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  1. http://montrealgazette.com/business/local-business/quebec-is-slowing-spending-but-its-a-far-cry-from-european-style-austerity "Unfortunately, the private sector hasn’t kept the rendezvous. Stéfane Marion, chief economist at the National Bank, notes that net private-sector employment has fallen by 30,000 in the province so far this year while Ontario has added 80,000 such jobs. Marion points to lingering fallout over the bitter charter of values debate under the preceding Parti Québécois government. Quebec lost a net 10,000 people last spring to interprovincial migration — the worst outflows since 1995-96. That didn’t help the job market." On the plus side, the economy does seem to be improving and stimulus is coming from other sources. Exports to the U.S. and Ontario are growing at a healthy clip, the cheaper Canadian dollar is a boost to manufacturers and lower oil prices are an added bonus to both businesses and consumers. Marion figures that Quebecers have received a $300-million break at the gas pump so far this year as prices have declined. That will ease the pain from an expected two-cents-per-litre jump in gas prices in the New Year to cover the cost to distributors of Quebec’s new cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions. And if you can believe Finance Minister Carlos Leitão, the pain is about to end for taxpayers who are tired of paying more and receiving less. Most of the measures needed to go from the current-year deficit of $2.3 billion to a balanced budget have already been identified, he said. Another $1.1 billion will still have to be found in the budget next spring. It’s about time, says Norma Kozhaya, chief economist at the Conseil du patronat du Québec which represents the province’s largest employers. Quebec has reached the limit on what it can absorb in the way of further tax increases and spending cuts, she argued. Kozhaya is worried about slow growth in the economy, pegged at 1.6 per cent this year and 1.9 per cent in 2015. “What’s important is to get more revenue from economic growth and not from new taxes and fees.” She would like to hear more of a pro-investment discourse from the Couillard government, especially when it comes to natural resources. In the meantime, there’s always 2017-18 to look forward to. That’s when Leitão talks boldly of a surplus and maybe even a tax cut — in what will be an election year.
  2. <iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/59443586?color=cccccc" width="500" height="281" frameborder="0" webkitAllowFullScreen mozallowfullscreen allowFullScreen></iframe> <p><a href=" ">This is New City Gas</a> from <a href="http://vimeo.com/user12421542'>http://vimeo.com/user12421542">New City Gas</a> on <a href="http://vimeo.com">Vimeo</a>.</p>
  3. The new oil sheik of Quebec SOPHIE COUSINEAU MONTREAL — The Globe and Mail Published Tuesday, Feb. 05 2013, 7:45 PM EST Last updated Tuesday, Feb. 05 2013, 7:53 PM EST 6 comments 25 8 17 0 Print / License AA To say that I am a football fan is an overstatement as big as New Orleans’ Superdome, though I’ve always had a soft spot for the San Francisco 49ers. But I gave up on “my team” and on the Super Bowl when the Baltimore Ravens’ lead reached 22 points, and switched to Tout le monde en parle, the talk show that normally rules Quebec airwaves on Sundays. MORE RELATED TO THIS STORY Redford calls on energy workers to raise the flag Alberta stands firm on Keystone Gaspé drilling ban assailed by pro-exploration factions ENERGY Video: How oil sands players are collaborating on environmental innovation VIDEO Video: Quebec considers updating common law legislation GALLERY From Leduc to the Bakken boom, big moments in Canada's modern age of oil So I missed the power outage and the 49ers’ spectacular comeback. But I did see Quebec’s Natural Resource Minister, Martine Ouellet, throw a couple of Hail Marys. This may come as a surprise to those who have heard of Quebeckers’ widespread disdain for the oil sands, but the province of cheap, abundant hydroelectricity has some big oil ambitions of its own. On the Radio-Canada talk show, Ms. Ouellet talked about the revenues that could be extracted from Quebec’s oil reserves. The Gaspé region could generate $35-billion, she said. The Anticosti Island? Between $200-billion and $300-billion. The Old Harry offshore deposit in the Gulf of St.-Lawrence? A whopping $500-billion! (A press officer corrected her Tuesday and said she had meant to say $50-billion, but still.) The show’s court jester, Dany Turcotte, was flabbergasted at those huge figures, which conjured up images of oil gushing from a swamp like in the opening of the old Beverly Hillbillies TV series. Until now, the reality has been very different. Quebec’s oil is hard to extract. In the past 10 years, junior resource companies poking the land have only succeeded in pumping a couple of hundred of very pricey barrels from exploration wells. “You have got to be careful before asserting that we are going to be as rich as Alberta,” says Jean-Yves Lavoie, chief executive officer of Junex, a Quebec exploration company. There is still a lot of work to be done. There is only one deposit close to being commercially viable, according to its promoter, Pétrolia Inc., and that is the Haldimand project near the town of Gaspé, where exploratory work is now halted. But Premier Pauline Marois is determined to see Quebec reduce its reliance on imported oil. And for a cash-strapped province that is cutting expenses in all departments to balance its books, extra oil royalties would ease some fiscal pain. Even Ms. Ouellet, a former water conservationist who denounced “fracking” as unsafe in her first days in a limousine, is officially riding along, although she advocates moving with extreme caution. Fracking is a technique that injects a chemically-laced solutions underground to fracture rock formations and release oil and gas. But Quebec’s three known oil regions are facing daunting obstacles. The Old Harry offshore deposit has become another battleground between Quebec and Newfoundland, with both provinces claiming jurisdiction over its riches. While there have been some seismic surveys on the Newfoundland side, there has been no exploratory work on the Quebec side of the disputed border, as the government awaits an environmental assessment of the fragile ecosystem. Since no drilling has been done, no one knows what Old Harry truly holds. “Chances are it’s natural gas, but when politicians take a hold of Old Harry, it turns into oil,” says Mr. Lavoie, a mining engineer. The Anticosti island, also in the Gulf, holds the best promise, according to Mr. Lavoie, whose exploration licences border the south of the island. Pétrolia concurs. Its licences and those of its partner Corridor Resources from Halifax cover the rest of the island; they hold 30.9 billion barrels of oil, according to an assessment by Sproule Associates Ltd. But most of this oil would only be accessible by fracking, not by conventional extraction methods, according to Pétrolia president and chairman André Proulx. And there is a de facto moratorium on fracking until Quebec completes its environmental review on the controversial technique. In the meantime, the former shale gas opponents are revving up the campaign to protect the sparsely populated wildlife sanctuary against oil production. This places the Marois government in an untenable position, as it opposed fracking for gas while apparently favouring it for the oil industry. Which leaves Gaspésie. There, Pétrolia temporarily halted its exploratory work on the Haldimand project because of the Gaspé mayor’s opposition on environmental grounds. Mr. Proulx believes the fear of ground water contamination is rubbish. “What they are truly trying to do is to get more municipal powers and a share of the mining royalties,” says Mr. Proulx, who hopes the province will settle the issue. Despite this setback, Pétrolia’s president remains a believer. “In theory, in five or six years time, we could supply half of all the oil Quebec consumes,” Mr. Proulx asserts. Only a vocal minority opposes oil production, this promoter says. Yet the Marois government will have to do a hell of a selling job. Because if recent history proves anything, that minority is what freezes energy development in Quebec – be it winter or summer.
  4. The 200 compressed natural gas (CNG) buses acquired in 2003 by the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority (LA Metro) have worked out so well that LA Metro is hiring 96 more. The Cummins Westport vehicles, which run 20 feet longer than traditional city buses and bring 30-percent more power to the table (while claiming bragging rights to low emissions) use a 6-cylinder, 8.9L CWI L Gas Plus CNG mill with 320 hp. Perfect for the city, the buses help LA Metro cash in with lower operating costs, better performance and reduced emissions. http://www.autoblog.com/2006/03/30/la-metro-picks-up-more-natural-gas-buses/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+weblogsinc/autoblog+(Autoblog)
  5. Corn-based ethanol: The negatives outweigh the positives JEFFREY SIMPSON From Wednesday's Globe and Mail July 30, 2008 at 7:58 AM EDT Canada's governments have done something really stupid in subsidizing corn-based ethanol, and requiring its increased use, but apparently cannot correct their mistake. As a policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, corn-based ethanol is a poor option; as a farm subsidy program, it's also a poor bet. Making matters worse, corn-based ethanol takes corn-for-food out of production, and moves land from other kinds of production into corn, thereby adding to what are already rising food prices. Governments, here and in the U.S., thought they were doing great things for the environment and helping farmers, too. Ethanol policy was, to quote the Harper government, a "win-win." Actually, it was a lose-lose policy for all but corn producers, who, naturally enough, have rallied furiously to protect their good fortune. Many researchers have exposed the follies of subsidizing corn-based ethanol production, the latest being Douglas Auld, in an extremely well-documented paper for the C.D. Howe Institute. Mr. Auld has surveyed the research literature about the putatively beneficial effects of corn-based ethanol on replacing gasoline. The theory is that such ethanol produces fewer greenhouse gas emissions than gasoline from a vehicle engine. Indeed, it does, but that simple statement ignores what energy is required to produce a litre of ethanol. When the so-called "lifecycle" of ethanol production is counted, Mr. Auld concludes (as have many others) that ethanol doesn't lower GHG outputs. Remember, too, that ethanol delivers less energy per litre than gasoline, so more litres of production are required to move a vehicle a certain distance. Mr. Auld, therefore, correctly concludes, "It is clear from the evidence to date that there is no consensus regarding the efficacy of corn-based ethanol either to reduce GHGs or reduce overall energy demands." But we aren't dealing with "evidence," rather with political optics from governments wanting to look "green" and from a desire to help farmers. And so, the Harper government replaced the previous special tax exemption for ethanol to a producer credit that will cost the country about $1.5-billion. To this sum were added loans, biofuel research grants plus mandatory ethanol content requirements. In other words, the government pushed up the supply of corn-based ethanol through subsidies, then pushed up the demand through regulation. Provinces got in on the act, offering producer credits and mandatory ethanol content requirements. Putting the provincial and federal policies together produced whopping advantages for ethanol of about $400-million a year. For such money, Canadians might expect at least some decline in greenhouse gas emissions. They will be disappointed. There will be few reductions, and Mr. Auld estimates that these might cost $368 a tonne - way, way higher than other per-tonne costs for eliminating carbon dioxide, the main climate-warming gas. By contrast, one part of the Harper government's proposed climate-change policy would see big companies that do not meet their intensity-based reduction targets paying $15 a tonne into a technology fund. World prices for carbon offsetting these days are about $30 a tonne. However, even if this form of ethanol is a climate-change bust, at least it's great for farmers. Not so fast. It's a boon to the corn producers, but to supply all the additional demand for ethanol, up to half the current farmland for corn will be used. As more land is diverted to corn for ethanol, there will be less corn for human and animal consumption. So whereas corn producers will gain, livestock producers will suffer. As their costs rise, so will the price of their products to consumers. It's wrong to blame the rush to ethanol for rising food prices here and abroad. Let's just say the rush contributes to the problem. Mr. Auld estimates that if you take the direct subsidies for ethanol production of $400-million a year, and add the costs of higher food to consumers, the wealth transfer to corn-based farmers could soon be about $800-million. It's the classic case of subsidies distorting markets: One group gains and mobilizes all of its resources to protect its gains, insisting these gains reflect the public good; whereas in reality almost everyone else loses but doesn't complain. So we have a silly policy with hundreds of millions of dollars going down the policy drain, achieving none of the objectives the politicians claimed.
  6. The (mis)adventures of an Anglo in Montreal Petra Hendrickson Issue date: 4/9/08 Section: Opinion Montreal less than 48 hours ago, I thought I would use today's column as part anecdote, part travel advice and part opinion. The advice, although the most practical portion of this column by far, is the least fun to write about, so I'll dispense with it first. Make sure you tell your bank you're going abroad. Otherwise, their fraud department might put a block on your debit card after you use it to pay for a cab ride. This results in you having to apply for a new debit card, which will then take around 10 business days to be delivered to you. If you need help with something, ask. I have no recollection of the only other time I've flown internationally, and I was a little apprehensive about the customs and immigration process. Chances are, one of your fellow travelers will be more than happy to talk you through the process ahead of time. Granted, most people scoff at the idea of Canada being considered "international travel." Nonetheless, a flight there requires you to go through customs and immigration before leaving the airport, and chances are, you'll find something there that looks unfamiliar. Gas prices in Canada (or at least Montreal), for instance, are not only by the liter, rather than the gallon, they're also in cents. So a liter of gas is advertised as costing 114.2. Before I asked a fellow American at the graduate school I was visiting about the gas pricing system, I was pretty shocked. I mean, I knew gas prices were more expensive everywhere else, but even this seemed a little steep. Also, although I ate food while I was there, the fact that all menu items (even at Tim Horton's!) were in French pretty much means that I'm not entirely sure what I ate. There was Lebanese food of some kind, what I was told was a Chilean steak sandwich and a couple flavored croissants, but as far as specifics go, I'm pretty much at a loss. Everyone I encountered in Montreal was willing to accommodate English speakers, which was definitely much appreciated. My cab driver on my 1 a.m. excursion to the airport informed me that not only should I not have been shy about speaking English and being American, the locals don't mind at all because Americans are notoriously good tippers. The logic seems to follow that the more willingly people speak English to the Americans in Montreal, the more grateful the Americans will be, and the better they'll tip. I have to be honest. At least in my case, it was true. Most of the Anglo community seems to know how to speak enough French to get by ("restaurant French"), and certainly recognizes enough French to be able to differentiate street names from one another and the like. It was really interesting to me the combination of recognition and absolute confusion I experienced in the Francophone environment. On the one hand, words like café and boutique were easy markers as to what a building contained. On the other hand, all the words I didn't recognize meant that at some point, everything started to look the same, and it was pretty disorienting. On the whole, I'm definitely glad I visited Montreal. It was pretty eye-opening as to just how utterly American I am. I like to consider myself worldly in outlook, and I still think that's true, but it also made me consider exactly how non-worldly my experiences have been. http://media.www.indianastatesman.com/media/storage/paper929/news/2008/04/09/Opinion/The-misadventures.Of.An.Anglo.In.Montreal-3311500.shtml
  7. Tories looking for ways to cut gas price DANIEL LEBLANC Globe and Mail Update July 30, 2008 at 2:01 PM EDT LÉVIS, Que. — The Conservative Party will look over the next two days for ways to bring down the price of gas even though there is no room for major tax cuts, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said. Speaking to reporters Wednesday morning, Mr. Flaherty said his constituents have clearly told him about the impact of high gas prices on their household budgets in recent weeks. However, Mr. Flaherty cautioned that “this is a time of economic slowdown” and that his government has no plans to drastically change its course in coming months. “This is not a year for big new spending projects or big new tax reductions,” he said. Still, Mr. Flaherty said that the Conservative caucus will be exploring solutions to high gas prices at its current two-day meeting, including looking at a variety of tax measures that will be proposed by MPs. However, Mr. Flaherty shot down the notion that he could use $4-billion in revenue from a recent auction of wireless spectrum to send cheques directly to taxpayers to offset their heating bills. Mr. Flaherty said it is likely that a portion of the auction funds will be used to pay down the debt. “Our preference is to have structural change,” he said. “You can't spend your way out of a situation like this.” On law and order, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson and Public Safety Minister Stockwell Day showed that the Conservatives will continue to press for tough measures against criminals as a way to differentiate themselves from its political opponents. “We are alone on this,” Mr. Nicholson said, promising to toughen the Youth Criminal Justice Act. Mr. Day said his government is also looking to improve security in prisons, including getting rid of rules that prevent the government from forcing inmates to work or that hinder proper searches for drugs in prisons. On federal-provincial relations, Transport Minister Lawrence Cannon said his government will continue to foster the autonomy of the provincial governments in their areas of jurisdiction. Mr. Cannon, who is the Quebec lieutenant in the Harper government, said his party's position is clearly different from the Bloc Québécois's focus on sovereignty and the Liberal Party's centralizing view. “Our autonomy position as a political party is to respect the Constitution as it was written,” he said. Conservative MP Maxime Bernier also addressed reporters, saying he has nothing more to say about the controversy over his relationship with Julie Couillard, a woman who had relationships with a number of people tied to criminal biker gangs.
  8. http://www.economist.com/world/americas/displaystory.cfm?story_id=15726687&source=hptextfeatureCanadian cities Mar 18th 2010 | CALGARY AND TORONTO From The Economist print edition And the gloom in Toronto TIME was when the decision over where to put a new Canadian capital-markets regulator would have been automatic. Toronto, Canada’s most populous city and the capital of Ontario, the most populous province, has long been the country’s business and financial centre. The biggest banks are there, as is the stock exchange. Legions of lawyers, accountants and bankers flock daily to the towers surrounding King and Bay streets. And yet the Canadian government is in two minds over the home for the new authority, and may end up splitting it between several cities—partly to placate provincial regulators jealous of their purviews. This hesitation has brought grumbles from politicians in Ontario. But it is tacit recognition that economic and political power in Canada are slowly shifting westward, and in particular to Calgary, the main business centre in Alberta, a province with a large oil and gas industry. Toronto still has the top spot. Greater Toronto has 5.6m people, or almost five times as many as Calgary. It is home to more corporate headquarters than any other Canadian city. Of the 20 biggest companies in Canada, ten are based in the Toronto area. But six are now in Calgary. All are oil and gas firms, whose towers form the city’s dramatic skyline, set against the backdrop of the Rocky mountains. And Calgary has the momentum. The new housing developments that surround the city and stretch to the foothills are evidence that Alberta is sucking in people and investment from the rest of Canada. Between 1999 and 2007, while head-office employment grew by 14.1% in Toronto, it soared by 64.6% in Calgary, according to a report by the OECD, a research body. Alberta’s economy swiftly brushed off the recession. Its leaders dismiss hostility from greens to the tar sands that are the source of much of its hydrocarbons. If Americans do not want their oil, then Alberta will build a pipeline to the west coast and sell it to China, they say. Dave Bronconnier, Calgary’s mayor, laughs off the idea that his city might soon supplant Toronto. But he admits that he has tried to woo one of Canada’s big five banks to come and set up its headquarters. He is also courting branch offices of banks from China, the Middle East and South Korea. Office rents are higher in Calgary than in many other cities, though they have fallen sharply since 2008. But low business taxes and the lack of a provincial sales tax make overall operating costs lower than in Ontario. The city wants to become a global centre for energy companies. Its rivals are Houston, Dallas and Dubai, rather than Toronto, says Mr Bronconnier. This boosterism is in sharp contrast to the downbeat mood back east. Despite the strength of the banks, Toronto and Ontario—the home of Canadian carmaking—have fared badly in the recession. In an editorial earlier this month the Toronto Star, the city’s biggest newspaper, bemoaned growing social inequality, worsening gridlock, a deteriorating transport system and rising taxes. “There’s a nagging but entirely justified sense that Toronto has lost its way,” the paper concluded. Ontarians as a whole are feeling uneasy. In a recent poll taken in the province for the Mowat Centre, a think-tank, half of respondents felt that Ontario’s influence in national affairs is waning and about the same number thought the province is not treated with the respect it deserves. A generation ago Toronto benefited from an influx of businesses from Montreal fleeing the threat of Quebec separatism. That threat has receded, but federal politicians are ever-sensitive to the French-speaking province’s demands. Alberta’s politicians are becoming increasingly bolshy as their economic muscle grows. And Ontario? Torontonians were long used “to assuming that they are the centre of the universe,” as Joe Martin, a business historian at the University of Toronto, puts it. They are awakening to a world in which their planet, though still the biggest in the Canadian firmament, is being eclipsed. Copyright © 2010 The Economist Newspaper and The Economist Group. All rights reserved.
  9. Associated Press: Drivers are paying an average of $4 for a gallon of gasoline for the first time. AAA and the Oil Price Information Service say the national average price for a gallon of regular gas rose to $4.005 overnight from $3.988. But consumers in many parts of the country have already been paying well above that price for some time. Gas is expected to keep climbing, putting greater pressure on consumers and businesses, because the price of oil is soaring in futures markets. Light, sweet crude shot up nearly $11 a barrel Friday and approached $140 for the first time. Along with higher fuel costs, consumers are also contending with higher prices for food and other goods because of rising transportation costs. Un renforcement de l'attraction vers les centre-villes est à prévoir, à partir du moment ou' les meilleures jobs s'y trouvent, étant donné les couts de plus en plus grands des transports. De plus, une augmentation du travail à la maison, et augmentation des rencontres virtuelles, téléconférences, une diminution de la demande de voyages d'affaires et tourisme. Qu'en pensez-vous?
  10. Will Quebec be a gas, gas, gas? Fund managers are making big bets on juniors targeting the Utica shale region SHIRLEY WON From Wednesday's Globe and Mail May 28, 2008 at 7:21 AM EDT Quebec may seem like an unlikely hot spot for natural gas exploration, but some investors are digging deeper into unconventional resource prospects in the province. Shares of junior gas explorers targeting the Utica shale region in the St. Lawrence lowlands have surged recently, with some fund managers making big bets on potential winners. "It could be a very large gas discovery for Canada and Quebec," said Eric Sprott, chief executive officer and a manager with Sprott Asset Management Inc. "We probably started [accumulating stock] six months ago, but we went in earnest eight weeks ago." Toronto-based Sprott Asset Management, through several of its funds, holds 14 per cent of Gastem Inc., 15 per cent of Questerre Corp. and 13 per cent of Altai Resources Inc., according to Bloomberg. Forest Oil Corp. The Globe and Mail The Quebec shale play, which involves drilling for gas by fracturing dense rock, focuses on an area south of the St. Lawrence River between Montreal and Quebec City. Interest has grown in the region since April, when Forest Oil Corp., a Denver-based oil and gas company, announced a significant discovery there after testing two vertical wells. Forest Oil said its Quebec assets may hold as much as four trillion cubic feet of gas reserves, and that the Utica shale has similar rock properties to the Barnett shale in Texas - the largest U.S. onshore gas field. Quebec has been known to have natural gas reserves, but advanced horizontal drilling techniques and higher gas prices are now only making the play potentially economically viable, observers say. Forest Oil, which has several junior partners in the region, will drill three horizontal wells in Quebec this summer. It has targeted its first production for next year, and full-scale drilling for 2010. Calgary-based Talisman Energy Inc. also plans to drill in Quebec in late summer. The presence of the majors gives this play more credibility, said Wellington West Capital Markets analyst Kim Page. "Talisman has indicated it is budgeting $100- to $130-million for Quebec," Mr. Page said. "The return opportunity, if this play is commercially viable, is very high." But it is the juniors that "provide the greatest upside potential," when investing, said analyst Vic Vallance of Fraser Mackenzie Ltd. The analyst has a "buy" rating on Gastem and Questerre, saying they have properties in the "sweet spot" of the play. He has no price targets on these juniors because "it's so early stage and speculative." Montreal-based Gastem is partnered with Forest Oil, Questerre and Epsilon Energy Ltd. in the Yamaska permit of the St. Lawrence lowlands. An important catalyst for Gastem's stock could come from results of the drilling of two of Forest Oil's wells this summer, Mr. Vallance said. Forest's third well is in partnership with Junex Inc. Drilling results are also a potential catalyst for the stock of Calgary-based Questerre, which is also partnered with Talisman in its drilling program, Mr. Vallance added. Toronto-based Northern Rivers Capital Management Inc. owns 11 per cent of Gastem through its four funds. "The fact that it is in all the funds reflects how bullish we are," said Alex Ruus, a hedge fund manager with Northern Rivers. Mr. Ruus was on site when Forest Oil began drilling on Gastem's property last summer. "I became quite convinced that there was probably a commercial discovery here." It was Gastem's management that got Forest Oil interested, he added. "Forest Oil is the operator that is driving this [play], going forward." He has scenarios valuing Gastem from $1 to $40 a share, but his target is now more than $10, based on current data. The play is attractive because there is a ready-made local market, as Quebec imports gas from Western Canada, and there is a network of nearby pipelines, he said. "If this thing becomes as big as we think it will, you will see Quebec starting to export natural gas to Ontario, and New York State." Paul MacDonald, with Marvrix Fund Management Inc., sold all of his shares in Junex during their recent rally, but still holds more than 750,000 of its warrants in three Marvrix resource flow-through funds. Mr. MacDonald bought Junex at $1.25 to $1.30 a share, but the stock shot well past his near-term target of $2.25. "With the best-case assumptions, you can see $30 on Junex," he said. "But there are still risks to the downside. ... It's still high risk, high return." http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20080528.wrgas28/BNStory/SpecialEvents2/Quebec/
  11. Doing business in Brazil Rio or São Paulo? For the first time in decades, Brazil’s Marvellous City looks attractive for business Sep 3rd 2011 | RIO DE JANEIRO AND SÃO PAULO | from the print edition LAST year Paulo Rezende, a Brazilian private-equity investor, and two partners decided to set up a fund investing in suppliers to oil and gas companies. Although this industry is centred on Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s second-largest city, with its huge offshore oilfields—and fabulous beaches, dramatic scenery and outdoor lifestyle—they instead established the Brasil Oil and Gas Fund 430km (270 miles) away, in São Paulo’s concrete sprawl. Even though it means flying to Rio once or twice a week, Mr Rezende, like many other businesspeople, decided that São Paulo’s economic heft outweighed Rio’s charms. But the choice is harder than it used to be. For many years, São Paulo has been the place for multinationals to open a Brazil office. It may be less glamorous than Rio, as the two cities’ nicknames suggest: Rio is Cidade Maravilhosa(the Marvellous City); São Paulo is Cidade da Garoa (the City of Drizzle). But as Mr Rezende sadly concluded: “São Paulo is the financial centre, and that’s where the money is.” Edilson Camara of Egon Zehnder International, an executive-search firm, does 12 searches in São Paulo for each one in Rio. The biggest mistake, he reckons, is for firms to let future expatriates visit Rio at all. “They are seduced by the scenery and lifestyle, and it’s a move they can sell to their families. But many have ended up moving their office to São Paulo a couple of years later, with all the upheaval that entails.” From a hamlet founded by Jesuit missionaries in 1554, São Paulo grew on coffee in the 19th century, industry in the first half of the 20th—and then on the misfortunes of Rio, once Brazil’s capital and its richest, biggest city. The federal government abandoned Rio for the newly built Brasília in 1960, starting a half-century of decline. Misgoverned by politicians and fought over by drug gangs and corrupt police, Rio became dangerous, even by Brazilian standards. The exodus gained pace as businesses and the rich fled, mostly for São Paulo. Now, though, there are signs that the cost-benefit calculation is shifting. São Paulo’s economy has done well in Brazil’s recent boom years and it is still much bigger, but Rio’s is growing faster, boosted by oil discoveries and winning its bid to host the 2016 Olympics (see table). Last year Rio received $7.3 billion in foreign direct investment—seven times more than the year before, and more than twice as much as São Paulo. Prime office rents in Rio are now higher than anywhere else in the Americas, north or south, according to Cushman and Wakefield, a property consultancy. Community-policing projects are taming its infamous favelas, or shantytowns: its murder rate, though still very high at 26 per 100,000 people per year (2.5 times São Paulo’s), is at last falling. Brazil’s soaring real is pricing expats paid in foreign currencies out of São Paulo’s classy restaurants and shopping malls; Rio’s recipe of sun, sea and samba is still free. Even Hollywood seems to be on Rio’s side: an eponymous animation, with its lush depictions of rainforest and carnival, is one of the year’s highest-grossing films. Rio’s mayor, Eduardo Paes, has big plans for capitalising on the city’s magic moment. He has set up a business-development agency, Rio Negócios, to market the city, help businesspeople find investment opportunities, and advise on paperwork and tax breaks. It concentrates on sectors where it reckons Rio has an edge: tourism, energy, infrastructure and creative industries such as fashion and film. “A couple of years ago, foreign businessmen would come to Rio and ask what we had to offer,” says Mr Paes. “We had no answer. Now we roll out the red carpet.” The political balance between the two cities has changed too. In the 1990s São Paulo was more influential and better run: it is the stronghold of the Party of Brazilian Social Democracy (PSDB), the national party of government from 1995 to 2002. Now the PSDB is in its third term of opposition in Brasília, and though it still governs São Paulo state, it is weakened by internal feuds. In Rio, by contrast, the political stars are aligned. The state governor, Sérgio Cabral, campaigned tirelessly for the current president, Dilma Rousseff—and received his reward when police actions in an unruly favela late last year were backed up by federal forces. São Paulo’s socioeconomic segregation, long part of its appeal to expats, is starting to look like less of an advantage. Most of its nicer bits are clustered together, allowing rich paulistanos to ignore the vast favelas on the periphery. In Rio, selective blindness is harder with favelasperched on hilltops overlooking all the best neighbourhoods. But proximity seems to be teaching well-off cariocas that abandonment is no solution for poverty and violence. Community policing and urban-renewal schemes are bringing safety and public services. Chapéu Mangueira and Babilônia, twin favelas a 20-minute uphill scramble from Copacabana beach, are being rebuilt, with a clinic, nursery and a 24-hour police presence. The price of nearby apartments has soared. Other slums are also getting similar make-overs. Rio’s Olympic preparations include extending its metro and building lots of dedicated bus lanes, including one linking the international airport to the city centre. By 2016, predicts City Hall, half of all journeys in the city will be by high-quality public transport, up from 16% today. São Paulo’s metro extensions are years behind schedule, and the city is grinding towards gridlock. Its plans to link the city centre to its main international airport (recently voted Latin America’s most-hated by business travellers) rely on a grandiose federal high-speed train project, bidding for which was recently postponed for the third time. Rio is still unpredictably dangerous, and decades of poor infrastructure maintenance have left their mark. Its mobile-phone and electricity networks are outage-prone; the língua negra(“black tongue”, a sudden overflow of water and sewage) is a staple of the rainy season; exploding manholes, caused by subterranean gas leaks, are a hazard all year round. All in all, still not an easy choice for a multinational—but it is no longer foolish to let prospective expats fly down to Rio to take a look. http://www.economist.com/node/21528267
  12. (Courtesy of The Montreal Gazette) Will you boycott Shell? Honestly thats one question I can't answer. Seeing I get my gas from the evil Exxon (Esso). I just wonder if we would be having this problem, if Power Corp of Canada did not sell Canadian Oil Companies Ltd to Shell back in the 60s.
  13. Harper is on the second day of a three-day tour of Europe, with environmental issues at the centre of the agenda. Most European countries are wary of Canada's mixed record on the Kyoto Protocol for greenhouse gas emissions, with far more political and public support for reductions in Europe than is generally found in this country. Before he left, some environmentalists criticized the prime minister's trip for its own greenhouse gas emissions. They say the air travel involved in taking Harper's retinue to several European cities in three days will generate more than 400 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, as much as 100 cars produce in a year. But Harper and his officials say expressing Canada's position on climate change is crucial, as well as discussing this country's booming trade with Europe, worth some $110 billion in the past year. Speaking to UN delegates in Bonn, Harper said Canada was the first industrialized country to ratify a biodiversity treaty in 1992, and that this country took a varied approach to environment protection, involving all sectors of society, and not just government. "Canada has gone to great lengths to protect and preserve our rich and diverse environment," Harper said in Bonn. "In our country, this is not just a government enterprise. We are partnered with many private individuals, corporations and non-governmental organizations dedicated to environmental philanthropy." CBC's chief political correspondent, Keith Boag, travelling with the prime minister, said there was little about the address that was new in policy terms. "The speech was really just a once-over-lightly about how beautiful Canada is," Boag said. "How many lakes and rivers and streams and mountains and forests and fields and so on [the country] has." The Bernier resignation is still very much on the mind of the prime minister and officials and journalists travelling with him, Boag said. Canada could do more: environmentalists Environmental groups at the Bonn meeting say there is sometimes more words than substance to Canada's positions on biodiversity and other environmental issues. William Jackson with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature said Canada can be proud of its domestic achievements in environmental protection, but its international role in holding up agreements on issues like climate change has raised eyebrows. "I have not seen Canada blocking things to the point [that] decisions are not being made," Jackson says, "but I've seen them expressing their views strongly." Federal Environment Minister John Baird, who is with Harper, dismissed accusations Wednesday that Canada isn't doing enough to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Baird said the Canadian government actions include regulating big polluters, a hydrogen initiative in B.C., encouragement of carbon capture and storage efforts, an electricity grid between Ontario and Manitoba and support for tidal power generation in the Maritimes. Harper was hoping to convince European leaders that his plan for fighting greenhouse gases is a good one, despite criticism from environmentalists. Unlike most of Europe, Canada and the U.S. oppose any new climate change pact that would exclude major polluters, such as China or India. Harper is using this trip to lay the groundwork for the upcoming G8 meeting this summer in Japan, which will focus on climate change. On Wednesday in Bonn, Harper is also meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The two leaders pledged last year to increase co-operation between their two countries on a range of issues, including environmental policy and trade. Harper's next stop will be Rome for meetings with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi before travelling to London where he has meetings scheduled with the Queen and his British counterpart, Gordon Brown, as well as a speech to business leaders at the Canada-United Kingdom Chamber of Commerce. With files from the Canadian Press http://news.sympatico.msn.cbc.ca/abc/world/contentposting.aspx?isfa=1&newsitemid=harper-bonn&feedname=CBC-WORLD-V3&showbyline=True
  14. Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/hypnotist+uses+mind+control+dodge+traffic+ticket/2557611/story.html#ixzz0fNrsZzpY Weird...
  15. Quebec adopts California car emissions standards Rules will gradually lower greenhouse gas emission ceiling for cars Last Updated: Tuesday, December 29, 2009 | 10:17 PM ET Quebec is adopting California's stringent auto-emissions standards next month, in a move to tackle the province's polluting transport sector. When the new emissions standards take effect Jan. 14, Quebec will become the first Canadian province to follow California's lead in reducing greenhouse gases with cleaner light vehicles. The standards will impose increasingly strict limits on maximum greenhouse gas emissions for light vehicles manufactured between 2010 and 2016, and sold in Quebec. By 2016, provincial standards will require light vehicles to produce no more than 127 grams of greenhouse gas per kilometre. New emissions standards for light vehicles in Quebec are modelled after California's stricter regulations.New emissions standards for light vehicles in Quebec are modelled after California's stricter regulations. (Canadian Press)The new rules come after two years of consultation on California's controversial standards, said Line Beauchamp, the province's environment minister. California's emissions program is "really interesting because it is accompanied by a system of penalties, but especially, a system of rewards" for cleaner cars, Beauchamp said in French at a news conference in Montreal on Tuesday. The emission caps apply to a manufacturer's total vehicle fleet, which means companies that manage to come under the limit can either bank their credits, or sell them to others, Beauchamp explained. When the West Coast state first introduced its standards in 2004, it was beset by judicial challenges from the auto industry, a reaction Quebec noted with interest, the environment minister said. But with the advent of Barack Obama as president, and a slow spread of California's standards to other states, Quebec is ready to take the plunge for stricter standards "with much pride," Beauchamp said. The minister noted that several states neighbouring Quebec are among those that have followed California's lead, including Vermont, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Connecticut. The Obama administration has also signalled its intent to adopt equivalent standards for all of the United States by 2012. In Quebec, the transport sector generates about 40 per cent of the province's greenhouse gases, half of which is caused by light vehicles.
  16. Billboards are here to stay, city says A proposed bylaw in provincial capital would ban the signs from its territory JAMES MENNIE, The Gazette Published: 6 hours ago Billboards may become a thing of the past in Quebec City by 2013, but there's no indication it will also happen in Montreal. "The city (of Montreal) has no intention of following suit," city hall spokesperson Darren Becker said, referring to public hearings in Quebec City about whether a total ban on billboards there should go into effect in five years. "We did ask for a review of the trucks that pull billboards down city streets, but no more than that," Becker said. A billboard greets motorists arriving in Montreal via the Bonaventure Expressway. Quebec City is considering outlawing such advertisements.View Larger Image View Larger Image A billboard greets motorists arriving in Montreal via the Bonaventure Expressway. Quebec City is considering outlawing such advertisements. His comments follow reports of a growing wave of corporate criticism of a proposed bylaw in Quebec City that would make it illegal to erect a billboard within its territory. City officials in the provincial capital have defended the law by stating that the architecture and scenic beauty of their municipality shouldn't be hidden behind advertising. Public hearings are being held to debate the bylaw, which the municipality hopes to adopt by the end of this year and put into effect by 2013. However the aesthetic argument doesn't hold water with corporations and companies that rely on billboard advertising for revenue. Billboard companies have already described the bylaw as discriminatory, and suggested they might seek damages from the city for lost revenue. More recently, oil companies have argued that removing the sign panels that advertise pump prices for gasoline at their service stations might not only result in customers being overcharged for gas, but also represent a possible danger to motorists in need of assistance who would no longer be able to see gas stations from a distance. However, Serge Viau, Quebec City's deputy general manager, said the days of billboards are already coming to an end in his municipality. Some former suburbs banned the advertising before being transformed into Quebec City boroughs, Viau said. "We already had the power to eliminate billboards written into our charter," he said. "And we did so; a few years ago we got rid of about 20 of them in downtown Quebec. "And Ste. Foy, when it was still a municipality, had a total ban on billboards." Viau said the latest ban would be total - even on public service messages produced by the provincial government. Viau said all of the city's boroughs were in favour of a total ban, rather than limiting them to particular parts of the city, such as industrial zones. The approach of trying to limit the presence of billboards to certain parts of town was tried by the city of Oakville, Ont., which adopted a bylaw in 2005 ordering billboards only be permitted in industrial zones. The bylaw was adopted after an attempt at a total ban was struck down on constitutional grounds. However, in February, that bylaw was also struck down in Ontario Superior Court, the judge ruling that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms protected virtually all forms of communication. The city has decided to appeal that ruling. [email protected]