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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.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Trade issues a concern to Canadian government after Trump comments



   Canada column for Sunday, April 23/17

   THE CANADIAN REPORT
   (c) By Jim Fox

   The Canadian government is stressing the importance of trade with the United States after President Donald Trump said Canada is “taking advantage” of U.S. workers.
   In the first bitter criticism of the North American Free Trade Agreement as it relates to Canada, Trump called it a “disaster” especially in dairy farming, lumber and energy.
   “We're going to have to get to the negotiating table with Canada very, very quickly,” he said.
   Earlier, after meeting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Trump praised the bilateral trade relationship and recommended only some “tweaking.”
   More details about the irritants and suggested NAFTA changes are expected in a few weeks.
   Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Canada buys five times more dairy products than it sells to the U.S. while a protracted dispute on lumber would drive up U.S. housing costs.
   The stable supply of oil from Canada – one-third of all U.S. imports – was called the job-creating lifeblood of the U.S. economy.
   “Any increase of trade barriers between our countries would significantly impact jobs in the United States, as well as in Canada,” she added.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Marijuana legalization planned for Canada in 2018



   Canada column for Sunday, April 16/17

   THE CANADIAN REPORT
   (c) By Jim Fox

   The Liberal government – as promised during the 2015 election campaign – is moving ahead with legalizing recreational marijuana use for those 18 and older.
   It’s being called a “bold and risky social experiment” by many and would include tough laws against illicit dealers and those who break them.
   Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said legalizing pot is the best way to keep the drug from being used by younger, impressionable children.
   The law change would become effective in July of next year and end the prohibition on marijuana use that Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said has been an “abject failure.”
   Police forces are spending billions of dollars and countless resources dealing with drug use while dealers are profiting by up to $8 billion a year, he said.
   Liberal politician Bill Blair, former Toronto police chief, said this will promote the “safe, socially responsible use” of marijuana while at the same time rigidly enforcing impaired driving whether by drugs or alcohol.
   The Conservative party called the legalization a bad idea while the socialist New Democrats wanted it sooner.

Monday, April 10, 2017

U.S. is "comfortable" with security at the Canadian border



   Canada column for Sunday, April 9/17

   THE CANADIAN REPORT
   (c) By Jim Fox

   Canadians should not be overly concerned about the possibility of stricter security or changes in travel to the United States.
   U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told a Senate committee that his concerns are mainly with the Mexican border and he’d like to see the Canadian border “even thinner.”
   He made a similar comment during meetings in Ottawa, saying he’s “very comfortable with the level of security on the border.”
   Something drawing attention is a “little bit” more enterprising Mexicans entering the U.S. illegally via Canada.
   Montana Democrat Jonathan Tester said the northern border also has its “challenges,” suggesting more stringent security as did North Dakota Republican Senator John Hoeven.
   “I’m concerned with all the borders,'” Kelly said, adding that the “absolutely great news story in the northern border is that we have Canada there that’s a friend and ally.”
   Canada has “tremendous law enforcement . . .  and they’re very careful about who comes into their country,” Kelly said.

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Sunday, April 2, 2017

Vehicle research center planned in Ottawa with Blackberry engineers



   Canada column for Sunday, April 2/17

   THE CANADIAN REPORT
   (c) By Jim Fox

   Four-hundred BlackBerry engineers from Canada and the United States are being hired by the Ford Motor Co. for a connected-vehicle research center in Ottawa.
   It’s part of a $500-million investment that will include increasing sustainability and fuel economy research at Ford plants in Windsor and Oakville, Ontario.
   There will be additional facilities in Waterloo, Ontario, BlackBerry’s hometown; Cary, North Carolina; and Sunrise, Florida.
   This will be Ford’s first center focused on connectivity research and advanced technology in Canada.
   The federal and Ontario governments are giving grants of $100 million to Ford for the projects, part of a $1.2-billion technology partnership.
   It will include research and development on features such as infotainment, in-vehicle modems, gateway modules, driver-assist features and autonomous vehicles.

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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Hurdles remain to proceed with Keystone XL pipeline approved by President Trump



   Canada column for Sunday, March 26/17

   THE CANADIAN REPORT
   (c) By Jim Fox

   U.S. President Donald Trump said it was a “great day for American jobs and North American energy independence” as he approved the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.
   But hurdles remain before TransCanada, based in Calgary, can proceed with the $8-billion project, CEO Russ Girling said.
   The pipeline running 900 miles would carry up to 830,000 barrels of Alberta crude oil a day to refineries in the U.S. Gulf Coast.
   The company continues to work to reach settlements with landowners along the route in Nebraska, Montana and South Dakota and needs approvals from the state governments to proceed.
   Environmental protesters say they will continue to try to stop the project, which had been rejected by previous President Barack Obama.
   In allowing the presidential permit, the U.S. State Department concluded the pipeline would serve the national interest.
   Girling called it a “significant milestone” for the project.
   “We greatly appreciate President Trump’s administration for reviewing and approving this important initiative and we look forward to working with them as we continue to invest in and strengthen North America's energy infrastructure,” he added.

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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.

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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.

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