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Kenney announces new law clamping down on protestors – Edmonton Journal

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On the eve of the Throne Speech and in the wake of Teck’s decision to pull out of its Frontier Mine project, Premier Jason Kenney announced legislation targeting protesters who disrupt vital infrastructure networks.

Kenney blamed Teck’s withdrawal on Sunday in part on the “appearance of anarchy” caused by nationwide protests in support of Wet’suwet’en heridetary chiefs who are opposed to the CoastalGas Link project in northern B.C.

“This decision was taken in large part because of regulatory uncertainty and endless delays created by the national government, as well as the general atmosphere of lawlessness that we have seen take hold of parts of our country and much of our economic infrastructure in the past three weeks,” said Kenney in a speech to caucus, government staff, invitees and media on Monday.

The first bill of the spring session will be the Critical Infrastructure Defense Act, creating new “stiff penalties for anyone who riots on or seeks to impair critical economic infrastructure,” Kenney said.

The government will table the legislation, otherwise known as Bill 1, on Tuesday.

Kenney said he had spoken to “major” investors who have cancelled, frozen and suspended major investments in the economy because of the rail blockades.

The Court of Queen’s Bench granted a province-wide, 30-day injunction last week after protesters blocked CN tracks east of Edmonton. Police can be called to serve and enforce that order. In Ontario, police enforced an injunction Monday, dismantling the blockade near Belleville, Ont., that began on Feb. 6 and halted freight and passenger rail service across much of the country.

Kenney targeted “urban green left zealots,” saying they were trying to appropriate protests and condemning Indigenous people to poverty. The Coastal GasLink project, which is supported by all 20 elected First Nation chiefs along the pipeline’s route, is expected to create 2,000 to 2,500 jobs during its four-year construction period.

Kenney also promised a “citizen-initiative” referendum law in the coming days that will allow citizens to put issues that are important to them on the ballot, although he added that the government would prevent frivolous abuse of the process.

Although Teck CEO Don Lindsay criticized the lack of a regulatory framework and cited investor uncertainty in his letter to the federal government Sunday, Kenney said the province can reconcile a potential referendum over national unity issues.

“When I talk about tensions on national unity, I’m not advocating that, I’m describing a reality that exists in this province and other parts of Canada. And I think it would be grossly irresponsible for political leaders to ignore that reality,” he said.

The Bill 1 announcement came on the heels of the Alberta Court of Appeal’s decision Monday afternoon, which ruled in favour of Alberta’s legal challenge and declared the federal carbon tax unconstitutional.

When asked how killing the carbon tax would make investing in Canada more attractive to companies like Teck, Kenney said the province’s Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) Regulation is a better solution than the federal carbon tax because it focuses on big emitters and scientific solutions.

He also reiterated that Teck did not flag environmental frameworks as a problem until its decision was made public on Sunday.

‘Let’s resolve those issues’: Mikisew Chief

Chief Archie Waquan of the Mikisew First Nation, who had announced the community’s support for the Teck project on Friday, said he was disappointed in the company’s decision on Monday.

“I feel badly about it,” he said, noting that it took 10 years of work to come to an agreement.

Hurting the economy is not the best way to protest, but clamping down on protestors might be “too strong” of an approach, he said, adding that talking with Indigenous communities is the only way to practical solutions.

“Let’s resolve those issues that are affecting First Nations — let’s get it going — and then you’ll never have any of those blockades in the future,” he said.


NDP Leader, Rachel Notley, answers question about Teck’s application withdraw from the Frontier oilsands mine during a news conference on costs being downloaded onto municipalities by the government, with NDP Municipal Affairs Critic, Joe Ceci (back) in Edmonton, February 24, 2020. Ed Kaiser/Postmedia

‘He’s scrambling’: Notley

Opposition NDP leader Rachel Notley said Monday that Teck’s decision is the direct result of Premier Jason Kenney’s “combative” political approach.

International investors are looking for a predictable regulatory framework on greenhouse gas emissions, but instead are seeing Kenney demonize anyone with any concerns about climate change, alienating investors and leaving Albertans behind, Notley said.

The blockades are the result of longstanding matters that need to be addressed across the country, and confounding the issue of protests, emissions regulation and investment is dishonest, she said.

“He’s scrambling, and it’s cheap issues management,” said Notley.

Kenney has fought against the environmental frameworks that investors want and mischaracterized international banking heads and fund managers as “urban green radicals,” she said.

“He is essentially promoting the continued investor uncertainty that created this problem in the first place,” she said.

It is already illegal to blockade railways, and police have the jurisdiction to arrest trespassers, she said when asked about how effective Kenney’s upcoming first bill will be.

“It comes down to what the deterrent element is, and how it’s constructed,” she said.

lijohnson@postmedia.com

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TD raising dividend, plans to buy back up to 50 million shares – BNN

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TD Bank Group kept pace with its peers in dishing out rewards to its shareholders on Thursday.

The bank announced it will raise its quarterly dividend 13 per cent to $0.89 per share, effective Jan. 31. It also said it’s seeking regulatory approval to repurchase up to 50 million of its shares. 

All five of the big Canadian lenders that have reported this week announced similar moves after the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions recently ended its ban on buybacks and dividend hikes. Bank of Montreal, the last of the Big Six banks to report earnings, will announce its results on Friday. 

TD’s full-year profit climbed to $14.3 billion compared to $11.9 billion in 2020, the bank also announced on Thursday. In the fiscal fourth quarter, which ended Oct. 31, net income fell to $3.8 billion from $5.1 billion a year earlier when it got a $1.4-billion lift from the sale of its stake in TD Ameritrade. 

On an adjusted basis, TD earned $2.09 per share in the most recent quarter. Analysts, on average, were expecting $1.96.

TD’s American unit was the primary driver in the fiscal fourth quarter, as the division’s net income surged 66 per cent year-over-year to US$1.09 billion. Stripping out an investment in Charles Schwab, profit for the core U.S. retail banking operations soared 123 per cent to US$897 million as revenue climbed and US$62 million was freed up after previously being set aside for loans that could go bad. 

In Canada, TD’s retail banking division saw profit rise 19 per cent year-over-year to $2.14 billion. Similar to the U.S., revenue rose year-over-year and credit quality improved. However, those factors were partially offset by an eight per cent rise in expenses — which TD said was due to higher variable compensation and investments in technology. 

Meanwhile, the bank’s wholesale division — which comprises activities like capital markets and investment banking — was a drag on profit as net income from that unit slid 14 per cent to $420 million. TD said its trading revenue in the quarter fell to $510 million from $761 million a year earlier. 

“We  ended the  year  in  a  position  of  strength,  with a  growing  base of  customers  across  highly  competitive  and  diversified  businesses  and  a  robust capital  position, enabling  us  to increase  our  dividend  and providing us  with a strong  foundation  upon which to  continue  building  our  business  in  2022,” said TD President and Chief Executive Bharat Masrani in a release.

Editor’s note: The original version of this story incorrectly presented the dividend increase as being 11 per cent. We regret the error.

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Tentative deal between union workers and beef producer Cargill struck | CTV News – CTV News Calgary

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With less than a week to go before workers were set to go on strike at Cargill’s High River, Alta. beef processing plant, the company says a tentative deal has been reached.

The company announced the development on Wednesday and says it is “encouraged by the outcome” of recent talks.

“After a long day of collaborative discussion, we reached an agreement on an offer that the bargaining committee will recommend to its members. The offer is comprehensive and fair and includes retroactive pay, signing bonuses, a 21 per cent wage increase over the life of the contract and improved health benefits,” Cargill wrote in a statement to CTV News via email.

The company adds it also “remains optimistic” a deal can be finalized before the strike deadline.

“(We) encourage employees to vote on this offer which recognizes the important role they play in Cargill’s work to nourish the world in a safe, responsible and sustainable way. While we navigate this negotiation, we continue to focus on fulfilling food manufacturer, retail and food service customer orders while keeping markets moving for farmers and ranchers,” it wrote.

The United Food and Commercial Workers’ Union (UFCW) Local 401 was expected to go on strike on Dec. 6.

It rejected the most recent attempt at a deal on Nov. 25 by a 98 per cent margin.

‘FAIR OFFER’

According to a statement from UFCW Local 401, the negotiating team engaged in “a marathon day” of talks with the company on Tuesday.

“Late in the evening, our bargaining committee concluded that they were in receipt of a fair offer and that they were prepared to present that offer to their coworkers with a recommendation of acceptance,” it wrote in a statement.

The union says the tentative deal will “significantly improve” the lives of Cargill workers and will be the ‘best food processing contract in Canada.”

Highlights from the deal include:

  • $4,200 in retroactive pay for many employees;
  • $1,000 signing bonus;
  • $1,000 COVID-19 bonus;
  • More than $6,000 total bonuses for workers three weeks before Christmas;
  • $5 wage increase for many employees;
  • Improved health benefits; and
  • Provisions to facilitate a new culture of health, safety, dignity and respect in the workplace

While UFCW Local 401 president Thomas Hesse calls the deal “fair,” he will support workers on the picket line if they decide to reject the proposal.

“If they do accept it, I’ll work with them every day to make Cargill a better workplace,” Hesse said in a statement. “I will do as our members ask me to do.

“I respect all of the emotions that they feel and the suffering that they have experienced.”

Employees are expected the vote on the new deal between Dec. 2 and 4.

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Afterpay delays vote on $29 billion buyout as Square awaits Spain’s nod

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Afterpay Ltd will delay a shareholder meet to approve Square Inc’s $29-billion buyout of the Australian buy now, pay later leader, as the Jack Dorsey-led payment company awaits regulatory nod in Spain.

The investor meet was set for Dec. 6, but Afterpay said it would likely take place next year as Square, which has rebranded itself to Block Inc, is likely to get an approval from the Bank of Spain only in mid-January.

The delay is unlikely to impact the completion of Australia‘s biggest deal, which is set for the first quarter of 2022, Afterpay said.

“We continue to believe the risks of the transaction closing are minimal,” RBC Capital Markets analyst Chami Ratnapala said in a brief client note.

Meanwhile, Twitter Inc co-founder Dorsey is expected to focus on Square after stepping down as chief executive of the social media platform as it looks to expand beyond its payment business and into new technologies like blockchain.

Afterpay shares fell more than 6%, far underperforming the broader Australian market, tracking Square’s 6.6% drop overnight in U.S. market on worries over the Omicron variant.

 

(Reporting by Nikhil Kurian, Sameer Manekar and Indranil Sarkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva, Rashmi Aich and Arun Koyyur)

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