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Feds, Ontario ante up millions to produce electric vehicles at Ford's Oakville plant – CTV Toronto

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TORONTO —
The federal and Ontario governments promised Thursday to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into an auto plant for the mass production of electric vehicles and the batteries that power them — a plan they said would help the country’s automotive industry stay competitive and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ottawa and the province said they will each chip in $295 million to support production at Ford Motor Co.’s plant in Oakville, Ont. The funding is part of a three-year agreement worth nearly $2 billion that was announced last month between the automaker and Unifor, the union that represents autoworkers in Canada.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier Doug Ford called the joint investment an important step in building the next generation of Canada’s auto industry as it increasingly shifts towards green technology.

The agreement will have a significant impact on the industry’s supply chain, including auto parts suppliers in the region, Trudeau said from the company’s connectivity and innovation centre in the Ottawa suburb of Kanata.

It will also secure 5,000 jobs throughout the automotive industry at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted workers everywhere to worry about their livelihood, he said.

“The market for electric vehicles will grow in the future and Canada has the talent to be a global leader in making batteries for electric vehicles, for electrification, and clean technologies,” the prime minister said.

“For our auto sector, for our environment, this is a win-win.”

The premier, who spoke at the Oakville plant with representatives of the motor company and the union, said the deal “marks a new chapter” for Ontario’s auto industry.

“We’re laying the groundwork for the long-term recovery and prosperity of our province,” Ford said.

The Oakville plant employs 3,400 Ford workers and Unifor president Jerry Dias has said retooling the plant to produce electric vehicles will save 3,000 of those jobs.

From the Liberal government’s perspective, the investment will not only help secure good-paying jobs in the struggling auto sector, but also give Canada an edge in the global competition to meet what’s expected to be explosive demand for electric vehicles in the near future.

The prime minister acknowledged the comparatively high price of zero-emission and battery-powered vehicles can play a role in motorists’ purchasing decisions, and urged provincial governments to “do their part” to provide incentives for consumers to switch from traditional gas-powered cars. A $5,000 federal rebate was introduced last spring.

Sales of electric vehicles dropped dramatically in Ontario in the first half of 2019 after the provincial Progressive Conservative government cancelled a rebate for their purchase, according to data released in December by Electric Mobility Canada.

Under the previous Liberal government, Ontario had offered up to $14,000 back for buyers of electric vehicles, but the Ford government eliminated the rebate after taking power in 2018, saying the money was going to people who could already afford expensive cars.

Asked whether Thursday’s announcement signalled a shift in the province’s stance on green energy initiatives, Ford said his government is a “strong believer in the electrical cars.”

Some Ontario legislators called on Ford to do more to promote green energy even as they welcomed Thursday’s announcement.

“When the premier came to power, he did everything he could to deter electric vehicles, from cancelling EV rebates to ripping chargers from GO stations,” Green party Leader Mike Schreiner said in a statement.

“These backwards decisions should be reversed to encourage more job creators to set up shop in Ontario and help drivers make the switch.”

The funding announcement is also part of the Ottawa’s commitment to invest in the transition to a clean, renewable-energy economy, with the goal of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

It has already committed more than $300 million to create a network of fast-charging stations for electric vehicles across the country. And it is providing incentives of up to $5,000 off the price of purchasing or leasing electric and hybrid vehicles.

The federal government also hopes the new investment will help boost home-grown mining companies that produce the nickel and other metals used to make the batteries for electric vehicles.

By tapping into its unique natural resources and using them domestically rather than shipping them abroad, Canada can play to its strengths as it helps the auto industry evolve and recover from the pandemic, the federal minister for innovation said.

“It’s about leveraging the very strong and robust supply chain that we have, it’s about leveraging the over 40 different academic institutions that have partnerships with the automotive industry to help with the transition to these new technologies and new solutions,” Navdeep Bains said in a telephone interview.

“And so we have a very compelling value proposition, we feel that Canada can and will be a global leader when it comes to producing batteries, and building zero emission vehicle.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 8, 2020.

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Lee Kun-Hee, force behind Samsung's rise, dies at 78 – Business News – Castanet.net

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Lee Kun-Hee, the ailing Samsung Electronics chairman who transformed the small television maker into a global giant of consumer electronics but whose leadership was also marred by corruption convictions, died on Sunday. He was 78.

Lee died with his family members by his side, including his only son and Samsung Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong, the company said in a statement.

Samsung didn’t announce the cause of death, but Lee had been hospitalized since May 2014 after suffering a heart attack and the younger Lee has been running Samsung, South Korea’s biggest company.

“All of us at Samsung will cherish his memory and are grateful for the journey we shared with him,” the Samsung statement said. “His legacy will be everlasting.”

South Korean President Moon Jae-in sent senior presidential officials to pass a condolence message to Lee’s family at a mourning site. In the message, Moon called the late tycoon “a symbol of South Korea’s business world whose leadership would provide courage to our companies” at a time of economic difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Moon’s office said.

Lee’s family said the funeral would be private but did not immediately release details.

Lee inherited control of the company from his father, and during his nearly 30 years of leadership, Samsung Electronics Co. became a global brand and the world’s largest maker of smartphones, televisions and memory chips. Samsung sells Galaxy phones while also making the screens and microchips that power its major rivals — Apple’s iPhones and Google Android phones.

Its businesses encompass shipbuilding, life insurance, construction, hotels, amusement parks and more. Samsung Electronics alone accounts for 20% of the market capital on South Korea’s main stock exchange.

Lee leaves behind immense wealth, with Forbes estimating his fortune at $16 billion as of January 2017.

His death comes during a complex time for Samsung.

When he was hospitalized, Samsung’s once-lucrative mobile business faced threats from upstart makers in China and elsewhere. Pressure was high to innovate its traditionally strong hardware business, to reform a stifling hierarchical culture and to improve its corporate governance and transparency.

Like other family-run conglomerates in South Korea, Samsung has been credited with helping propel the country’s economy to one of the world’s largest from the rubbles of the 1950-53 Korean War. But their opaque ownership structure and often-corrupt ties with bureaucrats and government officials have been viewed as a hotbed of corruption in South Korea.

Lee Kun-Hee was convicted in 2008 for illegal share dealings, tax evasion and bribery designed to pass his wealth and corporate control to his three children. In 1996, he was convicted of bribing a former president. But in both cases, he avoided jail after courts suspended his sentences, at the time a common practice that helped make South Korean business tycoons immune from prison despite their bribery convictions.

Most recently, Samsung was ensnared in an explosive 2016-17 scandal that led to South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s ouster and imprisonment.

Lee Jae-yong was sentenced to five years in prison in 2017 for offering 8.6 billion won ($7 million) in bribes to Park and one of her confidants to help secure the government’s backing for his attempt to solidify control over Samsung. He was freed in early 2018 after an appellate court reduced his term and suspended the sentence. But last month, prosecutors indicted him again on similar charges, setting up yet another protracted legal battle.

Lee Kun-Hee was a stern, terse leader who focused on big-picture strategies, leaving details and daily management to executives.

His near-absolute authority allowed the company to make bold decisions in the fast-changing technology industry, such as shelling out billions to build new production lines for memory chips and display panels even as the 2008 global financial crisis unfolded. Those risky moves fueled Samsung’s rise.

Lee was born on Jan. 9, 1942, in the southeastern city of Daegu during Japan’s colonial rule of the Korean Peninsula. His father, Lee Byung-chull, had founded an export business there in 1938, and following the Korean War, he rebuilt the company into an electronics and home appliance manufacturer and the country’s first major trading company.

When Lee Kun-Hee inherited control of Samsung from his father in 1987, Samsung was relying on Japanese technology to produce TVs and was taking its first steps toward exporting microwaves and refrigerators.

A decisive moment came in 1993 when Lee Kun-Hee made sweeping changes to Samsung after a two-month trip abroad convinced him that the company needed to improve the quality of its products.

In a speech to Samsung executives, he famously urged, “Let’s change everything except our wives and children.”

Not all his moves succeeded.

A notable failure was the group’s expansion into the auto industry in the 1990s, in part driven by Lee Kun-Hee’s passion for luxury cars. Samsung later sold near-bankrupt Samsung Motor to Renault. The company also was frequently criticized for disrespecting labour rights. Cancer cases among workers at its semiconductor factories were ignored for years.

Earlier this year, Lee Jae-yong declared that heredity transfers at Samsung would end, promising the management rights he inherited wouldn’t pass to his children. He also said Samsung would stop suppressing employee attempts to organize unions, although labour activists questioned his sincerity.

The 52-year-old Lee expressed remorse for causing public concern over the 2016-17 scandal, but did not admit to wrongdoing regarding his alleged involvement.

Lee Kun-Hee resigned as chairman of Samsung Electronics before the 2008 conviction. But he received a presidential pardon in 2009 and returned to Samsung’s management in 2010.

“As South Korea’s most successful entrepreneur, (Lee Kun-Hee) received a dazzling spotlight, but he had many vicissitudes full of grace and disgrace,” the ruling Democratic Party said in a statement. “We hope a ‘new Samsung’ will be realized at an early date as Vice Chairman Lee Jae-yong promised.”

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Job losses to come in wake of Cenovus-Husky transaction, but scale unknown – Calgary Herald

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Article content continued

Business Council of Alberta president Adam Legge acknowledged likely job losses.

“No one likes to see any further job losses than what this province has already been experiencing, and that’s the likely, unfortunate outcome of these kinds of mergers,” he said. “(It will be felt) through everything from real estate to job losses.”

Cenovus said Sunday they had yet to make any decisions on their office space.

In past Alberta oil and gas mergers, including the 2009 deal between Petro-Canada and Suncor, sublease space was added to the market as companies aimed to cut redundancies. The same could happen here, speculated Greg Kwong, the Calgary managing director for real-estate brokerage company CBRE.

“The public can focus on the fact that (Cenovus) is doing this to create efficiencies and come out a stronger, merged company,” Kwong said. “We’re mostly worried that this is a trend we’re going to see more of, maybe not to this magnitude, but with all companies struggling in this environment they’re going to look for efficiencies.”

Legge praised the merger from a business standpoint, saying it should make Cenovus more resilient and diverse and give the company “a new lease on life.”

“This is great news for Cenovus. It expands their footprint, gets them into some of the downstream retail market, which it sounds like they’ve been looking at for quite some time,” he said. “It’s probably a sign of more to come in the sense that as companies look to thrive in a new landscape, the reality is they’ll need to survive through scale.”

jherring@postmedia.com

Twitter: @jasonfherring

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Husky Energy Bought Out By Rival Cenovus – VOCM

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Husky Energy is being swallowed up by rival Cenovus Energy Inc. in an all-stock deal valued at $23.6 billion, the companies announced early Sunday.

The statement said both companies’ boards of directors have approved the transaction that’s expected to close in the first quarter of next year, and has everything to do with the downturn in the industry as companies seek strategies for survival amid COVID-19.

The Calgary-based companies said the combined company will be the third largest Canadian oil and natural gas producer, based on total company production.

The announcement comes as Husky, like most petroleum producers, has been re-evaluating its investments across the board.

It’s not clear yet how the deal will affect Husky’s operations in Newfoundland and Labrador, which includes the idled West White Rose extension project and the SeaRose FPSO.

The company had already laid off dozens of workers in the province earlier this month.

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