B.C. Premier John Horgan has told Surrey Mayor Doug McCallum to back down from attempting to stop ride-hailing companies from operating in the city.
“I think the way forward for Surrey and for Mr. McCallum is to listen to the citizens of his community who want to competition,” Horgan said.
“Not to destabilize and put people out of business but to provide a range of options for the travelling public.”
Speaking for the first time publicly since ride-hailing hit the road in British Columbia, Horgan said the rules are clear: municipalities cannot block companies from operating.
McCallum told reporters on Monday that by-law officers would be issuing fines of $500 to ride-hailing drivers picking up in the community. So far Uber is the only company that has decided to operate in Surrey.
The world’s largest ride-hailing company filed for an injunction with the Supreme Court of British Columbia on Tuesday to stop the City of Surrey from issuing what the company calls “illegal tickets.”
“The city’s actions are unfair to local residents who want to earn money and support their families. It is also unfair to those who need a safe, affordable and reliable ride,” Uber’s head of western Canada Michael van Hemmen said.
“Our preference is to work collaboratively with municipalities, and we are doing so across the region. However, Uber must stand up when drivers and riders are being bullied and intimidated, especially when the province has confirmed drivers have the legal right to use Uber’s app, and to earn money driving with the app.”
Uber says the injunction application is based on the fact Surrey does not have the authority to prevent ride-hailing companies from operating in the municipality and that McCallum has publicly stated that even if there was a Transportation Network Service business licence, which there is not, the city will not issue a business licence to a ridesharing company.
“Uber is hopeful that the city will immediately cease issuing illegal fines, and allow drivers to continue to provide safe, affordable, reliable rides to riders in Surrey without harassment, as the region collaboratively works on inter-municipal business licencing,” van Hemmen said.
The provincial government introduced legislation in 2019 allowing ride-hailing vehicles to operate. It took the Passenger Transportation Board (PTB) more than four months to review, and eventually approve, the applications of Lyft and Uber.
The two companies have been operating in Vancouver and at Vancouver International Airport since Friday.
The Vancouver Taxi Association has filed a lawsuit against the PTB asking for an immediate stop to ride-hailing.
“You want to make sure you are protecting the existing industry but not protecting it from competition,” Horgan said.
“This is a free market economy, people understand that. I understand the mayor of Surrey opposes that view. We believe the Passenger Transportation Board has done a very good job of balancing all of the interest of the travelling public as well as the existing industry.”
Bank of Canada policy will ‘hit home’ in 2023: David Rosenberg
The Bank of Canada may be signalling a possible end to its months-long aggressive interest-rate hike cycle, but economist David Rosenberg said next year will see the lagging impact of 2022’s monetary policy “hit home” for Canadians.
“Next year is the payback,” Rosenberg, chief economist and strategist at Rosenberg Research and Associates Inc., said in an interview with BNN Bloomberg.
“2022 was the year of the sharp run-up in rates, 2023 will be the year where the policy lags from those rising rates hit home.”
He made the comments Thursday, a day after the Bank of Canada raised its overnight lending rate by 50 basis points to 4.25 per cent, as the central bank continued with its approach to bringing down inflation.
Rosenberg predicted a “severe recession” for Canada next year based on the rate hike cycle, calling for a “triple whammy” with economic impacts compounded by high levels of household debt, a housing bubble and ripples in the global economy.
Possible spillover effects from the interest rate cycle could be felt, Rosenberg said, as banks may constrain the availability of credit and spending drops across various sectors.
Based on the latest rate increase, Rosenberg said he predicts at potentially one more rate hike from the bank before a pause. Once inflation starts to come down, Rosenberg said he thinks the central bank may start to cut rates, possibly in the second half of 2023.
“The next stage is going to be waiting for the inflation to come down, which I think it will, and the recession is going to catch a lot of people by surprise,” he said.
A similar pattern may play out in the U.S., but Rosenberg said Canadians are more exposed to higher interest rates through variable-rate mortgages and because more consumer credit is tied to short-term interest rates.
“As bad as it’s going to be in the U.S., and believe me, it’s not going to be a pretty picture there, I think the Canadian situation in the next year is going to be clouded at best,” he said.
CRTC rejects Telus’ request to charge credit card processing fee for some services
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission ruled Thursday that Telus is not able to charge a credit card processing fee for regulated home telephone services.
This ruling applies to Alberta and B.C. services that are regulated by the CRTC, which are generally home telephone services in certain smaller communities.
Since Oct. 6, most Canadian businesses, except in Quebec, can charge their customers a fee for credit card transactions, following a class-action lawsuit filed by retailers against Visa, MasterCard and card-issuing banks.
Quebec is not included in this decision due to the province’s Consumer Protection Act, which prohibits the application of such surcharges.
On Aug. 8, Telus filed an application with the CRTC to introduce a credit card processing fee of 1.5 per cent, plus taxes, for payments made with a credit card.
On. Oct. 17, Telus began to charge the fee to clients paying by credit card in areas where services are not regulated by the CRTC, which includes its wireless and internet customers outside of Quebec.
Telus does not need to ask for the CRTC’s approval to add the surcharge to its unregulated services but the organization said it is “very concerned” about this practice as it goes against affordability and consumer interest.
“We heard Canadians loud and clear: close to 4,000 of you told us that you should not be subjected to an additional fee based on the method you choose to pay your bill,” Ian Scott, chairperson and CEO of the CRTC, said in a statement. “We expect the telecommunications industry to treat Canadians with respect and do better.”
The CRTC said, with this ruling, it is sending a “clear message” to Telus and other telecommunications service providers that are thinking of imposing a fee like this one on their customers.
Stock market news live updates: Stocks close mostly lower as selling pressure continues
U.S. stocks extended this week’s downtrend Wednesday to close a choppy session with losses as the prospect of sustained higher rates and slowing growth continued to plague investor sentiment.
The S&P 500 (^GSPC) slumped 0.2%, ending a fifth straight day lower, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) capped trading at the flatline. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) declined 0.5%.
In commodities markets, oil extended losses to close around $72 per barrel after a decline of roughly 10% this week to the lowest level since January.
“Fears are growing that economies are in for a rough time ahead as feverish inflation and the bitter interest rate medicine being used to bring it down take effect,” Hargreaves Lansdown senior investment and markets analyst Susannah Streeter said in a morning note, pointing also to recession warnings from U.S. bank bosses and gloomy trade data in China. “Despite today’s easing of restrictions, it’s clear China’s Covid nightmare is not at an end.”
A chorus of downbeat remarks from Wall Street leaders on Tuesday further weighed on already slumping sentiment this week as many expressed concerns over the toll of inflation and elevated interest rates on U.S. consumers.
JPMorgan Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon said the $1.5 trillion in excess savings across Americans’ bank accounts were being eroded by rising prices, while warning the dwindling disposable cash may “derail the economy and cause this mild or hard recession that people are worried about.” Bank of America chief Brian Moynihan echoed a similar message, indicating that while consumers are still spending money, the pace is beginning to slow.
Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs (GS) CEO David Solomon projected stocks will barrel lower in 2023 and placed the probability of a soft landing at a mere 35% – a view at odds with in-house economists at his investment bank, who anticipate in their baseline forecast that the U.S. will narrowly avoid a recession next year.
“There’s a very reasonable possibility that we could have a recession of some kind,” Solomon said in an interview at the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit Wednesday afternoon.
Reports that China’s government will scale back some zero-COVID rules appeared to underwhelm investors weighing easing restrictions against economic data out of the nation that showed falling imports and exports in November.
Back in the U.S., shares of Campbell Soup (CPB) rose nearly 6% after the canned goods producer reported earnings that beat Wall Street estimate and raised its full-year forecast. The company said sales of soup in the U.S. jumped 11% due to increases in demand for ready-to-serve soups, condensed soups and broth, reflecting a recent shift among consumers to value food purchases as inflation continues to weigh on households.
Shares of Apple (AAPL) sank 1.4%, one day after Bloomberg News reported the iPhone-maker scaled back ambitious self-driving plans for its future electric vehicle and postponed the car’s release data to 2026. Bloomberg also reported Wednesday morning that mobile industry bellwether Murata Manufacturing expects Apple will further reduce production plans for its iPhone 14 due to weakening demand.
Online used car retailer Carvana (CVNA) was also in the spotlight after plunging about 43% after the company’s biggest creditors reportedly signed an agreement to cooperate in potential restructuring negotiations as the company faces growing bankruptcy risk.
Investors await another round of economic data as the Federal Reserve’s final rate-setting meeting this year approaches. Readings on weekly jobless claims, producer price inflation, and consumer sentiment are due out later this week, but the most important data point for clues on the Fed’s direction for interest rates is the Consumer Price Index (CPI) out Tuesday, the same day U.S. central bank officials kick off their last two-day rate-setting meeting of 2022.
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