EU and Canada sign long-delayed trade deal

Canada and the EU have at last signed their long-awaited free trade deal, after the Belgium region of Wallonia was given last-minute concessions to drop its opposition to the agreement.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau flew in from Ottawa to sign the treaty, known as  the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (Ceta), alongside Jean-Claude Juncker, the head of the European Commission, and Donald Tusk, EU President.
Reaching this stage had seemed unlikely only weeks ago, when Walloon opposition meant Belgium could not sign the deal, denying the EU the unanimous backing of all member states.

Wallonia’s leader Paul Magnette held …
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Canadian government insists retirement of nickel not in the plans

First it was the $1 bill and then the $2 note switching to coins in Canada, followed by the elimination of the penny.So, could the nickel be facing retirement next?Not so fast, the government insists as an internal analysis on the pros and cons of keeping the nickel says it will stay for now.There are “no plans to discontinue the nickel,” said David Barnabe of the finance department, even though New Zealand and South Africa have eliminated the coins over the past decade.Even as the purchasing power of the nickel “has eroded over time (down 40 percent over 25 years) relative both to prices and incomes,” the analysis found it is still cost effective to mint them.“As there are virtually no goods or services that can be purchased for a nickel, or several multiples thereof, the coin is generally used only to make change as part of larger transactions,” …

Canada named Lonely Planet's top travel destination for 2017

Canada, the world’s second largest country topped the Lonely Planet’s “Best in Travel” list, beating out second-place Colombia and Finland, at third place. And the honor couldn’t have come at a better time, either, as Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2017.

Lonely Planet cited Canada’s reputation for “inclusiveness and impeccable politeness” as just one of the country’s many selling points as well as its “exciting fusion food and mysteriously underrated wine.”

Temperate rainforest in Wells Gray Provincial Park, British Columbia, Canada. Wren

You can browse Lonely Planet’s 58-page chapter on Canada, on the website. One thing you will find out is that Canada isn’t just a huge country with sky-high majestic mountains and craggy coastlines. Canada is also a country with a diverse variety of foods and cultures.

Lonely Planet lists 25 fantastic places to visit in Canada, with British Columbia’s Haida Gwaii, an archipelago once known as the Queen Charlotte …

Award snub of Canadian Holocaust survivor sparks political firestorm

The decision by the Czech president to withdraw a state honour for a Czech-born Canadian Holocaust survivor has set off a political firestorm in the country and sparked outrage that the action might have been triggered by an effort to appease China.It seems that Toronto resident George (Jiri) Brady has become collateral damage in a dispute between the country’s Culture Minister Daniel Herman and Czech President Milos Zeman. Zeman is said to have rescinded the honour as political payback against Herman, Brady’s nephew, who reportedly angered both Zeman and China by meeting with the Dalai Lama earlier this month. Brady, who was to be recognized for his work on Holocaust remembrance, was to receive the prestigious Order of T. G. Masaryk at a ceremony at the Prague Castle on Oct. 28 as part of the celebration of the country’s Independence Day.The apparent award snub has prompted a deluge of …

A gourmet tour of southern Cape Breton, Canada

In the field of cuisine, Canada has some little-known secrets that need to be uncovered. From the prairies in the west to the eastern coast of the country, refined dining in the largest cities of the nation are well-known. However, there are those hidden gems that pop up here and there exposing a newfound Canadian gourmet treasure. As we discovered, these are the gourmet cuisine or “bites” offered on the island of Cape Breton. This is thanks to a new generation of young chefs and sous-chefs, who have returned to their native home or non-native Nova Scotians who have developed a unique cuisine in order to revive and showcase the bounty of the province.

We had spent a few days in Sydney, the largest city on Cape Breton Island, sampling some of its cuisine that preserves traces of its traditional heritages. Venison, wild duck, oak cakes, haggis, whiskies, and hot …

Cities now matter in Trudeau’s Canada

One year into the mandate of Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government, a new way of nation building has emerged in Ottawa that has cities taking a significant role at the federal table.
That new role is in infrastructure spending – decisions normally reserved for federal and provincial politicians.
In this new, four-legged federalism, federal, provincial, First Nations and municipalities are all at the table.
That’s because a sturdy table has four legs and Trudeau has made it a priority to add the fourth leg — cities.
One year into its mandate and the Trudeau government is still meeting and working with cities.
On Oct. 19, the federal ministers of finance, infrastructure and climate change all came for over an hour to the Big City Mayors meeting in Ottawa, to talk about how to properly roll out the second phase of federal infrastructure spending.
These are real meetings that produce results.
That’ …

Sirius Connected Vehicle Business Failing To Meet Expectations

In August of 2013, Sirius XM Holdings (NASDAQ:SIRI) announced that it would be purchasing the Connected Vehicle Unit of Agero, Inc. The $530 million purchase closed later that year, and in early 2014, Sirius management disclosed its expected contribution from the unit: [Sirius CEO Jim Meyer] We expect connected vehicle services to deliver close to $100 million of revenue this year, and we expect to grow this at strong double-digit rates over the next many years. We are in the process of fully integrating the CV business into Sirius XM, and its financial results are embedded in our guidance today. As an early stage growth business, we expect the connected vehicle services product line to contribute at or near breakeven on an EBITDA basis in 2014, but with high variable margins, a relatively low capex profile, and substantial scaling in the business as penetration expands, we see many similarities in the financial profile of …

Scuttlebiz: Two hotels planned for downtown Augusta business district

I say: Whoo-hoo!
Yes, it’s news worth getting excited about. It’s not that a “new” hotel is a novel concept in this town – at least a dozen have been built in the city’s outlying areas in just the past few years. It’s that these business-class hotel projects are smack dab in the middle of the central business district, an area that has seen only three new hotel projects during the past quarter century.
So the addition of a 125- to 130-room hotel at Ninth and Reynolds streets – a stone’s throw from the Augusta Marriott at the Convention Center complex – and a 100-plus room Hyatt House on the 1200 block of Broad Street are clear indicators of just how far the downtown renaissance has come.
The backers of these hotels — Augusta Riverfront LLC on the Ninth Street project and the Engler family for the Broad street project — wouldn’t have invested …

Time to start a business

Originally published on Oct. 26.
When Kelly Bruce was laid off from her job, it ended a 17-year career working in the oilpatch corporate office towers in downtown Calgary. The news came on a Wednesday in January, and at first she was in shock. The next day she was angry. By Friday, she was over it and knew exactly what she was going to do next.
Using her severance pay, Bruce turned her online stationery store from a hobby into a new career.
The website Little Blue Canoe has expanded well beyond stationery to now offer 500 products from more than 75 vendors across Canada and is approaching its 1,000th sale. 
“It’s really ballooned into something I’ve never imagined,” said Bruce. 

Kelly Bruce’s tips for those starting their own business0:51

The downturn in the oilpatch has claimed tens of thousands of workers. Thousands of businesses are closing, even an iconic century-old Western wear …

Trump pounces on Clinton's reignited email controversy as she questions the FBI's motives

Hillary Clinton lashed out Saturday at the FBI’s handling of a new email review, leading a chorus of Democratic leaders who declared the bureau’s actions just days before the election “unprecedented” and “deeply troubling.” Emboldened Republican rival Donald Trump seized on the reignited email controversy, hoping to raise new doubts about Clinton’s trustworthiness.
Rallying supporters in Florida, Clinton pressed FBI Director James Comey to put out the “full and complete facts” about the review into a cache of recently discovered emails. Clinton backers panned Comey’s letter to Congress about the new emails as severely lacking crucial details.
“It is pretty strange to put something like that out with so little information right before an election,” Clinton said. She accused Trump of using the issue to confuse and mislead voters in the final leg of the campaign for the Nov. 8 election.
The controversy over Clinton’s email practices at the State Department …