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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.”
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
MEXICO CITY/WASHINGTON — A group of 14 nations urged Venezuela on Thursday to hold elections and release “political prisoners,” in a joint statement that kept open the option of seeking to suspend the South American country from the Organization of American States.
The statement, which Mexico’s Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray said was aimed at encouraging Venezuela to “re-establish democracy,” called for dialog and negotiation to resolve a crisis in the oil-exporting country, which is suffering severe food and fuel shortages.
Suspending Venezuela from the OAS was a last resort, the nations said, and something that should be avoided unless other diplomatic efforts have been exhausted.
“We reiterate that inclusive and effective dialog is the right path to achieve lasting solutions to the challenges faced by the Venezuelan people,” the statement said.
Venezuela has jailed around 100 government opponents it accuses of inciting violence and planning the overthrow of President Nicolas Maduro. Opposition activists and human rights groups say they are prisoners of conscience.
In October, Venezuela’s election board suspended the opposition drive for a recall referendum against Maduro despite the country’s crushing economic crisis, the government’s unpopularity and public opinion in favor of a plebiscite.
Venezuela has also delayed until 2017 elections due in December for state governorships.
The declaration by the 14 nations called for the separation of powers, the rule of law and the establishment of an electoral calendar for postponed elections.
The group that signed the declaration, which includes regional powerhouses the United States, Mexico, Canada and Brazil, also called on Venezuela to recognize the legitimacy of the country’s national assembly, which has been defanged by Maduro’s government since the opposition won a majority in 2015.
Delcy Rodriguez, Venezuela’s foreign minister, called Videgaray “servile” and a “traitor” for siding with Washington in a new push to isolate her country, which has been at loggerheads with the United States since the left-wing government of the late President Hugo Chavez.
“Foreign Minister @LVidegaray attacks Venezuela to please his imperial owners,” Rodriguez said on Twitter. “He is building walls with Latin America instead of defending the sovereign rights and interests of its people.”
The pressure by countries, including several former Venezuelan allies who have elected right-of-center governments in recent years, follows a call by the head of the OAS to expel Venezuela if it does not hold general elections quickly, a move that would require the support of two-thirds of the Washington-based body’s 34 General Assembly members.
Luis Almagro, secretary general of the OAS and a former foreign minister of Uruguay, calls Maduro’s government a dictatorship. He said earlier this month that, if Venezuela did not comply quickly, it should be suspended for violating rules that require members to adhere to democratic norms.
In the past the OAS suspended Cuba and Honduras for breaking with democracy but was criticized for not taking such action against right-wing dictatorships during the Cold War.
State Department spokesman Mark Toner said the United States was concerned by the state of democracy in Venezuela.
“We urge the Venezuelan government to comply with the constitution … and hold elections as soon as possible,” Toner told a briefing for reporters.
“We’re not pushing for Venezuela’s expulsion from the OAS at this time. We do think that the OAS is the appropriate venue to deal with the situation in Venezuela,” he said.
However, a senior White House official said suspension from the regional body remained an option. Although numbers supporting Thursday’s declaration fell well short of the requirement to take strong action through the OAS, the official said the statement was a significant first step.
“If Venezuela continues down the path that it’s on, the notion that it’s going to belong to an organization committed to democratic principles doesn’t make much sense,” the official told Reuters, adding that the United Sates could also consider sanctions. “There are going to be ramifications,” the official said.
Mexico’s decision to openly take a stance on the situation in Venezuela is a shift from a usual preference by Latin America’s second-largest economy not to interfere in other countries’ affairs.
“We should not continue to be indifferent, we cannot continue to be indifferent,” Videgaray said earlier on Thursday, emphasizing that Mexico would respect Venezuela’s sovereignty and act according to international law and in agreement with the countries of the Americas.
Mexico’s change in tack may reflect an effort to have constructive relations with the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly antagonized Mexico.
“It reinforces what has been a general comment throughout these past weeks and months about how important Mexico is to the United States, not only bilaterally but as a regional player,” said Andres Rozental, former deputy foreign minister for Mexico.
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As with any neighbour you’ve known for years, New Brunswick is on a first-name basis with its beer. Here, it’s just Moose – Moose Green for the lager, and Red for the original Moosehead beer, even though the ale no longer has a red label.
But that doesn’t mean they always drink the beer from Moosehead Breweries Ltd. At a pub in uptown Saint John, a lager order goes through without a hitch, but when asked for the ale the bartender hesitates. Instead, he pours a taste of a pale ale from a Fredericton craft brewer, Graystone, to compare with a taste of Moosehead’s ale.
“Moose Green, I love it. I drink it like it’s going out of style,” he says. But pointing to the two glasses, he insists, “You can just tell one is a domestic” – a bigger brewer – “and one’s not.”
This is Moosehead’s problem. For the growing number of people gravitating to craft beer in search of new flavours (or just a cooler-looking label that will confer a bit of hipster status), it’s too big to love. And outside of its home turf, the situation is even worse.
“‘You guys are owned by Molson, aren’t you?’ That’s a consistent piece of feedback,” says Trevor Grant, vice-president of sales and marketing at the independent, family-run brewery.
More than 1,200 kilometres away, on a craft-heavy pub menu in downtown Toronto, Moosehead lager is listed under “Macros and imports we don’t hate.” This kind of grudging respect is about as good as it gets for a big-ish brewer these days.
Moosehead is indeed a macro compared to the newest players on the beer scene. There has been a boom in licensed breweries in Canada – reaching 644 last year, a huge jump from 290 just seven years earlier – driven largely by operations producing less than 2,000 hectolitres (200,000 litres) per year, according to Beer Canada. (Moosehead contributed too, opening the Hop City craft brewery in Toronto in 2009.)
But while Moosehead is bigger than those upstarts, and is the fourth-largest brewer in Canada – behind Molson, Labatt and Sleeman – it is a distant fourth. The big two have more than 75 per cent market share of beer sales nationwide. Moosehead has 2 per cent to 3 per cent.
The company draws roughly $200-million in annual revenue – a number that has stayed relatively flat for at least eight years, though the makeup of the business has changed: it is selling more of its own beer and beers it distributes in Canada such as Boston Beer Co.’s Sam Adams. That has made up for losses in its contract brewing business – most notably when it lost the Guinness account a few years ago – and the steep decline in its U.S. sales amid the explosion of competition from both craft beer and imports there.
The Oland family has been managing these business challenges all while grappling with personal tragedy: the brutal murder in 2011 of Richard, brother of the chairman, Derek, and uncle of the current CEO. With the accused, Richard’s son Dennis, awaiting a second trial, they will not be able to put the ordeal behind them for some time, even as professional demands loom.
Moosehead needs to grow. To do that, the leaders believe they need to tell their story as an independently-owned operation as old as Confederation. Sure, it has emphasized its conveniently patriotic founding date – 1867 – on packaging and in ads for years, but without the money to wallpaper its brand across consumers’ field of vision, and lacking some consistency from one ad campaign to another, the message hasn’t really stuck.
Meanwhile, competitors with deeper pockets have been freely, and some might say dubiously, riding the wave of Canadian heritage. Molson Coors Brewing Co. – now a multinational – trades on the slogan “ I am Canadian“; and Sleeman, now owned by Tokyo-based Sapporo Breweries Ltd., has used its ads to romanticize its “
Since the beginning, two forces have seemed to stalk the company now known as Moosehead: in-fighting, and disaster.
The latter struck repeatedly in its early days: the Dartmouth brewery burned down in 1878; was rebuilt and then burned again in 1896. Fire hit the family’s house next door in 1905. Fires weren’t unusual in those days, with brewery kettles heated over open flames. Moosehead, as it’s known now, might never have existed if it weren’t for a much greater disaster: the Halifax Explosion. That day in 1917, Susannah’s son Conrad and six other employees died in the destruction of the Dartmouth brewery. Derek Oland, the company’s executive chairman and father of the current generation of managers, remembers his father P.W. telling stories of the sound of the blast, the windows of his schoolroom shattering and the sight of dead horses on the road on his walk home that day.
While the Halifax operations were rebuilt, the family branched out to New Brunswick, buying the Red Ball brewery in Saint John. A decade later, they bought the James Ready brewery – where the beer is still brewed today, in a building dating back to 1886 – and in the files there, they found a registration for the name “Moosehead.” Moosehead Pale Ale was launched in 1933. In 1947, the company was renamed Moosehead Breweries Ltd.
But the family was plagued by other problems – with each other.
In-fighting dates all the way back to Susannah’s son and successor, George W.C. Oland. When he died, he left each of his sons a brewery, each with vastly different fortunes – a recipe for resentment – and all of which competed with one another. According to the book Last Canadian Beer by Harvey Sawler, Sidney Oland got the largest operations in S. Oland & Sons and the Keith’s brewery back in Halifax, as well as just over one-fifth share of New Brunswick Breweries (later Moosehead). George Bauld got the rest of that operation in Saint John. Geoffrey was left the Red Ball brewery in Saint John, the smallest, which Sidney would later buy in order to compete with George Bauld on his turf. In retaliation, Moosehead opened a plant in Dartmouth; and then Sidney opened yet another brewery in Saint John. This corporate version of a sibling slap-fight would continue until the Halifax branch of the Olands sold out to Labatt in 1971 for an estimated $12-million.
George Bauld’s son P.W. would repeat his grandfather’s mistake in clumsy succession planning – in his case, dawdling over the choice of which son would take over. It didn’t help that Derek and Richard Oland had never really been close as brothers, let alone as colleagues.
“Dick and I just didn’t agree. He had his way of doing it and I had mine, and Father couldn’t make up his mind,” Derek said. “…That schism between us, you can’t have that.”
In 1980, Derek resigned. P.W. coaxed him back with a promotion. Dick, reading the tea leaves, left. Derek became president in 1982.
He has been more cautious about succession planning, buying back the shares from his brother and sister in 2007 to consolidate ownership. He is now in the process of meting out those shares to the next generation. Derek also handed the CEO role to two non-Oland executives, until he felt his son Andrew was ready. Derek has required each of his sons to work elsewhere before pursuing a career at Moosehead – a policy Andrew plans to uphold – and insists they were free to choose other jobs, as their brother Giles has done. Derek and his wife Jackie worked to foster respect between the boys – something that had been missing between Derek and Dick.
“I’d make up with him,” Derek said in the 2009 book Last Canadian Beer by Harvey Sawler. Derek now says he and and his brother were in a good place before tragedy struck the Oland family in 2011.
Dick’s bludgeoned body was discovered on the floor of his office. His son Dennis was the main suspect.
“We are convinced, absolutely convinced, that he had nothing to do with it,” Derek says. “He’s an innocent man that happened to be the last known person to have seen my brother. But we know that he wasn’t the last person. So what we are doing is we are defending him and supporting him in every way we can. It was not well investigated.”
Dennis was found guilty of second-degree murder in 2015. The New Brunswick Court of Appeal overturned the conviction last October, but a new trial is not expected until at least 2018.
“I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy,” says Derek. “What it does to your family. Just terrible stuff.”
A huge, handmade dewdrop-shaped copper kettle lends some nostalgia to the Moosehead brewhouse, but not much function. It sits beside a large old console covered in dials, lights, and diagrams of the brewing process. All that work is now done on a laptop, and in the stainless steel equipment on the other side of the room, which smells sweet and grainy from the most recent batch.
“They don’t have that beauty,” Karen Cousins, Moosehead’s director of communications, says of the steel vessels. The old stuff is for show. “People love looking at them.”
But there haven’t been too many people through here in recent years: the tour of Moosehead that Ms. Cousins is leading today does not happen often. It’s something the company hopes to change. This cruise season, 144,000 passengers and 57,700 crew will come through Saint John’s port – arriving in a city with plenty of charm but a limited number of tourist attractions. Brewery tours could be an opportunity to remind people of Moosehead’s independence, and its heritage.
It’s one part of a broader marketing effort. An ad campaign launching this spring for the 150th anniversary will link the brewery’s past with key moments in Canadian history. The family wants to launch more brews under the Moosehead brand umbrella, and is considering digging into the archives to revive some heirloom recipes.
On carts in the brewery sit bags of fragrant hops destined for the company’s new limited-edition “Anniversary Ale.” Like many beers brewed here, most of Moosehead’s ingredients are Canadian – the grain, the water, the yeast it grows in its on-site lab – but hops are harder to come by locally, particularly at the scale that a relatively big brewer needs.
“They cleaned me out of the two major varieties I grow,” says Veronica Paul, who runs the conveniently-named Moose Mountain hop farm in Maplehurst, N.B.
“People just know us for Moosehead lager. We wanted [this ale] to be a step forward, telling people about our brewing credentials, and doing it in a bit bolder style than maybe people are used to from Moosehead,” marketing head Mr. Grant says.
But credibility is a funny thing. Moosehead is caught in the middle. Even with the rise of craft beer, the vast majority of beers quaffed in Canada are still blonde lagers. For Moosehead, experimenting with new brews is a way to give the flagship brand a more “premium” image – to make its easy-drinking lager more attractive on a store shelf than other easy-drinking lagers such as Bud or Molson.
Moosehead is already making craft beer. It owns Hop City, the brewery behind brands such as Barking Squirrel and Hop Bot IPA. In January, it abandoned a plan to build a new small-batch brewery in Saint John, but still plans to build a facility that will allow it to make more experimental beers.
“My personal opinion is, everything should be under Moosehead – it’s a strong brand,” says Craig Pinhey, a Saint John-based sommelier and beer writer. “In other countries, they think of it as a premium brand, not only as mainstream. It’s only here that we think of them as mainstream.”
Lagers may taste light, but they are deceptively hard to make because there is nowhere to hide: unlike a hoppy IPA, a lager has no strong flavours to mask imperfections.
Moosehead has a handle on that quality, but lacks some of the complexity of flavour of European counterparts such as Pilsner Urquell, says beer writer Stephen Beaumont.
“The parallel story to them in a lot of ways is Yuengling, the oldest U.S.-owned brewery,” Mr. Beaumont says.
“Yuengling has built an almost cult-like following, and they’re not doing a whole lot different – you could argue that Yuengling lager is a little bit more evolved than a Budweiser or a Coors Light, but essentially they’ve positioned themselves as a niche label rather than a niche beer. Moosehead has been trying to do that, with varying degrees of success.”
That kind of heritage-based loyalty could give Moosehead a boost in its planned expansion across Canada. Forty per cent of its sales come from Ontario, a market where the company did not sell a drop 25 years ago. New Brunswick and the United States count for roughly 20 per cent each. The remainder comes from a mix of international sales in about 15 countries, and the rest of Canada combined. That’s a lot of untapped territory, especially in the West.
“Outside of Molson and Labatt, no one – Sleeman is close – no one has a full Canadian business across all 10 provinces,” Andrew Oland says. “That’s what we’re trying to achieve.”
The sixth generation likens the importance of this project to their father’s expansion into the United States in the 80s – Moosehead went south before it went west, largely because of the patchwork of provincial regulations complicating alcohol sales across Canada.
The U.S. push forced the company to invest in modernizing its operations. It was the debut of its familiar green bottle, chosen because Americans equated the green glass with other premium imports such as Heineken.
Ironically, despite the premium image the green glass is worse for the beer because it lets in more light. The company says as long as they are shipped in closed cardboard and stored in the dark rather than light-up beer fridges it should be fine. It led to the design, by a professional, of the current Moosehead label. Before then, Derek’s father P.W. drew many of the designs himself, including the original moose. And it was the birth of the slogan, “The Moose is Loose,” which has never been Derek’s favourite.
“You can’t laugh at the moose,” he says. “If you do, you’re laughing at yourself. It’s a majestic animal that roams the woods of most of Canada, and it says what we want about our company.”
Moosehead succeeded in building a premium import image, and saw incredible growth in the United States – reaching 26 states in the first year alone. Eventually, though, Moosehead was unwilling to compete on price and did not control its own distribution – all as competition heated up.
“It’s probably one of my biggest disappointments,” Derek says.
Now, Moosehead is looking to Canada for its next phase of growth, and it believes that its independence could be a selling point.
“You have to buy yourself out every generation … bringing the shares back to one or two or three individuals,” Derek says of the control that has helped the brewery stay independent. They have had plenty of offers. “If we wanted to sell, people could be killed in the rush,” he says. “It’s a joke – but we know this place wouldn’t be the same. It would be a branch plant, at best.”
None of the seventh generation currently works at Moosehead. Andrew’s children are all in their 20s, but the rest are much younger. “We’re not going anywhere for a while,” Andrew says. “It’s not my job to tap [the next generation] on the shoulder. It’s their job to initiate the conversation.” Still, he acknowledges that while it’s possible someone outside the Oland clan could once again lead the company – not least because it helps to recruit talent if a surname is not a requirement for advancement – but that would not be ideal in the long term. “We would like to see Moosehead continue to be a multigenerational family business,” Andrew says. “I think you can have non-Oland leadership for a period of time, but you can’t have it forever, because then I’m not sure it’s really a family business.”
Canada’s largest school system will no longer plan trips to the U.S. over fears students will be unfairly stopped at the border because of their heritage or country of birth.
“We don’t want to put our students in a position where they are traveling to the U.S. with their friends and classmates and then be denied entry to the U.S. for no legitimate reason,” Ryan Bird, spokesman for the Toronto District School Board, said Friday. “Equity, inclusiveness, fairness are key principles for us as a school board.”
Although judges have temporarily blocked President Trump’s revised travel ban on six Muslim-majority countries, Bird said the board did not want to take the chance of it being put back into effect considering the months it takes to plan a school trip abroad.
The board said it will allow 25 trips involving 900 students to proceed as planned. However, Bird said if one student or staff member is denied entrance into the U.S. for no legitimate reason, then everyone on the trip will return to Toronto and the other planned trips will be canceled.
The Toronto district school board oversees 584 schools attended by 246,000 students. Bird said hundreds, and potentially thousands, of those students are from the six-Muslim majority countries listed on the ban — Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. About 23% of students in the district were born outside of Canada.
A spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection stressed that there are no new travel restrictions that would impede school excursions from Canada.
“As far as like a student coming across the border and a bus making a field trip, nothing is different than what it was for a field trip last year… so I don’t know what the concerns would be about this year,” said Dave Long, a CBP public affairs officer for Buffalo, N.Y., the busiest land entry point on the Canadian border and the one that Toronto buses would normally go through.
Long said schools normally contact border officials before a trip and provide a list of students, so that any problems, such as with documentation, can be sorted out before they get to the border. Long said he had not heard of the Toronto school board’s decision before being contacted by the Los Angeles Times.
Out of the 1.2 million people coming into the U.S. daily, about 300 to 600 people are denied entry.
For Canadians, the amount of people turned back in the first quarter of 2017 was less than the first quarter of the last three years. In January and February 2016, about 3,500 Canadians were found inadmissible versus about 2,600 in the first two months of this year, according to the CBP.
In January, the Canadian government said U.S. officials gave assurances that Canadian citizens, including those with dual citizenship, would not be affected by the restrictions.
However, there have been cases of Muslim Canadians saying they were not allowed into the U.S. despite having Canadian passports.
This month, a Muslim Canadian woman says she filed a complaint with the U.S. after she was denied entry in February. She said she was stopped for four hours at the Quebec-Vermont border and asked questions about her mosque and opinions of President Trump.
“You turn on the television and you see stories about people being stopped at the border for no apparent reason,” said Bird, the Toronto school board spokesperson.
He said the school board, which organizes dozens of trips to the U.S. each year, had been closely looking at Trump’s executive order since it was announced.
Other Canadian school boards have also canceled U.S. trips over similar fears. The Greater Essex County District School Board, south of Toronto, canceled all trips to the U.S., which were scheduled for February, over concerns of equity, officials said.
Last week, the Girl Guides of Canada announced it would not plan future trips to the U.S. so “that no girl is left behind.”
Jovanovski is a special correspondent.
Trump’s travel ban could remain blocked for weeks
Passengers react to ban on carry-on electronics on flights from the Middle East
Federal judge in Hawaii blocks new travel ban nationwide; Trump vows to pursue his case ‘all the way’
3:15 p.m.: This article has been updated throughout with additional details and quotes from Dave Long of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
This article was originally published at 6:50 a.m.
The Canadian budget released
this week added little stimulus spending, but recent signs of
economic strength and federal funds already in the pipeline have
boosted expectations that the Bank of Canada may have to shed
its doom-and-gloom outlook.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau unveiled a wait-and-see fiscal
blueprint on Wednesday with only minor new spending, but his
economic growth forecasts have already been dismissed as stale
and overly cautious after recent signs of a long-awaited pickup
in jobs and retail sales.
“(The) national economy is no longer circling the drain …
and if you thought the economy was coming back, then the case
for incremental spending must be less compelling,” Warren
Lovely, head of public sector research and strategy at National
Bank Financial, wrote on Thursday in a note to clients.
Signs of economic growth reduce the likelihood the Bank of
Canada will need to cut interest rates again, said economists,
who expect a somewhat more upbeat assessment by the central bank
when it releases its policy statement in April. The Bank of
Canada cut rates twice in 2015 as lower oil prices hit growth,
and has left rates at 0.5 percent since then.
“As much as (Bank of Canada Governor) Stephen Poloz might
like to remain dovish, he’s going to have to give a nod to the
reality that the economy is, at least for now, doing better than
they thought,” said Avery Shenfeld, chief economist at CIBC
First-quarter growth could be above 3 percent, Shenfeld
said, surpassing the Bank of Canada’s 2.5 percent forecast.
The central bank downplayed fourth-quarter strength in its
policy statement this month, pointing to “competitiveness
challenges” for exporters and subdued growth in wages and hours
Deputy Governor Lawrence Schembri had a similar message in a
speech on Tuesday and said the latest strong retail sales
numbers were consistent with the pick-up in growth the central
bank had been expecting.
But any acknowledgement by the Bank of Canada of the
stronger data is likely to be offset by its wariness about
uncertainties in U.S. trade and tax policy, economists said.
“Without any more clarification in terms of U.S. policy,
it’s very prudent for a central bank to remain cautious and
remind (investors) that we have a big downside risk to our
outlook,” said Charles St-Arnaud, senior economist at Nomura.
Poloz said in January that a rate cut would be on the table
if downside risks materialized, though economists largely expect
the next move will be a hike in the second quarter of 2018.
Shenfeld said he expected the bank to highlight the U.S.
policy risks but saw a limit to how dovish Poloz can be.
“Clearly, it wouldn’t be credible, for example, to say as
they did last October that they’re actively considering a rate
cut now,” Shenfeld said.
(Reporting by Leah Schnurr; Editing by Richard Chang)
Canada’s federal government
lobbed the problem of Toronto’s hot housing market back to
Ontario on Thursday after its new budget did nothing to rein in
real estate speculators, boosting expectations a foreign buyers
tax may soon be imposed in Canada’s largest city.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said a federal solution to a
local problem was not the best way to address concerns about
high housing prices in response to criticism Wednesday’s budget
had not done anything to help cool high home prices.
“We recognize the tools of the federal level are necessarily
pan-Canadian, and there are tremendous differences and variances
between the housing markets in Vancouver and Toronto and housing
markets in other cities,” Trudeau told reporters in Toronto.
“So we’re working very closely with provinces and municipal
authorities to ensure that the impacts that we need to have in
certain areas of the country don’t result in unwanted
impositions or negative impacts on other parts of the country,”
Toronto prices have shot up 113 percent since early 2009,
while Canadian prices as a whole have jumped 65 percent,
according to the Teranet-National Bank price index.
Vancouver housing prices have declined since the province of
British Columbia imposed a 15 percent tax on foreign buyers in
that city in August, mostly targeting people from mainland
China, and many expect Ontario will soon impose a tax in
Ottawa has repeatedly tightened mortgage lending rules in
recent years on concerns about a housing bubble, but the boiling
Toronto market has barely slowed.
Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa last week urged
federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau to consider raising
capital gains taxes, among other measures, to rein in
But developers and other market observers expect the next
move to come from Ontario, or perhaps the city of Toronto
itself, because the national market has cooled.
“I somehow think a foreign buyers tax is coming,” said Ben
Myers, senior vice president at Fortress Real Developments in
Toronto. “I think they should make some kind of move now, even
if it is small, to signal that ‘we’re on this.’ And I think it
should be something Ontario-based.”
A Sousa spokeswoman did not immediately respond to requests
for comment. Toronto Mayor John Tory will consult with experts
next week to consider options and get feedback on how a foreign
buyers tax has been working in Vancouver, spokesman Don Peat
Robert Kavcic, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets in
Toronto, said he believes a foreign buyers tax is the best and
quickest fix for Toronto because even if it only affects foreign
investors, a small portion of buyers, it sends a broader signal
that the government will act to stop speculation.
“The foreign buyers tax is a good first pass because we
already have the precedent from Vancouver, it’s pretty fast and
easy to implement … the message alone will target domestic
speculation as well,” Kavcic said.
(Additional reporting by Anna Mehler Paperny in Toronto and
Leah Schnurr in Ottawa; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)