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Cape Breton Mikmaq Communities Sign Tar Ponds Protocol

first_imgThe governments of Nova Scotia and Canada, and Cape Breton Mi’kmaq First Nation communities signed a protocol agreement today, Oct. 28, that will guide discussions on economic opportunities in the Tar Ponds and Coke Ovens cleanup. As a tangible first step in implementing the agreement, the Sydney Tar Ponds Agency announced that it would contract the cleanup of the cooling pond as an aboriginal set-aside. This will limit bidding on the project to firms with majority First Nations ownership and control. “The signing of this protocol and the contracting of the cooling pond project as an aboriginal set-aside, represent historic firsts for Nova Scotia,” said Nova Scotia Energy Minister Cecil Clarke, who represented Ron Russell, Minister responsible for the Sydney Tar Ponds Agency, and Michael Baker, Minister of Aboriginal Affairs, at the ceremony. “They will create new opportunities for social and economic progress for the people of Nova Scotia, particularly the First Nations communities of Cape Breton. Negotiators for all parties have worked hard to reach this point, and deserve our thanks for their co-operative efforts.” “This agreement signifies our willingness to work in harmony with all levels of government to explore economic opportunities for First Nation communities on Cape Breton Island and elsewhere,” said Scott Brison, Minister of Public Works and Government Services Canada. “Thanks to the leadership of Chief Terrance Paul and Bernd Christmas, we are confident this will be the first of many opportunities to facilitate economic development and build a better future for First Nations communities in Nova Scotia, and Canada.” “For over one hundred years our traditional lands and waters have been impacted by the steel industry. The signing of this protocol agreement today represents the beginning of a new era of collaboration between the province, the federal government, and the Mi’kmaw people,” said Chief Paul. “It is time to clean up the lands and waters that sustain us and I am confident our efforts will pave the way to a bright and prosperous future for all.” The cooling pond is a circular body of water in front of the Tar Ponds Agency office on Inglis Street. Its function was to cool water used by Sysco’s rolling mills. The cleanup of the cooling pond is one of four preliminary projects intended to prevent environmental damage while the big cleanup undergoes environmental assessment. Expected to begin next summer, the project will include stabilization, solidification, and capping of the pond, and pilot testing of stabilization and solidification technology in adjacent sections of the South Tar Pond. “It has been a long journey but today we can be proud that the province of Nova Scotia has agreed to join the federal government, for the first time in Nova Scotia’s history, in establishing an aboriginal set-aside program,” said Mr. Christmas, chief executive officer of Membertou. “The cleanup of the Tar Ponds represents a multimillion-dollar opportunity and the Mi’kmaq look forward to bidding on the contracts and facilitating economic opportunities for all of Cape Breton.” Negotiators for the government of Canada and the government of Nova Scotia agreed in a memorandum of agreement dated May 12, 2004, to take measures to consult with the Cape Breton Mi’kmaq First Nation communities and develop an aboriginal procurement strategy. The government of Canada is providing $280 million and the government of Nova Scotia $120 million toward the tar ponds cleanup project.last_img read more

Strong demand helping Air Canada and WestJet Transat Q2 losses to surge

Strong demand helping Air Canada and WestJet; Transat Q2 losses to surge AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email by Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press Posted Jun 6, 2014 1:16 pm MDT MONTREAL – Lower costs and strong passenger demand in spite of higher fares and fees could propel Canada’s two largest airlines to new heights, according to industry observers.Walter Spracklin of RBC Capital Markets boosted his target price for Air Canada on Friday by nearly 42 per cent to $17, adding that the airline’s shares could nearly triple from the current levels to hit $30 under a best-case scenario of industry growth accelerating on a strong economy.“Air Canada is undergoing a fundamental and structural cost reduction initiative that is playing out in a climate of steadily increasing demand for air travel,” Spracklin wrote in a note.He said growing profits and undervalued shares are forming a “seldom seen” investment opportunity with the airline.Shares of the country’s largest carrier hit a more than six-year high Friday, peaking at $10.58 on heavy volume. They closed up 54 cents or 5.44 per cent at $10.47 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.Air Canada’s (TSX:AC.B) shares had the best performance of all public companies in Canada last year and are up from a 52-week low of $2.07, but still well below the $21.05 price it hit in November 2006.Cameron Doerksen of National Bank Financial also increased his target price for Air Canada to $12, from $8.50, citing several catalysts such as higher fares, stabilized costs and better than expected trans-Atlantic revenues are emerging for the airline.Higher airfares also prompted him to upgrade WestJet Airlines (TSX:WJA), raising WestJet’s target price to $29, up from $27. That prompted the Calgary-based carrier’s shares to close up 68 cents or 2.65 per cent at $26.34.In addition to a “strengthening domestic fare environment” Doerksen pointed to stabilization in fuel prices and an increase in the valuations of airline peers.Meanwhile, Spracklin said Air Canada’s operating results are beating forecasts across all measures.Traffic increased by nine and 10.1 per cent in the past two months, well in excess of estimates for 6.5 per cent growth. Each one per cent gain adds an estimated $100 million in pre-tax operating income (EBITDAR) and 20 per cent to the share price at current levels, he wrote in a report.Analysts believe that several initiatives, including the launch of low-cost Rouge subsidiary, addition of more seating on Boeing 777s and the delivery of long-haul Boeing 787 Dreamliners, give the airline a promising future.A survey of fares suggests that a dramatic increase in capacity on trans-Atlantic routes is not causing a dramatic reduction on fares as was feared.Fares on routes where Rouge is competing directly against Air Transat have remained relatively unchanged as neither carrier is offering major fare discounts, Doerksen said. That suggests the number of unsold seats are at acceptable levels for the carriers.Doerksen said a five per cent increase in summer fares that Transat AT (TSX:TRZ.B) indicated in March may not have held in more recent bookings, putting pressure on the Montreal-based tour company.The number of trans-Atlantic seats are forecast to increase nine per cent to 4.13 million this summer, driven by a 16 per cent increase from Air Canada.Transat is expected to report next Thursday much deeper adjusted losses in the February through April quarter. The second-quarter adjusted loss is forecast to be 35 cents per share on $1.14 billion of revenues, compared to a four-cent loss a year earlier, according to analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.But Kevin Chiang of CIBC World Markets says Transat’s summer results will be good as the rollout of Air Canada Rouge is still in the early stages.“Longer term, we have concerns on whether Transat can effectively compete against a mature Rouge banner and expectations that WestJet will look to commit to a network expansion into Europe before the end of this decade,” he wrote.Although Transat gained flexibility by moving to a more seasonal fleet structure, it is less able than scheduled carriers like Air Canada and WestJet to adjust to challenges likes sudden changes in currency.Doerksen said Air Canada and WestJet are able to offset fare weakness on the trans-Atlantic by higher domestic fares, especially on Western Canadian routes and transcontinental journeys such as between Toronto and Calgary or Vancouver.Transat’s shared lost 18 cents to close at $9.47 on Friday.Follow @RossMarowits on Twitter. read more