Tax tussle: Shaw loses bid to claim customers ‘bought’ paper invoices

Tax tussle: Shaw loses bid to claim customers 'bought' paper invoices

An extensive court battle has seen Shaw Communications lose a bid to transfer tax responsibility for the cost of paper invoices onto the shoulders of customers.

The B.C. Court of Appeal has dismissed the cable giant’s argument that it shouldn’t have to pay $1.66 million in provincial sales tax related to the material used to produce four years’ worth of physical bills.

In doing so, the judges rejected the company’s claim that customers who insisted on getting paper invoices from 2005 to 2009 were actually buying the paper their fees was printed on.

“Shaw contends that the tax burden fell on the final or ‘end user’ of the paper invoices, namely its B.C. customers who elected to receive paper over electronic invoices,” the appeal court decision reads.

“Consequently, it maintains, the cost of the paper invoices was recouped from its customers when they paid their monthly charges.”

‘Pay-to-pay’ practices

The case began with an assessment issued by B.C.’s Ministry of Finance in 2009.

The company paid the $1,666,919.17 provincial sales tax bill but then filed a refund to reclaim the money. The claim was denied and Shaw went to B.C. Supreme Court, where it also lost.

B.C.’s top court dismissed an appeal of that decision last week.

The issue falls into the ongoing controversy around attempts by telecommunications companies to charge customers who still want to receive paper invoices.

Public Interest Advocacy Centre executive director John Lawford says customers shouldn’t have to pay for the privilege of receiving a bill. (CBC)

The federal government introduced legislation forbidding so-called “pay-to-pay” practices after the CRTC looked into the practice in 2014.

John Lawford, executive director of the Ottawa-based Public Interest Advocacy Centre, says the amounts may seem trivial, but the underlying principle is anything but.

“The reason why they ended up with a CRTC rule saying don’t charge for paper bills and why the Court of Appeal is saying it’s your fault to pay the tax on paper bills is the same,” he says.

“It’s because it’s your business expense — cut it out.”

Who owns the paper invoice?

​The invoices were mailed from Shaw’s Alberta headquarters to customers in British Columbia. According to the appeal court decision, the cost of producing each one was about seven cents.

The legislation governing provincial sales tax in B.C. considers the invoices “tangible personal property.”

But whose property?

Who actually owns the paper invoice that tells you how much you owe? The question has big tax implications for telecommunications companies. (CBC)

The rules say that unless someone else bought the physical invoice, tax liability would fall on the person who provided them to consumers — and in this case, that ‘person’ is Shaw.

According to the original B.C. Supreme Court decision, Shaw claimed “there can be no dispute that the customer acquired the paper invoice.”

The company claimed the bill was part of its package of services.

“Shaw asserts that the customer had total control over the paper invoice,” the ruling reads.

And customers could do with it as they saw fit: keep it for their records, use it for tax purposes and stick it to the fridge.

Judges considered 1965 case

But the province of B.C. argued that Shaw’s sole purpose in mailing paper invoices to B.C. customers was to “trigger their obligation to pay the charges for the telecommunications services they had contracted from Shaw.”

They pointed out that Shaw didn’t charge customers anything extra for a paper bill.

At the time, companies like Bell and Telus were charging $2 for paper bills.

In a precedent setting case, Army and Navy argued that customers were buying the labels and sales tags on clothes. The court rejected that logic. (Neil Hall/Reuters)

In reaching a decision, the judges considered a 1965 case in which Army and Navy attempted to offload a portion of provincial sales tax by arguing that customers were actually buying the tags and labels the store attached to clothes.

But the judge in that case disagreed.

“It does not follow that because the cost of the tags and labels is included in the price paid by the customer therefore the customer is a purchaser of such tags and labels,” the judge wrote.

“The mere fact that the buyer has been secretly charged with the price of the tag or label is not the test.”

‘It’s millions and millions of dollars’

The original Supreme Court decision also noted that — despite the legal argument — Shaw told the CRTC it didn’t charge customers for paper bills.

“Shaw does not dispute that it advised (the CRTC) in July 2013 that it did not charge customers a fee to receive a paper invoice, nor did it provide a monthly billing discount as an incentive to customers to switch to electronic billing,” the ruling says.

“It also does not dispute that the CRTC requires that it not charge customers for paper invoices.”

Lawford said the issue underscores the need for consumers to hold large companies accountable for every penny.

“They’re still utility-type services, and utility-type services end up with these little niggly charges, and it’s very hard for consumers to follow. But it matters in the aggregate,” he says.

“It’s millions and millions of dollars.”

 Shaw Communications refused comment.

Source link

How Canadian-made artificial intelligence is helping Hollywood write better scripts

How Canadian-made artificial intelligence is helping Hollywood write better scripts

Jurassic World, Avengers: Infinity War, the latest in the Star Wars franchise, Solo: Movie theatres, as usual, are jam-packed with sequels this summer.

Hollywood is addicted to sequels for one reason: A proven concept can reduce the risk of failure in a business where hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake.

But some Canadian tech entrepreneurs believe the the odds of making an original hit movie could be greatly improved — and so could sequels — with the help of artificial intelligence.

“Hollywood is using very primitive data analytics,” said Jack Zhang, of Greenlight Essentials in Kitchener, Ont. 

His company’s software analyzes movie plots, audience profiles and box office ticket sales to predict a film’s future success and help identify who will watch.

Aron Levitz, of the Toronto-based Wattpad Studios, is just as confident in his technology.

“We want to change the entire entertainment industry,” he said. “Whether scripts are in Turkish, or French, or English — or whatever. We could put hundreds of millions of dollars back into the industry.”

From an app to a blockbuster

Wattpad is a story-writing platform with 65 million users worldwide, where anyone can self-publish books via the website or the app. Users can also read and comment on stories written by others.

The company uses artificial intelligence to mine its readership data for insightsinto what’s popular, which has helped turn some of its writers into bestselling authors. Now Wattpad Studios — a two-year-old offshoot of the original brand — is increasingly producing more movies and TV series.

Wattpad Studios head Aron Levitz listens as a staff member describes the plot of a story posted on the Toronto-based company’s platform. (CBC)

One of the most-watched movies on Netflix right now, The Kissing Booth, started as a story written on Wattpad by 15-year-old Beth Reekles of Wales. She landed a book deal with Random House, and the book spawned the movie.

Then last month, Wattpad announced Hulu had picked up the platform’s supernatural thriller, Light as a Feather, in a straight-to-series deal, while Sony acquired the rights to a series of stories called Death is My BFF.

And Wattpad’s analytics track the whole chain of success.

“We can see this story is growing faster than any other story this week. This story got 15 comments before any other story got 15 comments,” explained Levitz, giving an example of how the system works. “This story has 6½ times more reading time than any other story in that genre.”

The company’s technology not only identifies popular stories with potential, Levitz says, but also helps with the script-writing process.

“You can go and see what people think about page 50 [or] Chapter 6,” he said. “We know nobody commented on Chapter 7, for example, so we can leave that out of the script.” 

‘You need to compete with Netflix’

Greenlight Essentials takes a different approach to its high-tech script-writing, using about 40,000 “plot attributes” in its database to predict a film’s box office success.

“So, really, anything you can think of, we can check,” Zhang said of his company’s software. “We can help figure out what combination … would help a story create more demand among the audience.”

Greenlight Essentials’ founder Jack Zhang demonstrates how his company’s software can predict the odds of financial success for movies. (CBC)

Zhang and his partner built an algorithm to determine how those various plot elements correlated with the financial success of hundreds of movies. A wedding, a beach, a father-daughter relationship, jealousy, drunkenness — a wide range of different ideas and combinations can be put into the system to generate a prediction.

“Today you need to compete with video games, you need to compete with Netflix,” said Zhang. “We find plot elements that can go up to a 80-90 per cent success rate when we look at the entire data set.”  

Don’t bother asking Zhang exactly which elements will do that — he says that’s a “trade secret.”

Sequels can flop

Zhang tested his software last year by making a trailer for a non-existent movie called Impossible Things. A film student was hired and given a budget of $30 — and the trailer went on to attract 2.3 million views on YouTube.

That attracted interest from film financiers.

Zhang’s experiment now has investors and Greenlight Essentials is currently hiring a director before starting production on the AI-driven horror film later this year.

“We know exactly what people are looking for. And if we can do this for $30, why isn’t everybody in the industry using this?” Zhang asks.

Algorithms and art?

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom opens in North America on June 21, but it already appears to be a winner. It earned $400 million US in overseas markets after 13 days. But success isn’t guaranteed for every sequel: Solo will reportedly be the first in the Star Wars series to lose money.

Even films based on bestselling books can flop.

A Wrinkle in Time, based on Madeleine L’Engle’s popular series of science fantasies, featured big names like Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon and Mindy Kaling. But Disney is estimated to lose $86 million US after the film bombed at the box office.

The latest Star Wars movie, Solo, is expected to pull in more than $400 million US globally. But industry sources say Disney could still lose more than $80 million US, due to production and promotion costs. (Lucasfilm/Disney)

But can algorithms and software alone actually create art? For Zhang, it’s more about giving the film industry a leg up in a data-driven society. 

“It’s like a compass, but someone still needs to sail; someone needs to use their creative brain to pull the story together to write a good story on the software,” he said.

Levitz also says he views the technology as a tool — but one that will ultimately help audiences tired of sequels, as well as studios worried about risk.

“People want to see something new, they want to see something bigger and brighter,” he said. “But when you look at the way entertainment works, that’s a big risk to take if you don’t know what that story is going to be like when it hits the screen.”

According to culture writer and film programmer Jesse Wente, movies will always need the human touch.

“These are new tools — so we should look at them — but they are tools,” he said. “They are not the thing themselves. You need humans to wield them.”

Source link

Buy American? No thanks, Canadians starting to say

Buy American? No thanks, Canadians starting to say

The town of Halton Hills, Ont., may seem like an unlikely locale for a burgeoning consumer movement. But the tiny town northwest of Toronto finds itself in the vanguard of the latest trade battle between Canada and the United States: a movement to stop buying American.

On June 11, the town council voted unanimously in favour of a resolution that would call on the town to “take proactive action to support and protect Canadian interests” by buying Canadian-made items in favour of U.S. ones, in reaction to the White House’s recent moves to implement tariffs on Canadian goods.

The resolution is non-binding, but for a town that Mayor Rick Bonnette proudly proclaims is the most patriotic in Canada — the town had almost as many flags on display last Canada Day as it has residents, he’s quick to note — it’s a significant symbolic gesture.

“We don’t want to see families negatively affected by ideology and protectionism,” Bonnette says, which is why the town is encouraging residents to stop buying American products and to buy Canadian alternatives wherever possible.

“If you don’t push back against a bully, he’ll know who to pick on.”

Growing movement

Halton Hills residents aren’t the only Canadians tired of feeling pushed around.

Quebec resident Jessica Brown says she’s doing anything she can to buy local. The real estate agent from Knowlton, Que., says she was spurred to action by what she calls Trump’s “ridiculous” comments about Canadian dairy at the recent G7 summit.

“We have to do something,” she says, “and I think if we don’t start doing some small measure, all of us, then this thing is just going to keep getting out of hand.”

For Brown, her strategy starts at the grocery store, where she buys Canadian fruits and vegetables as much as possible. “When I sent my husband to the grocery store I said specifically, ‘Get Quebec strawberries,’ and he came back with U.S. strawberries.

“I almost made him take it back,” she laughs.

Canadian steel is just one of the products that have been caught in the middle of the current trade dispute (Tara Walton/Canadian Press)

Real estate broker Beverly DeWinter from nearby Brome, Que. is on board, too. She says she’s no longer shopping at the local Walmart “because by going to those stores you are supporting American companies.”

DeWinter, who was born in the U.S., says she’s not the only one in her social group to be cancelling travel plans down south, too.

“I just keep hearing among different people who are going to go on holiday to the States … who are starting to change their plans,” she says. “Support Canada. Go on holiday in Canada.”

For Winnipeg resident Shelley Cook, images of the recent U.S. immigration crackdown on children at the border were enough to change any plans she had to go to the U.S. in the near future.

“I don’t want to spend my money there,” she says. “I don’t want to be there.”

Cook, DeWinter and others may be changing travel plans, but on a broader level, there’s little evidence that’s happening en masse so far. According to the latest Statistics Canada data, Canadian travel to the United States has risen in the first half of 2018, and is now 8.7 per cent higher than it was a year ago.

Prof. Sylvain Charlebois from Dalhousie University in Halifax, who studies food economics, says that’s not surprising. He suspects any widespread movement to turn away from American products will be a lot of talk, with little action to back it up.

When Canadian beef was hit by global blockades in 2003 because of an outbreak of mad cow disease, Canadians rallied in support of Canadian beef, making the country the first on record to see its domestic demand for beef actually go up after the first recorded case of the disease.

But it didn’t last. Within months, the rally was over. Canadian beef sales plunged and took more than two years to get back to their previous level. “This is because consumers have busy lives, fixed habits, and most importantly, specific budgets,” he says.

Nowhere is that more crucial than in the grocery aisle. It’s one thing to buy Canadian produce in the summer when there’s a bumper crop to choose from. It’s quite another to ensure that packaged foods are entirely Canadian made.

“Processed foods … will have all sorts of ingredients that may actually come from Canada, some of them may come from the United States,” he says. “The product itself may be finished either in Canada or the United States, so it does get confusing at times.”

Ultimately, Charlebois suspects that any anti-American consumer movement will fizzle out once what he calls “cupboard economics” factor in.

“People will feel patriotic, look for that Canadian flag,” he says, “but beyond that I suspect people will move on and do other things.”

Source link

Trump threatens 20% U.S. tariff on EU car imports

Trump threatens China with $200B in new tariffs

President Donald Trump on Friday threatened to escalate a trade war with Europe by imposing a 20 per cent tariff on all U.S. imports of European Union-assembled cars, a month after the administration launched an investigation into whether auto imports pose a national security threat.

“If these Tariffs and Barriers are not soon broken down and removed, we will be placing a 20% Tariff on all of their cars coming into the U.S. Build them here!” Trump wrote on Twitter Friday.

Trump’s tweet on autos came after EU reprisals against his tariffs on European steel and aluminum. The EU targeted more than $3 billion US in American goods exported to the 28-member European Union.

The United States currently imposes a 2.5 per cent tariff on imported passenger cars from the European Union and a 25 per cent tariff on imported pickup trucks. The EU imposes a 10 per cent tariff on imported U.S. cars.

German automakers Volkswagen AG, Daimler AG and BMW AG build vehicles at plants in the United States. Industry data shows that German automakers build more vehicles in southern U.S. states that voted for Trump in the 2016 presidential election than they ship to the United States from Germany.

The European Autos Stocks Index fell sharply after Trump’s tweet and was last down 1.25 per cent. Shares of U.S. automakers Ford Motor Co and General Motors Co shares fell immediately after Trump’s tweet but rebounded and were trading higher.

The U.S. Commerce Department is investigating whether imports of automobiles and auto parts pose a risk to national security. Two days of public comments have been scheduled in July, and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Thursday said the department aims to wrap up the probe by late July or August.

Tariffs on car imports would add to an array of trade wars Trump has started, saying he aims to create U.S. jobs and protect domestic industries.

Trump has threatened duties on up to $450 billion US of imports from China. Administration officials have said China should strengthen protections for U.S. companies’ intellectual property, and reduce tariffs on U.S. products.

The move against China could raise prices for American consumers and businesses and hit global supply chains for industries like carmakers and electronics. Chinese reprisals have hit American farmers already.

Trump’s trade policies have also escalated conflict with Canada and Mexico as he seeks to renegotiate the $1.1 trillion North American Free Trade Agreement on terms more favourable to Washington.

German automakers did not comment on Trump’s tweet.

The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, representing major U.S. and European automakers, said “tariffs raise vehicle prices … limit consumer choice and invite retaliatory action by our trading partners. Automakers support reducing trade barriers across the board and achieving fairness through facilitating rather than inhibiting trade.ΓÇ¥

German auto industry association VDA said Germany exported 657,000 cars to North America, 7 per cent less than a year earlier, and 200,000 fewer cars than in 2013.

Sales to the U.S. fell 10 per cent to 494,000 vehicles, while Germany automakers produced 804,000 vehicles in the United States last year. Automotive News data shows about 7.2 per cent of vehicles sold in the United States through May were assembled in Europe.

Source link

BlackBerry shares slip on lower enterprise revenue

BlackBerry shares slip on lower enterprise revenue

BlackBerry Ltd. shares sank almost 10 per cent to their lowest levels in weeks on Friday, despite beating analysts’ estimates and reporting a solid start to its 2019 financial year.

The company’s stock was trading at $14.05, down $1.56, or 9.99 per cent, in late morning trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange. The shares haven’t closed below $14 since May 4.

BlackBerry, which reports in U.S. currency, reported adjusted earnings of three cents per share, beating analysts’ expectations of neutral earnings, while revenue was $213 million US, surpassing expectations of $208.02 million US for the quarter ended May 31, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.

Entreprise revenue dip

Revenue from software and services was $189 million, up 18 per cent year-over-year, although growth was unevenly distributed between BlackBerry’s three main business units.

BlackBerry’s enterprise software and services business had $79 million of revenue, down 14 per cent from last year, while revenue from licensing intellectual property was up 96 per cent to $63 million. BlackBerry Technology Solutions, which primarily consists of the QNX business, was up 31 per cent at $47 million.

BlackBerry chief executive John Chen said the quarter makes him “feel good” about BlackBerry’s outlook for fiscal 2019, which began March 1, but said he doesn’t want to be overly optimistic about its growth trajectory — which he said would be gradual, not sudden.

“Sometimes, (if) you get overly bullish, you jinx yourself,” Chen said in an interview.

Chen said that BlackBerry expects QNX’s automotive products, which include older infotainment software and newer technology for autonomous vehicles, will ramp up gradually rather than repeat the 31 per cent year-over-year growth rate in this year’s first quarter.

“Honestly speaking, that number was a little higher than I expected,” Chen said after his quarterly call with analysts.

“In this year’s growth number, we start seeing some of the new stuff in addition to infotainment systems. That’s encouraging.”

In addition, he said, the number of vehicles with BlackBerry software has grown to 120 million, from 60 million three years ago, which increases the royalty payments from automakers and other automotive customers.

He said there’s a danger that a long-term disruption in global trade could affect BlackBerry but so far there’s been no evidence it has been affected by the Trump administration’s hard stance against other countries and regions.

Analysts had also estimated a net loss of five cents per share but the loss was more than double that at 11 cents per share, or $60 million, which was up from $10 million or two cents per share in last year’s first quarter.

BlackBerry said this year’s first-quarter net loss included $28 million US related to an adjustment of the fair value of some of its debt and $22 million US related to amortization of acquired intangibles.

There was also $18 million US in stock compensation expense and $4 million US in restructuring charges.

New partnership

The company, which no longer manufactures smartphones but continues to provide software and branding under licence, announced Friday that it has a new partnership with Bullitt Group, a British smartphone and consumer electronics maker.

Bullitt intends to embed BlackBerry cybersecurity technology into a range of rugged products with the Cat (Caterpillar Inc.) and Land Rover brands, to address the needs of security-conscious consumer and enterprise customers.

Source link

Inflation rate holds steady at 2.2% in May despite soaring gasoline prices

Inflation rate holds steady at 2.2% in May despite soaring gasoline prices

The cost of living increased at a 2.2 per cent annual pace in May, matching the increase seen a month earlier.

Statistics Canada reported Friday that all eight components it tracks to come up with the consumer price index were higher during the month, but more than half of them grew by a slower rate than they did in April.

Energy prices have risen 11.6 per cent in the past year, and gasoline prices specifically have gone up by almost twice that.

When energy prices are stripped out of the equation, the cost of living has risen by 1.6 per cent in the past year, the data agency said. That’s slower than the 1.9 per cent pace of gain seen a month earlier. Prices for things like telephone services, vegetables and travel accommodation have all declined in the past 12 months, which drags the overall inflation rate lower.

Rate hike now less likely

The inflation number came in lower than what economists had been expecting, which was for an annual rate of 2.6 per cent. That disappointment partly explains why the odds of a rate hike when the Bank of Canada meets next month declined after the inflation data came out.

Ordinarily, the central bank would raise its benchmark interest rate to cool down an overheated economy. But a slowing inflation rate suggests the bank won’t need to do that.

Prior to the inflation numbers coming out, trading in investments known as overnight index swaps suggested investors thought there was about a 65 per cent chance that the bank would hike its rate next month. 

But after the inflation numbers came out, those odds dropped to 53 per cent.

The Canadian dollar, which had been inching higher before the numbers came out, lost almost half a cent on the news and was changing hands at 74.96 cents US on Friday morning. 

In a separate release on Friday, Statistics Canada also reported that retail sales declined by 1.2 per cent last month. Economists were expecting a flat showing, so that too is a sign that the economy may be cooling on its own without the need for any intervention from the central bank.

“Coming alongside a disappointing retail sales report, the data flow this week suggests little need for urgency from the Bank of Canada to raise interest rates,” TD Bank economist James Marple said. “This is in line with our thinking. We expect just one more hike from the Bank of Canada this year before it pauses” to assess the state of the economy.

Source link

OPEC to boost oil production by 1 million barrels per day

OPEC to boost oil production by 1 million barrels per day

Countries in the OPEC oil cartel have agreed to a new oil output level that effectively increases production by almost 1 million barrels per day.

The increase was announced after ministers from the group met on Friday in Vienna.

The production increase will partly undo a 1.2 million barrel cut OPEC agreed on in late 2016 that has helped push up the price of oil.

Ahead of Friday’s meeting, OPEC’s largest producer, Saudi Arabia, was seen to be open to higher production but Iran had been hesitant. U.S. President Donald Trump has been calling publicly for the cartel to help lower prices.

Emirati Energy Minister Suhail al-Mazrouei said the decision was to fully comply with OPEC’s self-imposed production limit, and the difference between that and current levels is “a little bit less than 1 million barrels.”

Source link

How Trump’s tariff fight with China could draw in the world’s oil powers

How Trump's tariff fight with China could draw in the world's oil powers

The first border skirmishes in the U.S.’s simmering international trade war have been relatively contained. But that could change quickly if the conflict spreads to the primary resource powering the global economy — oil.

So far, U.S. President Donald Trump has taken aim at China with billions in tariffs for alleged intellectual property theft. China, not surprisingly, has responded in kind.

Steel and aluminum shipments to the U.S. have also found themselves in Trump’s crosshairs, forcing U.S. allies, including Canada, to announce tariffs of their own targeting everything from Harley-Davidsons to blue jeans to Kentucky bourbon — even gherkins.

The oil market has so far avoided the conflict and any collateral damage. But as the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries wraps up its three-day biannual meeting in Vienna today, it’s worth considering the potential threats to the uneasy peace.

The tariff fight between Chinese President Xi Jinping, left, and U.S. President Donald Trump could have major repercussions for other countries if China targets U.S. oil, analysts say. (Nicolas Asouri, Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Since 2017, the cartel has been uncharacteristically united, with member nations agreeing to limit their output of crude by almost two million barrels a day to help push up prices. But crude prices have since rebounded by more than 30 per cent, and OPEC leader Saudi Arabia is reportedly lobbying to turn on the spigots a little.

Ordinarily, a slight increase in output would push oil prices down across the board, as new supply floods the market. And that’s even more likely this time around, against the backdrop of global trade uncertainty.

China’s big arrow

China and the U.S. seem to be going tit-for-tat with each other, but as Dan Flynn of the PRICE Futures Group explains, China has a disadvantage: “The Chinese are running out of U.S. imports to put a tariff on.”

The one big arrow left in their quiver, of course, is oil. The U.S. exports more than 300,000 barrels a day to China — about $1 billion US worth a month.

Although they’ve yet to lay out concrete details, Beijing has threatened to slap a 25 per cent tariff on all U.S. oil imports.

Laura Lau, senior portfolio manager with Toronto’s Brompton Group, says if China follows through with its threat, it would essentially be stopping all U.S. oil imports to the country, “because they can just import it from somebody else for cheaper.”

A big candidate to fill that shortage would be OPEC member Iran. From Beijing’s perspective, this would be the perfect thorn in Trump’s side.

In May, the Trump administration pulled out of the nuclear deal his predecessor had struck with Iran, and reimposed sanctions that effectively cut Iranian oil out of the global market. But Tehran is unlikely to sit idly by and not try to find a replacement buyer for its major export product. Especially if it can antagonize Trump in the process.

While China isn’t an OPEC member, Lau says it’s a good bet that China and Iran will come together on the sidelines of the meeting and strike a deal for Iranian crude, and possibly cut out the U.S. entirely.

“If anything, they’ll probably get more from the Iranians just to piss off the Americans,” Lau says. “They may even get a discount for it.”

That could also be music to the ears of another traditional American adversary — Russia. The Kremlin has gone along with OPEC’s production cuts since they were first proposed in 2016.

Canadian impact

While the prospect of a trade war typically isn’t good for anyone, there could be opportunities for Canadian oil producers amid the uncertainty. OPEC member Venezuela has seen its output plummet because of its ongoing economic crisis. Many refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast are calibrated to process the thick, heavy oil that Venezuela produces — which is very similar to the type that comes from Alberta’s oilsands.

Dan Eberhart, CEO of Florida-based oilfield services company Canary, says he’s concerned about the state of the Canada-U.S. trade relationship, but he does see a “hand in glove” opportunity for Canadian oil companies to supply more crude to those refineries.

The crude from Canada’s oilsands is very similar to what comes from Venezuela, which has seen its production plummet. This could create an opportunity for Canadian suppliers to fill the gap at Gulf Coast refineries. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

As for OPEC, Eberhart expects the cartel to continue to act in its own interest, especially with an even more hostile adversary than usual in the White House.

“They are being forced to examine this new Trump era and how America First is going to affect them,” he says.

It’s not hard to imagine a drastically realigned global oil market, with countries like China, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Russia working together on one side, and the U.S. on the other. (Canada will probably find itself somewhere in the middle.)

The scenario shows why Trump needs to be wary of “unintended consequences,” Lau says.

“It’s probably not what Trump expected to happen,” she says, “but if you follow it to its logical conclusion, of course that’s what’s going to happen.”

Source link

Yoga News and information

Yoga is an ancient physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in India and has been practiced for an estimated 5,000+ years. The word ‘yoga’ derives from Sanskrit and means to join or to unite, symbolizing the union of body and consciousness.

Recognizing its universal appeal, on 11 December 2014, the United Nations proclaimed 21 June as the International Day of Yoga by resolution 69/131. The International Day of Yoga aims to raise worldwide awareness of the many benefits of practicing yoga. The theme for the 2018 celebration, organized by the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations, is ‘Yoga for Peace.’
Types of Yoga

There are many types of yoga. Hatha (a combination of many styles) is one of the most popular. It is a more physical type of yoga rather than a still, meditative form. Hatha yoga focuses on pranayamas (breath-controlled exercises). These are followed by a series of asanas (yoga postures), which end with savasana (a resting period).

Calgary judge awards Dow Chemical $1.06B US in dispute with Nova Chemicals

Calgary judge awards Dow Chemical $1.06B US in dispute with Nova Chemicals

A judge has awarded Dow Chemical Canada $1.06 billion US in damages against Nova Chemicals Corporation in a dispute over a massive ethylene plant in central Alberta.

The dispute centred around the operation of a production facility in Joffre known as E3.

E3 started operating in 2000 as a joint venture, with Nova running the facility.

Calgary-based Dow Canada alleged breach of contract over the E3 joint venture agreements, claiming that Nova took part of the ethylene and other products that belonged to Dow and failed to run the facility at full production.

Nova, also based in Calgary, said it faced an ethane shortage and ran the facility as full as it could subject to mechanical issues that constrained production.

Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Barbara Romaine ruled in favour of Dow and against a countersuit filed by Nova in a case that included claims and counterclaims for damages between 2001 to 2012.

“Dow has established these facts and has proved on a balance of probabilities that Nova has breached the joint venture agreements both as Operator and as Co-owner and has converted some of the ethane that Dow was entitled to from E3,” Romaine wrote in a lengthy redacted judgment released Wednesday.

“I also grant Dow a declaration that the conduct of Nova as Operator constitutes Wilful Misconduct and Gross Negligence.”

Romaine said Dow established that there was no ethane shortage, that Nova always had enough ethane to fill E3 and had the ability and freedom to acquire additional ethane.

She also said Dow showed that Nova failed to operate E3 to maximize production and that the facility had more capacity than Nova submitted at trial.

Nova plans to appeal

The court assessed damages against Nova amount to approximately $1.06 billion USD, but must be converted into Canadian dollars.

Jenn Nanz, a spokeswoman for Nova Chemicals, said the corporation will appeal within 30 days.

“While this decision is extremely disappointing, it has no impact on our announced growth plans,” Nanz said in an email.

“Nova Chemicals is confidently moving forward with: Corunna cracker expansion and AST2 in the Sarnia-Lambton region (and a) joint venture with Total and Borealis in the U.S. Gulf Coast, which closed on May 23.”

Dow Chemical Canada said in a statement early Thursday that it was pleased to receive a favourable judgment “that reflects the multiple years of lost productivity and sales resulting from unmet contractual obligations.”

They added that it also confirms that Dow is entitled to and should receive increased access to cost-advantaged Alberta ethylene.

Ethylene is the building block for a range of chemicals from plastics to antifreeze solutions and solvents.

Read more articles from CBC Calgary and like us on Facebook for updates.

Source link