved, the project will clear the eastern reservoir area. This will take place between December 2018 and spring 2019.According to B.C. Hydro, merchantable logs will be hauled to local mills using Old Hope Road. All other wood will be chipped, mulched, spread as coarse woody debris, or burned on site.Old Hope Road will be used as a reservoir access point until mid-2020.B.C. Hydro says safety is their top priority when it comes to road safety during the clearing process.“Safety is our top priority and BC Hydro’s contractor has a traffic management plan in place that ensures compliance with all legal traffic requirements. When hauling is occurring, the project expects an average of one or two additional heavy trucks using Old Hope Road per hour, typically between 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. A dedicated safety person will be on site and the contractor will have daily meetings to discuss safety, road usage, and key traffic periods.” B.C. Hydro is reminding drivers to use caution and look for active work sites when using Old Hope Road.For more information on the project, you can contact B.C. Hydro at 1-877-217-0777 or by email at sitec@bchydro.comlast_img read more

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Grande Prairie RCMP Seek Assistance with Attempted Vehicle Entry

first_imgPlease contact Grande Prairie RCMP Detachment at 780-830-5700. If you wish to remain anonymous, you can contact Crime Stoppers by phone at 1.800.222.8477 (TIPS) or by Internet at www.tipsubmit.com. GRANDE PRAIRIE, AB – February 25, 2019, at approximately 9:30 p.m RCMP were called to a neighbourhood in the north end of the city where two males approached a running vehicle with occupants and attempted to gain entry.The vehicle driver reversed and drove out of the area to avoid the suspects. The suspects are believed to be linked to a dark older model four door sedan.RCMP are seeking the public’s assistance for any information about this incident.last_img read more

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Annual Day of Mourning to be held in Fort St John on

first_imgIn 2018, WorkSafeBC says there were 131 work-related deaths in B.C., 66 resulting from an occupational disease, and 65 resulting from traumatic injuries.In the Peace River Region, four work-related death claims were accepted in 2018.A public ceremony of honour is being held on April 28 at 12:00 p.m., starting outside of the City of Fort St. John City Hall and walking down to Centennial Park.On April 26, WorkSafeBC says more than 180 schools from across the Province, including Dr. Kearney Middle School, will be taking part in the B.C. Labour Heritage Centre’s Day of Mourning Schools Project.The Canadian Labour Congress held the first National Day of Mourning ceremony in 1985, making Canada the first country to formally commemorate workers killed in the workplace.In 1992, B.C. proclaimed April 28 the Day of Mourning. Today, it is recognized in 100 countries around the world. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The BCGEU and WorkSafeBC will be holding an Annual Day of Mourning on Sunday, April 28, 2019.According to event organizers, this day commemorates workers who have been killed or seriously injured as a result of their job.In B.C., family survivors will be joined by workers, unions, employers and local labour councils to mark the day with more than 35 ceremonies throughout the Province. For more information, you can visit dayofmourning.bc.ca.last_img read more

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Farmland Value in Canada Continues to climb

first_imgIn British Columbia, the average farmland value increased by 6.7 percent in 2018, following gains of 2.7 percent in 2017 and 8.2 percent in 2016.Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador were the only provinces that did not see an increase in farmland values. Quebec experienced the highest average increase at 8.3 percent, followed by Saskatchewan and Alberta, both at 7.4 percent, and British Columbia at 6.7 percent. The rest of the provinces were below the national average with Prince Edward Island’s average increase at 4.2 percent, Manitoba at 3.7 percent, Ontario at 3.6 percent and New Brunswick at 1.8 percent.Nova Scotia recorded a decrease of 4.9 percent in average farmland values, while Newfoundland and Labrador did not have enough publicly reported transactions to fully assess farmland values.Although average farmland values have increased every year since 1993, recent increases are less pronounced than the 2011-2015 period that recorded significant average farmland value increases in many different regions.Gervais said fewer land transactions in 2018 is consistent with a tight supply of land available for sale and a softening in demand, which is a reflection of farm income levelling off, variable commodity prices and rising borrowing costs.Farm operators need to exercise caution, especially in regions where the growth rate of farmland values significantly exceeded that of farm income in recent years. At the same time, there is still a strong business case for buying more land, but not without carefully weighing the risks and rewards, he said. ABBOTSFORD, B.C. – In 2018 the average farmland value in Canada continued its steady climb, was published in a report by Farm Credit Canada, being driven by fewer, but more strategic investments by producers.“With the steady rise in farmland values, producers are making more strategic investments,” according to J.P. Gervais, Chief Agricultural Economist for Farm Credit Canada (FCC). “Whether it means paying a higher price for land that has potential to be more productive or buying in blocks to improve the efficiency of their operations, producers are sharpening their pencils with an eye on variable commodity prices.”The average value of Canadian farmland has increased by 6.6 percent in 2018, following gains of 8.4 percent in 2017 and 7.9 percent in 2016, according to the FCC’s 2018 Farmland Values Report. “There was a strong demand from producers for lower-valued land, which explains part of the average value increase recorded in some regions,” Gervais said. “It’s a strategic investment that can pay off if the operation is able to extract more from that land and improve its overall efficiency.”FCC’s Farmland Values Report highlights average changes in farmland values – regionally, provincially and nationally. This year’s report describes changes from January 1 to December 31, 2018, and provides a value range in terms of price per acre.last_img read more

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Whiskey Jack ski club need help planting trees at the Beatton Park

first_imgWhether you are an experienced tree planter or this is your first time, there will be experienced volunteers to help show you how to plant the 1000 spruce seedlings donated by Canfor.You are required to RSVP to the event and there will be water and snacks provided.Canfor will also be supplying volunteers along with BC Parks, yet the more hands will make lighter work of this fulfilling effort.Bring your shovel if you have one.To view the FB Event Page, CLICK HERE FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Whiskey Jack Nordic Ski Club is hosting a tree planting event at the Beatton Park sponsored by Canfor.The event came to be after the ski club cleared the stadium area last fall, mitigating the loss of trees, the club is planting seedlings in some identified areas in Beatton Park.Friday, June 21st, 2019 at 9 am join the ski club at the park with gloves, wearing long trousers and a long-sleeved shirt (mosquitoes). Meet at the trailhead of the upper parking lot.last_img read more

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ICC ODI Rankings Kohli Rohit dominate top slots

first_imgDubai: India skipper Virat Kohli and his deputy Rohit Sharma remained number one and two, despite India’s home series defeat to Australia, in the latest ICC Men’s ODI Player Rankings, according to an ICC statement. Kohli and Rohit scored 310 and 202 runs, respectively, in the just-concluded series against the Aussies, which India lost 3-2 after taking a 2-0 lead. Kedar Jadhav moved up 11 places to a career-best 24th after his good display with the bat against Australia. Jadhav helped India win the first ODI by scoring an unbeaten 81 in Hyderabad and followed it up with scores of 44 in both fourth and fifth ODIs in Mohali and Delhi. Also Read – Andy Murray to make Grand Slam return at Australian Open Meanwhile, South African opener Quinton de Kock grabbed fourth position among batsmen after playing a huge part in his team’s 5-0 victory over Sri Lanka in a home series that ended in Cape Town on Saturday. The 26-year-old southpaw wicketkeeper-batsman’s 353 runs in the series, which included one century and three half-centuries, helped him win the player of the series award and gain four slots in the latest rankings. His team captain Faf du Plessis also moved up to fifth position after scoring 272 runs. Also Read – Fast bowler Behrendorff to undergo spinal surgery The latest rankings, updated on Sunday, also include performances from series that saw New Zealand defeat Bangladesh 2-0 and the two drawn series between the West Indies and England, and Afghanistan and Ireland. Four others, named the player of the series, also made huge gains. West Indies’ opener Chris Gayle’s effort of 424 runs, including two centuries, lifted him 35 places to 41st position, New Zealand batsman Martin Guptill’s 264 runs took him from 19th to ninth, Afghanistan captain Asghar Afghan moved up 16 places to 87th, while Usman Khawaja’s 383 runs lifted him 83 places to a career-best 25th place. Other batsmen to move up include, Jos Buttler (up five places to 13th) and captain Eoin Morgan (up three places to 17th) of England, Shimron Hetmyer of the West Indies (up 16 places to 23rd), India’s Jadhav, Australia’s Marc Stoinis (up 15 places to 29th) and South Africa’s Aiden Markram (up 12 places to 89th). In the list for bowlers, two formerly top-ranked players made significant gains. New Zealand’s fast bowler Trent Boult moved up one place to second after finishing with six wickets against Bangladesh, while South Africa leg-spinner Imran Tahir gained seven slots to reach fourth place after taking nine wickets against Sri Lanka. Other bowlers to advance include, Australia’s Pat Cummins (up 13 places to seventh), New Zealand’s Lachlan Ferguson (up 12 places to 22nd), England’s Mark Wood (up eight places to 24th), South Africa’s Lungi Ngidi (up 21 places to 26th), West Indies captain Jason Holder (up 10 places to 30th) and Andy McBrine of Ireland (up 10 places to 42nd). Meanwhile, South Africa gained one point, while Sri Lanka lost two points in the Men’s ODI team rankings. There have been no significant changes during the five series except for New Zealand narrowly edging past South Africa to third position and Australia going past Pakistan to fifth position.last_img read more

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Cong wants Deve Gowda to contest from Bengaluru North

first_imgBengaluru: Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President Dinesh Gundurao on Friday said his party wants JDS Supremo H D Deve Gowda to contest elections from Bengaluru North constituency. “I spoke to Deve Gowda ji and requested him to contest from Bengaluru North constituency… Congress has five and JDS two MLAs, who can ensure his victory,” he told PTI. Gundurao said the former prime minister’s representation from Bengaluru North will have a huge impact in the region, given his stature in public life. The 85-year-old JDS patriarch is yet to decide on contesting the Lok Sabha polls and has been thinking about his “usefulness” in the national capital. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’Gowda has said he lacked the strength that he had in 1996, when he became the Prime Minister, but there is “enthusiasm”. Under a pact between ruling coalition partners for Lok Sabha elections in Karnataka, Congress has been allotted 20 seats while eight sets will be contested by Janata Dal-Secular (JDS). Asked if actor-turned-politician Sumalatha Ambareesh, wife of late actor and Congress leader Ambareesh, can pose a challenge to the coalition partners due to a possible sympathy wave, Gundurao said winning as an independent is difficult with JDS having a strong presence in state assembly, zilla panchayats and municipalities of Mandya district. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KSumalatha is contesting as an Independent after she was denied ticket by the Congress from Mandya seat which had been allotted to the JD(S). Gundurao also said that the Congress would make extra effort to see that Nikhil Gowda, grandson of Deve Gowda, registers a win from Mandya constituency. Asked about the BJP’s plan to make “instability” an electoral issue in Karnataka, Gundurao dismissed it as ridiculous saying Modi himself is leading a coalition government at the centre. Also, the BJP is in alliance with NDA partners in several states including Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Punjab, he said. If Modi and BJP are against coalition, they should do away with it, he added. Gundurao said there have been some hiccups in the coalition setup, but the government has been stable. “Congress-JDS alliance has given a stable government but unfortunately BJP has been making efforts to destabilise it by horse-trading,” he alleged. Taking a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the state Congress chief alleged that Modi “is diverting people’s attention from real issues like failure of GST, demonetisation and joblessness, to emotional issues like Ram Mandir and nationalism”.last_img read more