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National

Strained U.S.-Canada relationship backs arguments for pipeline, say Liberals

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OTTAWA — The federal Liberals are pointing to the unpredictable wrath of the American president to further buttress their argument that Canada needs the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion to reduce its trade dependence on the United States.

The U.S. is currently the destination for 99 per cent of Canada’s oil exports — a fact the Liberals cite as evidence in favour of building Trans Mountain, which would allow Canadian bitumen to be shipped to Asia by sea.

That argument appears to be getting fresh momentum from U.S. President Donald Trump and his Twitter feed, both of which have been the source of pointed attacks on Canada that have cast a worrying pall over the state of one of the world’s oldest and most enduring trade relationships.

“Well, yeah,” Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr replied when asked if the situation underscores why Canada wants to build Trans Mountain so badly.

“I believe that Canadians believe that to have more than one customer for our main natural resource is good for Canada.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau inferred the link during question period Tuesday.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley’s plan to impose “a limit on oilsands development and a price on pollution” included a pipeline to get oil to markets other than the U.S., he said — “something we can all agree on is probably a good idea, this week.”

In a speech at the Global Petroleum Show in Calgary Tuesday, Notley said “it has never been more important for Canada to get a Canadian pipeline built to a Canadian coast for the benefit of all Canadians.”

“If the last days and weeks tell us anything, it’s that we, as Canadians, need to take control of our economic destiny,” Notley said.

Notley’s comments and her alignment with Trudeau widen the already yawning chasm between her and the federal NDP, which introduced a Commons motion Tuesday calling for Canada not to spend “billions of public dollars on increasingly obsolete fossil fuel infrastructure.”

Federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh disagreed with the notion that a full-fledged Canada-U.S. trade war bolsters the Trans Mountain argument. Canada’s economic future depends on investing in clean energy and technology that will create jobs and economic growth for decades, he said.

“Investing potentially upwards of $10, $15 billion of public resources to build one pipeline, one specific project, doesn’t seem to be a vision of what we should be doing with our public resources.”

While $15 billion invested in clean energy could make Canada a leader in the sector, spending that money on the fossil fuel industry is “short-sighted,” he added.

Last month, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the government would buy Kinder Morgan’s existing Trans Mountain pipeline and its associated assets for $4.5 billion and build the expansion itself, selling it back to the private sector once it’s financially marketable.

Opposition to the pipeline and court challenges from the B.C. government made Kinder Morgan queasy about proceeding with its $7.4 billion investment in the expansion, all but abandoning it unless Ottawa could provide some measure of financial certainty.

— with files from Lauren Krugel in Calgary

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press


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Construction

Liberals set hiring, procurement rules for federally-funded projects

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OTTAWA — Cities, provinces and territories building new roads, bridges, water and transit systems funded with federal dollars will have to let Indigenous Peoples, veterans and recent immigrants have a hand in those projects under new rules being unveiled today.

The idea of so-called community benefits will be a mandatory requirement for many infrastructure projects the federal government will help pay for through its $33-billion spending envelope.

Provinces and territories will have some leeway to decide what projects are to be subject to the rules. Those projects that are will have to explain publicly how far they have come in meeting the government’s goals.

Under the new guidelines, provinces, territories and cities would have to hire apprentices, Indigenous Peoples, recent immigrants, veterans, young people, people with disabilities and women, or procure goods and services from small- and medium-sized businesses or social enterprises.

Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi will be in Toronto to unveil the new rules alongside the MP that first brought the idea to him two years ago — Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen.

Community benefit agreements have been used for years in the United States and were applied to the construction of the athletes’ village for the Vancouver Olympics. The agreements require projects to hire locally or create jobs for groups facing high unemployment rates, such as young people and Aboriginals.

The deals are usually negotiated among private companies doing work, the public body funding the project and community groups like unions, faith-based groups or social services.

The Liberals inserted broad wording about community benefit requirements into infrastructure funding deals that provinces and territories signed over the past year.

Once construction starts on projects funded through those agreements, the Liberals want to see how many hours the targeted populations work, or the value of the contracts provided to targeted businesses, to see how well proponents are doing at meeting their goals.

There will also be requirements to explain the challenges and successes provinces, territories and cities have in meeting the community benefit goals.

Jordan Press, The Canadian Press


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National

‘Hot Dog Water’ seller in Vancouver gets laughs, sales with savvy marketing

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VANCOUVER — A Vancouver man who sold bottles of “Hot Dog Water” for nearly $40 each says he was trying to see how marketing of health claims backed by supposed science amounts to quick sales.

Douglas Bevans said he boiled about 100 organic beef hot dogs and put each one in a bottle of the water he sold at an annual car-free event.

Each bottle of the “keto-compatible,” unfiltered water sold for $37.99, but two bottles cost only $75 because of a special deal last Sunday at his booth, where he wore a hot dog onesie and promoted himself as CEO of Hot Dog Water.

Bevans promised the water would lead to increased brain function, weight loss and a youthful appearance, even erasing crow’s feet when applied to the face in the form of a lip balm, which he also happened to sell.

“We noticed that some people were rubbing lip balm on their crow’s feet and they were swearing their crow’s feet were disappearing before their eyes,” he said.

One man who rubbed the lip balm on his “dome” sent him photos suggesting it promoted hair growth, Bevans said.

While many people laughed, he said others were impressed by the health benefits they’d experience with his unique products, including body spray and “Hot Dog Water breath freshener.”

Bevans said he sold 60 litres worth of the products.

He told people the water creates quicker sodium uptake for good health, uttering sheer quackery: “Because Hot Dog Water and perspiration resemble each other so when you drink Hot Dog Water it bypasses the lymphatic system, whereas other waters have to go through your filtering system, so really, Hot Dog Water has three times as much uptake as coconut water.”

Bevans, who is really a tour operator and a performance artist, said he came up with the idea as he questioned the ridiculous marketing and health claims behind some products and thought to himself: “I bet I could sell hot dog water.”

“We’re helping people, empowering them to use informed decisions in their purchasing choices,” he said about his marketing stunt. “That is the message behind this.”

His aim is to get consumers to bypass slick marketing and think about what they’re buying, especially in the age of social media clicks and ‘likes’ involving celebrities pitches.

Bevans said he thought of his project as an art performance to create awareness about critical thinking.

“Art, I think, has a way of doing this better than if this was a public service announcement. There’s an image attached to it, that it’s ridiculous.”

— Follow @CamilleBains 1 on Twitter.

 

Camille Bains, The Canadian Press


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