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Teck to temporarily delay project amid political unrest, just days before Liberal decision: source – National Post

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Teck Resources has officially withdrawn its application to build the $20-billion Frontier oilsands mine, just days before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was expected to issue a ruling on the contentious project.

“We are disappointed to have arrived at this point,” Don Lindsay, CEO of the company, said in a letter to Trudeau published late Sunday. “Teck put forward a socially and environmentally responsible project that was industry leading and had the potential to create significant economic benefits for Canadians.”

One person who spoke to the National Post said the decision by Vancouver-based Teck was largely due to ongoing political turmoil in Canada, as protestors have blockaded rail lines for more than two weeks in opposition to a separate pipeline project.

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The Frontier mine has gone through nearly a decade of regulatory review, and a decision by the Liberal cabinet, which was expected by end of week, would have marked the final stage in the drawn-out approval process.

The company had secured community benefit agreements with all 14 of the First Nations who reside near the proposed mine. But pressure had been building on the Trudeau government to cancel the project, due to concerns that it would inhibit the federal government’s ability to meet its 2030 and 2050 climate targets.

Pausing the project offers immediate relief to the Trudeau government, which was deeply divided over the oilsands mine. The prime minister has long sought to balance interests in both the environmental community and industry, arguing that Canada can both grow its economy while also meeting stringent international climate targets.

Major projects including oilsands mines need to be approved by the federal government before they can proceed.

During the election campaign Trudeau pledged that Canada would reach net-zero emissions by 2050. Ottawa is separately set to fall short of its 2030 commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The economics of the Frontier megamine had long been in question after oil prices collapsed in 2014, making many large and heavy oil projects less viable. Some observers openly questioned whether the mine would ever be built.

But the decision also comes at a time of nearly unprecedented divisiveness over natural resource projects in Canada, as some First Nations bands and environmental advocates clash with project proponents.

Protestors have been blockading critical rail lines in Canada for more than two weeks, snarling major arteries for goods and commuters, in response to the Costal GasLink natural gas pipeline currently being constructed in northern B.C.

The pipeline, which would feed into a massive liquefied natural gas (LNG) project on the West Coast, also secured the support of elected First Nations living along the route. But a handful of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have opposed the project.

Similar protests are expected to erupt over the construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, now owned by Ottawa, which would transport oil products from Alberta to the Vancouver port.

Teck’s decision on Sunday came just after Alberta signed updated agreements two First Nations on Frontier, the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation and Mikisew Cree First Nation. The Chipewyan had recently come out against the Alberta government’s handling of the file, and called for increased funding on several environmental efforts tied to the project.

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Keystone pipeline temporarily closed following Kansas oil spill

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The energy company in charge of the pipeline has not said what caused the spill or how much oil was released.

The Keystone pipeline has halted operations following an oil spill into a creek in the United States state of Kansas. The pipeline carries more than 600,000 barrels of oil from Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast each day.

Canada-based TC Energy said in a press release that it shut down the pipeline on Wednesday night in response to a drop in pipeline pressure. The company has yet to offer information on the scale and cause of the spill.

“The system remains shut down as our crews actively respond and work to contain and recover the oil,” the release said.

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The spill resulted in oil leaking into a creek in northeastern Kansas and the company has said they were using machinery to prevent the oil from moving further downstream. Pipelines have long spurred concerns about the destructive potential of oil spills.

Another pipeline previously proposed by TC, the Keystone XL pipeline, would have been 1,930 kilometres (1,200 miles) long and cut across US states such as Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska.

That proposal spurred strong opposition from advocates who said it would increase the chance of spills, undermine the rights of Indigenous communities and worsen climate change.

Former President Donald Trump approved a permit for the contentious project in 2017 but a court halted construction in 2018 before the permit was cancelled by President Joe Biden’s administration last year.

TC finally abandoned the effort in June 2021 but has since filed a claim seeking remuneration for losses it says it faced because of the cancellation.

The spill on Wednesday occurred several years after the Keystone pipeline leaked about 1.4m litres (383,000 gallons) of oil in eastern North Dakota in 2019.

As word of the shutdown spread on Wednesday, oil prices ticked upwards by about five percent.

“It’s something to keep an eye on, but not necessarily an immediate impact for now,” said Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, which tracks gasoline prices, according to the Associated Press. “It could eventually impact oil supplies to refiners, which could be severe if it lasts more than a few days.”

In their statement, Keystone said their primary focus was the “health and safety of onsite staff and personnel, the surrounding community, and mitigating risk to the environment through the deployment of booms downstream as we work to contain and prevent further migration of the release”.

Previous Keystone spills have resulted in stoppages that lasted up to two weeks. However, analysts have noted that the current stoppage could possibly last longer because it involves a body of water.

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Bank of Canada policy will ‘hit home’ in 2023: David Rosenberg

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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.

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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.

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CRTC rejects Telus’ request to charge credit card processing fee for some services

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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.

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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.

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