Today’s Supreme Court ruling upholding Ottawa’s carbon pricing is being called a win for climate activists looking for stronger fiscal incentives to curb pollution. But it’s also being called a loss for fiercely independent provinces that insist the federal guidelines are nothing more than meddling.
Canada’s top court struck down the challenge brought by Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario and said in its ruling that climate change is a threat to Canada.
In its 6-3 decision, the top court ruled the federal government’s carbon pricing system is constitutional, a blow to the provincial governments that had argued efforts to mitigate pollution should be handled at the provincial jurisdiction.
Under the now constitutionally-approved Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act, the federal government can determine which provinces do not have an adequate emissions-pricing scheme of their own and impose a tax. Citizens are sent rebates under the Climate Action Incentive to cover any increased costs at the gas pump or on energy bills.
Here are some of the reactions to today’s decision from political circles around the country:
Terry Beech, federal MP for Burnaby North-Seymour, says the decision means that Canada has an opportunity to be a world leader in reduction of carbon emissions, much like he said B.C. has been a leader in Canada as the first jurisdiction in North America to implement carbon pricing.
“We were the first jurisdiction in North America to implement carbon pricing and we’ve proven that it works,” he told CBC.
“This ruling today is going to ensure that Canadian businesses and Canadians are going to be incentivized to grow a more sustainable green economy. And that’s going to lead to entrepreneurial activities for a really high demand, clean energy, clean tech sector that B.C. has already led in because they’ve led in carbon pricing.”
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney rejected the idea that the ruling is a loss for the province and defended his government’s independent approach to mitigating climate change.
“We now have a third of the Supreme court of Canada validating our position. We didn’t get a majority, but it’s clear that the position taken not just by Alberta but by six of the provinces representing 80 per cent of Canada’s population was a strong and credible position.
“It’s a challenge that had to be made,” Kenney said, telling a news conference that his government would “continue to keep our election commitment to defend our powers and our economy.
WATCH | Kenney discusses the SCC ruling:
Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said the carbon pricing, which he called a tax, is punitive for the people in his province.
He said that the ruling has far-reaching implications for federal intrusion into areas of provincial jurisdiction and called carbon pricing “a blunt, ineffective instrument that kills job[s], threatens the competitiveness of our industries and penalizes essential, daily activities of families across our province.”
WATCH | Saskatchewan premier comments on the ruling:
Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister says the province is still moving forward with its own legal challenge of the federal carbon tax, despite the Supreme Court ruling.
Pallister said the federal government’s plan is tailored to provinces that have a more urban-based economy, and it would profoundly hurt Manitobans since the province is made up of mostly rural and northern communities.
“Manitoba has demonstrated a commitment, we have developed our own plan and we are implementing it,” he said. “So we don’t believe that the federal government has a right to jump overtop of what Manitobans have worked so hard on.”
Jeff Yurek, Ontario Minister of the Environment, said while the ruling was not the outcome the province sought, the decision of the highest court in the country will be respected.
“We’re disappointed at the decision from the Supreme Court,” Yurek said. “But, you know, we are going to move forward with our plan for the environment, which is reducing our emissions 30 per cent before 2005 levels.”
New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs says the legal debate over carbon pricing is over in Canada, and that it’s time to find a way to make the fight against climate change fair for all provinces.
Higgs told reporters it’s likely that the provinces that took the case to court and have refused to create their own carbon prices will now follow his lead and craft their own versions.
“Once you’ve exhausted the legal process, there comes a time when you have to look within and say ‘How can I best mitigate the losses or the impact on the citizens of my province?’ And I’m sure they’ll do that.”
According to federal Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, the issue around whether carbon pricing forms part of Canada’s plan with respect to reducing emissions is over and that the government would be moving forward with a carbon price.
“I look forward to having those conversations with all my counterparts as to how we actually do that in an effective way,” he said.
“It’s bizarre to me, to be honest with you, that conservatives in this country are opposed to a market-based mechanism that is the most efficient way to reduce carbon pollution.”
Laurel Collins, the NDP Critic for Environment and Climate Change says the ruling is welcome, but that Canadians are still worried about the climate crisis and lack of meaningful action from the federal Liberal government.
“I think Canadians see really clearly the hypocrisy of a government who declares a climate emergency one day and buys a pipeline the next year,” she said.
Green Party Leader Annamie Paul noted on Twitter that while a carbon tax is part of tackling climate change, it isn’t a complete plan.
“We can’t continue to frack gas and build pipelines and hope to meet our targets.”
The Supreme Court has ruled the carbon tax is constitutional. It’s an important step in the right direction. But while a carbon tax is part of tackling climate change, it isn’t a complete plan. We can’t continue to frack gas & build pipelines & hope to meet our targets <a href=”https://twitter.com/hashtag/cdnpoli?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>#cdnpoli</a>
Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole said in a statement that his party would repeal what he called Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax.
“We will protect the environment and fight the reality of climate change, but we won’t do it by making the poorest pay more.”
Last weekend, delegates at the Conservative Party’s policy convention voted down a resolution that would have included the line “climate change is real” in the party’s official policy document.
O’Toole said he stood by an earlier commitment to present a plan to address climate change ahead of the next federal election.
“I’m the leader. I’m in charge,” he said.
Wall Street’s plant-based love wilts
By Siddharth Cavale and Uday Sampath Kumar
(Reuters) – A cooling of the U.S. stock market’s taste for plant-based meat makers has raised doubts among some investors and analysts about Impossible Foods’ plans to achieve a $10 billion flotation.
Impossible is seeking to go public through an initial public offering or via a merger with a blank-check company within the next 12 months, sources told Reuters this month.
The market value of larger competitor Beyond Meat, however, has sunk from a peak of $14 billion to closer to $8.5 billion and is predicted by several brokerages to fall further.
Both firms carry expectations of being big players in a so-called faux meat market which some predict could be worth $85 billion a year by 2030 as dietary habits shift.
But with retail sales of some products sliding, four sectoral investors told Reuters that Beyond’s 420% rise in value since listing in September 2019 was now seen as overcooked.
“It’s pretty shocking when you see some of these valuations come out,” said Patrick Morris, whose Eat Beyond vehicle has invested in three Canada-listed plant-based ventures.
“The $10 billion for Impossible Foods, with Beyond Meat at $8 or $8.5 billion? The first reaction is that these valuations are coming from outer space,” added Morris, who said he is looking at investing in Impossible if it opens its books.
Some existing investors have told Impossible that it should aim to go public at a valuation below where Beyond is trading, a person familiar with the discussions told Reuters.
Impossible declined to comment.
While the signs remain positive for plant-based food, COVID-19 has halted restaurant sales, and sector studies suggest that the industry has yet to convincingly win over shoppers.
Nevertheless, both Beyond and Impossible have signed deals with major restaurant and grocery chains and the U.S. industry as a whole grew by 44% last year during the pandemic.
Revenues at Beyond and some other producers are growing, but the rate of volume sales growth of fresh and fully cooked plant-based meat alternatives has been declining steadily at U.S. retail stores since July last year, NielsenIQ data shows.
Unit sales growth eased from 32.6% in the July to September period last year to 1% in January to March quarter of 2021, when compared to the same period a year ago, the data showed.
Beyond’s sales overall were still just $407 million last year, and its stock trades at nearly 21 times sales per share, according to Refinitiv data, versus 1.6 times and 1.9 times for Kellogg Co and Kraft Heinz, which last year had sales of $13.78 billion and $26.19 billion respectively.
“Food companies need to trade in a multiple that has some logic to it,” said Christopher Kerr, Chief Investment Officer at Unovis Asset Management, an early investor in Beyond Meat who cashed out and now holds stakes in Oatly and Zero Egg.
“The question is can they get to something that represents market valuation tied to revenues … right now we’re seeing some pretty premium valuations out there,” Kerr added.
Graphic: Beyond Meat market cap – https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/buzz/jznpnandjvl/Beyond%20market%20cap.PNG
One reason for the valuation floated for Impossible is the boom in special-purpose acquisition deals and initial offerings that has seen big jumps for a range of start-ups at launch.
Brian Schaeffer, managing director of private equity trading platform InvestX, which allows investors to trade in pre-IPO companies, said Impossible had been one of the top five traded stocks on the platform since introducing it this year.
“The SPAC trend is super aggressive right now …so those kind of public valuations are being translated into interest on the private platforms,” Schaeffer added.
Some market debuts, however, have not gone as well.
British-based food delivery service Deliveroo flopped on its debut last month.
While Impossible does not publish sales numbers, some industry estimates give it a less than 4% share of the U.S. imitation meat industry, compared with Beyond Meat’s 25%.
Beyond has signed deals with McDonald’s, PepsiCo and KFC and Taco Bell owner Yum Brands while Impossible last year gave up on McDonald’s, citing its inability to supply on the required scale.
Impossible’s burgers and sausages are available at only 20,000 stores globally, versus Beyond’s 122,000 and it is still seeking regulatory approval in Europe and mainland China, where the genetically modified yeast it uses is banned.
“There is so much money (from SPACs) looking for so few places to go, because the space is so new,” Curt Albright, managing member of alternative protein investment firm Clear Current Capital said.
“Whether the valuations are too much or too little, that the market will figure out eventually.”
(Reporting by Siddharth Cavale and Uday Sampath Kumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Patrick Graham and Alexander Smith)
The Art of Finding Work
By Nick Kossovan
Interviews Are Modern Greek Tragedies
Odds are the person interviewing you has a similar story as mine—they developed their interviewing skills “on the job.” Executives and managers are thrust into the recruiting part of their job without first developing skills to evaluate talent.
Outside of human resources, those whose job requires them to assess and interview candidates get little to no training. I never received any formal training regarding how to interview and evaluate a candidate. Yet, I’ve interviewed 1,000’s throughout my career.
I admit I stumbled through my first 150 – 200 interviews. I developed my interviewing skills, a skill I knew would serve me well, on job candidates, which I now admit was unfair to them.
Hiring the right people who’ll fit with the position, team and company can’t be overstated. I keep British-American author Simon Sinek’s words top of mind, “If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for the money. But if you hire people who believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood and sweat and tears.”
Since finding work is seeking approval, I often think of interviews as conduits to modern Greek tragedies.
We spend much of our youth and adulthood seeking approval, trying to “fit in” with the right clothes, car, house, job, etc. We’re constantly aware we’re being judged—a cause of much of why we second-guess ourselves and the stress this causes.
- Am I good enough?
- Do I fit in?
You desperately want to hear, “We want you.”
WARNING: Three interview truths coming.
- When interviewing, everything goes into “the mix”—past hiring mistakes, bias, prejudices, commonalities.
- At the core of every hiring decision is gut feel.
- Likability is the most valuable currency a job seeker has, trumping education, skills, and experience.
When a candidate is sitting in front of me, I’m asking myself:
- Will this person fit in with the current team members and the company’s culture?
- Will this person be seen as a good hire by my boss and peers, and the team? (A bad hire = bad judgment, which is an X against my reputation.)
Acing an interview is extremely hard. Much of your success depends on whom you’re speaking to, and humans are the ultimate moving target. The best you can hope for is to stack the odds in your favour and hope your interviewer is in a good mood.
Keep top of mind: An interview is a sales meeting, and hiring is a business arrangement.
When interviewing, your job is to establish rapport (READ: connection), build trust and achieve the following goals of making the interviewer:
- Believe in you.
- See you as a fit.
You achieve these goals by:
- Clearly demonstrating what value you can bring to the employer. Connect how yourtrack record, which needs to be quantified; otherwise, it’s just your opinion, would be an asset to the employer.
- Presenting yourself as a problem solver. If you look at work holistically, you’ll realize every position within an organization exists to solve a problem(s). How can your experience and skills solve the problem(s) the position you applied to exists to solve?
- Asking good questions. By asking good questions, your interviewer will talk about their pain points. You can then explain (sell yourself) how you’d go about solving their pain point.
Three things worth noting and using as guidance when interviewing:
- An employer will hire you if they’re convinced you’ll bring more value than you cost, therefore offer as much value as possible.
- Problem solvers, those with a proven track record of solving their employer’s pain points, will always be in demand.
- People don’t have short attention spans. They have short interest spans. Make your interviewer interested in you!
There’s no blueprint to guarantee interview success. All you can do is stack the odds in your favour as much as possible. However, there’s one universal interview rule that’ll tip the odds in your favour: Always tell the person sitting across from you what they want to hear. When you develop the ability to read your interviewer and comfortably offer solutions to their pain points, you’ll have developed solid interviewing skills. Such skills will mitigate the number of Greek tragedies you’ll experience while job searching.
Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers advice on searching for a job. You can send him your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Judge Rules to delay Huawei CFO’s extradition hearings
By Moira Warburton
VANCOUVER (Reuters) – A Canada judge has agreed to delay Huawei Chief Financial Officer Meng Wanzhou’s U.S. extradition hearings for three months, according to a ruling read in court on Wednesday, handing her defense team a win.
Meng, 49, was arrested at Vancouver International Airport on charges of bank fraud in the United States for allegedly misleading HSBC about Huawei’s business dealings in Iran, causing the bank to break U.S. sanctions.
Meng’s team had asked for more time to review additional documents that became available after HSBC and Huawei reached a settlement in Hong Kong. Extradition hearings were originally set to wrap up in May.
Defense attorney Richard Peck argued in court on Monday that they were requesting “a modest frame of time” to be able to read the documents and potentially file them as evidence in the British Columbia Supreme Court.
Lawyers representing the attorney general of Canada had fought the adjournment of hearings set to start on Monday, arguing that Meng’s team had been given more time than was usual in an extradition to make their case, and the contents of the documents were too redacted to be relied upon as significant to the case.
“The outstanding feature of this application is that it’s based on speculation,” prosecutor Robert Frater said on Monday.
But Associate Chief Justice Heather Holmes disagreed, siding with the defense in granting an adjournment.
Her reasons will be read out on in court on April 28.
(Reporting by Moira Warburton in Vancouver; Editing by Chris Reese and Marguerita Choy)
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