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Bombardier reports $1.6B US loss for 2019, sells remaining stakes in A220 program Quebec

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Quebec aerospace giant Bombardier reported a $1.6 billion US loss for 2019 on Thursday, shortly after it announced that it’s leaving the commercial aviation business.

The multinational corporation said late Wednesday that it sold its remaining stake in the A220 program — formerly known as the C Series — to Airbus.

Bombardier has been re-organizing its business in an effort to pay off a multibillion-dollar deficit. It released its financial results for 2019 on Thursday.

Under the deal, Airbus now owns a 75 per cent stake in the commercial jet program. The Quebec government, which is not injecting any new money into the program, owns 25 per cent.

Airbus, which also acquired the A220 and A330 work package production capabilities from Bombardier, will pay Bombardier $591 million US. Bombardier will no longer be required to make investments of approximately $700 million US in the commercial jet program.

The deal also includes a three-year guarantee of the jobs belonging to 360 people who construct the plane’s cockpits at the plant in the Montreal borough of Ville Saint-Laurent. After that, they will be transferred to Mirabel, Que.

In all, Airbus said the deal secures a total of 3,300 jobs in Quebec.

Bombardier said in January that it was “reassessing its ongoing participation” in its partnership with Airbus to manufacture the A220.

Despite the Quebec government’s $1.3 billion investment in the C Series in 2016, sales of the planes were initially slow, leading Bombardier to sell a controlling stake of the C Series program to Airbus in 2018 for $1.

Today, the Canadian company Bombardier is more than $9 billion US in debt. Over the years, it has received billions in taxpayer bailouts. But after some big failures, layoffs and criticism over executive bonuses, this time around may be different. 24:05

While A220 orders have since started rolling in, Bombardier would need to inject more money into the program to ramp up production.

Premier François Legault has ruled out investing more government money in the A220 program, but Quebec Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon said that he wants to protect Quebec’s investment in the plane.

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Bank of Canada decides against launching digital currency, but leaves door open – The Globe and Mail

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The Bank of Canada has made a bank-issued digital currency a key research priority over the past year, as the development of private-sector alternatives, especially Facebook’s proposed Libra cryptocurrency, have accelerated the urgency among the world’s central banks to respond.

Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

The Bank of Canada doesn’t yet see a need to create its own digital currency, even as some central banks advance toward e-money.

“We have concluded that there is not a compelling case to issue a CBDC [central bank digital currency] at this time,” Bank of Canada deputy governor Timothy Lane said in a speech in Montreal Tuesday. Nevertheless, the bank is developing a contingency plan so that it is prepared for the possibility of such a digital option down the road.

“The Bank will build the capacity to issue a general-purpose, cash-like CBDC should the need to implement one arise,” the bank said in a background note published on its website in conjunction with Mr. Lane’s speech.

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“While we don’t know what the future may bring, we need to move forward to work out what a potential CBDC might look like and how it could be managed, if the decision were ever taken to issue one,” Mr. Lane said in his speech. And he noted that the decision wouldn’t be up to the Bank of Canada.

“That’s a choice that Canadians and their elected representatives would need to make at the time,” he said, adding that “the bank would need proper legislative authority to issue a CBDC.”

The background paper indicated that it would take “several years” before the central bank would be in a position to launch its own digital currency.

The Bank of Canada has made a bank-issued digital currency a key research priority over the past year, as the development of private-sector alternatives, especially Facebook’s proposed Libra cryptocurrency, have accelerated the urgency among the world’s central banks to respond. The bank published a series of papers on the issue Tuesday. It has also formed a working group along with the central banks of England, Japan, the European Union, Sweden and Switzerland to combine their efforts on understanding the implications of CBDCs.

But many central banks look to be further down the road toward pursuing their own digital currencies than Canada is. In a recent survey by the Bank for International Settlements, about one in 10 central banks said they are likely to issue a digital currency within the next three years. China’s powerful central bank is believed to be considering a launch of a digital currency within the year. Last week, Sweden’s Riksbank announced the launch of a pilot program over the next year to test a new “e-krona” using blockchain technology, though it stressed that no decision has been made regarding introducing the currency.

Sweden is considered one of the world’s most cash-less societies, with cash used for only about 15 per cent of retail payments. By comparison, Mr. Lane noted that, while Canadians’ use of electronic payment methods has risen substantially in recent years, cash is still used in about one-third of transactions.

He said the case for a Bank of Canada digital currency would become more compelling “if we ever reach the tipping point where cash could no longer be used for a sufficiently wide range of transactions.”

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He added that another key factor would be if private digital currencies became widely adopted, something that could pose a risk to the stability of central bank currencies and the conducting of monetary policy.

“If either scenario came to pass, society may be well-served with a digital currency,” he said.

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Hong Kong Budget 2020: HK$10000 cash handouts for all adult permanent residents among raft of relief measures – Hong Kong Free Press

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Hong Kong’s financial secretary has announced a HK$10,000 cash handout to all permanent residents over the age of 18 in a bid to boost local consumption and ease economic woes in light of a fiscal deficit.


The relief measure involving an estimated expenditure of around HK$71 billion came amid negative economic growth since the second half of last year and the city’s first deficit in 15 years as the economy took a hit from the US-China trade war, large-scale protests and the coronavirus outbreak.

But Paul Chan remained confident that fiscal reserves, previously estimated at HK$1.1 trillion, could weather the cost of the handout.

“I consider that, with ample fiscal reserves, the government has to increase public expenditure amid an economic downturn to stimulate the economy and ride of the difficult times with members of the public,” he said as he delivered his fourth budget blueprint at the legislature on Wednesday.

paul chan

Paul Chan. Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

Chan also announced a salary tax cut of 100 per cent for the 2019-20 year up to a ceiling of HK$20,000 – set to benefit 1.95 million taxpayers and cost HK$18.8 billion.

Other relief measures for the public:

  • Rates for residential properties for 2020-21 will be waived up to a ceiling of HK$1,500 per quarter – estimated to involve 2.93 million properties and cost HK$13.3 billion.
  • Eligible social security recipients will benefit from an extra month of Comprehensive Social Security Assistance payments, Old Age Allowance, Old Age Living Allowance or Disability Allowance. A similar arrangement will be rolled out for the Work Incentive Transport Subsidy. It will cost around HK$4.23 billion.
  • Lower-income tenants in government public housing will have a month of rent waived, with a total cost of HK$1.83 billion.
  • Exam fees for students sitting the 2021 Hong Kong Diploma of Secondary Education Examination will be waived, at a cost of about HK$150 million.
sophia chan

Photo: Kelly Ho/HKFP.

Relief measures for business:

  • Profits tax will be reduced by 100 per cent for the 2019-20 year to benefit 141,000 taxpayers at a cost of HK$2 billion.
  • Business registration fees will be waived for 2020-21, benefitting 1.5 million business owners at a cost of HK$3 billion. Company registry fees for annual tax returns will be waived for two years to benefit 1.4 million firms at a cost of HK$212 million.
  • A concessionary low-interest loan of up to HK$2 million will be provided to enterprises under the SME Financing Guarantee Scheme.
  • Rates for non-domestic properties for 2020-21 will be waived up to a ceiling of HK$5,000 per quarter in the first two quarters and a ceiling of $1,500 per quarter in the remaining two quarters for each non-domestic property. 420,000 properties will benefit, at a cost of HK$3.2 billion.
  • Non-domestic electricity accounts will enjoy a 75 per cent discount up to a ceiling of HK$5,000 for four months, at a cost of HK$2.9 billion. Likewise, water and sewage costs will be discounted by 75 per cent up to a cap of HK$20,000 and HK$12,500 respectively, costing HK$340 billion.
  • Local recycling firms will see a rental subsidy for six months, costing HK$100 million.
  • Tenants of government properties, government land and EcoPark will see rent discounts of 50 per cent, costing HK$573 million. Rent and fees for eligible operators of properties will be slashed by 50 per cent, costing HK$265 million.
  • Hirers of civic centres under the Leisure and Cultural Services Department will enjoy discounts of 50 per cent for six months, costing HK$23 million.

“In preparing this budget, I put the focus on ‘supporting enterprises, safeguarding jobs, stimulating the economy and relieving people’s burden,’ Chan said.

Paul Chan

Paul Chan. Photo: Inmediahk.net.

“Hong Kong may have all sorts of shortcomings, but it is our home which allows diversity and freedom of development. Even if we have been disappointed, we can choose to feel hopeful for our future. Even if we are striving for different goals, we can work together to put aside our differences, make room for resolving conflicts, and drive Hong Kong forward,” he said in his concluding remarks.


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GO Transit service disrupted after blockade near Kipling GO Station, several people arrested – CTV News

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TORONTO —
Thousands of GTA commuters faced a difficult time getting home Tuesday as rail protests hampered GO Train service.

New protests cropped up Tuesday on several rail lines, affecting service on the Milton, Lakeshore East and Lakeshore West lines.

At around 6:15 p.m., Metrolinx said that all service was resuming across all lines, but advised customers to expect longer travel times, residual delays and some cancellations throughout the evening.

The protests have been set up in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in British Columbia, who are opposing a pipeline project and infringements on their territorial rights.

A number of people set up a blockade west of Aldershot GO Station on Monday night and had remained on the tracks throughout Tuesday, forcing Metrolinx to suspend GO train service between Hamilton and Aldershot stations and replace it with buses.

Police served the protesters with an injunction ordering them to leave on Tuesday morning but did not forcibly remove them from the premises.

At around 5:15 p.m., CP24’s cameras captured the protesters peacefully leaving the area in two large groups.

However their departure came about an hour after another blockade formed on the tracks near Lambton Arena, in the area of Dundas Street West and Scarlett Road. 

Service was completely suspended along GO Transit’s Milton line due to that blockade.

Police said that severl people have been arrested at the demonstration.

Metrolinx said that it was unable to provide buses to supplement service along the route because it does not have enough of them to carry the 20,000 commuters that utilize the line each night.

The agency later said that the resumption of service would not rely on buses, but would involve trains taking a longer route to make use of a detour.

As of 10 p.m., a large crowd was still at the site of the blockade, along with a large number of police officers.

“We are on scene to keep the peace and ensure public safety for all involved and limit disruption to critical infrastructure,” Toronto police said in a tweet.

Service was also suspended between Union and Pickering GO stations on the Lakeshore East Line for close to an hour due to a disruption near Guildwood. Service resumed on that line at around 5 p.m.  

She said that while trains are moving, some are moving very slowly, resulting in backlogs. Other trains also had to turn around and return to Union because of the protests, resulting in a surge of customers waiting to get home.

“There’s just congestion all throughout our corridor,” Aikins said. “It’s an extremely difficult situation for all involved. We’re doing the best we can.”

She advised customers to stay tuned to the latest updates.

Aikins said Metrolinx is planning for the possibility of further disruptions in the coming days.

“We’re planning farther in advance right across our system,” she said. “These are security incidents that we just don’t know when they’re going to happen, when they’re going to end.

“They are out of our control and we’re doing what we can to make sure everybody stays safe. That’s our first priority. We want you to stay safe around our tracks.” 

The transit agency said late Tuesday that it is anticipating a normal morning commute for Wednesday morning, but warned that could change if there are circumstances beyond its control.

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