Canadian National Railway (CN) said on Tuesday Chief Executive Officer Jean-Jacques Ruest will retire at the end of January, following investor demands for his exit after the railroad operator’s failed bid for Kansas City Southern.
TCI Fund Management, which owns 5% of CN, in August pitched former Union Pacific executive Jim Vena for the top job and on Tuesday urged Canada’s largest railroad operator to secure his leadership.
“Dismissing the same CEO that the Board put in place just three short years ago is a good start, but it does not address the fundamental problem of a lack of leadership,” TCI Founder Chris Hohn said. The hedge fund had earlier cited the company’s “ill-conceived” efforts to pursue the Kansas City merger for demanding Ruest’s ouster.
Last month, CN lost a bidding war to create the first direct railway linking Canada, the United States and Mexico as rival Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd signed a $27.2 billion deal to buy Kansas City.
CN has now set up a committee to look for a new CEO both within and outside the company.
“(The board) is not on the clock. It doesn’t mean that they will go slow,” Ruest said in an earnings call, adding that he would leave it to the board to engage with TCI.
Ruest had deferred discussions on his retirement plans in order to see the company through the merger, it said, and he could helm CN until it names a replacement.
In the third quarter ended Sept. 30, adjusted profit rose 9.5% on a surge in petroleum and chemicals shipments. But its operating ratio, a key profitability metric for investors, worsened to 62.7% from 59.9% a year earlier.
($1 = 1.2365 Canadian dollars)
(Reporting by Abhijith Ganapavaram, Amruta Khandekar and Praveen Paramasivam in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath)
B.C. extends state of emergency, restrictions on fuel and travel, as 'significant weather' poses more challenges – The Globe and Mail
British Columbia has extended its state of emergency to support flood recovery efforts as well as orders limiting fuel purchases for non-essential vehicles and restricting travel along hard-hit sections of the province’s compromised highways.
In announcing the extensions on Monday, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said the “significant weather” continues to pose challenges for the Trans Mountain Pipeline, which normally brings in 85 per cent of the fuel that is required in B.C. for refining and has been offline since Nov. 14.
“The fuel conservation measures are working and I want to thank British Columbians for their patience – but we need to stay the course for another two weeks until we have the Trans Mountain Pipeline back online,” Mr. Farnworth said. “We need to ensure our supply chains, and emergency services, have the fuel that they need to function.”
The order restricting fuel purchases to 30 litres per visit to a gas station applies to the Lower Mainland, the Sea-to-Sky region, the Sunshine Coast, the Gulf Islands and Vancouver Island. That order, along with the state of emergency that gives the province power to implement it, has been extended until at least Dec. 14.
The province is also extending an order prohibiting non-essential travel on parts of Highways 3, 7 and 99. Those who flout the rules could face fines of up to $2,000.
B.C. is currently in between the second and third of a series of forecasted storms. Efforts to clean up and rebuild following the heavy flooding of two weeks ago, which damaged critical infrastructure and affected every major highway, have taken place alongside overnight efforts involving hundreds of workers and volunteers to sandbag and prepare for more inclement weather. Meanwhile, government has had to find alternate ways to ensure the movement of essential goods such as fuel.
Energy Minister Bruce Ralston said government staff have been working with their federal counterparts at Transport Canada and Natural Resources Canada as well as fuel suppliers, retailers and the Canadian Fuels Association to ensure B.C. has a sufficient fuel supply.
“Fuel has made its way into the Lower Mainland from Alberta through the railways,” Mr. Ralston said Monday. “We also know that some barges have arrived to offload fuel from the U.S. This has provided us with a supply of fuel to compensate for the product that would usually come from the Trans Mountain Pipeline while the company works toward restarting the line.”
CP Rail has said 30 locations were damaged following the rainstorm, but resumed some operations last week.
However, some producers are still struggling with the transportation challenges of damaged infrastructure. The forestry company West Fraser has announced it is temporarily shutting down two pulp mills, with 220 workers laid off, according to the Williams Lake Tribune. The company said it is unable to ship product and has run out of accessible storage.
In Abbotsford, Mayor Henry Braun said Monday that water from the Nooksack River that breached a dike in Sumas, Wash., and was expected to flood into his city Sunday ended up taking a day longer than predicted by U.S. officials. As well, the Fraser River dropped low enough that Abbotsford could reopen the floodgates at its Barrowtown Pump Station after a brief closing, which allowed water from the Sumas River to drain.
“Those two things in combination make me very comfortable, and I feel much better today than I did yesterday at this point on the second [weather] event,” the mayor told a news conference. “The third one is still an unknown. Everything is holding, so I think we’re in good shape.”
The water had not reached the critically affected Sumas Prairie lake bottom as of Monday afternoon, but did reach about two feet in Abbotsford’s Huntingdon Village, along the U.S. border, where an evacuation order remains in place.
Armel Castellan, a warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada, said Monday that southern B.C. was on a “24-hour break” from rain and that the next system is again an atmospheric river, coming in from near the Philippines, travelling 8,000 to 9,000 kilometres over the past few days.
“It will deliver a relatively strong punch, similar to what we saw this weekend,” he said. “We’re talking about 50 to 100 milimetres on the south coast for the Lower Mainland, Sunshine Coast, Howe Sound and the Fraser Valley.”
Mr. Castellan added that the region is dealing not only with rain, but also snow melt and a successive storm event.
“So even if the third storm is not as bad as it could have been in the modelling leading up to today, it will be problematic because they are coming so close, back to back, with the runoff and the saturated soil.”
B.C.’s River Forecast Centre upgraded flood alerts for all of Vancouver Island and a large stretch of the south coast, from Vancouver to Bella Coola, on Monday morning.
In the Cowichan District, which has been in a local state of emergency since mid-November, 147 properties have been assessed for damage from floods in the past two weeks. A flood centre run by the regional district with the Cowichan Tribes, Halalt First Nation, and Penelakut Tribe served 200 people in the past four days. With additional heavy rains in the forecast, a team of 30 Canadian Forces members was deployed on the weekend to the most affected communities of the region to support sandbagging and preparedness.
With up to 100 millimetres of rain forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday in Howe Sound, the Squamish Nation had emergency crews sandbagging vulnerable areas to protect against rising levels of the Cheakamus River. The nation was securing accommodation and preparing Totem Hall in Squamish as a reception centre in case residents need to evacuate.
Meanwhile, close to 10 per cent of blueberry fields in B.C. were affected by the floods, and some farmers aren’t sure whether they will be able to invest the time and money to start over.
The BC Blueberry Council estimates that at least 2,500 acres of blueberries have been affected, including about 1,000 acres that remain underwater in the Sumas Prairie. Statistics Canada reports that the total acreage of blueberry production in the province is about 27,000 acres.
The blueberry council added that some portions of the Matsqui Flats area, and other areas near the Fraser River, were also flooded and are likely to experience varying degrees of damage or loss.
Blueberry bushes die when submerged for long periods. Harry Sidhu, a blueberry farmer in the Sumas Prairie, said it’s likely that severely affected growers will need to pull their bushes and replant, at a high cost.
“Blueberries are a perennial plant and it takes years for a sizable crop yield, so this may be a significant loss of income for many years,” Mr. Sidhu said in a statement.
Mr. Braun said last week that his heart ached for the farmers who told him through tears that they can’t afford to start over.
“Some of those farmers, they’ve told me that they don’t know if they’re going to [replant], they don’t know if they financially can do that,” he said.
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4 Ways to Kill Your Chances With a Hiring Manager
The hiring process is fraught with human bias, which you have no control over. As much as possible you don’t want to feed your interviewer’s biases and turn them off. While the government tries to legislate employers not to be “biased,” the fact remains biases are subjective and difficult to prove in court.
Don’t waste your job search energy concerning yourself with, or trying to fight, employer biases, which will always exist to some degree. Holding onto the belief one-day human biases will be 100% eliminated is wishful thinking.
Hiring is the act of choosing. The act of choosing requires the hiring manager(s) to discriminate. (a person’s “biases” directs their discrimination) It could be argued that when a hiring manager chooses not to hire someone, they’re “technically discriminating against them. How else do you expect employers to whittle down 500 applicants to one hire?
All you can do is mitigate the odds of turning off your interviewer by not consciously fueling their biases. Here are the four most common ways (there’re many more) job seekers fuel a hiring manager’s biases.
- Their resume, and LinkedIn profile, lacks numbers that quantify their results.
It’s raining resumes. The chances of landing an interview with a generic resume/LinkedIn profile are slim, but let’s say you lucked out. Clichés such as “I’m a team player.” or “I’m detail-oriented.” are meaningless and are open to interpretation. How we interpret is based on our experiences and biases.
If you’re in the market for a new car, would you gravitate towards an ad that claims the “The General Lee is fast!” or “The Batmobile, having a 5.7-litre V8 engine, goes from 0 to 60 in less than 4 seconds.”?
Numbers, which in this case number quantify The Batmobile’s engine and speed, removed a person having to interpret what’s “fast.” (Maybe The General Lee is faster, but without numbers to quantify its speed, how would we know?)
Replace generic resume bullet-point statements with result-achieved statements. For example, replace “Collected survey data from email subscribers” with “Collected survey data from 8,500 email subscribers. In 2020 this data was used to implement 4 marketing strategies that increased average order size by 32% compared to 2019.”
- Aggressive about career advancement.
These days employees are churning. As a result, hiring managers are more mindful to not hire candidates they assume (another word of “bias”) will be a flight risk.
Keep your interview discussion on what you can do for the employer. Avoid discussing your hopes for career advancement or coming across as being entitled. Instead, have several relevant examples of past successes and accomplishments at your fingertips (aka, STAR stories — Situation, Task, Action, Result) and leave your career ambitions aside.
- Being excessively forthcoming about weaknesses.
Be careful how you answer, “What are your greatest weaknesses?” If you confide you struggle balancing family responsibilities with your work schedule, the hiring manager’s biases (READ: assumption) will kick in, which won’t be in your favour.
When I’m hiring, I’m looking to find the best candidate who’ll be a fit. I’m also looking to manage risk. Given my hiring experiences, your weakness mentioned above will probably have me assume:
- You’ll have a lateness issue.
- Will be asking for time off to deal with family matters.
- Will be making/taking lots of personal calls.
There’s a formula to answering the “weakness question”: Experience + Learn = Grow.
“Back in March, my boss suddenly became ill and couldn’t conduct the already scheduled town hall. I offered to conduct the town hall, my first. It went alright but could have been much better—my PowerPoint skills were severely lacking. So, I’m now taking PowerPoint courses on Udemy. As a result, my PowerPoint skills have improved tremendously.”
- Lack of enthusiasm.
Excitement = Job offers
It’s not uncommon for me to have to choose between a qualified candidate on paper and a less qualified candidate who brings passion to the table. I’ve hired the latter every time.
A candidate’s lack of enthusiasm offers many assumptions. They could be an introvert, which I believe is a manifestation of self-limiting beliefs. Maybe they aren’t interested in the job opportunity or are just looking to collect a paycheck. None of these assumptions work in the candidate’s favour.
It never hurts to state at the end of an interview, if you do want the job, with, “I’m very interested in this position and working for Wayne Enterprises. I hope for a positive outcome,” or a similar interview closing statement.
Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers advice on searching for a job. You can send him your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jack Dorsey: What's next for Twitter's co-founder? – BBC News
Jack Dorsey is one of Silicon Valley’s eccentrics.
If he was a character in a movie, you’d think he was too cliche.
Acutely earnest and idealistic, he passionately believes that tech can bring about global peace and prosperity.
He’s a kind of hippie libertarian, a philosophy that seems somewhat baffling at times. He also happens to be a genuine tech visionary.
His resignation from Twitter is the second time he’s left. After leaving the social media giant that he co-founded the first time, he setup the digital payments company Square in 2009 – which has become wildly successful.
He came back to Twitter in 2015.
Until Monday he was running both companies – a situation that didn’t sit well with many investors.
Last year Elliott Management, a large Twitter investor, tried to make him choose between the two. They wanted a chief executive that spent their time on Twitter and Twitter alone.
This in part explains why Twitter’s share price didn’t nose dive when their iconic leader suddenly resigned again.
There has been a prevailing attitude for a long time amongst investors that Twitter is leaving money on the table – that it could generate a lot more revenue from its large and engaged user base.
And certainly a chief executive that had its undivided focus on Twitter might help.
When you compare Twitter to Google or Facebook, it’s a relative minnow.
Dorsey has been seen by some as the reason for Twitter’s stunted growth. A Twitter purist, who had helped create the platform, but didn’t want monetization at the expense of user experience.
To be fair to Dorsey he has tried to experiment with ways to generate more revenue. He also announced a target of 315 million monetizable users by the end of 2023 – and to double revenue in that year.
Twitter has done well at adding users during the pandemic, however that target is hugely ambitious.
It’s a goal that incoming chief executive, Parag Agrawal will inherit.
Indian born, Agrawal has risen though the ranks to become an apparently competent and well-respected chief technology officer. He’s been described as a safe pair of hands, and he has a huge job ahead of him.
Agrawal instantly takes on Dorsey’s monetization headache. Twitter is not Facebook. It holds far less information about you, and therefore the data it holds isn’t as valuable to advertisers.
You can also only serve users so many adverts before they start turning away. If your goal is high growth but also revenue increase – that can be a difficult balancing act.
Obsession with cryptocurrencies
Dorsey had become obsessed with cryptocurrencies, and in particular Bitcoin.
He’d recently set up a dedicated crypto team – looking at ways in which the company embraces digital assets and decentralized apps.
The team was to sit under Agrawal – perhaps a sign that digital currencies will play a key role in the new chief executive’s vision for the company’s growth.
But Twitter has become deeply political in the US, and Agrawal also inherits its moderation problems.
Democrats generally argue that the platform hasn’t done enough to take down fake news. They also argue its systems are not good at quickly locating removing hate speech.
Republicans argue that the platform has an anti-conservative bias – demonstrated by the decision to ban Donald Trump after the Capitol Hill riots.
Agrawal has gone from relative obscurity to a major public figure overnight, and will no doubt be called in front of Congress sooner rather than later.
Already, a tweet that he published in 2010 – a quote from the Daily Show – is being used by some Conservatives as evidence that the new chief executive is left-leaning.
Dorsey’s goodbye email included a barb at founders who stay too long at the companies they created.
“There’s a lot of talk about the importance of a company being ‘founder-led’. Ultimately I believe that’s severely limiting and a single point of failure,” he wrote.
The target of that statement appeared to be Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (Elon Musk would agree with Dorsey, having said publicly he doesn’t like being Tesla’s boss).
But the sentiment has much wider importance. Almost all the eccentric tech founders who created hugely successful companies – Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, Sergey Brin, Larry Page, Steve Jobs and now Dorsey – have all been replaced with ‘safe options’- chief executives that are nothing like their predecessors.
And perhaps Twitter needs that.
As for Dorsey, well he’s still young – 45. The last time he had some time away from Twitter he casually built up Square, that’s now worth $100bn.
Dorsey can at times be a figure of satire, but he’s earned the right to be taken seriously.
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