Police have served protesters blocking rail tracks south of Montreal, in St-Lambert, with an injunction demanding they dismantle their barricades.
CN police just before 7 p.m. on Thursday approached the barricades with a box full of paper, delivering copies of the injunction to the protesters. Officers said they would give the protesters time to read it. It was unclear as of Thursday evening if police would move in against them.
Longueuil Police had tweeted just before 7 p.m., warning motorists to stay away from the area to allow the demonstrators to leave.
The protesters, however, showed no signs of leaving.
Canadian National earlier had obtained the injunction to end the blockade of its railway line in Saint-Lambert that had snarled commuter rail traffic to Mont-St-Hilaire and Via Rail service to Quebec City.
Quebec Premier François Legault had said that the barricade would be dismantled by municipal police on the South Shore when the injunction was issued. Longueuil police had asked for the Surete du Quebec’s assistance to remove the barricades, should officers attempt to intervene.
Early Thursday afternoon the protesters were reluctant to speak to the media, though some locals had engaged with them. “I support you, but it’s enough,” St-Lambert resident David Skitt told the protesters, urging them to get off the tracks. After his conversation, where he expressed his frustration with their methods, he shook hands with one of the demonstrators and left.
Temperatures overnight Thursday were predicted to dip as low as -16 C with a windchill of -22 C, according to Environment Canada. The demonstrators had lit a fire inside of a tent and asked their supporters for wood, supplies and blankets.
The blockade of the railway line by supporters of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs has delayed the planned resumption of Via Rail service between Montreal and Quebec City. Service on the busy corridor was set to resume Thursday, but Via Rail announced that the resumption has been postponed until at least the end of the day Friday. The new blockade gave Via Rail “no other option” to push back the resumption of service, the company said in a statement.
Service between Montreal and Ottawa is scheduled to resume Saturday. Service on the complete Windsor-Quebec City corridor is currently expected to resume Sunday.
On Wednesday, Via Rail announced that it was temporarily laying off some 1,000 employees due to the impact of blockades across the country.
Blockades of railway lines across the country have caused widespread passenger and cargo train delays and cancellations.
The blockades are being set up in solidarity with the hereditary chiefs of Wet’suwet’en First Nation of northern British Columbia, who are opposing the construction of a new pipeline through their territory.
– With reporting by The Canadian Press.
This is a developing story that will be updated.
Bank of Canada policy will ‘hit home’ in 2023: David Rosenberg
The Bank of Canada may be signalling a possible end to its months-long aggressive interest-rate hike cycle, but economist David Rosenberg said next year will see the lagging impact of 2022’s monetary policy “hit home” for Canadians.
“Next year is the payback,” Rosenberg, chief economist and strategist at Rosenberg Research and Associates Inc., said in an interview with BNN Bloomberg.
“2022 was the year of the sharp run-up in rates, 2023 will be the year where the policy lags from those rising rates hit home.”
He made the comments Thursday, a day after the Bank of Canada raised its overnight lending rate by 50 basis points to 4.25 per cent, as the central bank continued with its approach to bringing down inflation.
Rosenberg predicted a “severe recession” for Canada next year based on the rate hike cycle, calling for a “triple whammy” with economic impacts compounded by high levels of household debt, a housing bubble and ripples in the global economy.
Possible spillover effects from the interest rate cycle could be felt, Rosenberg said, as banks may constrain the availability of credit and spending drops across various sectors.
Based on the latest rate increase, Rosenberg said he predicts at potentially one more rate hike from the bank before a pause. Once inflation starts to come down, Rosenberg said he thinks the central bank may start to cut rates, possibly in the second half of 2023.
“The next stage is going to be waiting for the inflation to come down, which I think it will, and the recession is going to catch a lot of people by surprise,” he said.
A similar pattern may play out in the U.S., but Rosenberg said Canadians are more exposed to higher interest rates through variable-rate mortgages and because more consumer credit is tied to short-term interest rates.
“As bad as it’s going to be in the U.S., and believe me, it’s not going to be a pretty picture there, I think the Canadian situation in the next year is going to be clouded at best,” he said.
CRTC rejects Telus’ request to charge credit card processing fee for some services
The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission ruled Thursday that Telus is not able to charge a credit card processing fee for regulated home telephone services.
This ruling applies to Alberta and B.C. services that are regulated by the CRTC, which are generally home telephone services in certain smaller communities.
Since Oct. 6, most Canadian businesses, except in Quebec, can charge their customers a fee for credit card transactions, following a class-action lawsuit filed by retailers against Visa, MasterCard and card-issuing banks.
Quebec is not included in this decision due to the province’s Consumer Protection Act, which prohibits the application of such surcharges.
On Aug. 8, Telus filed an application with the CRTC to introduce a credit card processing fee of 1.5 per cent, plus taxes, for payments made with a credit card.
On. Oct. 17, Telus began to charge the fee to clients paying by credit card in areas where services are not regulated by the CRTC, which includes its wireless and internet customers outside of Quebec.
Telus does not need to ask for the CRTC’s approval to add the surcharge to its unregulated services but the organization said it is “very concerned” about this practice as it goes against affordability and consumer interest.
“We heard Canadians loud and clear: close to 4,000 of you told us that you should not be subjected to an additional fee based on the method you choose to pay your bill,” Ian Scott, chairperson and CEO of the CRTC, said in a statement. “We expect the telecommunications industry to treat Canadians with respect and do better.”
The CRTC said, with this ruling, it is sending a “clear message” to Telus and other telecommunications service providers that are thinking of imposing a fee like this one on their customers.
Stock market news live updates: Stocks close mostly lower as selling pressure continues
U.S. stocks extended this week’s downtrend Wednesday to close a choppy session with losses as the prospect of sustained higher rates and slowing growth continued to plague investor sentiment.
The S&P 500 (^GSPC) slumped 0.2%, ending a fifth straight day lower, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) capped trading at the flatline. The technology-heavy Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC) declined 0.5%.
In commodities markets, oil extended losses to close around $72 per barrel after a decline of roughly 10% this week to the lowest level since January.
“Fears are growing that economies are in for a rough time ahead as feverish inflation and the bitter interest rate medicine being used to bring it down take effect,” Hargreaves Lansdown senior investment and markets analyst Susannah Streeter said in a morning note, pointing also to recession warnings from U.S. bank bosses and gloomy trade data in China. “Despite today’s easing of restrictions, it’s clear China’s Covid nightmare is not at an end.”
A chorus of downbeat remarks from Wall Street leaders on Tuesday further weighed on already slumping sentiment this week as many expressed concerns over the toll of inflation and elevated interest rates on U.S. consumers.
JPMorgan Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon said the $1.5 trillion in excess savings across Americans’ bank accounts were being eroded by rising prices, while warning the dwindling disposable cash may “derail the economy and cause this mild or hard recession that people are worried about.” Bank of America chief Brian Moynihan echoed a similar message, indicating that while consumers are still spending money, the pace is beginning to slow.
Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs (GS) CEO David Solomon projected stocks will barrel lower in 2023 and placed the probability of a soft landing at a mere 35% – a view at odds with in-house economists at his investment bank, who anticipate in their baseline forecast that the U.S. will narrowly avoid a recession next year.
“There’s a very reasonable possibility that we could have a recession of some kind,” Solomon said in an interview at the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council Summit Wednesday afternoon.
Reports that China’s government will scale back some zero-COVID rules appeared to underwhelm investors weighing easing restrictions against economic data out of the nation that showed falling imports and exports in November.
Back in the U.S., shares of Campbell Soup (CPB) rose nearly 6% after the canned goods producer reported earnings that beat Wall Street estimate and raised its full-year forecast. The company said sales of soup in the U.S. jumped 11% due to increases in demand for ready-to-serve soups, condensed soups and broth, reflecting a recent shift among consumers to value food purchases as inflation continues to weigh on households.
Shares of Apple (AAPL) sank 1.4%, one day after Bloomberg News reported the iPhone-maker scaled back ambitious self-driving plans for its future electric vehicle and postponed the car’s release data to 2026. Bloomberg also reported Wednesday morning that mobile industry bellwether Murata Manufacturing expects Apple will further reduce production plans for its iPhone 14 due to weakening demand.
Online used car retailer Carvana (CVNA) was also in the spotlight after plunging about 43% after the company’s biggest creditors reportedly signed an agreement to cooperate in potential restructuring negotiations as the company faces growing bankruptcy risk.
Investors await another round of economic data as the Federal Reserve’s final rate-setting meeting this year approaches. Readings on weekly jobless claims, producer price inflation, and consumer sentiment are due out later this week, but the most important data point for clues on the Fed’s direction for interest rates is the Consumer Price Index (CPI) out Tuesday, the same day U.S. central bank officials kick off their last two-day rate-setting meeting of 2022.
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