Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today that his government won’t engage in constitutional talks about scrapping the monarchy while a pandemic is still raging and the country faces unprecedented economic disruption.
“Obviously, I wish all members of the Royal Family the very best. But my focus, as we’ve said, is getting through this pandemic,” Trudeau said when asked if Canada should rethink its ties to the House of Windsor after Prince Harry and his wife Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, made some bombshell allegations in an interview.
“If people want to later talk about constitutional change and shifting our system of government, that’s fine. They can have those conversations. But right now, I’m not having those conversations,” Trudeau said.
In a sensational sit-down interview with talk show host Oprah Winfrey, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle described the Royal Family as a tabloid-obsessed group that failed to protect their young son, Archie, and made racially tinged remarks about his skin colour.
The couple also described the royals and their coterie of advisers as cold, distant and indifferent to Meghan Markle’s mental health as she grappled with bad press.
In the interview’s aftermath, some republican-minded members of the Commonwealth have called on countries like Canada to do away with the institution of the monarchy altogether.
“I think it’s clear. I’ve said it in the past. I don’t see the benefit of the monarchy in Canadians’ lives,” NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh told reporters.
WATCH: NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says ‘I don’t see the benefit’ of the monarchy to Canadians
“There’s no benefit to them and now even more so with concerns about racism in the institution that were raised, and pressures that were placed on Meghan Markle.”
Abolishing the monarchy in Canada would be difficult. Under the Constitution, all 10 provinces and both chambers of Parliament would have to agree to such a change. There has been little political appetite for constitutional amendments of any sort in recent years.
Trudeau said he wouldn’t comment on the specific allegations raised by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. “I won’t comment on what’s going on over in the U.K., but I will continue to endeavour to fight against racism and intolerance every single day in Canada,” he said.
WATCH: Trudeau says, ‘I won’t comment on what’s going on over in the U.K.’
Trudeau said that while many of Canada’s institutions, including Parliament itself, are built on a legacy of systemic racism, the solution is not to dump them altogether but to reform them from within.
“The answer is not to suddenly toss out all the institutions and start over,” he said. “The answer is to look very carefully at those systems and listen to Canadians who face discrimination … to understand the barriers, inequities and inequalities that exist within our institutions that need to be addressed, that many of us don’t see because we don’t live them.”
The prime minister himself has had to apologize for wearing blackface makeup in the past. A former Liberal MP, Celina Caesar-Chavannes, has said the government also hasn’t done enough to address anti-Black racism in Canada and the systemic barriers that racial minorities face, particularly in politics.
‘A guardian of our country’s traditions’
The prime minister is known to have a warm relationship with the reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth, having met with her a number of times at Buckingham Palace and at Commonwealth summits abroad. He previously met her when his father, Pierre, was prime minister.
On her 94th birthday last year, Trudeau said Canada was “grateful for her leadership and steadfast commitment to our country and to the Commonwealth” and praised her “extraordinary service, strength and enduring grace.”
Trudeau also called the Queen “a guardian of many of our country’s traditions” and said “many Canadians feel a deep appreciation for the Queen” on her 93rd birthday in 2019.
During a 2018 town hall with young voters in Etobicoke, Ont., Trudeau said he takes a “pragmatic” approach to the monarchy.
“Right now, I think it’s fairly convenient and even nice to have a head of state that actually does not engage herself in the politics of the country,” Trudeau said.
“We now have 150 years of a tradition that has worked, that isn’t directly harming us or preventing our success and our self-determination as a nation. It would be very difficult and complicated to make this change,” he added. Ending the constitutional ties, however, “wouldn’t actually have a massive impact on our daily lives,” he said.
He said “cracking open the Constitution” and “rewriting it” would prompt many questions apart from whether Canada should have the Queen and her heirs as our heads of state.
‘They have a knack for getting past these things’
John Fraser is the author of The Secret of the Crown: Canada’s Affair with Royalty. He said Buckingham Palace must address allegations of racism or risk permanently damaging the brand in the eyes of Britons and Canadians alike.
Some of what Meghan Markle said is verifiably untrue, Fraser told CBC News, but talk of possible racial animus could be harmful to the family’s standing. Markle claimed the Royal Family withheld the title of “prince” for Archie — but according to royal protocol, he doesn’t have a right to that title until Prince Charles himself ascends to the throne.
Markle told Winfrey that Harry relayed to her that a member of the family had “concerns” about how the baby would look when he arrived, given that his father is white and his mother is biracial.
Fraser said that, with Harry himself ruling out the Queen and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, it leaves observers to wonder whether it was Prince Charles or Prince William who made the racial remark.
While Charles has grappled with damage to his reputation in the past — “Some people don’t think very highly of him since the Diana business,” Fraser said — few people would tolerate someone who’s racially insensitive as the head of the Commonwealth, which is composed of many African and Caribbean countries.
“Harry and Meghan mean zilch constitutionally but because the racist question affects the nature of the head of state or the future head of state, it’s a serious issue that has to be dealt with,” Fraser said. “If it’s the heir to the throne, it’s a problem.”
The Sussex interview also has the potential to derail the search for Canada’s next governor general, Fraser said, as it may be hard to recruit quality candidates to be the Queen’s representative in the midst of this scandal.
“I don’t envy the prime minister trying to find our governor general in this stressful moment,” he said, adding Black, Indigenous or other people of colour might be reluctant to take the job in the current context.
The comments will rock the institution and draw considerable media attention, but, Fraser said, he doesn’t believe it’s enough to bring down the monarchy or fuel a republican movement in Canada. He said the Royal Family has proven to be a resilient institution.
“There’s trouble in Dodge City but they’ve certainly survived crises worse than this. I don’t think this is the tipping point,” Fraser said, adding the family has endured the abdication of King Edward VIII, the misadventures of Princess Margaret, the divorce of Prince Charles and Princess Diana — and her subsequent death — and Prince Andrew’s questionable relationship with Jeffrey Epstein, the late financier who was accused of various sex crimes.
“I think they have a knack for getting past these things. People didn’t think they’d survive the death of Diana, but they did,” he said. “When the dust and chicken feathers settle they’re always there, and I think that’s what will happen this time, too.”
Canadian National challenges Canadian Pacific with $33.7 billion Kansas City bid
By Shreyasee Raj
(Reuters) -Canadian National said on Tuesday it had offered to buy Kansas City Southern railroad for about $33.7 billion, and shares of U.S. company soared as investors anticipated a potential bidding war with Canadian Pacific.
Canadian Pacific had agreed a deal to acquire Kansas City Southern for about $25 billion last month. Either combination would create a North American railway spanning the United States, Mexico and Canada as supply chains recover from being disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The acquisition interest in Kansas City Southern also follows the ratification of the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement last year, that removed the threat of trade tensions which had escalated under former U.S. President Donald Trump.
Kansas City said it would evaluate Canadian National’s offer. If it found it could lead to a better deal, Canadian Pacific will be given the opportunity to raise its bid.
Canadian National’s cash-and-stock offer, worth $325 per share, is at a 26.8% premium to Kansas City Southern’s offer as of Monday’s trading close.
“We are surprised by this move given the healthy valuation Canadian Pacific had already offered to Kansas City Southern shareholders,” Stephens analyst Justin Long wrote in a note to clients.
Kansas City Southern shares rose 15.8% to $297.12, indicating most investors deemed it unlikely the company would stick with Canadian Pacific’s offer.
One investor that took a different view is Chilton Investment Co, which has a less than 1% stake in Kansas City Southern. Citing regulatory hurdles, it said it preferred a deal with Canadian Pacific.
“There’s more overlap with Canadian National deal which makes it harder to get (regulatory) approval. The Surface Transportation Board (STB) doesn’t like overlap,” Chilton CEO Richard Chilton said.
Canadian National CEO Jean-Jacques Ruest said his network and that of Kansas City Southern are “highly complementary networks with limited overlap.” They only run parallel for 65 miles, between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.
Kansas City Southern has domestic and international rail operations in North America, focused on the north-south freight corridor connecting commercial and industrial markets in the central United States with industrial cities in Mexico. Calgary-based Canadian Pacific is Canada’s No. 2 railroad operator, behind Canadian National.
The STB updated its merger regulations in 2001 to introduce a requirement that Class I railways have to show a deal is in the public interest. Yet it provided an exemption to Kansas City Southern given its small size, potentially limiting the scrutiny that its acquisition will be subjected to.
Canadian Pacific agreed in its negotiations with Kansas City Southern to bear most of the risk of the deal not going through. It will buy Kansas City Southern shares and place them in an independent voting trust, insulating the acquisition target from its control until the STBLatest clears the deal. Were the STB to reject the combination, Canadian Pacific would have to sell the shares of Kansas City Southern, but the current Kansas City Southern shareholders would keep their proceeds.
Canadian National said it was willing to match these terms. It said its offer does not require approval from its own shareholders because of how much cash it has, eliminating a condition in Canadian Pacific’s offer.
Bill Gates’ Cascade Investment, which is Canadian National’s biggest investor with a 14.25% stake, said it fully supports the combination.
A private equity consortium led by Blackstone Group Inc and Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP) made an unsuccessful offer last year to acquire Kansas City Southern. But it was Canadian Pacific’s announcement of a deal with Kansas City Southern that spurred Canadian National into action, as it raised the prospect of losing out to its rival, according to people familiar with the matter.
(Reporting by Shreyasee Raj and Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Greg Roumeliotis in New York; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli, Anil D’Silva and David Gregorio)
CEO shake-up at Canada’s Nutrien could pave way to M&A: shareholders
By Rod Nickel and Maiya Keidan
WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) – Investors expect the new chief executive of Canada‘s Nutrien Ltd to swing deals as part of a more aggressive growth strategy, after an abrupt shake-up at Canada‘s biggest agriculture company.
Nutrien, the world’s biggest fertilizer producer by capacity, surprised shareholders on Sunday by promoting its chairman, Mayo Schmidt, to CEO, replacing Chuck Magro, who had led the company since it formed from Agrium’s 2018 merger with Potash Corp.
Schmidt, raised on a Kansas farm, is best known for leading the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool grain cooperative’s acquisition of competitor Agricore United in 2007, creating Viterra Inc, one of Canada‘s biggest grain handlers. He subsequently bought Australia’s ABB Grain before leading the sale of Viterra to commodity trader Glencore PLC in 2012.
“Acceleration of M&A is a natural progression as we enter the next commodity supercycle,” said Michael Underhill, chief investment officer at Capital Innovations LLC, which owns Nutrien shares. “I would not bet against him.”
Nutrien shares were down 1.3% on Tuesday, after falling 3.5% on Monday. They have risen about 35% year over year, riding soaring corn prices, but gained only 2% since they began trading in 2018.
Some investors had grown uncertain about Nutrien’s growth strategy under Magro, said Mike Archibald, vice-president and portfolio manager at AGF Investments, which owns C$136 million ($109 million) worth of the company’s stock.
Archibald said now the strategy looks likely to shift to deals.
“The incoming CEO does have a history as a deal-maker so, to the extent he lives up to what he’s done in the past, we should expect sometime in the next 12 months that we’ll get something happening on the M&A front,” Archibald said.
Nutrien could try to acquire U.S. nitrogen fertilizer rival CF Industries, which has a $10-billion market capitalization, or accelerate the company’s roll-up of smaller farm retail stores, Archibald said. A CF spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Conversely, Schmidt could sell off the retail business to focus on fertilizer production, Archibald said.
Nutrien declined an interview request for Schmidt. A company spokeswoman said Schmidt’s plans include following the company’s climate change initiatives, which Magro unveiled this month.
Schmidt may also eye selling Nutrien’s phosphate fertilizer business, even though it recently got a boost from U.S. duties against Russian and Moroccan imports, said Brian Madden, senior vice-president at Goodreid Investment Counsel, a Nutrien shareholder.
The CEO change is positive, as Schmidt has an exceptional record of creating shareholder value, said Scotiabank analyst Ben Isaacson. He added that Nutrien could look to consolidate the nitrogen industry.
Schmidt would find it difficult to sell Nutrien itself, Madden said. There is no obvious domestic acquirer and the Canadian government rejected a foreign bid for Potash Corp in 2010.
“Schmidt has got cred in the ag world,” Madden said. But he added that abruptly changing chief executives is not how successions should occur at large companies.
(Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg and Maiya Keidan in Toronto; Editing by Marguerita Choy)
Canadian Business During the Pandemic
In 2019 the world was hit by the covid 19 pandemic and ever since then people have been suffering in different ways. Usually, economies and businesses have changed the way they work and do business. Most of which are going towards online and automation.
The people most effected by this are the laymen that used to work hard labors to make money for there families. But other then them it has been hard for most business to make such switch. Those of whom got on the online/ e commerce band wagon quickly were out of trouble and into the safe zone but not everyone is mace for the high-speed online world and are thus suffering.
More than 200,000 Canadian businesses could close permanently during the COVID-19 crisis, throwing millions of people out of work as the resurgence of the virus worsens across much of the country, according to new research. You can only imagine how many families these businesses were feeding, not to mention the impact the economy and the GDP is going to bear.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business said one in six, or about 181,000, Canadian small business owners are now seriously contemplating shutting down. The latest figures, based on a survey of its members done between Jan. 12 and 16, come on top of 58,000 businesses that became inactive in 2020.
An estimate by the CFIB last summer said one in seven or 158,000 businesses were at risk of going under as a result of the pandemic. Based on the organization’s updated forecast, more than 2.4 million people could be out of work. A staggering 20 per cent of private sector jobs.
Simon Gaudreault, CFIB’s senior director of national research, said it was an alarming increase in the number of businesses that are considering closing.
“We are not headed in the right direction, and each week that passes without improvement on the business front pushes more owners to make that final decision,”
He said in a statement.
“The more businesses that disappear, the more jobs we will lose, and the harder it will be for the economy to recover.”
In total, one in five businesses are at risk of permanent closure by the end of the pandemic, the organization said.
The new sad research shows that this year has been horrible for the Canadian businesses.
“The beginning of 2021 feels more like the fifth quarter of 2020 than a new year,” said Laura Jones, executive vice-president of the CFIB, in a statement.
She called on governments to help small businesses “replace subsidies with sales” by introducing safe pathways to reopen to businesses.
“There’s a lot at stake now from jobs, to tax revenue to support for local soccer teams,”
“Let’s make 2021 the year we help small business survive and then get back to thriving.”
The whole world has suffered a lot from the pandemic and the Canadian economy has been no stranger to it. We can only pray that the world gets rid of this pandemic quickly and everything become as it used to be. Although I think it is about time, we start setting new norms.
Australians living with disability have been 'abandoned' in vaccine rollout: Butler – Sky News Australia
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