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Liberals reject most Tory amendments to environmental assessment bill

first_imgOTTAWA — The federal government is rejecting most of the amendments proposed by Conservative senators to Bill C-69.A senior government official speaking on the condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter, said after going through every amendment — there were 187 by one count ­— the government has concluded most of the proposals by Conservative senators were designed to weaken the bill.“The vast majority of conservative proposals are simply unacceptable,” he said.About 90 per cent of the Conservative amendments will not be agreed to, he said, including allowing the new Impact Assessment Agency flexibility to decide whether to take into account a project’s effect on Indigenous rights or climate change.The government is also rejecting amendments that would make it harder to challenge a project approval in court and limit who can participate in review hearings.The official said the government is OK with the Impact Assessment Agency having discretion to decide how the public can meaningfully participate, but legislating away people’s right to be heard was “just flat out not acceptable.”Many of those amendments were heavily criticized by environment groups that said C-69 provided some balance between protecting the environment and economic growth. They blamed the Conservatives for wanting to give full reign to the oil and gas sector to run roughshod over the environment.Environment Minister Catherine McKenna served notice late Tuesday of her intention to table the government’s motion responding to the Senate amendments in the House of Commons after question period Wednesday.Conservative senators, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and five conservative premiers have all said that every single amendment has to be accepted or the bill will be the death knell for Canada’s oil and gas sector.The premiers this week warned Trudeau he was threatening national unity if he didn’t accept all the changes. In turn, he  accused them of irresponsibly playing games with national unity simply because they weren’t getting their way.The legislation overhauls how major national resource and transportation projects, such as pipelines, mines and interprovincial highways, are assessed for their impact on the environment, the economy, and the health and social well-being of Canadians.It fulfills a Liberal election promise to replace a 2012 process brought in by the former Conservative government. That process, used to review both the Northern Gateway pipeline and the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, ended up with a federal court overturning the cabinet approval because the review process didn’t adequately consider environmental effects and Indigenous rights.There are many amendments, mostly made by independent senators who were appointed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau since 2016, the government will accept. Those include changes to reduce the discretion of the minister of the environment to interfere in a review process.The government initially wrote the bill so that the minister would be able to intervene to lift time constraints placed on the review process, to appoint the panellists who will review major projects, and, in some cases, to force a proposed project to be assessed under the act even if it isn’t among the list of the types of projects to which the bill is supposed to apply.The changes transfer those authorities from the minister to the head of the new Impact Assessment Agency.Changes that improve the role regional assessments can play to look at proposals will be accepted as the government wants to reduce duplication of reviews at provincial and federal levels. Also, changes that give more clarity to how a new planning and design phase will work are also acceptable to the government.The planning phase is meant to force project proponents to put their cards on the table early so any potential concerns from affected communities can be raised immediately.Mia Rabson, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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The One That Got Away Comes Back to Haunt the Canadiens

As I wrote Monday, over the past decade or so, the Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers — who are playing in the NHL’s Eastern Conference finals — transformed themselves from a down-on-their-luck former champions to legitimate Stanley Cup contenders; both did this largely through shrewd drafting. One of Montreal’s most successful draft picks put on a fine show in Game 2 on Monday night, notching a goal and an assist.Unfortunately for Montreal, that player was defenseman Ryan McDonagh, and he was wearing a Rangers uniform in the Rangers’ 3-1 win (New York leads the series 2-0).In response to my article, a few FiveThirtyEight readers astutely pointed out that McDonagh ties together the parallel rebuilding stories of the Rangers and Canadiens. He was drafted 12th overall by the Canadiens in 2007, the top prize in a banner haul for Montreal that also included Max Pacioretty and P.K. Subban. Pacioretty and Subban, along with 2005 first-rounder Carey Price, are currently three of the Canadiens’ best players (according to the modified version of point shares I described Monday).In his four-year NHL career, McDonagh has produced 28.1 modified point shares, a number in line with Subban (34.6) and Pacioretty (23.4) at similar points in their careers.The fact that he hasn’t produced any of that value for the Canadiens, though, traces back to a major blunder in the summer of 2009, when Montreal traded McDonagh (as part of a package of several players) to the Rangers for center Scott Gomez.Two years prior, New York had signed Gomez to a rather ill-advised seven-year, $51.5 million contract, and the returns had been disappointing; his 14 modified point shares in 2007-08 and 2008-09 (combined) ranked 60th among NHL forwards over that span. Rangers general manager Glen Sather was anxious to rid himself of Gomez’s albatross deal, so the media’s contemporary view of the Gomez-to-Montreal trade was essentially that of a salary dump, billing the Rangers’ primary return as nondescript forward Chris Higgins. Some NHL insiders knew better, however: Yahoo’s excellent hockey blogger Greg Wyshynski wondered at the time how the Rangers managed to unload the Gomez millstone and pick up a promising prospect like McDonagh.As a Canadien, Gomez played decent hockey for one season (6.2 modified point shares), then rapidly declined. He went on a notable goalless streak of 370 consecutive days. His contract was bought out by Montreal during the 2011-12 season, and he’s bounced around as a journeyman the past few seasons. Meanwhile, McDonagh has blossomed in New York; only six other defensemen have produced more modified point shares over the past three seasons. McDonagh even became the subject of Norris Trophy talk late this season. On top of his offensive numbers, McDonagh often finds himself matching up against the opponent’s toughest forwards and is on the ice for a disproportionate number of face-offs in the Rangers’ zone, both marks of a defensive workhorse on the blue line.Without McDonagh, it’s unlikely the Rangers would be sitting where they are, with a 2-0 series lead on the cusp of a Stanley Cup Final berth. The Canadiens have their own pair of good defensemen in Subban and Andrei Markov, but they have to regret letting McDonagh slip away — especially on nights like Monday, when he made them pay for their mistake in a direct way. read more

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Grand Bahama Labour on the Blocks Event – February 17 – Beginning

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp#Bahamas, February 3, 2018 – Grand Bahama – On Saturday, 17th February, 2018, the Ministry of Labour and the Grand Bahama Department of Labour will host “Labour on the Blocks” at the Susan J. Wallace Park at Columbus Drive and Nansen Avenue on Saturday, 17th February from 11:00am to 4:00pm.  Senator Dion A. Foulkes, Minister of Labour, along with Senior Executives from the Department of Labour will be in attendance.The “Labour on the Blocks” initiative was announced during the debate on the Speech from the Throne by the Labour Minister and it is designed to bring together job seekers and employers at locations which are in or close to residential communities.  Additionally, all job seekers are registered in the Department’s data base. The staff of the Public Employment Services Unit (PES) of the Department of Labour are the lead organizers of the events.   So far two successful “Labour on the Blocks” have been held in New Providence.  The Ministry of Labour is very pleased with the turnout at the New Providence events and is confident that there will be great numbers of persons who will attend the Grand Bahama “Labour on the Blocks” event.To date, the Minster of Labour has noted that he is “very pleased with the level of private sector participation” from all sectors and industries.   Businesses are welcome to participate in the “Labour on the Blocks” initiatives, many of whom have hired jobseekers on the spot in New Providence.   Minister Foulkes notes that “this speaks to the effectiveness of this new initiative, which is providing hope and opportunity for jobseekers.   The same is anticipated for Grand Bahama on 17th February’’.The Ministry of Labour intends to host monthly “Labour on the Blocks” events throughout The Bahamas, including other Family Island communities.  Economic growth and job creation remain one of the leading priorities of the Government, and the “Labour on the Blocks” is successfully answering the needs of jobseekers as well as employers in effectively connecting eligible candidates with the right jobs. Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp The Department of Labour encourages all jobseekers in The Bahamas or abroad, and employers with vacancies to register with in the Department’s recruitment database: jobseekers.bahamas.gov.bs   Persons attending the “Labour on the Blocks” Job Fairs are asked to bring along their NIB Card, and a valid Government-issued ID such as a passport or voters card. Registering in the database in advance is also recommended.For more details on the “Labour on the Blocks” initiative, please contact the Public Employment Services Unit at The Grand Bahama Department of Labour. 352-7865/6Press Release: Ministry of Labour Related Items:last_img read more