Archive | Canadian Media Resource Articles

Media agenda: China buys newsrooms, influence in Africa – by Geoffrey York (Globe and Mail – September 12, 2013)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

NAIROBI — When one of South Africa’s biggest newspaper chains was sold last month, an odd name was buried in the list of new owners: China International Television Corp.

A major stake in a South African newspaper group might seem an unusual acquisition for Chinese state television, but it was no mystery to anyone who has watched the rapid expansion of China’s media empire across Africa.

From newspapers and magazines to satellite television and radio stations, China is investing heavily in African media. It’s part of a long-term campaign to bolster Beijing’s “soft power” – not just through diplomacy, but also through foreign aid, business links, scholarships, training programs, academic institutes and the media.

Its investments have allowed China to promote its own media agenda in Africa, using a formula of upbeat business and cultural stories and a deferential pro-government tone, while ignoring human-rights issues and the backlash against China’s own growing power. Continue Reading →

In Ontario, electricity bills are reason to weep – by Konrad Yakauski (Globe and Mail – September 12, 2013)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

If you live in Ontario, deciphering your electricity bill is like trying to crack the encryption on a BlackBerry. It might tax even the professional snoopers at the U.S. National Security Agency.

It’s not as simple as multiplying the amount of power you use each month by the market price per kilowatt-hour. Beyond your “electricity” charge, there’s a “delivery” charge, a “regulatory” charge, a “debt retirement” charge and an Orwellian-sounding “clean energy benefit.”

And there’s a twisted political saga behind each one of them. If you manage to unbundle it all, you’ll discover that the market value of the power you consume accounts for only a tiny portion of your bill. Most of the rest of what you fork out goes to pay for decades of bungled energy policy-making. And pay you will, for years to come.

Indeed, the most important charge is the one that doesn’t directly appear on most people’s monthly statements. It’s called the “global adjustment” fee and it’s tacked on to your electricity charge to cover the government’s cost of buying above-market-priced wind, solar, nuclear and gas-fired power from private operators. Continue Reading →

Gabriel threatens Romania with billion-dollar lawsuit – by Eric Reguly (Globe and Mail – September 12, 2013)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

ROME — Canada’s Gabriel Resources Ltd. is issuing a stern ultimatum to the Romanian government: Approve the Rosia Montana gold mine or face a lawsuit for billions of dollars.

The strategy marks a stunning reversal for the Toronto Stock Exchange-listed company, which until recently had expected the government would approve a draft law that would allow the $1-billion (U.S.) mining development in Romania’s Transylvania to go ahead.

Then, on Monday, Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta said parliament would likely reject the draft law, a move that would kill Europe’s largest gold project. Gabriel shares went into freefall. The same day, Gabriel said it would “assess all possible actions open to it, including the formal notification of its intentions to commence litigation for multiple breaches of international investment treaties.”

On Wednesday, Gabriel chief executive officer Jonathan Henry vowed that the legal action would go ahead if the government does kill the mining project, and attached a big number to it. Continue Reading →

Protests, cyanide concerns may halt Canadian-Romania gold mine project – by Nick Logan (Global News – September 10, 2013)

VANCOUVER – Anti-mining protesters appear to have won their battle against the Romanian government and a Canadian firm planning to build Europe’s largest open-cast gold mine.

At least for now.

After more than a week of rallies in the capital city of Bucharest and the country’s second-largest city of Cluj Napoca, Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta said Monday the project likely won’t get approval.

A majority of Romanian parliament members weren’t in favour of the mine proposal for the northwest mountain community of Rosia Montana, and Ponta asked parliamentarians to vote quickly on draft legislation that would have moved the proposal forward.

“There’s no point in wasting time, I want to make sure that the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies vote on the rejection and then this project is closed,” Ponta said, according to Bloomberg News on Monday. “I don’t want the government to be responsible for contracts undertaken by previous cabinets.” Continue Reading →

Matawa First Nations chiefs drop Ring of Fire legal challenge – CBC News Thunder Bay (September 11, 2013)

Most Matawa communities hope negotiations assisted by Bob Rae will also address their concerns about environmental assessment

The Matawa First Nations chiefs have withdrawn a legal challenge to the federal environmental assessment of the Cliffs chromite project in the Ring of Fire. The case was set to be heard by Federal Court later this month.

In a news release Wednesday, the Matawa Tribal Council said that when it started the court case in late 2011, there was no negotiation table, and it was pushed into a corner.

“There’s a forum for discussions with Ontario now and it’s going to look at the environmental assessment question, as well as other issues,” Aroland Chief Sonny Gagnon said.

Talks with Ontario began recently with Bob Rae representing the First Nations, and Frank Iacobucci negotiating for the government. Matawa said it expects that mining companies and the federal government will also be involved. Continue Reading →

Ring of Fire road rejection a setback for Cliffs Natural Resources – by Peter Koven (National Post – September 12, 2013)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

TORONTO – The proposed development of Ontario’s “Ring of Fire” is facing greater uncertainty, as the province’s Mining and Lands Commissioner has made a key ruling against the company expected to build the region’s first mine and much of its infrastructure.

“This puts the project in jeopardy,” said Patricia Persico, director of communications for Cliffs Natural Resources Inc.

Cliffs wants to build a road to the Ring of Fire, located in the James Bay Lowlands, that could be used to transport ore. This is controversial, because the proposed road would cross over mining claims owned by KWG Resources Inc., a tiny junior miner that staked the ground for a potential railroad.

Commissioner Linda Kamerman rejected Cliffs’ request for an “easement” that would allow the company to build a road crossing over KWG’s claims. In a lengthy decision, she said the request breaches KWG’s rights under Ontario’s Mining Act and that Cliffs did not demonstrate the road is in the public interest.

Cliffs claims the road would provide a useful link to First Nations communities, an idea that is also supported by Queen’s Park. But the commissioner wrote that there was no evidence of a “public component” to Cliffs’ application. Continue Reading →

TransCanada touts national benefits of Energy East plan – by Shawn McCarthy (Globe and Mail – September 11, 2013)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

OTTAWA — TransCanada Corp. is promoting its Energy East pipeline project to Canadians with a promise that it will create thousands of jobs across the country and pour billions of dollars into government coffers.

On Tuesday, the company released a Deloitte & Touche LLP study on the economic impact of the $12-billion pipeline, which would bring about 1.1 million barrels a day of Western Canadian crude to refineries and export terminals in Quebec and New Brunswick. As part of its effort to woo those in the pipeline’s path, the TransCanada board met Tuesday in Fredericton – the day after an evening session with New Brunswick Premier David Alward.

TransCanada chief executive Russ Girling said the economic benefits will accrue right across the country, though the maximum job impact will occur during the three-year construction phase from 2016 to 2018, when it hits 7,729 full-time-equivalent positions each year.

“The project will help support thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in government tax revenues over the short- and long-term life of the project,” Mr. Girling said on a conference call. Continue Reading →

Keystone pipeline in the sand – by Peter Foster (National Post – September 11, 2013)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

Keystone has become the most contentious issue in Canada-U.S. trade relations since the Trudeau government’s National Energy Program in 1980

There have been reports this past week of a mysterious “letter” from Prime Minister Stephen Harper to President Obama offering cooperation on climate policy. This in pursuit of the president’s approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, which sits in limbo five years after its sponsor, TransCanada Corp., first applied to build it.

The notion that Mr. Harper might seek to promote Canadian interests via diplomatic channels is hardly surprising, but the media has been trying to build the missive’s significance. For example, was Energy Minister Joe Oliver, who visited Washington on Monday, “in the loop?” Mr. Oliver was non-committal about the letter during and after his visit to meet with his counterpart, U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, but that is hardly surprising.

Keystone has become the most contentious issue in U.S.-Canada trade relations since the 1980 National Energy Program. Then, Pierre Trudeau’s Liberals fell prey to destructive economic nationalism. Continue Reading →

Canadian producers can meet U.S. oil demand even without Keystone, executive says – by Yadullah Hussain (National Post – September 11, 2013)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

TORONTO – Calling Canadian heavy oil logistical challenges “overblown,” a senior oil sands industry executive says other pipelines and rail projects are available to meet rising demand from Alberta producers who until recently have been counting largely on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline to move their product to the United States.

“Misconceptions are common,” Doug Proll, executive vice-president with Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. said Tuesday. “There is ability to meet the supply even without Keystone XL. For the next little while, market access should not be constrained as result of other options.”

Enbridge Inc.’s debottlenecking of the Mainline pipeline will facilitate 400,000 barrels per day to the United States, while TransCanada Corp.’s west-to-east pipeline and the southern leg of the Keystone XL, along with a number of other proposals, expansions and added rail capacity mean Canadian producers have a number of outlets to get to market.

CNRL is planning to spend $2-billon to $2.5-billion annually over the next three years to take production from its Horizon Oil Sands development to 250,000 bpd from its current level of about 100,000 bpd. Continue Reading →

Neil Young Talks Oilsands, Compares Fort McMurray To Hiroshima – by Jason MacNeil (The Huffington Post Canada – September 10, 2013)

His guitarist in Crazy Horse might be dealing with a fractured hand, but Neil Young threw some verbal punches this week when he compared the oilsands in Fort McMurray, Alta. to Hiroshima, the site of the first atomic bomb drop in August 1945.

The Globe and Mail today reported Young was in Washington, D.C. yesterday when he told those attending an event for the National Farmers Union about oilsands development and its environmental impact.

“The fact is, Fort McMurray looks like Hiroshima,” he said, as shown in a YouTube clip. “Fort McMurray is a wasteland. The Indians up there and the native peoples are dying. The fuels all over — the fumes everywhere — you can smell it when you get to town. The closest place to Fort McMurray that is doing the tarsands work is 25 to 30 miles out of town and you can taste it when you get to Fort McMurray. People are sick. People are dying of cancer because of this. All the First Nations people up there are threatened by this.” Continue Reading →

Concern growing over Sept-Îles oil spill – by Lynn Moore (Montreal Gazette – September 9, 2013)

MONTREAL — An oil spill that happened more than a week ago in Sept-Îles might be far more serious than first reported.

Quebec Environment Minister Yves-François Blanchet visited the area Sunday while cleanup crews tried to contain a large slick before tides and winds take the oil out into the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

While Blanchet urged a more “aggressive approach” to preventing oil spills during his visit, local environmental groups worried about damage to aquatic life in Sept-Îles Bay and beyond.

Overnight on Aug. 31, bunker oil was spilled near a shipping operation of an iron ore pellet plant operated by Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. at Pointe Noire. While the “source of the incident” is under control, investigation into the cause of the incident is ongoing, the company said Sunday.

Some media reports have pointed to a botched reservoir transfer as being at the heart of the problem. Environment Quebec has said that about 450,000 litres of bunker oil were spilled. Continue Reading →

Gabriel shares plummet as massive project in Romania now on the rocks – Peter Koven (National Post – September 10, 2013)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

The long-suffering shareholders of Gabriel Resources Ltd. two weeks ago received a brief glimmer of hope — a hope that now appears to be extinguished.

Shares of the Canadian miner plunged an astounding 53.7% to close at 68¢ on Monday after Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta reversed course and said the company’s giant Rosia Montana project should not go ahead. At one point, the stock was down as much as 72%.

While Mr. Ponta’s comments do not mark the end of Gabriel’s quest to build Rosia Montana, which could become Europe’s biggest gold mine if it is ever approved, the response from investors on Monday shows many of them have had enough of this saga.

Gabriel has been trying to win approval for the project since the late 1990s, but has faced vicious opposition from anti-mining activists along the way. The company battled back — it even helped fund a documentary called Mine Your Own Business, which portrayed the activists in a very negative light and suggested the mine is needed to create economic activity in an impoverished part of Romania. Continue Reading →

Northern Promise: Arctic road to prosperity paved with obstacles – by Jeff Lewis (National Post – September 10, 2013)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

INUVIK, N.W.T. — Seismic lines etched into the permafrost from decades-old exploration are still visible in the 137 kilometres separating the Town of Inuvik and the Hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk on the Arctic Coast.

About 50 kilometres north of Inuvik, the remnants of industrial prospecting mark the location of the Parsons Lake gas field, discovered in the 1970s and one of three proposed to anchor the moribund Mackenzie Valley pipeline. Today, they are an uneasy reminder of the ecologically fragile terrain northern infrastructure must traverse.

“When you put marks in the tundra, it never really goes away,” says Mike Parkes, 32, a helicopter pilot, pointing the throttle on his AS-350-B2 machine north along the Arctic peninsula.

It is a lesson that informs an ambitious road-building project under way on the edge of the Beaufort Sea. Work is set to begin this winter building a highway between Inuvik and Tuktoyaktuk, in a throwback to former Conservative Prime Minister John Diefenbaker’s much-vaunted — but ultimately unrealized — 1950s “road to resources” campaign to connect the Western Arctic and Canada’s southern provinces. Continue Reading →

Keystone XL ball is now back in Obama’s court – by Claudia Cattaneo (National Post – September 10, 2013)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

In another visit to the United States to promote the proposed Keystone XL oil sands pipeline, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver met Monday with his United States counterpart, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, to propose a joint approach to greenhouse gas emissions and other technology initiatives in energy.

While light on specifics and heavy on niceties, it’s increasingly obvious something had to be done by Ottawa to rescue the Alberta-to-Texas pipeline from sliding yet again into President Obama’s too-hot-to-handle purgatory. The two countries remain far apart on the controversial project and a decision on a permit is now expected next spring.

On the one hand, it appears the White House is pushing Canada to adopt more stringent GHG targets for oil sands companies than Canada is prepared to do, the price for approving KXL so environmental organizations get their pound of flesh.

On the other, Canada believes it is finalizing GHG reduction targets for the oil and gas sector that enable it to meet its international climate-change commitments, plans to announce them by the end of the year, and wants extra efforts to come under a joint Canada/U.S. approach to avoid putting its oil and gas industry at a competitive disadvantage. Continue Reading →

Industry’s reckoning: Why are world’s top miners at the Vatican? – by Eric Reguly (Globe and Mail – September 10, 2013)

The Globe and Mail is Canada’s national newspaper with the second largest broadsheet circulation in the country. It has enormous influence on Canada’s political and business elite.

To bastardize a famous quotation from the bible, it may be easier for a camel
to pass through the eye of a needle than a mining boss to enter the kingdom of
god. With a little more good behaviour from the mining companies, that may
change. (Eric Reguly – Globe and Mail – September 10, 2013)

The CEOs of some of the world’s top mining companies did not come to the Vatican to pray, see Pope Francis or traipse through the sweltering halls of the Vatican Museums. They came to discuss ways to make their industry a bit less devilish and you have to give the Vatican credit for all-star drawing power. Any mining conference would have been envious of the guest list.

Saturday’s “day of reflection with the mining industry,” which was organized by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, the Vatican department that deals with earthly matters such as promoting humans rights, included the CEOs of Anglo American, Rio Tinto and Newmont Mining. Those three men alone represented companies with well more than $100-billion (U.S.) in market value. The chairmen, presidents or senior executives of dozens of other companies, ranging from AngloGold Ashanti to African Rainbow Minerals, made the pilgrimage too. Continue Reading →