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First Nations respond to Trans Mountain appeal decision –



Leadership from Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh, Coldwater voiced their disappointment with the Federal Court of Appeal’s decision to uphold the federal government’s re-approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion at a news conference this afternoon in Vancouver. 

And also made clear that for them, this fight is not over.

“We always said that we’d do what it takes to stop this pipeline,” said Rueben George, speaking on behalf of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation. 

“This government is incapable of making sound decisions for our future generations — so we are and we will. Even for their children.”

Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh, Coldwater and a collective of bands within the Sto:lo nation squared off against the federal government in the Federal Court of Appeal in December, arguing that Ottawa failed, again, to conduct meaningful consultations with them about the expansion and that the project should be cancelled.

In a unanimous decision released Tuesday, the court dismissed their appeals, finding there was no basis for the court to interfere in the federal re-approval decision. 

“This was anything but a rubber-stamping exercise,” the court said. 

“The end result was not a ratification of the earlier approval, but an approval with amended conditions flowing directly from renewed consultation.”

The First Nation appellants still have 60 days to seek leave for an appeal with the Supreme Court of Canada, something those at the news conference said they’ll discuss with their legal teams. 

There is also an outstanding appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada on the project re-approval, filed by Squamsih, Tsleil-Waututh and three environment groups. As a court of leave, the Supreme Court has yet to make a decision if it will hear the case.

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Verging on a sellers' market – Business News –



A local real estate team says when it comes to single-family homes, Kelowna is on the verge of a sellers’ market.

The Krieg Family with RE/MAX said new numbers suggest buyers are back in force.

“I don’t think anyone saw this coming, but in one month, sales have gone from 50% under the 10-year average (139 sales in May 2020) to 261 sales in June, (over the 10-year average),” said Colin Krieg.

“Multiple offers and properties selling over asking price are no longer a thing of the past.”

Krieg said figures from the Okanagan Mainline Real Estate Board show single-family-home sales in June were up 20% over June 2019.

The average price is now $748,000—the third-highest it has ever been in the city. Almost 90% of the sales were under $1 million, with only two sales over $2 million.

However, supply is getting shorter. Listings are down 18% over last year, and 22% under the 10-year average.

Meanwhile, townhome sales, at a total of 77, are down slightly over this time last year, but up significantly over April and May and in line with the 10-year average of 75 sales for the month of June.

Apartment and condo sales were down 5% in June, at a total of 97 sales, compared to 102 in June 2019.

“This segment of the market is the slowest out of all three,” said Krieg.

Provincially, figures released Tuesday by the British Columbia Real Estate Association show the B.C. market as a whole is bouncing back.

The association reports that a total of 8,166 residential unit sales were recorded by the Multiple Listing Service.

“Sales around the province surged back to pre-COVID-19 levels in June,” said BCREA Chief Economist Brendon Ogmundson. “While there are some temporary factors that may have pushed demand forward, we are cautiously optimistic that market activity will remain firm.”

However, active listings are still down close to 20 per cent year-over-year and, as a result, many markets are seeing higher prices.

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— Okanagan Edge staff

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Interest rates will stay low as Canada faces 'long climb out' of COVID-19 hole, central bank says –



Canada’s central bank opted to keep its benchmark interest rate right where it was on Wednesday, at 0.25 per cent.

It’s the first rate decision under the stewardship of Tiff Macklem, who took over as governor of the Bank of Canada last month after Stephen Poloz’s seven-year term as governor ended.

The final months of Poloz’s tenure featured a sudden and dramatic series of rate cuts as central banks around the world moved in unison to slash lending rates to near zero to encourage borrowing and investment to stimulate the economy walloped by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The bank’s rate decision suggests there are no short term plans to deviate from that strategy any time soon.

“It’s going to be a long climb out,” Macklem said at a press conference following the announcement on Wednesday. “We are being unusually clear that interest rates are going to be unusually low for a long time.”

Move was expected

The decision was in line with expectations of economists who monitor the central bank polled by Bloomberg. The bank’s next decision is scheduled for Sept. 9 and no change is expected at that meeting either.

In addition to the interest rate decision, the bank also released its quarterly Monetary Policy Report, which outlines the bank’s outlook for the economy.

The bank calculates that lockdowns and other physical distancing efforts across Canada in the April-to-June period shaved off about 15 per cent of Canada’s GDP.

That makes for the worst quarter for Canada’s economy since the Great Depression, but it’s actually better than the worst-case scenario the bank was tracking when the pandemic began.

“There are early signs that the reopening of businesses and pent-up demand are leading to an initial bounce-back in employment and output,” the bank said.

Economy won’t get back to normal until 2022

For 2020 as a whole, the central bank is now expecting Canada’s economy to shrink by 7.8 per cent but then rebound by 5.1 per cent in 2021 and 3.7 per cent in 2022.

While that’s better than it could have been, it does mean the central bank doesn’t think the economy will get anywhere close to back to normal for another two years.

The Bank of Canada has slashed its benchmark interest rate to stimulate the economy in the wake of COVID-19. (Scott Galley/CBC)

And that outlook hinges on one rather uncertain development: It assumes Canada’s economy will be spared a second wave of COVID-19.

“We have assumed there is no widespread second wave and hence there’s no widespread second lockdown,” Macklem said. “But we do anticipate there will be localized flare ups and localized restrictions.”

Sherry Cooper, chief economist of Dominion Lending Centres, says that view may prove to be overly optimistic.

“The last few weeks have shown that numbers can bounce back even faster than the numbers went down and a second wave is a very real possibility in the fall,” Cooper said.

In addition to signaling it has no plans to change rates any time soon, the bank also said it plans to continue its bond buying programs, to support credit markets. 

Economist Brian DePratto of TD Bank said there were “no surprises” in the bank’s decision.

“With uncertainty still extremely elevated, the Bank of Canada is not taking any chances, maintaining stimulus, and reminding us again that they can and will do more to support the economy if needed.”

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Google Said It Would Invest $10 Billion In India. Nearly Half Of It Is Going To The Country's Richest Man. – BuzzFeed News



On Monday, Google announced that it will invest $10 billion in India over the next few years. Two days later, the company revealed a key detail: Nearly half of the money will go to a top telecom operator owned by Asia’s richest man.

The internet giant will invest $4.5 billion into Jio Platforms as part of a plan to “increase access for the hundreds of millions in India who don’t own a smartphone,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai tweeted Wednesday. Mukesh Ambani, Jio’s owner, has a net worth of more than $70 billion.

Google first unveiled the $10 billion Digitization Fund for India on Monday at an online event featuring key Google executives, including Pichai, and members of the Indian government. The company said the money would go toward providing Indians with inexpensive internet access, digitizing the country’s small and medium businesses, and using artificial intelligence in areas like healthcare, agriculture, and education.

Over the last few years, India has become a key market for large American tech companies as they seek growth beyond the United States and Europe. More than 500 million Indians — just under half the country’s population — are now online, and nearly all of them use inexpensive smartphones that run Google’s Android operating system.

Most of that growth has been fueled by Jio. Ambani, an industrialist, founded Jio and pumped it with $35 billion to blanket the country with a high-speed 4G network, which brought the price of data down to pennies. The move launched a telecom pricing war in India and made Jio the country’s largest telecom carrier with nearly 370 million subscribers — more than the entire population of the United States. Jio plans to grow by rolling out internet-powered services such as e-commerce, streaming TV, music services, online gaming, and videoconferencing apps.

As part of the Jio investment, Google and Jio will also work together to create an affordable, entry-level Android smartphone for more than 500 million Indians who still don’t have access to the internet, both companies said.

Over the last three months, investors from around the world have poured in $20 billion into Jio Platforms. In April, Facebook announced that it would buy nearly 10% of the company for $5.7 billion. Facebook’s investment was followed by American private equity firms General Atlantic, Vista Equity Partners, and Silver Lake Partners, as well as chip giants Intel and Qualcomm.

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