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Security Camera Captures Heavily Armed RCMP at Wet’suwet’en Cultural Site

Security Camera Captures Heavily Armed RCMP at Wet’suwet’en Cultural Site

RCMP have no reason to carry assault weapons or even be at the newly constructed smokehouse, say spokespersons.

RCMP officers and Coastal GasLink pipeline workers captured on trail camera despite lack of environmental assessment approvals. Photo submitted.

Members of the Wet’suwet’en Nation are challenging RCMP actions on their territory after a security camera captured images of police with assault rifles checking an empty building located deep in the woods.

The building, a smokehouse that will soon be used to process fish, was built this spring at the request of Gidimt’en Clan Hereditary Chief Woos. It is on the Morice River about one kilometre from the Morice West Forest Service Road, not far from the Unist’ot’en Healing Centre where conflict between Wet’suwet’en members and pipeline builders began a decade ago.

The long dispute came to a head in January 2019 when heavily armed RCMP officers enforced an injunction by removing barricades and arresting 14 people opposing the Coastal GasLink pipeline through Wet’suwet’en territory. Earlier this year large RCMP operations again removed barricades and arrested dozens at several camps over five days.

A trail camera installed to monitor the Gidimt’en smokehouse captured two RCMP visits this month, including images of three officers, one carrying what appears to be a semi-automatic Colt C8 assault rifle, surrounding the building.

According to Cpl. Madonna Saunderson, the officers are members of a Quick Response Team assigned to the Community-Industry Safety Office, a remote detachment established to police the Morice West Forest Service Road following the arrests in January 2019.

“The photos being circulated online relate to recent patrols and the check of a newly constructed building which is on the pipeline’s right of way and is therefore in breach of the BC Supreme Court injunction order,” the statement said. “We understand that CGL has posted a notice on the building advising of this breach.”

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Canada’s Oil And Gas Industry Is Critical To Its Economic Survival

Canada’s Oil And Gas Industry Is Critical To Its Economic Survival

  • Canada’s oil and gas industry is yet to receive any funds from the federal government despite being that largest industry in the country.
  • The nation’s economic recovery will be intimately linked with the recovery of its oil and gas sector.
  • Top executives at oil and gas firms are still waiting for specifics on the loan program

Canada sees the oil and gas industry as crucial to its economy and economic recovery after the pandemic, and the federal government is working on getting funds through to the industry, which hasn’t seen any financial help from the loan programs, Federal Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan said.

“The bottom line is the country is not going to recover unless the oil and gas sector recovers,” Calgary Herald columnist Chris Varcoe quoted O’Regan as saying on Monday on an online seminar with Calgary-based ARC Energy Research Institute.

“This is the biggest industry in the country. It’s our biggest export, so there is a lot on the line for everybody,” the minister said.

Canada’s federal government has set up programs to support businesses, including in the oil and gas industry, with relief financing to help them overcome the crash in oil prices and the COVID-19 pandemic. Canada’s oil firms, however, were still struggling early this month to understand what it takes to qualify for a federal government program. Meanwhile, industry representatives said they were unaware of any firm that could access financing under those programs.  

Top executives at many Canadian oil firms are still waiting for specifics regarding the program for loans while their companies review eligibility criteria. Some managers believe that the federal government’s intentions are good, but the details are still unclear. Others feel deceived and question whether the federal government is sincerely intent on helping the oil industry.

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Is Trudeau Hiding Environmental Data Calling Top Secret Because it Exposes his Government?

Is Trudeau Hiding Environmental Data Calling Top Secret Because it Exposes his Government?

In Canada, the Trudeau government is refusing to release carbon tax data, saying it is top secret so that Canadians are unable to see the findings of the report. This is pretty standard for if it supported their agenda, they would be the first to release it to the public. Things become secret like the Kennedy Assassination files only when the expose the corruption within the government. Trudeau certain does not want to reveal that all the taxes imposed for the climate never go to anything connected to the climate.

Canadian Banks Hit Hard By Low Oil Prices

Canadian Banks Hit Hard By Low Oil Prices

Canada’s government has been perhaps surprisingly ready to help the country’s ailing oil industry. Interest-only loans, backstopping loans that troubled companies can’t pay have been among the steps taken so far. But they may not be enough. Canada’s oil industry has arguably suffered more than its peers across its southern border or even most producers around the world. Already cheap because of pipeline troubles, Canadian oil slumped to new lows amid the oil price war and the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year. While it has since improved in line with the international benchmarks, it hasn’t improved enough for the comfort of the local extractive industry. And it may drag banks down with it.

Bloomberg reported earlier this month that Canada’s largest banks reported an almost two-fold increase in impaired energy loans over their second quarter due to the oil price plunge and the pandemic. The increase amounted to more than US$1.47 billion (C$2 billion). What’s more, according to the report the country’s top six lenders had boosted their new lending to energy companies jumped by as much as 23 percent during that same quarter.

“Canadian banks’ energy exposure risks are increasing, with oil in a freefall and Canadian oil producers fighting to survive, as cash burn accelerates and liquidity dwindles,” a Bloomberg Intelligence analyst said in April when banks and companies were both bracing for this year’s renegotiation of borrowing bases amid the price plunge. According to Paul Gulberg, if just a tenth of the loans that Canadian banks had on their books at that time went bad, the lenders could lose a collective US$4.40 billion (C$6 billion).

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Greta Thunberg Urges Norway and Canada to Honor Climate Commitments

Greta Thunberg Urges Norway and Canada to Honor Climate Commitments

When you want a seat on the UN Security Council, the last thing you need is a teenage activist, practiced at the art of shaming government officials, working against you. However, that’s just what Norway and Canada have.

Canada, Norway and Ireland are vying for the two available seats on the UN Security Council. Enter Greta Thunberg, bearing some free and stern advice.

The 17-year-old Swedish climate activist is the headline signatory on a letter to UN ambassadors of small developing nations. The letter argues that Canada and Norway both say they are concerned about the climate crisis, but will not shed their ardent commitment to expand fossil fuel production, build pipelines through native land, and subsidize oil companies, as the CBC reported.

“For the young generation who will inherit the consequences of these decisions, it is critical that those who claim to be leading on climate action are held to account for decisions they are making back at home,” the letter reads, according to the CBC.

The letter also featured the signature of three other youth activists and 22 climate scientists.

The writers argue that if Canada wants to honor its commitment to the Paris agreement, it should make permanent its temporary ban on extracting oil and gas in the Arctic, cancel both the Trans Mountain and Keystone XL pipeline projects, and end all subsidies to the oil and gas industry, according to Radio Canada International.

Canada, despite its pristine air and forests, is actually among the worst in the G20 in meeting its Paris agreement greenhouse gas emissions targets, according to data compiled in 2019 by Climate Transparency, as Radio Canada International reported.

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Job Loss Disaster Slams Low-Wage, Young Workers

Job Loss Disaster Slams Low-Wage, Young Workers

April numbers show three million lost jobs, while another 2.5 million people had their hours cut in half.

‘Half of all those earning $14 an hour or less have been laid off or have lost all their hours.’ Photo by Joshua Berson.

We thought the March jobless numbers were bad, but it is almost a good news story compared to what we saw Friday in the April figures.

The unprecedented closure of major sections of Canada’s economy in mid-March is finally being reflected in the jobless numbers. Of course, without those closures we would be in a historic health crisis with emergency rooms overflowing and our health system shutting down, as we saw elsewhere.

In that sense, this shutdown was exactly the right thing to do. I look at these unprecedented joblessness numbers and think: this is how we protected many workers from contracting the virus — though they sacrificed their income.

The official unemployment rate for April is 13 per cent. This is a historic high. There was a single month, December 1982, when unemployment was slightly higher at 13.1 per cent. But after that one month you’d have to go back to May 1936 at the end of the Great Depression to see anything similar. Put another way all jobs created since October 2005, 15 years ago, have been lost by April 2020. While the March data was collected as the shutdown was in progress during the third week of March, the April figures show the full impact of a month’s worth of pandemic lockdown.

There have been few precedents for April’s dramatic jump in the unemployment rate. Source: Statistics Canada.

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Rabobank: Stocks Go Up As Everything Is Going Down In Flames

Rabobank: Stocks Go Up As Everything Is Going Down In Flames

It’s All Going to the Dogs (and Goats)

Friday’s April US payrolls report showed 20.5 million jobs lost when in an ordinary downturn 200,000 might be considered bad; the drop in March alone was larger than that seen during the worst of the global financial crisis. In short, we face a global future of mass unemployment (now 14.7% in the US and 13% in Canada) on top of mass debt, both public and private.

Last week the German Constitutional Court (GCC) ruled that it is superior to the European Court of Justice (ECJ), and that the ECB has three months to prove it is not exceeding its remit with its extraordinary monetary policy. Yesterday the President of the EU Commission von der Leyen threatened to sue Germany, stating the final word on EU law is always spoken by the ECJ. Guess which court ultimately hears the case? The ECJ. How is this going to play out if the GCC doesn’t back down? Very badly in the Eurozone periphery, to the benefit of Euroskeptics. How is it going to play out in Germany if the GCC is forced to back down? Badly in Germany, to the benefit of Euroskeptics. Given the ECJ won’t back down and the ECB has said it will ignore the GCC, and the GCC is not likely to blink either, we seem set for an institutional crisis over the scope and shape of the Eurozone financial market – albeit one that rumbles on rather than erupting immediately.

US Vice-President Mike Pence, titular head of the US virus task force, is self-isolating after figures close to the White House were diagnosed as positive for Covid.

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Why Trump Is Desperate To Secure This Rare Metal

Why Trump Is Desperate To Secure This Rare Metal

While the United States is slowly working towards ending the lockdown and restarting the economy, the federal government is quietly fighting a second war with China over critical metals. 

One of those critical metals in particular is the extremely rare key to global technological dominance because it’s crucial to winning the 5G war–the national security battle of the century.    

The metal is cesium (Cs), the most active metal on Earth, and it’s so rare that it’s hard to even put a price on it. It’s also a vital ingredient in our ability to make 5G happen.

Despite this, America has none, and it dropped the ball a long time ago. At the 11th hour, the Trump administration is now bent on reversing the loss of cesium to China, spanning the globe for lower-risk venues with potential reserves.And that desperate search for cesium potentially makes one particular Canadian junior miner–Power Metals (TSXV:PWM,OTC:PWRMF)–a highly critical component.      

There are only three cesium mines in the world and Power Metals owns three of the five cesium occurrences in the province of Ontario.

In February this year, Power Metals started drilling for what is hoped to become the only potential cesium mine that China doesn’t already control. 

“There is a global shortage of this rare metal and we are very lucky to have found it at our 100% owned Case Lake Property with grades as high as 14.7 % Cs2O,” Power Metals Chairman Johnathan More said in a recent press release

Cesium: The Star of the Critical Minerals Show

Unlike some other commodities, cesium is immune to the demand-decimating effects of the coronavirus pandemic because it is critical to everything from the 5G revolution, healthcare advances and defense to oil and gas drilling–and even time itself.  

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U.S. Oil, Gas Rigs Fall Below 400 For The First Time Since 1940

U.S. Oil, Gas Rigs Fall Below 400 For The First Time Since 1940

Baker Hughes reported on Friday that the number of oil and gas rigs in the US fell again this week by 34, falling to 374, with the total oil and gas rigs sitting at 614 fewer than this time last year as U.S. drillers scurry to keep their heads above water amid strict stay-at-home orders that caused oil demand to plummet at alarming rates—and oil prices along with it.

It is the fewest number of active rigs since Baker Hughes started to keep in 1940.

The number of oil rigs decreased for the week by 33 rigs, according to Baker Hughes data, bringing the total to 292—a 513-rig loss year over year. It is the fewest number of active oil rigs since late 2009.

The total number of active gas rigs in the United States fell by 1 according to the report, to 80. This compares to 183 a year ago.

The EIA’s estimate for the week is that oil production in the United States fell to 11.9 million barrels of oil per day on average for week ending May 1, which is 1.2 million bpd off the all-time high and a substantial 300,000 bpd lower than the week prior. It is the fifth straight weekly production decline. It is the first sub-12 million bpd rate in the United States since February 2019.

Canada’s overall rig count decreased by 1 rigs this week, to 26 rigs. Oil and gas rigs in Canada are now down 37 year on year. 

At 1:12 am, WTI was trading up 1.53% at $23.91, while the Brent benchmark was trading up 2.82% at $30.29.

Ignoring US Alarms, Alberta Meat Packers Spawned Canada’s Biggest Outbreak

Ignoring US Alarms, Alberta Meat Packers Spawned Canada’s Biggest Outbreak

As the virus gripped US plants, the union pleaded for a shutdown. They were rebuffed.

Cargill’s High River, Alta. meat-packing plant, shut down due to a deadly outbreak weeks after its union pleaded for a temporary closure and safer working conditions.

Canada’s largest outbreak of COVID-19 swept through two meat-packing plants in southern Alberta two weeks after the provincial government ignored union requests to temporarily close both of the plants.

And it mirrored a series of recent, well-documented hot-zone eruptions in meat plants in the United States.

More than 600 immigrant workers and community members have been infected while the disease has killed at least three people at Cargill’s High River plant and the JBS food plant in Brooks, Alta.

“The real issue here is a moral issue,” charged Thomas Hesse, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 401, which represents workers at the plants. “How do we as a society want to bring food to our tables?”

Rachel Notley, the former premier of Alberta, has called for a full public inquiry.The Tyee is supported by readers like you Join us and grow independent media in Canada

“It is unconscionable that we now have a situation where hundreds of people have contracted a deadly virus,” said Notley, who leads the NDP Official Opposition. “What kind of concerns put the lives of workers so low?” she asked on CBC Radio yesterday.

Alberta’s growing outbreaks follow in the wake of deadly events in the U.S. where meat-packing plants have become COVID-19 incubators.

The U.S. recorded its largest single cluster of cases at a pork-processing facility in Sioux Falls, South Dakota in early April. By the time the Chinese-owned facility closed for two weeks there were nearly 900 cases.

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For Oil and Its Dependents, It’s Code Blue

For Oil and Its Dependents, It’s Code Blue

The great price collapse of 2020 will topple companies and transform states.

Oil drop
Failing vital signs: Economists predict a depression after the pandemic. That will mean less energy spending, which translates into ongoing low energy prices that already no longer cover the cost of extraction in many places. Illustration for The Tyee by Christopher Cheung. Oil rig image: Creative Commons.

If oil has been laid low by the coronavirus, then the nations whose economies most depend on it might soon be on ventilators. By any prognosis the great oil price collapse of 2020 has pushed the world’s most volatile commodity into Code Blue.

No one expects oil, its peddlers or consumers to emerge wealthier or wiser from this crisis. Oil company bankruptcies, already happening before the pandemic, will escalate. And more petro states will begin to stumble, like Venezuela, down the rabbit hole of collapse. 

The pandemic, combined with suicidal overproduction and a brief price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia, has reduced oil consumption and revenues on a scale that is mindboggling. 

Prior to the pandemic, the world gulped about 100 million barrels a day, filling the atmosphere with destabilizing carbon. Today it sips somewhere between 65 million and 80 million barrels.

At least 20 to 30 per cent of global demand has vanished and nearly two dozen petro-producing countries including Canada have agreed to withhold nearly 10 million barrels from the market. Few expect this agreement will stop the price bleeding.

In fact, the price of Western Canadian Select or diluted bitumen remains below five dollars a barrel — cheaper than hand sanitizer. That’s a drop of more than 80 per cent compared to the month before.

Because the spending of oil fertilizes economic growth and expands national GDPs, most of the world’s economists now predict a long depression after the pandemic.

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Pandemic ‘poses particular challenges’ for food processing plants: Freeland

Pandemic ‘poses particular challenges’ for food processing plants: Freeland

Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau warns labour shortages could affect the food supply

The federal government says it’s looking at proposals to support food processors during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland says the government is working on ways to support Canada’s food processing plants during the COVID-19 pandemic in response to concerns about labour shortages.

“I am so grateful to all of our farmers and ranchers and food processors, but you’re right that the coronavirus poses particular challenges to food processing facilities because of the dangers of contagion there,” Freeland said during her briefing with reporters today.

“That is something that our government has been working on, that I’ve been personally focused on over the past few days.”

Cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed at three Alberta meat packing plants, according to the union that represents plant workers.

United Food and Commercial Workers Canada Union local 401 president Thomas Hesse said three cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed at the JBS plant in Brooks, Alta.

At the Cargill plant in High River, there are 38 COVID-19 cases, and in March one worker at Harmony Beef in Balzac tested positive, he said.

Hesse said the union has reached out to those plants, and to the Olymel pork plant in Red Deer, to ask them to proactively shut down to keep their workers safe.

“They’ve all said no. But Cargill has in some ways done what we’ve asked because of pressure,” Hesse said, noting that the plant has reduced its operations.

Meanwhile, the Olymel hog slaughter and cutting plant in Yamachiche, Que., reopened Tuesday after shutting down for two weeks following an outbreak among employees there.

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OPINION: Foxes in the henhouse – Who decides where bailout money goes?

OPINION: Foxes in the henhouse – Who decides where bailout money goes?

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, trillions of bailout dollars in the U.S. and Canada are about to be fire hosed into particular areas of the economy.  Given that this is public money held by governments, who decides where and to whom these funds should go?

It is logical that workers, professionals, small and medium businesses should have a central role in this, given their critical involvement in the creation of value in the economy and that they constitute almost the entire population of North America.  But they don’t.  Instead, key power and authority has been handed over to a small group of private mega-banks and financiers. 

For example, the U.S. Treasury, which will be providing the bailout funding in the U.S., is a public institution which is supposed to answer to Congress.  Yet, for much of the bailout, the Trump administration has taken the authority away from the U.S. Treasury and given it to the private banks of the Federal Reserve.  In turn, the Federal Reserve banks have appointed BlackRock, the largest private asset manager and “shadow bank” in the world, to oversee whole sections of the bailout and to decide which corporations and institutions are to live or die. 

However, neither the Federal Reserve nor BlackRock will be liable for any of the risk associated with the bailout loans no matter their quality.  All the risk and backstopping of corporate defaults will fall onto the U.S. Treasury and by extension the American people (1).  This is not a minor issue.  With BlackRock and other financial institutions at the helm, who is going to benefit from these bailouts to selected corporations which will amount to $4.5 trillion (or by some estimates even more)? 

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Canadian Meat Industry Warns Of “Immediate And Drastic” Impact To Supply

Canadian Meat Industry Warns Of “Immediate And Drastic” Impact To Supply

We have been covering the impact of coronavirus on meat processing facilities in the U.S. and now it looks as though Canada is feeling the shockwaves as well. 

The country’s supply chain could come under pressure as industry leaders in Canada have warned of “immediate and drastic” effects from the closures of key North American meat processing facilities, according to CTV

And in Canada, a number of facilities have been reduced, including one Cargill plant in Alberta where dozens of employees have tested positive for coronavirus. 

Michelle McMullen, communications manager at the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, said: “This single facility represents just over one-third of Canada’s total processing capability, so the impacts to the Canadian beef industry are expected to be immediate and drastic.”

CCA president Bob Lowe said North American production has been “severely limited” and has called on the Canadian government to implement measures to help out Canadian farmers. “The Canadian beef industry is facing a period of extraordinary uncertainty,” he said.

He continued: “Existing programs do not address the particular threats we are facing and in fact fall quite short. These are challenging times for all Canadians; it is together that we can implement solutions to ensure healthy and affordable food continues to be readily available.”

Recall, just yesterday we wrote about the biggest pork producer in the U.S., Smithfield, who shuttered one of its largest factories after a coronavirus outbreak. 

Smithfield also issued a warning of its own, stating that meat supplies are “perilously close to the edge of shortfalls”.

The company shut down its Sioux Falls, SD plant, which accounts for 4% to 5% of U.S. production. The news comes after more than 200 cases of Covid-19 were reported among employees. 

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Canada: Police to Make Home Visits to Check Quarantine Compliance

Canada: Police to Make Home Visits to Check Quarantine Compliance

Violators face up to $1 million fine and three years in jail.

Xinhua News Agency/Getty Images

Police in Canada will visit the homes of people under coronavirus quarantine to check they are in compliance, with those who flout the law facing a fine of up to $1 million dollars and three years in jail.

Under the law, Canadians who have returned from abroad or are at risk of having been infected with COVID-19 are mandated to remain at home for 14 days.

Police say they will visit the homes of those under quarantine and advise them of the “potential consequences of non-compliance,” adding that violators could face “significant penalties, including fines and imprisonment.”

“The maximum fine for failing to comply with the quarantine is $750,000 and up to six months in prison, but those who put others at risk through could face harsher penalties: up to a $1-million levy and three years imprisonment,” reports Global News.ca.

The RCMP said that the checks would be facilitated through authorities first contacting persons by phone, text or e-mail and then having officers perform a “physical verification with the individual while maintaining physical distancing.”

Police say arrests of people flouting the law would be a last resort but that officers could issue them with a summons requiring them to appear in court.

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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