EDMONTON — British Columbia Environment Minister Terry Lake sat in personally on hearings Thursday for the controversial Northern Gateway pipeline, saying he wants to send a message that if there’s a catastrophe, B.C. residents will not be left holding the bag.“Our questions will focus around liability insurance coverage, corporate structure and ensuring British Columbians wouldn’t be left holding any kind of bill if in fact there was an adverse event,” Lake told reporters.Lake was joined at the hearings by former provincial attorney general Geoff Plant.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck Earlier Thursday, in a news conference held at the Vancouver Airport, B.C. Premier Christy Clark announced Plant had been hired to oversee the questions the province will ask Northern Gateway president John Carruthers and six Enbridge economists at the hearings.“He’s going to be making sure that we get the answers to the questions that we need,” said Clark.“(He) is one of the finest legal minds in our country. He understands the environment, he understands the government, he understands politics, and our coastline. And the protection of our land base here in British Columbia is deeply important to Geoff.”The team was expected to began questioning the Enbridge experts late Thursday and continue Friday morning.The three-member joint review panel is in the Alberta capital this week to oversee interveners, including the B.C. government, ask questions of Enbridge on the data it is using to make the case for the $6-billion pipeline.Enbridge is looking for federal approval to construct a 1,170-km dual pipeline to ship oilsands crude from the Edmonton area to a marine terminal on the B.C. coast at Kitimat, where it would then be shipped by tanker to emerging markets in Asia.[np-related]The panel has been holding hearings in B.C. and Alberta throughout the year. Critics, including environmentalists and some First Nations, say that given the line will cross wilderness area and almost a thousand waterways, the risk is too high at any price.The Edmonton hearings are focusing on the economics and Plant said the corporate structure is of particular interest, given that Calgary-based Enbridge has created a separate entity to deal with the pipeline.“I’m not worried that they’re creating a shell (entity), but I don’t want them to create a shell, and the people of British Columbia don’t want to face the prospect of someone building a pipeline that isn’t in a position where they can be held directly accountable for some harm caused.”Plant said he also wants to know more about the insurance.“This project has to be supported by insurance. What is Enbridge doing to test that market? What kind of coverage, what liability limits are available? What do we know about that now and can we get some comfort from that, or does it leave us with more questions?” he said.Enbridge estimates that reaching markets in Asia via Northern Gateway would boost Canada’s GDP by $312 billion over 25 years — about $9 billion a year — and bring in $98 billion in government revenue.A study commissioned by British Columbia estimates $81 billion in tax revenue will be accrued by the pipeline over 30 years, with $36 billion going to the federal government, $32 billion to Alberta and just $6 billion to B.C.The project has sparked numerous demonstrations and heated debate in B.C.Clark has said B.C. wants a greater share of the profits and wants hard answers on safety and accident preparedness before her government will consider signing off on the project.She has not said where those profits should come from, but Alberta Premier Alison Redford has said B.C. won’t get a share of Alberta’s oil royalties.Redford said such a revenue sharing deal would effectively rewrite the rules of Confederation.Lake said when the hearings move into B.C. next month, the province will focus more on emergency spill preparedness and other core environmental and safety issues.The joint-panel must submit its final report to the federal government by the end of 2013.Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government is endorsing the need for infrastructure to get oil to the growing Asian market, but has said the Northern Gateway decision will be based on science, not politics— With files from James Keller in Vancouver read more

Air Canada fell the most in almost four weeks after the country’s biggest carrier said yields would continue to decline this year as it packs fuller planes.[np_storybar title=”Airline investors enjoying the flight, but for how long?” link=”https://business.financialpost.com/2014/07/26/airline-investors-enjoying-the-flight-but-for-how-long/”%5DInvestors might be in a mood to celebrate the increased cash flowing back to them and stock gains, but there are concerns that the airlines are rushing too quickly to reward shareholders. Keep reading. [/np_storybar]The shares fell as much as 7.1% in Toronto, their biggest intraday drop since June 12. They were trading at $8.92 at 10:48 a.m., paring a 25% gain this year through yesterday.Yield, or average fare per mile, declined 2.1% in the second quarter, the company said today. Chief Executive Officer Calin Rovinescu said yields will continue to fall this year as the airline adds more economy class seats and operates longer flights with a view to boosting profit.“We are purposely looking at having a lower yield,” Rovinescu said on a conference call. “That is part of the strategy here as we look to have a greater bottom line.”The average length of flights increased 2.5% in the second quarter from the same period a year earlier, reducing yield by 1.5 percentage point, Air Canada said in its earnings statement.Air Canada’s yields in the second quarter were lower than Fadi Chamoun, an analyst at BMO Capital Markets in Toronto, had estimated, “implying a weaker-than-expected June month” particularly in U.S. transborder yields, he said in a note to clients.Air Canada also boosted its 2014 cost-cutting target this year. Rovinescu is working to increase profit by about 15% over five years by expanding the company’s Rouge low- cost unit after deploying five Boeing Co. 777 aircraft with 31% more seats than the plane’s standard version. Air Canada said in May it was planning to refurbish another 12 of its 777s by adding more seats starting next year.The Montreal-based company reported the most profitable quarter in the airline’s history, crediting a demand in all markets, the contribution of its low-cost Rouge subsidiary and falling costs.Air Canada said net income grew to $223 million, or 75 cents per share for the period ended June 30. That compared to a loss of $23 million, or nine cents per share, a year ago.It benefited from a $41-million tax gain, which partially offset higher fuel costs and the impact of lower foreign currency.Adjusting for one-time items, its profit soared 21% to $139 million or 47 cents per share. That compared to $115 million or 41 cents per share a year earlier.Revenues increased 8.1% to $3.3 billion on an 8.5% increase in capacity. However, yield or pricing line declined 2.1%.Air Canada was expected to earn 51 cents in adjusted profits on $3.3 billion of revenues, according to analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.“These financial results highlight the significant and incremental progress being achieved through our various value-enhancing strategies,” Rovinescu said during the conference call.He said investments into providing seamless transfers at Canada’s major hubs is starting to show results.Rovinescu added that Rouge, which has carried two million passengers to leisure routes at lower cost, is exceeding financial expectations.“From a financial point of view, the performance of these routes since the transfer clearly validates our decision.”He also told analysts that the subsidiary is doing a better job of communicating the changes in service levels to premium customers, some of whom have complained.Although it is adding new routes, Air Canada said Rouge will end the year with 28 aircraft — eight Boeing 767s and 20 Airbus 319s — down from its prior forecast of 33. The reduction is being driven to ensure the mainline fleet has enough capacity because 20 Embraer E190 planes are ending service later than planned.David Tyerman of Canaccord Genuity said the results were “up nicely” and in line with expectations.“Overall, the second-quarter results and 2014 guidance might have a positive implication for our outlook,” he wrote in a report.Compiled with files from Bloomberg.com, The Canadian Press read more

OTTAWA — A watchdog group says some local TV stations could close and more than 30,000 people could lose their jobs if Canada’s broadcast regulator adopts changes it wants Canadians to consider.The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission is proposing new regulations that would, among other things, allow consumers to pick the individual channels they want from cable and satellite service providers, on top of a trimmed-down basic service.In a document released Thursday, the CRTC also proposes capping basic TV service rates and banning service providers from airing Canadian advertising over simulcast American programming.Friends of Canadian Broadcasting warns that the combined measures, if enacted, could force up to 19 TV stations to shut their doors.The group says that would result in the loss of more than 31,000 jobs and cost the Canadian economy $2.9 billion by the year 2020.The CRTC stresses that its proposed changes are not set in stone, but are simply a framework for public consultations that have been extended until mid-September. read more

TORONTO — Sears Canada told a judge today that it’s “crucial’ for the beleaguered retailer to start liquidation sales at its stores on Friday, so it can “maximize” benefits for its stakeholders.A Sears lawyer told a hearing in Ontario Superior Court that it wants its agents to start sales of merchandise, furniture, fixtures and equipment as soon as possible.There was no objection from lawyers representing Sears Canada employees or the company’s landlords.All sales would be final and sold in “as is” condition during normal store operating hours.The liquidations would only occur in stores that have been slated for closure.If approved by Justice Glenn Hainey, the sales would begin July 21 and run no later than Oct. 12, with the majority be overseen by a liquidator that was previously in charge of similar sales for now-defunct Target Canada.Current employees in the stores pegged for liquidation will be asked to stay on the job until the sales are complete and the location is shut down.The department store owner has been under creditor protection since June 22 after announcing it was shuttering 59 stores and cutting approximately 2,900 jobs — without severance pay from the company.Last week, Hainey gave the company the green light to begin the process of putting itself up for sale.He also gave the retailer approval to pay $9.2 million in retention bonuses to executives and other key employees.The payout was part of a compromise with retired employees that will see the company continue making some benefit and pension payments to retirees until Sept. 30.Founded in 1952, Sears Canada says it hopes to exit court protection as soon as possible this year. read more

VANCOUVER — The National Energy Board must reconsider whether a proposed natural gas pipeline critical to the development of the Pacific NorthWest liquefied natural gas project falls within provincial or federal jurisdiction, the Federal Court of Appeal has ruled.The judgment marks a setback for the $36-billion LNG development, which secured conditional approval from the federal government last year.“The board did not ask itself whether an arguable case for federal jurisdiction had been made out,” wrote Justice Donald J. Rennie in his decision Wednesday in response to a proceeding launched by Michael Sawyer, who received funding support from the SkeenaWild Conservation Trust.Sawyer argued the Prince Rupert Gas Transmission Project, a roughly 900-kilometre pipeline from Hudson’s Hope, B.C., to a natural gas terminal on the province’s Lelu Island, required federal and not provincial approvals.The province has green-lighted the pipeline project proposed by TransCanada Corp. (TSX:TRP). But the overall venture is still waiting for a final commitment from Pacific NorthWest LNG, which would build and operate the $11-billion facility on Lelu Island, if it proceeds.Pacific NorthWest LNG, whose majority owner is Malaysia-based Petronas, could not be reached for comment. On its website, it says it is conducting an internal review of the project and will then table it to shareholders for a final investment decision.Prior to launching the case, Sawyer had filed an application to the NEB asking it to hold a hearing to determine what jurisdiction the pipeline project falls under. He argued that while the pipeline’s route falls fully within the province, it would ship gas destined to be exported to markets overseas, and therefore should be under federal jurisdiction.The NEB rejected his application, but now must reconsider it due to Rennie’s ruling.“The board is reviewing the court decision and will consider next steps after doing so,” NEB spokesman James Stevenson said Thursday in an email.TransCanada has 60 days to apply for leave to appeal. Spokesman Matthew John said in an email that the company is still reviewing the ruling and considering its options.“It is notable that this decision is not a determination that federal jurisdiction applies,” he said, adding that the NEB only needs to reconsider Sawyer’s case.Follow @AleksSagan on Twitter. read more

VANCOUVER — BC Hydro confirms it has had a change in leadership, but few details have been released.A Hydro spokeswoman says its president and chief executive officer Jessica McDonald is no longer with the company — a decision the provincial government says would have been made by the corporation’s board of directors.Chris O’Riley, who was BC Hydro’s deputy CEO, has now been appointed president in McDonald’s place, but he is not filling the role of chief executive officer.The spokeswoman wouldn’t comment on who would be appointed into the CEO position, saying more information is expected to be released next week.The change comes days after the New Democrat government announced Kenneth Peterson is the new chairman for the Crown utility, replacing Brad Bennett who was a key player in former Liberal premier Christy Clark’s re-election campaign.Before being sworn in this week, Premier John Horgan had pledged to refer BC Hydro’s controversial Site C hydroelectric dam project to the B.C. Utilities Commission to determine if it is economic viable. read more

Some of the most active companies traded Thursday on the Toronto Stock Exchange:Toronto Stock Exchange (15,074.25, down 143.08 points):Aimia Inc. (TSX:AIM). Loyalty programs. Up 32 cents, or 20.13 per cent, to $1.91 on 6.4 million shares. The Montreal-based loyalty program operator swung to a loss of $25.1 million in its latest quarter as it said it’s in talks with a number of potential partners to replace its departing Aeroplan partner Air Canada. CEO David Johnson wouldn’t provide many details of the company’s plans for replacing Air Canada, but said the Aimia will continue to be a multi-airline program. The company expects to reduce annualized costs by $70 million by the end of 2019, in part by cutting its workforce.Primero Mining Corp. (TSX:P). Miner. Down 24.5 cents, or 46.74 per cent, to 21.5 cents on 5.6 million shares.Element Fleet Management Corp. (TSX:EFN). Financial Services. Down 83 cents, or 8.9 per cent, to $8.50 on 5.5 million shares.Manulife Financial Corp. (TSX:MFC). Financial Services. Down $1.21, or 4.72 per cent, to $24.42 on 5.2 million shares.BetaPro Crude Oil. (TSX:HOU). Oil and gas. Down 29 cents, or 4.68 per cent, to $5.91 on 4.7 million shares.Encana Corp. (TSX:ECA). Oil and gas. Down 22 cents, or 1.77 per cent, to $12.20 on 4 million shares.Companies reporting major news:CI Financial Corp. (TSX:CIX). Financial Services. The company has agreed to buy Sentry Investments Corp. in a friendly deal worth about $780 million, adding to its portfolio of mutual funds. CI’s assets under management will rise by 16 per cent to $140 billion when the deal closes, subject to regulatory approvals. read more

TORONTO — Kerr’s Candy social media team is defending the company’s Molasses Kisses treats on Twitter after a newspaper derided it as “the worst Halloween candy.”Kerr’s, which was founded in 1895, promotes the kisses on its website as “traditional Halloween taffy” and says the candies contain 10 per cent real molasses. The company’s used the same recipe to make them for more than 70 years.“They get stuck to the wrapper, they get stuck to your teeth and it’s got this weird earthy taste that’s disgusting to almost everyone under the age of 65,” said Tristin Hopper, a National Post reporter, in a video originally published two years ago.The Post republished the video Thursday with an article by Hopper reasserting his claim and lamenting that the kisses have yet to meet their demise.Twitter users took to Kerr’s Candy social media feed with their take on the article, and whoever is running the account is responding brazenly.“This Halloween don’t scare kids with that wretched Kerr’s molasses candy that you hated as a kid,” wrote one user who goes by Terry, linking to the article.Instead of ignoring the insult, Kerr’s responded with its own dose of sass.“You’re right, Terry, you should keep Molasses Kisses all to yourself. Don’t let the kids have the good candy!” the candy company’s account tweeted back.The response seemed to catch Terry off guard who said he “must respect (Kerr’s) persistence.”The company’s social media team is also doling out love to the candy’s supporters, sharing a GIF of Winnie the Pooh eagerly tying a napkin around his neck as he prepares to chow down on one.Kerr’s appears to be among the few companies who’ve found their voice on Twitter and attracted a following with a more personalized approach.Burger chain Wendy’s, for example, is well-known for roasting people (and competing fast food outlets) on Twitter.When one user recently asked the chain’s Twitter account what they should order at McDonald’s, the company answered “McNothing” and to another who asked the same question, “better at picking places to eat.”But, that approach doesn’t always work and can fall flat if companies try to insert themselves into a broader, serious conversation just to promote their product.In 2014, the hashtag WhyIStayed was trending as people explained the reasons why they remained with abusers.The DiGiorno Pizza account tweeted: “#WhyIStayed You had pizza.”The single tweet infuriated many who felt the company shouldn’t have tried to capitalize on the hashtag. The company deleted the offending tweet shortly afterward and explained they were not aware of the context behind the hashtag.More recently, Hudson’s Bay drew the ire of Twitter users in the wake of Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie’s death after posting a tweet that struck many as insensitive.“Here’s to the King of the Canadian Tuxedo. #RIPGordDownie,” the department store tweeted, along with an image of three denim jackets with brand labels prominently displayed, including one with a lining that featured HBC’s distinctive multi-coloured stripes.The tweet was removed a short time later.With files from Cassandra Szklarski read more

Opposition UNP leader Ranil Wickramasinghe says Minister Maithripala Sirisena should go to Geneva and complain that his human rights is being violated by the government.Speaking at an event in Kandy today Wickramasinghe said that Sirisena had alleged that a private newspaper was attempting to destroy his life. “Politically we are on the opposing sides. But at no point would be say that his life should be harmed. We should see what is happening in the government. If what he is saying is true then his human rights is being violated. He must then go to Geneva. If he has no security here then he must go to Geneva and speak out,” Wickramasinghe said.The UNP leader also urged Sirisena to make a statement in Parliament regarding his concerns as there clearly seems to be a rift in the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party. CLICK HERE FOR AUDIO PART TWOCLICK HERE FOR AUDIO PART THREE Wickramasinghe says if the government house is cracking then the “stones” should be removed, the house demolished and Presidential elections held early.The UNP leader also insisted that he does not intend on taking the UNP to power for personal gains but in the best interest of the party.He also said that the opposition should be ready to take to streets from June and gather support against the government and prepare for an election at any time. (Colombo Gazette) He quoted the Minister as saying that the private newspaper is more pro-government than the State owned Lake House newspapers and is yet trying to harm him. CLICK HERE FOR AUDIO PART ONE Wickramasinghe says that by saying a newspaper which is more pro-government than the State owned Lake House newspaper is trying to harm him, the Minister is trying to say that the government is trying to harm him. read more

The Minister also carried with him the messages of condolence. The Special Envoy of the President, Minister D M Swaminathan paid his last respects to the late former Indian President Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam at the State Funeral in Rameshwaran, India on 30th July 2015, the Foreign Ministry said today.At the State Funeral, the Special Envoy conveyed the condolences of President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Government and people of Sri Lanka through Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and  to the late Indian President’s brother Mohammed Muthu Meera Lebbai Maraicker as well as to the members of the family. read more