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Vancouver port authority suspends Rolling Truck Age Program for at least nine months


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Minister of Transport Omar Alghabra listens during an announcement at Port Metro Vancouver’s Centerm container terminal, in Vancouver, on Friday, October 14, 2022. The Port of Vancouver announced that they have delayed the start of its Rolling Truck Age Program for another nine months due to the current economic landscape and the continued pandemic related issues their press release states. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

By Maya Riachi in Ottawa

The Vancouver Fraser Port Authority is suspending a controversial program to replace older trucks servicing the port for at least another nine months while it reassesses its plans.

It is the third time the port is postponing the Rolling Truck Program, which was supposed to begin April 3 to phase out trucks more than 12 years old to improve air quality and community health.

Truckers who use the port say the onus is on owners and operators to replace the older vehicles at a steep cost, even though many of them already meet emissions standards.

The port authority says the decision comes because of the state of the economy and ongoing issues related to the pandemic but it plans to explore new technologies and will reassess its emissions-reduction strategy.

The latest delay comes after four Liberal MPs wrote letters to Transport Minister Omar Alghabra expressing their frustration over the program and asking him to intervene.

In a statement on Twitter, Alghabra said the Liberal government is committed to working with both the port authority and truck drivers to find a common path forward.

A letter from Surrey, B.C., MP Randeep Sarai earlier this week said he has met with truckers who have complied with the new measures but still find it unreasonable and worry about the requirement to replace more vehicles from their fleets down the road.

Other Liberal MPs from the area, including Sukh Dhaliwal, Parm Bains and John Aldag, sent similar letters.

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to direct Alghabra to “immediately cancel” the program in a statement on Thursday.

“Justin Trudeau’s out-of-touch government is supporting another back-breaking policy at the Port of Vancouver that will further drive up the cost of goods,” Poilievre said.

Gagan Singh, a spokesperson for the United Truckers Association, said he wants the program scrapped entirely, and called on the federal government to facilitate talks with the port.

For others, news of the delay is “unfortunate.” Dave Earle, president and CEO of the British Columbia Trucking Association, said people knew the change was coming.

“The vast majority of operators have already chosen to make the investment necessary to reduce their (greenhouse gas) profile,” said Earle. “While the transition is difficult to do, certainly, it’s been in the works for a long time.”

Earle said newer vehicles are more fuel efficient and have lower greenhouse gas emissions.

“We’ve talked with every level of government about supporting the industry and accelerating fleet turnover — that is one of the best things we can do,” said Earle.

He remains “deeply hopeful” that the program will eventually happen.

Although the legislation was introduced under Stephen Harper’s former Conservative government, implementation of the program happened under the current government.

In a press release, the Port of Vancouver said it will consider new technologies and federal and provincial “fleet greening programs.” It also intends to reassess its emissions-reduction strategy.

The port said 85 per cent of truck operators are compliant with requirements of the program, which it estimates has led to a 79 per cent reduction in diesel particulate matter.

The port has also said in a previous press release that once trucks built before 2009 have been removed, it expects to see a reduction of about 15,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases being released each year, including 575 tonnes of smog-forming nitrogen oxide and 37 tonnes of carcinogenic particulate matter.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 24, 2023.

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Moneris confirms credit and debit card processing outage, but offers few details

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The Canadian payment processing firm Moneris confirmed Saturday that credit and debit card transactions were interrupted by a network outage earlier in the day.

The Toronto-based technology company issued a statement saying there was nothing to suggest the outage was related to a cyber attack.

Complaints about outages started rolling in to the website before noon eastern time, but Moneris did not say when the outage started.

About three hours later, Moneris posted a message on X — the  social media site formerly known as Twitter — saying it had resolved the network problem.

It remains unclear how many businesses and transactions were affected, but data provided by indicated complaints had come in from across the country.

In a statement provided to The Canadian Press, the company said the outage lasted about 90 minutes.

“We have resolved the network outage and returned transaction processing to normal,” the statement said. “We continue to investigate the root cause of the issue. There are no indications this appears to be cyber-attack related and all transaction systems are functioning normally again.”

The company, a joint venture between  Royal Bank and BMO Bank of Montreal, said transaction processing could be slow as its systems catch up with the backlog.

Moneris says it supports more than 325,000 merchant locations across Canada.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 23, 2024.

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Smith says despite difficulty with Ottawa, Alberta has allies in Trudeau cabinet

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Alberta Premier Danielle Smith speaks to business leaders at the Global Business Forum in Banff, Alta., Friday, Sept. 22, 2023. Smith told the conference that despite her concerns with the federal Liberal government there was some cabinet ministers she can work with. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

By Bill Graveland in Banff

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith told a business conference on Friday that despite her concerns with the federal Liberal government, there are some cabinet ministers she can work with.

Smith has been at odds with federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault and Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson amid concerns over Ottawa’s climate-change policies and transition plan for a net-zero emissions economy.

Guilbeault intends to publish draft regulations this fall to cap emissions from oil and gas, then force them downward overtime. Ottawa has also set a target to have the electricity grid be net-zero by 2035, but Alberta says it’s unrealistic.

Smith says Alberta won’t implement the emissions cap, nor will it follow the 2035 target.

The premier told delegates at the Global Business Forum in Banff, Alta., that Wilkinson needs to answer for comments he made earlier this week at the World Petroleum Congress in Calgary.

Wilkinson’s call for the industry to work aggressively to get to net-zero was basically telling them to “pack it up, because the oil and gas industry is winding down,” said Smith.

“You could just feel the energy leave the room and you could just feel the investment dollars leave the room.”

Smith said energy producing provinces such as Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador, can’t trust the Trudeau government to look out for their interests at international conferences.

“After hearing how the natural resources minister talks about our industry, after hearing how the federal environment minister talks about our industry, we can’t afford to let them carry our message,” Smith said.

“We can’t afford not to be there.”

Smith said she has been in discussions with Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and intends to talk to Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey about joint presentations at conferences in the future.

Despite her disappointment with Wilkinson and Guilbeault, Smith said it’s not all bad.

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland among the top allies, she said.

“Let’s give her credit for shepherding through all of the constant need to give more debt financing to Trans Mountain pipeline to get that to the finish line. That has not been easy,” Smith said.

She also praised Innovation Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, Public Safety Minister Dominic LeBlanc, Labour Minister Seamus O’Regan and Employment Minister Randy Boissonnault.

“I would say it’s not uniformly negative in the Liberal caucus. But for some reason they’re allowing Stephen Guilbeault to be a maverick and a renegade and quite offensive to those of who are trying to be reasonable and adult about this,” Smith said.

Smith said it’s time for the federal government to back away from setting “aggressive targets” in dealing with the provinces.

“Aggressive targets are not helpful. They’re not helpful to us. They’re not helpful to investors.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 22, 2023.

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