Category Archives: agriculture

Saskatchewan’s economy will lead the country in GDP growth in 2018 and 2019 – RBC

RBC projecting Sask. economy to rebound in 2018 and 2019

Projecting a 2.7% growth in both years due to agriculture, with help from oil and gas

CBC News Posted: Dec 12, 2017 10:30 AM CT Last Updated: Dec 12, 2017 10:30 AM CT

Rebounds in the agricultural and mining sectors along with rising investment spending will be the main factors behind the economic rebound in 2018 and 2019, according to the RBC forecast.

Rebounds in the agricultural and mining sectors along with rising investment spending will be the main factors behind the economic rebound in 2018 and 2019, according to the RBC forecast. (Courtesy Paul Dornstauder)

Saskatchewan’s economy will lead the country in GDP growth in 2018 and 2019, according to RBC’s economic forecast.

 

RBC is projecting a growth of 2.7 per cent both years, if all goes well.

The economy is expected to receive a boost from the agriculture sector, with some help from oil and gas in the strengthening energy sector.

“Our view is that rebounds in the agricultural and mining sectors along with rising investment spending will be the main factors accelerating overall GDP growth over the next two years,” the report says.

Capital spending and the construction industry may have a good year, due to improvement in the mining sector as well.

Potash, after a decline in production in 2016, has increased so far this year thanks to a strong global demand and key contracts with China and India, the report says.

In addition, the bank is forecasting employment in the province to rise by half a percentage point and the unemployment rate to remain at 5.7 per cent next year.

Equalization payments – 2018-19 – something’s wrong with this system

As Brad Wall posted on Facebook . . .

Equilization payments 2018-19

Quebec is cutting income taxes, sending cheques to parents, and will balance their budget.

Wondering where they got the money?

This year, Quebec is receiving $11.7 BILLION in equalization, which makes up 11% of their total revenue. That’s $650 MILLION more than last year.

Saskatchewan taxpayers are contributing $580 million to equalization just this year and again receive ZERO dollars in equalization as our finances struggle with the challenge of stubbornly low commodity prices.

Something isn’t right.

Young men in Sask. making more with apprenticeships than bachelor’s degrees: Stats Can

Young men in Sask. making more with apprenticeships than bachelor’s degrees: Stats Can

Sask. deviates from Canada-wide trend, in which those with apprenticeship certificates make 11% less

By Micki Cowan, CBC News Posted: Nov 29, 2017 11:54 AM CT Last Updated: Nov 29, 2017 6:12 PM CT

The number of young men getting apprenticeship certificates in Canada jumped nearly three percentage points since 2006.

The number of young men getting apprenticeship certificates in Canada jumped nearly three percentage points since 2006. (Shutterstock)

Young men in Saskatchewan are increasingly looking to make their fortunes in the trades, according to a new Statistics Canada report released Wednesday — and they seem to be making a bit more here than those with university undergraduate degrees.

Statistics Canada found that last year, 7.8 per cent of men in the country had an apprenticeship certificate, up from 4.9 per cent in 2006.

The proportion of men between 25 to 34 with certificates was even higher in resource-rich Prairie provinces like Saskatchewan.

Here, 11.9 per cent of young men had trades certificates last year, which was the second-highest proportion among provinces in Canada.

Anne Neufeld, vice-president academic of Saskatchewan Polytechnic, said the numbers indicate that more people are seeing the trades as a viable career option.

“There are many people who really like to work with their hands — they like to work outdoors, for example. So these trades opportunities are very, very attractive for these individuals, and their long-term career prospects are very, very strong,” Neufeld said.

She said 94 per cent of graduates from Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s programs have jobs within six months.

“So we’re not only attracting them, we’re graduating them, they’re finding well-paid jobs and they’re staying in the province to support the economy,” she said.

Fortune seeking

In Saskatchewan, the report found men were also making more money with apprenticeship certificates than with bachelor’s degrees — bucking the Canadian trend.

The median annual earnings for apprenticeship certificate holders in Saskatchewan was $86,059, compared with $84,825 for those with a bachelor’s degree.

Neufeld said Saskatchewan Polytechnic graduates’ starting salaries are just under $50,000 per year.

Canada-wide, men with apprenticeship certificates earned 11 per cent less than men with bachelor’s degrees.

Women’s trades stats lower

The percentage of women with apprenticeship certificates across the country is still much lower than men. According to the Stats Can report, that number has been stable since 2006 at less than two per cent.

Saskatchewan has more women with trades training, but the proportion dropped in the past decade from 2.7 per cent to 2.3 per cent. However, more women have a bachelor’s degree or a more advanced degree, with that number going from 24.6 per cent to 35 per cent.

‘We need to first create the role models.’– Anne Neufeld, Sask. Polytechnic

Neufeld said her school is prioritizing getting more women into the trades, although she said that takes time.

She noted that she is the first female vice-president academic the school has ever had.

She said boys often have an uncle or father in the trades they can look up to.

“Our goal is that we can have young girls and women who would have an aunt, a mother, an older sister in that field — so we need to first create the role models, and then I believe that will attract more girls and younger women into this fabulous career choice,” she said.

One method the school is using is summer camps that allow school-aged girls to give carpentry or welding a try.

Across Canada, women with apprenticeships had lower earnings than those with degrees, according to Statistics Canada.

The report said this shows women are apprenticing in lower-paying trades. Nearly three in 10 women chose hairstyling as their apprenticeship, with median earnings of $34,319.

China’s Belt Road Initiative – It’s Huge

Chinese Spending Lures Countries to Its Belt and Road Initiative

By Bloomberg News

May 10, 2017

Chinese President Xi Jinping’s plan to revive an ancient trade route connecting the Middle Kingdom, Central Asia and Europe has morphed into a sweeping campaign to boost global trade and economic growth. While globalization is losing public support in the U.S. and Europe, Xi’s“Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) has met with increasing acceptance from both developing and developed countries hoping to cash in on Chinese largesse.

China silk road 1

Hundreds of leaders and dignitaries from 110 participant countries will gather at a summit in Beijing this month to discuss the grand plan. Countries along the routes account for 16 percent of the global economy today and about a fifth of global trade. But with about 43 percent of the world’s population, China is betting that’s set to increase.

Indeed, China’s outreach seems to have no geographic limits, with New Zealand and South Africa among those to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with China to jump on the “Belt and Road” bandwagon.

China silk road 2

From Bangladesh to Belarus, railways, refineries, bridges, industrial parks and much else is being built. In Colombo, a new city larger than Monaco is taking shape near Sri Lanka’s main port. With an estimated total investment of $13 billion spanning about 25 years, the new city is shaping up as the poster child for the China’s grand plan.

A freight route linking China’s eastern coast and London has already started operating. Stretching over 12,000 kilometers and passing through nine countries, the railway allows cargo to travel across the Eurasia continent in 18 days.

China silk road 3

But it’s not going to be all good news, if history is any guide. From Africa to Latin America, China has a checkered history when it comes to its foreign investments. In Venezuela, a high-speed railway project was abandoned. The Latin American country, also one of the largest recipients of Chinese lending, defaulted last year on a payment of principal in an oil-for-loan program due to a mounting economic crisis at home.

Even in Myanmar, where demand for Chinese money to develop infrastructure is huge, a $3.6 billion dam project was halted after local protests over environment concerns.

China silk road 4

Doubters claim the “Belt and Road Initiative” is all about China exporting its industrial overcapacity and seeking to generate new contracts for its bloated state-owned industries or worse, forcing more and more neighbors into its strategic orbit. Optimists see Chinese investment unlocking economic growth across a vast region with a young population. For Xi, this month’s summit is a chance to persuade a skeptical world that globalization indeed does have a new champion.

 

 

 

Saskatchewan will have the second-highest economic growth rate in the country in 2017

NEWS RELEASE 17-96

Western Provinces to Lead Economic Growth In 2017

http://www.conferenceboard.ca/press/newsrelease/17-05-29/western_provinces_to_lead_economic_growth_in_2017.aspx

BHP jansen at sunrise

Ottawa, May 29, 2017—Alberta and Saskatchewan are expected to emerge out of recession and lead the provinces in economic growth this year, according to The Conference Board of Canada’s Provincial Outlook: Spring 2017. British Columbia is forecast to see growth ease this year, but the province will still tie with Saskatchewan for second place.

“The difficulties in the resources sector are slowly dissipating and helping Alberta and Saskatchewan emerge out of recession. However, the turnaround is still in its early stages and a full recovery will take time,” said Marie-Christine Bernard, Associate Director, Provincial Forecast, The Conference Board of Canada. “Economic prospects are also improving across the country, but continued weakness in business investment—both in and out of the resources sector—could hurt economic growth in all provinces down the road.”

Highlights

  • Alberta will have the fastest growing provincial economy this year, with real GDP forecast to increase by 3.3 per cent.
  • Saskatchewan and British Columbia’s economy will tie for second place, both expected to grow at 2.5 per cent this year.
  • With the exception of Newfoundland and Labrador, all provinces will see their economy expand this year.

Following two years of contractions, Alberta’s economy is expected to outperform all provinces and grow by 3.3 per cent this year. Non-conventional oil production in the province will see a big increase this year thanks to new capacity coming online, while energy investment is expected to make a comeback this year and next. Outside of the energy sector, Alberta is benefiting from improvements in labour markets, consumer demand, and the housing sector. A bright outlook for the province’s manufacturing sector as a result of the new Sturgeon refinery, along with the rebuilding efforts in Fort McMurray, will also contribute to Alberta’s strong economic growth this year.

Saskatchewan’s economy is on a more solid foundation than it was one year ago. The energy outlook is more positive as drilling bounced back last winter and oil production is expected to increase at a good pace over the near term. As well, adaptation to the low-oil-price environment has led to growing investment into cost-effective thermal extraction technology, which will provide a significant boost to construction over the next three years. The province’s labour markets are also starting to turn around, boosting growth in household spending. In all, Saskatchewan’s economy is forecast to grow by 2.5 per cent in 2017.

After growing by 3.7 per cent in 2016, real GDP growth in British Columbia is expected to reach 2.5 per cent in 2017.  British Columbia’s housing market has lost some steam, but has proven to be more resilient to cooling measures. Still, the slowdown in housing activity will be felt in other parts of the provincial economy. Employment, wages, and household spending are all expected to see growth ease. The province’s forestry industry will also struggle over the near term as it deals with the duties on Canadian softwood lumber.

Ontario’s economy will continue to perform well, but it is forecast to lose some speed and grow by 2.3 per cent in 2017. Consumer finances are stretched and the hot housing market in southern Ontario is expected to cool as the new measures to re-balance the market take place. Exports have been growing at a stronger pace than the national average, but the lack of business investment will limit growth prospects going forward.

Manitoba’s economy is forecast to expand by a solid 2.1 per cent in 2017, slightly lower than last year’s growth. The province will continue to see strong construction activity as investment in the Keeyask dam ramps up and work continues on the Bipole III transmission line. Manufacturing will remain a growth driver for the province, with bright spots in transportation, equipment manufacturing and food processing.

Quebec saw an improvement in economic growth last year and this will continue in 2017, with real GDP forecast to advance by 1.8 per cent this year. Consumer spending will continue to be one of the pillars of growth for the province, as tax cuts and strong job creation leave Quebeckers with more spending money in 2017. This, in turn, will provide a boost to the province’s services-based industries. However, the probability that greater protectionist measures will be put in place in the U.S. in the coming years presents a significant downside risk to the province’s export outlook.

The Atlantic provinces will see only modest expansion over the next two years as they deal with an aging population that is limiting growth in labour supply.

Newfoundland and Labrador will be only province in recession this year, contracting by 3.0 per cent. However, the province will benefit from oil production at the Hebron project starting next year and real GDP is forecast to bounce back strongly.

Nova Scotia’s outlook is among the weakest in Canada, forecast to advance by only 0.5 per cent this year. Although ongoing shipbuilding work in Halifax is providing a boost to the manufacturing sector, the province’s construction industry is facing declines over the next two years as major projects are completed and there are few major investments on the horizon.

Despite New Brunswick’s goods-producing sector facing better prospects over the next two years, weak business investment and shifting demographics will limit GDP growth to 1.0 per cent this year.

Prince Edward Island has the best growth prospects among the Atlantic provinces, with real GDP forecast to expand by 1.8 per cent in 2017. The Island’s economy is being bolstered by tourism as well as by a strong performance in the manufacturing sector, especially in the food products and in aerospace services.

 

For more information contact

Corporate Communications
613-526-3280
corpcomm@conferenceboard.ca

 

 

 

Farming the World: China’s Epic Race to Avoid a Food Crisis

Farming the World: China’s Epic Race to Avoid a Food Crisis

By Bloomberg News

May 22, 2017

https://www.bloomberg.com/graphics/2017-feeding-china/?cmpid=socialflow-linkedin-business+&utm_content=business&utm_campaign=socialflow-organic&utm_source=linkedin&utm_medium=social

China’s 1.4 billion people are building up an appetite that is changing the way the world grows and sells food. The Chinese diet is becoming more like that of the average American, forcing companies to scour the planet for everything from bacon to bananas.

But China’s efforts to buy or lease agricultural land in developing nations show that building farms and ranches abroad won’t be enough. Ballooning populations in Asia, Africa and South America will add another 2 billion people within a generation and they too will need more food.

China food 1

That leaves China with a stark ultimatum: If it is to have enough affordable food for its population in the second half of this century, it will need to make sure the world grows food for 9 billion people.

Its answer is technology.

China’s agriculture industry, from the tiny rice plots tended by 70-year-old grandfathers to the giant companies that are beginning to challenge global players like Nestle SA and Danone SA, is undergoing a revolution that may be every bit as influential as the industrial transformation that rewrote global trade.

The change started four decades ago when the country began to recast its systems of production and private enterprise. Those reforms precipitated an economic boom, driven by factories, investment and exports, but the changes down on the farm were just as dramatic.

Land reforms lifted production of grains like rice and wheat, and millions joined a newly wealthy middle class that ate more vegetables and pork and wanted rare luxuries like beef and milk.

China food 2

When Du Chunmei was a little girl, pork was a precious gift only for the elders of her village in Sichuan during the Lunar New Year holiday. The family pig would be slaughtered, and relatives and neighbors would pack their house for a feast.

“Meat used to be such a rarity,” said Du, now 47 and an employee of state oil company PetroChina Co. whose family celebrated the holiday this year at a restaurant. “Now it’s so common we try to cut back to stay healthy.”

But the breakneck pace of the country’s development brought some nasty side effects. Tracts of prime land were swallowed by factories. Fields were polluted by waste, or by farmers soaking the soil in chemicals. The country became a byword for tainted food, from mercury-laced rice to melamine-infused milk powder.

So how can China produce enough safe food for its growing population if they all start eating like Americans?

The simple answer is it can’t.

It takes about 1 acre (half a hectare) to feed the average U.S. consumer. China only has about 0.2 acres of arable land per citizen, including fields degraded by pollution.

So China’s Communist government has increasingly shifted its focus to reforming agriculture, and its approach divides into four parts: market controls; improving farm efficiency; curbing land loss; and imports.

Operations At A Hesheng Agriculture Co. Farm

A bucolic scene of goatherders returning with their flock in the evening is just one part of Penglai Hesheng Agricultural Technology Development Co.’s 70,000 hectare showcase farm that is rearing local breeds of livestock and experimenting with the cultivation of dozens of types of crops.

In each case, technology is the key to balancing the food equation. The nation is spending billions on water systems, seeds, robots and data science to roll back some of the ravages of industry and develop sustainable, high-yield farms.

It needs to succeed quickly, because China’s chief tool during the past decade for boosting domestic production is backfiring.

China has a goal of being self-sufficient in staple foods like rice, corn and wheat. To ensure farmers grew those crops, it paid a minimum price for the grains and then stored the excess in government silos.

Farmers responded, saturating their small plots with fertilizers and pesticides to reap bumper crops that filled government reserves to bursting.

China food 4

Total state grain reserves were estimated to be to be more than 600 million tons last year, enough for more than a year’s supply. About half the stockpile is corn, which the government is trying to sell before it rots, forcing provinces to turn the grain into motor fuel.

“We have exhausted our resources and environment and used as much fertilizer and pesticide as possible to address supply shortages,” Han Jun, deputy director of the Office of the Central Rural Work Leading Group, wrote in the government-backed People’s Daily on Feb. 6. “We urgently need to increase production of green and good-quality agriculture products.”

But first it needs to preserve what little farmland it has.

China food 5

China only has about 0.2 acres of arable land per citizen, including fields degraded by pollution. Areas like this one on the outskirts of Shanghai are becoming typical with small farmed plots being gobbled up by encroaching construction.

China lost 6.2 percent of its farmland between 1997 and 2008, according to a report by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization and the OECD. And local governments continue to swallow fields for more-profitable real-estate developments. The Chinese Ministry of Agriculture did not respond to requests for comment on this story.

Officially, the rate of land conversion has slowed since 2007, when China announced a goal of “maintaining 1.8 billion mu of farmland” (120 million hectares). But local governments that have relied for years on land sales to fund growth can circumvent restrictions by counting marginal land as arable, or re-zoning urban areas as farms.

More alarming for the nation’s planners are reports that almost 20 percent of China’s remaining arable land is contaminated.

China food 6

China is shifting from building grain stockpiles to focusing on quality, efficiency and sustainable development, said Tang Renjian, a former official at the Central Rural Work Leading Group, the country’s top rural decision-making body.

Government studies in 2014 found that some vegetable plots were dosed with high levels of heavy metals such as cadmium, just one of a series of poison scares that has made the public wary of domestically produced food.

Over the years, local TV stations and social media fanned the fears, reporting a sickening array of scandals, from soy sauce produced with human hair to tofu made with sewage, and cat and rat meat passed off as rabbit and lamb.

China food 8

“Chinese people are much more aware of food-safety problems today than a decade ago,” said Sam Geall, a research fellow at the U.K.’s University of Sussex who focuses on China’s environment and agriculture. “They pay more attention to where their food is coming from, and they are often willing to pay more for safety.”

Chinese-owned businesses are taking notice, seeking out overseas investments that they can turn into premium brands on supermarket shelves at home.

Ningbo chemical baron Lu Xianfeng’s Moon Lake Investments Pty bought Australia’s biggest dairy operation last year, while Wan Long’s WH Group Ltd. became the world’s largest pork producer with the purchase of Virginia-based Smithfield Foods Inc.

China food 7
WH Group’s 2013 purchase of Virginia-based Smithfield was part of a $52 billion overseas spending spree by Chinese food companies since 2005 as China’s population became wary of home-produced food. This WH Group factory in Zhengzhou, China, makes American-style pork products from imported Smithfield meat.

“The Chinese consumer has grown very cynical about the safety of food from their own country,” said Sean Shwe, managing director of Moon Lake, which flies fresh milk from Tasmania to China. “The food trade into China has become very lucrative.”

A change in diet is accelerating the search for overseas supplies. Beef sales to China have risen 19,000 percent in the past decade. Imports of soybeans, used in animal feed, have grown so fast that the government quietly dropped the grain from its self-sufficiency list in 2014.

“China needs to import as it is unable to produce everything from its limited farmland,” said Li Xiande, a researcher with the Institute of Agricultural Economics and Development, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, who said the country bought 106 million tons of cereals and soybeans abroad in 2016. “The country aims at self-sufficiency in staple grains and all other imports would be based on market demand.”

But China will face increasing competition from a population explosion across dozens of countries in the Southern Hemisphere.

By 2050, 14 of the world’s 20 biggest metropolises will be in Asia and Africa, with Jakarta, Manila, Karachi, Kinshasa and Lagos joining Tokyo, Shanghai and Mumbai, according to a projection by Demographia.

By then, the planet could have as many as 9.7 billion mouths to feed, according to a United Nations report. Factor in changing diets and we will need to raise global food output by 70 percent from 2009 levels, according to an FAO estimate.

The world got a taste of what might be to come a decade ago, when smaller harvests and a rapid adoption of biofuels led to a global food shock, with riots over price increases in some developing nations.

China food 9

Constrained by a shortage of land and the effects of pollution, Chinese farms are adopting methods of indoor cultivation that can produce a lot of food safely in a limited space. In this Hesheng greenhouse, workers develop techniques to grow organic tomatoes.

That was one impetus behind China’s so-called land grab, where it bought or leased land in countries like Mozambique to secure grain supplies. Yet many of the projects backed by the Chinese government are aimed more at increasing production in poor countries and building China’s global influence than supplying its supermarkets.

The real effort to create another green revolution is happening back home, where entrepreneurs are embracing technology to transform the nation’s rural landscape.

China’s new breed of farmer isn’t staring at the sky to predict rain, he’s using a micro-irrigation system based on an array of soil sensors that feed data wirelessly to his smartphone. He’s growing vegetables in climate-controlled shipping containers and using drones to apply computer-formulated doses of pesticides.

Such farms are still a tiny minority, partly because of the difficulty in acquiring enough land to run an efficient operation. Beijing’s policy since 2014 has been to promote “appropriate sized” family farms of about 13 hectares or less depending on location.

China food 10

But most Chinese farms are much smaller. China’s 260 million rural households work 120 million hectares of farmland—making the size of the average plot per rural family less than half a hectare, according to Zhong Funing, head of the International Research Centre for Food and Agricultural Economics at Nanjing Agricultural University.

New laws in November have eased the ability of companies to acquire larger tracts of land, but the government remains wary of change that would unsettle its vast rural population.

Even with a modest average farm size of 13 hectares, the country would need fewer than 10 million families working the land.

China food 11

“How can the rest of farmers find jobs in cities if they abandon the land?” Zhong said. As a result, the development of large, high-tech farms may be slow, he said.

In the meantime, China’s best option may be the same as for many developed nations—improve people’s diet.

“The demand among the middle class in China to move up the food chain is a matter of status and wealth,” said Jeremy Rifkin, author of “Beyond Beef: The Rise and Fall of the Cattle Culture.” “It’s not sustainable.”

In China, the National Health and Family Planning Commission began a campaign in 2015 to encourage citizens to cut back on meat and unhealthy foods and eat more vegetables and fruit to counter rising levels of obesity and diabetes.

The cycle has brought Du in Chengdu full circle.

China food 12

Du Chunmei tends her organic farm on the roof of her husband’s factory in Chengdu after becoming disillusioned with the quality of supermarket food. “Being able to plant your own food is a luxury. You need to find space.”

Now her family again buys a pig each year, but not for the New Year feast. She does it to be sure of what the animal ate, insisting the farmer feeds it only corn and vegetables for eight months before slaughter.

With the help of her 75-year-old mother, Du grows peppers, cabbage, eggplants and pumpkins on the roof of her husband’s factory. Some two dozen chickens and ducks share the space, pecking on organic feed.

“There’s so much pesticides, pollutants and fertilizer in the food sold in supermarkets,” Du said. “Being able to grow your own food is a luxury.”

 

 

 

Liberals release carbon-tax plan, brace for legal battle with Saskatchewan

Liberals release carbon-tax plan, brace for legal battle with Saskatchewan

SHAWN MCCARTHY

OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail

Published Thursday, May 18, 2017 12:37PM EDT

Last updated Thursday, May 18, 2017 12:43PM EDT

 

Preparing for a promised legal battle with Saskatchewan, federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna says she’s confident Ottawa has the authority to impose a carbon price across the country, even when that levy would apply to provincially owned utilities.

The minister on Thursday released a technical paper on Ottawa’s proposed carbon tax, which will apply in provinces where premiers refused to adopt their own plan, or add to provincial levies where provincial governments adopt carbon-pricing programs that do not meet minimum federal standards.

In an interview, Ms. McKenna said the federal government is on “very strong ground” constitutionally, despite Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall’s argument that its carbon-pricing plan would intrude on provincial jurisdiction, especially as it relates to government-owned SaskPower, which relies heavily on coal for its electricity generation.

“If they are imposing this tax, our response is ‘see you in court,’” a spokeswoman for Mr. Wall said in an e-mail. Saskatchewan is the only province that refuses to consider a carbon price – whether a tax or cap-and-trade approach – but several others have not committed to meeting Ottawa’s minimum pricing standards.

Ms. McKenna said the federal government has clear authority to regulate on cross-border environmental matters in order to reduce pollution. She said all revenue would be returned to the province in which it is collected, and added the government is considering providing direct rebates to households and business to offset the impact of rising energy costs.

“This is not a tax; this is a levy and the revenue is going back into the province,” the federal minister said. “As the federal government, we need to be taking action to protect the environment and it is well within our jurisdiction to do so. But we hope Saskatchewan will design a system that works best for them.”

Under the federal plan, either Ottawa or provincial governments that have no pricing system would introduce the carbon levy next year, beginning at $10 per tonne and rising to $50 per tonne by 2022. A $50 per tonne carbon price would add 11.6-cents per litre of gasoline, and would also hit natural gas, and electricity generated from coal or natural gas.

Provinces can also opt to adopt a cap-and-trade plan, which keeps prices lower because companies can purchase cheaper “allowances” from California. Alberta and British Columbia have carbon taxes, while Ontario and Quebec have cap-and-trade systems that require fuel distribution companies to purchase permits, the cost of which get passed along in the price of gasoline and home heating fuel.

The paper released Tuesday proposes a hybrid carbon levy, similar to one adopted in Alberta.

Fuel distributors would have to collect the tax from consumers. Farmers would be exempt from paying the tax on fuel used in farm operations, while Ottawa is still considering how to cover fuel used on interprovincial flights within Canada. International flights are covered by an industry-wide cap-and-trade plan.

In order to protect competitiveness, Ottawa would only tax a small portion of emissions from large industrial plants that consume a lot of fossil fuels and face global competition. As in Alberta, the amount of the levy would depend on how emissions-intensive a company is compared to others in its sector, with more-efficient operators getting a bigger break.

Conservative politicians have attacked the Liberal carbon-price plan as an unwelcome burden that will make the country less competitive, particularly as President Donald Trump and the Republican-led Congress promise deregulation and tax cuts in the United States.

Ms. McKenna said carbon pricing is the most economically efficient way to reduce emissions that cause climate change, a view that has been endorsed by some prominent business leaders, including executives from Canada’s biggest oil sands producers. She noted many major economies – including the European Union, Mexico, China and California – are moving forward on carbon levies.

“Everyone realizes you want to put a price on pollution because pollution isn’t free,” Ms. McKenna said. “We know it’s causing droughts, fires and floods, and that our Arctic is melting in our country, and across the world. And also pollution has a very significant impacts on our health.

“And if you’re going to have a serious climate plan, you need to put prices on pollution because it also creates the incentive for companies to innovate and provide clean solutions, and provides certainty to business that we’re serious about moving to a cleaner economy.”

 

 

 

Grain Millers announces $100-million expansion to Saskatchewan oat plan

Grain Millers expands Sask. oat plant

Posted Mar. 24th, 2017 by Robert Arnason

http://www.producer.com/daily/grain-millers-expands-sask-oat-plant/

Grain Millers, one the largest oat buyers in Western Canada, has quietly announced a $100 million expansion of its plant in Yorkton, Sask.

In a news release issued Friday afternoon, Grain Millers Canada Corp. said the project would add 80,000 tonnes of production capacity to its mill, where it manufactures a range of conventional and organic oat products.

“We’ve operated in Saskatchewan for 20 years,” said Terry Tyson, grain procurement director for Grain Millers.

“Yorkton is in the heart of oat country and, with the skilled workforce we have here, it is a great location for us to continue growing our milling business.”

Grain Millers has headquarters near Minneapolis and it operates mills in the U.S. Midwest, Oregon, Mexico and Yorkton. Along with Richardson International, it is one of the largest oat processors in Western Canada.

“This expansion is the latest in a series of capacity and capability investments for (Grain Millers),” said Steve Eilertson, company president.

A bigger oat mill means that Yorkton, already home to two major canola crushing plants, becomes an even larger destination for prairie grains and oilseeds.

The Grain Millers expansion will create 25 new and permanent jobs, along with 110 jobs during construction.

“Our government welcomes this large $100 million investment,” said Premier Brad Wall in a statement.

“Our government has worked hard to strengthen the Saskatchewan Advantage and we will continue to ensure we have a competitive environment for projects like this one.”

Grains Millers said the project should be complete by late 2018.

 

 

 

Below normal runoff potential across most of Saskatchewan

Below Normal Snowpack Impacting Spring Runoff Outlook in Most of the Province

Released on February 9, 2017

Today, the Water Security Agency (WSA) released the 2017 preliminary outlook for spring runoff.

Most of the province received below normal snowfall resulting in a below normal runoff potential across most of Saskatchewan.  Many areas saw the snowpack almost completely melt or lost to sublimation in January due to above normal temperatures.  This melting of snowpack would have saturated the soil surface, reducing the infiltration capacity available for the melt of any late season snow.

The southeast portion of Saskatchewan is the exception.  The snowpack in the southeast is near normal, increasing to well above normal in the very southeast corner.  Above normal runoff is expected in the lower Souris River Basin below Rafferty and Alameda Dams, including the Antler River, Gainsborough Creek, and Lightning Creek basins.

spring-runoff-projection-2017
This is a preliminary outlook and the snowpack could continue to develop for another 6 to 10 weeks.  Also, it is important to note that a majority of the province was wetter than normal going into freeze-up in November of 2016.  Higher than normal precipitation going forward and/or a rapid spring melt could significantly increase the runoff potential.

Although the snowpack in most areas is below normal, even a below normal runoff could compound flooding issues in regions with closed basins as many of these areas are at well above normal or record levels following several high runoff years.

The Water Security Agency will be coming out with the 2017 Spring Runoff Forecast in March.  For more information on spring runoff or stream flows and lake levels visit www.wsask.ca.

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For more information, contact:

Patrick Boyle
Water Security Agency
Moose Jaw
Phone: 306-694-8914
Email: Patrick.Boyle@wsask.ca
Cell: 306-631-6997

 

 

 

Climatologist quits over “craziness” in field of climate science

The video interview is below.

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