APTN National NewsThere is another twist in the case of the drunk-driving charges facing Chief Guy Lonechild.Lonechild is head of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nation. Lonechild’s sentencing hearing has been moved back to Saskatoon.There was criticism when the hearing was moved to the rural community of Rosthern, Sask., a town where Lonechild has no connections. The sentencing hearing will now be held in Saskatoon.Lonechild also fired his original lawyer and hired Jeff Howe to handle his case.“We brought it to Saskatoon, in part (as a) response to the negative attention moving it to Rosthem was receiving. There were implications in the media and the public taht the chief was trying to keep the matter out of the public eye,” said Howe. “Bringing it back to Saskatoon is in part a response to that. The idea is to demonstrate complete transparency in the legal process.”
APTN National NewsQuebec’s new $80 billion Plan Nord project is on its way.In Chibougamau Monday, the government of Quebec and Stornoway Diamond Corporation announced the extension of the provincial Hwy 167 deep into traditional Cree territory.APTN National News reporter Danielle Rochette has this story.
APTN National NewsA United Nations report gave Canada an earful about how its citizens feed themselves.Olivier de Schutter has spent the past two weeks travelling Canada and looking into how Canadians eat.APTN National News reporter Annette Francis tells us there is a lot of work to do.
APTN National NewsProtestors took to the streets of Edmonton recently to speak out against what they are calling a national crisis.They are challenging the Alberta government’s proposal to establish a provincial water market.APTN’s Keith Laboucan has this story.
APTN National NewsA group plans to drag the Red River in Winnipeg this week in search of missing or murdered Indigenous people.They hope to provide closure to families who have no idea what happened to their loves ones.APTN’s Dennis Ward was there and has this story.
APTN National NewsOne year ago Friday, the RCMP in New Brunswick raided a Mi’kmaq Warrior camp.After months of protests against fracking, the raid triggered a day of violent clashes.Now, the Mi’kmaq from the Elsipogtog First Nation are calling the anniversary a day of healing.APTN’s Trina Roache has this story.
APTN National NewsDespite the empty halls of Parliament there’s been a development in the relationship between Aboriginal peoples and the Canadian government.A Conservative MP’s private members bill to repeal outdated portions of the Indian Act is now law.APTN’s Annette Francis has the story.
Jorge Barrera APTN National NewsNew cases involving alleged wrongdoing by lawyers and law firms handling Indian residential school claims continue to surface, according to an official involved with monitoring the file.Louis Zivot, counsel to the court monitor of the Indian residential school settlement agreement, said Tuesday the monitor had received “further complaints” for investigation. He said some of the complaints involved loans offered by a lawyer or law firm while others were “general complaints” from claimants upset about the handling of their files by lawyers or compensation payouts.Zivot said two complaints against lawyers over loans have been referred to law societies for investigation. He would not reveal any additional details on those cases.“We are examining those complaints and have, where appropriate, referred certain matters to the applicable law societies,” said Zivot, in an emailed statement Tuesday.Zivot said he could not reveal the exact number of new complaints or identify the lawyers and law firms involved. He said none are currently facing any court action as a result of the complaints.“We are not in a position to reveal to you who the lawyers and law firms are as we are looking into the validity of the complaints,” he said.At least seven complaints were referred to the court-appointed Independent Special Adviser for investigation as of September 9, 2014, according to minutes from an Independent Assessment Process (IAP) oversight committee meeting, which included representatives from the federal government, residential school survivors and the churches. The adviser has since passed on an unspecified number of claims to the court monitor.According to the meeting minutes, at least two cases involved a law firm that allegedly arranged loans for claimants with “criminal interest rates” ranging from 60 per cent to 100 per cent. Another case involved a lawyer who allegedly threatened to sue for a claimant’s settlement money to recover a debt owed by the claimant’s son.The IAP’s chief adjudicator said in his report to the committee that there were between eight to 10 complaints that had yet to enter the queue for investigation.Zivot said the court monitor has also received new information on Doug Keshen, a lawyer from Kenora, Ont., who is already under investigation. The court monitor was also examining new details about form-filling firms in Manitoba which charged fees for filling application forms on behalf of residential school survivors. The court put a stop to the practice.“We are interested in complaints that go to the integrity of the IAP,” said Zivot.The IAP was set up as part of the multi-billion dollar Indian Residential School settlement agreement. The IAP holds hearings to determine the amount of compensation owed to residential school survivors based on their experiences and time attending the schools.The process, however, is facing growing complaints that some lawyers are taking advantage of residential school survivors, many who are elderly and suffering health problems.One Calgary lawyer, David Blott, was kicked out of the IAP process and disbarred for scamming survivors through high interest loans that essentially drained payouts. Keshen and Vancouver lawyer Stephen Bronstein are currently under investigation for their handling of claims and loans offered to residential school claimants. Both those lawyers are under investigation by Crawford Class Action Services, which also probed Blott’s activities.The oversight committee is also contemplating posting performance reports on all law firms currently handling residential school claims. The recommendation came from a federal government representative on the committee “so that claimants could make informed decisions,” according to minutes from a Dec. 9, 2014, meeting of the oversight committee.A spokesperson for the Secretariat said no decision had yet been reached on the issue.During the committee meeting, the Indian Residential School Adjudication Secretariat presented an analysis showing that 16 firms were “in danger” of failing to have all their cases heard by spring 2016. Two of those firms would need an additional year to finish their case load of claims, according to the minutes.“The Secretariat has been actively engaging law firms with large caseloads of IAP files,” said Michael Tansey, spokesperson for the Secretariat. “We are monitoring law firm capacity on an ongoing basis and following-up with law firms with large caseloads remaining to ensure that all first hearings in the IAP will be completed by spring 2016.”email@example.com@JorgeBarrera read more
Her family suspects she could have fallen victim to foul play because of her involvement with drugs at the time of her disappearance.Eva Potts said she has been having difficulty sleeping but is still hopeful her sister will be found alive. Although there is a high number of missing and murdered Indigenous women, Eva never expected her sister would be one of them.“I can’t imagine that anyone would hurt her. She’s not a violent person. If anything she’s really kind and she gives a lot,” said Eva.Potts has a five year-old son that she usually calls at least once a week, however no one, including her son, has heard from her since she was reported missing to the RCMP in March. Volunteers search the bush on the Paul First Nation in AlbertaThe group is searching down gravel roads and through dense bush and are expected to take at least a week to cover the entire reserve and surrounding area.In the RCMP’s missing person’s report Misty is described as:– 5′ 6″ tall– 120-130 lbs– dark brown, shoulder-length hair– freckles on her faceMisty Potts was last seen wearing a red jacket, coral-colored jeans, and thick black-rimmed glasses. She was last seen in Enoch Cree Nation on Saturday, March 14, 2015 and was believed to be travelling to Edmonton.Police are asking that if you have any information on the whereabouts of Misty Potts, please contact Mayerthorpe RCMP at firstname.lastname@example.org Volunteers head to the site of a search on the Paul First Nation in Alberta Monday. Photo: Brandi Morin, APTNBrandi MorinAPTN National NewsFamily and friends of a missing woman organized a ground search for her Monday on the Paul First Nation in Alberta.Misty Faith Potts, 37, of Alexis Nakota Sioux First Nation, Alberta was last seen March 14.Approximately 30 volunteers are searching the Paul First Nation near Alexis after the family received a number of tips and advice from a physic that her remains could be in the area.The psychic had given accurate information on where to find a previous missing Alexis band member that was later found dead.“I’ve been trying to stay optimistic and hopeful, but she would’ve contacted me or my mom,” said Misty’s sister, Eva Potts. “She can’t just disappear like this.”Misty PottsAccording to her sister, Potts held a Master’s Degree in Environmental Studies and was very active in her community.However, her family said that after her brother Zachery died in 2011 her life started to go downhill. Misty Potts started hanging around a bad crowd and began using drugs.“She was going through some hard times but I thought that maybe one day she was going to come out of it and one day things were going to get better,” said her sister, Eva.Potts last saw her sister in February and recently hacked her Facebook account in hopes of finding clues to her whereabouts.Nothing unusual or suspicious came up.Her last Facebook message was to her niece who asked where she was, in which Misty replied, “I’m around, don’t worry.” read more
The Canadian PressOTTAWA — The country’s prison watchdog wants the new Liberal government to act on outstanding recommendations from his office, including a call to create a deputy commissioner of Indigenous corrections.Howard Sapers, the correctional investigator, says outcomes for Indigenous inmates — who represent 24 per cent of the prison population — continue to be far worse than for other offenders.Sapers says issues facing Indigenous inmates, including more time spent in custody and segregation cells, are urgent enough that they require stand-alone leadership within the Correctional Service of Canada.“On just about every measure we look at, there are huge gaps and we believe it’s time that somebody was accountable to address those gaps,” Sapers said. “We think that leadership needs to be put in place.”He also said the government should address Indigenous-specific provisions in the Corrections and Conditional Release Act designed to enhance community involvement in corrections and address the over-representation of Indigenous people behind bars.“We reported that the will of Parliament has not been fully reflected in how the Correctional Service of Canada has conducted itself over the last 20 years,” he said. “In fact, not enough attention has been paid to implementing those sections.”The watchdog says, for example, there are no healing lodges operated by Indigenous communities in the North or in Ontario and British Columbia, where there are high concentrations of offenders.Among the 94 recommendations in the final report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was a call for the creation of additional healing lodge spaces across the country.“We know that the platform of the Liberal party prior to the election included a full and robust response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” he said. “That’s something we will be looking for.”Sapers noted his findings were not addressed by action from the former Conservative government.He recalled that his office released a 2013 report examining whether the correctional service was doing everything it should be doing, according to the law, to deal with ballooning rates of Indigenous incarceration.“It was tabled as a special report in Parliament, one of only two special reports my office has ever issued in its more than 40-year history,” Sapers said. “That, itself, is a signal that this was a very urgent and important matter.“It was tabled in Parliament by the minister of public safety as a special report calling for urgent action and really, it received anything but.”The report noted that close to one-in-four inmates in federal penitentiaries were of Indigenous ancestry, yet specific legislative provisions were chronically under-funded, under-utilized and unevenly applied by the correctional service.Sapers said the government’s overall response was business as usual, which was very disappointing and not at all responsive to the recommendations.The watchdog said he is hopeful other recommendations issued by his office on Indigenous incarceration, including calls for culturally appropriate programming and staff training, will be addressed as a complete package by the new government.Sapers said one of the difficulties has been a “lack of a coherent response.”“We don’t need any more piecemeal reform,” Sapers said. “We need to re-introduce some coherence into the system.” read more
APTN National NewsOld social media posts came back to haunt a number of candidates in the 2015 federal election forcing some of them to resign.Now, in the heat of Manitoba’s provincial election, some questionable posts are surfacing.APTN’s Dennis Ward email@example.com
Dennis Ward APTN National NewsThe people of Shoal Lake 40 are worried about a proposed pipeline they say will literally run through their backyards.Chief Daryl Redsky says the proposed Energy East pipeline should be a cause for concern for everyone in Manitoba.
Annette FrancisAPTN National NewsTwo communities went before the Supreme court Wednesday to challenge whether Canada failed to uphold it’s duty to consult.One fo the cases has to do with a pipeline in Ontario, the other deals with fracking in Nunavut.The cases will have implications for Indigenous peoples across the firstname.lastname@example.org
The Canadian PressBISMARCK, N.D. _ A federal judge’s order for more environmental review of the already-operating Dakota Access oil pipeline has several potential outcomes, all of which could spark even more wrangling in a Washington, D.C., court room. The big question is whether the pipeline will be shut down while the case plays out _ and if so, for how long.Some questions and answers about the case:What is the pipeline again?The $3.8 billion pipeline built by Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners moves oil from western North Dakota to a distribution point in Illinois, where it can be shipped to the Gulf Coast and potentially lucrative markets abroad. It began operating June 1 and has the capacity to move half of North Dakota’s daily oil production. American Indian Tribes in the Dakotas fear environmental and cultural harm _ which ETP disputes _ and are trying to persuade a federal judge to shut down the line that they’ve been battling nearly a year.Why is the court case still unresolved? U.S. District Judge James Boasberg on June 14 ruled that the Army Corps of Engineers “largely complied” with environmental law when permitting the pipeline. But he also said they didn’t adequately consider how an oil spill under the Missouri River might affect the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s fishing and hunting rights, or whether it might disproportionately affect the tribal community _ a concept known as environmental justice. That aims to ensure development projects aren’t built in areas where minority populations might not have the resources to defend their rights.In its analysis of the Missouri River crossing, the Corps studied the mostly white demographics in a 0.8-kilometre radius, which the agency maintains is standard. But if the agency had gone another 80 metres – about the length of a football field _ the study would have included the Standing Rock Reservation. The tribe accuses the Corps of gerrymandering.Boasberg has ordered the Corps to reconsider those areas of its environmental analysis.Will the additional review affect pipeline operations? It might.To shut down the pipeline, Boasberg would have to invalidate the Corps’ permission for the project while the agency does its review. He appears hesitant to do that, saying it “would carry serious consequences that a court should not lightly impose.”The judge isn’t rushing to a decision. His schedule has both sides submitting written arguments in July and August.ETP has expressed confidence that he won’t stop the pipeline in the meantime.How will the additional review play out? The tribes maintain that the “lawful” way to resolve it is through a full environmental study, which the Corps had planned to do before President Donald Trump took office and pushed through completion. If the Corps simply revises its analysis, expect another round of litigation, Standing Rock attorney Jan Hasselman said.“In effect, it resets the clock to where we were last fall, when we were pushing for (a full study) and asking for consideration of route alternatives,” he said. “We’ll be doing that again.”The tribes also are pushing for a review that includes public and tribal input.Corps and Justice Department officials declined to comment on what they will do, but they said they expect to propose a timeframe for the review in mid-July. The Corps has said a full environmental study could take up to two years.ETP expects a limited process, with the Corps reaffirming its conclusions. Spokeswoman Lisa Dillinger said “it is important to note that while Judge Boasberg asked the Corps to provide greater substantiation for its conclusions, the Court did not find the prior determinations to be erroneous.”The company has a point, said Connie Rogers, a Denver attorney who specializes in federal permits, natural resources, and Indian law. She compared the matter to a middle school math assignment in which students wouldn’t get full credit for correct answers unless they showed their work.“This could just be an issue that the Corps didn’t explain itself,” Rogers said. “They could do a supplemental (analysis) in a month or, if they actually did not analyze those things, it might take longer.“I think it’s going to come down to how confident is the Corps in its determination that there are no significant impacts,” she email@example.com read more
(Jody Wilson-Raybould. Facebook)The move wasn’t explained at the time. On Thursday, Montreal Liberal MP Anthony Housefather speculated in a radio interview that Trudeau might have wanted a justice minister who spoke better French because “there’s a lot of legal issues coming up in Quebec.”Housefather chairs the House of Commons justice committee, which voted on Wednesday to take up an examination of Wilson-Raybould’s departure, though a much more limited one than opposition members want.Wilson-Raybould made history when she became the first Indigenous justice minister back in 2015.She became a powerful symbol of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s assertion that there was no relationship more important to him than that with Indigenous Peoples.Some Indigenous leaders across the country have excoriated Trudeau for what they perceive as his shoddy treatment of Wilson-Raybould, which they assert proves his reconciliation agenda is a farce.But the Indigenous senators’ statement is much more circumspect, praising Wilson-Raybould for her “courage and leadership” while not taking sides in the dispute between the former minister and Trudeau.Trudeau has said no one in his office improperly pressured Wilson-Raybould to instruct the director of public prosecutions to negotiate a form of plea bargain with SNC-Lavalin, rather than pursue a prosecution that could wind up bankrupting the company.If Wilson-Raybould had felt pressured, he has said, she should have raised her concerns with him.Wilson-Raybould has so far given no reason for her resignation.She has cited solicitor-client privilege in refusing to comment on the allegation, levelled by anonymous sources in a Globe and Mail story last week.She has now hired a former Supreme Court justice, Thomas Cromwell, to advise her on what she may legally say.Read more: Jody Wilson-Raybould The senators used their statement to commend Wilson-Raybould for her accomplishments as justice minister, praising her “personal strength of character, integrity and dedication to modernize the justice system and work towards reconciliation.”Trudeau and his office have taken pains since Wilson-Raybould’s departure to try to soothe the nerves of rattled Liberal backbenchers. Trudeau spoke to his MPs Tuesday evening by teleconference.According to MPs on the call, the prime minister assured them that there had been no wrongdoing.He acknowledged that there had been internal discussions about whether to intervene to halt the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin but said that was normal given the importance of the company and thousands of jobs at stake.Trudeau took no questions from MPs but, since then, staff in charge of the various regional desks in the PMO have been calling backbenchers to answer questions.Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts, has also been calling MPs.Privately, some Liberal backbenchers wonder how much longer Wilson-Raybould can continue to be a member of the Liberal caucus, given that she has apparently set herself at odds with the prime minister in what has become a huge political firestorm for the government in an election year.For his part, Rusnak said he has “no idea” whether she can remain in caucus.“I don’t know what’s going on in Jody’s head. I don’t know exactly why she resigned.”firstname.lastname@example.org@aptnnews The Canadian PressIndigenous senators say Jody Wilson-Raybould’s controversial exit from the cabinet doesn’t signal the end of reconciliation efforts between the federal government and Indigenous Peoples.But they say her departure is a sign of how much work there is still to do.“Even though some will see this as a threat to the promise and process of reconciliation, it is not,” eight Indigenous senators said in a written statement issued Thursday.“It is a measure of the distance they have yet to go and the challenges we have yet to overcome. As long as Ms. Wilson-Raybould and other men and women like her gain and remain on the national scene and show the integrity we need to persevere on this journey, change will occur.”(Senator Murray Sinclair. APTN)The statement was drafted by independent Sen. Murray Sinclair, a former judge who led the Truth and Reconciliation Commission that examined the history of residential schools in Canada. It was signed by him and seven other Indigenous senators.An Indigenous Liberal MP offered a similar sentiment.“I think Jody resigning from cabinet is a huge loss … for Indigenous communities right across the country,” said Don Rusnak, who represents the Ontario riding of Thunder Bay-Rainy River and was the inaugural chair of the Liberals’ Indigenous caucus.That said, Rusnak argued that no one person speaks for Indigenous communities, each of which is unique.“Jody is one of those voices and one of those trusted voices but we have others and non-Indigenous people in our cabinet and in our caucus that speak with communities, have relationships with communities,” he said in an interview.“I think, I know that the prime minister is sincere in what he is trying to do and the work will continue.”Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet Tuesday amid a furor over an allegation that the Prime Minister’s Office improperly pressured her last fall to help Montreal engineering giant SNC-Lavalin avoid criminal prosecution on corruption and bribery charges related to government contracts in Libya.Wilson-Raybould was justice minister and attorney general at the time but was demoted to veterans affairs in a January cabinet shuffle. read more
A study co-authored by the Assembly of First Nations says half of First Nations children living on reserve live in poverty.APTN NewsIndigenous children face the highest rates of poverty in the country with almost one in every two First Nations children living in households with low incomes says a new study written by the Assembly of First Nations, and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.“Canada is not tracking First Nations poverty on-reserve so we did,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde in a statement.“The findings of this report are shameful and underscore the urgent need to invest in First Nations children, families and communities.”The study, published by the Upstream Institute, finds that 47 per cent of First Nations children on and off reserve live in poverty.That figure rises to 53 per cent when looking at First Nations children living on reserves, the highest rate of child poverty anywhere in Canada.The on-reserve child-poverty rate is roughly three times the national rate of 17.6 per cent reported in the 2016 census.“Our children face the worst social and economic conditions in the country. They deserve an opportunity to succeed,” said Bellegarde.“Canada has not been tracking poverty on-reserve and that’s one reason the situation is not improving.”Taking a deeper dive into a decade of census data, the researchers found that poverty rates barely budged downward for most Indigenous communities between census counts in 2006 and 2016.At the same time, the number of children on reserves stayed stagnant over that time at about 120,000, so it’s not a matter of growing populations outstripping social programs and economic growth.The researchers say that “points to a failure to undertake effective solutions.”There were, however, some exceptions.On-reserve child poverty rates in Quebec were lower in 2016 than they were in any other province, largely as a result of agreements with First Nations governments to share revenues from natural resources.Metis child-poverty rates dropped to 22 per cent from 27 per cent, but did so at the same time that the number of people identifying as Metis rocketed upward.The researchers suggest that the decline in poverty rates might be because of more better-off people describing themselves as Metis on census forms.Inuit child-poverty rates declined to 25 per cent from 27 per cent between 2006 and 2016, but about half the Inuit population is excluded from poverty figures because they live in the territories and Statistics Canada does not believe its low-income measures work there.Official poverty statistics don’t examine the situations on reserve except during census counts, which the researchers say must change to better track anti-poverty efforts.Not tracking these figures, the study says, may muddle the statistics nationwide.“We need a combination of political will, action, cooperation among governments and sustainable investments in water, infrastructure, housing and education to help First Nations children succeed and get a fair start in life,” said Bellegarde.“It’s beneficial to all Canadians to close the gap in quality of life between First Nations and Canada.”Earlier this year, the national statistics office reported that in 2017, the most recent year available, about 622,000 children in all lived below the newly adopted official poverty line, a decline of 278,000 since 2015.“It is time to officially acknowledge that poverty exists on reserves and in the territories,” the study says. “The causes of poverty among Indigenous Peoples are varied. Solutions must address this complexity.“A necessary first step requires a clear set of goals with transparent criteria.”-with files from the Canadian Press read more
NEW YORK, N.Y. – Apple fans who froze their credit after the Equifax data breach may end up with another hassle on their hands if they try to get one of the new iPhones that can cost more than $1,000. People who rushed to lock down their credit and want to make any other big purchases may find the same inconveniences.Since Equifax disclosed that 143 million Americans had their Social Security numbers and other personal data hacked, experts have encouraged people who may affected to put in place what’s known as a credit freeze. That locks down a person’s credit from being stolen by identity thieves — but could also mean delays and more fees for Equifax victims who want to finance a new phone.You can unfreeze your credit before a big purchase and freeze it again afterward. How long it will take and how much it costs vary state by state. Experts say generally it’s best to give the major credit bureaus — TransUnion, Experian and Equifax — notice of several hours or even a few days before you apply for financing. And people just getting used to the idea of freezing their credit could pay $3 to $10 for each action at each of the three bureaus.Payment plans are a growing business for the major wireless carriers, many of which no longer subsidize a customer’s purchase, because a monthly payment makes an expensive smartphone more affordable. And Apple and the wireless carriers often need access to your credit report in order to approve the sale of a new phone under a monthly plan.“But if you are someone who has frozen their credit record, you may suddenly discover that you can’t afford an iPhone X, after all,” said Patrick Moorhead, an industry analyst with Moor & Insights.Providence, Rhode Island-based Citizens Financial Group, which runs the Apple financing program, said any new or existing customer who has a credit freeze on their information will be declined financing. So they would have to unfreeze their credit, at least temporarily. Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T run credit checks with the agencies for new customers. Policies vary for existing customers.Analysts say two-year financing plans have become essential to selling high-end smartphones. International Data Corp. analyst Ramon Llamas called them “critical.” Moorhead expects virtually everyone interested in the new iPhone X, which rolls out later this year, to use an installment plan.Apple rolled out its program two years ago that lets customers upgrade to a new phone each year and divides the cost of the phone into a monthly payment. The company doesn’t share details on how many customers finance their phones through Citizens/Apple instead of their carriers, and declined to disclose how many of its iPhones are financed.For other carriers, it’s clearly big business. AT&T sold 3.58 million smartphones to customers under payment plans last quarter, according to its most recent filing. Verizon customers financed $14.51 billion in smartphones under the company’s payment plan in the first six months of 2017, and roughly half its customers who pay a cellphone bill at the end of each month are on a payment plan.The Verizon and AT&T figures include sales of both iPhones and other smartphones like Samsung, which has a larger worldwide share of the smartphone market than Apple. But iPhones generally cost more than phones by other makers — roughly $685 compared to the $340 average price of a Samsung phone — so analysts think a greater share of iPhone customers may finance theirs.____Liedtke reported from San Francisco. AP Business writer Tali Arbel contributed to this report. read more
OTTAWA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is encouraging Canadian companies that work with Boeing to speak out against the U.S. aerospace giant’s trade dispute with Montreal-based rival Bombardier.The comments come after some of Canada’s largest aerospace firms wrote to Trudeau earlier this month urging his government not to walk away from its plan to buy 18 of Boeing’s Super Hornet fighter jets.The signatories said the country’s aerospace industry stands to greatly benefit from the purchase, an “interim” plan aimed at meeting the military’s immediate needs, and asked him to personally ensure the plan moves ahead.But instead of addressing the government, Trudeau said Tuesday, those companies should be directing any concerns they have about the trade battle — and its potential impacts on their business — at the source of the problem.“They should communicate that message to Boeing,” Trudeau said during a wide-ranging news conference in which he also addressed the deficit and proposed tax changes before flying to the UN in New York.“I encourage people who work with Boeing across the country to tell that company to what extent their actions against Canada’s aerospace industry is not in their interest, certainly not in the interests of Canadians.”The Liberal government has threatened for months to scrap its interim Super Hornet purchase — a temporary shore-up for Canada’s aging CF-18 fleet — at an estimated cost of $6 billion, unless Boeing backs off Bombardier.But Boeing has shown no signs of backing down.The company has accused Bombardier of selling its CSeries passenger jets to U.S.-based Delta Air Lines at an unfairly low price with help from government subsidies, and says the case has implications for its long-term health.The U.S. International Trade Commission will release the preliminary results of its investigation next week, and a finding against Bombardier could result in fines or tariffs.It could also threaten Bombardier’s deal with Delta, which involves up to 125 of the Canadian company’s CS100 passenger jets.The prime minister has gone out of his way to step up pressure on Boeing in recent weeks in the wake of unsuccessful secret talks between the Chicago-based company and the federal government.That includes calling the governor of Missouri, where the Super Hornets are built, and enlisting the help of British Prime Minister Theresa May, whose country is home to a large Bombardier plant.Trudeau has also hinted that Boeing could be blocked from taking part in an upcoming competition to replace Canada’s CF-18 fleet in its entirety, which will involve buying 88 new aircraft at an estimated cost of up to $19 billion.Such a course of action is unlikely, given the potential legal implications for the government if it tries to ban a specific company from vying for the contract.Many defence experts believe the real reason the Liberals wanted to buy interim Super Hornets in the first place was to sidestep the legal quandary associated with their promise not to purchase the oft-maligned F-35 stealth fighter.The prime minister said Tuesday that he was still hopeful the government, Bombardier and Boeing would be able to resolve the dispute through talks, even after the trade commission’s ruling on Sept. 25.“Regardless of the results of the preliminary ruling,” he said, “discussions will continue and we will continue to defend aerospace jobs in this country and the economic growth that comes with it.”— Follow @leeberthiaume on Twitter. read more
WASHINGTON – Promoted as needed relief for the middle class, the Senate Republican tax overhaul actually would increase taxes for some 13.8 million moderate-income American households, a nonpartisan analysis showed Monday.The assessment by Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation emerged as the Senate’s tax-writing committee began wading through the measure, working toward the first major revamp of the tax system in some 30 years.Barging into the carefully calibrated work that House and Senate Republicans have done, President Donald Trump called for a steeper tax cut for wealthy Americans and pressed GOP leaders to add a contentious health care change to the already complex mix.Trump’s latest tweet injected a dose of uncertainty into the process as the Republicans try to deliver on his top legislative priority. He commended GOP leaders for getting the tax legislation closer to passage in recent weeks and then said, “Cut top rate to 35% w/all of the rest going to middle income cuts?”That puts him at odds with the House legislation that leaves the top rate at 39.6 per cent and the Senate bill as written, with the top rate at 38.5 per cent.Trump also said, “Now how about ending the unfair & highly unpopular individual mandate in (Obama)care and reducing taxes even further?”Overall, the legislation would deeply cut corporate taxes, double the standard deduction used by most Americans, and limit or repeal completely the federal deduction for state and local property, income and sales taxes. It carries high political stakes for Trump and Republican leaders in Congress, who view passage of tax cuts as critical to the GOP preserving its majorities at the polls next year.With few votes to spare, Republican leaders hope to finalize a tax overhaul by Christmas and send the legislation to Trump for his signature.The key House leader on the effort, Rep. Kevin Brady, said he’s “very confident” that Republicans “do and will have the votes to pass” the measure this week.Brady, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said he doesn’t expect major changes to the bill as it moves to a final vote in the House. Still, he said Trump’s call for removing the requirement to have health insurance as part of the tax agreement “remains under consideration.”Trump and the Republicans have promoted the legislation as a boon to the middle class, bringing tax relief to people with moderate incomes and boosting the economy to create new jobs.“This bill is not a massive tax cut for the wealthy. … This is not a big giveaway to corporations,” Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, insisted as the panel had its first day of debate on the Senate measure.Hatch also downplayed the analysis by congressional tax experts showing a tax increase for several million U.S. households under the Senate proposal. Hatch said “a relatively small minority of taxpayers could see a slight increase in their taxes.”The committee’s senior Democrat, Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon, said the legislation has become “a massive handout to multinational corporations and a bonanza for tax cheats and powerful political donors.”The analysis found that the Senate measure would actually increase taxes in 2019 for 13.8 million households earning less than $200,000 a year. That group, about 10 per cent of all U.S. taxpayers, would face tax increases of $100 to $500 in 2019. There also would be increases greater than $500 for a number of taxpayers, especially those with incomes between $75,000 and $200,000. By 2025, 21.4 million households would have steeper tax bills.The analysts previously found a similar magnitude of tax increases under the House bill.Neither bill includes a repeal of the so-called individual mandate of Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, the requirement that Americans get health insurance or face a penalty. Several top Republicans have warned that including the provision, as Trump wants, would draw opposition and make passage tougher.A key moderate Republican in the Senate said it’s too early to say whether including repeal of the insurance mandate would cost her vote on the tax bill. “I’m going to see what the Finance Committee winds up with and what we do on the (Senate) floor,” said Sen. Susan Collins of Maine.Collins did say she opposed Trump’s idea of reducing the top tax rate for the wealthiest earners.Among the biggest differences in the two bills that have emerged: the House bill allows homeowners to deduct up to $10,000 in property taxes while the Senate proposal unveiled by GOP leaders last week eliminates the entire deduction. Both versions would eliminate deductions for state and local income taxes and sales taxes.Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., asked whether the Senate’s proposed repeal of the property tax deduction could bring higher taxes for some middle-class Americans, acknowledged there would be some taxpayers who end up with higher tax bills.“Any way you cut it, there is a possibility that some taxpayers would get a higher rate,” McConnell told reporters after a forum in Louisville, Kentucky, with local business owners and employees. “You can’t craft any tax bill that guarantees that every single taxpayer in America gets a tax break. What I’m telling you is the overall majority of taxpayers in every bracket would get relief.”____Associated Press writer Bruce Schreiner in Louisville and Kevin Freking in Washington contributed to this report__This story has been corrected to show that the Joint Committee on Taxation is nonpartisan not bipartisan read more
WASHINGTON – U.S. builders spent 0.8 per cent more on construction projects in November, the fourth consecutive monthly gain.November advance follows October’s revised 0.9 per cent gain, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. The increase brought total construction spending for the month to a seasonally-adjusted annual rate of $1.26 trillion, an all-time high.Private construction spending, which was up 1 per cent from last month, also hit an all-time high.The increase in spending by builders, along with a robust manufacturing report released separately Wednesday, underscores the solid momentum of the U.S. economy heading into the new year.The November increase was led by a solid advance in homebuilding, which rose 1 per cent from October as strength in single-family construction offset weakness in apartment building. Construction of single-family homes rose 1.9 per cent in November, offsetting a 1.3 per cent drop in apartment building.Non-residential construction rebounded 0.9 per cent in November after declining four of the last five months, led by office building, which rose 5.5 per cent.Spending on transportation construction was up 3.7 per cent, putting it 42.2 per cent higher than a year ago, the largest advance by far by any sector.Government construction posted a modest 0.2 per cent increase after much bigger gains in the previous three months. Federal construction spending plunged 4.8 per cent, the biggest drop in five months. That weakness was offset by a 0.7 per cent rise in state and local construction, which accounts for more than 90 per cent of total government activity. read more