Tourism leads the way: Future looking good for business in Nova Scotia

Theodore Tugboat, the real-life incarnation of a cartoon tugboat beloved by so many tourists visiting Halifax, is safely docked in the Bedford Basin.

With the end of the tourist season in mid-October, Theodore is idle. So are the popular frog-motif Harbour Hopper amphibious vehicles, the antique double-decker and even charter buses that make up Ambassatours’ fleet.

They’re sitting in the maintenance bays of Ambassatours’ new, 32,000-square-foot headquarters near the Windsor Street exchange in Halifax’s North End, being readied for next year.

It has been a good year for tourism.

As 2016 draws to a close, a Conference Board of Canada report released Wednesday predicts the number of overnight visitors this year will turn out to have been 3.3 per cent higher than last year.

And Greg Hermus, the associate director of the Conference Board’s Canadian Tourism Research Institute, predicts next year will see an even bigger tourism season in …

Canadian homicide rate jumps in 2015, quarter of victims Aboriginal

OTTAWA (Reuters) – The Canadian homicide rate jumped to its highest level in four years in 2015, with a quarter of the victims reported by police as being an Aboriginal person, according to data from Statistics Canada released on Wednesday.

There were 604 homicides last year, up from 521 in 2014. That sent 2015’s homicide rate up to 1.68 murders per 100,000 people, the highest rate since 2011.

In contrast, the murder rate in the United States was 5 victims per 100,000 people last year, according to data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The higher number of homicides in Canada was driven by increases in the prairie provinces …
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Four workers dead in Cuba bridge collapse – Canada miner Sherritt

By Susan Taylor
| TORONTO

TORONTO Four workers at a Sherritt International Corp joint venture in Cuba died on Tuesday, when a municipal bridge they were repairing collapsed, the Canadian miner said on Wednesday.Sherritt, which owns 50 percent of the Moa nickel operation with General Nickel Company SA of Cuba, said the bridge had been damaged by Hurricane Matthew in October and workers have been repairing the structure since late last month. The bridge provides access to the Moa mine and plant, which are operating at reduced rates, the company said.The impact on production will depend on how quickly a …
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Potash Corp cuts jobs, Canadian potash output as prices sag

By Rod Nickel

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) – Fertilizer maker Potash Corp of Saskatchewan Inc said on Wednesday that it was reducing jobs and output at one Canadian mine and temporarily curtailing production at two others as the sector struggles with weak prices.

The company said it would cut production at its Cory, Saskatchewan, mine to 0.8 million tonnes a year from 1.4 million, resulting in a reduction of 100 jobs and 40 temporary positions starting in February.

Also in Saskatchewan, Potash will curtail production for six weeks at its Lanigan mine starting in January and for 12 weeks at Allan starting in February.

The changes …
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Canada’s women’s rugby team set sights on Tokyo, men play long game

When the World Rugby Sevens Series season begins in Dubai in early December, the prospects for Canada’s women’s and men’s teams are starkly different: The women are once again one of the world’s best while the men aim to rally from a low.The Sevens Series runs through the winter and spring. There are 10 tournaments on the men’s calendar and six on the women’s. Canada holds one of each: the men in Vancouver in March and the women near Victoria in May.

Canada’s women are coming off a bronze medal at the Olympics …
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Canada may ban farm pesticide that harms midges, mayflies

By Rod Nickel
| WINNIPEG, Manitoba

Canada may ban an insect-killing chemical used to protect crops because it harms aquatic bugs, including midges and mayflies, while the government continues to investigate whether imidacloprid poses a risk to bees.Imidacloprid, made by Bayer AG, should be phased out within five years, the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) said on Wednesday. Imidacloprid is part of a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids, also called neonics, that are applied as a seed treatment or sprayed on plants’ leaves. Neonics have drawn scrutiny in recent years after research pointed to risks for honey bees, which have …
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Business Development Bank of Canada boosts clean-technology venture fund

The Business Development Bank of Canada is committing an additional $135-million to its venture fund that supports Canadian clean-technology startups which offer products and services to improve energy efficiency in businesses.With the announcement scheduled for Wednesday, BDC Capital – the investment arm of the federal small-business bank – is increasing its focus on the clean-tech sector, a move that dovetails with the Liberal government’s effort to capitalize on a global investment boom in energy efficiency and renewable power.

“Our goal is to intensify our support for innovative Canadian entrepreneurs who are leading the way in the transition to a low-carbon economy,” Jerome Nycz, BDC Capital’s executive vice-president, said in a statement to be released Wednesday.BDC Capital launched a clean-tech fund in 2011 with $152-million aimed at a sector it calls Industrial, Clean and Energy Technology, or ICE, and said it showed a “strong performance” compared with international peers. The …

Canadian oilwell drilling to jump in 2017: industry forecast

By Nia Williams

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) – Drilling in Canada’s oil and gas fields will pick up in 2017 because of more favorable pricing after two years of record low activity, an industry group said on Tuesday in its annual forecast.

The Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors said a more stable U.S. benchmark crude oil price would lead to a 31 percent increase in the number of wells drilled to 4,665 next year from an estimated 3,562 by the end of 2016.

The industry group forecast operating days would rise 21 percent to 48,980 in 2017 but expects the fleet to drop by 55 drilling rigs to 610.

“Activity is moving in the right direction, but we’re still in a depressed and desperate economic environment,” association President Mark Scholz said in a statement.

Canada, which has the world’s third-largest crude reserves, has been hard hit by the more than two-year slump in global oil prices, with companies slashing …

CanadaLiberals to 'explore acquisition' of 18 interim Super Hornet fighter jets

Lee Berthiaume, THE CANADIAN PRESS
Nov 22, 2016, Last Updated: 8:41 PM ET

OTTAWA The federal Liberal government says it will explore the acquisition of 18 new Boeing-made Super Hornet jets on an interim basis until it can decide on a permanent replacement for Canadas aging fleet of fighter planes.

The government plans to meet with the U.S. and Boeing to purchase the 18 planes at a cost, time, level of capability and economic value that is acceptable to Canada in order to fill a capability gap in the countrys air defences.

The decision marks what will surely be another controversial turning point in the long, protracted effort to replace the air forces workhorse CF-18s, which Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan says are long past due for replacement.

The government will launch, in its current mandate, a wide-open and transparent competition to replace the CF-18 fleet, Sajjan told a news conference Tuesday.

In addition, …

Drew Hasselback: ‘Prairie attitude’ is key force behind creation of Western Canada’s largest regional law firm

WINNIPEG – Bigger does not always mean national.
Aikins MacAulay & Thorvaldson LLP, a firm with deep roots in Manitoba, is about to tie the knot with Saskatchewan-based MacPherson Leslie & Tyerman LLP to create Western Canada’s largest regional law firm.
At the heart of the merger, which takes effect Jan. 1, is a belief that both firms have a shared culture that will serve as the glue that will bind MLT’s 140 lawyers and Aikins’ 100 lawyers into a unified team. The firm will have offices here, in a building that overlooks Winnipeg’s legendary — and yes, very windy — intersection of Portage Avenue and Main Street, and stretching westward with offices in Regina, Saskatoon, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.
“We looked at our similar, long-standing histories and roots in both of our communities. We both have a Prairie attitude,” says David Filmon of Aikins, who will chair the new firm MLT Aikins. “ …