Monday, September 1st19.9°C
23003
20700

New Brunswick political parties focus on tourism, wages on Labour Day

SAINT JOHN, N.B. - New Brunswick's Liberal Party is promising to boost the province's minimum wage in hopes of coming out on top in September's election, while the incumbent Progressive Conservatives are announcing a fund that would attract more tourists to the province.

Money generated through the so-called Tourism Marketing Fund would flow back to community initiatives to help grow the province's $1-billion tourism industry, said Premier David Alward.

"Tourism creates jobs," said the Tory leader in a statement released on Monday. "Today, there are about 30,000 people working in our tourism industry. And when we consider the natural beauty, vibrant cultures, warm hospitality and distinct experiences New Brunswick has to offer, we feel that number should be greater."

Paying tribute to Labour Day, Liberal Leader Brian Gallant committed to increasing the minimum hourly pay in the province to $10.30 by year's end, then to $11 by the close of 2017, if he becomes premier next month.

"We've got to make life more affordable for those willing to put in an honest day's work," said Gallant in a release, adding that nearly eight per cent of New Brunswick's work force, or around 28,000 workers, earn minimum wage — the highest proportionally of any province.

Minimum wage in New Brunswick is currently $10, which is tied with Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador and the Northwest Territories for lowest in the country.

Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador will see a 20- and 25-cent increase beginning Oct. 1, respectively.

Starting in 2018, Gallant said his proposed changes would see the pay rate increase annually alongside inflation.

Elsewhere on the campaign trail, NDP Leader Dominic Cardy released plans to introduce first-contract legislation that would require the government to sit down and negotiate with workers wanting to unionize.

Enacting first-contract legislation would bring New Brunswick in line with the majority of other provinces, said Cardy.

"Workers have rights in this province to join a trade union," he said in a news release. "The NDP understands this and that's why we would pass first-contract legislation."

The NDP would also introduce laws to regulate the use of replacement workers during labour disputes.

Meanwhile, the People's Alliance Party says it would eliminate the government's mandatory prescription drug plan in favour of a voluntary alternative.

New Brunswick voters head to the polls on Sept. 22.

The Canadian Press


22774


New 'World News' anchor Muir wants to keep racking up frequent flier miles

NEW YORK, N.Y. - Among the stories David Muir will introduce during his first week as ABC's "World News" anchor is one he reported about a generation of Syrian refugees missing out on an education.

Besides detailing a hidden aspect of the civil war, the story serves a dual purpose: to signal viewers — and his bosses — that Muir wants to get out of the office for work as much as he can.

"A huge part of this for me was a promise that I was not going to be tethered to the anchor desk," said Muir, who officially replaces Diane Sawyer Monday night.

Muir, 40, joins NBC "Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams and Scott Pelley of the "CBS Evening News" at one of the three jobs generally considered the pinnacle of American broadcast news. Muir is also a generation younger than the 55-year-old Williams and Pelley, 57.

Already a familiar face as "World News" weekend anchor and Sawyer's sub on weeknights, Muir has groomed himself for the job since he was a child.

As a latchkey child of divorced parents growing up near Syracuse, N.Y., Muir took comfort from the news "family" that appeared on his television each evening. He watched ABC's Peter Jennings, trying to guess who would be named "person of the week." At age 12, he wrote to Syracuse anchorman Ron Curtis for advice on how to get in the business and had an internship at WTVH-TV by the next summer.

Muir became so familiar that the newsroom had a spot on the wall to mark how much he'd grown each year. When he was still at nearby Ithaca College, WTVH hired Muir to anchor the weekend news.

After five years at WTVH, he moved on to Boston and, in 2003, came to ABC News. Hurricane Katrina was one of the first places his work attracted attention.

"All of the elements of being a news anchor he does superbly," said David Westin, the ABC News president who hired Muir. He shows versatility in reporting, interviewing and working in the studio, he said.

Network anchors travelling to stories used to be more commonplace, and when Westin appointed Bob Woodruff and Elizabeth Vargas to replace Jennings a decade ago, it was on the theory that at least one would be on the road regularly. It has become less frequent, in part due to costs. Muir considers the reporting an important part of his identity and, he believes, what viewers expect of him.

"The evening news is evolving rapidly, and I think we have to be extraordinarily nimble," he said.

The dinnertime newscasts have been shadowed by predictions of their demise for about as long as Muir has been working. But each has seen its viewership increase over the past year. Muir, who frequently tweets during commercial breaks, said the programs' abilities to sum up the day's most important stories is valuable at a time people are bombarded with information.

Andrew Tyndall, a consultant who monitors the content of evening newscasts, said "World News" tends to be faster-paced with a higher story count when Muir is anchor. Muir resists the notion that he packs the broadcast with more material, but said he wants to keep some things short so more important stories have room to breathe.

Muir will start "World News" with a new executive producer, Almin Karamehmedovic, who he said shares "a thirst to travel the world."

It's difficult to judge at the start where a new anchor will take a broadcast. Westin likened it to a president appointing a new Supreme Court justice — the person may not turn out as liberal or conservative as was initially thought.

Tyndall's name is mud at ABC because of a report last winter criticizing the "Disneyfication" of "World News," specifically a greater emphasis on consumer and entertainment news at the expense of global concerns.

"When I see reports like that or words like that, I think of the moment when I'm standing in Tahrir Square with a producer and photographer and Mubarak's men come charging in on their horses with their whips," Muir said. "Or when we were in Mogadishu and were fired upon by forces linked to Al Qaida."

He added, "I'd be very hard-pressed to tell them that what we're doing out there is 'soft.'"

Muir's role will be slightly different than that of his predecessor; ABC said. George Stephanopoulos will be the network's main anchor on breaking news reports. Muir said that's fine, and it ties in to his desire not to always be deskbound.

He recently unearthed the letter that the Syracuse anchorman sent back to the advice-seeking 12-year-old, which today sounds prescient.

"Competition in television news is keen," Curtis wrote. "There's always room for the right person. It could be you."

____

David Bauder can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter@dbauder. His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/david-bauder.

The Canadian Press


Arctic business forum has first meeting, fulfilling Canadian promise

IQALUIT, Nunavut - Canada will live up to promises it made two years ago when the first meeting of the Arctic Economic Council begins Tuesday in Iqaluit.

Creation of the group was to be the centrepiece of Canada's agenda as it assumed leadership in 2012 of the overall Arctic Council, which is made up of the eight countries that ring the North Pole. Canada's chairmanship ends this year.

The new economic council will be a clearinghouse for businesses seeking to operate responsibly in the Arctic, said Tom Paddon, president of Baffinland Mines and one of three Canadian delegates to the new body.

"Business has been going on for a long time in the North and over time, a series of best practices as to how to go about doing things environmentally and in a socially responsible way has been built up," Paddon said in a government-produced video released earlier this summer.

"It makes sense to share those."

The goals of the body include advising the Arctic Council and fostering business relationships across the Arctic. It is able to set its own membership, governance and activities.

It is directed to take into account environmental protection and the encouragement of aboriginal business.

All 21 members of the economic council are from the private sector. Six aboriginal groups will also attend the meeting.

At least one group is leery of the Arctic Economic Council.

The World Wildlife Fund, which originally supported the group, has said that the way it has been set up is opaque and unaccountable. The fund said it was refused permission to observe this week's meeting.

"The proposed body will be neither open nor transparent and accountable to no one but the large industries expected to cover the costs of the group," the fund has said. "It will comprise an indeterminate group of business interests selected according to no clear criteria and acting on their own behalf."

But Hannu Halinen, Finland's senior Arctic official, said the business council will strengthen the overall Arctic Council.

"We have seen the expanding agenda to economic issues," he said on the same government video.

"There is really a demand for business activities. What is missing is a framework to interact with business, to set guidelines."

Duane Smith of the Inuit Circumpolar Council said the new body could help ensure development is done right in the North.

"It's an opportunity for them to ensure, with the involvement of indigenous people, so have meaningful deliberations and discussions on how the Arctic should be approached, managed, sustained and developed in a manner that everybody can live with," he said in the video.

Business interest in the North has been growing, partly fostered by the decline of Arctic sea ice.

Mining is the region's largest economic driver. Energy exploration, both onshore and offshore, is growing despite controversy in some areas. Fisheries are growing and may expand as more is learned about regional stocks.

The Northwest Passage has seen its first commercial shipment and more are expected. Communities hope to cash in on cruise ship tourism.

The next country to lead the Arctic Council will be the United States.

— By Bob Weber in Edmonton

The Canadian Press


22774


Duelling reports: Finance rebuts grim analysis by another federal department

OTTAWA - Finance Canada has issued a rebuttal of a politically embarrassing report on middle-class economic woes that was compiled last fall by experts in another federal department.

The duelling analyses highlight an economic issue almost certain to dominate the federal election campaign next year, as political parties cite the same data to make opposite points.

Last October, bureaucrats at Employment and Social Development Canada wrote a scathing internal report on the plight of the middle class, calling the Canadian dream "a myth more than a reality."

The report, obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act, was immediately hailed by opposition parties as proof of the financial straits of Canadian families, but it was dismissed by cabinet ministers as outdated and misleading.

In April this year, Finance Canada economists put together a more detailed rebuttal for the new minister, Joe Oliver, using the same data but interpreting them in a more positive way.

The report for Oliver, for example, concludes that "controlling for the changing composition of families, income of the Canadian middle class has grown strongly since 1976.... All major family types benefited from strong income growth."

The analysis faults Employment and Social Development Canada for weak methodology, and for delivering a different message from that of the Feb. 11 federal budget.

"Their analysis arrives at conclusions — namely that middle-income families have stagnant wages, are unlikely to move to higher income groups, and are increasingly indebted — which appear to conflict with the general message in Budget 2014 and previous internal briefings," says an accompanying briefing note for Oliver.

Copies of the rebuttal material, with some significant sections censored, were obtained from Finance Canada under the Access to Information Act.

The new analysis, entitled "Income Equality and the Middle Class: Recent Trends," also uses data up to 2011, whereas the previous report covered the period only to 2007.

While the latest report paints a rosier picture, it also warns of problems ahead.

For example, the authors play down the claim that the middle class is more indebted than other groups, saying households at all income levels show the same levels of indebtedness.

But they also warn that "high levels of household indebtedness and the fact that a significant portion of middle-income families spend more than they earn do pose risks to the economic outlook."

The Finance Canada study also acknowledges that the key driver of middle-class prosperity in Canada has been women workers, more of whom have been entering the workforce, upgrading their skills, moving to full-time from part-time, and getting better-paid jobs.

The wages they have added to middle-class households have helped maintain prosperity levels, whereas previous generations typically needed only one major income earner in a household to enjoy a middle-class lifestyle.

"Higher employment rates, especially of females, account for most of the increase in working middle-class family incomes," says the report. Otherwise, "middle-class families have not received significant hourly wages increases. This is true in absolute terms and relative to other income groups."

The authors note that the current high employment rates of women means this avenue of income growth for middle-class families will not be available in future.

The 24-page analysis also acknowledges that income inequality has grown in Canada, as elsewhere in the industrialized world, with the wealthiest one per cent collecting 8.6 per cent of all 2011 income, compared with 5.8 per cent of all income in 1982.

Economist Armine Yalnizyan says the duelling reports show that "depending on your unit of analysis, depending on your time frame, you can make two very solid cases...."

"Clearly, Finance wants to stick with the message track that it's got in the budget.... They're cherry-picking the data they want to look at."

But Yalnizyan, of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, a left-leaning think-tank, notes even Finance Canada acknowledges the party is over when it comes to women workers buoying middle-class households, because their participation rates are already high.

"That has kept the middle class from sagging," she said in an interview. "But it's not available as a strategy going forward."

The Finance Canada report estimates about 70 per cent of the increase in middle-class household incomes since the mid-1990s can be attributed to higher workforce participation rates, primarily by women workers.

"There is no second wave of women, spouses, entering the workforce," said New Democrat MP Nathan Cullen, the opposition's finance critic.

Cullen said Conservative government policies are also exacerbating the plight of the middle class, with tax breaks that favour the rich and with no effective measures to replace some 350,000 well-paid manufacturing jobs lost in central Canada.

"It's overstating and misrepresenting the facts to say 'nothing to worry about here — in fact, much to celebrate,'" he said in an interview.

Follow @DeanBeeby on Twitter

The Canadian Press


Strike-lockout interrupts production at two Saskatchewan uranium facilities

SASKATOON - A labour dispute has interrupted work at two Saskatchewan uranium facilities.

Cameco (TSX:CCO) shut down production at the McArthur River mine and Key Lake mill when the union's strike deadline early Saturday morning approached.

Cameco says it issued a lockout notice earlier in the week to assure a safe and orderly shutdown of its facilities and continued protection of the environment.

The United Steelworkers Local 8914 represents the 535 affected workers at the sites.

It says issues in the dispute include pensions, benefits and compensation for working in remote regions.

The workers' previous contract expired at the end of 2013.

"After all the efforts made to find a fair resolve to bargaining, it was incredibly disappointing that in the final hours leading up to the deadline, the company's only concern was to demand 24 additional workers to be added to the essential services list to finish off a production raise underground over the next few weeks," the union's lead negotiator, Mike Pulak, said in a news release.

Cameco said the facilities will be maintained in a safe shutdown state by salaried Cameco employees and unionized personnel under an essential services agreement with the union.

Pulak noted the union will be complying with essential services under the Canada Labour Code, and will ensure there is no danger to safety or health of the public or environment as a result of the dispute.

In July, the company and union jointly applied for conciliation under the code.

Cameco said it presented its final offer to the union bargaining committee on Thursday and requested that it be submitted to the union membership for a vote.

"The union bargaining committee rejected the offer and advised Cameco that it would not present it to the membership for a vote," the company stated in a news release.

Cameco said it began flying unionized workers to their home communities on Friday evening "in order to assure safe and orderly departure of unionized employees from the remote northern sites."

It said the work stoppage is not expected to affect the company's 2014 uranium delivery commitments to customers.

The Canadian Press


Labour movement redefining role as face of Canada's workforce changes

Labour Day celebrations across Canada this year come at a time when organized labour is in the midst of redefining its role in the workforce as a decline in the manufacturing industry and the rise of contract and part-time workers has challenged its traditional focus.

Nelson Wiseman, director of Canadian studies at the University of Toronto, said that the significance of the holiday fails to resonate with many people outside the labour movement.

"Once upon a time, people were marching in the streets because they wanted to cut down the (workday) and a lot of people were involved in industry that was there, like manufacturing, but now it's not the case," says Wiseman.

"People don't perceive that (unionized) workers are underpaid or unduly exploited, even though many of them may not be making huge amounts," he adds. "People have more sympathy for you if you're flipping burgers at McDonald's."

The principle aims of the first-wave labour movement — universal health care, welfare, the public education system — are now well-established in Canadian society. Outside of their collective bargaining obligations, Wiseman says, unions have been relegated to serving the role of watchdog.

The types of jobs new to the economy fall out of the traditional purview of unions: temporary service industry jobs and knowledge sector jobs and, in particular, the high-tech sector with a highly mobile workforce that has largely has evaded unionization.

Economic headwinds have forced unions to re-evaluate their brand and their purpose in an economy where steady employment is precarious.

"We recognize that are there are some challenges and we have to grow the labour movement because the economy itself is not the economy of the 50s, the 60s, and the 70s," says Hassan Yussuff, president of the Canadian Labour Congress.

"In that regard we have to orient ourselves to the new workforce," adds Yussuff, who says that the union's effectiveness in negotiating pensions and better wages has been tested in recent years by governments and private sector employers.

"Nevertheless, I think we have a lot to celebrate. All of those good salaries and wages that our members make are spent in their communities and contribute to a successful and growing economy."

In its first year of existence, Unifor — formed on Labour Day weekend 2013 by the merger of the Canadian Auto Workers and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers union — introduced new ways to bring workers from traditionally non-unionized jobs into the fold.

Notably among them, was the Canadian Freelance Union, which represents self-employed media professionals.

It's also moved to solidify its community chapters program for unemployed former Unifor members, providing access to similar health insurance plans.

"We've had to do things differently as it relates to outreach," said Unifor president Jerry Dias. "Our union very much plays a huge role in the community."

The Canadian Press


Investors look for direction as market prepares for worst month of the year

TORONTO - Stock markets could be in for some tough sledding in the near term as investors contemplate trading in a month that sports a nasty reputation.

"Historically, September is the worst month of the year for stocks," said Colin Cieszynski, senior markets analyst at CMC Markets Canada.

"Usually, what happens is you have a correction in May/June, you get a rebound in July, earnings season gives it a summer boost that carries you into the first part of August, so you start to see things roll over second half of August."

At the same time, stock markets are looking a bit tired with indexes in New York and Toronto at or near record highs thanks to a better than expected second-quarter earnings season and a string of data pointing to a strengthening American economy.

"And that’s why people are being a bit more cautious," added Cieszynski.

"Nobody really wants to take on any new positions. At the same time, they’re not running for the exits either."

There are also concerns that a more robust U.S. economy could persuade the Federal Reserve to hike interest rates ahead of expectations. Markets have generally expected the Fed to move short-term rates away from near zero around the middle of next year.

And that's one big reason why the big economic event of this week is the release of the U.S. government's employment report for August on Friday.

Economists expect another month of strong job gains above the 200,000 mark.

"We’re looking for a 225,000 gain," said Doug Porter, chief economist at BMO Capital Markets.

But it's not just job gains the market is looking for. Fed chairwoman Janet Yellen has said she is also worried about slack in the labour market and that's why people will be digging deeper into the data, with emphasis on the participation rate, which has been in a percentage in the low 60s.

"The participation rate has stopped falling (and) its counterpoint, the employment to population ratio, has been finally grinding higher over the last year or so," said Porter.

"The U.S. labour market is finally turning the corner and, quietly, the last six months have seen the strongest job gains over a six-month period in eight years."

Canadian jobs data also comes out on Friday.

The Canadian economy created 42,000 jobs in July. That was a revised number as Statistics Canada said a reporting glitch was behind its original report that only 200 jobs had been created that month.

Porter said he isn’t expecting much for August as "we have had this up/down pattern in Canadian employment for the past eight months and it’s the turn for down this time."

"We’re pencilling in a small gain just because we do believe the underlying trend is erratically higher and I can’t think of any major special factors during August to lead to an outright decline — but the risk is there."

The other major event of the week happens Wednesday when the Bank of Canada makes its scheduled announcement on interest rates.

The key rate will stay at one per cent, where it has been since September 2010.

Central bank governor Stephen Poloz has maintained a dovish accent on rates and the markets, which generally expect a rate hike mid-2015, will look to the bank’s statement for any change in tone.

But, like the Fed, the Bank of Canada wants to make absolutely certain the economy can handle the weight of higher short-term interest rates.

"I think the bank wants to have plenty of evidence that exports really are responding to the U.S. economy before it would have any effect on policy and they may well let the recovery really run before they seriously consider raising interest rates," said Porter.

The Toronto and New York markets registered minor gains for last week. TSX advances were led by consumer staples, industrials and telecoms. But the market was held back by the financial sector, down 1.15 per cent despite a steady parade of earnings news from the big Canadian banks that largely beat expectations.

Stock prices for the big banks were at or near record or 52-week highs as the results started to come out a week ago and the financial sector is still up 11 per cent year to date.

"They’ve had huge runs," said Cieszynski.

"They weren’t good enough to encourage another round of buying so people just thought, fine, I’ve made enough money I’m going to move on to something else for awhile."

The Canadian Press


Los Angeles' first Made in America concert rocks downtown, offering 30-plus acts over 2 days

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - A group of sexy dancers backed Iggy Azalea as Rita Ora joined her on stage. Kendrick Lamar shared the spotlight with label-mate Schoolboy Q during his set. Afrojack got the crowd jumping, and Imagine Dragons closed out the evening.

The first night of the inaugural Budweiser Made in America music festival in Los Angeles went off with few problems, despite concerns from residents about possible security and traffic issues.

Lamar noted the unique setting, saying, "I've been touring the world, and I ain't never done a festival in the heart of Los Angeles."

Other acts performing Saturday in sunny Grand Park included Metric, Sublime with Rome, rapper YG and rockers Capital Cities.

Authorities made 29 arrests Saturday, including six for felony narcotics, according to Los Angeles Police Sgt. Andrew Neiman. Seven people were transported to local hospitals for unknown reasons, he said.

Founded in Philadelphia by Jay Z in 2012, the Budweiser Made in America concert brings top acts to urban centres. This is the third year the Philadelphia show has been held at Benjamin Franklin Parkway. The inaugural Los Angeles show is at Grand Park, a green space between city hall and the Music Center.

Mayor Eric Garcetti championed the Made in America event, fast-tracking it through city approvals.

"There's no question there will be economic benefit" for the city, he told reporters.

The mayor is among the 35,000 people expected to attend the multi-stage show in the park, which opened two years ago and is being used for the first time for a large, ticketed event. Police will be present in force, and several streets in the area are closed to accommodate the concert.

Concert promoter Live Nation paid the city $500,000 to cover setup and security costs, Garcetti spokesman Yusef Robb said. It also promised to pay for cleanup and any property damage, he said.

Officials anticipate the festival to be an economic boon for the city, Robb said, citing a reported $10 million infusion in Philadelphia during past Made in America events.

"The reason why Mayor Garcetti worked so hard to secure this event was ... to boost our economy by activating a space that's otherwise dead over Labor Day weekend," Robb said, "and hopefully attract other live events to our city by showing we can get it done."

Fans such as Joe Luhrsen of Redondo Beach came to the downtown concert because "it's in our backyard."

"It takes us 15 minutes to get here," he said.

The two-day concert continues in Los Angeles Sunday with acts such as Cypress Hill, Rita Ora, Juanes, Weezer, John Mayer and Kanye West. The sister show in Philadelphia Sunday is set to feature Grimes, Tiesto, Spoon and Kings of Leon.

___

Follow AP Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen at www.twitter.com/APSandy .

The Canadian Press


E-cigarettes sales will suffer if regulated like tobacco: analyst

Designed to simulate smoking, electronic cigarettes continue to grow in popularity but uncertainty over possible Health Canada regulations and restrictions by other regulators are raising concerns for the industry in Canada.

Phillip Gorham, a tobacco analyst for the U.S. investment research and management firm Morningstar, says further growth of the e-cigarette industry will be dampened if regulatory bodies decide to impose controls similar to those on tobacco products. Among them, he cites increases in prices and taxes and legislation restricting advertising, store displays and rules on who can sell them.

The growth in the e-cigarette category has been driven by novelty, Gorham said, adding that if the devices are kept out of view and under lock and key it will difficult to capture new sales.

"E-cigarettes depend on marketing for growth and cigarette companies can't generate consumer interest without that," says Gorham. "It's very much on trial."

The UN health agency this week called for member countries to prohibit e-cigarette sales to minors and ban their use indoors until more evidence can be gathered about the risks, adding that the product's expanding popularity presents a public health dilemma.

"E-cigarettes are a story of both risks and promises. In a sense they are a double-edged sword," Dr. Douglas Bettcher, director of the WHO's Department for Prevention of Non-communicable Diseases, told reporters. "The tobacco industry is taking greater share — as public health partners, pretending to be part of the solution to the health disaster they have created."

Tommaso Di Giovanni, head of reduced-risk product communications at Philip Morris, criticized the WHO for calling for a "de facto exclusion of tobacco companies in the democratic process."

"This view ignores the fact that product innovation to develop and assess truly reduced risk alternatives to combustible cigarettes can play an important role for public health," he said in an email to The Associated Press. "Companies like ours are not only driving this innovation, but have the necessary knowledge and resources to contribute to achieving that goal."

According to the Electronic Cigarette Trade Association of Canada (ECTA), member retailers report between $10,000 and $20,000 a month in sales.

The battery-operated devices do not contain tobacco but can be used to heat a liquid nicotine solution, creating a vapour that users inhale. Smokers like them because the vapour looks like smoke but doesn't contain the thousands of chemicals, tar or odour of regular cigarettes.

E-cigarettes that are sold without nicotine, or which don't make health claims, can be sold legally in Canada, according to Health Canada.

However, if they are sold with nicotine and or in packaging that makes a health claim, they fall under the jurisdiction of the Food and Drugs Act. Under that act, a manufacturer must apply to Health Canada for authorization to bring a new product to market.

To date, Health Canada has not approved any e-cigarettes under the Food and Drug Act.

Some proponents of e-cigarettes dispute Health Canada's position and suggest e-cigarette juice containing nicotine is governed by the Consumer Chemicals and Containers Regulations of 2001.

Addiction experts and public health officials are divided over e-cigarettes as a smoking cessation aid. Some say if e-cigarettes are safer than regular cigarettes then the e-cigarettes could help save lives. But that opinion is challenged by those who argue that e-cigarettes may lead to smokers cutting back on regular smoking but remaining addicted.

Chief medical officers in Toronto and Edmonton have called on local governments to ban the use of e-cigarettes anywhere smoking is prohibited, while Nova Scotia's health minister has pledged to introduce legislation in 2014.

The municipality of York in Ontario and the city of Red Deer in Alberta have imposed outright bans in public places.

Kate Ackerman, owner of Alberta-based Electro Vapors, is concerned that small businesses like hers will pushed out of the market — or worse, forced underground if regulations become too onerous.

It's already happening in Europe, the biggest market for e-cigarettes apart from North America. Sales are banned in 13 of the 59 countries that regulate the devices, according to the WHO, but most of those 13 countries say they are still available because of illicit trade and cross-border Internet sales.

"The demand is not going away. This horse is not going back into the gate," said Ackerman, who also sits on the ECTA board.

"There are people who have been smoking for 50 years . . . and they've picked up an electronic cigarette and were finally able to permanently put away tobacco. These people are not going back to tobacco. The worst thing I can see is for this market to go underground, to become even a black market and it's totally unnecessary."

Rechargable kits imported from China retail for between $80 and $100. E-liquid cartridges containing nicotine are purchased separately.

A month's worth of e-liquid can be bought online for about $20 while a pack of twenty cigarettes varies from $10 to $15 if bought separately.

The Canadian Press


Most actively traded companies on the TSX

Some of the most active companies traded Friday on the Toronto Stock Exchange:

Toronto Stock Exchange (15,625.73, up 67.56 points):

Bombardier Inc. (TSX:BBD.B). Aerospace. Down 12 cents, or 3.17 per cent, to $3.66 on 9.6 million shares. Swedish company Braathens Aviation says it no longer wants to be the formal launch operator or first recipient of Bombardier's new CSeries commercial passenger jet because of uncertainty surrounding the program.

Athabasca Oil Corp. (TSX:ATH). Oil and gas. Up 33 cents, or 4.35 per cent, to $7.92 on 7.8 million shares. A big weight has been lifted off the company with the sale of its Dover oilsands stake finally closing. The sale, to a Canadian unit of PetroChina, will bring in proceeds of $1.184 billion, $600 million of which has already been paid in cash.

Baytex Energy Corp. (TSX:BTE). Oil and gas. Up 85 cents, or 1.78 per cent, to $48.62 on 3.2 million shares.

Manulife Financial Corp. (TSX:MFC). Up four cents, or 0.18 per cent, to $21.95 on 3.2 million shares.

Toronto-Dominion Bank (TSX:TD). Bank. Down 13 cents, or 0.23 per cent, to $57.25 on 3.2 million shares

Canexus Corp. (TSX:CUS). Chemicals. Up two cents, or 0.38 per cent, to $5.35 on 2.9 million shares.

Companies reporting major news:

Canadian Energy Services and Technology Corp. (TSX:CEU). Oil and gas. Up 26 cents, or 2.46 per cent, to $10.82 on 344,138 shares. The company has signed a deal to buy U.S. company Southwest Treating Products LLC. The provider of specialty chemicals for the oil and gas industry said the deal will speed the expansion of its operations in the west Texas Permian Basin and the Eagle Ford shale region in south Texas.

Osisko Gold Royalties Ltd. (TSX:OR). Miner. Up four cents, or 0.27 per cent, to $15.04 on 136,932 shares. The royalty company has increased its stake in NioGold Mining Corp. to 19.5 per cent. The company said it paid $4.9 million for 14 million flow-through shares of NioGold at a price of 35 cents per share.

The Canadian Press


Swedish firm no longer wants to be recipient of first Bombardier CSeries plane

MONTREAL - Swedish company Braathens Aviation says it no longer wants to be the first recipient of Bombardier's new CSeries commercial passenger jet because of uncertainty surrounding the program.

The aircraft has been grounded because of an engine incident three months ago.

"It has subsequently emerged that this may cause another delay to the CSeries introduction," Braathens said in a statement Friday.

"We have informed Bombardier that we will not assume the role of formal launch operator of the aircraft type. Due to increased uncertainty, we are discussing possible changes to the aircraft delivery schedule with Bombardier."

In 2011, Braathens put in a firm order for five CS100 planes and five CS300 models, for a total amount of $655 million. An option for 10 additional planes could boost the contract to $1.37 billion.

The delivery date was not announced when news of the order was made public.

The aircraft were to be flown in Sweden by Malmo Airlines.

Bombardier (TSX:BBD.B) spokesman Marc Duchesne played down the impact of Braathens' decision, saying such moves are the norm in the industry.

"They (companies) change business plans and therefore need different planes and at different dates," he said in an interview.

Duchesne said it had "never been confirmed in writing" that Malmo was to be the first airline to receive a CSeries plane.

"We're thinking of other airlines to take delivery of the first plane," he said, without mentioning whether any had shown interest in doing so.

He added that test flights on the CSeries should resume over the "next few weeks" and that things are "going really well."

Analyst Chris Murray of Altacorp Capital Research expects the tests to resume in the first half of September because he believes engine manufacturer Pratt & Whitney has solved the problem.

But Murray still believes the delays since the May 29 incident could stretch the deadline for the first deliveries.

"Any further major delay at this points likely sees EIS (entry into service) move into 2016, although we still believe it is more important for the company to adequately test and prove out the aircraft and avoid any concurrency issues."

Bombardier has 203 firm orders for the CSeries and hopes to reach 300 before it makes its first delivery. Including the 203 orders, it has 513 total commitments.

The Canadian Press


Porter Aviation puts Toronto island terminal up for sale; eyeing expansion plans

TORONTO - Porter is looking for buyers for its passenger terminal at the island airport in Toronto.

Porter Aviation Holdings, the parent company of the regional airline that is the main tenant at the Billy Bishop airport, said Friday a sale-leaseback deal would allow it to focus on its core business.

"The proceeds from the sale will help the airline invest in growth opportunities going forward," said Michael Deluce, executive vice-president and chief commercial officer at Porter.

These opportunities could include the airline adding more flights, destinations or upgrades to its airport lounge.

Porter Aviation designed and built the terminal that it has been operating since 2005.

Deluce said the terminal was an "important early investment" for expanding the airport's growth to 2.3 million passengers from 20,000 in 2005.

The company expects the sale to be completed within four months, and is looking at buyers in the pension and infrastructure investment funds in Canada and abroad. Porter would consider entering a long-term rental agreement with the new owner to use the terminal once the deal is done.

Deluce would not speculate on how much the sale would be worth, and dismissed a report from the Wall Street Journal that put the sale value at about US$500 million. He said it was too early to come up with an estimate.

Porter started flying in October 2006 and now serves 20 destinations in Canada and the United States.

The airline is currently involved in a politically-charged battle over its expansion plans for the airport's runway, which will allow it to fly larger jets from the downtown airport.

In 2013, it asked the city of Toronto, Transport Canada, and the Toronto Port Authority to amend a tripartite agreement that prevents jets from using the island airport except under special circumstances.

It has also placed a conditional order with Bombardier for 12 CS100 aircraft, worth about US$2.08 billion, that would extend the reach of the airline to destinations such as Los Angeles, Florida, Calgary and the Caribbean.

In the spring, city council voted to move ahead with negotiations on the expansion but requested further study on the environmental impacts as well as how it would affect traffic, among other issues. A decision is not expected until next year, after the municipal election in the fall.

Opponents to the plan, including the group NoJetsTO, made up of a coalition of citizens, say they are concerned about the impacts the jets might have on marine life and residential noise levels, and they want Toronto's waterfront to stay for mixed-use.

Deluce said the sale has nothing to do with the airline's expansion plan, adding that it will go ahead notwithstanding "any decision if Porter's (expansion) plans are completed or not completed."

Follow @LindaNguyenTO on Twitter.

The Canadian Press


Athabasca finally closes sale of Dover oilsands stake to PetroChina

CALGARY - A big weight has been lifted off Athabasca Oil Corp. (TSX:ATH) with the sale of its Dover oilsands stake finally closing.

The sale, to a Canadian unit of PetroChina, will bring in proceeds of $1.184 billion, $600 million of which has already been paid in cash.

The Calgary-based company has received interest-bearing promissory notes for the remainder, committing PetroChina to make three payments over the next two years.

"Closing of the Dover transaction is an important milestone for Athabasca and marks the beginning of a new chapter for our company," CEO Sveinung Svarte said in a release Friday.

"We can now finalize our business strategy which will be focused on profitable production and reserve growth, cash flow growth, cost discipline and balance sheet flexibility."

The company plans to provide a strategic update some time in the next few weeks, including revised guidance and spending plans.

Athabasca now has "ample liquidity" to continue developing its holdings in Alberta's promising Duvernay shale and the Hangingstone oilsands project and the timing of the promissory notes is aligned with spending plans over the next few years, Svarte added.

The notes are unconditional and secured by irrevocable, standby letters of credit issued by HSBC Bank Canada.

Earlier this month, Athabasca said it had set aside $49 million to settle PetroChina claims related to the cost of abandoning old oil and gas wells at Dover and MacKay River so that the oilsands resource there can be developed using steam-assisted gravity drainage technology.

Trading in Athabasca shares had been halted pending news before Friday's announcement.

The stock closed up more than four per cent at $7.92 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

Athabasca had been aiming to close the Dover deal by mid-year and the delays had been weighing on its stock price.

With the "much needed cash infusion," Athabasca will likely focus this winter on stepping up drilling in the Duvernay, Dejardins analyst Justin Bouchard wrote in a note to clients.

Athabasca is looking for a partner to help develop its Duvernay acreage.

"We view the outcome of the process as the last 'big' near-term catalyst for the company, potentially adding significant shareholder value given comparable transactions on nearby acreage," wrote Bouchard.

A 2009 joint-venture deal between Athabasca and PetroChina covering the MacKay River and Dover projects included an exit strategy of sorts for the Canadian company. In 2012, PetroChina took full control of the MacKay River project without any significant glitches.

But the process for Dover — in which PetroChina would buy Athabasca's 40 per cent stake in the project, giving the Chinese company complete ownership — has been anything but easy.

Concerns over the transaction had been mounting amid Chinese reports that a handful of PetroChina officials with Canadian ties were caught up in a corruption probe.

The Financial Post reported in July that PetroChina was trying to lower the amount owed to Athabasca because it is unhappy with the quality of the oilsands assets.

Months before that, regulatory approval for Dover — a prerequisite for the sale to PetroChina — had been held up by a legal challenge from a nearby First Nation.

The proposed five-phase Dover project aims to eventually produce 250,000 barrels of crude a day.

Follow @LaurenKrugel on Twitter

The Canadian Press


Mining stocks take TSX higher, N.Y. up modestly amid glum spending data

TORONTO - The Toronto stock market erased early losses to close higher Friday as investors bought into beaten-down mining stocks.

The S&P/TSX composite index closed 67.56 points higher at 15,625.73.

The Canadian dollar was down 0.22 of a cent at 91.97 cents US amid data that also showed stronger than expected Canadian economic growth.

Statistics Canada reported gross domestic product ran up at an annual rate of 3.1 per cent in the second quarter, higher than the 2.7 per cent read that economists had expected. First-quarter growth, which was affected by a severe winter, was revised downward to a gain of 0.9 per cent compared with an earlier reading of 1.2 per cent.

On a monthly basis, GDP climbed 0.3 per cent in June versus the 0.2 per cent rise that had been forecast.

U.S. indexes were modestly higher while traders played it cautious going into the long Labour Day weekend amid fears of a wider Russian incursion into Ukraine and a big letdown in U.S. consumer spending data.

The Dow Jones industrials climbed 18.88 points to 17,098.45 as other data showed consumer spending dropped 0.1 per cent last month, against the gain of 0.3 per cent that generally had been expected, with weakness most pronounced in the auto sector.

The Nasdaq ran ahead 22.57 points to 4,580.27 and the S&P 500 index was up 6.63 points to 2,003.37.

Other data showed a sharp uptick in manufacturing activity in the American Midwest. The Chicago Purchasing Managers Index surged to 64.3 in August from 56.5 in July.

Investors watched the Ukraine conflict for signs of further escalation after the country’s president said that Russian forces had entered the southeastern part of the country, which had largely escaped earlier fighting between Ukraine forces and pro-Russian militias.

European Union foreign ministers met Friday to weigh adopting a tougher stance on the Ukraine crisis amid increasing calls to beef up economic sanctions against Russia.

The tepid market performance Friday also comes at a time when indexes are close to record highs, raising questions about what is needed to push markets even higher.

"It's a common thing, eventually, the markets fully price in everything," observed Colin Cieszynski, senior markets analyst at CMC Markets Canada.

Toronto and New York markets both gained ground this past week. The Dow industrials posted a 97- points or 0.57 per cent advance, while the TSX gained 90 points or 0.6 per cent, led by consumer staples, industrials and telecoms. But the TSX was held back by the financial sector, down 1.15 per cent this week despite a steady parade of earnings news from the big Canadian banks that largely beat expectations.

Stock prices for the big banks are or near record or 52-week highs as the results started to come out a week ago and the financial sector is still up 11 per cent year to date.

"There was nothing wrong with the earnings reports, they were fine," Cieszynski said.

"But because expectations were running so high, people just used it as an excuse to take profits again. But they’ll be back."

The financial sector erased early losses to move ahead 0.26 per cent.

Resource sectors provided lift with the gold sector ahead about 1.56 per cent while December gold backed off $3 to US$1,287.40 an ounce.

The energy sector rose 1.07 per cent as October crude in New York gained $1.15 to US$95.70 a barrel.

December copper gained one cent to US$3.16 a pound and the battered base metals component, down six per cent this month, gained 0.3 per cent.

The Canadian Press




Read more Business News

20759


Recent Trending




Today's Market
S&P TSX15625.73+67.561
S&P CDNX1023.991.62
DJIA17098.4518.88
Nasdaq4580.271+22.577
S&P 5002003.37+6.63
CDN Dollar0.9200+0.0006
Gold1281.70-2.1001
Oil95.96+1.29
Lumber349.60+2.60
Natural Gas3.965+0.054

 
Okanagan Companies
Pacific Safety0.20+0.005
Knighthawk0.01-0.005
QHR Technologies Inc1.190.00
Cantex0.08+0.01
Anavex Life Sciences0.25+0.01
Metalex Ventures0.0750.00
Russel Metals36.48+0.09
Copper Mountain Mining2.93+0.02
Colorado Resources0.180.00
ReliaBrand Inc0.10+0.001
Sunrise Resources Ltd0.0250.00
Mission Ready Services0.245-0.005

 



22253

FEATURED Property
2053172710 Matt Rd.
5 bedrooms 4 baths
$465,000
more details
image2image2image2
Click here to feature your property
Please wait... loading


At the Core: Lessons in pricing from Apple

Apple has taught many entrepreneurs the importance of design, how to create buzz when introducing new products to the marketplace, how to pioneer new technology and the importance of superior quality....


New Real Estate Brokerage in town

Move over “big guys” there’s a new brokerage in town featuring local expertise, long standing experience and a fresh boutique approach. Kelowna, August 31 2014 – You may have...


How much mortgage should you carry?

There are several things to consider when deciding how much home to buy. 1. Draw up a budget including the new mortgage payments. While the rules used by most lenders require that the mortgage paym...

_








Member of BC Press Council


22810