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Indigenous leaders divided over proposed oil sands mine in northern Alberta – CTV News

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FORT CHIPEWYAN, ALTA. —
As the deadlock between a group of Indigenous chiefs and a northern B.C. pipeline brings rail traffic to a standstill, the future of another energy project in northern Alberta is hanging in the balance.

The proposed Teck Frontier oil sands mine project, estimated at $20 billion, would be about twice the size of Vancouver. It is expected to create 7,000 construction jobs and 2,500 permanent positions.

A federal-provincial joint review panel found last July that the project would be in the public interest, even though it would likely harm wetlands, old growth forests and wildlife.

The project, if approved, would be capable of producing more than a quarter-million barrels of oil each day and roughly four million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year for over 40 years.

Ottawa is expected to decide next week whether to approve or reject the project.

Fourteen Indigenous groups in the area have signed benefits agreements with the company. But some Indigenous elders say the project would be catastrophic for the environment and would cause irreversible damage to the land.

Kevin Weidlich is among the project’s supporters. He says the mine would spur an economic boost to his community.

“We want to be champions of an evolution of our Indigenous people to be able to have a balance between development as well as the traditional aspects of life,” said Weidlich, who is CEO of the Wood Buffalo Economic Development Corporation.

Bill Loutitt, CEO for the McMurray Metis, echoed those feelings.

“We want to ensure that our elders and youth are taken care of, just like everybody else, and the only way to do that is by being involved,” said Loutitt.

But Alice Rigney, a Dene elder in Fort Chipewyan – the community closest to the proposed mine site — says none of that matters if the environment is destroyed.

“Teck Frontier is going to destroy this land completely. And when I say the land, everything that goes with it, including the people, the birds, the animals, the fish, the water,” she said.

Fred “Jumbo” Fraser, an 82-year-old Metis elder, has lived in the community for his entire life. He says he’s already seen a dramatic difference in the land, even without the mine.

“We don’t have any water in our delta anymore. Everything has dried up, so we’re not trapping … We don’t have hardly any wildlife, there’s no rabbits,” he said.

Even so, Fraser says rejecting the mine won’t bring back that lost wildlife.

Chief Allan Adam of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation says he understands the environmental concerns, but he still supports Teck Frontier.

“Better to be on the inside than the outside because when you’re on the outside, you’re always barking up a tree that you’ll never get anywhere,” Adam said.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney supports the mine and has urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to approve it, warning that a rejection could bring Western alienation to a “boiling point.”

Earlier this month, Kenney sent a letter to Trudeau hailing the project as the “model of environmental and social responsibility.”

“[Teck Frontier’s] rejection would have devastating impacts on Alberta and Canada’s economy and federal-provincial relations,” Kenney wrote in his letter to Trudeau.

“It would be interpreted as a rejection of our most important industry and could raise roiling Western alienation to a boiling point – something I know your government has been attentive to since the election.”

The Liberal government has vowed to reach net-zero emissions for Canada by 2050. In late January, Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said the decision over whether to approve the project will include considerations as to what Alberta is doing to help reach that goal.

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RBC warns house price correction could be deepest in decades | CTV News – CTV News Toronto

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A housing correction, which has already led to four consecutive months of price declines in the previously overheated Greater Toronto Area market, could end up becoming “one of the deepest of the past half a century,” a new report from RBC warns.

New data released by the Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB) last week revealed that the average benchmark price for a home in the GTA fell six per cent month-over-month in July to $1,074,754.

Sales were also down a staggering 47 per cent from July, 2021.

In a report published on Aug. 4, RBC Senior Economist Robert Hogue said recent data from real estate boards underlines that higher interest rates are beginning to take a “huge toll” on the market.

Hogue said that with further hikes to come, prices will likely continue to slide in the coming months.

That prediction, it should be noted, goes against a report from Royal LePage last month which painted a rosier forecast for sellers in which values would more or less holding for the rest of the year following some declines in the second quarter.

“Our expectations for further hikes by the Bank of Canada—another 75 basis points to go in the overnight rate by the fall— will keep chilling the market in the months ahead,” Hogue said. “We expect the downturn to intensify and spread further as buyers take a wait-and-see approach while ascertaining the impact of higher lending rates. Canada’s least affordable markets Vancouver and Toronto, and their surrounding regions, are most at risk in light of their excessively stretched affordability and outsized price gains during the pandemic.”

The Bank of Canada has hiked the overnight lending rate by 225 basis points since March and has warned that further hikes will be necessary given that inflation remains at a near 40-year high.

In his report, Hogue pointed out that the housing correction “now runs far and wide across Canada” but he said that it is particularly pronounced in the costlier markets of Toronto and Vancouver.

In fact, Hogue said that housing resale activity in Toronto is at its slowest pace in 13 years, outside of the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The stockpile of available homes is also up 58 per cent from a year ago, he noted.

“With more options to choose from and higher interest rates shrinking their purchasing budgets, buyers are able to extract meaningful price concessions from sellers,” he said, pointing out that the average price of a home in the GTA is down 13 per cent from March. “We expect buyers to remain on the defensive in the months ahead as they deal with rising interest rates and poor affordability.”

While Hogue did say that condos in the City of Toronto are likely to remain “relatively more resilient” he said that prices elsewhere will continue to fall for the time being, especially in the 905 belt “where property values soared during the pandemic.”

The July data from TRREB suggested that the average price of a home in the GTA was still up one per cent from July, 2021.

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Commuters face GO transit cancellations, possible strike – CityNews

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Canada Revenue Agency plans email blitz to get Canadians to cash outstanding cheques worth $1.4-billion – The Globe and Mail

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The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is planning a massive e-mail notification campaign to reach Canadians across the country who have uncashed cheques worth a net $1.4-billion.

The e-mail notifications will target recipients of the Canada child benefit and related provincial and territorial programs, as well as recipients of the GST/HST credits and the Alberta Energy Tax Refund.

The CRA said it plans to send approximately 25,000 e-mails in August, another 25,000 in November and a further 25,000 e-mails by May, 2023.

However, even without receiving an e-mail notification, the agency said a taxpayer can check if they have a cheque by logging into My Account, a secure portal on its website to check if they have an uncashed cheque over a period of six months. It added that representatives can also view uncashed cheques of their clients.

Each year, the CRA said it issues millions of payments to Canadian taxpayers in the form of refund benefits. These payments are issued by either direct deposit or by cheque.

“Over time, payments can remain uncashed for various reasons, such as the taxpayer misplacing the cheque or even a change of address which did not allow for delivery,” the agency said in a statement.

The CRA said since the e-mail notification initiative was first launched in February, 2020, about two million uncashed cheques valued at $802-million were redeemed by May 31, 2022.

The average amount per uncashed cheque is $158 with some of them dating as far back as 1998, the agency said.

As of May, 2022, there were an estimated 8.9 million uncashed cheques with the CRA. In May, 2019, about five million Canadians had an estimated 7.6 million uncashed cheques.

“As government cheques never expire or stale date, the CRA cannot void the original cheque and re-issue a new one unless requested by the taxpayer,” the statement read. “These upcoming e-notifications are to encourage taxpayers to cash any cheques they have in their possession.”

The agency said taxpayers can register for the direct deposit option on its website to receive payments directly into their bank accounts.

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