Reference Library – Canada – Alberta
Toronto police have arrested a prisoner who escaped from Mount Sinai Hospital last week. Officers said Andrew Smith, 36, was at the hospital for an undisclosed medical condition when he got away from his guards. He was brought into custody around 6 p.m. Thursday, and will appear in an Old City Hall courtroom on Friday.
Smith was charged with carrying a knife and threatening to kill a University of Toronto security guard.
His escape has prompted the police s Professional Services Unit to investigate police protocol for supervising prisoners at hospitals.
WASHINGTON The Trump administration will approve the Keystone XL pipeline on Friday, senior U.S. officials said, ending years of delay for a project that has served as a flashpoint in the national debate about climate change. The State Department will recommend the pipeline is in U.S. interests, clearing the way for the White House to grant a presidential permit to TransCanada to build the $8 billion pipeline, two officials said. It s a sharp reversal from the Obama administration, which rejected the pipeline after deeming it contrary to national interests. The officials, who weren t authorized to speak publicly on the matter and demanded anonymity, said the State Department s recommendation and the White House s final approval would occur Friday.
The White House declined to comment, other than to say it would offer an update Friday. State Department spokesman Mark Toner wouldn t reveal the decision, but said the agency had re-examined Keystone thoroughly after ruling against the proposed project barely two years ago.
We re looking at new factors, Toner said. I don t want to speak to those until we ve reached a decision or conclusion. The 1,700-mile pipeline, as envisioned, would carry oil from tar sands in Alberta, Canada, to refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast, passing through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma. The pipeline would move roughly 800,000 barrels of oil per day, more than one-fifth of the oil Canada exports to the United States. Oil industry advocates say the pipeline will improve U.S. energy security and create jobs, although how many is widely disputed. Calgary-based TransCanada has promised as many as 13,000 construction jobs 6,500 a year over two years but the State Department previously estimated a far smaller number. The pipeline s opponents contend the jobs will be minimal and short-lived, and say the pipeline won t help the United States with energy needs because the oil is destined for export.
President Trump has championed the pipeline and backed the idea that it will prove a job creator. In one of his first acts as president, he invited pipeline company TransCanada to resubmit the application to construct and operate the pipeline. And he had given officials until next Monday to complete a review of the project. A Trump presidential directive also required new or expanded pipelines to be built with American steel to the maximum extent possible. However, TransCanada has said Keystone won t be built with U.S. steel. The company has already acquired the steel, much of it from Canada and Mexico, and the White House has acknowledged it s too difficult to impose conditions on a pipeline already under construction. Portions of Keystone have already been built. Completing it requires a permit involving the State Department because it crosses the U.S.-Canada border.
In an unusual twist, the agency s recommendation won t come from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. The former CEO of oil company Exxon Mobil recused himself after protests from environmental groups who said it would be a conflict of interest for Tillerson to decide the pipeline s fate. Instead, Tom Shannon, a career diplomat serving as undersecretary of state for political affairs, will sign off, officials said. Even with a presidential permit, the pipeline will still face obstacles most notably when it comes to the route, which is still being heavily litigated in the states. Native American tribes and landowners have joined environmental groups in opposing the pipeline.
Environmental groups also say the pipeline will encourage the use of carbon-heavy tar sands oil which contributes more to global warming than cleaner sources of energy. President Obama reached the same conclusion in 2015 after a negative recommendation from then-Secretary of State John Kerry.
TransCanada first applied for a permit in 2008. Years of politicking, legal wrangling and disputes over the pipeline s route preceded Obama s decision to nix the project. The various delays meant Hillary Clinton never issued a recommendation as secretary of state.
Political commentator David Frum says there s good, bad and potentially ugly for Canadian farmers in the United States new and unpredictable Trump administration. Frum, a senior editor at The Atlantic magazine and, more recently, an owner of Ontario farmland, told the Grain Farmers of Ontario March Classic in London recently that global markets have been poor at pricing in political risk, so farmers should take steps to manage their risk themselves. The good for the economy includes a likely end to tepid economic growth in the U.S. over the past 15 years, said Frum.
There is a big tax cut on the way in the U.S. It will have two powerful and positive effects, including putting more money in people s pockets and creating government deficits. Deficits are also stimulating to the economy, said Frum, who recently took possession of a piece of Prince Edward County farmland through a family succession process. Stimulus should lead to more demand for products, including food from Canada. That fiscal stimulus will be thrown into an economy that is already growing and creating more consumer confidence.
The Trump administration has already limited some of the regulations of the Dodd-Frank Act and as a result, consumer lending will be made easier.
There will also be a lot less petty, harassing regulation, especially in agriculture, he said. The Waters of the United States regulations was one of the worst offenders, said Frum, as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was claiming authority over areas where water ran for limited periods of time each year. ADVERTISEMENT
The foot of government will be less on their neck and that will be a positive thing, he said. Regulatory changes in the U.S. will have knock-on effects here too.
He expects 2017 to be a bullish year and 2018 likely will be so too.
However, there are other concerns with the U.S. administration that we haven t seen from previous presidents. Not only is the Trump administration protectionist, it will be manifested in petty and capricious protectionism, through regulation, not through law, said Frum. He doesn t expect that the administration will have the capacity to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) anytime soon. But he expects to see petty harassment, including harassment of travellers.
Trump s travel ban, now on six countries, isn t just affecting residents of those countries, but also the large diasporas of those countries. Foreign applications to U.S. universities are already down 40,000 year over year, Frum said, and businesspeople and professionals with conferences and holdings in the U.S. are limiting their travel. A rise in interest rates driven by consumer spending and greater deficits in the U.S. could mean a rising U.S. dollar, which could help Canadian exports. It could also inflame protectionist sentiment in the administration, which has yet to find much problem with Canada. Frum s other concerns include the way the Trump family is acting and the deals they are completing to their benefit, along with cash infusions they are taking from foreign entities.
The presidential family is behaving in a way the presidential family has never behaved before, he said.
He worries about the decline in public integrity, the tradition of a lack of corruption.
It is a precious, precious thing and once it is damaged it is hard to change it. It starts from the top.
Frum said his concerns about potential ugly implications of the Trump presidency include areas harder to predict. He s chiefly concerned with the unpredictability and renegade tendencies of the Trump administration. There are members of the White House who can t even get security clearance because of their previous relationships and transgressions.
There s a real instinct for conflict and a bad instinct for bringing friends along.
Trump has also hit back at critical allies Germany, Britain and Australia. There s a potential for a conflict that the U.S. could get bogged down in and is in alone. However, Frum said, there are numerous ways that Trump could be sidelined in his tone and agenda, including by Congress, by the fact that government is paralyzed due to a lack of the many appointees needed to make it work, or by the potential Trump could find other interests that are less dangerous. The challenge for businesses is that no one knows, and unlike previous administrations, no one can predict outcomes from this administration. Managing that risk will be up to businesses themselves.
John Greig is a field editor for Glacier FarmMedia based at Ailsa Craig, Ont. Follow him at @jgreig on Twitter.