APTN National NewsNunavut has more of its citizens in jail per capita than anywhere else in Canada.And that is putting a real strain on the already overworked justice system across the territory.This year alone, there are 15 murder cases waiting to be tried.As APTN National News reporter Wayne Rivers finds out, everyone agrees there is a problem, but not the answer.
APTN National NewsA group of people from the Grassy Narrows First Nation made the five hour trek from Thunder Bay to Toronto, some on foot, to deliver a message and a gift.APTN National News reporter Donna Smith has this story.
APTN National NewsThe blonde grizzly bear was a popular figure in a small Yukon community.Then it was shot dead from a highway last week.Now some people are calling for a change to hunting rules.APTN’s Shirley McLean has the firstname.lastname@example.orgTwitter: @mcsquirel
APTN National NewsThey’re vowing to stay there until it’s called.A group of protesters are camping on the lawn the Manitoba legislature until an inquiry is called into the missing and murdered Indigenous women across Canada.APTN’s Matt Thordarson has the story.
APTN InFocus with Cheryl McKenzie:In October leaders, Elders, members and supporters of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (ACFN) rallied at the Federal Court in Vancouver.Today, they’re waiting for the court’s response on a judicial review.They want federal Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq’s decision to allow expansion of the Alberta tar sands, quashed.In addition to ACFN’s argument that their section 35 Constitutional rights were violated in the process, they also have results of an environmental health study on their side.The study links contaminants from the tar sands to incidence of illness in their community.Video courtesy: One River News (onerivernews.ca)
Shaneen Robinson-DesjarlaisAPTN National NewsAnother election was held to create a new board for the embattled Indian and Métis Friendship Centre in Winnipeg Wednesday night.The centre was incorporated nearly 60 years ago – but has been in the limelight lately because of allegations of mismanagement and infighting.There is hope that the new board will turn things around – but the voting process wasn’t without some heated moments.The tense moments involved board members and voters with ties to the American Indian Movement who some thought were taking over the board and creating their own agenda.“The membership has come to an agreement that only five members of the American Indian Movement will be allowed on the board,” announced Kathy Guimond-Doyle, interim chair of the meeting. “They’re not allowed to wear their patches and they are to swear an oath that they’re protecting the interests of the centre and not their group.”email@example.com
APTN InFocus It’s been over a year since the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls began its mandate.But it hasn’t come without much criticism and controversy.In this episode of InFocus, we talk about some of those issues such as how many staff have left or been let go, the lack of after-care for families testifying and the anticipation to a request for an extension.Our panel include Hilda Anderson-Pryz, she is a Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Liaison in northern Manitoba, APTN reporter Kathleen Martens and women’s advocate Lorelei Williams.We also talk about our hope for the Inquiry to serve families affected by losing a loved one to this national tragedy.Subscribe to the APTN InFocus podcast below:
Senator Lillian Dyck has co-authored a soon to be released study that she says has found disproportionate sentencing for offenders in female homicide cases. File photo.Justin BrakeAPTN NewsAn Indigenous Senator who is trying to change how perpetrators of violence against Indigenous women are sentenced in Canada says a soon to be released report shows that courts are more lenient to people who kill Indigenous women and girls than to those whose victims are not Indigenous.Cree Senator Lillian Dyck shared some of the report’s findings with APTN News.The co-authored paper analyzed data from around 800 cases involving violence against women between 1980 and 2013.The cases were selected because they reveal the ethnicity of both the victim and the perpetrator, Dyck explained in a phone interview.Among the researchers’ starkest findings is a disparity between the punishments for those who kill Indigenous women and those who kill non-Indigenous women.“Even though with murder there is very little wiggle room [with convictions], we did find that if you looked at the type of convictions by the victim’s race, when it was an Indigenous victim most often it was second-degree murder or manslaughter. If it was a non-Indigenous victim it was more likely first or second-degree murder,” Dyck said.First degree murder convictions are more likely to be given to those who killed a non-Indigenous woman–33 per cent–compared to perpetrators who killed an Indigenous woman, at 20 per cent.For second degree murder convictions, the rates were 39 per cent in cases where the victim was Indigenous, versus 46 per cent when the victim was not Indigenous.In contrast, the researchers found 39 per cent of manslaughter convictions in cases where the victim was Indigenous, versus 21 per cent when the victim was non-Indigenous.“That shows there’s something going on. It doesn’t prove there’s a racial bias, but it’s an indication that you should look into it further.”Dyck and her collaborators also found that in some homicide cases Indigenous male perpetrators “got a much higher sentence” in cases where the victim was not Indigenous, compared to cases where the victim was Indigenous, Dyck explained, adding the number of such cases was “not very high” but enough to warrant further investigation into the matter.The researchers found that non-Indigenous offenders received roughly “the same number of years before parole” regardless of their victims’ race.“But it was very different for the Aboriginal perpetrators if it was a non-Indigenous victim. He has to wait many more years before he got parole,” Dyck said.The Senator said in most homicide cases involving non-Indigenous female victims, the perpetrator was an intimate partner.But in cases where the victim was Indigenous, “usually it’s an acquaintance.”According to the study, 32 per cent of perpetrators or accused offenders were not known to Indigenous victims, while 12 per cent were unknown to non-Indigenous victims.“Contrary to the widespread belief that Indigenous women are only killed by persons known to them, this data shows the significant role of persons not known to Indigenous victims,” the report reads.The research also substantiated claims by former federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt and former RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson in 2015 that upward of 70 per cent of female Indigenous homicide victims were killed by Indigenous men.Valcourt came under fire from First Nations leaders after he told Alberta chiefs of the unpublished RCMP statistic during a meeting in Calgary.Paulson later confirmed Valcourt’s assertion.But Dyck said those claims haven’t been corroborated with evidence until now.People rally on the steps of the Supreme Court of Canada in October 2018, seeking justice for Cindy Gladue. Justin Brake/APTN“Before colonization women were not seen the way they are now — there was respect for women,” she said.“And that respect has been eroded through centuries of colonization, through the residential schools, and so on.”By contrast in the authors’ findings, only two per cent of those accused in homicide cases involving non-Indigenous women were themselves Indigenous.“This data disputes stereotypical beliefs that non-Indigenous women should be most fearful of Indigenous men,” Dyck and her co-authors write in the study.Dyck said 92 per cent of the offenders in the study were male.The authors say the findings reveal a “racialized dimension” to the homicide of women.They say Indigenous women are targeted by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous killers, while non-Indigenous women are targeted “almost exclusively by non-Indigenous perpetrators.”Bill S-215 pushes for legal reformDyck’s partial release of her research results coincided with the second reading of her Senate Bill S-215 in the House of Commons Monday.The proposed legislative change would require courts, in cases of violent offences, to consider the fact that a victim is an Indigenous woman as an aggravating factor when sentencing offenders.Effectively, those accused of crimes like sexual assault, aggravated assault, manslaughter or murder could face stiffer sentences for harming or killing an Indigenous woman than if the woman was not Indigenous.At the very least, the Senator hopes, judges will be compelled to address the vulnerability and disproportionate targeting of Indigenous women in their decisions and sentencing.Having already passed three readings in the Senate, the bill was sponsored on Monday by Indigenous Liberal MP for Winnipeg Centre Robert Falcon-Ouellette, who said S-215 will “rebalance the scales of justice.”He said the cases of Indigenous women and youth like Tina Fontaine, Cindy Gladue and Helen Betty Osborne are proof that “the combination of being Aboriginal female and living in a colonial society has devalued and dehumanized our women, and they are seen as inherently less worthy than other women.”Liberal MP Robert Falcon-Ouellette sponsored Bill S-215 Monday in the House of Commons, saying if passed it would “rebalance the scales of justice” for female Indigenous victims of violent crimes.He referenced the Canadian justice system’s “so-called subtle discrimination against Aboriginal women and girls” and said Dyck’s proposed legislative changes would “increase the likelihood that the consequences of assaulting or murdering an Aboriginal woman or girl are appropriate and meaningful.”Dene NDP MP Georgina Jolibois also supported the bill, admitting it’s “not a catch-all solution for the problems Indigenous women face in the justice system,” but that it’s “an opportunity for us to examine and question the belief systems judges, lawyers, police officers and court workers have and calls on them to see indigenous women from a new perspective.”But the bill isn’t receiving support from some MPs in the Liberal and Conservative caucuses.Conservative MP Michael Cooper questioned the bill’s constitutionality and suggested it might contradict the Gladue principle in sentencing.He asked if S-215 would violate Section 15 of the Charter, which guarantees all Canadians equal protection and benefit under the law without discrimination.“What the bill would do with respect to the Criminal Code is quite novel from the standpoint of aggravating circumstances,” he said, “because it would create a special class of victim, namely indigenous women.”Cooper said race, gender and vulnerability can already be considered aggravating factors in sentencing.He said under Dyck’s proposed legislative changes “it would not even matter if the offender knew that the victim was an Indigenous woman.”Cooper was joined by colleague and Conservative Crown-Indigenous Relations Critic Cathy McLeod, and Liberal MP Randy Boissonneault, in his concerns about the bill’s potential contradiction of the Gladue principle, which compels judges to consider all reasonable alternatives to jail when sentencing Indigenous offenders.“There would certainly be some litigation and some degree of uncertainty around sentencing,” Cooper said, in situations where a judge may be compelled to consider a victim’s Indigeneity as an aggravating factor while also considering alternative sentencing for Indigenous offenders.If S-215 were passed into law, “a judge could be under contradictory obligations both to lengthen the sentence for an Indigenous offender’s criminal conduct against an Indigenous woman and, at the same time, to consider alternatives to incarceration and reduce the sentence because the offender themselves has an Indigenous background,” Boissonneault said.Jolibois said Monday under Bill S-215 “the practitioners of violence would still get the punishment the law calls for, even with the aggravating circumstances the bill would put in place.”She said the Supreme Court has ruled that for serious offences, there may not be any reduction in imprisonment for Aboriginal offenders.Dyck said the Gladue provisions as they currently exist have “created a situation of unfairness” for Indigenous women “whereby [they’re] worth less than the man.”“Really what you’re saying to Aboriginal offenders is that you’re going to get special provisions and that maybe your crime of sexually assaulting someone—maybe even your spouse—is not that serious because of the circumstances of your life — which I understand. But those same exact factors are what made the Indigenous women vulnerable to that.“Indigenous women are seen as the lowest. In terms of racial hierarchy, we’re on the bottom.”Dyck said she is open to amendments of the bill and had previously considered making it applicable to all women, “with special consideration given to First Nations, Inuit and Metis women.”But there’s an urgent need for the reform, she adds.“The longer we wait the more Indigenous women and girls go through the court system and don’t get a fair deal — 30 to 40 a year, 450 I think in the last three years,” she said.“We could be making a difference for them rather than sitting and waiting. It’s certainly frustrating seeing it happen, to know the families are wanting this.”With endorsements from the Assembly of First Nations, the Native Women’s Association of Canada and the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, it remains to be seen if the bill will garner enough support in the House of Commons.But Falcon-Ouellette suggested Monday that if Conservative and NDP members “decided to support the bill, I suspect there might be enough members on this side of the House, whether the government supports it or not, to move it forward.”Dyck said “it’s hard to know” if her bill would deter offenders.She said if the bill is passed and a judge decides to hand down a harsher sentence to an offender who has killed an Indigenous woman, the impact could be that people’s views “gradually start to change.”“It’s not going to be instant; it’s going to take time.”firstname.lastname@example.org@JustinBrakeNews
Tamara PimentelAPTN NewsPrime Minister Justin Trudeau’s first town hall of 2019 was just a nine hour drive from the Unist’ot’en camp where hereditary chiefs were negotiating a peaceful end to a decade long barricade of the Wet’suwet’en territory.Despite being that far down the road, the issue of pipelines, and broken promises sounded throughout the night from Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples at the email@example.com@tamara_aptn
Kingcome Inlet Fish Farm. Photo Courtesy: Dzawada’enuxw First NationLaurie HamelinAPTN NewsThe Dzawada’enuxw First Nation of Kingcome is taking legal action against Canada to remove 10 salmon farms from their traditional waters located in the Broughton Archipelago northeast of Vancouver Island.“We are standing up to say we are taking back our lands, territories and resources, said Traditional Leader Willie Moon of Dzawada’enuxw First Nation (DFN).“I know how the government works, they divide and conquer our elected and our traditional [leadership], but today we stand united with our elected moving forward for our people and our children.”The community has said no to open-net fish farms for 30 years.The statement of claim, filed in federal court argues that the federal government authorized fish farm licenses without their consultation or consent.The claim also says fish farm operations pollute and poison wild salmon.The Dzawada’enuxw believe that open-net pens pose a serious threat to already low salmon stocks and have been actively protesting against the industry for three years.(Members of Dzawada’enuxw First Nation and supporters gather in downtown Vancouver. Photo Courtesy: Rob Smith/APTN)DFN members occupied Midsummer Island fish farm, owned by Marine Harvest Canada, but were ordered off in December 2017 by a court injunction.Jack Woodward, the nation’s lawyer, represented the Tsilhqot’in in their landmark title and rights case.“This is an action against Canada to terminate the federal licences which authorize fish farms,” said Woodward.“The legal basis of the case is that these federal licences infringe upon my client’s constitutionally-protected Aboriginal Rights.”This lawsuit is the third court challenge the DFN has filed since last year.“A win on any one of these cases could end fish farm licences for Atlantic salmon on the B.C. coast,” said Woodward.Last month the B.C. government announced a plan to phase out some fish farms in the Broughton Archipelago, but it did not include DFN.The Dzawada’enuxw left the government-to-government talks early last year.Although DFN believes the new deal between three other First Nations and the Province made some progress in protecting wild salmon from fish farms, they fear critical gaps remain.Chief Moon said DFN is taking matters into their owns hands, “Our membership said zero tolerance.”“Get those fish farms out of the water!”firstname.lastname@example.org@laurie_hamelin
Ashley BrandonAPTN NewsA Manitoba mother is still grieving the death of her daughter, who died on a Caribbean vacation three weeks ago.Holly Twoheart believes Danielle Twoheart’s death is suspicious.Danielle, 26, died in hospital after what hotel security claims was a fall from a three-story balcony at an all-inclusive Dominican Republic resort.The mother sat down with APTN News to describe what happened.The mother and daughter arrived at the resort on the evening of February 14 and decided to go out drinking, but got separated on the way to back to their room later that night.Holly says she asked security guards to help her back to her room because she was inebriated, and her daughter went ahead to use the washroom. “That’s the last time I saw my daughter,” she says.Holly Twoheart is in mourning after her daughter died on vacation. (Ashley Brandson/APTN)Holly says she stayed up waiting for Danielle to return to the room, when around 3 a.m., there was a knock on the door and it was security, “They told me to come with them and that’s when they took me to the scene where my daughter was laying.”Danielle was lying in the grass outside below a set of balconies. Twoheart recalls, “I was screaming, crying, I was hysterical. I was like, ‘That’s my baby’ and I was crying, ‘No, no, no’.”Twoheart says she was told security was chasing Danielle to bring her back to the room, and that she jumped from the balcony, “She wouldn’t jump, why would she jump? She has family at home and everything, she’s going to school, she wasn’t suicidal.”Danielle Twoheart allegedly jumped from this balcony at her Punta Cana hotel. (Photo Holly Twoheart)She says her daughter was taken to a local hospital and succumbed to her injuries.In an email to APTN News, Global Affairs Canada spokesperson Richard Walker wrote: “Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the Canadian citizen who died in the Dominican Republic. Consular officials are in contact with Dominican Republic authorities to gather additional information, and due to the provisions of the Privacy Act, no further information can be disclosed.”The Twohearts are originally from Sagkeeng First Nation, located 100 kms northeast of Winnipeg. Recently APTN confirmed 20 missing and murdered Indigenous women cases from this community, Danielle being one of them.Holly says she’s received support from the community, including Chief Derrick Henderson.Henderson tells APTN he’s writing a letter to Canadian consular officials to get more details.Danielle Twoheart died under mysterious circumstances in the Dominican Republic. (Photo Holly Twoheart)“I’m not satisfied with ‘It’s an accident’. I’m going to pursue it further. I’ve been in touch with the national and regional chiefs, I’m going to be requesting for something more than just, ‘Yeah, she fell off the balcony’.”Holly says she hopes this support will initiate a more thorough investigation into her daughter’s email@example.com@ashleybrandson
Kent DriscollAPTN NewsA student in Iqaluit has kicked off a debate about whether people in schools should stand while the national anthem is played.Then one day, Miles Brewster just stopped standing.“They didn’t explain what Orange Shirt Day meant,” he told APTN News. “They said ‘it’s Orange Shirt Day’ … ‘wear an orange shirt.’ But I felt like they didn’t explain enough – so I tried to make a statement.”firstname.lastname@example.org@kentdriscoll
HANOI, Vietnam – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday he’s satisfied with the public explanation provided by a top Liberal fundraiser whose name surfaced in leaked documents that provide details on legal, offshore tax havens used by the wealthy.Trudeau’s Conservative and NDP rivals, however, are decidedly less so.Trudeau, who is in Vietnam for this week’s APEC meeting, said he’s accepted Stephen Bronfman’s response to the so-called “Paradise Papers” that he has never funded nor used offshore trusts, and that all his Canadian trusts have paid all federal taxes on their income.However, when asked why his close friend appeared to still be in his role as a key Liberal fundraiser, the prime minister did not directly answer, nor would he speak Bronfman’s name.“In regards to the specific case you mentioned, we have received assurances that all rules were followed, indeed the same assurances made in the public statement released by the family, and we are satisfied with those assurances,” Trudeau told a news conference inside Vietnam’s presidential palace.“We have done much in regards to tax avoidance and tax evasion, including working with international partners.“But we also recognize there is much more to do and you can rest assured that Canada Revenue Agency will take very seriously its responsibility to go after everyone and anyone involved in tax avoidance and tax evasion.”Tax avoidance measures involving offshore trusts are legal, provided that the trust is genuinely managed offshore and that Canadian taxes are paid on any Canadian contributions. And there may be other legitimate reasons for setting up an offshore account, including if you’re a contractor doing work in a particular country.Still, the questions around Bronfman have given the Liberal government’s political foes fresh ammunition to accuse Trudeau of leading an ethically challenged government — and they renewed their attacks Wednesday.Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer called it “unbelievable” that Trudeau would give Bronfman a clean bill of health so soon after the Canada Revenue Agency had promised to delve more deeply into the murky world of offshore tax havens.“What kind of message does that send to the Canada Revenue Agency and the people that will be reviewing the file? What kind of message does that send to Canadians?” Scheer asked.“I think what drives Canadians crazy is when they think there’s one set of rules for everyone and a different set of rules for close friends of Liberal ministers or the prime minister.”NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh also called for more investigation, saying it’s critical to understand what happened with the Paradise Papers and why Canada’s laws allow the super-rich to avoid paying taxes.“The prime minister says that he is satisfied with the explanation provided by Mr. Bronfman,” Singh said. “The reality is Canadians are not satisfied. Canadians expect a just and fair taxation system … that ensures the wealthy, the well-connected, the powerful also contribute their fair share.”Scheer said the government needs to allow the CRA to determine whether the problem is structural or enforcement-based and give those accused of playing fast and loose with the rules a chance to defend their actions.“For the prime minister, before any of that work is done, to go out and say ‘We are satisfied’ — I think that’s terribly inappropriate.”Opposition MPs pursued the matter later during question period, demanding to know whether Bronfman will now be excluded from the CRA’s promise to review evidence from the Paradise Papers and take any necessary action against tax evaders.Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier said it would be inappropriate for her to comment on an individual case but repeatedly asserted that “no one is above the law.”In his statement, Bronfman said he made a single loan to the trust on an arm’s-length, fully commercial basis some 25 years ago that was repaid five months later, a transaction that was fully in compliance with Canadian law.— Follow @AndyBlatchford on Twitter
WASHINGTON – Prepare for a tense moment in Canada-U.S. relations — with hard bargaining on NAFTA on the horizon prompting nervous glances at Donald Trump to see whether he cancels the agreement, now compounded by a bitter, wide-ranging trade dispute.Canada launched a broad attack against American trade practices in an international complaint about the superpower’s use of punitive duties, eliciting a caustic counter-swipe from the Trump administration when the document was made public Wednesday.”(This is an) ill-advised attack,” U.S. trade czar Robert Lighthizer said. “Canada’s claims are unfounded and could only lower U.S. confidence that Canada is committed to mutually beneficial trade.”Two weeks from now, the unstated backdrop to the dispute will be squarely in the foreground.The countries will gather in Montreal for a high-stakes round of NAFTA negotiations, with no additional talks scheduled beyond March. Canadian officials say they know full well that Trump could invoke NAFTA’s withdrawal clause during this January-March period.What would happen then? For starters, the Canadian dollar and Mexican peso would take a quick plunge, just as they did Wednesday after news reports emerged saying the Canadian government is more convinced than ever that Trump is poised to invoke NAFTA’s withdrawal clause, perhaps around the time of the talks in Montreal Jan. 23-28.Two Canadian government sources insist that’s not true. Rather, they say there are different points of view within the Canadian government about whether Trump will pull the plug — as he’s repeatedly threatened to do — and, if so, when.One official said the current uncertainty could last several months, or even longer: even if Trump issues a withdrawal notice, the agreement provides six months before a country can actually leave. Some U.S. observers also predict court fights over whether a president can abandon a trade deal without congressional approval.Speaking of court fights, more are on the way.Canada has launched a World Trade Organization complaint about the U.S. system for imposing punitive duties, alleging that they violate international law.The complaint was launched in December but made public Wednesday — the very day, coincidentally, that the U.S. announced its latest trade action against Canada. The U.S. is imposing duties of up to nine per cent on Canadian paper, following similar penalties against Bombardier and softwood lumber, over what the U.S. alleges to be unfair Canadian trade practices.Canada is now arguing that the entire American process for imposing anti-dumping and countervailing duties violates global trade rules. It cites five reasons, saying the U.S. levies penalties beyond what’s allowed by the WTO, improperly calculates rates, unfairly declares penalties retroactive, limits evidence from outside parties, and has a tilted voting system in domestic trade panels that, in the case of a 3-3 tie, awards the win to American companies.The complaint holds global consequences. Canada cited 122 cases where the U.S. unfairly imposed duties on foreign countries, not just Canada.”It’s (saying), ‘The entire way in which the U.S. — you — are conducting your anti-dumping, countervailing procedures, is wrong,”’ said Chad Bown, a trade expert at Washington’s Peterson Institute and host of the podcast ”Trade Talks.””This is effectively Canada bringing a dispute on behalf of all exporters in the world — the Europeans, Japan, China — because they’re making a systemic challenge.”Some critics questioned the timing.Edward Alden of the Council on Foreign Relations called it a precarious moment for NAFTA and the global trading system, both of which are under threats and criticism from Trump: “Canada has just detonated a bomb under both.”Canada-U.S. trade lawyer Mark Warner said Canada is well within its rights to take action on complaints that may have merit. But he questioned the strategic logic of antagonizing the Trump administration on the cusp of the potentially pivotal Montreal talks when it’s already unhappy with both NAFTA and the WTO.“This isn’t going to calm passions in Montreal,” Warner said.Indeed, the Trump administration wasted no time expressing its displeasure. In a statement, Lighthizer not only criticized the move but said it was self-defeating for Canada, too, since if it succeeds, low-cost producers could start dumping product onto the U.S. market, squeezing out Canadian competition.“The flood of imports from China and other countries would negatively impact billions of dollars in Canadian exports to the United States, including nearly US$9 billion in exports of steel and aluminum products and more than $2.5 billion in exports of wood and paper,” he said.“Canada’s complaint is bad for Canada.”Bown was less critical.The smaller northern neighbour could be making a point about NAFTA, he said: that if Canada loses free trade, and its dispute-settlement bodies, it will use international means to fight its battles.
TORONTO – The Canadian dollar and the Toronto stock index fell Wednesday amid reports that the United States may soon announce its intent to pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement.The loonie closed at an average trading price of 80.03 cents US, down 0.27 of a U.S. cent.The S&P/TSX composite index lost 71.29 points to 16,247.95, with industrials among the main decliners.“That’s the sector that’s getting hit the most this afternoon because of the NAFTA news,” said Anish Chopra, managing director with Portfolio Management Corp. in Toronto. “You’ve got the auto parts companies in that area.”Separate reports from Reuters and Bloomberg said Wednesday that two Canadian government sources believe it’s increasingly likely that U.S. President Donald Trump will give six-months’ notice to withdraw from NAFTA in late January.With the exception of metals and materials, few sectors on the commodity-heavy TSX finished the day out of the red, as the February gold contract gained US$5.60 to US$1,319.30 an ounce.“The markets sold off this afternoon on the NAFTA news and that’s really been a driver of performance later in the day,” Chopra said.Even rising oil prices — the February crude contract was up 61 cents to US$63.57 per barrel, its highest level since Dec. 9, 2014 — couldn’t prevent energy stocks from losing ground.“That would be unusual given the change in price of the commodity,” Chopra said. “I think it’s in sympathy of just trying to understand what’s going on with NAFTA. … You don’t know if it’s actually going to happen or if it’s a negotiating tactic.”South of the border, U.S. stock indices pulled back from their record setting pace.On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average dropped 16.67 points to 25,369.13. The S&P 500 index edged back 3.06 points to 2,748.23 and the Nasdaq composite index was down 10.01 points to 7,153.57.Elsewhere in commodities, the February natural gas contract was down two cents to US$2.91 per mmBTU and the March copper contract added two cents to US$3.24 a pound.Follow @DaveHTO on Twitter.
CALGARY – A second institutional investor proxy advisory firm is wading into the fight by a dissident shareholder to elect a slate of four directors to the 10-member board at Crescent Point Energy Corp.Unlike Institutional Shareholder Services Inc., however, Glass Lewis & Co. is recommending that shareholders vote for all of Crescent Point’s director nominees and none of those put forward by Cation Capital Inc.Glass Lewis says shareholders should also vote in favour of the oil and gas producer’s approach to executive compensation, one of the issues identified by Cation, even though it gives a “D” grade in its report for pay for performance and says the top five executives earn more than the average on a list of their peers.ISS last week suggested shareholders should vote for two of Cation’s four nominees at the company’s annual meeting May 4 because there is a “reasonably compelling case” for board change to improve capital spending decisions, enhance profitability and bring executive compensation in line.Crescent Point endorses the Glass Lewis report, pointing out in a news release it supports the current board’s efforts to address shareholder concerns and finds Cation’s plan “decidedly vague and bereft of any meaningful substance.”In response, Cation says the Glass Lewis recommendation is “entirely flawed,” charging that the advisory firm didn’t fairly consult with Cation about its plan for Crescent Point.
WASHINGTON — U.S. home prices increased more slowly in September from a year ago as higher mortgage rates weighed on sales.The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 5.1 per cent from a year earlier. That’s down from a 5.5 per cent yearly gain in the previous month. It was the sixth straight month that home price increases have slowed.The weaker price gains reflect a broader slowdown in the nation’s housing market. Sales of existing homes rose modestly in October, snapping a six-month streak of declines. But sales are still 5.1 per cent lower than they were a year ago. New home sales have fallen for four straight months. Mortgage rates have jumped in the past year, reaching 4.8 per cent last week, up from 3.9 per cent a year ago.Christopher Rugaber, The Associated Press
CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — America’s next moon landing will be made by private companies — not NASA.NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced Thursday that nine U.S. companies will compete in delivering experiments to the lunar surface. Bridenstine says NASA will buy the service and let private industry work out the details on getting there.The goal is to get science and technology experiments to the surface of the moon as soon as possible. The first flight could be next year. 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the first manned moon landing.The announcement comes just three days after NASA landed a spacecraft on Mars. NASA wants to see how it goes at the moon before committing to commercial delivery services at Mars.Marcica Dunn, The Associated Press
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Former Appalachian coal miners and supporters are in Washington this week to urge lawmakers to extend a tax that benefits miners sick with black lung disease.The excise tax paid by coal companies funds the Black Lung Disability Trust Fund, but the tax is set to decrease by half at the end of the year.Calling it a matter of life and death, supporters say the fund could be in jeopardy without the extension. Kenny Fleming had to retire early from coal mining in eastern Kentucky when he got sick. He called the fund a “lifesaver.”Rates of black lung, an incurable disease, have been on the rise in Appalachia in recent years.House Republicans inserted a one-year extension for the tax into a tax bill released this week.The Associated Press
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – After much anticipation, Canada signed the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement in Buenos Aires today on the sidelines of the high-profile G20 summit.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined U.S. President Donald Trump and outgoing Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto at a hotel to formally sign the trade agreement.U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum remain in place, but a Canadian official says an advantage to signing onto the agreement now is an auto side letter exempting Canada of potential tariffs on exports of up to 2.6 million vehicles — well above current levels.Today marks an important deadline for the trade pact.A new Mexican president takes over Saturday, who might not honour the tentative deal struck by his predecessor.Stability for Canada: TrudeauPrime Minister Justin Trudeau says the revamped NAFTA signed today in Buenos Aires provides stability for Canada’s economy.“Free and fair trade leads to more and better paying middle class jobs for more people,” Trudeau told a news conference in Argentina. “And the benefits of trade must be broadly and fairly shared — that is what modernizing NAFTA achieves, and that is why it was always so important to get this new agreement done right.”Trudeau calls on atrump to drop steel and aluminum tariffs as he speaks at the USMCA signings ceremony. Those tariffs remain in place despite the trade deal being reached #cdnpoli— Cormac Mac Sweeney (@cmaconthehill) November 30, 2018He says the new agreement lifts the risk of economic uncertainty that lingers throughout the trade renegotiation process.Trump says the new deal is a model agreement that will stop auto jobs from going overseas.He also says the agreement protects intellectual property rights and provides robust protections for digital trade and financial services.“President, I must say Pena Nieto, and Prime Minister Trudeau, we’ve worked hard on this agreement,” Trump said. “It’s been long and hard. We’ve taken a lot of barbs and a little abuse, and we got there. It’s great for all of our countries. Thank you for your close partnership throughout this process.”In the US, the Democrats (who control the House) want more measures to prevent jobs from going to Mexico, while Republicans are protesting protections for LGBTQ2 workers. #cdnpoli— Cormac Mac Sweeney (@cmaconthehill) November 30, 2018The signing of the trade pact is largely ceremonial, because it still needs to be ratified by all three countries before it can formally take effect.