Venezuela government 'terrified' of calling election

The late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez and his allies triumphed nearly every time voters went to the ballot box. But Chavez’s successor, President Nicolas Maduro, appears to have lost interest in testing the will of the people. 

Amid a severe economic crisis, opinion polls show that support for Maduro and for ruling United Socialist Party (PSUV) politicians is collapsing. In response, electoral authorities — whom analysts claim take orders from the executive branch — have over the past year shelved or delayed elections large and small. 

‘We are not going to have elections…. What we are going to have here is revolution, and more revolution.’
Diosdado Cabello

In October, the Maduro government abruptly cancelled a recall referendum that could have removed the president from office. Gubernatorial elections scheduled for December have been postponed. Even voting for the leadership of many labour unions, professional organizations, public university governments and neighbourhood councils has been suspended. 

For Chavismo, the leftist political movement founded by Chavez and which has ruled Venezuela for the past 18 years, “elections used to be sacred when they knew they could easily win them,” said Eugenio Martínez, a Caracas journalist who specializes in electoral issues. “But as soon as elections became uncomfortable, they have tried to avoid them or to change the rules.” 

Venezuelan officials contend that elections are simply not a priority right now because they are dealing with more pressing matters, such as food shortages and triple-digit inflation they describe as part of an “economic war” being waged against them by the opposition.  

In a January speech, Diosdado Cabello, a congressman and a key power broker within the ruling PSUV, bluntly stated: “We are not going to have elections…. What we are going to have here is revolution, and more revolution.” 

VENEZUELA-POLITICS/

Opposition supporters hold placards that read ‘Elections now’ during a rally against Maduro’s government, in Caracas, on January 23, 2017. (Christian Veron/Reuters)

‘There is a dictatorship’

Critics call these moves troubling signs for democracy in Venezuela and wonder whether the 2018 presidential election will be free and fair — or whether it will be held at all. 

Last week, Luis Almagro, who heads the Organization of American States, said that Venezuela must hold general elections immediately, and if it doesn’t, member states — including Canada — should suspend Venezuela from the Washington-based regional body.

According to Almagro, phobia of elections is just the latest sign of Maduro’s turn toward authoritarianism. His government holds more than 100 political prisoners and has cracked down on the media. It controls nearly all branches of power. Although the opposition holds a majority of seats in congress, the executive branch has neutered that body by using the judicial system to nullify new legislation.   

In a column published Tuesday in the Bogota, Colombia, newspaper El Tiempo, Almagro declared: “Today… there is a dictatorship” in Venezuela. 

The electoral impasse has left opposition leaders in limbo.

‘The government is terrified of measuring its popularity through a popular vote.’
– Jose Graterol

Jose Graterol, a lawyer who is trying to run for governor of western Falcon state, has spent the past year visiting towns and villages, shaking hands and giving speeches about his vision of the future. But now, he says, it’s unclear whether there will even be a vote. Sitting governors have so far ruled an three extra months beyond their normal four-year terms, and electoral authorities have yet to set a date for new elections. 

“This shows that the government is terrified of measuring its popularity through a popular vote,” Graterol said. 

The PSUV currently controls 20 of 23 state houses. But polls indicate that if elections were held now, the opposition could win about 16 governorships, marking a huge shift in power. In the last nationwide elections, held in December 2015, the government suffered a humiliating defeat, with opposition candidates winning 112 of 167 congressional seats. And since then, both the economy and support for the government have eroded further. 

“The government controls nearly all levers of power while the opposition has the support of the voters,” said Phil Gunson, a Caracas analyst for the International Crisis Group. “That’s why the opposition needs to have elections and why the government doesn’t.” 

December 2018 election uncertain

Besides delays, the Maduro government is trying to weed out the competition in case of future elections, said Martínez, the journalist. For example, the National Electoral Council declared that all political parties must gather thousands of member signatures in order to maintain their legal status, but each party gets just two days to carry out this process. 

When a centrist party called Avanzada Progresista recently tried to sign up members in Caracas, the electoral council changed the location of the registration sites at the last minute, creating chaos, said party activist Maribel Castillo. Avanzada Progresista maintained its legal status but several small opposition parties have already lost theirs. 

VENEZUELA-POLITICS/

An opposition supporter holds a placard that reads ‘Wanted for destroying a country. Reward: A free Venezuela,’ with images depicting Maduro, left, and Diosdado Cabello, of Venezuela’s United Socialist Party (PSUV), during a rally in Caracas, September 1, 2016. (Marco Bello/Reuters)

In recent elections, opposition parties fielded candidates through a coalition known as the Democratic Unity Roundtable. But now the Supreme Court is hearing a lawsuit brought by a ruling party politician alleging that the coalition committed fraud. A guilty verdict would effectively outlaw the opposition coalition.  

All of this manoeuvring has many Venezuelans wondering whether the government intends to comply with the constitution by holding presidential elections by December 2018. Gunson said that cancelling the vote would be a major step toward pariah status, as the Maduro government would be widely be considered a de facto regime propped up only by the military. 

However, Martínez said many high-ranking government officials have been accused of drug trafficking, human rights abuses and corruption, and they fear prison or extradition to the United States should the opposition win the presidency. 

He predicted: “If Chavismo doesn’t think it has a way to win the elections, it will not hold elections.” 

Go to Source

Why Venezuela's government is 'terrified' of calling an election

The late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez and his allies triumphed nearly every time voters went to the ballot box. But Chavez’s successor, President Nicolas Maduro, appears to have lost interest in testing the will of the people. 

Amid a severe economic crisis, opinion polls show that support for Maduro and for ruling United Socialist Party (PSUV) politicians is collapsing. In response, electoral authorities — whom analysts claim take orders from the executive branch — have over the past year shelved or delayed elections large and small. 

‘We are not going to have elections…. What we are going to have here is revolution, and more revolution.’
Diosdado Cabello

In October, the Maduro government abruptly cancelled a recall referendum that could have removed the president from office. Gubernatorial elections scheduled for December have been postponed. Even voting for the leadership of many labour unions, professional organizations, public university governments and neighbourhood councils has been suspended. 

For Chavismo, the leftist political movement founded by Chavez and which has ruled Venezuela for the past 18 years, “elections used to be sacred when they knew they could easily win them,” said Eugenio Martínez, a Caracas journalist who specializes in electoral issues. “But as soon as elections became uncomfortable, they have tried to avoid them or to change the rules.” 

Venezuelan officials contend that elections are simply not a priority right now because they are dealing with more pressing matters, such as food shortages and triple-digit inflation they describe as part of an “economic war” being waged against them by the opposition.  

In a January speech, Diosdado Cabello, a congressman and a key power broker within the ruling PSUV, bluntly stated: “We are not going to have elections…. What we are going to have here is revolution, and more revolution.” 

VENEZUELA-POLITICS/

Opposition supporters hold placards that read ‘Elections now’ during a rally against Maduro’s government, in Caracas, on January 23, 2017. (Christian Veron/Reuters)

‘There is a dictatorship’

Critics call these moves troubling signs for democracy in Venezuela and wonder whether the 2018 presidential election will be free and fair — or whether it will be held at all. 

Last week, Luis Almagro, who heads the Organization of American States, said that Venezuela must hold general elections immediately, and if it doesn’t, member states — including Canada — should suspend Venezuela from the Washington-based regional body.

According to Almagro, phobia of elections is just the latest sign of Maduro’s turn toward authoritarianism. His government holds more than 100 political prisoners and has cracked down on the media. It controls nearly all branches of power. Although the opposition holds a majority of seats in congress, the executive branch has neutered that body by using the judicial system to nullify new legislation.   

In a column published Tuesday in the Bogota, Colombia, newspaper El Tiempo, Almagro declared: “Today… there is a dictatorship” in Venezuela. 

The electoral impasse has left opposition leaders in limbo.

‘The government is terrified of measuring its popularity through a popular vote.’
– Jose Graterol

Jose Graterol, a lawyer who is trying to run for governor of western Falcon state, has spent the past year visiting towns and villages, shaking hands and giving speeches about his vision of the future. But now, he says, it’s unclear whether there will even be a vote. Sitting governors have so far ruled an three extra months beyond their normal four-year terms, and electoral authorities have yet to set a date for new elections. 

“This shows that the government is terrified of measuring its popularity through a popular vote,” Graterol said. 

The PSUV currently controls 20 of 23 state houses. But polls indicate that if elections were held now, the opposition could win about 16 governorships, marking a huge shift in power. In the last nationwide elections, held in December 2015, the government suffered a humiliating defeat, with opposition candidates winning 112 of 167 congressional seats. And since then, both the economy and support for the government have eroded further. 

“The government controls nearly all levers of power while the opposition has the support of the voters,” said Phil Gunson, a Caracas analyst for the International Crisis Group. “That’s why the opposition needs to have elections and why the government doesn’t.” 

December 2018 election uncertain

Besides delays, the Maduro government is trying to weed out the competition in case of future elections, said Martínez, the journalist. For example, the National Electoral Council declared that all political parties must gather thousands of member signatures in order to maintain their legal status, but each party gets just two days to carry out this process. 

When a centrist party called Avanzada Progresista recently tried to sign up members in Caracas, the electoral council changed the location of the registration sites at the last minute, creating chaos, said party activist Maribel Castillo. Avanzada Progresista maintained its legal status but several small opposition parties have already lost theirs. 

VENEZUELA-POLITICS/

An opposition supporter holds a placard that reads ‘Wanted for destroying a country. Reward: A free Venezuela,’ with images depicting Maduro, left, and Diosdado Cabello, of Venezuela’s United Socialist Party (PSUV), during a rally in Caracas, September 1, 2016. (Marco Bello/Reuters)

In recent elections, opposition parties fielded candidates through a coalition known as the Democratic Unity Roundtable. But now the Supreme Court is hearing a lawsuit brought by a ruling party politician alleging that the coalition committed fraud. A guilty verdict would effectively outlaw the opposition coalition.  

All of this manoeuvring has many Venezuelans wondering whether the government intends to comply with the constitution by holding presidential elections by December 2018. Gunson said that cancelling the vote would be a major step toward pariah status, as the Maduro government would be widely be considered a de facto regime propped up only by the military. 

However, Martínez said many high-ranking government officials have been accused of drug trafficking, human rights abuses and corruption, and they fear prison or extradition to the United States should the opposition win the presidency. 

He predicted: “If Chavismo doesn’t think it has a way to win the elections, it will not hold elections.” 

Go to Source

A small business owner’s guide to new payment technology

For many Canadians, cash is no longer king. Increasingly, consumers are choosing the ease, convenience and security of electronic payments over a pocket full of change. According to the results of a Bank of Canada Methods-of-Payment Survey issued in 2015, cash accounts for less than half of all payment transactions, in favour of credit and debit cards, including those that are contactless-enabled.

As a small business owner, you understand the importance of listening to and responding to your customers’ preferences. You may end up missing out on a potential sale if you don’t offer your customers their preferred payment options. And today, more than ever, Canadian consumers have a wealth of options when it comes to how they pay for goods and services. As payments technology evolves, small business owners must pay attention and consider what these changes mean for their customers and for their businesses.

Contactless payments are a catalyst for much of the innovation that we are seeing in the payments industry. Today, most major Canadian retailers have point-of-sale (POS) terminals that are equipped with Near Field Communication (NFC), providing their customers with the ease and convenience of paying for goods and services with the tap of their card – the major Canadian banks have been issuing contactless cards for more than five years now – or the wave of their mobile device. The two key benefits of this technology for small businesses and their customers are convenience and speed. Contactless acceptance can offer faster service at the check-out, shorter lines and less abandonment at the point of sale – all of which can help drive increased profitability for businesses.

In Canada, where nearly three-in-four Canadians own a smartphone, mobile is changing the way in which we live our daily lives. As Canadians increasingly turn to their smartphone or tablet for research, gaming, social media, news and online shopping, it’s not surprising that we’re now turning our sights to the mobile device as a means to make payments – even more so with the launch of emerging mobile payments solutions, such as Apple Pay. With Apple Pay, and similar mobile payment solutions, consumers can link their payment card credentials to a mobile wallet app on their device, and then use their mobile device for payment, instead of a traditional credit or debit card. It takes only a wave of the mobile device near the terminal and an authentication, such as Touch ID for Apple Pay transactions, to complete a secure transaction. For small business owners who already accept Interac and credit cards, adding Apple Pay is easy. If you accept contactless payments today, your terminals are capable of supporting mobile wallet acceptance. If you’re unsure, or want more information, contact a payment provider and tell them you wish to start accepting payments made via mobile wallet. You can also order window decals to make sure your customers know that you now accept this cutting edge technology. As of publication date, 11 financial institutions have made their cards available to this app.

Don’t forget about gift cards and reward cards – your payment technology of choice should be able to process them, too, so you can take advantage of any additional business they can generate. Since October 2007, Ontario has banned expiry dates on most gift cards, making them more attractive to consumers. By offering gift and reward card capabilities you’re giving your customers the freedom of choice.

As a small business owner, you’re focused on gaining new customers, creating loyalty and growing your business. One way to achieve this is by giving your customers payment convenience and choice – whether it’s cash or credit, chip or contactless, payment card or mobile device, or even gift and loyalty cards. Accepting electronic payments is also a secure way to ensure your money goes where it should, with less worry about handling cash or making bank deposit runs. It’s a win-win for you and your customers!

Canada completes perfect round robin at curling worlds

BEIJING — Canada skip Rachel Homan tuned up for the playoffs in style Thursday by beating Italy and Denmark to remain unbeaten at the world women’s curling championship.

Homan and her team of third Emma Miskew, second Joanne Courtney and lead Lisa Weagle closed out round-robin play with a perfect 11-0 record. As the top seed, the Ottawa-based team will open with hammer in the Page playoff 1-2 game against Russia’s Anna Sidorova on Friday night.

The 1-2 winner will advance to Sunday’s gold-medal game and the loser will fall into Saturday’s semifinal. Canada is trying to win gold for the first time since 2008.

“You can go undefeated in the round-robin and not win a medal, so it’s not like it’s in the bag,” said Miskew. “We still have two or potentially three tough teams to play. We’re prepared to have to play the semi, but it would be great to come out tomorrow and have a good game to get to the final.

“But it’s all business for us. We’re just trying to stay patient out there, not get caught up in anything and just play our game.”

Homan had already secured the first seed entering her morning game against Italy’s Diana Gaspari at the Capital Gymnasium. Canada scored three in the fourth end and a deuce in the eighth for an 8-5 victory.

In the afternoon matchup, Denmark’s Lene Nielsen had a 4-3 lead after seven ends but Homan moved ahead with an open hit for three points in the eighth. She iced the 8-4 victory with a steal of two in the ninth.

Homan is making her third career appearance at this event. She won bronze in 2013 in Riga and took silver the next year in Saint John, N.B.

“I mean we’ve been in this position before and that’s great,” Miskew said. “In Latvia it was very overwhelming going into the playoffs because it was our first world championship (at this level). We were there in Saint John too, and now it’s great that it’s our third time here and we’re used to this playoff scenario.

“We have two lives in the playoffs and we’re really grateful for that.”

Sidorova (8-3) wrapped up the second seed with a 6-4 victory over China’s Bingyu Wang.

“We felt it was a tough week for us, but it was our main goal to get this chance,” Sidorova said. “We have never played (the) 1-2 Page before. We are improving every year. We stayed focused and never compromised to win.”

Sweden’s Anna Hasselborg (8-3) will play Scotland’s Eve Muirhead (7-4) in the Page playoff 3-4 game on Saturday afternoon.

The 3-4 winner will advance to the semifinal while the loser will play for bronze Sunday against the semifinal loser. The semifinal winner plays the 1-2 game winner for gold.

Muirhead locked up the fourth seed with a 7-6 win over Anna Kubeskova of the Czech Republic.

“We were at the stage that win, win, win was what we had to do,” Muirhead said. “Our first goal was to make the playoffs and we’ve ticked that box. Our next goal is to make the semifinal and onwards from there.”

Nina Roth of the United States just missed the playoffs at 6-5. South Korea’s Eun Jung Kim, Switzerland’s Alina Paetz and Germany’s Daniela Jentsch joined the Czech Republic at 5-6.

Italy was in 10th place at 3-8, followed by China at 2-9 and Denmark at 1-10.

Homan is the third skip in tournament history to go unbeaten in round-robin play.

Canada’s Colleen Jones did it in 2003 in Winnipeg and Sweden’s Anette Norberg did it in 2005 in Paisley, Scotland. Jones went on to win silver while Norberg took the gold.

“We’ve put everything we have into our preparation,” Homan said. “It’s sports, so when it comes down to it anything can happen. But we really want to get ourselves to the final, whether we go through the 1-2 game or through the semifinal.

“We’ve gone both routes and we’re ready for either one.”

With round-robin play completed, all but two spots in the 2018 Winter Games women’s curling field have been finalized. Canada, Great Britain (qualified as Scotland), Japan, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States will join host South Korea at the Feb. 9-25 competition.

The Czech Republic, China, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Latvia and Norway are eligible to compete for the final two berths at the Dec. 5-10 Olympic qualifier in Pilsen, Czech Republic.

Canada’s Jennifer Jones won Olympic gold at the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia.

The winner of the Tim Hortons Roar of the Rings — the Canadian Curling Trials — will represent Canada next year in Pyeongchang.

Jones and Homan have already secured berths in the Dec. 2-10 event in Ottawa.

Canadians turn out the lights for 'Earth Hour'

CTVNews.ca Staff


Published Saturday, March 25, 2017 8:19AM EDT


Last Updated Saturday, March 25, 2017 11:26PM EDT

Many Canadians took part in the 10th annual Earth Hour Saturday night, by turning out their lights for an hour.

The event started at 8:30 p.m. local time and encouraged people to turn off as much electricity as they could to bring awareness to renewable energy sources that don’t contribute to climate change.

According to Siddarth Das, with World Wildlife Fund that heads Earth Hour, what originally began as a one city event in 2007, taking place in Sydney, Australia, is now celebrated in more than 180 countries across the world.

“I think the Earth Hour mantra was to always put people at the centre of the climate change conversation,” said Das. “People suffer from climate change and people are ultimately going to solve climate change.”

Canadians across the country got a chance to take part in various activities during Earth Hour, including a choir performance by candlelight in Montreal, skating under the stars in Vancouver and a candlelight walk and yoga in Toronto.

“I think we’re starting to see a positive momentum across businesses who are demanding climate action,” said Das. “We’re also starting to see a whole bunch of countries actually putting in climate change policies as well.”

Some of those policies, Das said, include China’s push to invest in renewable energy, India’s pledge for more solar power, Spain’s insistence on fulfilling the commitments in the Paris agreement and the fact that United States had more people in the renewable energy sector than in the fossil fuel industry last year.

Electrical utility companies across Canada have also gotten involved in Earth Hour in years past, tweeting out the usage numbers during the hour. This has prompted some critics to use these figures as a way to measure the success of the event.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, the goal is to raise awareness about climate change rather than reduce power.

With files from The Canadian Press

Stephania; Canadian Beauty

Our Model Of The Day


Where She’s From:
Beautiful model Stephania Bella, a Sagittarius, was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. “One thing I’ve learned from my family is to always be a humble person,” she tells The Black Star News. “I attended school in Toronto and my career took off in New York.”
 
“I have a long way ahead of me and I’m looking forward to it,” Stephania adds. “To be honest I would like to take it and roll with this a far as possible and as far as my aspirations, I would have to say they come from my significant other.”
 
Where She’s At: “Every day is a challenge and we gotta get through it one day at a time because that’s the only way possible,” she continues. Some of Stephania’s credits include modeling for Ziggazagga Productions 2007 Calendar; Ziggazagga Productions Eyecandy Feature; Big Tiggers/Eyecandy Modeling 2007 Flawless Kittens Calendar; Cover of Thique Magazine, twice; Cover of IB Concept Magazine; Features in Xzibit, Lloydd Banks, Belly & Ginuwine and Fabolous music videos; and, appearances in The source, Feds, Pulp, Hip Hop Weekly and elle magazines.

“This industry is full of sharks just waiting to take advantage of attractive young females so you must always be on guard and stay one step ahead,” Stephania warns.
 
So how does beautiful Stephania prepare to step out? “As far as clothing, I love Marciano, Bebe and American Apparel; also French Connection. For makeup, Mac; shoes, anything in a sexy stiletto; and perfume, Angel.”
 
Stephania’s Words Of Wisdom: “Stay 60—as in 60 degrees. You figure it out.”
Stephania’s Secrets Of Success: “Prayer.” 
Stephania’s Favorite Three Movies: “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off; Do The Right Thing; and, Mo Money.”
Stephania’s Favorite Three Books: “Confessions Of A Video Vixen; My Dreamer’s Dictionary, which I every week; and, of course the Bible.”
Leaders That Have Most Inspired Stephania: “Fidel Castro; Jesse Jackson; and, Nelson Mandela.”
The First Three Things Stephania Would Do As President: “Bring all the troops back to the US; create a new healthcare system; and, abolish the death sentence because as a society we are much too advanced to be using such barbaric methods of punishment as well as the fact that God is the only one who should decide the fate of his children.” 
Stephania’s Favorite Cars: “I’ve always had a thing for Lex’s, I think it’s because it was the first nice car I ever sat in as young adult and it was just nice.”
Stephania’s Five Favorite Entertainers: “Mariah—Vision of Love; Janet—Let’s wait a while; Tamia—officially missing you; Carl Thomas—Summer Rain; and, Alicia Keys—If I ain’t got you.”
A Short Stephania Story: “My grandfather passed away almost two years ago but It feels like yesterday. We were very close so I think about him all the time and miss him a lot. He was perfectly happy and healthy and then found out he had cancer and within a few weeks he died.”


For more on this Canadian beauty please visit
www.myspace.com/stephaniabella  but make sure you have your heart pills nearby

For your own profile consideration please send us a brief bio and headshot to profiles@blackstarnews.com

To comment or to subscribe to or advertise in New York’s leading Pan African weekly investigative newspaper, or to send us a news tip, please call (212) 481-7745 or send a note to Milton@blackstarnews.com

Also visit out sister publications Harlem Business News www.harlembusinessnews.com and The Groove music magazine at www.thegroovemag.com

China Wants Total Access To Canada, May Seek To Import Its Own Workers

China’s government is seeking full access to Canada’s economy in free trade talks, a move that could result in Chinese state-owned companies bringing their own employees to work on projects in Canada.

China’s ambassador to Canada, Lu Shaye, told the Globe and Mail his government wants to avoid discussions of human rights issues, fearing it could become a “bargaining chip” in negotiations.

Additionally, China would see any attempt to block takeovers of Canadian companies on national security grounds as protectionism, Lu said.

“Investment is investment. We should not take too much political considerations into the investment,” he said. “Just like the negotiations of the (Canada-U.S.) FTA, we should not let political factors into this process. Otherwise, it would be very difficult.”

Canadian and Chinese officials held exploratory talks on a free trade deal earlier this year. Lu told the Globe another meeting will take place in April.

justin trudedau li keqiang
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stand in the Hall of Honour as they take part in a signing ceremony on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, September 22, 2016. (Photo: The Canadian Press/Fred Chartrand)

Canada’s ambassador to China, John McCallum, told the CBC that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “is very clear that we want to pursue stronger ties with China. We think that in the medium term this will lead to more Canadian jobs.”

Many trade experts point out that the vast majority of China’s largest corporations are state-run enterprises whose executives are often hand-picked by government.

They also note that China’s notion of “full access” to an economy could be very broad. As the foreign policy blog OpenCanada notes, China’s 2015 free trade deal with Australia includes a provision that allows Chinese companies to bring their own employees into the country to work on projects, so long as those projects are worth more than AUD$150 million.

Charles Burton, an associate political science professor at Brock University, says bringing their own workers abroad is “normal practice” for Chinese companies.

“It’s not as if [the Chinese] would be asking something of Canada that they don’t expect from other countries,” he said.

john mccallum
Canada’s ambassador to China, John McCallum, says a trade deal with China is a priority for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. (Photo: The Canadian Press)

Though China has been among the most vocal countries in resisting the protectionism of the Trump administration, critics say the country is itself a bastion of protectionism. They note China allows almost no foreign investment in banking and telecommunications.

Many argue the country has not lived up to the commitments it made to open up its economy when it joined the World Trade Organization in 2001.

China’s interest in Canada lies primarily in energy, and in the possibility of exploiting Canada’s oilsands, experts say. The country will push for a reversal of Harper government-era policies that restricted the ability of Chinese state-owned businesses to invest in Canadian energy.

canada china trade poll

Opinion polls suggest Canadians are split on the issue of free trade with China.

One poll carried out for the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada last August found 46 per cent support for a deal with China, and the same percentage opposed. However, that was a stronger showing than a poll six months earlier, which showed only 36-per-cent support for a China trade deal at that time.

Canadians were much more likely to support free trade deals with more developed economies, such as the European Union, Japan and Australia.

Go to Source

UConn women’s notebook: UCLA’s Jordin Canada provides archetype for UConn’s Crystal Dangerfield





BRIDGEPORT >> Since Crystal Dangerfield arrived on campus, the highly-touted freshman guard has been pushed to raise her level of play up a few notches and prodded to increase her work rate.

Just in case Dangerfield had any questions of what type of player her coaches and teammates want her to be, Exhibit A was on the court in Saturday’s Sweet 16 game in the form of UCLA mercurial junior point guard Jordin Canada.

Canada, like Dangerfield, came into college with plenty of experience as well as more than her share of gold medals during her time playing on various USA Basketball teams. Canada has learned how to use her speed to aid not just her game but that of her teammates while becoming a more refined offensive player. More than anything, the 5-foot-6 Canada plays with a physicality that enables her to hold her own and even get the upper hand on taller opponents.

“She is tough, she is physical,” UConn associate head coach Chris Dailey said of Canada. “They post her up. I am hoping Crystal Dangerfield can be like that. There are a lot of players we’ve faced that she can benefit from but at her size, she plays a lot bigger, she has a big heart. She plays on both sides of the ball, defensively she creates a lot of havoc and on the offensive end she does whatever she wants, she controls the tempo for them. I am hoping down the road that Crystal is able to do that for us.”

Advertisement

Dangerfield played 17 minutes in the 86-71 win over UCLA and often times she was matched us on Canada, who is listed at 5-foot-6 just one inch taller than Dangerfield’s listed height.

“She aggressive,” Dangerfield said. “She loves the ball in her hands and when she gets in the open court, she is unstoppable.”

So what does Dangerfield think she can learn from Canada, who had 20 points and 11 assists against the Huskies?

“Being a real floor leader because she controls so much for their team and defensively she pushes you hard,” Dangerfield said.

After the game, UConn coach Geno Auriemma took a few extra seconds to chat with Canada.

“I’m assuming he thought I was a senior because he said, ‘congrats on a great career, good luck on the next level,” Canada said with a laugh.

Pac-12 Power

It has been a tournament to remember for the Pac-12 with no team making more of its opportunities than Oregon, a No. 10 seed ready to face UConn for a chance to go to the Final Four.

“I think the Pac-12 prepared us well for this tournament,” Oregon sophomore forward Oti Gildon said after Oregon’s 77-63 win over heavily-favored Maryland. “Maryland was definitely a really good team, but we’ve played Stanford and UCLA and teams like that. I think we were prepared for them when we came into this game.”

UCLA coach Cori Close, who will be welcoming UConn and fellow No. 1 seed Baylor to campus in the first couple weeks of the 2017-18 season, has a good sense about how dangerous this Oregon team can be since the Ducks and Bruins split games during the regular season.

“In March, you have to have great guard play. Oregon has great guard play,” Close said. “They’re going to have to read the screen and roll really well, handle all those switches. There’s not a mismatch. A lot of times when people switch as much as they do, there’s a mismatch you can exploit. I think that’s going to be harder.”

Stanford is also still alive so there’s a chance that UConn sophomore Katie Lou Samuelson could face her older sister Karlie in the tournament, but both teams would need to reach the national championship game.

“We haven’t spoken about playing each other,” Katie Lou Samuelson said. “I don’t think we would think about it until that point when we got there, but we both have tough roads.”

Tough ending

The sophomore season for former Capital Prep star Kiah Gillespie came to end when Maryland lost to Oregon. The Meriden native didn’t get a chance to make a contribution as she was not among the 11 Terrapins to get into the game.

It marked the third time in her sophomore season that she wasn’t summoned off the bench. She also did not see any action against No. 1 UConn in December or in the Big Ten semifinals against Michigan State.

Gillespie, who went from averaging 10.9 minutes per game as a freshman to 9 a contest as a sophomore, has tried to take a positive approach even though she has played more than 10 minutes just once in Maryland’s final 14 games of the season.

“Just be ready when my number is called,” Gillespie said. “A lot of people come to college thinking they are entitled to things and that is not the case. You have to work for everything. If you are outworking people, that says a lot about you.

“It is definitely a demanding type of business and if you are producing results, there is always somebody better than you, so I think it is definitely a lesson and it is something that is letting me grow. It is very difficult especially coming from somewhere where I used to play a lot but I think it is a blessing. I think it is going to help me become a better person in the end.”

Go to Source

Canada government's ambitious export goals facing big challenges

By David Ljunggren



OTTAWA (Reuters) – The Canadian government wants to boost exports by 30 percent over the next eight years, but experts and analysts say the goal is highly ambitious given a series of major challenges facing exporters.



These include low levels of capital investment by Canadian firms, a sluggish export sector and uncertainty over what economic policies U.S. President Donald Trump will introduce.



In a budget unveiled on Wednesday, Liberal Finance Minister Bill Morneau promised investments in targeted areas such as advanced manufacturing, clean technology, agri-food and digital industries.



This should help grow the value of goods and services exports by a total of 30 per cent by 2025, he said. Such a return would require a compound annual growth of 3.0 percent, higher than seen in recent years.



“I think it is a stretch … it is a pretty ambitious goal,” said Dennis Darby, president of the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters group, who nonetheless welcomed Morneau’s promise of targeted investments.



Canada already sends around 75 percent of all its goods exports to the United States and manufacturers are watching closely to see whether Trump cuts taxes and imposes a border tariff, both of which would hit Canadian firms.



“Companies are cautious in making additional investments, they’re cautious in expanding, and that will certainly slow things down,” Darby said. Firms are also hampered by a lack of people to fill skilled trades jobs.



Canada’s exports of goods and services grew by a total of 11 percent from 2008 to 2016, a period that includes the global recession.  
  Continued…


Go to Source

Rest in peace, CSB: A eulogy for the Canada Savings Bond

The Canada Savings Bond, a ubiquitous savings vehicle that grew from humble postwar origins into a household name by the 1980s, died this week after a lengthy decline.

She was 71 years old.

The official cause of death was no longer being “a cost effective source of funds.”

The news — announced in Wednesday’s federal budget — though somewhat grim, came as something of a relief to market watchers who spent decades watching CSB’s rise and fall.

1968 canada savings bonds

By the 1960s, Canada Savings Bonds had really come into their own and were one of the most popular investment vehicles in the country. (Government of Canada)

Born in 1946 out of a previous program aimed at raising funds to support Canada’s war effort, the upstart CSB took Canada by storm and soon became one of the most popular savings vehicles for an entire generation of baby boomers, who grew up watching her memorable — and often spectacular — performances.

After her grand debut, CSB quickly found fame as a payroll deduction, with more than 16,000 employers providing an easy and secure way for their employees to participate in the program.

She was popular from the start, but the heights she reached in mid-life were truly meteoric.

“I have a very clear memory of selling Canada Savings Bonds in 1981 with a 19.5 per cent interest rate,” said David Baskin of Baskin Wealth Management in Toronto, a money manager who knew CSB well.

“Can you imagine that? It’s almost impossible to believe.” 

From 1981: CSBs pay out 19%1:43

Against the backdrop of sudden runaway inflation in the 1980s, CSB was a star among investment vehicles. Even removing the wild inflationary days of the early 1980s from the equation, CSB offered risk-free returns in the high single digits for decades.

She cranked out small, steady returns of between two and four per cent a year for her first decade or so. By the time she reached adolescence, CSB was firmly in her heyday.

But she had even greater ambitions. For an entire generation of Canadians, their first exposure to the world of investing was a CSB that paid high single digits, and sometimes far more.

1947 Canada Savings Bonds

A poster for the bonds during happier times, in 1947, when they were barely a year old. (Government of Canada)

“Back in those days,” Baskin recalled, “nobody had mutual funds,” and investing “was unknown to the great part of the public.”

CSB changed all that. Simply by loaning money to the government, she enabled everyday Canadians to save for their financial futures — for the first time ever, really.

“They were a staple of a lot of people’s financial planning for decades,” Baskin said.

From precocious ingenue to fast-rising young adult, CSB continued to gain popularity through the 1970s, and by 1976, held almost half of all the government’s total marketable outstanding debt.

She peaked with a box office draw of $55 billion in 1987. With a yield of nine per cent, it’s not hard to see why everyone wanted a piece of her.

Despite a flashy ad campaign singing her praises, a swift and sudden decline soon followed. Before Ottawa pulled the plug on Wednesday, there was only about $5.5 billion worth of CSBs left. 

[embedded content]

In the end, it wasn’t just one ailment that felled CSB. In the face of online brokerages, she simply couldn’t compete with shiny new starlets such as high-interest savings accounts and exchange-traded funds investors can buy and sell on their smartphone.

And she’d lost a lot of her former glory.

“The interest rate that the government is paying is now so tiny that nobody sees the point anymore,” Baskin said of CSB’s most-recent offering, which paid out a meagre 0.7 per cent return for 2016.

Table view

Scroll horizontally to see additional columns

CSB’s condition had worsened so significantly in recent years that she cost more to operate than she was worth. Consultancy KPMG reported recently that it costs Ottawa $58 million to offer CSBs every year — a figure that doesn’t include interest payments.

With recent performances like that, it’s not hard to see why Baskin and others are somewhat relieved to see her laid to rest. But not to worry — all outstanding CSBs will still be honoured in full, so those still hiding in safety deposit boxes are worth holding on to.

“They’re a relic of a bygone era,” Baskin said. And just as many fallen stars eventually end in a supernova “these things have a natural life cycle.”

In lieu of deposits, put your money, literally, anywhere else. 

Go to Source