By Sheldon Spackman
The City of Red Deer is giving a heads-up to local motorists that a set of new traffic signals have been installed along 39th street in east Red Deer, at the intersection with Ellenwood Drive and Metcalf Avenue.
The new lights will be fully operational on Wednesday, December 14th. So currently, motorists travelling east and west along 39th Street have a set of traffic lights, while north-south motorists have stop signs. Starting December 14th, drivers travelling in north-south directions will now have traffic lights as well.
This also means that pedestrians will still need to press the walk button to cross safely and countdown signals will be active in all directions. City officials say this change has been made to improve pedestrian and vehicle safety at this intersection.
(Photo courtesy of the City of Red Deer)
India suspends visa services in Canada and rift widens between countries
India’s visa processing centre in Canada suspended services Thursday as a rift widened between the countries after Canada’s leader said India may have been involved in the killing of a Canadian citizen. The High Commission of India is seen in Ottawa, Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Patrick Doyle
India’s visa processing centre in Canada suspended services Thursday as a rift widened between the countries after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said India may have been involved in the killing of a Canadian citizen.
Trudeau told Parliament on Monday that there were “credible allegations” of Indian involvement in the assassination of Sikh independence activist Hardeep Singh Nijjar, who had been wanted by India for years and was gunned down in June outside the temple he led.
Canada also expelled an Indian diplomat, and India followed by expelling a Canadian diplomat on Tuesday. It called the allegations being investigated in Canada absurd and an attempt to shift attention from the presence of Nijjar and other wanted suspects in Canada.
“Important notice from Indian Mission: Due to operational reasons, with effect from 21 Sept. Indian visa services have been suspended till further notice,” the BLS Indian Visa Application Center in Canada said. It gave no further details. BLS is the agency that processes visa requests for India.
India’s External Affairs Ministry did not immediately comment.
The Canadian High Commission in New Delhi said all its consulates in India are open and are continuing to provide services, but staff safety is being assessed.
“In light of the current environment where tensions have heightened, we are taking action to ensure the safety of our diplomats. With some diplomats having received threats on various social media platforms, Global Affairs Canada is assessing its staff complement in India,” it said in a statement.
It said Canada expects India to provide for the security of its diplomats and consular officers under the Vienna conventions.
In 2021, 80,000 Canadian tourists visited India, making them the fourth largest group, according to India’s Bureau of Immigration.
On Wednesday, India’s External Affairs Ministry issued an updated travel advisory urging its citizens travelling in Canada and especially those studying in the North American country to be cautious because of “growing anti-India activities and politically condoned hate-crimes.”
Indians should also avoid going to venues in Canada where “threats have particularly targeted Indian diplomats and sections of the Indian community who oppose anti-India agenda,” the ministry said.
Nijjar was working to organize an unofficial referendum among the Sikh diaspora on independence from India at the time of his killing. He had denied India’s accusation that he was a terrorist.
The second stage of B.C. voting on whether a Sikh homeland should be established in India’s Punjab province is scheduled to be held on Oct. 29.
The Vancouver Police Department beefed up security outside India’s Consulate after Trudeau’s announcement this week.
Const. Tania Visintin, Vancouver police media relations officer, said in a statement Wednesday that police are “closely monitoring the situation.”
“We’re doing significant work behind the scenes, which includes continuous risk assessments, with a goal of maintaining public safety and preventing violence,” Visintin said in an emailed statement.
Visintin said Vancouver police were not aware of any specific threats to Indian consular officials, but have increased their presence at the downtown Vancouver consulate.
Demands for an independent Sikh homeland, known as Khalistan, started as an insurgency in India’s Punjab state in the 1970s that was crushed in an Indian government crackdown that killed thousands. The movement has since lost much of its political power but still has supporters in Punjab, where Sikhs form a majority, as well as among the sizable overseas Sikh diaspora.
India’s National Investigation Agency said Wednesday it has intensified its crackdown on Sikh insurgents operating in India.
It announced rewards of up to 1 million rupees (CAD$16,240) for information leading to the arrest of five insurgents, one of whom is believed to be based in neighboring Pakistan.
The agency accused them of extorting money from businesses for a banned Sikh organization, the Babbar Khalsa International, and of targeted killings in India. “They also have established a network of operatives in various countries to further their terrorist activities in India,” it said in a statement, without naming any country.
India accuses Pakistan of supporting insurgencies in Kashmir and Punjab, a charge Islamabad denies.
— with files from The Associated Press
Growing number of forecasts predict oil will reach US$100 this fall
Pumpjacks draw out oil and gas from wellheads near Calgary on Friday, April 28, 2023. A growing number of forecasts are calling for the return of US$100 oil before the end of the year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
By Amanda Stephenson in Calgary
A growing number of forecasts are calling for the return of US$100 oil before the end of the year — a prospect that could put even more pressure on consumers and make it harder for central bankers to rein in inflation.
North American benchmark crude West Texas Intermediate has surged 30 per cent since June 1 and is hovering this week around US$90 per barrel, its highest point since November of last year. Global benchmark Brent crude was trading higher than US$93 on Wednesday.
In recent days, a number of analysts have revised their forecasts with the view that triple-digit oil prices may now be in the cards for this fall. Bank of America, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs are now all predicting US$100 Brent crude prices before 2024, as is Chevron CEO Mike Wirth, according to a Bloomberg report.
“We’re chewing on this right now,” said Andrew Botterill of Deloitte Canada, in an interview Wednesday in Calgary, where hundreds of oil and gas executives from around the globe are gathered this week for the 24th World Petroleum Congress.
Botterill said he’s currently working on Deloitte’s upcoming oil price forecast report and considering whether to revise his own earlier projections higher.
“I can absolutely see it ($100 oil) … I absolutely think we will have moments,” Botterill said.
“I can list a lot more reasons why oil will move up right now than down.”
Last week, the International Energy Agency predicted that world oil demand is forecast to grow to 101.8 million barrels per day by the end of this year, driven by resurgent Chinese demand.
In addition, Saudi Arabia and Russia recently agreed to extend their voluntary oil production cuts through the end of this year, leading to what the IEA calls a “substantial market deficit.”
“We have very firm global demand right now,” Botterill said.
“And as we get into the winter, that’s always a big consumption season as you start to see heating demand … So that really has us looking at how much we might see that (price) strengthening.”
Surging oil prices in the months ahead will likely make efforts by the Bank of Canada and other central bankers to get inflation under control more challenging.
According to Statistics Canada, Canada’s annual inflation rate has risen for two consecutive months, with higher gasoline and energy prices the major driving factor.
Fuel price tracking website GasBuddy.com says the average gasoline prices in Canada Wednesday was $1.67 per litre, nearly 15 cents higher than the 2022 average.
“Energy costs play a big role in all of our lives, and they’re certainly a big part of the inflation calculation for Canada,” Botterill said.
“With these firm prices, will we see that soften some of the demand? Will you and I turn our thermostat down, drive a little less? I hope so, but it’s the big (global) demand picture that’s really continuing to grow.”
However, Canadian energy companies are well-positioned to benefit from higher prices, said Lisa Baiton, president of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers on Thursday.
“The outlook is really bullish, for the foreseeable future,” she said. “You’re seeing a lot of activity, some M&A and consolidation. Companies are well-capitalized, and they’re willing to put their capital at play.”
Many Canadian oil and gas companies reaped record profits in 2022 due to the post-Ukraine invasion oil price spike. They were also criticized by environmentalists for directing the bulk of those profits into returns for shareholders, rather than investing in major emissions reduction projects.
But Baiton said Canadian companies are at a disadvantage to their American counterparts, who have access to an aggressive suite of government financial incentives for the deployment of technologies such as carbon capture and storage.
“Our members are ready to deploy capital into next-gen decarbonization projects. But again, capital is mobile – it will go to where there’s the greatest rate of return,” she said.
Keith Stewart of Greenpeace Canada said whether or not energy companies choose to invest in decarbonization projects, $100 oil may actually speed up the global energy transition.
“High oil prices are a double-edged sword for the oil industry, because while they mean big profits today, they also make alternatives like energy efficiency, electric vehicles and heat pumps much more attractive,” Stewart said.
In a research note, Eight Capital analyst Phil Skolnick said for the full year 2024, he continues to forecast an average WTI price of US$86 per barrel and an average Brent price of US$90.
But he is also bullish on oil prices for this fall, pointing out that OPEC’s global demand forecast for 2023 is a record 103 to 104 million barrels per day — even higher than the IEA’s forecast.
“If OPEC’s prediction turns out to be correct, the Q4/23 supply deficit may be the biggest in more than a decade,” Skolnick wrote.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 20, 2023.
Trajectory for ‘Freedom Convoy’ organizers’ trial uncertain as third week begins
Data shows higher rates of excess deaths in countries with higher rates of covid vaccination
As leaders convene, the UN pushes toward its crucial global goals. But progress is lagging
Hunter Biden sues the IRS over tax disclosures after agent testimony
Brownstone Institute2 days ago
Yes, You Are Being Manipulated
Alberta2 days ago
Insured damages from summer storms in Alberta top $300M, estimate shows
COVID-192 days ago
Lawyer raises Jordan concerns in ‘Freedom Convoy’ case as delays drag on
Alberta2 days ago
Alberta is getting serious about nuclear power
Alberta2 days ago
Encouraging news: Update on E. coli outbreak in Calgary
Economy2 days ago
Canada signs $3-billion deal to finance nuclear power in Romania
Arts2 days ago
CP NewsAlert: Debby Friday wins Polaris Music Prize
Alberta2 days ago
India’s response a key worry for trade relations with Canada: experts