Connect with us
[the_ad id="89560"] [the_ad id="89560"]


Canada will not bend to U.S. steel tariff pressure in NAFTA talks, says Freeland



If you like this, share it!

  • OTTAWA — As the United States tries to light a fire under NAFTA negotiations, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says Canada will not be bullied or pressured by the United States as part of those talks.

    Freeland is coming off a tense week which started with the seventh round of NAFTA negotiations making little progress towards an agreement but ended with a sigh of relief when Canada and Mexico secured an exemption from new U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum imports.

    The steel tariff threat was seen by many to be an attempt by the Trump administration to pressure Canada and Mexico to complete the NAFTA talks — giving in to other U.S. demands or giving up some of their own —rather than risk the punishing steel and aluminum duties. The steel tariff investigation was launched to see the impact of steel imports on U.S. national security.

    Freeland said it was absurd to consider Canadian steel a national security threat and that “as far as Canada is concerned there is absolutely no connection” between the national security reasons cited for the steel tariffs and NAFTA.

    “These are two separate tracks and in the NAFTA negotiations Canada will not be subject to any type of pressure,” she said. “This episode has not changed our NAFTA negotiation position.”

    Her words echo those of Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo who said last week Mexico also believed the steel tariffs had nothing to do with the NAFTA talks.

    Freeland notes the written presidential proclamation putting them in place does not.

    “That was significant and we were glad to see that,” she said.

    The proclamation instead pointed to economic integration between the U.S., Canada and Mexico, the fact the U.S. also exports steel to both Canada and Mexico, and the three countries’ shared commitment to national security and addressing global excess capacity in steel production. Trump did say he expected both Canada and Mexico to take action to prevent other countries from sneaking steel into the U.S. by sending them to Canada or Mexico first.

    However Trump specifically mentioned NAFTA in his press conference announcing the exemptions on March 8.

    “We’re negotiating right now NAFTA and we’re going to hold off the tariff on those two countries to see whether or not we’re able to make the deal on NAFTA,” he said. He added that national security was an important part of that deal and, if a deal is made, “this will figure into the deal and we won’t have the tariffs on Canada or Mexico.”

    NAFTA talks started seven months ago and the U.S. is starting to get antsy about getting a deal. Mexican federal elections scheduled for July 1 and U.S. congressional elections in the fall are adding pressure, as changes of government as a result of either could affect both getting a deal and getting it ratified.

    Following the close of the seventh round of negotiations last week in Mexico, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the U.S. wants to get a deal done in the next four to six weeks. Canada and Mexico are both indicating a willingness to step up the pace of the talks but not at the expense of getting a good deal for all.

    Freeland is headed to New York Monday to host an event on Canada’s Elsie Initiative for Women in Peacekeeping, which aims to increase the number of women deployed as part of peacekeeping forces around the world. From there, she may travel to Washington, D.C. to continue NAFTA talks although her spokesman would only say her schedule is still being finalized.

    Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is heading to Canadian steel country this week on a three-day tour designed to shore up the industry. The tour was planned before the tariff exemption was confirmed but will still go ahead despite the exemption, with stops in Alma., Que, Hamilton, Ont., Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., and Regina, Sask.

    — follow @mrabson on Twitter.

    Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press

    If you like this, share it!


    “Goodnight, not goodbye:’ embattled band Hedley plays last show before hiatus



    If you like this, share it!

  • KELOWNA, B.C. — Hedley’s frontman suggested Friday that the group’s “indefinite hiatus” may not be permanent as the Vancouver pop-rockers closed out their tour’s final show under a cloud of sexual misconduct allegations.

    “This is goodnight, not goodbye,” Jacob Hoggard told boisterous fans in Kelowna, B.C.

    “So stay in our lives. And Kelowna, I will promise I will stay in yours.”

    The floor seats at Prospera Place were mostly filled, but the arena had large empty spaces in the stands.

    The day before the concert, the venue said about 3,000 tickets had sold and shows there tend to hold a maximum of roughly 5,000.  

    Hoggard has denied ever engaging in non-consensual sexual behaviour, but he admits he has behaved in a way that objectifies women.

    The group has been dropped by its management team, blacklisted by scores of radio stations and abandoned by musicians booked as tour openers.

    Ahead of the Kelowna show, fans were handing out flyers in support of the band.

    Laura Carruthers made 3,000 photocopies asking people to sign a petition urging radio stations to reinstate airplay for the band.

    She was in the parking lot outside the arena handing out the pages, which have the phrase #istandforhedley written on them with hearts drawn in red glitter.

    “I’ll always be standing by them. Because it’s allegations, it’s not actually a charge yet,” Carruthers said.

    Valerie Rivet, who travelled from Ottawa to see her favourite band for the 33rd time, said the accusations against Hoggard haven’t been proven, and if they ever are, she would re-evaluate her love of the band.

    “Twitter is not a court of law,” she said. “For now I stand with them.”

    Kris Jerstad was standing outside Prospera place with two $75 floor seats he was hoping to sell.

    He said his daughter bought them months ago, but no longer wanted them after the allegations against Hoggard came to light.

    “She’s refusing to see them,” he said. “She sticks to what she believes in.”

    Minutes before the show started, Jerstad gave away the tickets to a woman for free and left.

    Toronto police have said they are investigating Hoggard, but no charges have been laid.

    Online accusations began surfacing last month suggesting inappropriate encounters with young fans.  

    A 24-year-old Ottawa fan of the band alleged to the CBC in February that she was sexually assaulted by Hoggard after chatting with him on the dating app Tinder and agreeing to meet him at a hotel in Toronto.

    The CBC published another report weeks later of a Toronto woman who alleges Hoggard tried to force her to do things without her consent during a sexual encounter in 2016.

    A Calgary radio host has also alleged that Hoggard groped her and made lewd remarks to her seven years ago.

    In announcing he would be putting his career on hold, Hoggard said he would make real changes in his life, seeking guidance from his family and learning from the “amazing women in my life.”

    “The way I’ve treated women was reckless and dismissive of their feelings. I understand the significant harm that is caused not only to the women I interacted with, but to all women who are degraded by this type of behaviour,” he wrote in a statement posted to his Twitter account Feb. 28.

    “I have been careless and indifferent and I have no excuse. For this I am truly sorry.”

    Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press

    If you like this, share it!
    Continue Reading


    Alberta tells B.C. to stop opposing pipelines if it doesn’t like high gas prices



    If you like this, share it!

  • CALGARY — Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says if British Columbia wants to keep gasoline prices low it should stop opposing the Kinder Morgan oil pipeline expansion.

    B.C. Premier John Horgan said Thursday he would like to see the federal government step in to deal with high gas prices. 

    “I would certainly love to see the federal government take some leadership in this regard,” Horgan said in Victoria.

    “And the Kinder Morgan proposal, as it currently is constructed, will not bring down … gas prices. It will send diluted bitumen to another jurisdiction.”

    Notley said Horgan’s position on gas prices is ironic.

    “I think that there are a lot of ways in which the province of B.C. can assure an adequate supply of gasoline in order to combat the ridiculous prices that they pay,” she said Friday in Calgary.

    “I think the best way to do that is to allow for the kind of open and smart trade between provinces that would facilitate that and it would include increasing the ability of Alberta to ship more product to the west.”

    Kinder Morgan Canada’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion would triple the amount of crude flowing from Alberta to a port facility in Burnaby, B.C.

    The federal government approved the expansion in 2016 but the project faces significant opposition in B.C. Thousands of people have been rallying to protest the project and Horgan has raised concerns about the pipeline’s possible environmental and economic impact.

    Horgan has asked for a legal ruling on whether his province can restrict increased amounts of oil from coming into B.C. while his government reviews oil-spill safety measures.

    Alberta imposed a short-lived ban on B.C. wine and Notley has suggested she will introduce legislation in the coming weeks to give her the power to curtail oil shipments to B.C. in retaliation.

    Notley also slammed the B.C. government for a plan to offer tax incentives, including relief from the provincial sales tax, for construction of liquefied natural gas projects. 

    Horgan announced the proposed subsidies ahead of a final investment decision on LNG Canada’s $40-billion project which would include building a natural gas pipeline from northeast B.C. to a new terminal on the coast.

    That smacks of environmental hypocrisy, Notley said. B.C. can’t have one set of environmental rules for itself and another for Alberta, she said.

    The B.C. government has shown it’s possible to balance environmental responsibility with economic prosperity, Notley said.

    “They discovered that with LNG and I would suggest they apply the same lens to the work that we’re trying to do with Kinder Morgan.”

    Alberta Opposition United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney laughed when asked about Horgan’s concerns about high gasoline prices.

    “You can’t make this stuff up. It’s like comedy hour coming out of Victoria. They’re trying to shut down their major source of oil. They are increasing their carbon tax while telling ordinary British Columbians they’re concerned about high gas prices?” he said.

    “I just can’t believe how stupid that remark is coming from the premier of British Columbia.”

    — Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter


    (Companies in this story: TSX: KML)

    Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press

    If you like this, share it!
    Continue Reading

    Community Events

    march, 2018

    No Events