Welcome

Greetings to thousands of readers the past month from the United States and Canada, as well as the United Kingdom, Russia, India, Germany, France, Japan and Latvia.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Canadian nurses heading to U.S. jobs stopped at the border by new policies



   Canada column for Sunday, March 19/17

   THE CANADIAN REPORT
   (c) By Jim Fox

   Making America’s hospitals great again with Canadian nurses has hit a roadblock due to changes in U.S. immigration policies.
   Some of the 400 Canadian nurses who work at the five Metro Detroit hospitals in the Henry Ford Health System have been turned back at the Canada-U.S. border.
   There are hundreds of other Canadian nurses in Detroit’s health care systems that could also be affected.
   The rejected workers said they were told at the border that advanced practise nurses and nurse anesthetists no longer qualify for working non-immigrant TN visas because of policy changes under U.S. President Donald Trump.
   Although U.S. Customs and Border Protection said there have not been any policy changes that’s not what the nurses and hospital officials say.
   It’s estimated that up to 40,000 Canadians work in the U.S. with TN visas that haven’t been challenged before.
   An option suggested to them was to apply for specialized H-1B visas that cost about $4,000 and take about six months to obtain.
   Lawyers for U.S. hospitals say they’ve started hearing about similar border rejections of nurses from across the country.

    ---

Monday, March 13, 2017

Canada opposes new taxes for crossing the border into the U.S.: Trudeau says



   Canada column for Sunday, March 12/17

   THE CANADIAN REPORT
   By Jim Fox

   Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has let United States officials know that Canada is against any new levies or taxes for people entering the U.S.
   A so-called “border adjustment tax,” being talked about by the Republican administration would hurt the economy in both countries, he suggested.
   In speaking to a gathering of international politicians and energy sector executives in Houston, Trudeau said the two economies are so closely intertwined that “anything that creates impediments at the border – extra tariffs or new taxes – is something we’re concerned with.”
   At the CERAWeek conference, Trudeau gave the keynote address and made the case for investing in Canadian natural resources.
   The construction of new pipelines must work alongside carbon-pricing plans designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, he said.
   “Nothing is more essential to the U.S. economy than access to a secure, reliable source of energy . . . and Canada is that source,” he added.
   Canada has approved Trans Mountain’s Kinder Morgan line and Enbridge’s Line 3 rebuild and is looking for the U.S. to now approve the long-delayed TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline.

    ---

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Canada would benefit with the U.S. with Keystone XL pipeline steel



   Canada column for Sunday, March 5/17

   THE CANADIAN REPORT
   (c) By Jim Fox

   There’s some relief in Alberta’s oil patch over reports the proposed Keystone XL pipeline might be exempt from using only U.S.-made steel.
   President Donald Trump signed an executive order clearing the way for the multi-billion-dollar project subject to state and regulatory approvals, after it was earlier rejected by then President Barack Obama.
   At that time, Trump directed there be only U.S. steel used on all new infrastructure projects.
   The news outlet Politico reported that Keystone XL by TransCanada Corp. of Calgary would qualify for an exemption since it doesn’t meet the definition of a new pipeline project.
   The line, which would carry 830,000 barrels a day of Alberta oilsands bitumen to U.S. Gulf Coast refineries, is still being hotly contested by environmentalists.
   A statement from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office said the exemption, “if confirmed,” would be a welcome recognition that the steel industries in both countries are heavily integrated and support jobs on both sides of the border.

    ---

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Refugees seeking asylum in Canada growing in number



   Canada column for Sunday, Feb. 26/17

   THE CANADIAN REPORT
   (c) By Jim Fox

   Hundreds of refugees are turning up on Canada’s doorstep – many of them risking their lives – to seek asylum.
   Crossing snowy farm fields and trudging through deep snowbanks at night, men, women and young children are making their way into Manitoba, and increasingly Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia.
   The influx has grown as the U.S. cracks down on undocumented aliens and since Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Canada welcomes the unfortunate refugees.
   Jean-Nicolas Beuze, United Nations’ refugee agency representative in Canada, said many asylum seekers in Lacolle, Quebec said they are fleeing what they feel is an unwelcoming climate in the U.S.
   Provinces are seeking assistance coping, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister said as he announced funding for 14 emergency housing units and $180,000 for a refugee response worker and to pay for paralegal services and transportation costs.
   The refugees are detained by the Mounties and Canada border agents for security checks, medical attention and assistance before being released to await processing.

    ---

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Optimism over prospects of "tweaked" North American Free Trade Agreement



   Canada column for Sunday, Feb. 19/17

   THE CANADIAN REPORT
   (c) By Jim Fox

   Canadians are cautiously optimistic that any “tweaking” of the North American Free Trade Agreement won’t impact the country greatly.
   President Donald Trump told visiting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that the trade relationship with Canada is “outstanding,” calling only for a “few tweaks.”
   “If we’re going to change it, we’re going to do things that are good for both Canada and the United States,” said David MacNaughton, Canada’s ambassador to the U.S.
   Trump said his major concern was trade with Mexico that greatly puts the U.S. at a disadvantage.
   Both leaders are seeking common ground to help the middle classes prosper, Trudeau said.
   “What I saw from the American president was a focus on getting things done for the people who supported him and who believe in him, while demonstrating good relations with one’s neighbors,” he added.
   Later in the week, Trudeau addressed members of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France on the passing of the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement that Canada is to ratify by the spring.

    ---

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau prepares for meeting with President Donald Trump



   Canada column for Sunday, Feb. 12/17

   THE CANADIAN REPORT
   (c) By Jim Fox

   Canada and the United States intend to remain best of friends as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Donald Trump prepare to meet on Monday.
   The Canadian nice, polite and friendly demeanor hopefully will prevail but if pushed on trade issues and jobs, Trudeau plans to stand his frozen ground.
   Somewhat unsettling is Trump’s public rift with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto that scrubbed plans for a trilateral meeting of North America’s leaders, dubbed the “Three Amigos.”
   As Trudeau heads off to Washington, his ministers have been preparing U.S. officials about the realities between life on both sides of the border.
   This includes the value of the North American Free Trade Agreement that Trump has said needs to be renegotiated to serve America’s interests better.
   As the world’s largest two-way trading partners, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said nine-million U.S. jobs are tied to trade with Canada while the trade surpluses and deficits are fairly even.
   Trudeau said he expects discussion on a “board range of issues,” including creating jobs and “opportunity for Canadian citizens through the continued close integration on both sides of the border.”
   “The president looks forward to a constructive conversation in strengthening the deep relationship that exists between the United States and Canada," said White House press secretary Sean Spicer.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Canadians reeling from terrorist killings at Quebec mosque



   Canada column for Sunday, Feb. 5/17

   THE CANADIAN REPORT
   (c) By Jim Fox

   Canada is not immune from senseless terrorist attacks after six men were killed and 19 wounded at a Quebec City mosque.
   “All of Canada has been shaken by this attack,” but it has unified the country in solidarity with Muslims, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a funeral service for the victims.
   “We will rise from this darkness stronger and more unified than ever before – that is who we are,” he added.
   Police said a gunman stormed the Grand Mosque in the suburb of Ste-Foy during prayers and opened fire before surrendering.
   Alexandre Bissonnette, 27, a Laval University student, faces six counts of first-degree murder and five of attempted murder.
   Among the victims were Khaled Belkacemi, 60, a Laval professor; Abdelkrim Hassane, 41, a Quebec government information technologist; and Aboubaker Thabti, 44, a pharmacist.
   Mohamed Yangui, president of the Islamic Centre of Quebec, said there is a need for greater understanding of Muslims.
   “We as moderate Muslims are not terrorists,” he said. ‘We practise a form of Islam that means we are full-fledged and solid members of our community.”

   ---