Britain gets cheaper, but doomsday gloom is popular

first_imgIt could be up to two years before the impact on air travel of Britain’s decision to quit the European Community is known, but doomsday scenarios have got off to a bad start with a five to seven per cent fall in the value of the British pound against major currencies increasing the appeal and reducing the cost of travel to the UK.Gloomy predictions, however, are being talked up by the airline industry’s peak body, the International Air Transport Association, in a new report overnight, quoting British Treasury modelling before the so-called Brexit referendum projecting a permanent loss of UK economic activity of 2.5-3.5 per cent a year.According to IATA, that would depress travel to and from the UK by three to five per cent a year, since Britons provide two-thirds of the bums on seats travelling to and from the country and international visitors comprise just a third.That hasn’t been helped by the two airlines that have benefited most from the past two decades’ liberal EU aviation market, Ryanair and EasyJet, talking up a return to protectionism they postulated in the days before the referendum  would artificially reduce competition and increase fares under the new air rights treaty the UK will now be obliged to negotiate with the EU.Through their bases at London’s Stansted airport, IATA’s figures show Ryanair and EasyJet are by far the biggest operators between the UK and the EU, with the most to lose under a worst-case scenario of a UK-EU aviation trade war resulting in restrictions on flights.However, with an outsider’s eye on the future, the Australia-based Centre for Asia-Pacific Aviation thinks it “very likely” the current status quo would be effectively maintained with the UK agreeing on “unlimited open skies-style access for its own airlines and those of the other countries on routes between the UK and each of these countries, for example between the UK and France or Italy”.In addition, none of the aviation trade organisations has raised the one factor which would guarantee higher fares – higher airline operating costs – following Brexit.In fact, one of the cornerstones of the Leave campaign was to eliminate costly compliance with the EU’s bureaucratic standards.However, as with most periods of economic turbulence, the uncertainty caused by Brexit has become a self-fulfilling prophecy, with one of Europe’s biggest airline groups IAG, which runs British Airways, Ireland’s Aer Lingus and Spain’s Iberia and Vueling airlines  on Friday issuing a profit warning because of doubts about the economic outlook caused by Brexit.The one bright spot is that the depreciation of the pound has made the UK cheaper to visit, with long-haul travellers from Australia for instance now having to fork out “only” $A135 to enter the UK, compared with about $A143 before Friday’s currency devaluation.However, the cash-hungry government that came up with the world’s biggest travel tax is also more likely than not to gouge future visitors with new visa fees.last_img read more

Vodacom extends fibre-optic network

first_img18 January 2011Workers are busy digging narrow roadside trenches and laying down cables in the Western Cape towns of Stellenbosch, Somerset West, Paarl and Wellington, as South African mobile operator Vodacom starts to expand its fibre-optic network into the area.Vodacom Business’ Ermano Quartero says the fibre-optic cabling brings customers easy, rapid transfer of large amounts of data, and is ideal for services that require smooth data provisioning, such as video conferencing.Fibre-optic cabling is also important to applications like the internet, telephone systems and, in some countries, cable television.“We are constantly requested by consumers and companies for increased internet bandwidth and faster connectivity,” Quartero said in a statement last week.The current network consists of 23 kilometres of cable in Stellenbosch, from Kuilsrivier to Stellenbosch and approximately half of the Stellenbosch to Somerset West Road; 48km of cable in Somerset West, including the remaining half of the Stellenbosch/Somerset West Road, and the N2 to Mitchells Plain; 49km of cable in Paarl and Wellington; and 38km of optic spurs in Stellenbosch, Paarl and Somerset West.“Having fibre in these areas makes it possible for our customers to have access to the vast range of services we offer, such as voice, video and networked storage and hosting,” Quartero said.Advantages over copper cableAccording to Vodacom Business, fibre-optic cabling has advantages over standard copper coaxial cables, in that it can transmit larger quantities of data with far less loss, is able to maintain signals over long distances, carries little risk of corrosion, and is virtually free from interference.“To provide customers with the services they demand we need a high-bandwidth, low-cost, reliable last-mile service. Vodacom Business is able to now meet these needs,” Quartero said.“The fibre-optic cables now installed in the Paarl-Wellington-Stellenbosch area bring high-speed, business-quality connectivity to the many companies situated in this important hub and open a wide variety of enterprise-class solutions to them.”SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

The New Sigma 50mm 1.4 DG HSM Art Lens

first_imgImages courtesy of XitekPrice and AvailabilityThe price of the new lens has not been announced but we can expect it to be competitively priced between $1,500 – $3,000 dollars. An Australian website had pre-orders on sale for $1,500, but we question it’s credibility. There have also been no release dates set but with NAB coming up in April we can probably expect to know more soon.What do you think of the new Sigma 50mm 1.4 DG HSM? Share in the comments below. Aspherical Lenses1 Diameter x Length85.4mm x 99.9mm Autofocus MotorHyper Sonic Motor (HSM) Min. Focus Distance40cm Sigma’s latest offering could be one of the best 50mm lenses on the market. WeightTBD  For most photographers and videographers a 50mm lens is the go-to lens for most situations. 50mm prime lenses offer a few major advantages but the biggest advantage is being able to shoot with a wide aperture. Shooting on a low f-stop lens is crucial to getting professional quality video and photography. For many years, lenses such as the Zeiss 55 and the Sony 50mm ZA SSM have dominated the 50mm market but Sigma hopes to be joining their ranks with the new 50mm 1.4 DG HSM Art Lens.The new sigma 50mm was completely redesigned and reengineered with photographers and filmmakers in mind. The lens come with a Hyper-Sonic Motor which allows for smoother and quitter autofocusing. Inside the lens is over 13 different glass elements across 8 different groups, specifically designed to give you maximum clarity and sharpnessSpecsHere are the known specs for the Sigma 50mm f1.4 DG HSMcenter_img Max. Magnification1:5.6 SLD Glasses3 SLD Glasses Quality ComparisonsThese test shots compare this Sigma lens, against a few other popular 50mm lenses (clockwise from top left, Sony, Nikon and Zeiss). As you’ll see the Sigma quality appears to be superior to the others in the test. For more on this test, see this post over on PhotoRumors. Filter Size77mm Diaphragm Blades9 (Rounded) Lens Construction13 elements in 8 groupslast_img read more

PBO says it cannot fully measure cost of tax avoidance due to

first_imgOTTAWA — Parliament’s spending watchdog says he still does not have access to all the data his office needs to determine the amount of money the federal government loses each year to offshore tax havens and tax avoidance schemes.Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux says the Canada Revenue Agency would only give his office aggregate tax data for a study his office has for years wanted to complete on Canada’s “tax gap,” the difference between how much tax revenue should have been collected in a year versus what was actually brought in.The PBO needs more detailed data to fully measure the tax gap in Canada, Giroux said.Without a more fulsome, independent study of how big the problem of tax avoidance and evasion is in Canada, Giroux said it’s hard for the government to understand how best to address it.“If it’s a minimal problem of a few hundred million dollars, maybe it’s not worth that much time chasing that money that eludes government. But if, as we fully expect, it is a multi-billion issue, then it is worth it going after that unreported income,” he said.“It’s very difficult to fix a problem that you cannot quantify.”Giroux’s office has demanded detailed information since December 2017, even threatening court action to get it.In February 2018, the Trudeau government agreed to provide the information “in a way that will ensure the protection of personal information of Canadians,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in the House of Commons at the time.The CRA provided the PBO with high-level, aggregated data on individuals, corporations and trusts.The information on individuals was so high-level it was “unusable,” Giroux said, but the office went ahead with a partial study on the more usable corporate data. The results of the work are expected to be released this summer and will focus on domestic companies with foreign affiliates, or those based elsewhere with a presence in Canada.The study will not, however, offer the full picture of the tax gap in Canada, Giroux said.Trudeau has vowed to crack down on tax cheats and those who use offshore havens to avoid paying taxes, dedicating about $1 billion to these efforts.The CRA has identified nearly 900 Canadians individuals and corporate entities in the Panama Papers — a leak of information from a Panamanian law firm three years ago that detailed hundreds of billions of dollars from around the world sheltered in tax havens, at the expense of numerous countries’ treasuries.The tax agency has five criminal investigations underway and completed 116 audits, but no charges have been laid and the amount of unpaid tax revenue recovered remains unclear.Giroux asked Finance Minister Bill Morneau in January for a legislative change to give the PBO access to more detailed tax data for the tax gap study and others, including verifying the costs of measures in the federal budget.So far, Giroux has not received a response.Other federal agencies have access to the information Giroux wants, including Statistics Canada, the Finance Department, all provincial and territorial governments and the federal auditor general.That’s why Giroux said he finds it “hard to believe they would not trust an agent of Parliament to have access to data of that nature.”His theory is that the real reason is political: “They don’t want to have somebody providing the challenge function that our office provides.”Morneau spokesman Pierre-Olivier Herbert said the finance minister said the CRA provided aggregated data “in a manner that respects Canadian privacy laws.”“We will continue to work to provide the necessary information to further this study while protecting the confidential information of Canadians,” Hebert said.—Follow @ReporterTeresa on Twitter.Teresa Wright, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Farmer Wants a Wife Alberta bachelor stars in Belgian reality TV show

first_imgBjorn Bonjean of Spirit Hills honey winery in Alberta is shown in in this undated handout photo. Bjorn Bonjean didn’t have trouble dating in southern Alberta — he just hadn’t found the right woman, when producers of a reality television show in Belgium came calling. The 28-year-old winemaker is one of five farmers from around the globe vying for the hearts of Belgian women in the show that echoes the long-running American dating series “The Bachelor” and its spinoffs.”Boer Zoekt Vrouw,” which translates to “Farmer Wants a Wife,” has been on the air for about 10 seasons but its latest stars bachelors in other countries who are originally from Belgium. HO / THE CANADIAN PRESS Advertisement “They roll up their sleeves, have a passion for their business, but they lack that nice Flemish woman,” says the show’s website.Filmed earlier this year, the show just started airing this week on the VTM network. Bonjean says he’s sworn to secrecy on the outcome set for November.“I can’t tell you if it ends with a proposal or not,” he says. “It’s not like ‘The Bachelor’ … The entire idea is to give the opportunity of something happening. But there’s no expectation of a proposal or even a relationship after it.”But Bonjean did reveal that he’s happy.“I’m happy with the choice that I’ve made.”Bonjean was seven when his family moved to Canada from Grobbendonk in northern Belgium. They now run Spirit Hills honey winery near Millarville, southwest of Calgary. Bonjean is head winemaker, using honey from the farm’s own beehives to create various wines and sangria.The show’s producers originally wanted both Bonjean and his sister to be part of the season, as bachelorettes have been featured in some versions of the show. But she was dating someone and didn’t speak Flemish or Dutch as well as her brother, said Bonjean.He was also dating someone at the time and turned down the offer. Months later, after a break up, he agreed to join the show.Bonjean said it’s nothing like “The Bachelor.” There are no rose ceremonies. And there’s little drama.After airing profiles of the five farmers, 1,500 women sent the show photos and letters. About 150 wanted to meet Bonjean.In the first episode, the bachelors travel to Belgium and, after putting on black eye masks, are lead into a horse riding arena and onto a stage of hay bales before a crowd of screaming women.They each meet 10 women in a speed-dating round and, after choosing five, go on an afternoon group date. They then select three to bring back to their home countries.Bonjean said it was awkward at first talking with potential partners while cameras were rolling, but he got used to it. He also used his trip to Belgium to visit with his grandmother and meet with wine importers, who agreed to market Spirit Hills in the country.“We chose Bjorn Bonjean as he’s good looking, in a good age category, and he runs a lovely, organic farm on a magical place on Earth,” the show’s story editor, Katrien Geens, said in an email.She also refused to hint at whether he finds love.“How it ends, remains a secret, until aired.”— By Chris Purdy in Edmonton Login/Register With: Advertisement Advertisementcenter_img Twitter LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Facebook MILLARVILLE, Alta. — Bjorn Bonjean didn’t have trouble dating in southern Alberta, he just hadn’t found the right woman … then producers of a reality television show in Belgium came calling.The 28-year-old winemaker is one of five farmers from around the globe vying for the hearts of Belgian women in the show that’s similar to the long-running North American series “The Bachelor” and its spinoffs.“Boer Zoekt Vrouw,” which translates to “Farmer Wants a Wife,” has been on the air for about 10 seasons but its latest series stars bachelors in other countries who are originally from Belgium. Besides Bjorn from Canada, there’s Jitse, who runs a therapeutic care farm in Norway; Jeroen, a dairy farmer in Germany; Manu, an olive farmer in South Africa; and Jan, a cowboy in Australia.last_img read more

Trump confirms CNBC contributor Kudlow to be economic aide

first_imgWASHINGTON – President Donald Trump confirmed Thursday that he has picked CNBC contributor Larry Kudlow as his top economic adviser and said the country is in line for a long run of upbeat financial news.The United States “will have many years of Great Economic & Financial Success, with low taxes, unparalleled innovation, fair trade and an ever expanding labour force leading the way!” the president tweeted.Kudlow is succeeding Gary Cohn, a former Goldman Sachs executive, at the White House. Cohn is leaving after a dispute over Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminum.Kudlow served in the Reagan administration and has emerged as a leading proponent of tax cuts and a smaller government.Kudlow told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he has accepted the offer and said the U.S. economy was poised to take off after Trump signed $1.5 trillion worth of tax cuts into law.“The economy is starting to roar and we’re going to get more of that,” he said.Kudlow will join an administration in the middle of a tumultuous overhaul, with a number of White House staffers and top officials departing in recent weeks. Trump on Tuesday dumped his secretary of state, Rex Tillerson.Trump seems increasingly determined to tax foreign imports, a policy that Kudlow personally opposes. Kudlow said he is “in accord” with Trump’s agenda and that his team at the White House would help put in place policies set by the president.Trump has promised to reduce the trade imbalance with China and rewrite the North American Free Trade Agreement with Canada and Mexico. Kudlow declined to say what advice he would give the president on trade issues, saying instead that Trump is “a very good negotiator.”Kudlow, 70, has informally advised the Trump administration in the past and he has spoken with the president “at some length in recent days,” so he is ready “to hit the ground running.”Kudlow told CNBC on Wednesday that he was going to Washington on Thursday to meet with Trump. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the administration “will keep everyone posted” on when Kudlow officially assumes the job.last_img read more

Price may cut back video games pitches Saturday at Toronto

first_imgNEW YORK, N.Y. – David Price considers himself a gamer — both on and off the field. Now he has to cut down on screen time.A longtime video game enthusiast, the Boston Red Sox ace was diagnosed this week with carpal tunnel syndrome. He has not pitched since May 3 but is scheduled to return Saturday at Toronto.He insists that while video games may have contributed to the condition, they’re not the origin of the swelling in his left thumb, index finger and middle finger.“This is just something that happened over time. This didn’t stem from any one thing,” the 32-year-old left-hander said Thursday. “I’m born in 1985, so that’s the video games generation. Being a Red Sox is the least amount of video games I’ve ever played being in Major League Baseball.”Winner of the 2012 AL Cy Young Award with Tampa Bay, Price is 2-4 with a 5.11 ERA in seven starts during his third season with the Red Sox after agreeing to a $215 million, seven-year contract. The five-time All-Star experienced numbness in his pitching hand during a bullpen session Sunday. He had tests Tuesday and was examined by Dr. Matthew I. Leibman in Newton, Massachusetts.Price and teammates have been spent many hours competing in the popular Fortnite, trying to fend off monsters and save the world.“I saw the Brewers were playing Fortnite on their jumbotron. This is very common. I know a lot of teams, a lot of guys, are really into it,” he said. “I’ve always played video games. I’ve always played it with my teammates, during the off-season, at the field, at the hotel. That’s kind of my generation. That’s what we do. If I need to shut down video games and pick up a new hobby, then so be it. But I do not think that’s the cause.”He added: “If that was the cause of the problem, it started back in 1997 when I got my first PlayStation when I was 12 years old.”Price threw about 40 pitches in a bullpen session Thursday and pronounced him ready to return this week. His condition will be treated with dry needles, similar to acupuncture.“Obviously it’s going to be outing by outing,” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said after watching Price throw at Yankee Stadium. “The communication has to be there. He has to be honest with us, and we will take care of him.”Price believes the injury can be controlled. He will wear a brace and will switch to his right hand for activities such as brushing his teeth.“I don’t think it’s going to go away in its entirety,” he said.Surgery would be the final option.Price was 6-3 with a 3.38 ERA in 16 games (11 starts) last year, when he was limited by an elbow injury. He said tests showed his elbow, forearm and shoulder were “pristine.”He left an April 11 start against the Yankees at Fenway Park after one inning because of a tingling sensation in his left hand, but said that was a different issue caused by a frosty night. No circulation irregularities were detected, according to the pitcher.“I still have very cold hands and very cold feet,” he said. “The lady asked if me if I could pitch with a heating glove on. And I said, ‘No, ma’am.”NOTES: If there are no postponements, RHP Steven Wright will be available Monday after serving a 15-game suspension under baseball’s domestic violence policy. Wright will be a reliever. “He’s going to be different, obviously, with the knuckleball, but we’ve got catchers that it seems like they don’t have a problem with that,” Cora said. … RHP Tyler Thornburg, coming back from surgery last June 16 to correct thoracic outlet syndrome, made his fifth minor league rehab appearance on Thursday. He gave up two runs and two hits while getting two outs for Double-A Portland. He will join the Red Sox in Toronto on Friday for a bullpen session, then return to the minors. … OF Jackie Bradley Jr. was not in the starting lineup for the second straight day but faced Cora in batting practice. Bradley is hitting .173 and said Bradley’s hands were too static and he was slowly finding a “better rhythm.” Cora isn’t sure whether Bradley will play Friday.___More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball__More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseballlast_img read more

Mary Ng new federal minister tasked with getting companies to look beyond

first_imgOTTAWA – One of Canada’s newest cabinet ministers is tasked with making progress on a long-running challenge: encouraging more businesses to chase opportunities beyond the comforts of North America.Adding to the pressure, Mary Ng, named to the Trudeau cabinet in July, is taking on the role as minister of small business and export promotion at a deeply uncertain time for the critical Canada-U.S. trading relationship.Industry leaders say there is a growing urgency to help Canadian businesses find overseas markets, pointing to the unknown future of the North American Free Trade Agreement, a cross-border tariff dispute and threats by U.S. President Donald Trump of more American duties on the important automotive sector.“The U.S. is an important trading partner — they will always and continue to be an important trading partner — but looking beyond to other markets for Canadian businesses is the right thing to do and it’s an opportunity,” Ng, a Toronto-area MP who worked in the public sector for 20 years, said in an interview.“I always think it’s good to diversify.”Ng’s small business portfolio comes with an additional responsibility and title compared to her predecessor — export promotion.She is one of three federal ministers focused on trade. International Trade Diversification Minister Jim Carr and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, who is leading NAFTA negotiations, round out the trade trio.Ng’s focus will be spreading the word to companies about overseas markets and directing businesses to government services designed to help them take advantage of numerous trade deals Canada has struck in recent years.“(Carr)’s the one who’s going to open the door and I’m here to help our companies, our SMEs, walk through that door,” she said.The treaties include recent agreements with the Pacific Rim — known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership or CPTPP — and Canada’s free-trade deal with the European Union, also known as CETA.The Asia-Pacific and EU deals will open up access to a billion potential customers, but getting small businesses to explore those markets won’t be easy. Only about 11 or 12 per cent of smaller Canadian firms are currently exporting their goods or services abroad, she said.“We have a low number of SMEs that are exporting right now,” said Ng, who worked in Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office before winning a 2017 byelection.“We need to do better.”She said she knows from her own experience that small business owners are often too busy running their day-to-day operations to figure out how to get access to a new, faraway market. Ng grew up in a small, family business and, later on in her career, said she worked with startups and small companies.Liberal and Conservative governments have made considerable efforts in recent years to get more of Canada’s small- and medium-sized companies to pursue new opportunities outside North America.For most business owners, however, the massive American market — with its proximity, familiar regulatory environment and common language — has been more than enough.Dennis Darby, president and CEO of the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, said uncertainty related to the country’s largest trading partnership has “magnified the need for us to look beyond the U.S.”The new trade agreements are helpful, but he recommends the government streamline access for SMEs to its current services. Even with that, patience will be needed, he said.“This is going to take a significant amount of effort, I’d say, over the next decade to really take advantage of these two big trade agreements,” Darby said, referring to the CPTPP and CETA.Dan Kelly, president and CEO of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, said after the 2007-08 financial crisis there was a “noticeable uptick” in the number of smaller firms that pursued trade beyond the then-struggling U.S. market. The U.S. rebound, however, has led more businesses to revert back to what’s easiest — the giant market right next door.He suggests Ottawa focus on a facilitating role by helping provide fresh ideas and building up capability for firms to take advantage of trade deals like the CPTPP and CETA.But a government can only do so much, Kelly said.“There is a natural limit to export promotion and we need to be conscious of that,” he said.“Nobody starts exporting to Japan or to Lithuania because the government tells them it’s a good thing.”Kelly and Darby say they’re encouraged by the government’s decision to expand Ng’s portfolio to emphasize export promotion.Conservative MP Blake Richards, the parliamentary critic for small business, export promotion and tourism, said it’s “laudable” the government’s made export promotion clear cabinet responsibility.But he argued the federal Liberals have, at the same time, made it more difficult for small businesses to explore foreign markets because of competitiveness challenges at home — from regulations to the tax burden. Richards pointed to the federal carbon tax as an example.“It’s great to say we want to help give this opportunity to promote ourselves, but the other actions you’re seeing don’t match up with that,” Richards said.Follow @AndyBlatchford on Twitterlast_img read more

Most actively traded companies on the TSX

first_imgAurora Cannabis Inc. (TSX:ACB). Health care. Down 26 cents, or 3.64 per cent, to $6.88 on 12.5 million shares.Bombardier Inc. (TSX:BBD.B). Industrials. Up nine cents, or 4.81 per cent to $1.96 on 10.4 million shares.Kinross Gold Corp. (TSX:K). Gold. Up 35 cents, or 9.07 per cent, to $4.21 on 8.7 million shares.Enbridge Inc. (TSX:ENB). Energy. Down 55 cents, or 1.3 per cent, to $41.89, on 8.6 million shares.Premier Gold Mines Ltd. (TSX:PG). Gold. Up 15 cents, or 10 per cent, to $1.64 on 8.5 million shares.Aphria Inc. (TSX:APHA). Health care. Down 22 cents, or 3.03 per cent, to $7.04 on 7.6 million shares. The Canadian Press Some of the most active companies traded Thursday on the Toronto Stock Exchange:Toronto Stock Exchange (14,141.77, down 122.29 points).center_img Companies reporting major news:BlackBerry Ltd. (TSX:BB). Up 29 cents or 2.9 per cent to $10.22. Blackberry’s stock rose Thursday after the company’s third-quarter revenue and profit beat analyst estimates, with growth coming from its software and services business. The Waterloo, Ont.,-based technology company earned US$59 million in net income for the quarter ended Nov. 30, up from a loss of US$275 million in the same quarter last year. Revenue totalled US$226 million, which was even with last year’s third quarter and up from US$210 million in the second quarter this year.Scotiabank (TSX:BNS). Down 72 cents to $69.22. Scotiabank has signed a deal to sell its pension and related insurance businesses in the Dominican Republic. The Canadian bank says it will sell Scotia Crecer AFP and Scotia Seguros to Grupo Rizek. Financial terms of the deal were not immediately available, but Scotiabank says the transaction is not financially material to the bank.last_img read more

Provincial permits dont consider Species at Risk Act Environment Canada

first_imgA spokesperson for the Manitoba government said it considers the Species at Risk Act when reviewing development proposals and will have caribou range action plans by 2020.Eric Hebert-Daly of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society said the report emphasizes what groups like his have been saying for years.“At the provincial level, we have a lot of work to do”’ he said. “Provincial laws are either missing or their flexibility is too flexible.”The latest assessment of woodland caribou suggest 81 per cent of Canada’s herds are in decline. Loss of another one-third of the population is expected “in the near term.”The main threat to their numbers is alteration of habitat, which reduces its productivity and allows access by predators.Wilkinson said the federal government is able to oblige provinces to immediately enforce the Species At Risk Act.But for now, he said, Ottawa will continue to work with the provinces on conservation agreements funded from allotments in the most recent budget.“That allows us to bring some money to the table around reforestation or a range of other things the provinces need to do to protect the caribou.”Caribou conservation is often seen to be in direct conflict with forestry and energy and the jobs they generate. In late March, Alberta delayed its own caribou range plans over economic concerns.“There tends to be a lot of fear in those (resource) communities about what those impacts would be,” Wilkinson said. “We have to avoid this being seen as an environment versus economy issue.” OTTAWA, O.N. — Recovery of Canada’s declining caribou herds is being hampered because provincial agencies that license development on the habitat of the threatened species aren’t required to follow federal environmental laws.“It is a concern,” said Jonathan Wilkinson, parliamentary secretary to Environment Minister Catherine McKenna.On Monday, Environment Canada released a report assessing how provinces are doing in protecting habitat for caribou, a threatened species in every jurisdiction that has them. The idea, said Wilkinson, was to examine actions on the ground and a province’s “legal architecture” to see if it was equivalent to federal legislation. The federal report also concludes that little conservation is taking place on the ground. Measures in almost every case are still in planning or draft stages.“We do need to start to see action on the ground,” Wilkinson said. “We’ve had several years of planning exercises. We need more action on the part of the provinces.”Saskatchewan’s Environment Ministry released a statement in response to the federal report saying it is committed protecting woodland caribou.“Saskatchewan is confident that it currently has all of the legislative tools necessary to protect critical habitat for woodland caribou.”center_img “What we have found is they are not,” he said. “There are gaps with respect to protection relative to species at risk nationally.”In every province, agencies that issue permits for forestry or energy development aren’t required to conform to the federal Species At Risk Act.The phrase “the discretion to authorize these activities is not subject to constraints consistent with those under SARA” appears again and again. Those constraints include requirements that at least two-thirds of critical habitat be left undeveloped.When the act was passed in 2002, the government of the time anticipated provinces would pass similar legislation.“With just a couple exceptions, the provinces haven’t done that,” Wilkinson said.British Columbia is developing such legislation. Ontario has an endangered species act, but it exempts forestry.last_img read more