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World cannot allow Russia, China to dominate critical minerals market: Wilkinson

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OTTAWA — The strategic mistake made in allowing Russia to have global dominance in oil and gas cannot be repeated as the world looks to massively ramp up production of critical minerals, Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson asserted this week.

Demand for critical minerals and metals — such as lithium, graphite, nickel, cobalt and copper — is exploding as demand climbs for everything from smartphones and laptops to wind turbines, solar panels and electric cars.

“Simply put, there is no energy transition without critical minerals, and this is why critical mineral supply chain resilience is an increasing priority for advanced economies,” Wilkinson said, in the written forward to a draft of his promised critical minerals strategy, released this week.

In an interview with The Canadian Press, Wilkinson said that resilience will only come if western countries don’t allow a geographic concentration of mineral production in countries that can’t be trusted.

“Where we are going to have an absolute requirement for these minerals, being dependent on countries that do not always share our perspectives on global affairs, and that have shown the ability at times to use their control of some of these resources as a weapon, is not a very good strategy,” he said.

“In the current context, China and Russia are the number 1 and number 2 producers and processors of many of these minerals. And so I think there is an understanding in the democratic world that we do need to ensure that there are secure and stable sources of supply.”

Following Russia’s invasion in Ukraine, Europe is facing an oil and gas crisis as it tries to disentangle itself from heavy reliance on Russian fossil fuels, without easy alternative sources. That is a wake-up call for western democracies in the critical minerals field, Wilkinson said.

He said “the emerging reality for all of us” is that when it comes to critical mineral supply chains we “actually do need to be considering where these minerals are coming from, and how we can actually work with other democratic countries to ensure security of supply.”

Right now China is the biggest global player in critical minerals — it is the world’s largest producer of half of the 31 minerals and metals Canada has listed as critical to its economy.

While each country has slightly different lists and definitions of critical minerals, typically they are substances which have no substitute, are limited in supply, economically important, and increasingly concentrated in both extraction and processing.

Russia is among the three biggest sources of palladium, scandium and titanium, produces one-tenth of the world’s nickel, and six per cent of its aluminum.

Canada’s draft critical minerals strategy is focusing on six minerals and metals the federal government has decided have the greatest potential for economic growth and employment opportunities: lithium, graphite, nickel, cobalt, copper and rare-earth elements.

Canada currently doesn’t produce any lithium or rare earth elements (a group of 15 elements classified together) but has reserves of both. According to the United States Geological Survey, in 2021 Canada produced one per cent of the world supply of graphite, five per cent of nickel, 2.5 per cent of cobalt and 2.8 per cent of copper.

Russia is slightly ahead of Canada in all but lithium, which it also doesn’t produce. China is ahead in everything but nickel, responsible for 60 per cent of the world’s rare earth elements, 82 per cent of the graphite, 14 per cent of the lithium, nine per cent of the copper and four per cent of nickel.

There is massive space for countries like Canada to move up that supply chain, with both the World Bank and International Energy Agency predicting that by 2050, demand for critical minerals and metals will have grown 500 per cent.

Wilkinson said Canada’s final critical mineral strategy will be published in the fall, but noted the government already budgeted $4 billion towards it. Funding a strategy that isn’t yet complete isn’t the usual course of action, said Wilkinson, but the government knew it couldn’t wait to get money on the table.

Expanding production is a big part of the plan, and that will include efforts to speed up approval of new exploration and production projects, particularly with federal review processes through the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada.

“We do need to find ways to accelerate our ability to get things done,” Wilkinson said.

There is also $1.5 billion for infrastructure given many of the minerals and metals are located in parts of the country that are hard to get to, said Wilkinson.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 16, 2022.

 

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press

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How to integrate payment systems in an online shop

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Setting up an online shop is a great way to make money. However, if you want to be successful, you need to make sure that your payment system is set up correctly.

In this blog post, we will discuss the different payment systems that you can use in your shop, and we will show you how to integrate them into your website. We will also talk about the benefits of using each system so that you can choose the one that is right for your business.

Step #1 – Select The Best Payment System

Different payment systems offer different features, so it is important to choose one that will fit your needs. For example, if you want to accept credit card payments, you will need to find a system that supports this feature.

There are many payment systems available, so it can be difficult to choose the right one for your business. However, by considering your needs and doing some research, you can find the best system for your online shop.

If you have an online shop, or if you are thinking about setting one up, then read on to learn more about how to integrate payment systems into your website.

Benefits of using different payment systems:

  • Allows customers to pay with their preferred method
  • Can save you money on transaction fees
  • Can help you track and manage your finances
  • Can provide customer support in case of problems
  • Allows you to accept international payments Step #: Research the best payment system for your needs.

Best Way To Accept Online Payments

There are many ways to accept online payments. The best way for you depends on your business model, your products, and your customers.

Some businesses only need to accept one type of payment, such as credit cards. Others may want to offer their customers multiple payment options, such as PayPal, Stripe, or Apple Pay.

Overall, the best way to accept online payments would be to use a payment processor that offers many integrations. This is because there are many different ways to pay, and customers may want to use a different method each time they purchase something from your store.

For example, pay.com is a helpful way to manage your finances and keep track of your sales. It also offers a wide range of payment options and is a simple, yet effective, way to take payments online.

Another popular payment system is PayPal. It is one of the oldest and most trusted online payment processors. PayPal offers a variety of features, such as the ability to send invoices, accept credit cards, and track your finances.

If you are selling physical goods, you may also want to consider using a shipping company that offers payment processing, such as Shopify or Etsy. This can save you time and money, as you won’t have to set up a separate account with a payment processor.

Finally, if you are selling digital products, you may want to use a service that specializes in digital payments, such as Gumroad or FetchApp. These services make it easy to sell and deliver digital products, and they also offer features such as subscription payments and coupon codes.

By using a payment processor that offers many integrations, you can offer your customers the best possible experience.

Step #2 – Integration

To integrate a payment system into your website, you will need to create an account and then add the code to your site.

Most payment processors will provide you with a snippet of code that you can add to your website. This code will allow the payment processor to track sales and process payments.

For example, if you are using Shopify, you can add a “Buy Now” button to your website. This button will take the customer to the Shopify checkout page, where they can enter their payment information.

If you are using a custom-built website, you will need to add the code to your shopping cart and checkout pages. You can find instructions on how to do this in the documentation for your payment processor.

Once you have added the code to your website, you will need to test it to make sure it is working correctly.

To do this, you can create a test account and make a purchase. Once you have completed the purchase, you should receive an email receipt from the payment processor. If you do not receive an email receipt, or if you have any other problems, you can contact the customer support team for your payment processor.

Conclusion

No matter what type of business you have, there is a payment processor that can meet your needs. By doing some research and considering your options, you can find the best way to accept online payments for your business. Thanks for reading!

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Sanctions: Who they really hurt

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Sanctions hurt
Sanctions have been a weapon for the West these many decades. Promote global trade, see pretty well anything to other nations and their economies until these trading partners piss you off.
Example: The Ukrainian-Russian War. For centuries these two combatants were partners, working within a Royal and then Soviet  Empire. Ukraine develops nationalistic ambitions and achieves nationhood. Russian Oligarchs attempt to control Ukraine’s economy with little luck. Ukraine has its own Oligarchs, former government officials have gone rouge, gaining control of the Ukrainian Economy.  This is a war of attrition between Oligarchs, except Western Nations also have their attention on Ukrainian Natural Resources, and attempt to isolate Russia Economically and Socio-politically. The West freezes personal and political national accounts and boots Russia out of most international events and sports. The West invites Ukraine into NATO while filling this country with massive amounts of weapons. Without declaring a war on Russia, America, NATO, The EU and others attempt to damage Russian Industry and its economic structures. The Russian Leadership is attacked by using international banks to freeze and deny the use of their accounts.
Who suffers? So the Rich are perhaps deny denied products, the ability to travel freely, and also may have to be happy with Russian Champagne instead of French Wines. BoHo 🙁  These leaders of Russian Industry, Government and the higher class do not suffer like the average Russian, the workers, teachers, farmers, techs and shop workers.
There is a void found within the grocers and auto shops of Russia. True scarcity of essential products these Russians need to survive. Why would the West impose these sanctions? Who are they really hurting?
Why the little guy and girl, the worker. The West wants to hurt them greatly, so much so that once their economy begins to fail, and their kids go without food, electricity or any essential “The downtrodden People” will put pressure upon their government to change their ways. It may even be hoped that a “democratic” revolution may happen. Would not President Biden, Prime Minister Trudeau or The Leaders of the EU not like this to happen. Get rid of President Putin and “The Oligarch Soup” that rules Russia. All wars have casualties, Except it will not be those who started the war, but the little guy, their family and neighbour are who will suffer and possibly die.
How weak can the West be to use such weapons against families just like yours, whose only crime it is to be Russian, North Korean, Iranian and so on? America, with its allies, has used this weapon many times before, just not so gleefully. The West has the chance to crush one of its main political and economic competitors. Today Russia, perhaps tomorrow China. If the West goes all out, they have found a way to manipulate and forcefully transform a society. It is maybe effective in the long run. Much depends on how long Ukraine can survive. Once all this war-mongering ends, they will all be back to regular business again. Did the West simply provide Putin with an accident ending his regime? America has invaded many nations and assassinated many unwanted leaders in the past. They look upon the Afghan Genocide of mass death caused by the International isolationism of The Taliban. The ends will often justify the means, and America has as much blood on its hands as do the Russians. They do not have money to feed the poor and starving globally but find billions of dollars to kick Russia’s Financial-Political Ass.
They all talk about the importance of diplomacy while they ship more weapons to Ukraine, all the while Ukrainians and Russians die, killing each other.
“It is very queer that the unhappiness of the World is so often brought on by small men”(Erich Remarque-All Quiet on the Western Front).  Only the little amongst us suffer, a brother, sister, mother or father, a child or cousin. We are all the same. We allow “our leaders” to dictate their will to us.
Remember a word of command made these silent figures our enemies, and yet a word of command might transform them into our friends.
Steven Kaszab
Bradford, Ontario
skaszab@yahoo.ca
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Inflation: Half of Canadians' finances worse than last year – CTV News

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As inflation rates soar to the highest they’ve been in Canada in forty years, nearly half of Canadians say that right now, they’re doing worse financially than they were at this time last year.

A further third say they expect things to get even worse in the coming year, the largest number of people to answer this way in more than a decade.

The numbers come from a new Angus Reid Institute (ARI) survey released Friday, which surveyed more than 5,000 Canadian adults between June 7 and June 13 on their financial standing and struggles.

The results shed light on the plight Canadians are facing coast to coast.

Currently, inflation is at a staggering 7.7 per cent higher than last year, according to Statistics Canada. The inflation rate hasn’t been this high since 1983, the year that Canada Day replaced Dominion Day.

TRENDING DOWN

The percentage of Canadians answering that they are worse off financially now than a year ago has been increasing steadily over the last few years. In 2018, only 29 per cent of Canadians said they were doing worse than the previous year. That number climbed to 32 per cent in the first quarter of 2020, then to 45 per cent in the second quarter of 2022.

It’s now the highest that it has been since ARI started tracking this specific question in 2010.

At the same time, the number of Canadians who said they were doing the same as a year ago plummeted, going from 54 per cent in 2018, to 44 per cent in 2020, to 36 per cent in the second quarter of 2022.

Interestingly, the percentage of Canadians who say they are doing better than the previous year jumped to 23 per cent in 2020, after years of hovering around 13-14 per cent. That number is now at 17 per cent.

When these results are broken down into the household income of the respondents, those who are in the upper echelons of income, making more than $200,000 annually, were much more likely to report that they were doing better than last year financially, at 26 per cent, and the least likely to report that they were doing worse, at 30 per cent.

On the other end of the scale, those making less than $25,000 per year were more likely to say they were worse off this year, at 51 per cent, and less likely to say they were doing better than last year, at 15 per cent — underlining how the rich are hurt less by shifts such as inflation, and the poor keep getting poorer as rising costs hit their wallets.

Only one in five Canadians said they expected things to improve a year from now, while a third anticipated things to get even worse.

“Residents in Saskatchewan voice the most pessimism and least optimism on this question,” the report stated.

COST OF LIVING IS EXORBITANT FOR MANY

Concerns about the cost of simply living is the one that consumes the time and energy of most Canadians, with food, housing and bills driving a huge amount of financial worries across the country.

When asked what the top provincial issues were, with respondents being able to choose up to three options, “cost of living/inflation” was overwhelmingly the most popular selection, with 63 per cent of respondents selecting it as a major issue.

Health care and housing affordability took second and third place at 52 per cent and 31 per cent respectively, with climate change and the environment coming in at fourth with 26 per cent.

“Some regions of the country are under more economic stress than others,” the report stated. “In Atlantic Canada, the cost of living was already higher than most other parts of the country last year. And Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick have experienced higher rates of inflation than other provinces, alongside Manitoba and British Columbia.”

When it comes to the country as a whole, more than half of those who rented said that it’s difficult to afford their rent.

For homeowners, monthly mortgage payments are on the rise after a series of interest rate increase by the Bank of Canada. One quarter of Canadians with a mortgage say prices have already gone up, while another half said they anticipate a price jump. Two thirds say that if their payments increased by $300 a month, they might not be able to afford it anymore.

“The challenge for many, as pandemic-era supports are removed, and some struggle with repayment of the CERB they received, is to avoid debt creation,” the report stated, noting that many Canadians are already struggling with debt.

Two in five Canadians said they had credit card debt.

Of those who scored high on the ARI Economic Stress Index and were classified as “struggling” on that index, 62 per cent had credit card debt, and three-in-five of this group said it would take them more than a year to pay it off.

The Economic Stress Index, created in January, looks at core costs related to quality of life, such as debt, housing and household food costs, as well as the respondents’ anxieties and assessments of their own finances, to map out who is having a harder time.

There are four categories: struggling, uncomfortable, comfortable, and thriving. The proportion of those who are “thriving” has dropped six points since May, while the number of those who “struggling” has risen three points in that time period. Some good news is that 29 per cent of Canadians fit into the “comfortable” category compared to 26 per cent in May.

“A majority in each of the Atlantic provinces fall under the Struggling or Uncomfortable categories,” the report stated, with 55 per cent in Nova Scotia and 64 per cent in Newfoundland and Labrador falling into one of these two categories.

Across the country, in most provinces, more than half of the respondents fell into the one of the bottom two categories, with 64 per cent in Newfoundland and Labrador, 59 per cent in Alberta, 62 per cent in Saskatchewan, 57 per cent in Manitoba, 55 per cent in Nova Scotia and 54 per cent in Ontario. Prince Edward Island was not included in the survey.

“Only in Quebec (61 per cent) and B.C. (52 per cent) do more than half fall into the top two categories on the ESI,” the report stated. “Notably, by Statistic Canada’s CPI, those provinces have the lowest cost of living of any province in the country.”

The province with the single highest percentage of Canadian respondents deemed to be “thriving” was Quebec, with a whopping 30 per cent.

Just over 75 per cent of Canadians said their province had done a poor job of handling inflation.

Around one in three Canadians said their costs due to purchasing gas had increased, while just under half stated that those costs had gone down for them because they were consciously avoiding driving and seeking out other forms of transportation to save money.

FOOD PRICES LEAVING SOME HUNGRY

The report noted that inflation affects some goods more harshly than others.

“Food inflation was 10 per cent in May, higher than the 7.7 per cent inflation rate overall,” the report said.

Just over half of Canadians surveyed reported struggling to make the grocery bill each month, with the report noting that this is seven points higher than last October.

And the lower your tax bracket, the harder it is to put food on the table. Seven out of ten Canadians making less than $25,000 a year said it is difficult to feed themselves and their family, while at least one third of all incomes reported finding it hard to budget for food.

One B.C. resident told The Canadian Press that her grocery bill has more than doubled. Food Banks Canada are concerned that more and more children — who make up a third of those who rely on food banks — could be going hungry this summer as school ends and access to school-based food programs is cut off.

Earlier this month, NDP leader Jagmeet Singh called out MPs for laughing in the House of Commons after he spoke about Canadians being unable to afford groceries. In a video Singh posted of the incident, laughter can be heard after he states that one in four Canadians are going hungry.

“I just mentioned that Canadians are hungry and I hear laughter in the chambers,” Singh said after the Speaker asked him to repeat himself. “They should be ashamed of themselves. Absolutely ashamed.” He stated on social media that those who were laughing were Conservative MPs.

TRUST IN INSTITUTIONS

Amid rising inflation, the Bank of Canada is meant to keep the impact on Canadians to a minimum through policy adjustments, but Canadian trust in this institution is split, according to the survey. While 46 per cent said they trusted the Bank of Canada, 41 per cent said they did not.

When the political leanings of survey respondents were taken into account, the results became more stark: Past supporters of the Conservative party and the People’s Party of Canada were less likely to trust the Bank of Canada, with 59 per cent and 86 per cent indicating this respectively.

The Bank of Canada has admitted that it made missteps, and is now playing catch-up as Canada’s economy overheats.

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