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'They can't get their stuff out,' rail blockades in BC, Ont. stress national network – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News



The Canadian Press

Published Wednesday, February 12, 2020 5:39AM EST

Last Updated Wednesday, February 12, 2020 8:09AM EST

The RCMP has formally ended its enforcement operations in a region of northern B.C. that’s at the centre of a pipeline dispute as protests across the country continue to cause disruptions, most notably to Canada’s rail network.

The economic impact of the demonstrations began to crystallize Tuesday as Canadian National Railway Co. warned it will have to close “significant” parts of its network unless blockades on its rail lines are removed.

More than 150 freight trains have been idled since the blockades were set up last Thursday in British Columbia and Ontario.

Passenger rail services have also been affected in Ontario, Quebec and B.C., with Via Rail cancelling service on its Montreal-Toronto and Ottawa-Toronto routes until the end of the day on Thursday because of a blockade near Belleville, Ont.

Chief executive JJ Ruest said the CN network gives the company limited parking space for its trains, which means traffic is backed up from Halifax to Windsor, Ont., and in parts of B.C. approaching Prince Rupert.

In Victoria on Tuesday, demonstrators also disrupted the business of the B.C. legislature as Lt.-Gov. Janet Austin delivered the NDP government’s throne speech.

Protesters, who have been camping outside the building since Friday, chanted “Shame” as politicians tried to enter the building with help from security.

The RCMP began enforcing a court injunction last week near Houston against Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and their supporters who have been blocking construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline, a key part of the $40-billion LNG Canada liquefied natural gas export project.

The Mounties concluded enforcement of the injunction on Monday after arresting 28 people. Of those, six were released without charges or conditions and 14 appeared before a judge and were released with a condition to obey the injunction.

The RCMP said Tuesday that a temporary exclusion zone in the area was removed and everyone was free to enter the area. The police force is maintaining an office on a forest service road at the centre of the dispute to continue patrols.

“The right to peaceful, safe and lawful protest, and freedom of expression, are important parts of Canada’s democracy,” the Mounties said in a statement. “However, blocking roadways is both dangerous and illegal.”

Via Rail said 157 passenger trains have been cancelled, affecting 24,500 travellers on routes between Montreal and Toronto, and Ottawa and Toronto.

In addition to the service cancellations in Ontario, Via says a blockade near New Hazelton, B.C., also means normal rail service is being interrupted between Prince Rupert and Prince George.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau said he is working with his Ontario counterpart Caroline Mulroney to find a solution to the blockade in that province.

Ruest said CN Rail had to temporarily discontinue service in its key corridors because of the blockades.

“The impact is also being felt beyond Canada’s borders and is harming the country’s reputation as a stable and viable supply chain partner,” he said in a statement.

The Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters Association, whose members typically load about 4,500 rail cars a day, urged government officials to work with police to restore service on the tracks.

“In Canada there’s not really other alternatives to move stuff around. The highways and trucks – especially in Quebec and southern Ontario – are already at a very, very high utilization of available capacity,” association president Dennis Darby said in an interview.

Stakeholders from chemical companies to Dannon Yogurt called this week to raise concerns, he said.

“They can’t get their stuff out.”

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Air Canada to temporarily lay off 15000 workers due to COVID-19 fallout – CTV News



Air Canada will temporarily lay off more than 15,000 unionized workers beginning this week as the airline struggles with fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The layoffs will continue through April and May amid drastically reduced flight capacity from the Montreal-based airline.

Air Canada says the two-month furloughs will affect about one-third of management and administrative and support staff, including head office employees, in addition to the front-line workers.

The carrier is also cutting between 85 per cent and 90 per cent of its flights, cancelling most of its international and U.S. routes in response to the global shutdown.

Earlier this month Air Canada’s flight attendant union said 5,149 cabin crew would be temporarily laid off due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 30, 2020.

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Two more Canadian banks cut prime rates by 50 basis points – The Globe and Mail



National Bank of Canada and Laurentian Bank of Canada both announced plans Monday to drop their prime rates by 50 basis points to 2.45 per cent. They join the Big 5 banks in decreasing lending rates to match the Bank of Canada’s unscheduled interest rate announcement on Friday.

The new National Bank and Laurentian Bank rates are effective Tuesday. Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto-Dominion Bank, Bank of Nova Scotia , Bank of Montreal and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce all cut their prime rates to 2.45 per cent on Friday, and were effective as of Monday.

The Bank of Canada Friday unexpectedly cut its key interest rate to help the county weather the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

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The Bank of Canada cut its overnight interest rate by 50 basis points to 0.25 per cent, its lowest level since June 2010.

Separately, Canada’s financial regulator eased its capital and liquidity requirements for banks, changed credit loss provisioning and allowed more loans to be securitized.

The pandemic has forced several governments to take actions as businesses grind to a halt and several retailers close stores to curb the spread of the highly-contagious diseases, leaving many people jobless.

This is the third time the big banks have cut prime rates over the past month. The prime rate impacts the cost of borrowing for many financial products, including variable rate mortgages.

Reuters, Globe staff

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Is Oil Heading To $10 –



Is Oil Heading To $10? |

Ag Metal Miner

MetalMiner is the largest metals-related media site in the US according to third party ranking sites. With a preemptive global perspective on the issues, trends,…

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    Popular investor inclination may be that after such a dramatic fall, the oil price has to bounce back, that investor sentiment on the downside was an overreaction. That inclination might also say after a chance for reflection has been allowed, prices will recover.

    But the reality is all we can reliably expect is a period of intense volatility.

    A price recovery will only come if the price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia comes to an end.

    Both sides have substantial financial reserves. Russia, in particular, is benefitting from a collapse in the ruble against the dollar, making its oil receipts not much different from before hostilities broke out.

    Russia can weather this storm for some time to come and seems ill-disposed to reach an agreement for substantial cutbacks any time soon.

    Saudi Arabia’s policy, on the other hand, seems to be set largely by the young Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (or MBS, as his name is sometimes abbreviated by the media).

    The crown prince has shown he is willing for Saudi Arabia to make considerable sacrifices if he believes he is in the right — witness the ruinous ongoing war in Yemen the kingdom has been waging for nearly five years (and realistically achieved little in the process).

    Earlier this month, the U.S. appointed an energy envoy to Saudi Arabia, raising hopes that the U.S. might broker a truce between the Kingdom and Russia.

    But so far, no progress has been made.

    An announcement by the U.S. that it would add 77 million barrels to its strategic reserve to support prices will do little now that the coronavirus is decimating demand.

    As The Economist notes, the vast salt caverns along America’s Gulf Coast that contain the strategic reserve are already about 90 percent full, so they cannot store enough excess supply even if that were a viable option to impact prices. Not only are national strategic and producer reserves rapidly filling up, but so are consumers. reports refiners in Baton Rouge could begin to slow deliveries as their own storage facilities max out, further depressing prices.

    Related: Oil Hits $20 For The First Time In 18 Years
    The article quotes Bernstein, a research firm, which estimates demand in the first half of the year will be maybe 10 percent, or even 20 percent, below what it was in 2019.

    In the past 35 years, demand has only twice been lower than in the preceding year — in 2008 and 2009.

    Yet shale oil continues to flow, adding to OPEC+ excess supply.

    Many shale drillers are hedged for now and the outlook for output cuts in the short term is limited. Added to this is a potential 1 million barrels a day of output that some analysts fear could come back onto the market from Libya gradually this year. reports global oil demand could plummet by 18.7 million barrels per day (bpd) in April, deepening an expected demand plunge of 10.5 million bpd for March, citing Goldman Sachs advice, overwhelming any possible cutbacks Saudi Arabia and Russia could now make.

    Talk of sub-$20 per barrel oil that seemed excessively pessimistic just a week or so back is now a reality. CBC reported Friday that Western Canadian Select (WCS) was selling for $6.45 U.S. a barrel Thursday, down U.S. $2.84 from a day earlier.

    Related: Refiners Are Having To Pay To Produce Gasoline

    As a result, it opened the very real possibility that producers, at least in the short term, may have to pay companies to take oil — effectively creating negative oil prices.

    Source: Standard Chartered Research

    Such chaos will decimate investment and idle exploration, opening up the probability that prices could surge in the years ahead as the industry is unable to meet a return in demand.

    For now, though, producers and consumers are going to face a volatile pricing environment, with prices driven as much by sentiment as the appalling underlying fundamentals.

    By Stuart Burns via AG Metal Miner

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