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

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

Ggn family threatens mass suicide over police inaction

first_imgGurugram: Mohammad Sajid and his family that was subjected to physical violence on the day of Holi in Gurugram’s Bhoop Singh area, has now threatened to commit mass suicide over police inaction. The family has accused district police and civil administration of favouring the goons and have claimed that they are being pressured to withdraw the FIR. “The matter is in public domain. Everyone knows how goons have deliberately attacked us in a preplanned manner. Still, the district police are not helping us and allowing alleged attackers and their family members to threaten us to withdraw the FIR,” said Mohamad Akhtar, one of the victims.”They come to our house and abuse our women and girls. If the district administration and police will not help us to bring justice in this case, we will go for mass suicide,” Akhtar said. The victim’s family has submitted a memorandum to Sohna SDM for a speedy trial. “The local police have registered FIR against two youths of our family in a bid to put pressure on us,” Akhtar said. Meanwhile, Gurugram (South) DCP Himanshu Garg said that both the groups were involved in the altercation. The police had arrested 10 persons for attacking the family on March 21. There was a change in events when there was a cross-FIR was filed against the family. This riled the family to an extent that even planned to leave the city till they were stopped in doing so by the top police officials. The Muslim family in Gurugram that was attacked by a mob of 12-20 people on the day of Holi (March 21) with rods and sticks. The family had been living in Gurugram for the past 15 years. According to the FIR registered at Bhondsi police station, the incident took place when Sajid’s relatives had come to visit on Holi. In the complaint, Sajid’s nephew, Dilshad, alleged that they were playing cricket in a vacant plot near the house when some boys confronted them and said, “What are you doing here? Go to Pakistan and play.” When Sajid intervened, one of the two men on the bike slapped him, Dilshad alleged. In the moments that followed, the duo was joined by several others, allegedly armed with sticks, rods and swords, who barged into the family’s home, attacked them and stole their valuables. Videos recorded by the victims show them trying to close the door to the terrace, even as the accused try to break it down. In the video, a group of men can be seen beating up a man with rods and sticks, while another lies in the corner, even as two women plead with the attackers to stop.last_img read more

Sensex snaps 4-day winning streak, drops 180 pts

first_imgMumbai: Breaking its four-day rising streak, the BSE Sensex dropped about 180 points Wednesday on profit booking and forecast of below-normal monsoon this year. Despite a strong rally in global equities, Indian market failed to sustain at lifetime highs led by losses in oil and gas, telecom, metal and healthcare stocks. After swinging nearly 450 points, the 30-share Sensex settled 179.53 points, or 0.46 per cent lower at 38,877.12. The broader NSE Nifty too pared early gains and ended 69.25 points, or 0.59 per cent, down at 11,643.95. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal Benchmark indices gave up all the early gains and ended in red after Skymet predicted below normal monsoon for this year, said Sunil Sharma, Chief Investment Officer, Sanctum Wealth Management. “This news comes just a day before RBI is expected to cut rates by 25 bps and adopt a pro-growth stance. However, expectation of poor rainfall and already slow economic growth alongside subdued inflation may pressurise RBI to go for a higher rate cut, thus surprising the street positively,” Sharma added. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boost The RBI’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is holding a three-day meeting between April 2 – 4 for the first policy statement for 2019-20. SBI was the biggest loser in the Sensex pack, shedding 2.40 per cent, followed by Yes Bank, Bharti Airtel, L&T, Sun Pharma, M&M, ICICI Bank, ONGC, RIL, Asian Paints, Vedanta and HUL, which lost up to 2.37 per cent. On the other hand, Maruti, HCL Tech, HDFC, Tata Steel, PowerGrid, Hero MotoCorp and TCS ended with gains of up to 2.78 per cent. Sectorally, the BSE oil and gas, telecom, capital goods, energy and healthcare indices fell up to 2.06 per cent. Broader indices too ended in the red, with the BSE Midcap and Smallcap slipping up to 0.87 per cent. Meanwhile, foreign institutional investors (FIIs) remained net buyers in the capital markets, putting in Rs 543.36 crore Tuesday, while domestic institutional investors (DIIs) sold equities to the tune of Rs 437.70 crore, provisional data available with stock exchanges showed. In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng jumped 1.22 per cent, Korea’s Kospi rose 1.20 per cent, Japan’s Nikkei ended 0.97 per cent higher and Shanghai Composite Index gained 1.24 per cent. In Europe, Frankfurt’s DAX was up 1.33 per cent, Paris CAC 40 rose 0.74 per cent, while London’s FTSE slipped 0.04 per cent in early deals. The benchmark Brent crude futures rose 0.53 per cent to USD 69.74 per barrel. Meanwhile, the rupee appreciated 30 paise to 68.44 against the US dollar intra-day.last_img read more

Football Taming the Terrapins Ohio State heading to Maryland

Maryland quarterback Perry Hills calls a play against FIU in the third quarter on Friday, Sept. 9, 2016, at FIU Stadium in Miami. Credit: Courtesy of TNSWhile the narrative of how much of a difference a week can make has been run dry, the No. 5 Ohio State Buckeyes will be looking for back-to-back strong performances after last Saturday’s complete domination of Nebraska. This week, OSU travels to College Park to face the Terrapins in Maryland. Maryland started the year on a hot streak, earning four straight victories. Since then, however, D.J. Durkin’s team has picked up just one win in five weeks, and are coming off an embarrassing 59-3 loss to Michigan. And with OSU up next, it seems safe to say Maryland’s in for another rough week.All-time, the Buckeyes are 2-0 against Maryland. After being introduced into the Big Ten prior to the 2014 season, the Terrapins have given up a combined 101 points to OSU, and this year should be no different. Although senior quarterback Perry Hills has had success against the Scarlet and Gray in the past, a defense that has been gashed by the run all season could spell trouble for Maryland at home.OSU coach Urban Meyer has been repeating the same phrase all week.“Beat Maryland,” he said multiple times.So just how will the Buckeyes beat Maryland?OffenseHills is the man under center for Maryland, and has earned the moniker of one of the most accurate passers in the Big Ten. He leads the conference in pass completions, and has made good use of his legs to keep plays alive. Last time the two teams met, the Pittsburgh native moved with ease through OSU’s defense, compiling 170 yards on the ground. Another big day for Hills on the ground might be in store, but with his status in the air after reinjuring his shoulder, Maryland could instead lean on the ability of freshman running back Lorenzo Harrison III. The quick feet of Harrison have helped him on his way to 633 yards, just 57 shy of a freshman record set in 1997. The way OSU’s secondary has been playing, expect to see the Terrapins looking his way often on Saturday.The offensive line for Maryland has been disappointing at best so far. Allowing the quarterback to be hit is never a good sign for an offense, and that’s become the norm for Durkin’s unit. Giving up more than three sacks a game, Maryland ranks near the bottom of all Division I teams in terms of sacks allowed. The defensive front for OSU should be in for a field day.Staying true to never underestimating your opponent, redshirt junior defensive tackle Michael Hill doesn’t want to take anything for granted.“They seem pretty good at what they do,” he said. “They like to do (guard and center) pulls a lot, and they can move well and run well in open space.”DefenseOSU redshirt freshman running back Mike Weber has enjoyed a solid season of production against some stout defenses, but Saturday will present a new challenge; playing injured. A sprained AC joint could be a problem for Weber, but against a defense like Maryland, he could still be in for a great day. The Terrapins allow 245.6 yards per game, and have a defensive line that represents a sieve more than it does a run-stopping unit.Numbers are sometimes deceiving, according to redshirt junior guard Billy Price. He said Maryland’s defense still promotes a dynamic challenge to the Buckeyes and the offensive line.“Team has had some bumps and bruises, no doubt,” Price said. “But you know what? They’re going to come back this week, they’re going to come at us. They’re very athletic. Their defense … they got a backup quarterback playing linebacker, which is always cool. You never really see that that often. Their defensive front, they’re big guys; athletic.”That “backup quarterback playing linebacker” happens to Shane Cockerille, a redshirt junior who played as a quarterback against Indiana last season to fill in for now-senior Caleb Rowe. Now, however, Cockerille is the man in the middle of Maryland’s defense, and currently leads the team with 79 tackles. Look for his name to be called more than once on Saturday for making a play.BreakdownAfter dominating a quality opponent in Nebraska last week, OSU is itching to see what it can do against some less-than-stellar teams, like Maryland. While the Terrapins deserve praise for improving from last season, there is no indication of a close game this Saturday. OSU’s defense should dominate a Maryland offense that averages less than 200 yards passing per game, and relies on the legs of a freshman running back for most of its rushing yards. Expect a few more forced turnovers this week, along with another big-time blowout by the Buckeyes.OSU redshirt junior J.T. Barrett had one of his best overall performances last week, and could be in for another huge day. The Terrapins are allowing just 204.5 yards passing to opponents this season, but were torched by Michigan junior quarterback Wilton Speight last week for 362 yards and two touchdowns. If Barrett were to ever rack 300-plus passing yards for the first time since Week 1, this would be the time. read more