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Kitimat LNG touts reserves in effort to bolster request for 40-year export licence
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By BRENT JANG
  
  

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Thursday, July 18, 2019 – Page B2

A joint venture led by Chevron Corp. is proposing to rely on two energy plays in British Columbia and Alberta to help supply an export terminal for liquefied natural gas on the West Coast.

Chevron is the operator of the Kitimat LNG venture located at Bish Cove near the community of Kitimat, B.C., coowning the project with Australia's Woodside Petroleum Ltd.

The Liard Basin in northeastern B.C. and the Kaybob Duvernay play in central Alberta are rich in natural gas reserves, Chevron said in a filing this week to the National Energy Board (NEB).

The California-based company, through Chevron Canada Ltd., submitted a nine-page document to support its recent NEB application to increase Kitimat LNG's export licence to 40 years from the previously approved 20 years.

"Chevron and Woodside currently together own an approximately 146,000 net-hectare position in the core of the B.C. portion of the Liard Basin," Chevron said in its filing dated July 15. "In addition to the Liard Basin holdings, Chevron has an approximately 84,000 net-hectare position in the Kaybob Duvernay resource in Alberta."

In 2011, Kitimat LNG became the first B.C. LNG project to receive an export licence from the NEB.

Chevron became a co-owner of the project in 2013 and Woodside joined in April, 2015, but the two companies suspended most construction work by late 2015 at the terminal site at Bish Cove after prices in Asia for LNG plunged.

In April of this year, Kitimat LNG requested that the 20year export licence be extended to 40 years. To bolster the application, Chevron said this week that its lease holdings with Woodside amount to marketable natural gas of 1.07 trillion cubic metres (38 trillion cubic feet) in the Liard Basin alone.

Chevron estimates its current share of shale gas production in the Kaybob Duvernay is more than two million cubic metres (75 million cubic feet) a day: "In the future, this production may also partially supply the Kitimat LNG terminal."

If needed, Kitimat LNG will also secure supplies from other producers in the Western Canada Sedimentary Basin.

Last week, Chevron submitted a revised plan to B.C. and federal regulators, aiming to start terminal construction by 2023. The new plan calls for electric-motor-driven technology to supercool natural gas into liquid form, relying on hydroelectricity from BC Hydro instead of using natural gaspowered turbines.

Kitimat LNG and other backers of B.C.'s fledgling LNG sector have been trying to alleviate concerns about greenhouse gas emissions, address worries over hydraulic fracturing at natural gas well sites and deal with opposition among some Indigenous groups to pipeline routes.

The Chevron-Woodside site at Bish Cove is located on Haisla Nation reserve land near Kitimat. The elected Haisla band council supports Kitimat LNG and also backs the Royal Dutch Shell PLC-led LNG Canada project, which is being built on industrial land in Kitimat on the Haisla's traditional territory.

Chevron and Woodside are also proposing construction of the Pacific Trail Pipeline (PTP) to transport natural gas from the Summit Lake area in the B.C. Interior to Bish Cove.

In this week's filing to the NEB, Chevron said the 471-kilometre PTP would be configured to connect with TC Energy Corp.'s planned 260-kilometre Merrick pipeline route in northeastern B.C. The Merrick project hinges on Kitimat LNG and PTP forging ahead.

Kitimat LNG expects to undergo front-end engineering and design in 2020-21, and then start negotiating for export contracts for the fuel as it strives to make a final investment decision in 2022-23 on whether to begin construction of the terminal.

CHEVRON (CVX) CLOSE: US$124.14, DOWN 62 US CENTS


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Chevron seeks to revive Kitimat LNG with plans for electric plant
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By BRENT JANG
  
  

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Monday, July 15, 2019 – Page B1

VANCOUVER -- Chevron Corp. has submitted a revised plan to regulators to build a terminal to export liquefied natural gas from northern British Columbia, hoping to start construction by 2023.

California-based Chevron, through Chevron Canada Ltd., wants to revive the much-delayed Kitimat LNG project that it coowns with Australia's Woodside Petroleum Ltd. New designs for the export terminal promote electric-motor technology in a bid to comply with British Columbia's clampdown on carbon emissions.

Various owners have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into site preparation near Kitimat, but the project been stalled for the past couple of years. Chevron and Woodside are now pursuing "an all-electric plant powered by clean, renewable hydroelectricity from BC Hydro," Chevron regulatory manager Darcy Janko said in a letter last week to the B.C.

Environmental Assessment Office.

Mr. Janko said the electric drive "features an advanced compact module design, with lower LNG storage requirements."

In 2014, there were more than 20 B.C. LNG proposals vying to be the first out of the gates.

Despite much hype from the previous BC Liberal government, only the Royal Dutch Shell PLC-led LNG Canada consortium is constructing a terminal to export the fuel to Asia.

The Chevron-Woodside site is at Bish Cove, located on Haisla Nation reserve land near Kitimat.

LNG Canada's terminal is being built on a Kitimat industrial site that is located on the Haisla's traditional territory.

While the BC NDP government supports LNG Canada, the province has discouraged any new LNG projects in an effort to meet provincial climate targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Chevron-led Kitimat LNG, also known as KLNG, said in a 186page filing to B.C. and federal regulators that it would operate at a level below British Columbia's limit for "emissions intensity" of 0.16 carbon-dioxide equivalent tonnes for each tonne of LNG produced.

"The KLNG plant will outperform current best-in-class global LNG plants and the more stringent government of B.C.'s LNG intensity benchmark," according to the submission. "The KLNG expansion project will utilize electric-motor-drive technology for all liquefaction process and utility compressors, pumps and fans, and will purchase power from BC Hydro."

The filing said that Kitimat LNG staff made changes resulting in "substantial reductions in LNG unit costs, execution risk and emissions, and more effective utilization of the Bish Cove site." Chevron and Woodside plan to make a final investment decision in 2022-23, with the goal to complete construction of the first phase by 2029.

Shell-led LNG Canada will use natural gas in the liquefaction process in which high-efficiency General Electric LMS100 turbines supercool gas into liquid form, while relying on hydroelectricity for a supporting role, including auxiliary power.

LNG Canada is aiming for 0.15 carbon-dioxide equivalent tonnes for each tonne of LNG produced. Last month, federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau confirmed that Ottawa will contribute $220-million toward the gas turbines through the Strategic Innovation Fund. LNG Canada plans to begin exports by early 2025.

Kitimat LNG originally targeted having an export capacity of 10 million tonnes a year of LNG.

The revised plan calls for the first phase to have a capacity of 12 million tonnes a year, followed by further expansion that would increase the total to 18 million tonnes a year.

The first phase would have two "trains," or separate LNG cooling processes, which turn natural gas into a liquid for eventual export. Each train is being designed to handle six million tonnes a year of LNG exports to Asia.

One small-scale B.C. proposal, Woodfibre LNG near Squamish, is considered by industry experts to be viable in the short term.

Woodfibre plans to export 2.1 million tonnes a year.

Kitimat LNG, which received an export licence from the National Energy Board in 2011, has gone through a series of ownership changes. In 2015, Woodside bought a 50-per-cent stake in the project from Houston-based Apache Corp.

The B.C. Environmental Assessment Office has requested to take the lead in the review of the expanded proposal, and co-ordinate with the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA), which must first determine whether a federal assessment is required.

If federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna approves the provincial regulator taking the lead, "British Columbia also commits to provide an assessment report and aboriginal consultation record," Kevin Jardine, associate deputy minister for the B.C. environmental office, said in a letter dated July 10 to CEAA president Ron Hallman.

Mr. Hallman and Ms. McKenna have not filed responses yet.

Kitimat LNG's proposed Pacific Trail Pipeline would transport natural gas from the Summit Lake area in the B.C. Interior to the export site at Bish Cove.

Part of Pacific Trail's route would go through the Wet'suwet'en Nation's unceded territory.

Seven Wet'suwet'en hereditary house chiefs have led a campaign to oppose TC Energy Corp.'s Coastal GasLink, which is being constructed to carry natural gas from northeast B.C. to LNG Canada's Kitimat site.

Those hereditary chiefs also oppose Pacific Trail, but Kitimat LNG said 16 elected band councils along the route support the pipeline venture.

Associated Graphic

Chevron and Woodside Petroleum plan to build their export terminal for liquefied natural gas at Bish Cove, above, which is located on Haisla Nation reserve land near Kitimat B.C.

AMBER BRACKEN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL


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U.S. equity firms, First Nations to buy Crown facility
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Ottawa strikes deal for coal terminal in B.C. seven years after it first announced plan to sell
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Saturday, July 13, 2019 – Page B3

VANCOUVER -- The federal government has reached a deal to sell a coal export terminal in northern British Columbia nearly seven years after first looking for buyers.

Ridley Terminals Inc., a Crown corporation that owns the facility in the Port of Prince Rupert, will have 90 per cent of its shares sold for $350-million to a company owned by two U.S. private-equity firms. Two Indigenous groups will be the other co-owners of Ridley.

New York-based Riverstone Holdings LLC and AMCI Group of Connecticut emerged as the majority purchasers of the terminal located on Ridley Island.

Canada Development Investment Corp., a federal Crown corporation known as CDev, is the entity in charge of the sales process.

"The remaining 10 per cent of Canada's shares will be transferred to a limited partnership owned by the Lax Kw'alaams Band and the Metlakatla First Nation at the close of the sale to the Riverstone-AMCI company," CDev said in a statement on Friday.

The federal government negotiated directly with the Lax Kw'alaams and Metlakatla to reach undisclosed terms that will pave the way for them to hold their minority stake.

As part of the sales process, Ottawa consulted with Indigenous groups that belong to the Tsimshian First Nations: Lax Kw'alaams, Metlakatla, Gitxaala, Kitsumkalum, Kitselas and Gitga'at.

The previous Conservative government announced in December of 2012 that it planned to sell the West Coast coal facility.

But coal prices went into the doldrums in 2014, with Ridley Terminals becoming an underperforming asset instead of a coveted possession.

The Liberal government decided to revive the sales process in August of 2018, after coal prices recovered and stabilized.

The sales price to the Riverstone-ACMI group places an overall value on Ridley Terminals of $389-million - a far cry from the $1-billion that industry experts thought it might be worth when coal markets were hot in 2012.

CDev said the federal government will book a $100-million gain on the transaction. Ottawa built the terminal in the early 1980s for about $250-million as an export site for new coal production from northeastern British Columbia. The first shipment in 1984 went to Japan.

Over the years, Ridley has handled more steel-making metallurgical coal than thermal coal, which is used by power plants in Asia to produce electricity. In the first five months of this year, Ridley exported 2.36 million tonnes of metallurgical coal and about 936,000 tonnes of thermal coal.

Including other commodities such as petroleum coke, Ridley had almost four-million tonnes of exports in the first five months of 2019, up 16 per cent compared with the same period in 2018.

The deal announced on Friday is subject to review by Canada's Competition Bureau.

RBC Dominion Securities Inc.

analyst Walter Spracklin said the new owners will be acquiring a site that needs capital investment in the years ahead, including building a second berth. "There is a fairly meaningful capital upgrade requirement that comes with this purchase," he said in a research note.

Environmentalists have criticized Ottawa for owning a coal terminal, expressing concerns about carbon dioxide emissions from electricity plants fired by thermal coal, which has a larger impact on the environment than steel-making metallurgical coal.

The Prince Rupert Port Authority, a federal agency, leases land to the terminal located on Ridley Island.

Calgary-based AltaGas Ltd., which has subleased land from Ridley Terminals, began exporting propane from the island this spring.

Associated Graphic

Ottawa negotiated with the Lax Kw'alaams Band and Metlakatla First Nation to transfer to them 10 per cent of its shares in the Ridley terminal, located in the Port of Prince Rupert.

ROBIN ROWLAND/THE CANADIAN PRESS


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Foreign buyers retreat from Vancouver housing
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International purchases, real estate prices drop in spring of 2019, three years after B.C. introduced tax to cool market
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Tuesday, July 9, 2019 – Page B1

VANCOUVER -- Foreign buying has dropped dramatically in the Vancouver region's real estate market three years after British Columbia introduced a tax that targets international purchases, a policy move that has helped drive down prices.

International buying of real estate decreased to 2.5 per cent of total residential sales in the Vancouver area in the March-to-May period of 2019, down from 13.2 per cent in the early summer of 2016, according to statistics compiled by the B.C. Finance Ministry.

In real numbers, only 261 sales involved foreign purchasers over March, April and May this year, compared with 1,974 over the 2016 period.

In August, 2016, the previous BC Liberal government introduced a 15-per-cent tax on foreign buyers in the Vancouver area.

The BC NDP government raised the foreign-buyers tax to 20 per cent in February, 2018, and also expanded the tax to other urban markets in the province.

The proportion of foreign buying in the region has gone from roughly one in every eight transactions before the tax, to one in every 60 this May.

"The market previously was not being kept afloat by local fundamentals but was rather being inflated due to outside sources of money from abroad," Josh Gordon, an assistant professor at Simon Fraser University's School of Public Policy, said in an interview.

There has been a trend of international buyers avoiding B.C. over the past three years, but the retreat has been uneven. For example, purchases by people who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents accounted for less than 2 per cent of total residential sales in September, 2016, but rose to 4.2 per cent in December, 2017, and ascended to 5 per cent in February, 2018, before resuming a downward pattern.

Andy Yan, director of Simon Fraser University's city program, said the latest statistics show the dramatic impact that public policy can have on the free market. "It isn't just about letting the mechanisms of the housing market play out," Mr. Yan said in an interview on Monday. "The foreignbuyers tax is an example of demand-side policy that was needed. You can see this as an abatement of foreign buyers."

Prices have fallen across the Vancouver region since mid-2018, but they tended to drop the sharpest in municipalities where there were elevated levels of foreign buying in the spring of 2016, Prof. Gordon said.

Industry observers say other provincial factors influencing the housing market include a crackdown on money laundering, taxes aimed at higher-end properties, as well as what the NDP government calls a "speculation and vacancy tax," which targets primarily out-of-province residents who don't rent out their homes.

The foreign-buyers tax came in effect in response to concerns about the role of international influences during the housing boom from mid-2013 to mid-2016.

Between January, 2018, and May, 2019, the percentage of foreign buying out of total sales in Metro Vancouver had a monthly low of 1.57 per cent in July, 2018, and the second-lowest at 1.62 per cent in May, 2019. Of the 3,521 total residential transactions that closed in the Vancouver region in May this year, only 57 involved foreign purchasers,.

Prof. Gordon said that Burnaby, Richmond, the City of Vancouver and the District of West Vancouver are among the municipalities where the ratio of housing prices to local incomes remains high, despite a decline in prices of nearly 10 per cent regionally over the past year.

Within Vancouver proper, foreign purchasers accounted for 22 of the 800 transactions in May, or 2.75 per cent of the city's total, according to data compiled by the B.C. Finance Ministry.

In the Vancouver region, 10,416 total residential transactions closed in March-toMay period this year, compared with a total of 14,978 in the months leading up to the new tax in 2016. "We're tackling the housing crisis and money laundering head-on to build a more sustainable economy that works for everyone," B.C. Finance Minister Carole James wrote on Twitter last week.

"I'll continue to watch the housing trends closely but am cautiously optimistic that the housing market is returning to balance."

The slowdown in housing sales in general has meant a reduction in taxes for government coffers. In May, revenue from the foreign-buyers tax tumbled to $6.5-million, down by half when compared with the $13-million collected in April.

Bryan Yu, deputy chief economist at Central 1 Credit Union, said total residential purchases by domestic and foreign buyers could pick up later this year, but he expects prices to continue slipping before stabilizing in 2020.

On Jan. 1, 2018, Canada's banking regulator implemented a stress test, making it more difficult for buyers to qualify for mortgages. "The sales downturn is largely policy driven, reflecting the federal mortgage stress tests and various provincial measures," Mr. Yu said in a research note.

"Current unrest in Hong Kong marks a upside risk for the market, and could trigger a return of Hong Kong-Canadians, but this is not a certainty."

Associated Graphic

In Vancouver, international purchasers accounted for 22 of the 800 residential transactions in May, or 2.75 per cent of the city's total, according to data from the B.C. Finance Ministry.

JONATHAN HAYWARD/THE CANADIAN PRESS


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Benchmark house price in Greater Vancouver dips below $1-million as sales fall to 19-year low
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Thursday, July 4, 2019 – Page B1

VANCOUVER -- Greater Vancouver housing sales fell in June to a 19-year low for the month while the benchmark price for a typical home dropped below $1-million for the first time in two years.

Sales of detached homes, condos and townhouses totalled 2,077 in June, down 14.4 per cent compared with the same month in 2018 and 34.7 per cent beneath the 10-year average for June, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver said on Wednesday.

It marked the lowest number of transactions for June since 2000, when 1,985 properties sold.

The residential benchmark price slipped to $998,700, down from a record high of $1.1-million in May, 2018, and the lowest since $992,500 in May, 2017, according to the board. The benchmark figure, an industry representation of the typical home sold in Greater Vancouver, has declined month over month for the 13th consecutive time.

Josh Gordon, an assistant professor at Simon Fraser University's School of Public Policy, said the BC NDP government's various tax measures are having their desired impact in cooling what had been Canada's hottest housing market.

"What's interesting and revealing is that sales are so weak in the midst of an economy that appears to be doing fairly well in terms of unemployment and so on," Prof. Gordon said in an interview.

Since February, 2018, the provincial government has rolled out tax measures, including what it calls a speculation and vacancy tax targeted primarily at out-of-province residents who don't rent out their homes. In addition, there are new taxes on properties valued at more than $3-million, such as an extra land-transfer tax and an annual surtax.

Last year, the province also raised the foreign-buyers tax to 20 per cent from 15 per cent in the Vancouver region while also expanding the tax to other urban B.C.

markets.

"There are some international events that might change the dynamics in the Vancouver market, including the events in Hong Kong. But barring unforeseen events, it is likely that prices will continue to trend downwards," Prof. Gordon said.

The region's benchmark Home Price Index (HPI), which strips out the most expensive properties sold on the Multiple Listing Service, has tumbled 9.6 per cent over the past year. The real estate board uses the benchmark HPI because it believes the index provides a better barometer of trends than average prices, which are skewed upward whenever there is a flurry of high-end sales.

Board president Ashley Smith said in a statement that the "expectation gap" between buyers and sellers lingers, with sellers "often trying to get yesterday's values for their homes while buyers are taking a cautious, waitand-see approach."

The price of detached houses sold in Greater Vancouver averaged $1,486,620 last month, a 15.3per-cent drop compared with June, 2018.

On Vancouver's expensive west side, the price of detached properties sold in the first six months of this year averaged $3,119,811, down 17.5 per cent from the first half of 2018, according to data compiled by Macdonald Realty.

Macdonald president Dan Scarrow said the region's housing market has undergone a dramatic shift since mid-2018.

"It feels really slow, but it's more of a normalization. The reality is that investors for the time being have stepped to the sidelines and the market is being driven by end users," Mr. Scarrow said in an interview. "During the hot market, everything was selling. But now, if it's something that's not livable, that product is going to take a lot longer to sell."

The Fraser Valley Real Estate Board, whose territory includes the sprawling Vancouver suburb of Surrey, saw 1,306 sales last month, down 10.1 per cent compared with June, 2018. Last month's sales were the lowest for June since 2000, when there were 1,046 transactions.

Fraser Valley board president Darin Germyn said the federal stress test is another reason for slumping sales. On Jan. 1, 2018, Canada's banking regulator implemented a stress test, making it more difficult for buyers to qualify for mortgages.

Associated Graphic

Detached houses sold in Greater Vancouver averaged a price of $1,486,620 last month. That's a 15.3-per-cent drop compared with the same month last year.

JONATHAN HAYWARD/THE CANADIAN PRESS


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Morneau warns Coastal GasLink protesters to follow rule of law
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Monday, July 1, 2019 – Page B1

VANCOUVER -- Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau says anti-pipeline protesters have the right to be heard but they should be mindful of the law during construction of the $6.2-billion Coastal GasLink project in British Columbia.

In June, Coastal GasLink asked the B.C. Supreme Court to extend an injunction to ensure pipeline workers aren't blocked by protesters on the Morice River Bridge, located along one section of the route.

Madam Justice Marguerite Church is expected to make her ruling this summer on whether to continue the interim injunction that she granted in December.

"We're always going to see some differences in point of view. It's to be expected," Mr. Morneau said in an interview. "My perspective is that we need to recognize that a democracy will have different points of view and that we also have the ability to allow people to express those points of view, but to live in a place where you have the rule of law."

Coastal GasLink, owned by Calgarybased TC Energy Corp., would transport natural gas from northeast B.C. to an export terminal to be built in Kitimat on the B.C. coast. Last fall, the Royal Dutch Shell-led LNG Canada project began constructing an $18-billion Kitimat terminal for exporting liquefied natural gas to Asia.

Mr. Morneau said elected leaders and elders from the Haisla Nation back Coastal GasLink and LNG Canada.

All 20 elected First Nation councils along the pipeline route, including the Haisla band, have signed agreements with Coastal GasLink in support of the project. The final stretch of the pipeline, as well as the export terminal, would be located on the Haisla's traditional territory.

But seven hereditary house chiefs from the nearby Wet'suwet'en Nation have led a campaign to oppose Coastal GasLink, saying Indigenous authority rests with hereditary and not elected leaders over the Wet'suwet'en's traditional territory, in which 28 per cent of the pipeline route would cross.

Coastal GasLink is slated to finish pipeline construction by the end of 2023, while LNG Canada is scheduled to start fuel exports by early 2025. Shell and the four co-owners of LNG Canada decided last fall to proceed with construction of the Kitimat terminal.

"We always understand that in a democracy, there are going to be people who oppose projects. That said, there is a very strong level of support for this," Mr. Morneau said.

He confirmed $220-million in federal funding for the export terminal and $55-million for related infrastructure that includes a new span to replace the Haisla Bridge in Kitimat.

"The $220-million investment in LNG Canada is from the Strategic Innovation Fund. It's going to support the use of gas turbines that will significantly reduce the carbon-emission intensity of LNG Canada," the Finance Minister said over the phone during his visit last week to Kitimat.

The $55-million infrastructure allocation is being funded through Western Economic Diversification Canada.

Coastal GasLink launched its court case against protesters in November, arguing that defendants Freda Huson and Warner Naziel are the architects behind the Unist'ot'en camp on the Morice River Bridge. Unist'ot'en is affiliated with Dark House, one of 13 Wet'suwet'en hereditary house groups.

In January, a blockade on the bridge ended days after RCMP arrested 14 protesters at a police checkpoint along a remote B.C. logging road that leads to the Unist'ot'en camp.

Michael Lee Ross, a lawyer who represents Ms. Huson and Mr. Naziel, presented his arguments in June during a threeday hearing in B.C. Supreme Court in Prince George, B.C.

"The Wet'suwet'en have continuously exercised Indigenous governmental jurisdiction to make and enforce Wet'suwet'en law, within Wet'suwet'en territory," Mr. Ross said in a 13-page document filed in court on June 10.

He said Coastal GasLink, also known as CGL, requires permission from hereditary house chiefs to enter unceded territory: "The procuring by CGL of all provincial permits and authorizations necessary under provincial laws is necessary, but not sufficient, for CGL to proceed with its project within Wet'suwet'en territory."

Three prominent Indigenous women helped form the Wet'suwet'en Matrilineal Coalition (WMC) in August, 2015, hoping the fledgling group would address the need for a collective decision-making body in hopes of garnering support for Coastal GasLink.

Theresa Tait-Day, one of WMC's co-founders, said in a statement that the Office of the Wet'suwet'en (OW), which represents the hereditary house groups, sanctioned the Unist'ot'en protest camp that dates back to 2010. "The real story is the OW has helped that group Unist'ot'en," she said. "Unist'ot'en will do everything they can to shift the blame over to us."

The Wet'suwet'en hereditary house chiefs who oppose the pipeline accuse WMC of being biased because Coastal GasLink and the previous BC Liberal government each provided $30,000 in funding in 2017 to the coalition.

Unist'ot'en officials said in a news release that the WMC doesn't have the blessing of hereditary house chiefs: "CGL funded and helped create a divisive group of Wet'suwet'en individuals operating outside of the hereditary system, causing irreparable harm to Wet'suwet'en self-governance."

Coastal GasLink received regulatory approval from British Columbia's Environmental Assessment Office in 2014 to forge ahead with plans to construct a 670-kilometre pipeline from northeast B.C. to Kitimat.

B.C. environmentalist Mike Sawyer, however, has asked the National Energy Board to conduct a full federal review of the pipeline project.


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Danone changes course as consumers shift increasingly to plant-based food
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CEO wants his global company to be a leader in the 'revolution' that seeks to balance sustainable agriculture and sustainable diets
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Monday, June 17, 2019 – Page B2

VANCOUVER -- Danone SA chief executive officer Emmanuel Faber is forecasting that the global food industry will face a decade of changing consumer appetites in which demand will increasingly shift toward plant-based offerings.

Mr. Faber, who also serves as chairman of the Paris-based multinational food company, envisages growth in "flexitarian" diets that emphasize plant-based food but also include a limited amount of meat and dairy products.

"There is a huge trend of people moving to less animal protein and more vegetable protein. This is across the regions where we operate - in Asia, Africa, Europe, North America and Latin America," he said in an interview. "We believe that this flexibility in diets is fundamental for the future, for the health of people and also for the health of the planet."

Mr. Faber strives to lead by example with his own healthy food regimen and regular exercise. Before his interview with The Globe and Mail in Vancouver on Friday, he went rock climbing in nearby Squamish for three hours, starting at 4 a.m.

Danone, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, markets popular brands in Canada such as Danino drinkable yogurt for kids, Oikos Greek yogurt, Activia probiotic drinks and Evian bottled water.

Mr. Faber became CEO of Danone in 2014 and chairman in 2015. In 2017, Danone paid US$10-billion for Denver-based organic food producer WhiteWave Foods Co., known for items from plant-based snack bars to dairy substitutes such as Silk almond milk.

"We are more and more convinced that there will not be a sustainable food system if it doesn't help both the planet and people," he said. "The quest that we have as a global company is to find this sweet spot where you find sustainable diets and sustainable agriculture. This is driving the strategy, and drove the choice that we made to buy WhiteWave."

Consumers want to see companies fulfill commitments to be environmentally friendly, Mr. Faber said.

"By 2025, all of our packaging will be reusable, compostable or recyclable," he said. "When we speak about the food revolution, it's happening because people are basically activists themselves. You can vote for the world in which you want to live each time you eat and drink." Danone believes in the continued role of dairy products and also supports "regenerative agriculture" that helps landscapes, including expanding the grazing area for dairy cows and increasing biodiversity on farms. "The biggest risk that I think we face as a species is the lack of biodiversity of the ingredients, seeds and animals that are used to make our food," Mr.

Faber said.

The 55-year-old CEO said major brands don't carry the clout with consumers that they enjoyed during his parents' generation and his own cohort of baby boomers.

"My kids take a product and they turn it around on the shelf and they want to read the fine print. They also want to see who are the people behind the brand, and where the ingredients have been produced and how has it been grown," he said. "As a company, we've made the choice to catalyze and to participate in this food revolution, which is a big and tough transformation for us."

Mr. Faber and other CEOs from his industry converged on Vancouver last week for the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) conference, where manufacturers and retailers discussed such topics as data gathering and sustainable agriculture.

"One of big elements is changing diets - diets moving away from meats toward more plant-based protein," said Max Koeune, a former Danone executive who joined New Brunswick-based McCain Foods Ltd. as chief financial officer in 2012.

Mr. Koeune became CEO of the frozenfood giant in 2017.

Mr. Faber has been named one of the two co-chairs of the forum's board of directors. The other new co-chairman is Ozgur Tort, CEO of the Turkish supermarket chain Migros Ticaret A.S., whose parent company is in Switzerland. Mr. Faber and Mr. Tort will serve in their CGF roles for the next two years.

Greenpeace activist Daniel Brindis showed up last week outside the conference's entrance to voice his concerns about the consumer goods sector.

Mr. Brindis, the California-based forests campaign director for Greenpeace, criticized food manufacturers and retailers for what he described as a lack of action to end deforestation. He said corporations have fallen far short of their environmental goals because of inadequate climate action plans, and they still rely too heavily on palm oil, soya, cattle and other agricultural production.

"Palm oil is produced often irresponsibly in a way that drives more deforestation.

Products in your home that are associated with palm oil include cosmetics, soaps, cleaning products and snack foods," Mr.Brindis said.

Greenpeace is calling on consumer goods companies in general to declare a climate emergency. Activists unfurled a protest banner at the Vancouver Convention Centre West, naming 16 companies, though not targeting Danone.

The CGF counters that its members have been working hard since 2010 at improving sustainable sourcing, whether it be palm oil or pulp and paper.

"We now believe that sourcing certified sustainable commodities is, on its own, not sufficient to eliminate deforestation," the forum said in a statement. "Over the last 18 months, we have been working with our external stakeholders to develop an even more effective strategy to combat deforestation."

Associated Graphic

Danone CEO Emmanuel Faber, newly appointed co-chair of the Consumer Goods Forum's board of directors, says the public wants to see companies fulfill commitments to be environmentally friendly.

THIBAULT CAMUS/ASSOCIATED PRESS


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Majority of Wet'suwet'en back pipeline, activists say
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Monday, June 10, 2019 – Page B6

VANCOUVER -- Three prominent Indigenous women say a majority of Wet'suwet'en Nation members are in favour of reaping economic benefits from a $6.2-billion pipeline project in British Columbia.

The three women say they feel compelled to speak out after being ostracized by anti-pipeline protesters for supporting TC Energy Corp.'s Coastal GasLink.

Theresa Tait-Day, Darlene Glaim and Gloria George want to give voice to what they consider the silent majority, according to their affidavits, which were filed in B.C. Supreme Court as part of Coastal GasLink's application to extend an injunction to ensure protesters don't revive an antipipeline blockade.

In 2015, the three women helped co-found the Wet'suwet'en Matrilineal Coalition (WMC) in an effort to encourage members of their community to make informed decisions about contentious issues.

While the natural-gas pipeline project has been approved by all 20 elected First Nation councils along the route, seven male Wet'suwet'en hereditary house chiefs have led a campaign to oppose it.

The chiefs say they stripped Ms. Tait-Day, Ms. Glaim and Ms.George of their hereditary titles because the women created WMC without proper authority. But the women dispute the validity of the severe disciplinary action taken against them, and argue that the WMC remains an ideal group to help bring the wishes of Wet'suwet'en members to the forefront.

"I estimate that a large majority of our nation supports the project," Ms. Tait-Day said.

The court case will resume on Wednesday in Prince George, B.C., with three days of hearings scheduled. A judge granted an interim injunction in December, and Coastal GasLink will be asking for an extension, citing the need for construction workers to have safe and unimpeded passage across the Morice River Bridge near Houston, B.C.

"I understand that there are people in our community who do not support the project, including some hereditary chiefs," Ms.

Tait-Day said in her affidavit filed on May 21. "It is because of this division in perspectives that I am committed to working with the WMC to help bring our community together to establish a decision-making process."

Ms. Glaim and Ms. George said in their affidavits that it is time to bridge the divisions between Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs who oppose resource development and elected band council leaders who support it.

"The WMC is trying to bring Wet'suwet'en members together, including the hereditary system and the band system, and to include all Wet'suwet'en members to facilitate decision-making for our nation collectively," Ms.Glaim said.

The blockade on the Morice River Bridge came down on Jan.

11, four days after the RCMP arrested 14 protesters at a police checkpoint along a remote B.C.

logging road that leads to the Unist'ot'en protest camp. Unist'ot'en is affiliated with Dark House, one of 13 Wet'suwet'en hereditary house groups.

The 670-kilometre pipeline would transport natural gas from northeast B.C. to Kitimat on the West Coast, where Royal Dutch Shell PLC-led LNG Canada has started building an $18-billion terminal for exporting liquefied natural gas to Asia.

Ms. Tait-Day said she still considers herself a hereditary wing chief (sub-chief), with the position Wi'haliy'te in House Beside The Fire under the Laksilyu clan.

Coastal GasLink names Warner Naziel and Freda Huson as two of the defendants in the court case.

Mr. Naziel and Ms. Huson lived together for a decade as a commonlaw couple. They separated in January.

The pipeline company alleges that Ms. Huson (a Dark House spokeswoman) and Mr. Naziel (also known as Smogelgem, claiming to be head chief of Sun House under the Laksamshu clan) are the architects behind the Unist'ot'en protest camp and blockade.

Michael Lee Ross, a lawyer who represents Ms. Huson and Mr. Naziel, filed a series of court documents earlier this year. "The defendants deny any unlawful intention to disrupt economic activities undertaken by Coastal GasLink," Mr. Ross said in a filing in February.

Hereditary house chiefs who are opposed to Coastal GasLink say Indigenous authority rests with hereditary and not elected leaders over the traditional territory, in which 28 per cent of the pipeline route would cross.

Ms. George said in her affidavit that she has been the genuine Smogelgem since 2009. She disputes Mr. Naziel's claim to the hereditary title. "My brother, Leonard George, held the name Smogelgem before me until his death in 2006," she said.

She emphasizes that the Office of the Wet'suwet'en, the umbrella organization that represents hereditary house groups, recognized her as Smogelgem from 2009 to 2016. "House chief titles are held for life, and after the death of the holder are passed to someone in the matrilineage," Ms. George said. "We are not 'stripped' like bark off a tree."

Hereditary house chiefs say Frank Alec took over the title of Woos at a ceremony on March 2, but Ms. Glaim said many Wet'suwet'en members consider her to be the true Woos, the hereditary chief title for Grizzly House under the Gitdumden clan. "We are supposed to work together as people," Ms. Glaim said.


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Vancouver home sales hit 19-year low
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Prices fall to lowest in two years, while number of listings has surged to highest since 2014
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Wednesday, June 5, 2019 – Page B2

VANCOUVER -- Housing sales have slid to a 19year low in Greater Vancouver as listings languish and prices fall to levels last seen in mid-2017.

Sales volume in May fell 6.9 per cent compared with the same month in 2018, and slumped 22.9 per cent beneath the 10-year average for May, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver said on Tuesday.

Last month's 2,638 sales in the region for various housing types were the lowest for May since 2000, when only 2,059 properties changed hands in that month.

The residential benchmark price, an industry representation of the typical home sold in Greater Vancouver, has declined month over month for the 12th consecutive time. It fell last month to $1,006,400, down from a record-high of nearly $1.1-million in May, 2018, and the lowest since June, 2017.

The number of listings has surged to the highest level since September, 2014.

For prospective purchasers today, the change to a buyer's market is welcome in a region still struggling to cope with housing affordability.

Shane Miller-Tait, a 32-yearold electrical engineer, said he is hoping for prices to drop further to make it possible to present serious bids.

"I could tell the market was unsustainable because of speculators and money launderers, and clearly going to come down sooner or later. I wasn't going to be the one left holding the bag," said Mr. Miller-Tait, who is currently renting a one-bedroom condo with his fiancée.

For sellers of detached properties, the downturn has knocked hundreds of thousands of dollars off what they might have fetched for their homes in the first half of 2016, when detached prices set record highs in most neighbourhoods.

On Vancouver's west side, the benchmark price for detached houses sold has tumbled more than $500,000 over the past year to $2,927,600.

Bryan Velve, who became a real estate agent in 1987, said the phenomenon among buyers known as fear of missing out, or FOMO, now seems a distant memory.

"Today, sometimes a buyer will make an offer at one price and you finally persuade the seller to take that price. But nope, the buyer then decides the market is still going to fall more and wants a cheaper price," Mr. Velve said.

Greater Vancouver's condo segment began softening in mid-2018, including in the lessexpensive suburbs. In Tsawwassen, for instance, the benchmark price for condos sold has fallen 8.5 per cent over the past year to $464,300.

Bryan Yu, deputy chief economist at Central 1 Credit Union, forecasts the regional benchmark price for detached homes, condos and townhouses could decrease another 5 per cent to 6 per cent by the end of 2019, before stabilizing in 2020. "You will see more buyers coming back to the market. Prices will continue declining even as sales start to pick up," said Mr. Yu, who noted that May sales rose 44.2 per cent compared with sluggish activity in April.

The federal banking regulator implemented a stress test on Jan.

1, 2018, making it tougher to qualify for mortgages.

"High home prices and mortgage qualification issues caused by the federal government's B20 stress test remain significant factors behind the reduced demand that the market is experiencing today," board president Ashley Smith said in a statement on Tuesday.

The previous BC Liberal government introduced a 15-percent tax on foreign buyers in August, 2016. The BC NDP government raised the foreign-buyers tax to 20 per cent in February, 2018, while expanding that tax beyond the initial target of the Vancouver area.

International purchases of real estate in the Vancouver region have decreased to less than 3 per cent in March, 2019, from about 13 per cent of the total in the seven weeks before the tax's mid-2016 adoption.

Industry experts say other provincial factors include a crackdown on money laundering, taxes aimed at higher-end properties, as well as what the NDP government calls a speculation tax that is targeted primarily at out-of-province residents.

Sales activity for detached houses selling at more than $3million on Vancouver's pricey west side has hit a deep freeze.

For example, only 29 detached properties sold for more than $3million on the city's west side in April, according to data service SnapStats. That is down 80 per cent from the 145 sales during the height of the housing market boom in March, 2016.

Sellers now have to reduce their price expectations to lure buyers. A listing for an 80-yearold bungalow went on the market on March 1 in the Point Grey neighbourhood on Vancouver's west side. The property at 4247 West 15th Ave. sold in mid-April for $2,135,000, or $245,000 below the asking price of $2,380,000.

The assessed value for the property in July, 2017, was $2,860,700, most of which was land value since the house itself is viewed by developers as a tear-down.

In the nearby Dunbar neighbourhood, a two-storey house built in 2016 sold in April for $3,485,000. That property at 3439 West 22nd Ave. sold in August, 2017, for $3,860,000.


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Ottawa says LNG exports to Asia will earn Paris accord credits
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Monday, June 3, 2019 – Page B1

VANCOUVER -- Ottawa wants to use a provision in the Paris climate accord in hopes of gaining emissions credits toward meeting Canada's targets by helping to reduce air pollution in Asia.

Under the 2015 Paris agreement to which Canada is a signatory, a section called Article 6 could clear the way for bilateral side deals to give Canada credit for planned exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Asia, Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi said in an interview in Vancouver. LNG is considered a cleaner energy source than coal, which is widely used in Asia to generate electricity.

Ottawa's position clashes with environmentalists who feel Canada should meet its climate-change targets entirely through domestic measures, rather than through global trade. The friction over the proper approach to address climate change comes at a time when the federal Liberal government faces criticism for failing to meet its emissions targets under the accord.

"We see the potential of LNG development in Canada as a source of well-paying, middle-class jobs here in our country," Mr. Sohi said. "But also we see the role it can play in reducing emissions globally, particularly allowing countries such as China and others to get off coal-fired electricity."

By contrast, environmentalists say Canada should adhere to the Paris agreement's countryspecific targets for decreasing carbon emissions, and LNG should not be considered a global solution to combat climate change. "LNG is the wrong path to pursue," BC Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver said this spring. Critics of LNG say it should be up to industrialized countries in particular to each reduce emissions within their borders through what are called nationally determined contributions.

But Mr. Sohi is touting what he views as an underappreciated gem in the Paris climate accord.

The cabinet minister, who represents Edmonton-Mill Woods, said it makes sense for Canada to take advantage of the agreement's Article 6. He considers that section to be a promising opportunity for Canada to obtain what would be the equivalent of emission credits through a bilateral transaction with another country, subject to certain limitations.

"Under the Paris agreement, there is a provision that allows countries to sign agreements with each other to get credit for a reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions," he said. "Once the LNG facilities are built here and the LNG is being shipped to say, China or Japan, at that time Canada can propose to have bilateral agreements with the countries receiving LNG."

Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna played a major role in ensuring Article 6 was embedded in the Paris agreement, said Katie Sullivan, the Toronto-based managing director of the Genevabased International Emissions Trading Association.

"Canada is working very hard to make sure that we achieve a workable and robust Article 6," Ms. Sullivan said. "Canada and the broader community must ensure that the guidance for that article enables co-operation, where there is no double counting of emissions and it is underpinned by environmental integrity."

The complicated details of Article 6 are still being worked out, including the framework of internationally transferred mitigation outcomes (ITMOs), which involve voluntary co-operation arrangements between two countries. The controversial section will be a major point of discussion at the next Conference of the Parties, to be held in December in Chile.

"We feel that by supplying clean energy - such as LNG that allows other countries to reduce emissions in diesel and coal - it will not only allow us to play a leadership role in making the world cleaner and less polluting, but at the same time get credit toward our emission reductions," Mr. Sohi said.

LNG Canada, led by Royal Dutch Shell PLC, wants to begin exporting natural gas in liquid form to Asia by early 2025. The co-owners decided last October to forge ahead with the construction of an $18-billion export terminal in Kitimat, B.C.

Shell's four partners in the consortium are based in Asia: Malaysia's state-owned Petronas, Beijing-based PetroChina Co.

Ltd., Japan's Mitsubishi Corp. and South Korea's Kogas.

A small-scale venture in British Columbia, Woodfibre LNG, has indicated that it will decide this summer whether to proceed with building a $1.6-billion export terminal near Squamish, located 65-kilometres north of Vancouver.

Countries that are major importers of LNG include Japan, South Korea, China and India.

"The air-quality degradation in some of those countries is a very serious concern from a health point of view," Mr. Sohi said.

"These countries see LNG as a source of energy that allows them to actually clean up their air."

Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, said natural gas should be considered an ally in Asia's quest to improve air quality.

While it was common for natural-gas pipelines to be constructed over long distances in the past, the preferred transportation method in recent years has been shipping LNG across oceans, he told last week's Clean Energy Ministerial conference in Vancouver.

Dr. Birol forecasts 50 countries will be receiving LNG by the mid-2020s, compared with fewer than 10 importing markets in 2000. "Gas plays a major role in reducing air pollution and can also help clean-energy transitions, especially when methane emissions are minimized," he said in a slide presentation to conference delegates.


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AltaGas propane export site highlights shift to Asia
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This week's opening of B.C. site marks wider trend of LNG producers eyeing Asian markets
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Tuesday, May 28, 2019 – Page B7

VANCOUVER -- AltaGas Ltd. will open Canada's first propane export terminal on Tuesday in British Columbia, with chief executive officer Randy Crawford envisaging a trend of Canadian energy companies targeting Asian markets.

Calgary-based AltaGas is keen on Asia, given that the United States has been accelerating energy production for many years, including natural-gas liquids such as propane, Mr. Crawford said.

AltaGas is focusing on exports to Japan and other markets in Asia. The new plant chills propane on Ridley Island in northwestern B.C. after the fuel arrives in pressurized rail cars.

"We don't want our future to be dependent on what happens in America. We want to take control of our future," Mr. Crawford said in an interview.

Tuesday's ceremonies for the grand opening of the Ridley Island plant will include speeches in nearby Prince Rupert. Civic leaders see the propane sector as a bright spot for the local economy after watching five proposals in the Prince Rupert region fizzle for exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG).

AltaGas owns 70 per cent of the project while Royal Vopak of the Netherlands holds the remaining 30 per cent.

Two other West Coast propane ventures are targeting Asia. Calgary-based Pembina Pipeline Corp. is constructing a propane export plant on Watson Island near Prince Rupert in hopes of opening in 2020, while Vancouver-based Pacific Traverse Energy Ltd. aims to begin propane exports by 2023 from Kitimat, B.C.

Mr. Crawford will christen the $500-million terminal on Ridley Island, the first propane export facility for shipping from Canada to Asia. At least 50 per cent of the AltaGas joint venture's Canadian liquefied propane will be shipped to Japan-based Astomos Energy Corp.

For the long term, AltaGas is optimistic about getting involved with constructing a barge-based, floating facility for shipping LNG to Asia. The midstream company hasn't selected any site yet, and there are major challenges to overcome, such as finding a partner to build a pipeline to transport natural gas.

"This can be done in an environmentally sensitive way," Mr.Crawford said. "With this vast resource that we have here in Canada, we are very blessed."

In 2016, AltaGas and its partners halted preliminary work on the small-scale Douglas Channel LNG joint venture in Kitimat.

But Dan Woznow, AltaGas senior vice-president of energy exports, said the company is again investigating LNG exporting opportunities with Japan-based Idemitsu Kosan Co. Ltd.

Idemitsu and AltaGas suspended work on their Triton LNG venture in 2016.

"There are people knocking on our door, wondering what else, what's next," Mr. Woznow said.

Greg Kist, who heads a fledgling group called Rockies LNG Partners, said Canada needs to diversify away from the United States for exports of natural gas and valuable associated liquids such as propane.

Mr. Kist said Western Canadian producers want to place the spotlight on the need to construct another B.C. project to export LNG, beyond the one approved last year by Royal Dutch Shell PLC-led LNG Canada in Kitimat. LNG Canada began construction this year and plans to start exports to Asia by early 2025.

"We recognize that the U.S., our traditional export market, has its own production growth to satisfy much of its internal demand. So, Asia clearly becomes a very important market for us," Mr. Kist said in an interview.

He spread the word about Rockies LNG during last week's Canada Gas and LNG Exhibition and Conference in Vancouver.

The Rockies LNG consortium represents 10 natural gas producers in Alberta and British Columbia that want to export LNG to Asia.

"I think that it is a low likelihood that we become the terminal operators, but we are looking for partners to come in," Mr. Kist said. "It's partnerships with producers, First Nations and industry partners with the acumen to advance a pipeline and an LNG plant. The more LNG projects that can get advanced, the better it is for Canada as a whole."

ALTAGAS (ALA) CLOSE: $19.53, UP 23¢


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AltaGas to open propane terminal in B.C.
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Prince Rupert facility to export liquefied propane to Japan and other Asian markets
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Monday, May 20, 2019 – Page B2

VANCOUVER -- AltaGas Ltd. will open a $500million propane export terminal next week in British Columbia, forging ahead during a time when energy projects have been cancelled or stalled in Canada.

The terminal on Ridley Island in the Port of Prince Rupert employed nearly 250 people during the 28-month construction phase and will have almost 50 full-time plant workers for the grand opening on May 28.

The Ridley Island project will be exporting propane in liquid form to Japan and other Asian markets. It marks an industry shift to emphasize new markets for Canadian propane, which is a byproduct from the processing of natural gas.

Canada's production of propane has long exceeded its consumption, with most of the surplus going to the United States.

But in recent years, with American propane output on the rise, the U.S. has been exporting record amounts of the fuel. Canadian exports "will increasingly be diverted from U.S. to overseas markets," the Conference Board of Canada said in a 60-page report released in December on the Canadian propane industry.

At least 50 per cent of the AltaGas joint venture's Canadian liquefied propane will be shipped to Japan-based Astomos Energy Corp.

Calgary-based AltaGas owns 70 per cent of the project, while Royal Vopak of the Netherlands holds the remaining 30 per cent.

In 2016, the National Energy Board approved a 25-year propane export licence. Construction began in early 2017 on the Ridley Island terminal, which has the capacity to ship 1.2 million tonnes a year of liquefied propane.

AltaGas consulted with Indigenous leaders during the early stages of planning, including representatives from the Lax Kw'alaams Band and Metlakatla First Nation.

AltaGas chief executive Randy Crawford said the project is the culmination of strong partnerships that include governments, Indigenous groups, local communities and customers.

"We are especially appreciative of our Indigenous partners and stakeholders for their continued support of our project," Mr. Crawford said during a conference call earlier this month with industry analysts.

The AltaGas plant and a separate propane export facility to be opened next year by Pembina Pipeline Corp. are expected to help bolster the market for propane. Calgary-based Pembina is constructing its plant on Watson Island, near Prince Rupert, while Vancouver-based Pacific Traverse Energy Ltd. aims to begin propane exports within four years from Kitimat, B.C.

Tyler Reardon, an analyst at Peters & Co. Ltd., forecasts improved prices for propane producers in Western Canada, which in the past has had a glut of the fuel.

Mr. Reardon says that the transit time from Canada's West Coast to Asian markets will be around 10 days, compared with the 25 days it takes for rival propane shipments to get to Asia from the U.S. Gulf Coast.

AltaGas has subleased land for its facility from coal exporter Ridley Terminals Inc.

The AltaGas plant is expected to handle up to 60 railcars a day of propane that will arrive from producers of natural gas liquids in B.C. and Alberta, using a route operated by Canadian National Railway Co. The product will be chilled and transferred to vessels called Very Large Gas Carriers, which in turn will make the journey across the Pacific Ocean.

Ridley Terminals, a federal Crown corporation, has been undergoing a protracted sales process since 2012.

In November, 2018, the federal government said the buyer of Ridley Terminals would be able to acquire 90 per cent of the coal facility, with the remaining 10 per cent of equity set aside for the Lax Kw'alaams and Metlakatla.

Besides the propane plant and coal terminal, the other main user of Ridley Island is grain exporter Prince Rupert Grain Ltd.

AltaGas's completion of its propane project comes more than three years after the midstream company halted plans to export liquefied natural gas from a site along Douglas Channel near Kitimat, located roughly 200 kilometres east of Prince Rupert.

AltaGas also had been involved with another B.C. energy proposal, Triton LNG, but that joint venture has been suspended since 2016.

Despite the setbacks on the LNG front, Mr. Crawford is pleased to start exporting liquefied propane from what AltaGas calls the Ridley Island Propane Exporting Terminal, or RIPET internally.

"Delivering this project on time and on budget was unequivocally the top priority for our midstream business," he said during the call with analysts. "The increasing demand for cleaner energy in overseas Asian markets positions our RIPET asset as a high-value option for Canadian producers."


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Ottawa to fight for relief from U.S. taxes on softwood
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At a NAFTA hearing panel in Washington, Canadian lawyers will challenge a ruling by the U.S. International Trade Commission
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Monday, May 6, 2019 – Page B6

VANCOUVER -- Canada will seek relief from softwood tariffs at a public hearing on Tuesday by challenging a U.S.

ruling that American producers are being injured by Canadian lumber shipments.

Lawyers for the Canadian government will present their oral arguments at the one-day hearing in Washington, more than two years after the United States imposed new duties on Canadian softwood producers.

The lawyers will be summarizing their arguments, condensing hundreds of pages of documents filed over the past 18 months under an appeal process of the North American free-trade agreement's Chapter 19 dispute-resolution mechanism. The issue of Canadian lumber is not a direct part of NAFTA, but under Chapter 19, Canada and the United States agreed to set up trade panels to settle disputes.

Tuesday's hearing by the NAFTA panel will take place as Canada's forestry industry struggles during a downturn that has seen lumber prices nosedive and Canadian producers report disappointing financial results.

In December, 2017, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) ruled in its final determination that Canada's shipments of softwood lumber south of the border are injuring the U.S. forestry sector. Canada is counting on the binational panel to overturn the Washington-based ITC's determination.

The ITC's view that American companies have been injured serves to back up the U.S. Department of Commerce's decision two years ago to impose duties on Canadian softwood producers.

The Commerce Department started slapping preliminary duties on Canadian lumber in April, 2017. The final combined tariffs took effect in early 2018. Those duties work out to a weighted average of 20.23 per cent, consisting of 14.19 per cent in countervailing duties and 6.04 per cent in antidumping levies against most Canadian lumber shipments.

The Canadian government argues that when lumber prices were strong in 2014, U.S. producers thrived, even with softwood from Canada flowing across the border.

In a 145-page filing to the NAFTA panel, the Canadian government said American companies in western states are being hurt by a lack of timber and not competition from Canada.

"The commission fails to grapple with the reality that the least prosperous members of the industry operated in the Western United States, where limited timber supply constrained financial performance" and lumber sales from Canada were small, according to documents submitted by lawyers representing Canada.

Canada filed its appeal in late 2017 and the lumber fight is now in its the fifth round of trade litigation since 1982.

Tuesday's hearing will focus on the ITC's ruling of injury to U.S. lumber producers and also examine issues related to wood species ("domestic-like products" in trade lingo), according to the agenda sent to participants by Paul Morris, secretary of the U.S. section of the NAFTA Secretariat.

The NAFTA panel will listen to presentations from Canada, the ITC and a group representing U.S.

producers. Participants sent their slide presentations to Mr. Morris last week in preparation for Tuesday's hearing.

Producers have been stung by softwood prices that have plunged over the past 11 months amid weaker-than-expected U.S.

housing starts.

Benchmark two-by-fours made from western spruce, pine and fir sold last week for US$332 for 1,000 board feet, down 47 per cent compared with a record high of US$622 last June, according to Madison's Lumber Reporter. Low lumber prices and increased costs for logs have prompted some Canadian producers to temporarily shut down or reduce production at their sawmills.

Vancouver-based Canfor Corp.

said last week it posted an $89.5million loss in the first quarter, compared with a $112.2-million profit in the same period in 2018.

Canfor temporarily curtailed its B.C. lumber output last week.

Canada's filings are supported by British Columbia, which is Canada's largest lumber exporter, and six other provinces that have significant forested land. Also backing the Canadian government's challenge are trade councils from five provinces.

In a 200-page filing, the ITC defended its final determination, saying shipments of Canadian softwood have depressed lumber prices in the United States. Canada's share of U.S. lumber consumption rose to 31.8 per cent in 2016, compared with 28.4 per cent in 2014, the ITC said, adding that "substantially increasing volumes of subject imports continued to place pricing pressure" on the American lumber industry.

Under Chapter 19, each country appoints two panelists while the fifth member is chosen "by lot" - choosing by chance in the equivalent of a coin toss.

Last November, five panelists were selected to review the longrunning softwood dispute. The three Canadian trade experts are Jack Millar, Andrew Newcombe and James Ogilvy. The two American members of the panel are Stephen Claeys and Stephen Powell.

The NAFTA panel's composition appears to favour Canada, though the cross-border lumber war is far from over, industry observers say. The U.S. lumber sector believes the Chapter 19 appeal process has flaws that invite panelists to vote along national lines.

The U.S. industry group called COALITION, which stands for Committee Overseeing Action for Lumber International Trade Investigations Or Negotiations, said Canada enjoys unfair advantages.

"Even when selling more than its Canadian counterparts, U.S.

producers are gaining half of the profits," COALITION said in a 159page filing to the NAFTA Secretariat.

The U.S. lumber lobby argues that provincial stumpage fees paid by Canadian lumber companies to chop down trees are too low and amount to subsidies.

U.S. producers also claim Canada sells softwood below market value in what it calls pervasive dumping.

Most of the trees in Canada are on publicly owned land, in contrast with the United States, where most timber is on private property and companies pay market rates to harvest it, U.S.

producers say.

Associated Graphic

Canada's forestry industry has been struggling during a downturn that has seen lumber prices nosedive and Canadian producers report disappointing financial results.

JONATHAN HAYWARD/ THE CANADIAN PRESS


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Vancouver home sales hit 24-year low as stress test cools market
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Friday, May 3, 2019 – Page B1

VANCOUVER -- Housing sales in the Vancouver region slumped to a 24-year low and prices are off 8.5 per cent over the past year as the market downturn deepens.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver said on Thursday that there were 1,829 sales in April for various housing types in the region, down 29.1 per cent from the same month in 2018. The latest sales activity marked the lowest number of April transactions since 1,768 sales for that month in 1995. Last month's sales were 43.1 per cent under the 10-year average for April.

The benchmark price for detached homes, condos and townhouses dropped month over month for the 11th consecutive time, according to the board. The benchmark price, an industry representation of the typical home sold in an area, fell last month to $1,008,400 - the lowest in nearly two years.

Vancouver's cooler market is a key factor behind a lower risk assessment for the national housing sector issued Thursday. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.

said it reduced its risk rating to "moderate" from "high," the first change since it raised its assessment in October, 2016.

CMHC noted the average national home price declined 5.4 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2018 compared with the same quarter a year earlier, after adjusting for inflation. CMHC lowered its assessment of price overvaluation in Vancouver to "moderate" from "high," though it kept its overall risk rating for Vancouver at "high".

Vancouver's market has changed dramatically. Greater Vancouver's real estate market surged for most of the period from 2009 to 2017, but speculators have largely exited with prices continuing to fall in recent months, said Steve Pomeroy, senior fellow at Carleton University's Centre for Urban Research and Education.

Reduced asking prices are now common in a region accustomed to bidding wars.

"In the past decade, we saw sales from foreign buyers or locals who wanted to flip properties," Mr. Pomeroy said in an interview. "To have a healthy market, we don't want housing as a commodity but where people can live."

The real estate industry blames government policies for the slowdown.

Federally, Canada's banking regulator implemented a stresstest policy on Jan. 1, 2018, that makes it tougher for buyers to qualify for mortgages. "The federal government's mortgage stress test has reduced buyers' purchasing power by about 20 per cent, which is causing people at the entry-level side of the market to struggle to secure financing," real estate board president Ashley Smith said in a statement.

The B.C. government raised the foreign-buyers tax to 20 per cent in February, 2018, while expanding that tax beyond the initial target of the Vancouver region. Other provincial factors include what the NDP calls a speculation and vacancy tax targeted primarily at out-of-province residents, and B.C. taxes aimed at higher-end properties.

The sale of a detached house in the Dunbar neighbourhood on Vancouver's west side underscores the price declines.

The bungalow at 4063 West 28th Ave., built in 1952, sold in mid-April for $3.4-million, after being on the market for six months.

The original asking price last October was $4.5-million. The list price was reduced to $3,998,000 in November and dropped again to $3,898,000 in March, before it sold in April.

The assessed value was $4,393,400 in mid-2017, and $3,813,300 in mid-2018. Most of the assessment is land value since the house itself is considered a teardown. The listing agent promoted the idea of building a larger home on the lot that measures 52 feet in width by 130 feet in depth.

The benchmark price for detached properties sold on Vancouver's west side in April was $2,948,400, down 13.4 per cent from the same month last year.

Andrew Ramlo, vice-president of market intelligence at real estate firm Rennie Group, said housing prices at the higher end of the market have fallen the hardest.

Still, he said thousands of longtime homeowners aren't in any rush to sell, including baby boomers who have seen their children grow up and move away.

"It's the empty-nester stage of the life cycle," Mr. Ramlo said in an interview, noting there has yet be a mass exodus of boomers moving out of their detached homes that have empty bedrooms.

But for owners who find themselves in a position where they need to sell, the buyer's market is a reality, he said.

In April, the average number of days on the market for detached houses in Greater Vancouver rose to 52 days, compared with 37 days in the same month of 2018.

In the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board's territory, which includes the sprawling suburb of Surrey, there were 1,383 sales on the Multiple Listing Service in April, down 19 per cent from a year earlier. The average price for detached houses sold in the Fraser Valley dipped to $991,756 last month, down 8.2 per cent compared with April, 2018.


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Families of Canadians killed in Ethiopia crash sue Boeing
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Tuesday, April 30, 2019 – Page B1

VANCOUVER -- Two Ontario men who each lost several family members in the Ethiopian Airlines disaster have filed wrongful-death lawsuits against Boeing Co.

The plaintiffs allege the U.S.

plane manufacturer rushed its Max jet program into production in a race against long-time European competitor Airbus SE.

The two men are seeking compensation for general and exemplary damages to be determined by the court.

A Boeing 737 Max 8 operated by Ethiopian Airlines crashed on March 10 shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa bound for Nairobi, killing 157 people. Last October, 189 people died when a Max 8 flown by Lion Air of Indonesia plunged into the Java Sea soon after taking off from Jakarta on a short-haul flight.

A group of American lawyers said Monday they represent the families of 10 of the 18 Canadians killed on Ethiopian Flight ET302 in March. The complaints were filed on behalf of Manant Vaidya of Brampton and Paul Njoroge of Hamilton.

"Blinded by its greed, Boeing haphazardly rushed the 737 Max 8 to market, with the knowledge and tacit approval of the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), while Boeing actively concealed the nature of the automated system defects," read the complaints filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago.

"Since the design of an entirely new jet would take too long, Boeing decided to create a more fuel-efficient alternative to its traditional 737NG aircraft - what would become the 737 Max 8."

Boeing did not immediately respond to inquiries on the lawsuits.

Mr. Vaidya's parents, sister, brother-in-law and two nieces were killed in the crash.

"I still cry and my wife, Hiral, still cries when we think of the horror of the last moments of our loved ones' lives," Mr. Vaidya said during an emotional news conference webcast from Chicago.

Mr. Njoroge's wife and their three children were among the passengers who died in the disaster.

"I was not there to help them. I couldn't save them," a sobbing Mr. Njoroge said. "It was up to Boeing and the others in charge to save them. We paid for a safe flight. Instead, my family and others in that plane have suffered a profound loss that can never be mended."

The lawsuits said that while Boeing is now updating software for Max jets, the plane maker "chose not to do so during design and certification to save whatever time and money it could" and "regulators finally decided to ground the 737 Max 8 aircraft in the wake of the Flight 302 crash." Lawyers for Mr. Vaidya and Mr. Njoroge filed separate claims against the FAA. The FAA said it does not comment on litigation.

The company held its annual meeting earlier in the day at the Field Museum in Chicago. Boeing chief executive officer Dennis Muilenburg defended the Max program during a news conference on Monday.

"We followed exactly the steps in our design and certification processes that consistently produce safe airplanes," he said.

"Through the work we are doing now in partnership with our customers and regulators to certify and implement the software update, the 737 Max will be one of the safest airplanes ever to fly."

The FAA said in a statement that "all participants are committed to a single safety mission, and will not rest where aviation's safety record is concerned."

Fuelled by orders from Air Canada, WestJet Airlines Ltd. and other carriers, the 737 Max is the fastest-selling aircraft in Boeing's history, with more than 5,000 orders from some 100 customers. Out of those total orders, more than 370 Max planes had already been delivered to airlines around the world by early March. So far, 41 Max 8s have been delivered to Canadian carriers: Air Canada (24), WestJet (13) and Sunwing Airlines Inc. (four).

The lawsuits allege that Boeing initially dismissed the competitive threat posed by the Airbus A320neo narrow-body aircraft, which began test flights in 2014.

"Boeing's tune changed when it learned that some of its key customers, including American Airlines, would be placing orders with Airbus for their fuel-efficient aircraft. This ratcheted up pressure on Boeing to respond," according to the complaints.

Rosemount Aerospace Inc. of Minnesota is also named in the lawsuits.

"Rosemount is, and at all relevant times was, in the business of designing, manufacturing, assembling, distributing, marketing and supplying sensors used in Boeing's aircraft."

Rosemount did not immediately respond to inquiries on the lawsuits.

Associated Graphic

Top: Manant Vaidya, centre, and his wife, Hiral, listen as their lawyer, Kevin Durkin, addresses the media during a news conference on Monday in Chicago. Above: Mr. Durkin and Mr. Vaidya comfort Paul Njoroge as he reads from a statement. Mr. Vaidya's parents, sister, brother-in-law and two nieces were killed in the crash. Mr. Njoroge lost his wife and their three children.

SCOTT OLSON/GETTY IMAGES


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Coastal GasLink case to be heard by B.C.'s Supreme Court in June
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Tuesday, April 23, 2019 – Page B2

VANCOUVER -- A case launched by Coastal GasLink against pipeline protesters will go to court in June over whether construction workers should be allowed permanent access across a remote bridge in British Columbia.

The case will be heard in B.C. Supreme Court during the week of June 10 in Prince George.

TransCanada Corp., which plans to change its name to TC Energy Corp. at its annual meeting on May 3 in Calgary, owns Coastal GasLink but expects to sell up to 75 per cent of the pipeline project.

Coastal GasLink launched the court case in November, arguing that defendants Freda Huson and Warner Naziel are the architects behind the Unist'ot'en protest camp and blockade on the Morice River Bridge. Unist'ot'en is affiliated with Dark House, one of 13 Wet'suwet'en Nation hereditary house groups.

The blockade came down on Jan. 11, one day after protesters agreed to comply with an interim court injunction to grant construction workers temporary access to the area and four days after the RCMP arrested 14 people at a police checkpoint along a logging road in the B.C. Interior.

The stakes are high for the $6.2-billion Coastal GasLink project, which would transport natural gas from northeast B.C. to an export terminal to be built in Kitimat on the B.C. coast. The Royal Dutch Shell-led LNG Canada project in Kitimat includes constructing an $18-billion terminal that would export liquefied natural gas to Asia.

Coastal GasLink president David Pfeiffer issued a statement last week to acknowledge that criminal contempt charges against the 14 people arrested on Jan. 7 were dropped on April 15 by the BC Prosecution Service. "Our approach continues to be one of respectful and meaningful dialogue," Mr. Pfeiffer said. "This is a critical natural gas pipeline project that will bring social and economic benefits to British Columbia and First Nations."

Coastal GasLink has been approved by all 20 elected First Nation councils along the pipeline route, but a group led by eight Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs opposes the project, saying jurisdiction for the route falls under the hereditary system.

Michael Lee Ross, a lawyer who represents Ms. Huson and Mr. Naziel, has filed a series of documents and affidavits in recent months. "The defendants deny any unlawful intention to disrupt economic activities undertaken by Coastal GasLink," Mr. Ross said in a filing dated Feb. 20.

Ms. Huson, a Dark House spokeswoman, lived at the Unist'ot'en protest camp for nine years with her common-law spouse, Mr. Naziel. The couple separated in January.

Ms. Huson is not a house group chief nor wing chief (subchief), but she is scheduled in May to receive a hereditary name, which would boost her status within the Wet'suwet'en hereditary system. "I have been groomed for a hereditary name for the last 14 years," Ms. Huson said in an affidavit.

Mr. Naziel, who calls himself Smogelgem as chief of Sun House under the Laksamshu clan, announced in March that he wants to build a new protest camp on the traditional territory of the Laksamshu (also spelled Likhts'amisyu).

The Office of the Wet'suwet'en is the umbrella organization for the house groups, though Coastal GasLink said it made special efforts to deal separately with Dark House under the Gilseyhu, one of five Wet'suwet'en Nation hereditary clans.

Claire Marshall, who has consulted for Coastal GasLink since 2012, said in an affidavit that pipeline representatives reached out repeatedly to hereditary leaders, including attending more than 120 meetings with Office of the Wet'suwet'en staff and various chiefs, as well as exchanging at least 1,300 phone calls and e-mails with them over the years.

But Mike Ridsdale, environmental assessment co-ordinator at the Office of the Wet'suwet'en, said in an affidavit that he sent a letter in November to the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission to emphasize opposition to pipeline projects over the years. In that letter, which is entered in court as Exhibit F, Mr.

Ridsdale points out that the Gilseyhu clan held a feast in 2011 to oppose all pipeline routes through the Gilseyhu's unceded territory.

"There is too much at stake for our children to allow any pipeline permit activity," he wrote.


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NEB considers examining B.C. pipeline plans amid standoff over jurisdiction
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Thursday, April 18, 2019 – Page B3

VANCOUVER -- The National Energy Board is set to decide whether it will examine plans for a 1.5-kilometre pipeline that would connect TransCanada Corp.'s Coastal GasLink project in British Columbia with an existing energy network in northeast B.C. that extends into Alberta.

The short but important route has been raised by B.C. environmentalist Mike Sawyer as part of his arguments submitted to the NEB to convince the regulator that oversight of the $6.2-billion Coastal GasLink project in British Columbia should be federal and not provincial jurisdiction.

Coastal GasLink received regulatory approval within B.C. in 2014 to proceed with plans to construct a 670-kilometre pipeline from northeast B.C. to a West Coast terminal. The $18-billion terminal, for exporting liquefied natural gas to Asian markets, is being built in Kitimat by LNG Canada.

Mr. Sawyer argues that the NEB should conduct a full federal review of Coastal GasLink. He points to TransCanada's plans to build a federally regulated pipeline that would connect to a provincially regulated route, or "sausage link" in industry terms. He said the short line is planned in northeast B.C. to connect Coastal GasLink with TransCanada's Nova Gas Transmission Ltd. (NGTL) system in B.C. that leads into Alberta. If that connection is made, it would clear the way for natural gas from Alberta to reach Kitimat.

Coastal GasLink and NGTL "are functionally integrated and under common management, control and direction," Mr. Sawyer said in a 25-page submission this week to the NEB. "Coastal GasLink is not a local distribution pipeline."

He launched his application to the federal regulator in July, 2018.

His financial donors include West Coast Environmental Law's dispute resolution fund.

The NEB has scheduled a hearing in Calgary for May 2 and 3. If it turns out that the NEB rules the case should be under federal purview, the second phase will be a full NEB hearing, extending the regulatory process into 2020 and potentially 2021.

The list of intervenors in the NEB case includes Ecojustice Canada, the country's largest environmental law charity. Also intervening are the B.C., Saskatchewan and federal governments, as well as the five international co-owners of LNG Canada: Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Malaysia's state-owned Petronas, PetroChina, Japan's Mitsubishi Corp. and South Korea's Kogas.

LNG Canada said in a filing to the NEB this week that Coastal GasLink has a mission to transport natural gas from northeast B.C. to Kitimat. "Coastal GasLink will not be an open-access pipeline," LNG Canada said in its 22page submission. "Coastal GasLink is properly within, and should remain within, provincial jurisdiction."

The federal government notes that the co-owners of LNG Canada don't have any contracts to be supplied with natural gas that originates in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Coastal GasLink "is located entirely within B.C., is not physically connected to NGTL and does not depend on the NGTL system for its gas to transport to the LNG Canada facility," according to federal lawyers.

The Saskatchewan government added: "Succinctly, provinces are meant to regulate within the province."

The NEB said it will not be reviewing whether the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office (BCEAO) conducted an adequate review since the federal regulator will be focused on the issue of whether Coastal GasLink should be subject to B.C. or federal jurisdiction, and it is not an appeal process of the BCEAO's approval.

Ecojustice told the NEB in a written submission that it backs Mr. Sawyer's application: "In performing the jurisdictional analysis, the board should consider that both the federal and provincial governments have a duty to make use of their respective powers to ensure adequate environmental protection."

Elected Indigenous leaders, who met last week with Coastal GasLink officials in Vancouver, hope to acquire equity ownership amounting to at least 22.5 per cent in the B.C. pipeline project.

Mr. Sawyer said Coastal GasLink would still operate the line, even if a minority stake were to be bought by elected band councils.

All 20 elected First Nations councils along Coastal GasLink's route support the project. But a group led by eight Wet'suwet'en Nation hereditary chiefs opposed to the project say Indigenous authority rests with hereditary and not elected leaders over the traditional territory in which 28 per cent of the pipeline route would cross.

Associated Graphic

JOHN SOPINSKI/THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: LNG CANADA; ROYAL DUTCH SHELL; COASTALGASLINK.COM

The Coastal GasLink pipeline would connect an energy network in northeast B.C. It would be linked to an $18-billion terminal in Kitimat, slated to export LNG to Asian markets.

AMBER BRACKEN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL


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First Nation group to table offer for stake in B.C. pipeline project
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Tuesday, April 9, 2019 – Page B1

VANCOUVER -- A newly formed group representing 20 elected First Nation councils will present an offer on Tuesday to buy a 22.5-per-cent stake in TransCanada Corp.'s Coastal GasLink pipeline project in British Columbia.

First Nation Leadership Group (FNLG) said having elected band councils serve as co-owners of Coastal GasLink would strengthen the $6.2-billion project, which is designed to transport natural gas from northeast B.C. to the planned LNG Canada terminal in Kitimat on the West Coast.

Coastal GasLink, also known as CGL, began clearing land earlier this year to make room for work camps along the 670-kilometre route.

"This proposal will not inhibit CGL's ability to raise capital for the initial phases of project activities in 2019, and provides a genuine opportunity for the FNLG to explore mutually beneficial partnership and investment opportunities with CGL," according to a letter sent by the Indigenous group to TransCanada.

CGL said in a statement on Monday that pipeline officials "are aware and pleased to see First Nations interest in investing in the project," but cautioned that "it's early in the process and we are exploring all our options in securing project financing."

Members of FNLG, including Haisla Nation elected chief councillor Crystal Smith, will meet with CGL officials on Tuesday in Vancouver to discuss the proposed investment in the pipeline project. Dan George, chairman of the First Nations LNG Alliance and elected Burns Lake band chief, will also be among the Indigenous leaders attending the meeting.

Ms. Smith has been a vocal supporter of LNG Canada and the pipeline. Last week, the Haisla Nation played host to a conference and trade show in Kitimat to promote the economic spin-offs from LNG Canada, with Ms. Smith among the speakers touting exports of liquefied natural gas.

Elected chiefs backing FNLG said a series of negotiations will be required to work out details, and have asked TransCanada to allow Indigenous leaders until Oct. 30 to sort through financing arrangements, assuming the two sides agree to have 22.5 per cent allotted.

TransCanada has hired RBC Dominion Securities to manage the sale of up to 75 per cent of CGL.

FNLG said it is seeking "30 per cent of the proposed offering," or the equivalent of 22.5 per cent of the total CGL equity. The proportion set aside for FNLG will be reduced if TransCanada decides to decrease the size of its planned equity sale.

While CGL has been approved by all 20 elected First Nation councils along the route, the B.C. project has been the target of protests led by a group of eight Wet'suwet'en Nation hereditary chiefs. A blockade supported by hereditary chiefs and environmental protesters came down on Jan.

11, allowing pipeline workers to gain access to a portion of the route in the B.C. Interior.

Five of the 20 elected band councils that support CGL belong to the Wet'suwet'en Nation: Wet'suwet'en First Nation (formerly known as the Broman Lake Indian Band), Burns Lake, Nee Tahi Buhn, Skin Tyee and Witset.

David Pfeiffer, who became CGL president in February, met with elected First Nation leaders in Vancouver last month at a preliminary gathering to open talks on Indigenous investment.

CGL told the National Energy Board in January that the pipeline project is in the hunt for co-owners.

The line is designed to carry natural gas to the Royal Dutch Shell-led LNG Canada export terminal in Kitimat. LNG Canada decided in October to forge ahead with construction of its $18-billion terminal.

On Monday, the Shell-led consortium announced that Peter Zebedee will oversee the five-year construction phase as LNG Canada's new chief executive officer, effective July 1. Mr. Zebedee is general manager of Shell's Scotford oil refinery near Edmonton. The current CEO, Andy Calitz, is slated to transfer to Shell's headquarters in The Hague.

Robert Metcs, a consultant retained by elected Indigenous leaders, said CGL will benefit from having LNG Canada as the delivery point for natural gas within Canada, before ships transport LNG to Asian markets.

"There will be a long-term contractual relationship between CGL and LNG Canada that will underpin construction of the pipeline," he said in an internal report prepared to help guide First Nations.

Mr. Metcs said First Nations have access to tax exemptions under the Income Tax Act, and under a limited partnership, "an equity investment by First Nations can be commercially attractive to CGL." He added that while governments would likely be asked to contribute with lowinterest loans to aid with financing, "an equity investment structured around the Income Tax Act exemption held by First Nations can potentially provide the lowestcost capital option to CGL."

FNLG's interest in the natural gas route comes as other Indigenous leaders seek to buy a stake in the Trans Mountain oil pipeline project.

A group called Project Reconciliation is organizing a bid to buy 51 per cent of the federal government's Trans Mountain project. Last year, Ottawa bought the oil line and West Coast terminal from Kinder Morgan Canada Inc. as well as the pipeline expansion plans.

TRANSCANADA (TRP) CLOSE: $61.64, UP 8¢


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NEB urged to expedite Coastal GasLink pipeline
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TransCanada lawyer says regulator should endorse B.C.'s support for project and avoid the federal review that environmentalist wants
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Thursday, April 4, 2019 – Page B6

VANCOUVER -- A lawyer representing TransCanada Corp.'s $6.2-billion Coastal GasLink pipeline project is urging the National Energy Board to endorse British Columbia's support for the 670-kilometre route, saying a time-consuming federal review would jeopardize construction plans.

Sander Duncanson's comments came in response to a July application by a B.C. environmentalist asking for a federal review of the pipeline venture, which received provincial regulatory approval in 2014. The NEB's initial hearing is scheduled for late April and early May in Calgary.

Coastal GasLink, also known as CGL, will be built entirely within B.C. and has already received the required permits and approvals from the province's regulators, Mr. Duncanson said in a filing this week to the NEB.

The project started clearing land earlier this year to make room for work camps along the route.

The uncertainty over regulatory jurisdiction threatens to delay construction, Mr. Duncanson warns. "Hundreds of millions of dollars have already been spent on the CGL pipeline alone," he wrote. "Significant regional, provincial and national benefits would be put at risk if work on the project were to be interrupted or suspended."

The ripple effects would be felt by LNG Canada, a consortium led by Royal Dutch Shell PLC that has begun construction on an $18-billion terminal to export liquefied natural gas from Kitimat on the West Coast. TransCanada has designed CGL to transport natural gas from northeast B.C. to Kitimat.

"The CGL pipeline's construction schedule has been aligned with the construction schedule of the multibillion-dollar provincial LNG Canada facility. Any suspension of construction for the CGL pipeline would necessarily impact LNG Canada's schedule," Mr.Duncanson said. "It would seriously harm the province's and Canada's reputation as jurisdictions in which there is sufficient legal certainty to plan and execute long-term projects."

If it turns out that the case should be under federal purview, the second phase will be a full hearing by the NEB, likely extending the regulatory process into late 2020.

Mike Sawyer, the environmentalist who brought the application to the NEB, argues that while CGL seeks to build within B.C., the pipeline would be "functionally integrated" with TransCanada's Nova Gas Transmission Ltd.

(NGTL) system in Alberta and northeast B.C.

Mr. Duncanson counters that even if CGL were to be eventually connected to B.C. lines leading to Alberta, the main purpose of the B.C. pipeline remains transporting natural gas from northeast B.C. to Kitimat.

"While Mr. Sawyer's argument appears to rely on the possible connection between the CGL pipeline and the NGTL system, a connection to the NGTL system is dependent on a number of contingencies and is not certain," Mr.

Duncanson wrote. "The NEB must make its decision on the facts before it, based on what is known today - the NEB cannot decide a question of jurisdiction based on assumptions about what facts may exist in the future."

TransCanada hopes to have the B.C. pipeline in service by the end of 2023 to start a series of tests, while LNG Canada wants to begin fuel exports to Asia by early 2025.

Other critics of CGL include two Wet'suwet'en Nation hereditary leaders who plan to build a protest camp, setting the stage for a new blockade against the pipeline project. The Globe and Mail reported last month that Warner Naziel and Adam Gagnon are planning to construct a cabin, a bunk house and associated sheds on the traditional territory of the Laksamshu clan (or Likhts'amisyu under an updated spelling by a linguist).

Mr. Naziel and Mr. Gagnon also hope to use their protest camp to attract "prominent climate scientists" and draw attention to climate-action activists. "This place would also host climate-change camps for parents interested in helping steer their children and youth into a future with strong critical thinking skills," the Laksamshu clan said in a statement last month.

A report commissioned by the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association said regulatory burdens are mounting as pipeline firms strive to address environmental and Indigenous concerns. "Over the past several years there has been an increase in the volume, complexity and duplication of regulations imposed on the pipeline industry in Canada," according to the report released on Wednesday. "Finding the right balance between environmental, social and economic trade-offs will be critical."

Associated Graphic

JOHN SOPINSKI/THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: LNG CANADA; ROYAL DUTCH SHELL; COASTALGASLINK.COM


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March housing sales fall to 33-year low in Vancouver
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Wednesday, April 3, 2019 – Page B2

VANCOUVER -- Housing sales in the Vancouver region tumbled to a 33-year low in March while prices have dropped for 10 consecutive months, after a series of government measures aimed at cooling off what had been a red-hot market.

"The fact that we have very slow sales volume suggests that we will likely see continuing price declines," real estate economist Tom Davidoff of the University of British Columbia's Sauder School of Business said in an interview on Tuesday. "Typically, sellers will to have adjust prices down to match what they can get."

He made the comments after the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver reported that the 1,727 sales in March for various housing types were the lowest for that month since March, 1986, when 1,367 properties changed hands.

Total residential sales last month decreased 31.4 per cent compared with a year earlier, and were 46.3 per cent below the 10-year regional average for March.

The benchmark price (an industry representation of the typical home sold in an area) for all residential types in the Vancouver area last month declined 7.7 per cent compared with a year earlier. In March, the benchmark price for detached homes, condos and townhouses fell month over month for the 10th consecutive time, dipping to $1,011,200 after setting a record high of $1,094,000 last May.

Industry officials say provincial and federal factors in particular have combined to corral what had been a runaway market, in which prices skyrocketed from mid-2013 to mid-2016. "For three years, governments at all levels have imposed new taxes and borrowing requirements onto the housing market," Greater Vancouver board president Ashley Smith said in a statement.

The previous BC Liberal government introduced a foreignbuyers tax of 15 per cent in the Vancouver region in August, 2016. The BC NDP government raised the foreign-buyers tax to 20 per cent from 15 per cent in February, 2018, while expanding it beyond the initial area of the Vancouver region.

Other provincial factors include what the NDP calls a speculation and vacancy tax, targeted primarily at out-of-province residents, and B.C. taxes aimed at higher-end properties.

The federal banking regulator implemented a stress test on Jan. 1, 2018, making it tougher to qualify for mortgages.

Josh Gordon, assistant professor at Simon Fraser University's school of public policy, said the annual speculation and vacancy tax announced by the NDP minority government in February, 2018, sent a signal to investors and vacation-property buyers outside the province that they aren't welcome unless they rent out their properties.

"The tax has discouraged the inflow of foreign money into the market and thereby changed speculative expectations," Prof. Gordon said in an interview. "The pricier areas weren't based on local incomes."

Total listings have swelled for detached homes, condos and townhouses, with the number of properties for sale jumping 52.4 per cent over the past year to 12,774.

The large number of unsold properties has swung the market in favour of sellers, economists say.

The Vancouver region's condo market, which initially escaped the downturn that began hitting the detached category in late 2017, has been weakening since mid-2018.

The average time on the market before Greater Vancouver condos sold surged to 37 days last month, compared with 18 days in March, 2018. The region's average price for condos sold dropped 9.7 per cent over the past year to $653,705.

The benchmark price for detached houses sold in Greater Vancouver last month slid to $1,447,100, down 10.5 per cent compared with a year earlier. Over the past year, sales volume in the detached category dropped 26.7 per cent, while condo sales decreased 35.3 per cent.

"The momentum is definitely downward," said Peter Norman, chief economist at Altus Group, a real estate data and advisory firm. There could be further room for prices to fall later this year, given that the housing market is still up significantly compared with five years ago, he said.

While an array of B.C. taxes have contributed to dampening interest from buyers, Mr. Norman sees support on the demand side through a strong provincial economy. "There is still job growth and in-migration, and usually, those ingredients are not precursors to a crash," he said.


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Two Wet'suwet'en leaders to build 'permanent' camp to protest Coastal GasLink pipeline project
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Friday, March 22, 2019 – Page B2

VANCOUVER -- Two Wet'suwet'en Nation hereditary leaders plan to construct a protest camp to oppose TransCanada Corp.'s Coastal GasLink pipeline project, setting the stage for a new blockade in British Columbia.

"We will be building permanent buildings on our territory in an effort to assert our precolonial rights and jurisdiction on our lands," according to a statement issued by the Laksamshu clan, one of five clans within the Wet'suwet'en Nation.

A previous blockade in a different area of the B.C. Interior came down on Jan. 11, four days after the RCMP arrested 14 protesters at a police checkpoint along a remote logging road.

The stakes are high for the $6.2-billion Coastal GasLink project, which would transport natural gas from Northeast B.C.

to an export terminal to be built in Kitimat on the B.C. coast. The Royal Dutch Shellled LNG Canada project in Kitimat includes constructing an $18-billion terminal that would export liquefied natural gas to Asia.

Warner Naziel and Adam Gagnon are the two hereditary chiefs who are leading plans for the new protest camp. They belong to Sun House under the Laksamshu clan.

Mr. Naziel, also known as Smogelgem and chief of Sun House, had been one of the leaders behind the Unist'ot'en protest camp and blockade on the Morice River Bridge. Unist'ot'en is affiliated with Dark House, one of 13 Wet'suwet'en hereditary house groups, which in turn fall under the five clans.

Mr. Gagnon, also known as Dsta'hayl, serves as Mr. Naziel's wing chief, or subchief.

Their plans this spring include constructing a cabin, a bunk house and associated sheds, according to Laksamshu (or Likhts'amisyu under an updated spelling by a linguist).

A separate statement issued by protesters, dated March 20, said the goal is to disrupt Coastal GasLink. "Part of the strategy is to stymie [Coastal GasLink] by blocking them at multiple points," the protesters said. "The new Likhts'amisyu camp will be strategically located in order to impede the ability of the Coastal GasLink corporation to force their pipeline through Wet'suwet'en land."

Coastal GasLink has been approved by all 20 elected First Nation councils along the route, but eight Wet'suwet'en hereditary house chiefs are opposed.

TransCanada said in a statement on Thursday that pipeline officials are aware that the new camp would be near the route's right-of-way. "Coastal GasLink continues to work collaboratively with Indigenous communities to ensure the pipeline is built in an environmentally sustainable manner by which First Nations members and businesses can take full advantage of this economic opportunity," TransCanada spokesman Terry Cunha said. "We continue to move forward with preliminary construction activities in accordance with the permits and authorizations we have in place."

Coastal GasLink names two defendants, Mr. Naziel and Freda Huson, in the company's quest for a permanent court injunction to prevent protesters from reviving a blockade on the Morice River Bridge in the Gilseyhu clan's unceded territory. The new blockade would be in a different area, to be located in the Laksamshu clan's traditional territory Ms. Huson, a Dark House spokeswoman, lived at the Unist'ot'en protest camp for nine years with her common-law spouse, Mr. Naziel. The couple separated in January.

The pipeline company alleges that Ms.Huson and Mr. Naziel are the architects behind the Unist'ot'en protest camp and blockade.

The Office of the Wet'suwet'en is the umbrella organization for the house groups, though Coastal GasLink has said it made special efforts to deal separately with Dark House.

Claire Marshall, who has consulted for TransCanada since 2012, said in an affidavit that pipeline representatives reached out repeatedly to hereditary leaders, including attending more than 120 meetings with Office of the Wet'suwet'en staff and various chiefs, as well as exchanging at least 1,300 phone calls and e-mails with them over the years.

Ms. Marshall said Coastal GasLink has been thwarted in attempts to consult with Dark House, despite contacting Ms. Huson 40 times and requesting to meet with her seven times since 2014.

Mr. Naziel, a carver and artist, and Mr.Gagnon, a carpenter, hope to start building the Sun House-backed camp in late April, with the help of volunteers. "Our other long-term construction project will be the design and construction of a climatechange research facility," according to Laksamshu's statement.


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Air Canada, WestJet overhaul schedules after Max grounding
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Friday, March 15, 2019 – Page B6

VANCOUVER -- Canada's two largest airlines are facing the complex logistical task of revamping their flight schedules for weeks in advance after the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max jet.

Air Canada and WestJet Airlines Ltd. say they don't know how long the plane will be banned, after deadly crashes of the Max 8 in Ethiopia and Indonesia within five months. But the two Canadian carriers are rescheduling hundreds of flights for the days and weeks ahead, including scrambling to find replacement aircraft during a busy travel period.

On Wednesday, Canada and the United States grounded Max aircraft. More than 40 other countries had already banned operation of the narrow-body plane by Tuesday night.

"For now we are cancelling all flights on our Boeing 737 Max fleet for the next three weeks and we will continue to modify our plan as needed," Air Canada spokeswoman Angela Mah said in a statement on Thursday.

Calgary-based WestJet is making a wide array of changes to its schedule through the end of March. "We are in the process of reconfiguring our schedule to remove all 737 Max 8 flights and move guests to other aircraft," WestJet spokeswoman Lauren Stewart said.

Montreal-based Air Canada has 24 Boeing 737 Max 8s in its fleet, while WestJet flies 13 of the planes.

Toronto-based Sunwing Airlines Inc., which specializes in flying leisure travellers to vacation spots, has four Max 8s. Sunwing has adjusted its schedule to fly without the Max 8 until March 30, and has contingency plans beyond that date to continue using replacement aircraft.

A Max 8 operated by Ethiopian Airlines crashed on Sunday shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa bound for Nairobi, killing 157 people, including 18 Canadians. In October, 189 people died when a 737 Max 8 flown by Lion Air of Indonesia plunged into the Java Sea soon after taking off from Jakarta on a short-haul flight.

Parking the banned jets has taken careful planning, since the planes need to be stored in locations that also allow them to be rapidly redeployed when required.

"We had to find space quickly at six airports around the country and in doing this we also had to be sure they are also positioned for an eventual return to service," Ms. Mah said. "It is a massive challenge affecting all aspects of our business."

Planning changes to the routes has been complicated. Air Canada's strategy has included redeploying its wide-body planes such as the Boeing 777, 787 Dreamliner, 767-300ER and Airbus 330. Narrow-body aircraft include the Airbus A320 and Embraer 190s, as well as the Bombardier Q400 turboprop at Air Canada's regional operations.

WestJet is relying on replacements such as the Boeing 737 NG, 787 Dreamliner and Q400.

Raymond James Ltd. analyst Ben Cherniavsky said it is unclear what expenses will ultimately be booked by Air Canada and WestJet. "There are many inestimable costs that both WestJet and Air Canada will have to incur to manage a disruption of this size," he said in a research note.

Cowen and Co. analyst Helane Becker said the Ethiopian Airlines tragedy will have business implications for airlines because without the Max, they will have to delay the retirement of existing jets.

Other industry experts say that the financial impact on airlines could be lessened by Boeing Co. shouldering some of the unexpected costs of its customers.

A lengthy grounding of Max jets would place a cash burden on carriers, but airlines will likely seek to recover funds from Boeing, according to a report by Macquarie Research. Some airlines will look to short-term aircraft leases to find replacement planes, Macquarie added.

AIR CANADA (AC) CLOSE: $31.89, DOWN 12¢ WESTJET AIRLINES (WJA) CLOSE: $19.76, UP 16¢

Associated Graphic

A pair of grounded Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft owned by Air Canada sit outside a hangar in Vancouver on Wednesday. The Montreal-based airline has two dozen Max 8s in its fleet.

BEN NELMS/THE GLOBE AND MAIL


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Thursday, March 14, 2019 – Page A4

VANCOUVER -- Boeing Co.'s 737 Max program had been a financial star with more than 5,000 orders, but two deadly crashes in five months have raised questions about whether the U.S. aircraft maker has done enough since the plane's introduction in 2017 to ensure pilots receive sufficient training.

Boeing and long-time European competitor Airbus SE have been competing fiercely for sales.

The American manufacturer has also been under pressure to coordinate with airlines to improve training for less-experienced pilots to handle the complexities of the new Max configuration of the 737, industry experts say.

"There's a shared responsibility with the manufacturer and airline to make sure that pilots are adequately trained, but once they know there's a problem, airlines look to Boeing to tell them what the issue is," said veteran aviation observer Karl Moore, a professor at McGill University's Desautels Faculty of Management. "There has been a long evolution of the 737 over many decades with new technology brought on board and, to a considerable degree, advanced avionics."

Prof. Moore made the comments on Wednesday, three days after a Max 8 operated by Ethiopian Airlines crashed shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa on a flight bound for Nairobi, killing 157 people, including 18 Canadians. In October, 189 people died when a Max 8 flown by Lion Air of Indonesia plunged into the Java Sea soon after departing from Jakarta on a short-haul flight.

On Wednesday, Canada and the United States grounded Max aircraft. More than 40 other countries had already banned operation of the narrow-body plane by Tuesday night.

"Boeing has a huge amount of money riding on this Max program," said Robert Kokonis, president of airline consulting firm AirTrav Inc. "Today's modern airline pilot needs vigorous training and flying experience, which means you're able to respond to incidents more quickly and decisively."

The global aviation sector has been expanding rapidly over the past decade, creating competition for experienced pilots and generating demand for fresh recruits, Mr. Kokonis said in an interview from Dubai, where he was speaking at an aviation finance conference.

"The reality is that aviation has been growing massively, especially in the Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and the Indian sub-continent," he said.

"There's a shortage of pilots worldwide. Where do you get these pilots from? That's not a good situation because these are complex airplanes with these new systems. But proper training and sufficient levels of flight-hour experience should be enough to fly the plane safely, provided there's documentation and support from the manufacturer."

Boeing said in a statement that it "continues to have full confidence in the safety of the 737 Max." The U.S. manufacturer added that, "out of an abundance of caution and in order to reassure the flying public of the aircraft's safety," it recommended to the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration that Max aircraft be grounded worldwide.

"Safety is a core value at Boeing for as long as we have been building airplanes; and it always will be," the company said. "We are doing everything we can to understand the cause of the accidents in partnership with the investigators, deploy safety enhancements and help ensure this does not happen again."

Fuelled by orders from Air Canada, WestJet Airlines Ltd. and other carriers, the 737 Max is the fastest-selling aircraft in Boeing's history, with more than 5,000 orders from some 100 customers.

Out of those total orders, more than 370 Max planes have already been delivered to airlines around the world.

So far, 41 Max 8s have been delivered to Canadian carriers: Air Canada (24), WestJet (13) and Sunwing Airlines Inc. (four).

Even before Canada grounded Max jets, other countries' decision to ban the aircraft affected Canadian carriers. On Tuesday, for example, Air Canada confirmed the cancellation of its Halifax-to-London and St. John's-toLondon flights because of the British ban. WestJet said it has previously operated Max 8 planes on European flights from Halifax to Gatwick and Paris but that those seasonal routes are not in effect in the current schedule.

At Air Canada, the Max 8 has been replacing the Airbus A320.

Canada's largest airline has chosen the Airbus A220 jet, formerly known as the Bombardier C Series, to replace the Airbus A319 and Embraer 190 in the fleet.

No matter which aircraft they're flying, pilots must be vigilant throughout a flight, and the takeoff is especially demanding, Mr. Kokonis said.

"The first phase of flight is very critical. You're very busy with navigational issues. All these things are going on during a critical phase, and you're preoccupied," he said. "It goes back to training again. If things start to go wrong quickly, that's when your long flight hours and experience as a commercial airline pilot and good training kick in."

Associated Graphic

A victim's family member visits the site of Sunday's fatal Ethiopian Airlines plane crash near Bishoftu, south of Addis Ababa, on Wednesday. The plane was a Boeing 737 Max 8.

MULUGETA AYENE/ASSOCIATED PRESS


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Canada, U.S. refuse to join grounding of Max 8
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Garneau says government won't 'get swept up by emotion' even as 40 countries ban plane after two deadly crashes in five months
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By NICOLAS VAN PRAET, BRENT JANG
  
  

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Wednesday, March 13, 2019 – Page A1

MONTREAL VANCOUVER -- Canada has not yet grounded the Boeing 737 Max plane despite at least 40 countries across Europe and Asia banning the jet after two deadly crashes in five months.

Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau emphasized Canada's air safety record, two days after the Max 8 crash in Ethiopia that killed 18 Canadians and 139 other people. "It's important for us not to jump to conclusions and let ourselves get swept up by emotion," Mr. Garneau said Tuesday in Montreal, adding: "Canada doesn't know what caused this accident nor do the countries in question."

Other countries, faced with the same uncertainty, have ordered the planes grounded.

The Canadian government has no immediate plans to follow suit but was examining all available information and options, Mr. Garneau said. "I'm saying that Canada has a very high safety record in Canada, including with the Max 8," he said. "So it's something that they [Canadians] should take seriously, the fact that we have an extremely good safety record in aviation.

Our pilots are very well-trained."

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) grounded Boeing's two existing 737 Max variants and also barred the planes from EU airspace by suspending all commercial flights from any country.

The agency, which has 32 member states, said it took the action "as a precautionary measure" and that it was too early to draw any conclusions as to the cause of the Max 8 crash in Ethiopia on Sunday.

EASA's action was part of a series of similar moves to ground the aircraft by countries including Britain, France, Germany, Australia, Kuwait, Oman, United Arab Emirates, India, China, Singapore and Malaysia. Some airlines such as Norwegian Air, currently one of the Max 8's biggest operators, decided on their own to keep the planes on the ground.

Canada's position leaves it offside with many of its key trading partners, with the notable exception of the United States, which continued to stand by the aircraft Tuesday.

Both Boeing and the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) have said there is insufficient proof to link the Ethiopian Airlines crash on Sunday and another crash five months ago on Indonesia's Lion Air that took the lives of all 189 passengers and crew.

Mr. Garneau said grounding remained an option if the circumstances changed and new information emerged.

The federal cabinet minister, a former astronaut, said he would not hesitate to board a Boeing Max airliner, reiterating earlier comments. The minister said he cancelled his other planned events Tuesday to deal with the issue.

The 737 Max, a newer and more fuel-efficient version of Boeing's workhorse 737 aircraft, is the fastest-selling plane in Boeing history, the company says. The plane maker has booked 4,700 orders for the Max from about 100 customers worldwide, according to information on its website.

The FAA certified the Max 8 model two years ago and it entered commercial operation soon after. Boeing has delivered more than 370 Max aircraft to nearly 50 customers, including Air Canada, WestJet and Sunwing Airlines.

Montreal-based Air Canada currently has 24 Max 8s in its fleet and uses them on a variety of routes across North America and Europe. WestJet has 13 Max 8s and operates them mostly to destinations in Canada, the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean.

"We are confident in the safety of our operations and fleet, which are approved by government safety regulators, including Transport Canada and the FAA," Air Canada said in a statement Tuesday. "This includes previous 737 Max bulletins reinforcing existing procedures which all Air Canada crew were already trained on."

"The safety of our people and the travelling public are always WestJet's top priority," Lauren Stewart, a spokeswoman for the Calgary-based airline, said in an email. "We operate one of the youngest fleets in the airline industry and the Boeing 737 Max 8 was added in October 2017, performing reliably, efficiently and safely on 1,000s of flights since."

But the union representing Air Canada cabin crew is worried.

"The Air Canada Component of CUPE who represents flight attendants at Air Canada mainline and Rouge is calling on the company to at a minimum continue to offer reassignment to crew members who do not want to fly on this type of airplane," the Canadian Union of Public Employees said in a statement.

Concern about the Boeing Max's safety began last October, when a Max 8 flown by Indonesia's Lion Air crashed into the Java Sea.

The incident shares at least two things in common with the latest crash, including the plane type involved and the fact both planes plunged to Earth shortly after takeoff. That alone has shaken some industry veterans, even as they await conclusive information.

"The decision to ground the plane is hasty," said Addison Schonland of boutique aerospace consultancy AirInsight. "There seems to be a knee-jerk reaction by a lot of people and a bit of panic."

Investigators have not issued definitive determinations about the Lion Air flight. So far, they've said the aircraft's sensors delivered unreliable information, an issue Boeing has pledged to fix. The Ethiopian Airlines probe has just begun.

U.S. carriers including Southwest, the biggest 737 Max operator globally, continue to fly the plane with the backing of the FAA.

"The FAA continues to review extensively all available data and aggregate safety performance from operators and pilots of the Boeing 737 Max," the FAA said in a statement late Tuesday.

"Thus far, our review shows no systemic performance issues and provides no basis to order grounding the aircraft. Nor have other civil aviation authorities provided data to us that would warrant action."

Boeing confirmed late Monday that it will deploy a software upgrade to the Max 8. That came a few hours after the FAA said it would mandate "design changes" in the aircraft by April.

Air-passenger rights advocate Gabor Lukacs called on airlines to allow travellers to cancel or change their reservations without being charged on flights booked on the Max 8. He said Canada should ground the planes for at least a few days.

In the meantime, "passengers should be free to make up their minds whether they consider the aircraft too risky," Mr. Lukacs said in an e-mail. "I would not want any of my loved ones to fly on the 737 Max 8 until we get the FDR [flight data recorder] data."

On social media, many Canadians expressed concern about Canada's position on the aircraft.

WestJet and Air Canada were bombarded on Twitter with requests to ground the aircraft and waive fees for travellers who want to change flights to avoid the Max 8.

With reports from Les Perreaux and The Canadian Press

Associated Graphic

NUMBER OF BOEING 737 MAX 8s DELIVERED, BY COUNTRY OR REGION Numbers from Boeing as of Feb., 2019

MURAT YÜKSELIR / THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: BOEING; WIRES; CAYMAN AIRWAYS; COMAIR; EASTAR JET; AIR CANADA

Air Canada has two dozen Boeing Max 8s in its fleet and flies them on a variety of routes across Europe and North America. FRED LUM/THE GLOBE AND MAIL


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Boeing 737 Max 8 under scrutiny after second crash in five months
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Monday, March 11, 2019 – Page A10

VANCOUVER; TORONTO -- The aircraft in the Ethiopian Airlines disaster, the Boeing 737 Max 8, is a new model that is now the focus of intense scrutiny by aviation safety authorities after two crashes in five months.

The Ethiopian Airlines plane carrying 149 passengers and eight crew crashed on Sunday shortly after takeoff from Addis Ababa Bole International Airport on Flight ET302 bound for Nairobi.

Ethiopian Airlines said it will be gathering information to help with the investigation in collaboration with aircraft manufacturer Boeing Co., the Ethiopian Civil Aviation Authority and an array of international safety entities in the airline sector.

In October, 189 people died when a 737 Max 8 flown by Lion Air dived into the Java Sea soon after taking off from Jakarta on a short-haul flight.

The Aviation Safety Network, a website that tracks plane crashes, said the 737 Max 8 in Sunday's disaster was first flown in late October, while the Lion Air plane saw its first flight in July, 2018.

Air Canada currently has 24 Boeing 737 Max 8s in its fleet, while WestJet Airlines Ltd. flies 13 of the planes and Sunwing Airlines has four, according to civil aircraft registrations in Canada.

Air Canada said it has operated the aircraft type since 2017, and hasn't encountered any major issues. "These aircraft have performed excellently from a ... reliability as well as from a safety perspective, and we continue to operate this aircraft as per our schedule," the Montreal-based carrier said in a statement.

WestJet has relied on variations of the workhorse Boeing 737 since the airline was founded in 1996.

"WestJet remains confident in the safety of our Boeing 737 fleet, including our 13 Max 8 aircraft first introduced in 2017," the Calgarybased carrier said in a statement.

"WestJet has flown five different variants of the Boeing 737 since 1996, and the fleet currently operates around 450 safe daily B737 departures."

Both Air Canada and WestJet expressed their condolences to family and friends affected by Sunday's tragedy in Ethiopia.

"We are monitoring the situation closely and will not speculate on the cause of the incident," WestJet added.

Boeing said it is part of the support team that is examining what went wrong: "A Boeing technical team will be travelling to the crash site to provide technical assistance under the direction of the Ethiopia Accident Investigation Bureau and U.S. National Transportation Safety Board."

The Civil Aviation Administration of China, China's aviation regulator, ordered domestic airlines to suspend their use of Boeing 737 Max aircrafts, Chinese state media reported on Monday.

Driven by orders from Air Can-

ada, WestJet and other carriers, the Boeing 737 Max is the fastestselling aircraft in Boeing's history, Boeing said, with more than 5,000 orders from some 100 customers.

The narrow-body 737 model has flown since 1967, updated several times. The Max 8 version, assembled at Boeing's plant in Renton, Wash., can fly further, using less fuel than its predecessors.

The two-engine, single-aisle plane carries as many as 210 passengers, depending on the seat configuration.

In the Lion Air crash on Oct. 29, a preliminary report from Indonesian investigators found there were several technical problems recorded in the plane's maintenance log in the days before the fatal crash. Airspeed and altitude displays contained errors, and a sensor that measures the wing angle was replaced a day before. In the flight before the crash, the crew reported that instrument failures caused control problems.

On the Indonesian flight, the plane's automatic anti-stalling feature repeatedly pushed down the plane's nose and forced the pilots to correct the move manually.

Shortly before radio contact with the plane was lost, the crew reported they could not read the plane's altitude.

Air Canada added 18 of the 737 Max 8s to its fleet in 2018 and will take delivery of another 18 in 2019, according to company documents. By 2021, Air Canada will fly 50 of the 737 Max 8s, forming onethird of its narrow-body fleet.

Air Canada has deployed the 737 Max 8 as a replacement for the Airbus A320, reducing operating costs.

Canada's largest carrier uses the plane on routes such as Vancouver-Calgary and longer domestic flights such as VancouverMontreal, as well as transborder trips into the United States. The Max 8 is also available for overseas flights such as those between Atlantic Canada and London.

In December, an Air Canada 737 Max 8 bound for Hawaii was forced to return to Vancouver owing to mechanical problems.

With a report from Reuters

Associated Graphic

THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCES: GRAPHIC NEWS, BOEING


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B.C. energy body rejects protesters' claims
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Oil and Gas Commission says it doesn't think Indigenous artifacts originated where they were found on the pipeline route
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Monday, March 11, 2019 – Page A4

VANCOUVER -- B.C.'s energy regulator has dismissed a complaint from protesters who assert that Coastal GasLink pipeline workers bulldozed their way through a culturally important Indigenous site, but hereditary chiefs have renewed efforts in court to fight further construction.

The B.C. Oil and Gas Commission said in a bulletin dated March 8 that it couldn't find evidence to back up the Indigenous complaint alleging that a segment of Coastal GasLink's natural gas pipeline route threatens an area that protesters said contains historical artifacts. Those assertions include the purported discovery of two stone tools said to be thousands of years old.

"The soils upon which the artifacts were found would not typically contain any such cultural artifacts and this was likely not their original location," the commission said in its bulletin, responding to the complaint filed by the Unist'ot'en protest camp.

Unist'ot'en is affiliated with Dark House, one of 13 Wet'suwet'en Nation hereditary house groups, which in turn fall under five clans.

The two stone tools reported as being discovered "were not present" when the commission's archeological experts visited the bulldozed site in the B.C. Interior, according to the bulletin.

The commission's findings come as Dark House chief Warner William and other hereditary leaders continue their efforts in court to block TransCanada Corp.'s $6.2-billion Coastal GasLink project, saying pipeline officials failed to properly consult with them.

Mr. William, who also goes by the hereditary title Chief Knedebeas, said in an affidavit in B.C. Supreme Court that Coastal GasLink representatives have been "deeply disrespectful of our legal process and my authority."

The 75-year-old retired logging supervisor made his arguments in documents filed in a court battle in which Coastal GasLink is seeking a permanent injunction to ensure pipeline workers aren't blocked by protesters.

Pipeline officials suspended work on Feb. 14 on a portion of the route, pending the completion of the commission's investigation into the Unist'ot'en complaint about the risk to a potential archeological site. Coastal GasLink plans to resume work within two weeks on the affected area, which includes the site for a planned work camp.

Mr. William argues that Coastal GasLink officials have not shown good faith in requesting to construct a section of the pipeline on Dark House's unceded territory.

"Without the chief's permission, they have no right to enter the territory. That is our law," he said in a recent affidavit. "So far as they were concerned, they didn't really need my permission to go onto my territory."

His comments underscore the hard-line views of a group of eight prominent hereditary chiefs opposing Coastal GasLink.

The pipeline project has sown deep divisions within the Wet'suwet'en Nation. The hereditary chiefs insist they control the territory outside reserves and want to halt the pipeline's construction, pitting them against elected band councillors on reserves who support the route. Coastal GasLink has been approved by all 20 elected First Nation councils along the route.

Three Wet'suwet'en women who support Coastal GasLink say male chiefs overstepped their bounds when they stripped away the women's hereditary titles.

The three women - including two former house chiefs and a former high-ranking hereditary chief founded the Wet'suwet'en Matrilineal Coalition in 2015, hoping the group would help bridge the wide gap between elected band councillors and hereditary chiefs.

Four of the 13 house groups have vacancies for head chiefs.

Eight of the nine male house chiefs are seeking to block Coastal GasLink. One chief has taken a neutral position.

The 670-kilometre pipeline would transport natural gas from northeast B.C. to Kitimat on the West Coast, where Royal Dutch Shell PLC-led LNG Canada has started building an $18-billion terminal that will export liquefied natural gas to Asia. An estimated 28 per cent of the B.C. pipeline route would cross into the Wet'suwet'en's traditional territory.

Claire Marshall, who has consulted for TransCanada since 2012, said in an affidavit that pipeline representatives reached out repeatedly to hereditary leaders and made special efforts to deal separately with Dark House.

But Mr. William defends the hereditary system, arguing that the head chiefs of the house groups have the right to make decisions in their respective territories. "Head chiefs are not dictators," he said, noting that he consults with his wing chiefs (subchiefs) on important issues. "I have the ultimate decision-making power."

Mr. William is also an elected councillor of the Witset band, where a majority of councillors voted to support Coastal GasLink.

Witset is one of the five elected band councils along the pipeline route that belong to the Wet'suwet'en Nation and back the project.

Coastal GasLink names two defendants - Freda Huson, 54, and Warner Naziel, 50 - in the company's quest for a permanent court injunction. The pipeline company alleges that Ms. Huson (a Dark House spokeswoman) and Mr.

Naziel (also known as Smogelgem, who is the head chief of Sun House) are the architects behind the Unist'ot'en protest camp and blockade.

On Jan. 7, RCMP arrested 14 protesters at a police checkpoint along a remote B.C. logging road that leads to the Unist'ot'en camp.

Four days later, the blockade on the Morice River bridge came down. An interim injunction granted by the court in December will expire in May.

Ms. Husonlived at the Unist'ot'en protest camp for nine years with her common-law spouse, Mr.

Naziel.

Mr. Naziel said he first laid claim in 2016 to the Smogelgem title to make him head chief of Sun House. But Gloria George, a Wet'suwet'en elder who supports Coastal GasLink, said in a recent interview with The Globe and Mail that the title and position were unfairly stripped away from her.

Ms. George and two other Wet'suwet'en women, Darlene Glaim and Theresa Tait-Day, say male chiefs overstepped their bounds in removing the hereditary titles from them. Ms. Glaim previously served as head chief Woos under Grizzly House and Ms. Tait-Day had the hereditary title Wi'hali'yte. Frank Alec took over the title of Woos at a ceremony in Witset on March 2.

Associated Graphic

Protesters watch as police dismantle the barricade at the Unist'ot'en camp on Jan. 11. The Unist'ot'en camp filed the complaint regarding risk to a potential archeological site.

AMBER BRACKEN/NYT


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Vancouver's cooling market shrinks price of average house by $1-million
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Price of detached homes falls to $2,070,030 from $3,080,563 over 16 months amid tax measures, higher interest rates and mortgage stress test
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Friday, March 8, 2019 – Page B1

VANCOUVER -- The average price of detached houses sold in Vancouver has plunged more than $1-million over a 16-month period, a 33per-cent decline as the downturn in real estate deepens, newly released statistics show.

Within the City of Vancouver, the price for detached properties averaged $2,070,030 last month for sales on the multiple listing service, down sharply from $3,080,563 in October, 2017, according to an analysis of publicly released sales data by real estate agent Steve Saretsky. The last month that Vancouver's average detached price dipped below $2.1-million was in February, 2015.

Vancouver's market nosedived as a host of factors have hit the city, including an array of taxes introduced by the provincial government, higher interest rates and the federal stress test that toughened borrowing rules. The pricing plunge means homeowners who bought during market peaks have watched hundreds of thousands of dollars in equity evaporate, industry experts say.

Total residential sales last month in Greater Vancouver declined to 1,484 transactions, down 32.8 per cent when compared with a year earlier. Total listings for detached homes, condos and townhouses in the region have soared 48 per cent over the past year to 11,590 properties for sale last month, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV).

Within the City of Vancouver, the average price for detached properties sold last month declined 22 per cent compared with February, 2018.

"It's a combination of factors coming together at once, and you can call it a perfect storm," Mr. Saretsky said in an interview on Thursday, predicting that prices have room to fall further in 2019 while sales volume in March could tumble to levels last seen in the mid-1980s. "You would get real pain.

People already have been borrowing up to their eyeballs," he said.

Since February, 2018, the BC NDP government has rolled out tax measures designed to cool off what had been a redhot housing market.

Those measures include what the government calls a speculation and vacancy tax targeted primarily at out-ofprovince residents who don't rent out their homes, as well as new B.C. taxes imposed on properties valued at more than $3-million, such as an additional land-transfer tax and an annual surtax.

In August, 2016, the previous BC Liberal government introduced a 15-per-cent tax on foreign buyers in the Vancouver area, contributing to the detached segment's slump during the second half of 2016 and early 2017. "The foreignbuyers tax was a psychological shock, but it wore off in 2017," Mr.

Saretsky said.

On Jan. 1, 2018, Canada's banking regulator implemented a stress test, making it more difficult for buyers to qualify for mortgages.

After a choppy recovery in the housing market in 2017, the BC NDP government raised the foreign-buyers tax to 20 per cent in February, 2018, and also expanded the tax to other urban markets in the province.

The drop in average detachedhome prices in Vancouver over the past 16 months is much sharper than what had been predicted by economists, who had forecast a soft landing for Canada's most expensive housing market.

Mr. Saretsky released his analysis days after the REBGV reported that February sales for various housing types in the Vancouver area tumbled to a 10-year low.

While the condo market has also been affected, Vancouver's affordability crisis lingers with prices remaining out of reach for thousands of prospective firsttime buyers. The average price for condos sold within Vancouver's city limits was $855,622 last month, down 12 per cent from a year earlier.

"The last government chose to look the other way as B.C.'s housing market spiralled out of control," BC NDP Finance Minister Carole James said in her provincial budget speech last month.

The opposition Liberals say the NDP government's speculation tax is misguided. But Josh Gordon, assistant professor at Simon Fraser University's school of public policy, supports the speculation tax, arguing that too many buyers had been treating Vancouver as a resort. "The problem with becoming a resort area is that housing becomes very expensive for local working people, and local innovative businesses face intense challenges when they try to expand," Prof. Gordon said in a research paper released this week.

The price for detached houses sold in the City of Vancouver set a record-high average of $3,080,907 in April, 2016.

Industry experts say a wide range of factors combined to drive up prices for various housing types from mid-2013 to mid-2016, with prices skyrocketing in the detached segment.

Those factors included low interest rates, population growth, buoyant economic times, limited housing supply and an influx of foreign buyers for higher-end properties, said urban planner Andy Yan, director of Simon Fraser University's City Program.

A recent report by Urban Analytics Inc. for the Urban Development Institute said Canada-China trade uncertainty continues months after authorities arrested Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd.

chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou as she was transiting through Vancouver International Airport. "It will be interesting to see if the recent strain in relations will have any notable impact on Chinese demand for real estate in Vancouver," Urban Analytics said.

Associated Graphic

BEN NELMS/THE GLOBE AND MAIL


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Vancouver's February home sales hit lowest since 2009
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Prices for detached units drop 16.9 per cent from a year ago, with number of total transactions down 32.8 per cent from the same month in 2018
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Tuesday, March 5, 2019 – Page B3

VANCOUVER -- February sales for various housing types in the Vancouver area have tumbled to a 10-year low, with the market for detached houses getting hit the hardest.

The price for detached properties sold in the region averaged $1,442,863 last month, down 16.9 per cent from February, 2018, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver said on Monday.

Total residential sales last month declined to 1,484 transactions, down 32.8 per cent when compared with a year earlier.

"Conditions have shifted over the last 12 months to favour buyers, particularly in the detached home market," Greater Vancouver board president Phil Moore said in a statement.

Last month's regional sales for various housing types were the lowest for February since 2009, when 1,480 properties changed hands in the month during the recession.

Industry experts say provincial and federal factors have combined to cool off what had been a runaway market, in which prices skyrocketed from mid-2013 to mid-2016. In August, 2016, the BC Liberal government introduced a foreign-buyers tax of 15 per cent in the Vancouver region.

In February, the average number of days on the market for detached houses in Greater Vancouver rose to 55 days, compared with 44 days in the same month of 2018.

The BC NDP government raised the foreign-buyers tax to 20 per cent from 15 per cent in February, 2018, while expanding that tax beyond the initial target of the Vancouver region. Other provincial factors include what the NDP calls a speculation and vacancy tax, targeted primarily at out-of-province residents, and other B.C. taxes aimed at higherend properties.

Mortgage rates have steadily risen since mid-2017 and the federal banking regulator implemented a stress test on Jan. 1, 2018, making it tougher to qualify for mortgages.

While price declines have been steepest in the City of Vancouver, the affordability crisis lingers as condo prices remain out of reach for thousands of prospective first-time buyers.

The benchmark price for condos sold last month dipped to $660,300 in Greater Vancouver, down 4 per cent from a year earlier.

In Vancouver's sliding housing market, some industry observers add a quirky factor, arguing that the once-vaunted power of the number eight has lost its lustre.

Eight is deemed lucky in Chinese culture, notably for recent arrivals from China, and the number has been a frequent sight in Vancouver real estate for list prices. But Chinese buyers are backing away, and the number eight is becoming less common.

At 6414 Chester St. on Vancouver's less-expensive east side, the seller listed for $1,388,000 in September, and it took five months to find a buyer for the detached teardown. The owner, the Parish of Bishop Hill's Memorial Church of St. Mary the Virgin, accepted an offer of exactly $1-million last month for the listing touted as having the "potential to build your dream home."

At 4555 Magnolia St., on the city's pricey west side, a couple listed their home for $3,680,000 in November and sold for $3,050,000 in February - taking 76 days to sell.

Andy Yan, director of Simon Fraser University's city program, said the number eight ascended to folklore status during the peak of the housing boom from mid-2013 to mid-2016, when there were more buyers from China. But demand has shifted, with domestic buyers accounting for a higher proportion of total sales.

Foreign buyers, led by an influx from China, accounted for 10 per cent of property sales in the Vancouver region during a stretch of mid-2016, according to a survey by the B.C. government.

"It was an interesting thing three years ago, but buyers now see right through the marketing around the lucky number," said Bryan Yu, deputy chief economist at Central 1 Credit Union.

Still, some buyers still seem attached to it, including the successful bidders for 3589 Granville St. on the city's west side. Their bid of $8,388,000 sealed the deal in January for the mansion, which was listed for $8,888,000.

Eight is deemed a lucky number since its pronunciation sounds like the word for wealth or prosperity.

The benchmark price (an industry representation of the typical home sold in an area) for all residential types in the Vancouver area has declined for nine consecutive months, hitting $1,016,600 last month after setting a record high of $1,094,000 last May.

Over the past year, the benchmark price for detached houses has dropped 9.7 per cent regionally to $1,443,100, and fallen 13.5 per cent on Vancouver's west side to $3,029,200.

Associated Graphic

In February, the average number of days on the market for detached houses in Greater Vancouver rose to 55 days, compared with 44 in the same month of 2018.

BEN NELMS/THE GLOBE AND MAIL


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Wet'suwet'en chief defends move to strip title from Coastal GasLink supporter
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Wednesday, February 27, 2019 – Page A4

VANCOUVER -- A Wet'suwet'en Nation chief who took over a hereditary position from an Indigenous woman because she supports the Coastal GasLink pipeline is defending the decision to strip away her title, saying he has been groomed since childhood for a leadership role.

Warner Naziel said he and other hereditary chiefs, including his uncle who recommended him, acted properly when they removed the title Smogelgem from Gloria George. Ms. George and two other Indigenous women, Theresa Tait-Day and Darlene Glaim, were stripped of their hereditary titles for backing the $6.2-billion natural gas pipeline project.

Mr. Naziel said his parents and grandparents "were preparing me far in advance" to become a hereditary chief. "From the age of three or four years old, I would sit at my mother's feet at each feast while my grandmother sat nearby, learning what was happening and being told how things were working," Mr. Naziel said.

He made the comments in an affidavit in B.C. Supreme Court, dated Feb. 20, to assert that Ms.

George is wrong in assuming she had been entitled to automatically inherit Smogelgem from her late brother, Leonard George, under Sun House of the Laksamshu clan.

"One of his sisters, Gloria George, a member of our clan, decided she wanted the name, although she was not active in our feasts," Mr. Naziel said in his 11-page affidavit, arguing that Ms.

George did not follow protocol.

"The proper protocol for receiving a head chief's name includes consulting with the clan to determine whether they approve of your taking the name, announcing your intention to take the name at a smoke feast and then holding a feast specifically for that purpose."

Mr. Naziel, who is an artist and carver, filed his affidavit in response to Coastal GasLink's court application for an interim injunction to dismantle the Unist'ot'en protest camp's blockade in the B.C. Interior. Unist'ot'en is affiliated with Dark House, one of 13 Wet'suwet'en hereditary house groups.

The blockade on the bridge came down on Jan. 11, four days after the RCMP arrested 14 protesters at a police checkpoint along a remote B.C. logging road that leads to the Unist'ot'en camp.

Coastal GasLink is now seeking to obtain a permanent injunction because the interim one granted by the court in December will expire in May. Coastal GasLink, owned by TransCanada Corp., names Mr. Naziel and Freda Huson as two of the defendants in the court case. Mr. Naziel and Ms. Huson lived together for a decade as a common-law couple. They separated last month.

Mr. Naziel said he and Ms. Huson, a spokeswoman for Unist'ot'en and Dark House, moved in the summer of 2010 to the site of what would become Unist'ot'en camp. "Shortly after this, Freda and I moved our main sleeping quarters out to the cabin," Mr.Naziel said. "My role at camp was based in me being Freda's partner." He said the camp expanded and added a healing lodge in 201415: "It is traditional in Wet'suwet'en culture for someone who has experienced trauma to go and spend time on the land."

Mr. Naziel said Ms. George crossed the line when she aligned herself with Coastal GasLink. "After we realized that she was representing herself to government and industry, including Coastal Gaslink, as both having the authority of a head chief and also the backing of the clan, our clan held a feast and formally rescinded the name Smogelgem," said Mr. Naziel, who laid claim to the title in 2016. "All of the hereditary chiefs of my clan, including me, witnessed this and spoke."

But Ms. George said in a recent interview with The Globe and Mail that she acted appropriately when she patiently waited several years before inheriting Smogelgem, after her brother Leonard died in 2007. "The title was my brother's and before my brother, it was my mom's cousin, and before that, it was my mom's great uncle," Ms. George said.

She pointed out that Mr. Naziel's roots are in Owl House, but the Smogelgem title is under Sun House.

Leonard George, in his hereditary role as Smogelgem, was one of the plaintiffs in the historic court case known as Delgamuukw, in which Gitxsan and Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs claimed ownership of their unceded territories in British Columbia. In the landmark 1997 decision, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Indigenous people have valid claims to ancestral lands that were never ceded by treaty.

Ms. Glaim, who held the hereditary title Woos, and Ms. George did not return requests for comment on Tuesday.

Ms. Tait-Day said the hereditary house chiefs are the ones who overstepped their bounds and should be disciplined. "The male hereditary chiefs have no authority to remove any one of their names," Ms. Tait-Day said.

"They should be supportive of women."

She said she plans to rectify the situation so that the male chiefs recognize her right to hold the hereditary title of Wi'hali'yte.

The three Indigenous women said in recent interviews that they have been ostracized behind the scenes since forming the Wet'suwet'en Matrilineal Coalition and want to bring their case into the public light. The women formed WMC in 2015, believing the fledgling group could address the need for a collective decision-making body to bridge the wide gap between hereditary chiefs opposed to the pipeline and elected band councillors on reserves who support the project.

The women have felt the repercussions of being shunned and have been excluded from important gatherings.

Mr. Naziel's uncle, Alphonse Gagnon, filed an affidavit last week to vouch for his nephew. Mr.

Gagnon said that in 1998, he took over the hereditary title Kloum Khun under Owl House of the Laksamshu clan. "I suggested to the clan, as was my right, that the name Toghestiy should pass to my nephew, Warner Naziel," Mr.Gagnon said.

Mr. Gagnon said his nephew is an expert on hereditary governance and earned the wing chief (sub-chief) title of Toghestiy under Owl House.

"Although I am now Smogelgem, I still hold the name Toghestiy," Mr. Naziel noted.


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Three Indigenous women lose hereditary titles over pipeline
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Tuesday, February 26, 2019 – Page A1

VANCOUVER -- Wet'suwet'en Nation chiefs who oppose the $6.2-billion Coastal GasLink pipeline route in British Columbia stripped hereditary titles away from three Indigenous women who support the project.

The women formed the Wet'suwet'en Matrilineal Coalition (WMC) in August, 2015, hoping the fledgling group would address the need for a collective decision-making body.

Internal strife within the Wet'suwet'en Nation has grown in recent years, with conflict between hereditary chiefs administering their unceded territories (passed down through oral traditions) versus elected band councillors on reserves (codified by federal law). It has placed a spotlight on the challenges faced by resource companies and governments when pursuing energy megaprojects in British Columbia.

The women say they have been ostracized behind the scenes since forming WMC and want to bring their case into the public light.

WMC incorporated as a notfor-profit group, with Gloria George, Darlene Glaim and Theresa Tait-Day serving as the original directors.

The three Indigenous women say they launched WMC in an effort to encourage Wet'suwet'en members to make informed decisions about contentious issues such as TransCanada Corp.'s Coastal GasLink. They say they tried unsuccessfully to persuade the male hereditary leaders to sign a benefits agreement with the naturalgas pipeline project.

The existence of WMC is a sign of a deeply divided nation, underscoring the complexity of the situation, according to Claire Marshall, a consultant retained by Coastal GasLink since 2012.

Hereditary chiefs say non-Indigenous opposition from environmentalists to Hollywood celebrities is mounting against plans for the 670-kilometre route from northeast B.C. to Kitimat on the West Coast.

The Office of the Wet'suwet'en, based in Smithers, B.C., is the umbrella organization that represents hereditary house groups.

Two of the Indigenous women were Wet'suwet'en house chiefs: Ms. George held the hereditary title Smogelgem under Sun House of the Laksamshu clan, while Ms.

Glaim served as Woos under Grizzly House of the Gitdumden (also spelled Gidimt'en) clan.

"We established the matrilineal coalition, and the reason for that was to try to bring economic benefits to our young people," Ms. George said.

Ms. Tait-Day held the hereditary position Wi'hali'yte, a spiritual name that means "far seer," under House Beside The Fire of the Laksilyu clan.

The pipeline project has been approved by all 20 elected First Nation councils along the route, including five elected band councils that belong to the Wet'suwet'en Nation.

But five prominent Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs have led a campaign to oppose the pipeline, and they accuse WMC of being biased because Coastal GasLink and the previous BC Liberal government each provided $30,000 in funding in 2017 to the group.

Coastal GasLink has tried to bypass and undermine the authority of Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs, according to supporters of the Unist'ot'en protest camp. Unist'ot'en is affiliated with Dark House, one of 13 Wet'suwet'en hereditary house groups.

On the Wet'suwet'en's unceded territory, the Unist'ot'en camp's blockade had prevented Coastal GasLink workers from crossing the Morice River bridge in the B.C. Interior. The blockade on the bridge came down on Jan.

11, four days after the RCMP arrested 14 protesters at a police checkpoint along a remote B.C.

logging road that leads to the Unist'ot'en camp.

Ms. George, Ms. Glaim and Ms.Tait-Day said in recent interviews with The Globe and Mail that the male hereditary chiefs have unfairly removed the Indigenous titles from them.

They have felt the repercussions of losing their titles, with WMC being excluded from important meetings. The previous BC Liberal government recognized the three women's hereditary roles as recently as the spring of 2017. In May, 2018, the BC NDP government's Indigenous Relations Minister, Scott Fraser, met with Wet'suwet'en hereditary leaders, but the gathering did not include the three women.

The pipeline is scheduled to be completed in late 2023. Royal Dutch Shell PLC-led LNG Canada has started construction on its $18-billion terminal in Kitimat, with the facility slated to start exporting liquefied natural gas to Asia by early 2025.

The Unist'ot'en camp has been endorsed by five prominent Wet'suwet'en house chiefs, part of a hereditary system of 13 house groups that fall under five clans.

The five men (with their Indigenous title, followed by their house group and clan) are: John Ridsdale (Na'Moks) from Rafters on Beaver House under the Tsayu clan; Warner William (Knedebeas) from Dark House under the Gilseyhu clan; Jeff Brown (Madeek) from Where it Lies Blocking the Trail under the Gitdumden clan; Ron Mitchell (Hagwilnegh) from House of Many Eyes under the Laksilyu clan; and Warner Naziel (Smogelgem) from Sun House under the Laksamshu clan.

Mr. Naziel took over the Smogelgem title from Ms. George.

"Our matrilineal coalition tried to have talks with these guys. We cannot have the guys making decisions about our nation without proper engagement," Ms. Tait-Day said. "Every one of us women inherited our names through our family."

Ms. Glaim temporarily stepped down from WMC in 2017, citing "turmoil" within the Wet'suwet'en Nation, before rejoining the coalition. "Our system is broken," Ms. Glaim said. "Our hereditary and elected band council systems don't have a way to come together to agree or disagree. We don't have unity and we're a split nation, and that's the sad part."

Michael Lee Ross, a lawyer who represents two of the Unist'ot'en supporters, criticized the matrilineal coalition in a recent filing in B.C. Supreme Court. "WMC includes individuals who have improperly represented themselves as hereditary chiefs and who in consequence have been reprimanded and ordered to stop using a hereditary chiefly title or formally stripped of the claimed chiefly title," said Mr. Ross, who represents Mr. Naziel and his spouse, Freda Huson.

Mr. Ross made his arguments in documents dated Feb. 20, filed in response to Coastal GasLink's application for an interim court injunction to dismantle the Unist'ot'en blockade. Coastal GasLink names Mr. Naziel and Ms.

Huson as defendants in the court case. Ms. Huson is a spokeswoman for the Unist'ot'en camp and Dark House, and also serves as an elected Witset councillor.

Mr. William, the Dark House chief, is also a long-time elected councillor with the Witset band, where a majority of councillors voted to support Coastal GasLink.

"Coastal GasLink has attempted to subvert the authority of the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs, including Knedebeas of Dark House specifically," Mr. Ross said.

"By funding and engaging with the WMC, Coastal GasLink has attempted to side-step Dark House, the Office of the Wet'suwet'en and Wet'suwet'en legal process."

Mr. Ridsdale, the Rafters on Beaver House chief, said protests and other strategies to combat Coastal GasLink will create uncertainty and delay pipeline construction. "We are Wet'suwet'en.

We are the highest authority on our territory," he said. "The world is watching."

Adam Gagnon, a wing chief (sub-chief) of the Laksamshu clan, said Ms. George, Ms. Glaim and Ms. Tait-Day were justifiably stripped of their "tainted" titles, describing them as "self-proclaimed hereditary chiefs" who didn't follow protocols to obtain their Indigenous names in the first place.

"It's way more complicated. In our culture, the way my mother explained it to me, any woman who goes after a high chief's name is a very greedy woman," Mr. Gagnon said.


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Steelhead LNG halts Kwispaa project
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CEO says a final investment decision for the proposed export terminal will be delayed indefinitely
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Tuesday, February 19, 2019 – Page B2

VICTORIA -- A liquefied natural gas project planned for Vancouver Island has been halted, the latest setback for LNG proponents in British Columbia.

"We're talking about a pause," said Nigel Kuzemko, chief executive at Steelhead LNG, which oversees the Vancouver Island project, called Kwispaa LNG. "Certainly for us, it's a timeout."

Mr. Kuzemko said in an interview that a final investment decision for Kwispaa had been scheduled for next year, but the timing for such a decision will be delayed indefinitely.

Huu-ay-aht First Nations leaders, who back plans to build the Kwispaa export terminal on their traditional territory on Vancouver Island, said they are "deeply disappointed" to learn that the project has been suspended.

The halting of work on the Kwispaa venture is the latest in a series of decisions by energy companies abandoning LNG plans in British Columbia.

Mr. Kuzemko said he has shifted his attention away from plans for an LNG terminal and is now devoting his efforts instead on developing plans to build a natural gas pipeline from northeast British Columbia to Vancouver Island. The LNG terminal and pipeline are estimated to cost a total of $18-billion.

"When you refocus, you have to do things that are tough. We've ceased some operations immediately," Mr. Kuzemko said.

He said he is holding out hope that the Kwispaa terminal plans could eventually be revived, if the pipeline gains support from First Nations along the route. "The ability to build and get approval for pipelines in British Columbia is challenging," he said.

Huu-ay-aht elected chief councillor Robert Dennis Sr. and head hereditary chief Derek Peters were looking forward to having a major LNG terminal built on the Huu-ay-aht's traditional territory at Sarita Bay, 75 kilometres southwest of Port Alberni.

"Huu-ay-aht First Nations was notified by Steelhead LNG that it has ceased current project work on the Kwispaa LNG project," Mr.Dennis and Mr. Peters wrote in their joint letter to Huu-ay-aht members. "We are saddened by the decision of Steelhead LNG."

The Huu-ay-aht are part of the 2011 Maa-nulth First Nations Final Agreement, one of a handful of treaty and land claim pacts in British Columbia.

The majority owner of Steelhead LNG is Azimuth Capital Management, a private equity firm based in Calgary. In a regulatory filing last year, Calgarybased natural gas producer Seven Generations Energy Ltd. said it had invested $25.8-million and made other commitments for a 24.4-per-cent stake in Steelhead LNG, but wrote down $14.4-million of its investment.

Only one LNG project is under construction in British Columbia.

Five years ago, there were more than 20 B.C. LNG proposals touted by the previous BC Liberal government.

The BC NDP government supports LNG Canada, led by Royal Dutch Shell PLC, which has started work on a terminal in Kitimat to export the fuel to Asia. The Shell-led consortium is aiming to begin shipments by early 2025.

LNG Canada's budget totals $40-billion, including $18-billion for the Kitimat terminal and $6.2billion for TransCanada Corp.'s Coastal GasLink pipeline, which is slated to transport natural gas from northeastern B.C. to Kitimat.

All 20 elected Indigenous band councils along Coastal GasLink's route have signed project agreements with TransCanada, but a group backed by five prominent Wet'suwet'en Nation hereditary chiefs remains opposed.

With work halted on Kwispaa, that leaves only one major LNG terminal on the drawing board in B.C.: Chevron Corp. and Woodside Petroleum Ltd. are continuing with preliminary work on their Kitimat LNG joint venture at Bish Cove.

One small-scale B.C. proposal, Woodfibre LNG near Squamish, is considered by industry experts to be viable in the short term.

Last year, Australia's Woodside walked away from its plans to build Grassy Point LNG on a site near Prince Rupert. In 2017, cancelled B.C. projects included: Shell's Prince Rupert LNG plans on Ridley Island; the Malaysianled Pacific NorthWest LNG joint venture on Lelu Island; the Aurora LNG consortium led by China on Digby Island; and Steelhead LNG's Malahat proposal on Vancouver Island.

Associated Graphic

Steelhead LNG's plan to halt construction of the Kwispaa export terminal at Sarita Bay on Vancouver Island has disappointed Huu-ay-aht First Nations leaders who support the project.

STEELHEAD LNG


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China's slowing economic growth cuts into demand for B.C. softwood lumber
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Monday, February 18, 2019 – Page B1

VANCOUVER -- B.C. softwood lumber shipments to China are in decline as that country's slowing economic growth pinches demand for one of Canada's key exports.

The volume and value of B.C.

softwood exports to China have been on a downward trend since peaking in 2013.

While full-year trade statistics for 2018 won't be released until mid-March, industry experts interviewed by The Globe and Mail estimate that almost five million cubic metres of lumber went from British Columbia to China last year, compared with 5.5 million in 2017 and a record 7.9 million in 2013.

Asia in general, and China in particular, are considered highgrowth markets for B.C. lumber producers, but lofty export expectations have now been scaled back.

Chinese buyers accounted for an estimated 20 per cent of the province's total volume of lumber exports in 2018, down from 22 per cent in 2017 and a record 31 per cent in 2013.

The value of B.C. lumber exports to China is also decreasing, going from a record $1.39-billion in 2013 to $1.07-billion in 2017 and predictions of less than $1billion last year.

Still, Canadian forestry executives prize China as the secondlargest foreign buyer of B.C. softwood after the United States and they are optimistic that China will be a reliable customer over the long term.

"We're really encouraged by China, and we believe that there's still a huge future in China for our products," Don Kayne, chief executive officer at Vancouver-based lumber producer Canfor Corp., said in an interview.

In early December, B.C. government delegates postponed their plans to visit China days after authorities arrested Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou as she was transiting through Vancouver International Airport.

But Mr. Kayne and other forestry executives forged ahead that month with the final leg in China of the Asia trade mission.

"We're focused on the business of China as opposed to the politics. China has been supportive of B.C. companies, not just Canfor, and we're grateful for that," Mr.Kayne said. "Diversification of our markets is important because of the trade issues that we have on a regular basis with the United States."

The long-running softwood dispute between Canada and the United States is expected to continue into 2020. The U.S. Department of Commerce collected final countervailing and anti-dumping tariffs averaging 20.23 per cent against most Canadian lumber producers in 2018.

Despite those tariffs, the United States has solidified its No. 1 position in rankings of B.C.'s top lumber customers. American buyers such as home builders accounted for an estimated 61 per cent of the total value of B.C. softwood shipments to foreign customers last year, far ahead of China at 15 per cent.

Industry analysts say a detailed examination of Canada-China trade statistics reveals that the situation is far from dire.

Since 2013, there has been a gradual shift to B.C. producers exporting less lumber by volume to China, but the shipments contain better-quality and higher-value wood.

The value of B.C. lumber exports to all foreign destinations last year is expected to be roughly $6.5-billion, down slightly from 2017.

Russ Taylor, managing director in Canada at lumber research firm Forest Economic Advisors, said the trend of B.C.

lumber shipments declining to China over the past five years is due in part to Russia increasing its market share in China. But China barely registered on B.C.'s radar 13 years ago; Chinese orders took up only 1 per cent of the total volume of B.C. lumber exports in 2006.

RBC Dominion Securities Inc. analyst Paul Quinn said 2013 and 2014 were anomalies for B.C. producers because of a spike in lower-grade softwood shipped to China, which used that wood for applications such as concrete forming. But supplies of lower-grade softwood have dwindled over the years, long after the infestation of mountain pine beetles in the B.C. Interior began in the late 1990s and peaked in 2005.

Mr. Quinn expects the value of B.C. softwood exports to China will flatten over the next couple of years, "but a lot can change depending on what happens with the U.S. tariffs and Canada."

Adding to the complexities, lumber prices have been volatile over the past year. Benchmark two-by-fours made from western spruce, pine and fir rose to US$422 for 1,000 board feet in early February, up 29 per cent since late December but still down 32 per cent when compared with US$622 in June, according to Madison's Lumber Reporter.

B.C. billionaire Jim Pattison, who owns half of Canfor and more than 10 per cent of Vancouver-based West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd., said he doesn't lose sleep over wild swings in commodity prices or political uncertainty on the trade front. "You can control costs and production, but there's no sense in worrying about something you can't control. You have to figure out how to deal with it. We can't control what the Canadian or American or Chinese governments do," Mr. Pattison said.

Associated Graphic

The United States is still by far the top export market for B.C. softwood lumber, such as these logs awaiting processing in Delta, B.C., but China is still an important customer. B.C. exported roughly $6.5-billion of lumber last year.

DARRYL DYCK/THE GLOBE AND MAIL


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FIRST FLIGHT OF THE BOEING 747 JUMBO JET
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Saturday, February 9, 2019 – Page A2

Cheers broke out when the Boeing 747's nose tilted to the sky and the inaugural test flight began for the world's first wide-body plane - a jumbo jet that would usher in an era of long-haul travel. Fifty years ago, at Paine Field in Everett, Wash., Boeing chief engineer Joe Sutter and other employees watched as the plane landed safely after nearly 75 minutes in the air.

"That was the biggest thrill of the day," Mr. Sutter said in his 2006 book on the twin-aisle jet. The plane features a distinctive hump at the front to accommodate an upper deck. After Mr. Sutter died in 2016, tributes poured in for his creative genius in designing the plane for its first customer, Pan American World Airways. Pan Am folded in 1991.

But the plane - known as the Queen of the Skies in its heyday - has enjoyed a long life, even if its days are now numbered. British Airways is painting one of its 747s in the livery of its predecessor, British Overseas Airways Corp. (BOAC), and plans to keep that aircraft running until 2023, by which time the carrier expects to have retired most of its 747 fleet.

For plane spotters, catching sight of the passenger jet in commercial operation will be an increasingly rare treat.

BRENT JANG

Associated Graphic

The Boeing 747 jumbo jet, the world's first wide-body plane, departs on its maiden flight on Feb. 9, 1969, in Everett, Wash.

BETTMANN/GETTY IMAGES


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Coastal GasLink pipeline at risk unless company granted access, court told
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Wednesday, February 6, 2019 – Page B1

VANCOUVER -- A TransCanada Corp. vice-president who headed Coastal GasLink for nearly seven years has warned that the $6.2-billion pipeline project will be at risk of being cancelled unless workers are allowed unfettered access across an Indigenous protest camp.

"Inability to construct any portion of the project means the whole project will cease," Rick Gateman said in an affidavit in B.C. Supreme Court. Coastal GasLink, owned by Calgary-based TransCanada, is seeking a permanent injunction to prevent protesters from reviving a blockade on the Morice River bridge in the B.C. Interior.

Mr. Gateman, who is now a TransCanada vice-president of business development, served as Coastal GasLink president from 2012 until last week. "Unimpeded access is important to ensure the safety of crews working in these remote areas," he said in his affidavit dated Nov. 23, 2018.

His 16-page affidavit is part of a series of court documents filed by Coastal GasLink in a bid to prevent protesters from re-establishing the blockade, which had been originally erected in 2010 to disrupt Enbridge Inc.'s now-defunct Northern Gateway oil pipeline proposal.

David Pfeiffer took over as Coastal GasLink president on Feb. 1. He formerly worked as TransCanada's vice-president overseeing projects in Mexico. "There continues to be strong support for this $6.2-billion critical energy infrastructure project, including from Indigenous communities," Mr. Pfeiffer said in a statement on Tuesday.

Coastal GasLink received provincial regulatory approval in 2014 to proceed with plans to construct a 670-kilometre pipeline to transport natural gas from northeastern B.C. to a West Coast terminal. The $18-billion plant in Kitimat, for exporting liquefied natural gas to Asian markets, will be built by LNG Canada, the consortium led by Royal Dutch Shell PLC.

The Unist'ot'en blockade on the bridge came down on Jan. 11, allowing Coastal GasLink workers to gain access to a portion of the pipeline route located 1.1 kilometres away. Unist'ot'en is affiliated with Dark House, one of 13 hereditary house groups belonging to the Wet'suwet'en Nation.

The RCMP and Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs agreed to a deal to comply with an interim court injunction.

"If the project does not proceed, then LNG Canada's facility will have no source of gas, and likely it would not proceed either," Mr. Gateman warned.

He said the economic stakes are enormous, pointing to $527-million already spent on preliminary development costs. He also estimates that the pipeline would contribute more than $20-million annually in property taxes to four regional districts in British Columbia, as well as generating $170-million in tax revenue for the B.C. government during the construction phase.

Michael Lee Ross - a lawyer representing two defendants named in the court case, Freda Huson and Warner Naziel - countered in December that, in 2011, Dark House formally opposed all pipelines proposed through the unceded territory of the Wet'suwet'en Nation.

Ms. Huson, a spokeswoman for the Unist'ot'en, said in a 2015 e-mail to a Coastal GasLink official that when pipeline representatives visited her, she told them that their sales pitches were unwelcome. In an e-mail appearing in court, she wrote: "I asked the question, 'When a vacuum salesman shows up to your door and you say you don't want the vacuum, do you invite him in to discuss the vacuum - Do you know what no means?' " Ms. Huson reiterated her opposition in an email in August, 2018. "We don't want these projects coming," she told Claire Marshall, a consultant retained by Coastal GasLink. "You have not gained consent to enter our territory."

But Mr. Gateman said all 20 elected First Nation councils along the pipeline route have signed project agreements, including five councils within the Wet'suwet'en Nation's traditional territory. The pro-pipeline position of elected councils puts them at odds with five prominent Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs who have led a campaign to oppose Coastal GasLink.

Coastal GasLink has conditionally awarded $620-million in contracts to Indigenous businesses in British Columbia.

"These contracting and employment opportunities will not be available if the project does not proceed," he warned.

Coastal GasLink said its staff crossing the bridge will not affect a healing lodge, which is part of the Unist'ot'en camp.

The company hopes to have the pipeline in service in 2023, while LNG Canada wants to begin fuel exports to Asia in late 2024 or early 2025.

In an interview, LNG Canada chief executive officer Andy Calitz said the Kitimat terminal's construction schedule remains on track. "Projects are too big to start and stop," Mr. Calitz said. "We are clear that our project will be completed, and the events of the past weeks around the Morice River bridge have not changed that."


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In Vancouver, housing sales tumble to 10-year low
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Benchmark price has fallen for eight consecutive months as stricter mortgage rules and B.C. taxes on real estate slow demand
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Tuesday, February 5, 2019 – Page B1

VANCOUVER -- Call it Exhibit A for the state of Vancouver's slumping market for detached houses.

In a gauge for rundown properties, a buyer paid $1,980,000 last month for a three-bedroom teardown in the city's Point Grey neighbourhood, nearly three years after the seller bought it for $2,880,000.

The listing took 14 months to sell, underscoring the sluggish sales activity across the region.

Housing sales have tumbled to a 10-year low in Greater Vancouver as a market once fuelled by bidding wars gives way to a period of declining prices.

Last month's 1,103 sales in the region for various housing types were the lowest for January since 2009, when only 762 properties changed hands in that month during the recession, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver said on Monday.

Sales volume in January dropped 39.3 per cent when compared with the same month in 2018, and slumped 36.3 per cent beneath the 10year average for January.

Simply put, the psychology swung last summer to being a buyer's market, with consumer confidence eroded by an array of B.C. taxes on real estate, said Phil Moore, president of the Greater Vancouver board.

"Anything above $3-million has been hardest hit," he said. "Buyers don't like instability and they're looking for homes that are liveable."

Within the City of Vancouver, listings for detached houses for less than $1-million are no longer rare. "I'm surprised that we're starting to see more and more detached sales in East Vancouver below $1-million and even a few sales on the west side under $2-million," Mr. Moore said.

Provincially, the B.C. NDP government raised the foreign-buyers tax to 20 per cent one year ago, while expanding that tax beyond the initial target of the Vancouver region. Other provincial factors include what the NDP calls a speculation and vacancy tax targeted primarily at out-of-province residents, and other B.C. taxes aimed at higher-end properties.

Higher interest rates and toughened borrowing rules are other factors, housing experts say.

Canada's banking regulator implemented a stress test on Jan. 1, 2018, making it harder for buyers to qualify for mortgages.

The benchmark price (an industry representation of the typical home sold in an area) for all residential types in Greater Vancouver has declined for eight consecutive months, hitting $1,019,600 last month after setting a record high of $1,094,000 last May.

The benchmark price for detached houses has fallen 14.1 per cent over the past year on Vancouver's west side to $3,049,700.

The region's condo segment began softening in mid-2018, including in the less-expensive suburbs. In New Westminster, for instance, the benchmark price for condos sold has fallen 8.5 per cent over the past six months to $524,400.

Look no further than the Vancouver teardown as a dramatic example of the turmoil in the detached segment. The listing in the Point Grey neighbourhood on the city's west side went on the market for $3,070,000 in November, 2017. The house, built in 1912, languished for six months without any takers. Last May, the seller lowered the asking price in what would be the first of four markdowns.

Finally, after slashing the list price to $2,199,900 on Jan. 7, the knockdown sold days later for $900,000 lower than what the seller paid nearly three years earlier, or a 31-per-cent plunge. The seller had acquired the teardown for $2,880,000 in February, 2016. Six months later, the then-B.C.

Liberal government introduced a 15-percent tax on foreign buyers in the Vancouver region.

In desirable neighbourhoods on Vancouver's west side, rundown homes that fetched as much as $3-million during a redhot market in mid-2016 would now sell for roughly $2-million to $2.3-million, reflecting land value only, housing observers say.

"We made a good deal," said Gordon Ge, the agent who represented the Point Grey buyer. "The market is dropping down right now because of the extra taxes."

Mr. Ge said his client plans to rent out the bungalow for a couple of years, before demolishing it and building a new house.

The listing agent, Danielle Lu, said she couldn't say much about the transaction. "I am sorry that I can't discuss anything about my client. It is their decision," she said.

Still, the affordability crisis persists.

Even with a buyer's market, prices remain lofty compared with the 2000s. Records for Ms. Lu's listing show that the property sold for $455,000 in 2002 and resold for $751,500 in 2005 - above the asking price in both instances.

Developers say there are examples on Vancouver's west side and in the district municipality of West Vancouver of extreme price drops for detached properties, especially teardowns that are sold for land value. But they expect 2019's bumpy ride will smooth out with improved sales activity in 2020 and an optimistic outlook over the long term.

"Builders need to have confidence that values are going to move up during the course of construction," said Neil Chrystal, chief executive officer of Polygon Homes Ltd.

Eric Carlson, chief executive at Anthem Properties Group Ltd., said he expects sales volume for resale properties to be slow for another one or two quarters. For buyers considering entry-level condos, the thought of losing $50,000 in market value has been a deterrent, he said.

"But they will get tired of sitting in basement suites or living with their parents or having roommates," Mr. Carlson said.

Associated Graphic

A three-bedroom Vancouver teardown sold for $1.98-million last month after 14 months on the market and nearly three years after it was purchased for $2.88-million.

BEN NELMS/THE GLOBE & MAIL


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Ex-chief leads Indigenous bid to invest in B.C. pipeline
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Coastal GasLink is crucial to raising living standards for communities along its route, First Nations LNG Alliance CEO says
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Wednesday, January 30, 2019 – Page B2

VANCOUVER -- The head of an Indigenous group will be organizing efforts by elected chiefs to buy into TransCanada Corp.'s Coastal GasLink pipeline project in British Columbia, pitting them against protesters led by hereditary leaders.

Karen Ogen-Toews, chief executive of the First Nations LNG Alliance, said on Tuesday that the natural gas pipeline's economic spinoffs are crucial to raising the standard of living for Indigenous people along the 670-kilometre route.

She served from 2010 to 2016 as the elected chief councillor of the Wet'suwet'en First Nation (formerly known as the Broman Lake Indian Band), which is one of five elected Wet'suwet'en Nation band councils along the route that support Coastal GasLink.

But five prominent Wet'suwet'en Nation hereditary chiefs have led a campaign to oppose Coastal GasLink, and they have garnered growing support from environmental groups and an array of Canadian indie music stars and Hollywood celebrities.

The $6.2-billion pipeline project, wholly owned by Calgarybased TransCanada, mostly through CGL LP, would run from northeastern B.C. to a liquefied natural gas terminal on the West Coast to be built by the LNG Canada consortium led by Royal Dutch Shell PLC.

"The thought of First Nations taking a stake in the Coastal GasLink pipeline is well worth pursuing, since the elected councils of all 20 First Nations on the pipeline route have approved the pipeline, and others have endorsed the LNG Canada project that it will feed," Ms. Ogen-Toews said in an e-mailed statement. "All these Nations see responsible LNG development in B.C. as a way out of poverty, as a source of revenues that will enable Nations to tackle their huge social issues and as a path towards employment, education, income, self-government and economic reconciliation."

She made the comments after Coastal GasLink said in a recent filing to the National Energy Board that TransCanada has hired RBC Capital Markets to manage the sale of a majority stake in Coastal GasLink. "Third-party joint venture partners could acquire up to 75 per cent of CGL LP interests," Coastal GasLink told the NEB.

TransCanada spokesman Terry Cunha said on Tuesday that company officials "are in the early stages of discussions as we seek investors to take a stake in CGL."

Industry experts say elected councils could end up buying a total of 10 per cent of the line. Each of the 20 elected councils along the route will make their own decision on whether to become equity partners in the pipeline, Ms.

Ogen-Toews said.

"It will obviously take time to explore the potential for First Nations to invest in the Coastal GasLink line," she said.

Crystal Smith, chief councillor of the Haisla Nation, said in an interview that her council will participate in efforts by the First Nations LNG Alliance to marshal support for becoming equity partners in Coastal GasLink.

The Haisla council backs Coastal GasLink and also LNG Canada, which plans to build an $18-billion export terminal in Kitimat on an industrial site located on the Haisla's traditional territory.

The Unist'ot'en protest camp, however, is fighting Coastal GasLink's plans to construct a section that crosses into the Wet'suwet'en Nation's unceded territory. Unist'ot'en is affiliated with Dark House, one of 13 hereditary house groups within the Wet'suwet'en Nation.

The Unist'ot'en blockade on a bridge in the B.C. Interior came down on Jan. 11 after the RCMP and Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs agreed to a deal to comply with an interim court injunction.

"Coastal GasLink/TransCanada has not received free, prior, and informed consent from or made any agreement with our hereditary chiefs to do work on Wet'suwet'en lands," Unist'ot'en supporters said in a statement this week.

The B.C. Energy Ministry said on Tuesday that it is aware that TransCanada intends to sell a portion of the pipeline project, and added: "A change in ownership of the pipeline does not change the requirements and obligations of the environmental assessment certificate or authorized permits issued for this project."

Dark House is led by Chief Knedebeas, who also goes by Warner William. Besides his role as a hereditary house chief, he is also an elected councillor of the Witset band, where a majority of councillors voted to support Coastal GasLink.

Coastal GasLink said in court filings that it has sought unsuccessfully to consult with Freda Huson, an Unist'ot'en camp spokeswoman who is also an elected Witset councillor: "Coastal GasLink has contacted Ms. Huson personally in her capacity as a contact person for Dark House over 40 times and has requested meetings with her at least seven times since 2014."


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TransCanada hires RBC to sell stake in B.C. pipeline
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Tuesday, January 29, 2019 – Page B1

VANCOUVER -- TransCanada Corp. has hired RBC Capital Markets Inc. to manage the planned sale of a majority stake in Coastal GasLink, a $6.2-billion pipeline project that has been the target of protests led by a group of hereditary chiefs in British Columbia.

Calgary-based TransCanada, which wholly owns Coastal GasLink mostly through CGL LP, has been facing opposition to the natural gas pipeline from key Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs and an array of environmentalists.

"Third-party joint venture partners could acquire up to 75 per cent of CGL LP interests," Coastal GasLink said in a filing dated Jan. 25 to the National Energy Board.

Referring to TransCanada as TCC, the filing noted that "TCC has consulted with RBC Capital Markets as advisers for this sale."

The NEB is poised to examine an application from Mike Sawyer, an environmentalist from Smithers, B.C., who argues that Coastal GasLink needs federal approval.

The natural gas pipeline received regulatory approval in 2014 from the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office to proceed with construction plans.

As part of its 16-page NEB submission, Coastal GasLink outlined the outlook for its ownership structure: "Assuming a transaction proceeds, one or more arm'slength third parties will hold the majority of the equity."

TransCanada declined on Monday to explain its motivation, but the move aligns with the company's shifting focus away from Canada and the possibility that First Nations could buy into the pipeline project and help overcome construction delays.

Coastal GasLink said there is strong support from elected Indigenous groups for the 670-kilometre pipeline route from northeast B.C. to a West Coast terminal, which would export liquefied natural gas to Asian markets. The plant in Kitimat, B.C., will be built by LNG Canada, the consortium led by Royal Dutch Shell PLC.

"Project agreements in support of Coastal GasLink have been signed with all 20 elected band councils along the route," Coastal GasLink told the NEB. "$620-million in contracts have been awarded to Indigenous communities, and CGL anticipates further opportunities for Indigenous and local businesses valued at approximately $400-million. Payment under these contracts is dependent upon the continuation of construction."

Crystal Smith, chief councillor of the Haisla Nation, said her elected band is interested in becoming an equity co-owner.

"Any advancement that we could make to have a social impact on our communities is possible," said Ms. Smith, who believes that Coastal GasLink's economic spinoffs would help reduce poverty at the Haisla's Kitamaat Village and other Indigenous communities along the pipeline route.

She said the First Nations LNG Alliance, headed by Karen Ogen-Toews, is well positioned to help co-ordinate the participation of elected bands hoping to buy a piece of Coastal GasLink. Ms. Ogen-Toews is the former elected chief councillor of the Wet'suwet'en First Nation (formerly known as the Broman Lake Indian Band), which is one of five elected Wet'suwet'en Nation bands along the route that support Coastal GasLink.

Bill Gallagher, a lawyer who examines conflicts between First Nations and energy developers, said the Unist'ot'en protest camp led by five hereditary chiefs has become the latest standoff to signify Canada's inability to forge ahead with resource projects. Unist'ot'en is affiliated with Dark House, one of 13 hereditary house groups belonging to the Wet'suwet'en Nation.

"Elected bands will probably want somewhere totalling a 10-per-cent stake as an entry level, and being native coowners would give a good housekeeping seal of approval from them," Mr. Gallagher said.

He pointed out that TransCanada recently announced plans to change its name to TC Energy, reflecting how the company has been shifting its focus over the years beyond Canada and into the United States and Mexico. "There's gridlock in Canada's energy proposals, and TransCanada seems to want to limit its exposure to Coastal GasLink. You are seeing TransCanada rebranding itself and dropping Canada out of its name," Mr.

Gallagher said.

TransCanada's plans to sell off a large portion of Coastal GasLink follows the decision last year by Kinder Morgan Canada Inc. to exit the Trans Mountain oil pipeline project, after years of failed or stalled energy proposals in Canada. The federal government bought the Trans Mountain oil line and also the terminal in the Port of Vancouver, and inherited the plans for expanding the pipeline from Alberta to the West Coast.

TransCanada spokesman Terry Cunha said on Monday that the company doesn't have anything to add to the NEB filing.

"Any discussions with interested parties are confidential," he said in a statement.

Donald Marchand, TransCanada's chief financial officer, briefly raised the possibility of a transaction involving Coastal GasLink during an 85-minute conference call with industry analysts in November.

He estimated that TransCanada could be left holding between 25 per cent and 49 per cent of Coastal GasLink. "The amount of money looking for contracted infrastructure assets is substantial," Mr. Marchand said.


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LNG Canada vows to press ahead with terminal
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CEO says plant will be built on West Coast despite opposition to connecting Coastal GasLink pipeline
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Wednesday, January 23, 2019 – Page B1

VANCOUVER -- The chief executive officer of LNG Canada says it may not be possible to gain unanimous support for Canadian energy projects, and vows to press ahead with constructing an $18-billion liquefiednatural-gas terminal on the West Coast even as a group of hereditary chiefs opposes the pipeline that would feed the plant.

"B.C. and Canada are resource rich, but at the moment, those resources are having a very difficult time getting to market," Andy Calitz said in a prepared speech in Prince George, B.C., on Tuesday night. He said media coverage has focused on the Unist'ot'en protest camp's battle against TransCanada Corp.'s Coastal GasLink, but there is strong support among elected Indigenous groups for the northern B.C. terminal planned for Kitimat and the $6.2-billion pipeline.

"Regardless of the headlines and the protests, LNG Canada has every intention to complete our project," he said. "We have every intention to deliver the jobs and economic benefits we committed for First Nations, for local residents and skilled tradespeople across all Northern communities."

Mr. Calitz made the comments in his first speech since the RCMP arrested 14 protesters on Jan. 7 at a police checkpoint along a remote B.C. logging road that leads to the Unist'ot'en camp.

Unist'ot'en is affiliated with Dark House, one of 13 hereditary house groups belonging to the Wet'suwet'en Nation.

Coastal GasLink plans to construct a 670-kilometre pipeline that would transport natural gas from northeast B.C. to Kitimat.

The export terminal, for shipping LNG to Asian markets, will be built by LNG Canada, a consortium led by Royal Dutch Shell PLC.

The pipeline has been approved by all 20 elected bands along the route and Coastal GasLink has conditionally awarded $620-million in contracts to Indigenous businesses in the region. LNG Canada estimates that the value of its contracts and subcontracts with local First Nations so far exceeds $175-million.

"I'm not convinced that it's possible for major infrastructure projects in British Columbia to get unanimous support. Our project is a case in point," Mr. Calitz said at the B.C. Natural Resources Forum.

"The conversation about hereditary versus elected systems of governance, and which hereditary leaders speak for Indigenous people, is a conversation I will leave to other people to resolve."

The Unist'ot'en blockade on the Morice River bridge came down on Jan. 11, after the RCMP and Wet'suwet'en hereditary leaders agreed to a deal to comply with an interim court injunction that is effective until May 31.

$175-million LNG Canada estimates that the value of its contracts and subcontracts with local First Nations so far exceeds $175-million.

20 The pipeline has been approved by all 20 elected bands along the route.

Mr. Calitz noted that there has been widespread media coverage of Wet'suwet'en hereditary clans and the Unist'ot'en blockade that had prevented Coastal GasLink workers from gaining access to a portion of the pipeline route.

"What hasn't made it into these stories are the names of the many Nations that chose to stand up in support of our projects," he said, adding that most hereditary chiefs from other Indigenous groups across British Columbia have backed LNG Canada and Coastal GasLink.

On Monday, a group led by Canadian musicians issued an open letter to back the group of Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs who are fighting against Coastal GasLink.

Nearly 300 people, including stars from Canada's indie-music industry, released their "Solidarity with Unist'ot'en statement" to criticize the "continued invasion of unceded Wet'suwet'en land by Coastal GasLink pipeline workers."

But Mr. Calitz said members of the Haisla Nation are vocal supporters of LNG Canada, whose export terminal will be built on the Haisla's traditional territory. Other First Nations that endorse the Kitimat terminal include the Kitselas, Gitxaala, Kitsumkalum and Gitga'at.

Five of the 20 elected bands that support the pipeline belong to the Wet'suwet'en Nation: Wet'suwet'en First Nation (formerly known as the Broman Lake Indian Band), Burns Lake, Nee Tahi Buhn, Skin Tyee and Witset.

"There is far too much at stake for LNG Canada not to defend our project," Mr. Calitz said. "LNG Canada respects the rights of individuals to peacefully express their point of view, as long as their activities don't jeopardize people's safety and are within the law."

Drilling in northeastern B.C. is expected to increase during 202124, in order to feed natural gas for LNG exports to Asia by late 2024 or early 2025.


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Celebrities and activists back pipeline opponents
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Almost 300 people, including some top Canadian indie stars, voiced solidarity with the Unist'ot'en blockade
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Tuesday, January 22, 2019 – Page A9

VANCOUVER -- A group led by Canadian musicians has issued an open letter to back hereditary chiefs fighting against a natural gas pipeline project in the B.C. Interior - taking sides in the complex dispute between Indigenous protesters and TransCanada Corp.

The open letter comes two weeks after the RCMP arrested 14 protesters on Jan. 7 at a police checkpoint along a remote B.C.

logging road that leads to the Unist'ot'en blockade. Unist'ot'en is affiliated with Dark House, one of 13 hereditary house groups belonging to the Wet'suwet'en Nation.

Nearly 300 people, including a who's who of Canadian indie music and others such as audio staff expressing their concerns, issued their "Solidarity with Unist'ot'en statement" on Monday.

In lending their support to the Indigenous protest against TransCanada's Coastal GasLink, they hope donations will increase to help battle the $6.2-billion pipeline project. "Those in power who care for the future of life on this planet have no business building more pipelines," according to the letter addressed to "Unist'ot'en camp, land defenders in Wet'suwet'en territory."

Among those who signed the letter were singers Sarah Harmer and Tanya Tagaq; broadcaster Sook-Yin Lee; two members of Arcade Fire (Tim Kingsbury and Richard Reed Parry); and two members of Arkells (Max Kerman and Anthony Carone).

"Your hereditary government is showing more leadership in climate action than Canadian elected officials. For that strength and commitment we are grateful," the statement concludes.

Nearly $225,000 has been raised over the past month to help the Unist'ot'en challenge Coastal GasLink in B.C. Supreme Court. A judge granted an interim injunction last month to allow pipeline workers temporary entry across the Morice River bridge until May 31. The Indigenous blockade on the bridge came down on Jan. 11, after the RCMP and Wet'suwet'en hereditary clan chiefs agreed to a deal to comply with the interim injunction.

Another $207,000 has been collected in donations for the Gidimt'en clan, one of five Wet'suwet'en hereditary clans, which in turn oversee the 13 house groups.

Several celebrities and social activists were not part of Monday's letter, but already had taken to social media within days of the arrests to express their support for the Unist'ot'en, including Ellen Page, Susan Sarandon, Mark Ruffalo and Naomi Klein.

Coastal GasLink wants to construct a 670-kilometre pipeline that would run from northeastern B.C. to a planned $18-billion liquefied natural gas terminal in Kitimat on the West Coast. The plant, for exporting LNG to Asian markets, will be built by LNG Canada, the Royal Dutch Shell PLCled consortium.

LNG Canada said the value of contracts and subcontracts with local First Nations so far exceeds $175-million, part of $937-million in approved spending related to the Kitimat terminal. The pipeline has been approved by all 20 elected bands along the route and TransCanada has conditionally awarded $620-million in contracts to Indigenous businesses in the region.

In its court application for the injunction, Coastal GasLink names two defendants: Freda Huson, an elected councillor with the Witset band, and Warner Naziel, who claims the hereditary title Smogelgem.

"Ms. Huson has never accepted Coastal GasLink's offers to meet to discuss the project," according to documents filed in court by Coastal GasLink. "Ms. Huson has attended at least two meetings between Coastal GasLink and the Witset chief and council as a Witset councillor."

Five of the 20 elected bands that support Coastal GasLink belong to the Wet'suwet'en Nation: Wet'suwet'en First Nation (formerly known as the Broman Lake Indian Band), Burns Lake, Nee Tahi Buhn, Skin Tyee and Witset.

"Coastal GasLink has engaged in extensive information exchanges and discussions with the Office of the Wet'suwet'en and the hereditary chiefs regarding the selection of the proposed project route through their traditional territory," Coastal GasLink said in its court filings, adding that it "has had limited success consulting with Dark House," with most inquiries ignored by Ms. Huson.

Associated Graphic

Hereditary Chief Ronnie West, centre, from the Lake Babine First Nation, sings and beats a drum during a solidarity march for the Wet'suwet'en Nation, in Smithers, B.C., on Jan. 16.

DARRYL DYCK/THE CANADIAN PRESS


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Celebrities and activists back pipeline opponents
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Almost 300 people, including some top Canadian indie stars, voiced solidarity with the Unist'ot'en blockade
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By BRENT JANG
  
  

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Tuesday, January 22, 2019 – Page A9

VANCOUVER -- A group led by Canadian musicians has issued an open letter to back hereditary chiefs fighting against a natural gas pipeline project in the B.C. Interior - taking sides in the complex dispute between Indigenous protesters and TransCanada Corp.

The open letter comes two weeks after the RCMP arrested 14 protesters on Jan. 7 at a police checkpoint along a remote B.C.

logging road that leads to the Unist'ot'en blockade. Unist'ot'en is affiliated with Dark House, one of 13 hereditary house groups belonging to the Wet'suwet'en Nation.

Nearly 300 people, including a who's who of Canadian indie music and others such as audio staff expressing their concerns, issued their "Solidarity with Unist'ot'en statement" on Monday.

In lending their support to the Indigenous protest against TransCanada's Coastal GasLink, they hope donations will increase to help battle the $6.2-billion pipeline project. "Those in power who care for the future of life on this planet have no business building more pipelines," according to the letter addressed to "Unist'ot'en camp, land defenders in Wet'suwet'en territory."

Among those who signed the letter were singers Sarah Harmer and Tanya Tagaq; broadcaster Sook-Yin Lee; two members of Arcade Fire (Tim Kingsbury and Richard Reed Parry); and two members of Arkells (Max Kerman and Anthony Carone).

"Your hereditary government is showing more leadership in climate action than Canadian elected officials. For that strength and commitment we are grateful," the statement concludes.

Nearly $225,000 has been raised over the past month to help the Unist'ot'en challenge Coastal GasLink in B.C. Supreme Court. A judge granted an interim injunction last month to allow pipeline workers temporary entry across the Morice River bridge until May 31. The Indigenous blockade on the bridge came down on Jan. 11, after the RCMP and Wet'suwet'en hereditary clan chiefs agreed to a deal to comply with the interim injunction.

Another $207,000 has been collected in donations for the Gidimt'en clan, one of five Wet'suwet'en hereditary clans, which in turn oversee the 13 house groups.

Several celebrities and social activists were not part of Monday's letter, but already had taken to social media within days of the arrests to express their support for the Unist'ot'en, including Ellen Page, Susan Sarandon, Mark Ruffalo and Naomi Klein.

Coastal GasLink wants to construct a 670-kilometre pipeline that would run from northeastern B.C. to a planned $18-billion liquefied natural gas terminal in Kitimat on the West Coast. The plant, for exporting LNG to Asian markets, will be built by LNG Canada, the Royal Dutch Shell PLCled consortium.

LNG Canada said the value of contracts and subcontracts with local First Nations so far exceeds $175-million, part of $937-million in approved spending related to the Kitimat terminal. The pipeline has been approved by all 20 elected bands along the route and TransCanada has conditionally awarded $620-million in contracts to Indigenous businesses in the region.

In its court application for the injunction, Coastal GasLink names two defendants: Freda Huson, an elected councillor with the Witset band, and Warner Naziel, who claims the hereditary title Smogelgem.

"Ms. Huson has never accepted Coastal GasLink's offers to meet to discuss the project," according to documents filed in court by Coastal GasLink. "Ms. Huson has attended at least two meetings between Coastal GasLink and the Witset chief and council as a Witset councillor."

Five of the 20 elected bands that support Coastal GasLink belong to the Wet'suwet'en Nation: Wet'suwet'en First Nation (formerly known as the Broman Lake Indian Band), Burns Lake, Nee Tahi Buhn, Skin Tyee and Witset.

"Coastal GasLink has engaged in extensive information exchanges and discussions with the Office of the Wet'suwet'en and the hereditary chiefs regarding the selection of the proposed project route through their traditional territory," Coastal GasLink said in its court filings, adding that it "has had limited success consulting with Dark House," with most inquiries ignored by Ms. Huson.

Associated Graphic

Hereditary Chief Ronnie West, centre, from the Lake Babine First Nation, sings and beats a drum during a solidarity march for the Wet'suwet'en Nation, in Smithers, B.C., on Jan. 16. DARRYL DYCK/THE CANADIAN PRESS


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NEB to examine jurisdiction of plans for pipeline
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B.C. environmentalist argues that Coastal GasLink requires federal approval
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By BRENT JANG
  
  

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Monday, January 14, 2019 – Page A6

SMITHERS, B.C. -- A $6.2-billion pipeline project, already disrupted by fierce opposition from hereditary chiefs in the B.C. Interior, will be undergoing scrutiny to determine whether a fresh regulatory review is required.

The National Energy Board is poised to examine an application from Mike Sawyer, an environmentalist from Smithers, B.C., who argues that TransCanada Corp.'s Coastal GasLink needs federal approval.

Coastal GasLink received provincial regulatory approval in 2014 to proceed with plans to construct a 670-kilometre pipeline from northeast B.C. to a West Coast terminal. The plant, for exporting liquefied natural gas to Asian markets, will be built by LNG Canada, the Royal Dutch Shell PLC-led consortium.

All 20 elected Indigenous bands along the natural-gas pipeline route have signed project agreements with Coastal GasLink. But the Smithers-based Office of Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs opposes the line's construction, citing concerns about the environmental impact of the route across their traditional territory.

The NEB declined to add the office and 45 other parties to its list of intervenors, saying the narrow focus for now is on the issue of regulatory jurisdiction.

Mr. Sawyer filed his application last summer. The NEB wasn't automatically obligated to hear his case, but decided last month to set a timeline for proceedings. The importance of the issue has been heightened after the RCMP arrested 14 protesters last Monday at a police checkpoint, leading to the Unist'ot'en blockade along a remote B.C. logging road.

Barriers were removed late Friday, allowing Coastal GasLink workers to cross the Morice River Bridge to get to a portion of the pipeline route located 1.1 kilometres away.

"I think that under the B.C.

regulatory system, the project was not properly assessed. Coastal GasLink should be a federally regulated line," Mr. Sawyer said in an interview. "The game's not over."

His financial donors include West Coast Environmental Law's dispute-resolution fund.

Coastal GasLink must meet a Jan. 28 deadline for filing its documents, while intervenors have until Feb. 15 to submit their written arguments. Coastal GasLink would have until March 19 to file its reply, and then final oral arguments would be heard by the NEB.

Mr. Sawyer said he expects the final oral hearing will be in Calgary this spring, but the NEB said it has yet to make a decision on whether the venue will be in Calgary or Vancouver.

The list of intervenors includes Ecojustice Canada, the country's largest environmentallaw charity. Also intervening will be the B.C. and federal governments, as well as the five international co-owners of LNG Canada: Shell, Malaysia's state-owned Petronas, PetroChina, Japan's Mitsubishi Corp. and South Korea's Kogas. LNG Canada announced in October that it will forge ahead with building an $18-billion export terminal in Kitimat on the West Coast, part of $40billion in spending that includes Coastal GasLink.

"TransCanada will continue to respond as appropriate through the National Energy Board and believes that the facts pertaining to this project will support a strong case of continued provincial regulation of the pipeline," TransCanada spokesman Terry Cunha said in a statement on Sunday.

The NEB didn't grant standing to 46 parties, turning down a wide range of municipalities and elected bands that support the pipeline, as well as the Office of the Wet'suwet'en and various environmental groups that oppose the route.

David Johnston, who helped found a grassroots group in Kitimat named The North Matters, said not enough attention has been placed on the five elected bands within the Wet'suwet'en Nation that back the pipeline, and that Mr. Sawyer has ignored the economic benefits.

"He's trying to throw any kind of wrench into this that he can," Mr. Johnston said. "I don't think he has a leg to stand on."

Mr. Johnston made the comments after The North Matters held its inaugural meeting on Saturday night for the Bulkley Valley chapter of the pro-LNG group, attracting more than 50 people from Smithers and the nearby Houston area.

In late 2017, pro-LNG residents in Kitimat and Terrace launched The North Matters. The group's organizers include a gym equipment supplier, an electrician, a board member at the Kitimat General Hospital Foundation and a past president of the Rotary Club of Kitimat.

Mr. Johnston said he expects the Bulkley Valley chapter will also attract a similar array of local residents.

The NEB said it will not be reviewing whether the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office (BCEAO) conducted an adequate review since the federal regulator will be focused on the issue of whether Coastal GasLink should be subject to B.C. or federal jurisdiction, and it is not an appeal process of the BCEAO's approval.

"If, following this hearing, the board determines that it ought to take jurisdiction of the project, it would require a separate application and hold a separate hearing to determine whether to approve the project," the NEB said.

Associated Graphic

Area residents embrace at the site of last Monday's arrests near Houston, B.C. They were accompanying Indigenous leaders and RCMP to the Unist'ot'en camp.

JIMMY JEONG/THE GLOBE AND MAIL


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A contested pipeline tests the landscape of Indigenous law - who controls the land?
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Pipeline owners say they have consent, but Wet'suwet'en leaders are divided
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By JUSTINE HUNTER, BRENT JANG, WENDY STUECK, SHAWN MCCARTHY
  
  

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Saturday, January 12, 2019 – Page A12

With members of the Wet'suwet'en First Nation blockading a pipeline project on their traditional lands, Na'moks was standing by a crackling campfire, next to an RCMP checkpoint, drawing in the snow with his right boot.

The hereditary chief of the Tsayu clan made a small circle to represent the authority of elected band councils within reserves.

Outside that circle, he explained, is where Wet'suwet'en clans wield power over a vast territory.

"We are hereditary chiefs," he said, "and we have control of this land."

The temporary checkpoint was set up earlier this week in a remote area of the B.C. Interior as things got tense, with RCMP officers arresting 14 protesters on Monday at a blockade erected last month along a logging road.

The road leads to the Unist'ot'en camp on the Morice River bridge, where hereditary leaders were preventing construction workers from TransCanada Corp.'s Coastal GasLink pipeline project from passing. By Friday, the barriers were coming down, after the protesters agreed to comply with an interim court injunction to grant workers temporary access to the area. The way forward for the project, however, remains uncertain.

The pipeline is a vital piece of infrastructure for the launch of British Columbia's liquefied-natural-gas sector, supplying the planned $40-billion LNG Canada project - the largest private investment in the province's history. Almost a third of the proposed pipeline route crosses the territory to which the Wet'suwet'en maintain aboriginal rights and title.

Coastal GasLink has signed deals with First Nations all along the 670-kilometre route, including the elected chiefs of the Wet'suwet'en, who say the agreements will deliver economic benefits to their communities.

For both the provincial and federal governments - which have made solemn commitments to respect Indigenous rights and title - the agreements meant the company had secured sufficient consent for the project.

But who speaks for the Wet'suwet'en people?

Under Canadian law, the elected chiefs have authority over the reserves created by the Crown.

But authority over the 22,000 square kilometres of traditional Wet'suwet'en territory involves a matrilineal system of 13 unique houses, five clans and 38 house territories. Under that system, Na'moks, who belongs to the Beaver house under the Tsayu clan, is one of the hereditary leaders obligated to manage how those lands and resources are used.

The project has sown deep divisions and put a spotlight on the conflict between those two systems of leadership - one ancient, passed down through oral tradition, the other established and codified by federal law. It has demonstrated the messy but necessary processes resource companies and governments must confront when pursuing projects in British Columbia.

And it has forced Indigenous groups to face the tensions within their own communities - the painful trade-offs between economic development and ancient obligations of land stewardship.

Chief Jackie Thomas, the elected chief of the Saik'uz First Nation, said she worked hard on behalf of her community to secure a deal and the benefits that will come as a result of construction.

"We went through this long process in our community and we ensured that our concerns and worries were resolved. We had naysayers - they exist in all communities - but we sorted it out. I personally worked hard for this and I was happy to see a final investment decision reached."

But she said the politicians and the company would have been wiser to deal directly with the hereditary chiefs as well.

"It would help if Premier [John] Horgan and Prime Minister [Justin] Trudeau would go to the feast house at Wet'suwet'en, talk to the hereditary chiefs and give some serious attention to this matter," she said. "Let's dedicate some time and resource to see this through."

Mr. Trudeau, responding to heated questions about his government's support for the pipeline at a town-hall meeting this week, said it is up to the Wet'suwet'en people to sort out who represents them.

"It's not for the federal government to decide who speaks for you," he said. "My job is to work with all of you so that you are taking back control of your land, your future, your people, your destiny. ... And it's difficult."

Nowhere in Canada are the lines of authority more blurred than in B.C., where major resource developers have stumbled time and again over how to consult and win support from Indigenous peoples for their projects. The province is home to 203 Indian Act bands and most of the land remains subject to aboriginal claims.

Mr. Horgan met with the Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs on Aug. 31 in Smithers, hoping to find a way to resolve the brewing conflict at the Unist'ot'en camp.

He left without a resolution and concluded that the project had enough Indigenous support despite the opposition.

"The challenge for government, federal and provincial, is determining how we bring together these historic band councils modelled with, as I understand it, the emerging hereditary model that's very much manifesting itself in Wet'suwet'en territory," the Premier told reporters at a news conference on Wednesday, after the arrests triggered rallies across the country. (He later clarified that he meant to say "re-emerging.") Val Napoleon, an influential Indigenous scholar who holds the Law Foundation research chair at the University of Victoria's aboriginal justice and governance program, said the Premier has it all backward: Elected band councils are, in the time of the Wet'suwet'en, a new invention. The community has been governed under the hereditary model, she said, "since the land was forming," with a complete set of laws that is up to the task of resolving internal disputes and providing binding decisions.

She said there is a way forward, but the federal and provincial governments need to make a substantial commitment to build a bridge between Indigenous law and Canadian law.

"Indigenous legal orders need support to rebuild and restate legitimate processes so that when a decision is made, people will uphold it even if they don't get their own way. That's the legitimacy that's required," she said.

"And right now, that's not happening."

For Canada's resource industry, doing business in the vast areas of British Columbia where land claims have never been settled, this complexity can be daunting and discouraging.

Susannah Pierce, director of external relations for LNG Canada, welcomed the truce negotiated late last week, but in a socialmedia post, she said: "While this is good news, we remain concerned the agreement only pertains to a temporary injunction and only specific activities - not the full construction of the pipeline. In fact, social media posts by the Unist'ot'en indicate that the fight has only just begun."

This week's protests drew international attention and sparked discussions about the differences between the Wet'suwet'en system of hereditary chiefs and those elected under the Indian Act.

But that distinction shouldn't have come as a surprise. Hereditary Wet'suwet'en leaders have been claiming ownership of their traditional territory for decades, most notably in Delgamuukw v.

British Columbia. In that case, launched in 1984, Gitxsan and Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs claimed ownership of 58,000 square kilometres of territory. In a landmark 1997 ruling, the Supreme Court of Canada confirmed that Indigenous peoples have valid claims to ancestral lands that were never ceded by treaty.

"For over 21 years, the governments of Canada and B.C. and any lawyer who has done any level of aboriginal law would understand that when you're dealing with the Wet'suwet'en people ... on traditional territory, you're talking about a system of hereditary chiefs," said Peter Grant, a veteran lawyer who represented the plaintiffs in Delgamuukw, in a recent interview.

Western Canadian energy companies have a long history of engaging with Indigenous communities and understand that there are differing opinions and potential opposition even after agreements have been signed, said Brian McGuigan, manager of Indigenous relations for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

"This is certainly not the first time a company has struck an agreement with elected officials and another part of the community says, 'Well, hang on a minute, we have something else to say about this,'" he said.

It's an issue that must be resolved within Indigenous communities, but governments are grappling with it, too, especially as both B.C. and Ottawa are preparing to enact the principles of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which stipulates that they must give consent to industrial development on their traditional territories. By endorsing the declaration, the federal government has said it will aim to secure Indigenous consent on projects but does not guarantee it.

There is a parallel process as well in defining Indigenous selfgovernance.

Mr. Trudeau, who made reconciliation with Indigenous communities a major theme of his government, has condemned the Indian Act - under which elected band councils were established - as a relic of the colonial past and has encouraged First Nations to pursue their own self-government models. But that process has a long way to go.

For the Wet'suwet'en who oppose the pipeline, the deals signed between the pipeline's proponents and elected band councils mean little. Molly Wickham, a spokeswoman for the blockade along the logging road and one of the 14 people arrested on Monday, insisted the pipeline will "absolutely not" be built.

"This is far from over," she said. "This isn't just about the pipeline, this isn't just about this one project. This is about how our people, and our governance system, has been ignored, diminished and attacked - and how we are done with that."

Associated Graphic

JOHN SOPINSKI/THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: WETSUWETEN.COM

Protesters are seen at an Unist'ot'en camp near Houston, B.C., on Wednesday. By Friday, the barriers were coming down, after the protesters agreed to comply with an interim court injunction to grant TransCanada workers temporary access to the area. The way forward for the Coastal GasLink pipeline project, however, remains uncertain. JIMMY JEONG/THE GLOBE AND MAIL


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Wet'suwet'en, RCMP strike deal granting workers temporary access to pipeline site
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Days after 14 arrests at checkpoint spurred rallies across country, members of First Nation agree to injunction, but still oppose project
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By BRENT JANG, ANDREA WOO
  
  

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Friday, January 11, 2019 – Page A3

SMITHERS, B.C. VANCOUVER -- Members of the Wet'suwet'en Nation blocking access to the site of a proposed natural gas pipeline have reached a deal to comply with an interim court injunction to grant workers temporary entry to the area but remain "adamantly opposed" to the project.

John Ridsdale, hereditary chief of the Tsayu clan, said late Thursday that vehicles blocking the Morice River Bridge will be removed. "We are the peaceful people," said Mr. Ridsdale, who also goes by Na'moks.

Twenty elected Indigenous bands along the proposed pipeline route have signed project agreements with TransCanada Corp., but a group backed by key Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs remains opposed.

On Monday, Mounties arrested 14 people at a checkpoint on a logging road leading to the site, an action that galvanized support for the Wet'suwet'en across the country and triggered rallies in dozens of cities the following day.

Mr. Ridsdale said the agreement builds on the tentative pact reached Wednesday, and will result in a metal gate remaining at the bridge, while still giving "soft access" to workers from TransCanada's Coastal GasLink. On Wednesday, the protesters predicted the company would have access by midafternoon Thursday, but talks about the details went hours longer.

The injunction lasts until May 31, and it is unclear what legal steps will be taken by Coastal GasLink to extend its access across the Unist'ot'en blockade and get to the natural gas pipeline route located 1.1 kilometres away from the bridge.

"We are adamantly opposed to this proposed project. That will never change," Mr. Ridsdale said.

He emphasized that Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs spoke directly with RCMP about protocols, and Coastal GasLink was only invited late into Thursday's 4½hour meeting as a courtesy.

But Coastal GasLink president Rick Gateman sounded a conciliatory tone.

"I can say that our discussions were extremely respectful and extremely productive," he said. "As a result of these discussions, we have worked out many of the details that are required for us to have free access across the bridge and beyond."

Earlier on Thursday, the RCMP took a positive view.

Dave Attfield, RCMP chief superintendent, said talks went smoothly with Wet'suwet'en hereditary leaders, with some minor details to be worked out.

"Good progress," he said during a break shortly after the 2 p.m. PT deadline came and went.

He described that goal as a general timeline and not a serious matter to meet a proposed Thursday deadline to allow workers from Coastal GasLink to cross the Unist'ot'en blockade.

One sticking point had been whether the camp could retain a gate at the site, which residents say is vital to their safety.

Under a tentative agreement struck Wednesday, Mounties agreed that they would not interfere with the residents of a healing lodge on the blockade site and that members of the Wet'suwet'en clans will continue to have access to the backcountry for trapping. The Wet'suwet'en, meanwhile, said they would allow pipeline construction workers through the site.

The 670-km pipeline would ship natural gas from northern B.C. to Kitimat, on the coast. It is a crucial link in a $40-billion liquefied natural gas project the B.C.

and federal governments announced amid much fanfare last fall.

Andy Calitz, chief executive of LNG Canada - the company behind the pipeline, said any further delays could erode confidence in the ability of B.C. and Canada to deliver energy projects.

"We recognize it may not be possible to get unanimous support for a major infrastructure project in B.C., but we believe Canada's economy cannot prosper without a growing and healthy resource sector," he wrote in a statement. "Projects like our own provide an opportunity that many First Nations and northern communities have not had before and may not see again."

Mr. Calitz added that there must be "recognition and respect" for the First Nations, northern communities and individuals that support the project.

On Wednesday, police removed an RCMP perimeter leading to the Unist'ot'en camp, which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau described as "a sign of respect" in a town-hall discussion held in Kamloops.

Mounties said the parties also came to an understanding on several other items, including: There will be a continued police presence conducting patrols in the area; a community-industry safety office will be established on the forest service road corridor as a temporary RCMP detachment; and officers working out of that detachment will undergo cultural-awareness training on Wet'suwet'en traditions.

As well, the Unist'ot'en camp will officially be referred to as the Unist'ot'en Healing Centre.

"We would like to once again emphasize that the RCMP's focus remains on creating an environment conducive to getting all parties to come to the table and continue to participate in these fruitful discussions," a statement issued by Corporal Madonna Saunderson with the RCMP's North District read.

"We will do everything possible to facilitate and support those meetings moving forward, while maintaining peace and keeping everyone safe."

Associated Graphic

Local residents Bertha Pierre, left, and Jessica Glaim listen as Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs make a statement after their meeting with Coastal GasLink and the RCMP in Smithers, B.C., on Thursday. 'I can say that our discussions were extremely respectful and extremely productive,' Coastal GasLink president Rick Gateman says.

JIMMY JEONG/ THE GLOBE AND MAIL


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From blockade to showdown
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By BRENT JANG, ANDREA WOO, ALASTAIR SPRIGGS, GLORIA GALLOWAY
  
  

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Wednesday, January 9, 2019 – Page A1

HOUSTON, B.C. VANCOUVER VANCOUVER OTTAWA -- After RCMP moves in to arrest 14 members of the Wet'suwet'en Nation, support spreads across the country for a group opposing a natural gas pipeline that would run through its traditional territory Opposition to a natural gas pipeline running through northern British Columbia is surging, with dozens of rallies halting traffic in Vancouver and city centres, and one group of protesters forcing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to change venues for a meeting with Indigenous leaders.

The 670-kilometre pipeline would ship natural gas from northeast B.C. to a liquefied natural gas terminal in Kitimat, on the coast. It is a crucial link in the $40-billion LNG project the B.C. and federal governments announced amid much fanfare last fall.

Elected representatives of all 20 Indigenous bands along the pipeline route have signed project agreements with the company. Five of those bands belong to the Wet'suwet'en Nation: Wet'suwet'en First Nation (formerly known as the Broman Lake Indian Band), Burns Lake, Nee Tahi Buhn, Skin Tyee and Witset.

Although elected officials have backed the project, some hereditary chiefs have opposed it, with some saying the pipeline runs through the traditional territory of B.C.'s Wet'suwet'en Nation.

TransCanada Corp. subsidiary Coastal GasLink was granted a court injunction in December to remove obstructions protesters had placed in Wet'suwet'en territory to proceed with construction for the $6.2-billion pipeline.

On Monday, Mounties enforcing the injunction arrested 14 people; that action, and images of heavily armed officers climbing gates and handcuffing civilians, escalated tensions and galvanized support for the Wet'suwet'en across the country.

On Tuesday, hundreds of people marched through Vancouver's downtown core and gathered at Victory Square, where Grand Chief Stewart Philip , president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, delivered a message to uproarious applause: "I want to say to Prime Minister [Justin] Trudeau: Welcome to battleground British Columbia."

In Ottawa, demonstrators burst through the doors of a conference centre where Mr. Trudeau and members of his cabinet were scheduled to meet with chiefs of self-governing First Nations and modern treaty holders, forcing the group to relocate to a government building a few kilometres away.

In opening his discussions with the chiefs, Mr. Trudeau said "there are still many hurdles to overcome, many challenges we will work on together, and you know, in this government, you have a partner willing to figure out the path forward..." He did not address the pipeline issue, despite the disruption.

Instead, the office of Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale reissued a statement saying the government remains committed to a renewed relationship with Indigenous peoples based on the recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership, and that the RCMP respects and protects the right to peaceful demonstrations.

The protesters in Ottawa joined those in cities across the country. They shouted "protect the sacred, water is life," as they marched through the main hall of the convention centre.

Joyce Eagle, a member of Treaty Four, which is based in the central prairies, said she joined the demonstration because she believes Canada is robbing land and resources from Indigenous people.

"Our law trumps Canada's law and [Mr. Trudeau] should honour what he promised," Ms. Eagle said, pointing out that the government has signed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which says Indigenous people should not be forcibly removed from their land.

Outside the Supreme Court of B.C., Vancouver supporters marched carrying drums, flags, signs and a model pipeline more than five meters long.

"Look at us, we are fierce and empowered," said Audrey Siegl, a Musqueam First Nations member who helped lead the march.

"We are uniting and rising to save Indigenous people across Canada."

Smaller demonstrations also took place in the United States and abroad.

Wet'suwet'en member Jennifer Wickham said she was happy about the scale of these rallies, but not surprised.

"We've received a lot of support from Canadians and those living abroad. I think people are beginning to recognize that Wet'suwet'en have distinct rights," Ms. Wickham said.

On Tuesday, a convoy of police vehicles trailed behind a road grader that cleared the snowy path at the site southwest of Houston, B.C. As dusk fell, Corporal Madonna Saunderson, spokeswoman for the RCMP's north district, said police would likely resume the journey on Wednesday.

About 30 Unist'ot'en supporters huddled around a campfire at a checkpoint leading to the site.

Ian Michell and his wife, Arlene, helped set up a large tent with a pot-bellied stove inside for warmth and a propane bar-

becue to heat up a vat of chili for the Wet'suwet'en members who shrugged off temperatures that dipped to -13.

Mr. Michell said he is unhappy that the RCMP has said Indigenous title to the traditional territory of the Wet'suwet'en still needs to be determined by a court.

"Some people have bought into the process of elected bands and their jurisdiction over reserves. But hereditary chiefs have jurisdiction over the Wet'suwet'en territory," Mr. Michell argued.

Ms. Michell said it's unfortunate to see the RCMP show up on unceded territory.

"The police should be working with our people rather than being aggressive and forcing their way through," she said.

The Office of the Wet'suwet'en is the umbrella group for 13 hereditary house groups, which fall under five clans. "By no means have we ever given Coastal GasLink or the B.C. government any environmental permission," said Debbie Pierre, the office's executive director. "Our hereditary chiefs cannot support this pipeline."

In downtown Calgary, about 60 people who attended a rally in support of the First Nation outside the headquarters of TransCanada Corp. were greeted by about the same number of pipeline supporters who were encouraged to come out by Canada Action, a Calgary-based lobby group.

Stephen Buffalo, CEO of the Indian Resource Council of Canada, which represents oil-andgas producing First Nations, took part in the pro-pipeline part of the rally.

"The big thing is we've got to be able to support our communities that said yes to this [project] because it's their community that needs that financial benefit," he said. "It's about getting out of poverty and finding a way for our people."

Coastal GasLink said police action was not an outcome the company ever wanted.

"Instead, we have always strived for opportunities to have an honest, open discussion about how to resolve this issue," it said in a statement.

"It is unfortunate that the RCMP must take this step so that lawful access ... can be re-established."

Among those arrested Monday was Delee Nikal's 72-year-old mother.

"When I spoke with her after her release, she said it really hurt her heart to see people that were just asserting their rights, their ability to be on their territory, to have that ripped away and be forcibly removed," said Ms. Nikal, a Wet'suwet'en community member from the Gidimt'en clan and the Casyex House.

But Ms. Nikal was heartened by the solidarity actions.

"The biggest thing right now," she said, "is that people are waking up and taking notice."

With a report from The Canadian Press

Associated Graphic

RCMP have set up a security checkpoint at Mile Marker 27 to block further access to the protest site near Houston, B.C. JIMMY JEONG/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

RCMP officers congregate at a security checkpoint at Mile Marker 27, where further access to the Unist'ot'en camp is blocked, near Houston, B.C., on Tuesday.

From left: Supporters of the Unist'ot'en set up a small camp at Mile Marker 27; A Logging road leading to the Unist'ot'en blockade. TOP PHOTOS: JIMMY JEONG/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

People gather as First Nations drummers play at a rally in Vancouver in support of pipeline protesters on Tuesday. BOTTOM PHOTOS BY DARRYL DYCK/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Tuesday, January 15, 2019
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Vancouver-area housing sales skid to lowest since 2000
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Increase in detached-home listings for less than $1-million is forecast after region sees fewest transactions in 18 years
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Friday, January 4, 2019 – Page B2

VANCOUVER -- Housing sales in 2018 in the Vancouver region slid to an 18-year low as prices for detached homes in some areas dropped at least 10 per cent.

While prices for detached properties in many neighbourhoods on Vancouver's West Side have declined to levels not seen since early 2016, the affordability crisis is far from over, said Andy Yan, director of Simon Fraser University's City Program.

"The question is when will the sellers scream uncle," Mr. Yan said in an interview, noting that prices are still holding steady in some suburbs farthest away from the city of Vancouver. "Those places farther out are by far more closely aligned to local incomes than Vancouver proper."

A study by Mr. Yan showed that 99.7 per cent of detached properties in the city of Vancouver had an assessed value of at least $1-million in mid-2016, but he predicts that detached listings for less than $1-million will no longer be such a rare sight within city limits in 2019.

Sales volume in Greater Vancouver last year fell to 24,619 transactions for detached homes, condos and townhouses, down 31.6 per cent from 2017's performance, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver reported on Thursday. Last year's sales were the lowest since 2000, when 21,950 properties changed hands.

Transactions totalled 1,072 last month, tumbling 46.8 per cent compared with December, 2017. The sales slump is forecast to extend well into 2019, with the B.C. government committed to cooling off what had been a red-hot market in mid-2016.

"Buyers and sellers are continuing to be on the sidelines and taking a wait-and-see approach," said Brad Henderson, president of Sotheby's International Realty Canada.

"A lot of it has to do with the initiatives put in place by the province. That has more of an impact than other headwinds such as higher interest rates and mortgage stresstesting," he said in an interview.

In February, 2018, the BC NDP government raised the foreign-buyers tax to 20 per cent from 15 per cent, while expanding that tax beyond the initial target of the Vancouver region. Other provincial factors include what the NDP calls a speculation and vacancy tax targeted primarily at out-ofprovince residents as well as B.C. taxes aimed at higher-end properties.

The benchmark price (an industry representation of the typical home sold in an area) for detached houses sold last month on Vancouver's West Side decreased to $3,135,400, down 11.8 per cent from a year earlier. By contrast, the benchmark price in the suburb of Pitt Meadows showed a yearover-year gain of 2 per cent to $912,000.

The benchmark price for all residential types in Greater Vancouver has declined for seven consecutive months, hitting $1,032,400 last month after setting a record of $1,094,000 in May, 2018. The condo and townhouse segments had bucked the downward pressure until mid-2018, but have seen prices weaken over the past six months.

The average price for detached houses sold in Greater Vancouver dipped to $1,666,593 last month, down 4.8 per cent from December, 2017, the Greater Vancouver board said.

"As the total supply of homes for sale began to accumulate in the spring, we began to see downward pressure on prices across all home types throughout the latter half of the year," board president Phil Moore said in a statement.

In the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board's territory, which includes the sprawling suburb of Surrey, there were 15,586 sales on the Multiple Listing Service last year, down 30.2 per cent from 2017 and marking the lowest annual sales since 2013. The average price for detached houses sold in the Fraser Valley dipped to $1,016,692 last month, down 0.2 per cent compared with December, 2017.

Associated Graphic

Sales volume in Greater Vancouver last year fell to 24,619 transactions for detached homes, condos and townhouses, down 31.6 per cent from 2017's performance, the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver reported.

JONATHAN HAYWARD/THE CANADIAN PRESS


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Vancouver detached-housing market drops
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Lululemon founder's mansion, B.C.'s most expensive residential property, leads trend with 7.3-per-cent decline
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Thursday, January 3, 2019 – Page B2

VANCOUVER -- The assessed value of Lululemon Athletica Inc. founder Chip Wilson's Vancouver mansion has fallen 7.3 per cent, part of the downward trend in the region's market for detached houses.

The former chief executive of the yoga-wear retailer saw his property's assessment decrease to $73.1-million for the valuation date of July 1, 2018, compared with $78.8-million on July 1, 2017.

The $5.7-million drop underscores the reversal of momentum in Canada's most expensive housing market, which saw prices skyrocket from mid-2013 to mid-2016. Over the past six months, prices for detached homes have weakened further.

Mr. Wilson's waterfront mansion, owned through 3085 Point Grey Road Holdings Ltd., still ranks as the most expensive residential property in British Columbia for the sixth consecutive year.

A property at 4707 Belmont Ave. in Vancouver placed second on the provincial list, valued at $65.5-million in mid-2018, down 8.8 per cent from $71.8-million in mid-2017. James Island is the lone private property in the top 12 not located in Vancouver, placing third with a valuation of $56.8million, up 4.3 per cent from the previous assessment. The island is off the coast of Vancouver Island near Victoria.

The fourth spot on the highestvalued list belongs to the Vancouver residence of philanthropist Nezhat Khosrowshahi and her husband, Future Shop founder Hassan Khosrowshahi. Their property's value has fallen 11.7 per cent to $41.2-million. In fifth place is Vancouver entrepreneur Jacqueline Cohen's waterfront home, assessed at $40-million - down 12.9 per cent.

To crack the B.C. list of the top 500 residential properties, the lowest assessment rang in at $11.6-million for mid-2018, compared with $12.6-million in mid-2017, according to data released on Wednesday by BC Assessment. The provincial Crown corporation provides valuations on a wide range of residential, industrial and commercial properties. B.C. municipalities use the data to help determine how much owners will pay in property taxes.

The former BC Liberal government implemented a 15-per-cent tax on foreign home buyers in the Vancouver region in August, 2016, a move that contributed to a decline in prices in the second half of that year. After a choppy recovery in housing prices in 2017, the BC NDP government raised the foreign-buyers tax to 20 per cent in February, 2018, and also expanded the tax to other urban markets in the province.

In the city of Vancouver, the median value for detached properties fell to $1,756,000 in mid-2018, down 4.1 per cent compared with $1,832,000 in mid-2017, BC Assessment said in its latest annual study. By contrast, the median value for condos climbed to $740,000 within Vancouver's city limits, up 5.7 per cent from $700,000.

Detached properties on Vancouver's west side have typically decreased by a steeper percentage in value than those on the less-expensive east side, said Tina Ireland, a regional assessor. "There are some nuances, but the higherend properties are probably dropping more than the lower-end properties," she said, noting some detached homes on the west side have assessments that are down 15 per cent year over year.

Economists forecast that sales and prices for detached houses, condos and townhouses will slip in the Vancouver region this year owing to the ripple effects of provincial policies designed to cool off the market, combined with a stress test federal regulators implemented at the beginning of 2018 that makes it tougher for prospective homeowners to qualify for a mortgage.

While Vancouver's detachedhousing market weakened, some parts of northern B.C. boomed. In the Kitimat District, the median value for detached homes rose to $235,300 in mid-2018 amid speculation about plans to export liquefied natural gas. That's up 20.2 per cent from $195,700 in mid-2017. Prices have increased over the past three months after Royal Dutch Shell PLC-led LNG Canada announced plans in October to forge ahead with construction of an energy megaproject, including an $18-billion export terminal in Kitimat.

Vancouver Island benefited from attracting homeowners who cashed in their gains in Vancouver, with assessed detached values up in cities such as Victoria (8 per cent), Campbell River (16.2 per cent) and Courtenay (16.9 per cent).

In the Fraser Valley east of Vancouver, median values for detached homes rose 9.4 per cent in Abbotsford and climbed 9.7 per cent in Chilliwack, according to BC Assessment's latest report.

Associated Graphic

Lululemon founder Chip Wilson's Vancouver mansion, the most expensive residential property in B.C. for the sixth straight year, saw its assessment decrease to $73.1-million for the valuation date of July 1, 2018, from $78.8-million a year before.

DARRYL DYCK/THE GLOBE AND MAIL


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Vancouver house sales expected to remain sluggish as tax measures take hold
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Monday, December 31, 2018 – Page B1

VANCOUVER -- The B.C. government's measures designed to cool off the Vancouver region's housing market will take full effect in 2019, setting the stage for a continuation of sluggish sales.

Numerous provincial policies, combined with the federal stress test that makes it tougher on borrowers, have already had a major psychological effect on the Vancouver area, said Bryan Yu, deputy chief economist at Central 1 Credit Union. Canada's banking regulator implemented a stress test on Jan.

1, 2018, making it more difficult for buyers to qualify for mortgages.

Sales in the Vancouver region decreased an estimated 23 per cent in 2018 compared with 2017. The trend of vastly different expectations between buyers and sellers is expected to extend into 2019, said Mr. Yu, who predicts that regional sales could dip 0.8 per cent in 2019 compared with 2018.

"We will see an ongoing gap between what sellers are willing to sell for and what buyers are able and willing to bid for properties," he said. "It boils down very much to an environment of low sales."

The provincial NDP government will begin collecting what it calls the speculation tax in 2019. The annual tax is aimed mostly at out-of-province residents who own secondary homes or vacation properties that are not rented out in B.C.'s urban markets. The B.C. government will also impose an annual surtax that targets homeowners of properties assessed at more than $3-million.

The speculation tax and the new surtax are part of a wideranging package of housing policies originally unveiled in the BC NDP's budget in February, 2018.

While the affordability crisis persists, median prices for detached houses, condos and townhomes in the Vancouver region could decline 3 per cent in 2019 compared with 2018, Mr. Yu forecasts. He adds that the trend of sluggish sales and flat or slightly lower prices could continue into 2020 and 2021.

In August, 2016, the previous BC Liberal government introduced a 15-per-cent tax on foreign buyers in the Vancouver area, contributing to the detached-housing segment's slump during the second half of 2016 and early 2017. Following a choppy recovery in the housing market in 2017, the BC NDP government raised the foreign-buyers tax to 20 per cent in February, 2018, and also expanded the tax to other urban markets in the province.

The Vancouver region's real estate market faced "intense pressure" for much of 2018, exacerbated by rising mortgage rates, Bank of Montreal senior economist Sal Guatieri said.

"Demand has weakened so much that the few buyers out there are now able to get some price concessions from sellers," Royal Bank of Canada economists Craig Wright and Robert Hogue wrote in a research note.

Still, Mr. Yu said British Columbia's economy is forecast to stay strong over the next three years while the unemployment rate should remain relatively low, and there are no signs pointing to a looming global financial shock.

"Home prices are eroding, but they're not going to crash," he said. "We've hit a very soft spot in the housing sector, and that's really a policy-induced event. The labour market is strong. We're not in an economic recession or in a crisis of confidence."

The median price for detached houses sold on Vancouver's west side reached $3,218,333 in November, 2017. The median detached price has fallen 11 per cent since then, but it's still out of reach for most prospective buyers at $2,860,000.

The market for condos and townhouses showed signs of resilience in early 2018, although it softened noticeably in recent months. The price for condos sold in Greater Vancouver averaged $690,190 in November, down 7.7 per cent since April.

But even entry-level condos remain too expensive for many first-time buyers, said Paul Kershaw, founder of Generation Squeeze, a lobby group formed to represent the views of Canadians in their 40s and younger. "Home ownership prospects for a younger demographic have been harmed more in British Columbia than in any other province," he said.

The rapid rise in real estate prices from mid-2013 to mid-2016 in the City of Vancouver prompted many residents to move elsewhere in the province, helping drive up prices in markets such as Victoria and the Sunshine Coast, Mr.

Kershaw said.

An analysis by Generation Squeeze found that the homeownership rate in British Columbia for residents between the ages of 35 and 44 was 67 per cent in 2016, compared with 78 per cent in 1977.

"We've had effectively an earthquake in B.C.'s real estate sector," Mr. Kershaw said. "It isn't just a Vancouver issue, because over the past decade, it has spread to the suburbs and gone to other urban centres like Victoria. Even if you save enough for a down payment, hard work doesn't pay off like it used to."


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B.C. lumber producers build long-term Asian plan despite Canada-China trade uncertainty
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Friday, December 28, 2018 – Page B1

VANCOUVER -- Lumber producers in British Columbia are bracing for a tough 2019 amid concerns over Canada-China trade, the U.S. housing market and American tariffs on Canadian softwood.

The long-term opportunity for boosting lumber exports to China remains huge, despite recent trade tensions, B.C. forestry executives say.

Don Kayne, chief executive offi cer of Vancouver-based Canfor Corp., travelled to China in December as part of a B.C. forestry delegation of more than 20 industry representatives. British Columbia accounts for 97 per cent of Canadian lumber exports to China.

B.C. Forests Minister Doug Donaldson and other officials with the provincial government took part in the first two stages of the trip to South Korea and China. The government delegates postponed their plans to visit China days after authorities arrested Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou on Dec. 1 as she was transiting through Vancouver International Airport.

But delegates from Canfor and other B.C. forestry firms such as West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd., Interfor Corp., Conifex Timber Inc. and Tolko Industries Ltd. forged ahead with the final leg in China, promoting lumber and other products.

"China is a very important export market for Canfor and the forest industry," Mr. Kayne said in an emailed statement from Beijing before returning to Canada.

"We have had positive meetings with senior Chinese government officials and customers as we continue to explore opportunities to expand the uses of wood products and pulp."

In an interview before embarking on the trade mission, Mr. Kayne said he is undaunted by short-term disruptions and stock-price volatility. "We're looking out five years and 10 years. We're looking at how do we build this company for the future, from a diversification point of view and strategic aspects," he said.

On Dec. 11, Ms. Meng was released on $10-million bail. She has been living since then at one of her two Vancouver homes, and is under an array of court-imposed conditions such as wearing a GPS ankle-bracelet and obeying an 11 p.m.

curfew. The United States alleges she committed fraud in relation to U.S. trade sanctions against Iran.

Over the past decade, B.C. producers have been striving to reduce their reliance on the American market, with China and Japan becoming the top two customers in Asia for B.C.

wood products. The U.S. housing market that boomed in recent years has cooled off. Experts forecast that new residential construction in the United States will grow at a slower pace in 2019 than formerly thought.

As well, the long-running softwood dispute between Canada and the United States is expected to continue into 2019 and 2020. The U.S. Department of Commerce collected final countervailing and anti-dumping tariffs averaging 20.23 per cent against most Canadian lumber producers in 2018.

Adding to the Canada-U.S. uncertainty, lumber prices are in a slump. Benchmark two-by-fours made from western spruce, pine and fir decreased to US$328 for 1,000 board feet in December, down 47 per cent when compared with US$622 in June, according to Madison's Lumber Reporter.

"Prices haven't found strength and log cost/supply constraints are not going away anytime soon," RBC Dominion Securities Inc. analyst Paul Quinn said in a research note.

British Columbia is by far Canada's largest lumber exporter into the United States, with a 53.1-percent share of the total value in 2017, followed by Quebec (18.3 per cent), Alberta (11.5 per cent), Ontario (7.8 per cent) and New Brunswick (6.5 per cent).

Susan Yurkovich, president of the B.C.-based Council of Forest Industries, said she is optimistic about the prospects for long-term growth in lumber exports to China, which is B.C.'s second-largest customer. In 2017, China accounted for 16 per cent of B.C. lumber sold to foreign buyers while the United States remained the largest purchaser with 63 per cent of the total export value.

China's market has become increasingly important, ordering $1.07-billion worth of B.C. lumber in 2017, compared with $177-million in 2008. But the value of B.C. softwood shipped to China fell in 2018 compared with 2017 as the sharp drop in lumber prices in the second half of 2018 took its toll.

"Our industry is highly resilient," said Ms. Yurkovich, who joined Mr. Kayne and other B.C. forestry executives during the swing through China. "Asia in general, and China in particular, continues to be a very important market for B.C.

wood products."

Guy Saint-Jacques, a senior fellow at the University of Alberta's China Institute and a former Canadian ambassador to China, said it's understandable that the forestry industry delegation decided to continue onto China since meetings were scheduled months ago, but other Canadian executives will likely take a wait-and-see attitude on travel plans in 2019.

"The Canadian government has to use all available communication channels to try to impress on the Chinese that we have to lower the temperature because we run the risk of causing lasting damage to the relationship," he said.

Capital Economics senior economist Stephen Brown cautions that Canada's forestry sector is among the industries exposed to potential retaliation from China. "If tensions escalate much further, we suspect the most likely response from China will be measures to boycott Canada's exports," Mr. Brown said in a research note.

Associated Graphic

British Columbia is Canada's largest lumber exporter to China and the United States. DARRYL DYCK/THE CANADIAN PRESS


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Exxon cancels plans for $25-billion LNG project in B.C.
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Friday, December 21, 2018 – Page B1

VANCOUVER -- Exxon Mobil Corp. has scrapped plans for a $25-billion liquefied natural gas terminal in British Columbia, the latest LNG project cancelled on the West Coast.

While Royal Dutch Shell PLC announced in October that it will forge ahead with the massive LNG Canada joint venture in Kitimat, B.C., at least 15 LNG proposals in the province have either been cancelled or stalled over the past two years.

Exxon Mobil and its Canadian unit, Imperial Oil Ltd., had hoped to export LNG to Asia from a terminal at Tuck Inlet, near the city of Prince Rupert in northwestern B.C.

In a letter this week, however, the B.C. Environmental Assessment Office said the Exxon Mobil-led WCC LNG Project Ltd. venture will no longer be reviewed. "The WCC LNG project has been formally withdrawn from the environmental assessment process," the agency said, responding to WCC LNG's request dated Dec. 5 that the review of the Tuck Inlet proposal be halted.

Exxon Mobil said in a statement that while WCC LNG has been withdrawn, the Irving, Tex.-based parent and Imperial Oil "remain committed to our Canada operations and to ensuring the safe and reliable delivery of oil and gas to our customers."

While the BC NDP government supports Shellled LNG Canada, the province has discouraged any new LNG megaprojects in a bid to meet provincial climate targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. WCC LNG, formerly known as West Coast Canada LNG, didn't provide reasons for its decision. In a community newsletter in the spring of 2018, managers cited "uncertain LNG market conditions and economic uncertainties" for the shutdown of a storefront office in Prince Rupert in late 2017.

One small-scale B.C. proposal, Woodfibre LNG near Squamish, is considered by industry experts to be viable in the short term.

Two others remain active: Chevron Corp. and Woodside Petroleum Ltd. are continuing with preliminary work on their Kitimat LNG joint venture at Bish Cove; and Steelhead LNG is studying its Kwispaa proposal on Vancouver Island.

The shelving of WCC LNG is the latest in a series of decisions by energy companies to abandon a wide range of LNG plans in British Columbia.

In March this year, Australia's Woodside walked away from its plans to build Grassy Point LNG on a site near Prince Rupert. Last year, axed B.C. projects included: Shell's Prince Rupert LNG plans on Ridley Island; the Malaysianled Pacific NorthWest LNG joint venture on Lelu Island; the Aurora LNG consortium led by China on Digby Island; and B.C.based Steelhead LNG's Malahat proposal on Vancouver Island.

In 2014, there were more than 20 B.C. LNG proposals vying to be the first out of the gates. Despite much hype from the previous BC Liberal government, only LNG Canada has announced that it will be constructing a terminal to export the fuel to Asia.

LNG Canada's budget totals $40-billion, including $18-billion for the Kitimat terminal and $6.2billion for TransCanada Corp.'s Coastal GasLink pipeline that will transport natural gas from northeastern B.C. to Kitimat.

All 20 elected Indigenous bands along Coastal GasLink's route have signed project agreements with TransCanada, but a group backed by key Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs remains opposed.

On Dec. 14, a B.C. Supreme Court judge granted an interim injunction for Coastal GasLink to remove the Unist'ot'en blockade at the Morice River Bridge. But anti-pipeline activists have thrown their support behind outspoken Wet'suwet'en members such as those from Dark House, one of 13 hereditary house groups. Hereditary leaders of five Wet'suwet'en clans are also vowing to prevent pipeline construction on traditional territory known as Unist'ot'en.


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VANCOUVER POLICE INVESTIGATE ATTEMPTED BREAK-IN AT ARRESTED HUAWEI EXECUTIVE'S HOUSE
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Monday, December 10, 2018 – Page A15

VANCOUVER Vancouver police are investigating an attempted break-in at a house co-owned by Huawei Technologies executive Meng Wanzhou.

The house in the city's Dunbar neighbourhood is registered to Ms. Meng's husband, Liu Xiaozong, though she has said they purchased the property together in 2009.

Vancouver police did not specify the address of the house, but a local TV station aired footage of two police vehicles in front of the property.

Police said they received a 911 call at 5:30 a.m. on Sunday about a home on West 28th Avenue, near Crown Street.

"The suspects fled the area after being challenged by someone in the house," Constable Jason Doucette said in a statement.

"No one was injured and no arrests have been made. Officers have collected evidence from the scene and will make attempts to identify those responsible."

Land title records show Ms.Meng and Mr. Liu bought their Dunbar property in 2009 for $2,738,000. The property had an assessed value of $5,609,000 in mid-2017.

The couple also own a house in Vancouver's Shaughnessy neighbourhood. They acquired that property in 2016 for $15million, and it had an assessed value of $16,327,000 in mid-2017. Authorities arrested Ms. Meng on Dec. 1 as she was transiting through Vancouver International Airport, and she has been detained in a prison in British Columbia.

Her bail hearing resumes in Vancouver on Monday. The United States alleges she violated U.S. trade sanctions against Iran and has asked for her extradition. BRENT JANG


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Huawei CFO asks court to grant bail and release her from prison
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Monday, December 10, 2018 – Page A7

VANCOUVER -- A decade after she joined Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., Meng Wanzhou paid her first visit to Vancouver in 2003 as a tourist from China.

She grew fond of the West Coast, and sent two of her four children to attend school in Vancouver. She even became a permanent resident in Canada, although she later relinquished that status. Her husband studied for a master's degree in British Columbia's largest city. Over the years, inlaws stayed summers at one of the couple's two properties.

The ties to Vancouver are part of arguments raised by Ms.Meng and her lawyers as they seek to have the Huawei executive released on bail. Authorities arrested Ms. Meng on Dec. 1 as she was transiting through Vancouver International Airport. The United States alleges she violated U.S. trade sanctions against Iran.

One of her lawyers, David Martin, said in court filings that Ms. Meng is "a mother of four and an accomplished businesswoman. She does not have a criminal record."

Mr. Martin details his client's credentials, including holding a master's degree from Huazhong University of Science and Technology. She joined Huawei in 1993 and worked her way up the ranks. "The alleged offences here are neither violent nor hateful, nor do they involve a criminal gang or terrorist organization," he said in a factum to argue for her release.

Mr. Martin said his client's passport would be turned over to authorities, so she would not be able to board an international flight.

In her own affidavit, Ms. Meng said she should be granted bail and released from a B.C. prison since she is in fragile health and doesn't pose a flight risk.

"I survived thyroid cancer, for which I underwent surgery in 2011," she said in her affidavit filed in B.C. Supreme Court.

"In May of 2018 I had surgery to remedy health issues related to sleep apnea. I currently have difficulty eating solid foods and have had to modify my diet to address those issues."

The affidavit from the Huawei chief financial officer, who is the daughter of the Chinese telecom giant's founder, paints a portrait of the 46-year-old as someone with who has ties to Vancouver through real estate and family members.

"While I am a Chinese citizen and normally reside in China, my family has extensive ties to Canada, and Vancouver in particular," she said.

Her father, Ren Zhengfei, founded Huawei in 1987 and guided it to become China's largest private enterprise.

"I would never do anything that would cause the company reputational damage," she said in her affidavit released to the media on Sunday, emphasizing she poses no threat to public safety. "I wish to remain in Vancouver to contest my extradition and I will contest the allegations at trial in the U.S. if I am ultimately surrendered."

None of the allegations against Ms. Meng have been proven in court. The bail hearing resumes in Vancouver on Monday. Federal Crown counsel said in court on Friday that Ms. Meng has a pattern of avoiding travel to the United States in recent years, arguing her wealth and global connections made her an extreme flight risk.

But Ms. Meng points to her connections to the West Coast, noting she bought a house in Vancouver in 2009 with her husband, Liu Xiaozong. The couple bought another Vancouver home in 2016. Both properties are registered in the name of Mr. Liu, who lived in Vancouver while working on his master's degree.

"Even after the children stopped attending school in Vancouver, my husband and my younger children spent many weeks, sometimes months, here during the summer," Ms.Meng said in her affidavit sworn in Vancouver.

She added that since 2010, her in-laws have stayed at one of the properties, typically over the summer period. "My mother and my older son have also visited us in Vancouver," Ms. Meng said.

She and her husband bought their first property in 2009 in Vancouver's Dunbar neighbourhood. That was assessed at $5,609,000 on July 1, 2017. In 2016, they made their second purchase, this time in the city's Shaughnessy neighbourhood, with an assessed value of $16,327,000 in mid-2017.

She said she is willing to put up one or both properties as security in the bail hearing, and also abide by any courtordered curfew requirements.


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TransCanada unit seeks court's assistance in standoff with Unist'ot'en blockade
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Monday, December 10, 2018 – Page B5

VANCOUVER -- TransCanada Corp.'s Coastal GasLink subsidiary will seek a court order this week to dismantle a blockade backed by a group of hereditary Indigenous leaders who are trying to halt construction on a $6.2-billion pipeline project.

Numerous members of the Unist'ot'en group, also known as the Dark House, have blocked access to a crucial bridge, Coastal GasLink said in its injunction application in B.C. Supreme Court. A court hearing is scheduled for Thursday in Prince George, B.C.

"The blockaders have stopped or turned back Coastal GasLink employees and contractors travelling by vehicle and on foot on the Morice River Bridge, blocking access," according to the application. All 20 elected bands along the natural gas pipeline route have approved Coastal GasLink, and TransCanada has conditionally awarded $620-million in contracts to Indigenous businesses in British Columbia. But a group of Wet'suwet'en Nation hereditary chiefs who back the Unist'ot'en protest camp argue that their anti-pipeline views outweigh those of elected band officials who support Coastal GasLink.

The Unist'ot'en is one of 13 house groups under the Wet'suwet'en Nation in northern British Columbia. A non-profit society, the Office of the Wet'suwet'en, represents the interests of hereditary chiefs in the area.

The office said the Gilseyhu clan, which includes the Unist'ot'en house group, and the other four Wet'suwet'en hereditary clans categorically oppose oil and gas pipeline proposals.

Coastal GasLink estimates that it has already spent $527-million on predevelopment costs. The TransCanada unit argues that members of the Unist'ot'en "can continue to voice their objection to the project without blocking access" to land across the bridge.

Designs call for a section of the pipeline to be built more than one kilometre away from the bridge, but workers need to cross the span in order to get heavy equipment into the remote area.

Natural gas from northeast B.C.

would be transported along the 670-kilometre line to a liquefied natural gas terminal to be built in Kitimat on the West Coast by Royal Dutch Shell PLC-led LNG Canada. Coastal GasLink wants to start construction in January on an 84kilometre pipe section, near Smithers, B.C.

Dozens of Unist'ot'en members and their supporters started a protest in 2010, when they originally fought against Enbridge Inc.'s now-defunct Northern Gateway oil pipeline project.

In the court application, Coastal GasLink names Warner Naziel and his partner, Freda Huson, as defendants. They are accused of being among the Unist'ot'en members who "set up a blockade by standing, sitting or positioning vehicles, gates and other obstacles."

Unist'ot'en officials describe their presence on the bridge as a "checkpoint," and that there is a healing lodge located nearby on the house group's traditional territory. "We are exercising our right to exclusive use and occupation of land, and our right to determine its use," they said in a statement.

Coastal GasLink said its request to cross the bridge will not affect the healing lodge, which is part of the Unist'ot'en protest camp.

Amid the tensions between Coastal GasLink and the Unist'ot'en, there has been a power struggle within the Wet'suwet'en Nation.

Five of the 20 elected bands that support Coastal GasLink belong to the Wet'suwet'en Nation: Wet'suwet'en First Nation (formerly known as the Broman Lake Indian Band), Burns Lake, Nee Tahi Buhn, Skin Tyee and Witset.

And a pro-pipeline group called the Wet'suwet'en Matrilineal Coalition said it disagrees with the Unist'ot'en's tactics in blocking Coastal GasLink workers from crossing the bridge.

Three women from the coalition who support Coastal GasLink say they were informed that they lost their hereditary names because the men who lead the house groups objected to their pro-pipeline views. Unist'ot'en members say there isn't any sexism involved in the dispute with the women, characterizing it as a case of male hereditary chiefs asserting their proper authority.

While Mr. Naziel goes by the hereditary name Smogelgem under the Laksamshu clan, Wet'suwet'en elder Gloria George said that name belongs to her.

Shell and the four co-owners of LNG Canada decided in October to forge ahead with the $40-billion energy project, which includes an $18-billion terminal in Kitimat, TransCanada's Coastal GasLink pipeline, the costs of drilling in northeast B.C. and other infrastructure.

Associated Graphic

Freda Huson, centre, greets hereditary chiefs from five First Nations groups at the Unist'ot'en bridge checkpoint in northern B.C. in September, 2015.

RAFAL GERSZAK/THE GLOBE AND MAIL


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Vancouver home sales fell to 10-year low last month as regulations hit demand
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Wednesday, December 5, 2018 – Page B2

VANCOUVER -- Housing sales in the Vancouver region slid to a 10-year low as a series of federal and provincial measures have dampened demand.

Mortgage rates have steadily risen since mid-2017 and the federal banking regulator implemented a stress test on Jan. 1, 2018, making it tougher for buyers to qualify for mortgages.

"Any time you start reducing people's ability to increase their leverage, that is going to have an impact on what they can afford," Steve Saretsky, a real estate agent who also writes a housing newsletter, said in an interview on Tuesday.

Provincially, the BC NDP government raised the foreignbuyers tax to 20 per cent from 15 per cent in February, while expanding that tax beyond the initial target of the Vancouver region. Other provincial factors include what the NDP calls a speculation and vacancy tax targeted primarily at out-of-province residents, and other B.C. taxes aimed at higher-end properties.

Home sales in Greater Vancouver last month were 34.7 per cent under the 10-year average for November.

Andy Yan, director of Simon Fraser University's city program, said the B.C. government wants to corral what had been a runway housing market in the Vancouver region. Mr. Yan said the NDP's "political signalling" with moves designed to lower prices and deter speculation have been enough to spook some buyers who might otherwise have snapped up properties, but the affordability crisis lingers. Even in suburbs such as Coquitlam, prices for condos are well more than $500,000.

The real estate market surged from 2013 until mid-2016. The previous BC Liberal government introduced the foreign-buyers tax in the Vancouver region in August, 2016, helping to temporarily cool off Canada's most expensive housing market.

After a choppy recovery in 2017 and the first half of 2018, housing sales and prices began falling noticeably in mid-2018. Mr. Saretsky said the residential market is undergoing what will likely be a drawn-out slowdown that will extend into 2019. "It's kind of like a slow bleed-out," he said.

Total residential sales last month declined to 1,608 transactions, down 42.5 per cent when compared with 2,795 in November, 2017, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver. Last month's regional sales were the lowest for November since 2008, when only 874 properties changed hands in that month during the recession.

The benchmark price (an industry representation of the typical home sold in an area) for all residential types in Greater Vancouver has declined for six consecutive months, hitting $1,042,100 last month after setting a record of $1,094,000 in May.

"Home prices have declined between four and seven per cent over the last six months, depending on property type," board president Phil Moore said in a statement, adding that prospective buyers are taking a wait-and-see attitude. The number of listings in Greater Vancouver totalled 12,307 last month, up 40.7 per cent from a year earlier. Detached houses on Vancouver's west side and in the municipality of West Vancouver have seen the sharpest price drops, with benchmark prices tumbling more than 10 per cent over the past year.

The provincial government announced plans earlier this year to impose surtaxes on homes assessed at more than $3-million, hitting the west side, where benchmark prices for detached houses have decreased to $3,205,500. While benchmark prices for condos and townhouses in Greater Vancouver have decreased in the second half of this year, they are still 2 per cent higher than in November, 2017.

Average prices year-over-year for condos sold in the region are up 2.4 per cent, while townhouses dipped 2.7 per cent and detached properties slipped 1.1 per cent.

Property sales fell 41 per cent in the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board's territory, which includes the sprawling Vancouver suburb of Surrey. The area saw 1,028 transactions in November, compared with 1,743 sales in the same month of 2017.

The benchmark price for detached houses sold in the Fraser Valley's area was $976,200 last month, unchanged from a year earlier.

Associated Graphic

THE GLOBE AND MAIL SOURCE: THE REAL ESTATE BOARD OF GREATER VANCOUVER


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Binational panel formed to review softwood dispute
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Tuesday, December 4, 2018 – Page B2

VANCOUVER -- A binational panel has been formed to review the battle between Canada and the United States over softwood lumber, with three Canadians and two Americans appointed to make a ruling under NAFTA's contentious Chapter 19 dispute-resolution mechanism.

The issue of Canadian lumber shipments into the United States is not a direct part of the North American free-trade agreement nor the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement. But under NAFTA's Chapter 19, Canada and the United States agreed to set up trade panels to settle disputes. The USMCA signed last week retains that appeal process.

The new panel's composition appears to favour Canada. The U.S. Lumber Coalition has complained that it believes the Chapter 19 appeal process has flaws that invite panelists to vote along national lines. Those concerns date back to the 1988 Canada-U.S.

free trade agreement and NAFTA, which took effect in 1994.

The American lumber lobby has repeatedly argued that Canada dumps softwood into the United States at below market value.

Canada counters that there have been no subsidies given to Canadian producers and no dumping into the U.S. market has occurred.

One of the key sticking points in the USMCA discussions had been Canadian support for and U.S. opposition to NAFTA's Chapter 19.

Under Chapter 19, each country appoints two panelists while the fifth member is typically chosen "by lot" - what amounts to choosing by chance by coin toss.

Paul Morris, secretary of the U.S. section of the NAFTA Secretariat, wrote a letter dated Nov. 28 to inform Canada that five panelists have been selected to review the long-running softwood dispute. The three Canadian trade experts are Jack Millar, Andrew Newcombe and James Ogilvy. The two American members of the panel are Stephen Claeys and Stephen Powell.

In December, 2017, the U.S. International Trade Commission ruled in its final determination that Canada's shipments of softwood lumber south of the border are injuring the U.S. forestry sector.

Canada is counting on the newly formed binational panel to overturn the commission's final determination.

While U.S. lumber producers buy their timber mostly from private owners of forests, the Commerce Department ruled earlier in 2017 that stumpage fees Canadian firms pay to provincial governments to cut trees on Crown land are too low and amount to subsidies.

The Commerce Department began slapping preliminary duties on Canadian lumber in April, 2017. The final combined tariffs took effect in early 2018. Those duties work out to a weighted average of 20.23 per cent, consisting of 14.19 per cent in countervailing duties and 6.04 per cent in antidumping levies, imposed against most Canadian lumber exporters.

In November, 2017, the Canadian government decided to challenge U.S. lumber tariffs through the NAFTA appeal process. Ottawa is also contesting the tariffs by taking its fight to the WTO.

While the United States is by far the largest customer for Canadian lumber exports, a B.C. delegation from the forestry industry will kick off a 10-day trade mission to Asia, starting on Wednesday. Don Kayne, chief executive officer of Vancouver-based Canfor Corp., will be part of the B.C. delegation of more than 40 people who will promote Canadian lumber in China, Japan and South Korea.

Separately, the U.S. section of the NAFTA Secretariat said there will be no American appeal under Chapter 19 to review the International Trade Commission's ruling in August that Canadian shipments of uncoated groundwood paper into the U.S market aren't injuring the American industry.

North Pacific Paper Co. had lodged a complaint with the Commerce Department in 2017, alleging unfair competition from Canadian producers of uncoated groundwood paper. The Commerce Department imposed tariffs on Canadian newsprint exporters earlier in 2018, but the commission overturned those duties.


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B.C. economy to surge ahead on LNG Canada project: report
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Province to reap benefits from approved Kitimat plant for years to come, economist says
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Tuesday, November 20, 2018 – Page B2

VANCOUVER -- British Columbia's economy is forecast to shine for the next two years as construction starts on a $40-billion liquefied natural gas project in the northern part of the province.

Last month, Royal Dutch Shell PLC and the four co-owners of LNG Canada approved the energy megaproject, which includes plans for an $18-billion export terminal in Kitimat and TransCanada Corp.'s $6.2-billion Coastal GasLink pipeline.

"The construction of the Shell-led LNG Canada project plant in Kitimat is set to positively transform the regional economy for years to come," Bryan Yu, deputy chief economist at Central 1 Credit Union, said in a 31-page report released on Tuesday.

Mr. Yu, whose forecast covers 2019 and 2020, said northwest B.C. will benefit from the early construction phase for LNG Canada's Kitimat terminal while northeast B.C starts to thrive from robust drilling for natural gas.

TransCanada has been tapped to build the 670-kilometre Coastal GasLink pipeline that will transport natural gas from the North Montney play in northeast B.C.

to the export terminal site in Kitimat on the west coast. Drilling is expected to increase during 2021-24, in order to feed natural gas for LNG exports to Asia by late 2024 or early 2025.

Northern B.C. will turn from being an economic laggard to the driving force in the province, amid the slowdown in the Vancouver area's housing market, Mr. Yu said. Residential sales in 2018 in the Vancouver region are expected to be at the lowest level since 2013, with sluggish sales likely to continue into 2019, he said.

He predicts the median residential price for the Vancouver census metropolitan area, which includes the sprawling suburb of Surrey, will decline 2.5 per cent in 2019 compared with this year.

In his outlook, Mr. Yu said British Columbia's gross domestic product could grow in a range between 2.5 per cent and 3 per cent in each of the next two years - likely enough to be among the economic leaders in Canada, although slower than the 3.8-per-cent growth rate in B.C. in 2017.

Oil weakness in Alberta will hurt demand for recreational properties in the B.C. Okanagan, where many Albertans spend vacations, Mr. Yu added in an interview, saying that skilled workers in Alberta's oil patch who find themselves laid off should be able to land LNG-related jobs in northern British Columbia.

"LNG Canada is going to bring the whole region up," said B.J. Houghton, Kitimat branch manager at McElhanney Consulting Services Ltd., an engineering and surveying firm.

Mr. Houghton, who also sits on the board of the Kitimat Chamber of Commerce, formerly worked in Fort St. John in northeast B.C., where there will be a surge in natural gas drilling over the next several years. "Companies like Shell will be spending billions of dollars on drilling."

Sandy Thomson, owner of Norpac Construction Inc., said LNG Canada's economic impact will be felt across northern British Columbia. "It gives local contractors the chance to do a fair amount of work," said Mr. Thomson, whose firm is based in the B.C. Interior city of Kamloops. "There will be a need for a lot of specialized contractors who will come in and give them a hand."

LNG Canada's ripple effects will be significant across B.C. and have a bit of spillover into Alberta, said economist Philip Cross, a senior fellow at Resource Works, a research group that has received some of its funding from the Business Council of British Columbia. "Services benefit from increased demand for inputs from various industries needed to boost natural gas production, including everything from engineering to accounting services," Mr.

Cross said in an analysis released last week.

Associated Graphic

A work crew makes progress at a site in Kitimat, B.C., on Oct. 5. A report from Central 1 Credit Union's deputy chief economist says B.C.'s GDP could increase in a range between 2.5 per cent and 3 per cent in each of the next two years.

AMBER BRACKEN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL


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LNG Canada: A giant energy project finds a way forward after a string of industry failures
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Saturday, November 17, 2018 – Page B1

KITIMAT, B.C. -- A long a rugged shoreline in Northern British Columbia, Canada's global energy ambitions are taking a longawaited step forward.

At the head of the Douglas Channel, an inlet lined with rolling coastal mountains, workers are busy developing the expansive $18-billion LNG Canada export terminal, which will launch tankers full of liquefied natural gas to energy-hungry markets abroad. The ships will navigate pristine inland waterways before reaching the open Pacific Ocean and setting sail for Asia.

On a recent fall day at nearby Kitamaat Village, the main community and seat of government of the Haisla Nation, killer whales glide through the channel. For the revered sea mammals, the waterway is a hunting ground rich in marine life. For the Haisla, it's a source of everything from halibut and cod to prawn and crab.

It's the same area where, only a few years ago, the Haisla helped put a stop to another massive energy project, Enbridge Inc.'s Northern Gateway pipeline. Enbridge was planning to send bitumen from Alberta's oil sands across British Columbia to a terminal near Kitimat before shipping it overseas.

But Northern Gateway was widely despised by local residents and many others in the province and was officially killed by the federal government in 2016.

In fact, one by one, projects designed to bring Canada's energy riches to global markets have failed or become entangled in a mess of politics and popular opposition. After Northern Gateway, TransCanada Corp. gave up on its Energy East oil pipeline, and the company's Keystone XL project is mired in its 11th year of political and regulatory muck. The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion ran into so much resistance from environmentalists, First Nations and B.C. politicians that the federal government, desperate to keep the project alive, spent $4.5-billion this year to take over both the existing Trans Mountain pipeline and the expansion - a twinning of the original - from Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd., which had grown weary after years of opposition and delays.

But the LNG Canada project is a different story. Instead of facing grinding opposition, the project has been embraced by politicians, regulators and, crucially, the Haisla and other First Nations in the Kitimat area and along the pipeline route.

Lawns around Kitimat and Kitamaat Village are dotted with "We Want LNG Canada" signs and people in the area eagerly speak of the promised economic benefits of the project.

Even among other liquefied natural-gas projects, which are generally seen as safer and less environmentally risky than oil pipelines, LNG Canada is a standout. In mid-2013, there were more than 20 LNG proposals in the province. Today, only LNG Canada, an international consortium led by global energy giant Royal Dutch Shell PLC, and three other projects remain active. Pacific NorthWest LNG, led by Malaysia's state-owned Petronas, gave up on its own project amid various environmental and business issues and acquired a stake in LNG Canada this year; other participants in the venture include PetroChina, Japan's Mitsubishi Corp. and South Korea's Kogas.

The megaproject, which includes the Kitimat terminal, an accompanying pipeline, related infrastructure and producers drilling in northeastern British Columbia, is projected to cost as much as $40-billion for the first phase, which Shell and the four co-owners approved last month.

How did LNG Canada do it? How did the project achieve a breakthrough after years of failed or stalled energy proposals?

Winning the support of the Haisla and others took years of careful planning and relationship-building by a corporate entity that had the benefit of being able to study the previous, flawed attempts of others.

LNG Canada officials were aware of the tense relations that developed between Enbridge and local residents over the Northern Gateway project. In a 2012 letter to the National Energy Board, Joanne Monaghan, then the mayor of Kitimat, said the Haisla found Enbridge's consultations with First Nations to be "brash and insincere." Kitimat residents would later vote 58.4 per cent against the project in a non-binding plebiscite.

In the fall of 2012, then-Haisla Nation chief councillor Ellis Ross outlined his blueprint for a make-or-break set of negotiations with backers of LNG Canada. The Haisla were skeptical that the conglomerate would negotiate in good faith. Inside the community's office in Kitamaat Village, Mr. Ross presented his vision for being taken seriously at the table. "I wanted legally binding commercial agreements and strong commitments with definitive numbers," he recalled.

In the fall of 2013, LNG Canada head Andy Calitz, who had become the project's top executive only a few months earlier, approached Mr. Ross at a business conference in Vancouver. Mr. Calitz, a Shell veteran known for his ability to close deals, shook hands with the Haisla leader and made a pledge.

"Andy Calitz made an impression and told me, 'I understand and I'm here just to tell you that we're going to do things differently and put things together. That's my promise to you: to do things better.' He committed to sitting down with us," Mr. Ross said.

Mr. Calitz said he encourages his staff, notably Indigenous relations manager Mike Eddy and his team, to listen carefully and discuss the potential economic benefits of the project.

"We are sensitive to justice and equity in First Nations matters," Mr. Calitz said as he looked out over the forested area where the export terminal will be assembled over the next six years with massive modules imported from China.

He and director of external affairs Susannah Pierce have been working on the project for more than five years. "We don't want First Nations to be surprised," said Ms. Pierce, seated at a picnic table on the site. "It's about trust and it's not a cookie-cutter approach. It's a collaborative, listening-type of engagement."

Everyone concedes the talks got off to a rocky start.

"But to their credit, they fixed it. It was different than dealing with Enbridge," said Mr. Ross, who stepped down as chief councillor two years ago and was elected to the B.C. Legislature in last year's provincial election.

LNG Canada has been working closely not only with the Haisla but with six other Indigenous communities along the shipping route: the Kitselas, Gitxaala, Kitsumkalum, Gitga'at, Lax Kw'alaams and Metlakatla.

Joe Bevan, the elected chief councillor of Kitselas First Nation, said the company earned his community's trust by showing respect for his group's rights and title after a series of meetings in 2014.

"At first they said, 'What are we buying here?' But we said, "No, you can't buy our rights. They're constitutionally protected.' We told them that what they're buying is an Indigenous social licence," Mr. Bevan said. "After a few sessions together, they eventually understood and we worked together."

Clifford White, the elected chief councillor and a hereditary leader of the Gitxaala Nation, said he appreciated that Mr.

Calitz and Ms. Pierce presented a unified message of respecting Indigenous rights and title and didn't try to play games. "Andy and Susannah were pretty much joined at the hip," Mr. White said. "They worked well together and they listened to our concerns about the tanker traffic, because as you go down the channel, it crosses into our territory."

A key part of the discussions was ensuring minimal impact on fish and habitat along the Douglas Channel. Officials agreed to operate ships at reduced speeds and have them escorted by specially built tugboats. Indigenous groups negotiated a site for the disposal of material from dredging the waters near the wharf. And project officials agreed to elevate a pipeline in Kitimat to avoid disrupting the movements of grizzly bears and moose.

Of course, talks also focused on money and economic benefits. LNG Canada estimates it will be providing $100-million in contracting opportunities to Indigenous businesses during the construction of the terminal. It also forecasts billions of dollars in economic benefits for 25 Indigenous groups in the form of training, employment and payments to bands during the project's 40-year life. (The B.C. government estimates that LNG Canada has spent $60-million on agreements with Indigenous groups, but company officials declined to discuss any direct payments to First Nations.)

The project's accompanying pipeline operation also won support by offering benefits to those communities. TransCanada has been tapped to build the $6.2billion, 670-kilometre Coastal GasLink pipeline, which will transport natural gas from the North Montney region in northeastern British Columbia to the terminal site in Kitimat. The pipeline has been approved by all 20 bands along the route and TransCanada has conditionally awarded $620-million in contracts to Indigenous businesses in the region.

Karen Ogen-Toews, the former elected chief councillor of the Wet'suwet'en, founded the First Nations LNG Alliance three years ago to give Indigenous leaders greater clout in discussions with industry executives. "LNG Canada has been very inclusive, even with First Nations that

don't have direct agreements with them," she said.

For almost two decades, both the B.C. NDP and Liberals have dreamt about exploiting the vast natural-gas fields in northeastern British Columbia. Former Liberal premier Christy Clark, who touted the prospect of LNG riches during her 2013 provincial election campaign, knows her prediction of three LNG terminals operating by 2020 won't come true, but she remains optimistic that other projects will be built in the long term. "LNG Canada's approval is confidence building for foreign investment in Canada," she said.

The new, NDP government, while vociferously opposed to the Trans Mountain expansion project, has also put its weight behind the natural-gas pipeline.

Shortly after forming a political alliance with the Green Party last year, the NDP cancelled an international LNG conference that had been slated for Vancouver, marking a low point for the province's LNG aspirations. Analysts were forecasting a global glut of LNG that would weigh on prices for years and obviate the need for new export terminals.

Behind the scenes, however, the NDP worked diligently to make LNG attractive to First Nations, following up on the legwork of the previous, Liberal government.

By September, 2017, the province had agreed to signing bonuses totalling $4.5million to Indigenous communities that backed the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

"First Nations that sign pipeline benefits agreements receive one-time signing payments," said an NDP government document marked "confidential issues note," released in response to a freedom of information request. "Entering into these agreements with First Nations is part of our commitment to ensure First Nations are partners and benefit from LNG development."

The NDP and the First Nations LNG Alliance organized meetings between government officials and Indigenous leaders across the province over a five-week period in the fall of 2017, gathering in Prince George, Smithers, Fort St. John, Vancouver and Terrace, the confidential note said.

Premier John Horgan reached out to LNG Canada, asking what he could do.

Then, in its budget in February, 2018, the government included new incentives to spur LNG development, including salestax relief for construction and the elimination of a specific income tax on the industry.

Ottawa played a key role, too. The federal government cleared the path for LNG Canada by agreeing that the massive terminal modules could not be made in Canada, so it effectively lifted the tariffs on the fabricated steel components from China.

In Kitimat last month, more than a thousand residents gathered to celebrate the LNG Canada project go-ahead with a party capped by fireworks. Mr. Horgan said the venture is in the national interest, partly as a way of explaining why his government supports this project but not the Trans Mountain pipeline, which would originate in the neighbouring province. "I understand the disappointment and frustration of Albertans, but I think they have to look at this as a benefit to all Canadians," he said in an interview.

Natural gas - which is supercooled to minus-162 C to reduce its volume by turning it into a liquid, making it possible to transport by tanker ships - is considered less environmentally risky to export than oil. First Nations leaders say they fear the B.C. coast would be ruined by a bitumen spill, whereas a leak of LNG, which would likely evaporate, is viewed as an acceptable risk.

"Gas vents, diluted bitumen doesn't. It's pretty simple. They're two different substances," Mr. Horgan said.

In Kitamaat Village, Kitimat and communities along the pipeline route, the massive LNG development will be transformative.

Crystal Smith, who has been the Haisla's chief councillor for the past two years, said LNG Canada will be significant for the community's economic well-being while also helping to address its social ills, such as alcoholism and mental-health issues.

"I'm trying to provide economic opportunities, but also healing from all the trauma that our community has gone through," Ms. Smith said. "It just means so much," she said, as she surveyed the waters off the eastern shore of Douglas Channel, a short walk from her home. "We feel validation."

The region welcomed the opening of an aluminum smelter in 1954 but watched other industries abandon Kitimat, a community founded by Alcan Aluminum Ltd.

in the early 1950s. A 24-year-old methanol plant shut down in 2006, then a 40-yearold pulp and paper mill closed in 2010.

Now, Kitimat Mayor Phil Germuth is bracing for a boom in the months and years ahead. More than 4,500 workers will be required at LNG Canada's construction peak in 2022-23, ballooning the population of 8,000. Work camps will have to be built to house the bulk of the out-of-town employees.

There are plans to finally construct headquarters for the District of Kitimat, whose offices are located on the third floor of the community's aging mall. "We will have a great tax base after LNG Canada gets built, and it would be nice to have a nice city hall that we can be proud of," Mr. Germuth said. A new fire station, upgrades to the water-treatment plant and even a new museum and art gallery are also on the wish list.

Dianna Merkley has another reason to toast the LNG project: One of her sons works in Fort St. John in northeastern B.C.

and flies in and out of a work camp there; another son moved away because he couldn't find work as an electrician. Now, the prospect of thousands of jobs will make it possible for people who grew up in Kitimat to stay or return to their hometown.

"There will be opportunities for my sons to work in town," said Ms. Merkley, an educational assistant who has lived in Kitimat for 37 years. "And it will be exciting when more families come in because we'll have more kids in our schools."

Haisla leaders say the economic spinoffs will go a long way toward reducing poverty and unemployment in Kitamaat Village. The Haisla have formed partnerships with construction company Ledcor Group, Triton Environmental Consultants Ltd. and forestry management firm Brinkman Forest Ltd. to win subcontracting work with LNG Canada. And almost $3million has been spent so far to provide education and training for First Nations - a drop in the bucket compared with what's in store.

Marilyn Furlan, a 70-year-old Haisla elder, opposed Northern Gateway but believes LNG Canada sees the Haisla as true partners. "It has been a long time coming," Ms. Furlan said, moments before giving her blessing at an LNG Canada cakecutting ceremony in the lobby of Tamitik Arena. "Our elders care about the future of our children and grandchildren."

Associated Graphic

Fireworks go off as more than a thousand residents celebrate a new LNG export terminal on Oct. 6 in Kitimat, B.C.

AMBER BRACKEN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

BRENT JANG AND JOHN SOPINSKI/THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: LNG CANADA; ROYAL DUTCH SHELL; COASTALGASLINK.COM

Farrell Stewart works on his boat in the Haisla community of Kitamaat Village, located in Northern British Columbia, on Oct. 7.

AMBER BRACKEN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Despite getting off to a rocky start, there is all-around happiness now that the LNG Canada project is poised to get under way. LNG Canada workers, top, are seen at a barbecue on Oct. 5 to celebrate the final investment decision for the new export facility. Former Haisla Nation chief councillor Ellis Ross, second from top, credits the consortium for approaching Indigenous communities differently than other energy companies. Haisla Chief Councillor Crystal Smith, seen embracing elder Marilyn Furlan, third from top, says the project will be significant for the community's economic well-being while also helping to address its social ills. Meanwhile Kitimat Mayor Phil Germuth, above, says, 'We will have a great tax base after LNG Canada gets built.'

TOP PHOTO: RAFAL GERSZAK/THE GLOBE AND MAIL; ALL OTHER PHOTOS BY AMBER BRACKEN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL


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Hopes for B.C. LNG industry dimmed by climate plan
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One major plant, now approved, will use up a large share of province's emissions
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Friday, November 9, 2018 – Page A16

VICTORIA VANCOUVER -- B.C. Environment Minister George Heyman is completing a new climate action plan that accounts for massive new greenhouse gas emissions for the first phase of the LNG Canada project, but dims the prospects for a major industry to blossom on Canada's West Coast.

A final investment decision for the $40-billion LNG Canada project was announced in October.

The green light is the result of years of effort by the province to secure this new industry for liquefied natural gas, including an array of tax breaks, tariff relief and infrastructure funding. The decision ignited hopes that the province could create a niche as a provider for global climate solutions.

But the project also creates a significant challenge to British Columbia's climate-change goals and comes as the government is trying to revive B.C.'s lagging climate agenda. The province had to abandon legislated targets over the past decade for reducing carbon emissions by the year 2020.

The first phase of LNG Canada will be responsible for roughly 9 per cent of the total emissions allowed for the province in 2030. A planned second phase has not yet been approved.

In making room for LNG Canada, the hurdles for the dozen or more such projects still on the books in B.C. have become higher. To clear them, any subsequent LNG plant, government officials have indicated, would likely have to rely on emerging electric-drive technology. That method uses less-polluting electricity to power the liquefaction plants rather than natural gas. The new technology is not in wide use.

"Having one big and one small project may be all that the NDP can get away with, and after that, they'll erect barriers," said economist Philip Cross, a senior fellow at Resource Works, a research group that has received some of its funding from the Business Council of British Columbia.

Electric-drive won't be feasible in many cases today, he said, but added "it's very difficult to anticipate decades ahead of time what new technologies are going to look like."

It's a long way from the vision touted by former premier Christy Clark of at least five LNG plants that were to generate a trilliondollar Prosperity Fund.

The NDP government has set legislated targets for 2030. To meet them, Mr. Heyman's climate plan, expected to be released in early December, will require steep reductions in GHG emissions by consumers and businesses to accommodate the increase in emissions from LNG Canada.

The new targets for 2030 require provincial GHG emissions to come down by 40 per cent from 2007 levels.

That means that for the LNG projects still in the works in B.C.

- including a planned second phase for LNG Canada - the chances of building another project like LNG Canada's Kitimat facility are slim.

LNG Canada intends to use traditional, gas-fired turbine drivers for the energy-intensive process of transforming gas to liquid. From wellhead to the terminal, the project will generate 3.45 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent annually, and more than half of that will be generated by the gas turbines.

Energy Minister Michelle Mungall said prospective LNG investors have been told that any new projects will have to fit within the province's climate action targets.

"One of the things they are looking at as a result, is would their industry be able to fit in those targets for example if they were 100-per-cent electrified," she said in an interview.

In a briefing in October with senior B.C. government officials, adopting electric-drive technology was described as a minimum requirement for consideration of any new LNG projects.

"It will be table stakes for any new plant in the LNG system," an official said. "There is going to have to be a whole lot of electrification."

One small-scale B.C. proposal, Woodfibre LNG near Squamish, is considered by industry experts to be viable in the short term.

Woodfibre forecasts that its terminal operations could emit 121,800 tonnes of GHGs a year.

That is the only other project identified by government officials as fitting into the climate action plan at this point.

Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver said Mr. Heyman cannot say "yes" to any additional LNG without undermining his climate plan.

"It's a big joke," he said. "You can't have a climate plan and increase greenhouse gas emissions."

Mr. Weaver's support for the climate plan is critical to the minority NDP government's continued grip on power.

Associated Graphic

An LNG Canada employee works with a model of the recently approved LNG plant in Kitimat, B.C., in 2014. ROBIN ROWLAND/THE CANADIAN PRESS


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Vancouver housing sales fall to six-year low
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Saturday, November 3, 2018 – Page B2

VANCOUVER -- Housing sales in the Vancouver region have fallen to their lowest level in six years as price declines extend beyond single-family detached properties to condos and townhouses.

"The affordability situation is improving across all segments of the market," said Josh Gordon, assistant professor at Simon Fraser University's school of public policy.

While the Vancouver region remains by far the most expensive housing market in Canada, prices for condos and townhomes have slid over the past four months after a five-year rally. By contrast, prices for detached houses started their descent in mid-2016, before recovering in early 2017 and then heading down again in October, 2017.

Factors influencing the market include the B.C. government's plan, unveiled in February, for what it calls a speculation and vacancy tax targeted primarily at out-of-province residents. "That tax announcement has curtailed speculative buying, as we see in the lower sales totals. Flipping activity has dropped off," Prof. Gordon said in an interview on Friday.

Phil Moore, president of the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, said the number of listings has increased to a four-year high. With 12,984 properties for sale on the Multiple Listing Service, that's up 42.1 per cent from a year earlier. "For home buyers, this means you have more selection to choose from," Mr. Moore said in a statement. "For sellers, it means your home may face more competition, from other listings, in the marketplace."

Sales volume for all housing types in October decreased to 1,966 transactions, down 34.9 per cent from 3,022 sales in the same month in 2017. Last month's sales, the lowest for October since 2012, were 26.8 per cent under the 10year average for the month, according to the board.

Year-over-year residential sales have sunk for nine consecutive months. In Greater Vancouver, the month-over-month benchmark price (an industry representation of the typical home sold in an area) for all residential types has declined for five consecutive months, hitting $1,062,100 in October. The region's benchmark price has fallen since reaching a record $1,094,000 in May.

The provincial government under the B.C. Liberals implemented a 15-per-cent tax on foreign buyers in the Vancouver region in August, 2016. The B.C. NDP government raised the tax to 20 per cent in February this year and expanded it to other urban areas in British Columbia.

Part of the reason for the slump in detached housing prices is the NDP government's surtax on B.C.

homes assessed at more than $3million, which will start showing up on property tax bills in 2019.

The government also hiked the property transfer tax on the portion of a home's sales price above $3-million. "The taxes have dampened that part of the market, especially priced around $3million to $4-million," said housing analyst Michael Ferreira of Urban Analytics.

The gap has narrowed between prices for detached houses and townhouses in the region over the past year. The market for detached houses declined to an average price last month of $1,630,323, down 9.6 per cent from a year earlier, while prices in the townhouse segment slipped 1.5 per cent to $879,285.

Federally, Canada's banking regulator implemented a policy on Jan. 1 that makes it tougher for buyers to qualify for mortgages.


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Approval of LNG project ignites housing market in Kitimat, B.C.
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Monday, October 15, 2018 – Page B1

KITIMAT, B.C. -- The real estate market in Kitimat, B.C., is on a tear even as officials at an energy megaproject emphasize that there will be enough rooms available to accommodate an influx of construction workers.

LNG Canada said earlier this month that it is pressing ahead with plans to build a liquefied natural project in the northern B.C. community of Kitimat.

The $18-billion Kitimat marine terminal, the centrepiece of the $40billion investment by LNG Canada's five co-owners, is scheduled to employ up to 950 permanent workers when exports to Asia start in 2024 or 2025.

In the meantime, during the construction phase, more than 4,500 workers will be required at the peak of the project's building activity in 2021 and 2022.

With Kitimat's population hovering around 8,000 people, the goal is to set up work camps to accommodate the bulk of construction staff.

But there will still be demand from subcontractors and other workers who prefer to find their own places to buy or rent.

Earlier this year, home prices began rising in anticipation of LNG Canada pressing ahead, but the phone calls and e-mail inquiries about properties skyrocketed in early October after the project's approval, said Shannon Dos Santos, an agent with Re/Max Kitimat Realty.

"Our office has been working overtime, and I can't remember spending so much time sitting at my desk. I'm going to need a chiropractor," she said with a laugh.

On Oct. 1, Kitimat had 87 listings, mostly residential. On the morning of Oct. 2, Royal Dutch Shell PLC-led LNG Canada held a news conference in Vancouver to announce the approval of the energy project.

The number of available Kitimat listings since then has fallen to fewer than a dozen, after sellers accepted offers from a flurry of buyers, according to agents at Re/Max. New listings have been added over the past couple of weeks, but supply remains tight.

LNG Canada said it has a strategy in place designed to dampen real estate speculation and "minimize housing bubbles." The Shell-led group stresses that it won't be reimbursing construction employees for accommodation - known as "living out allowances." Out-of-town construction employees are instead being urged by LNG Canada to stay at one of the work camps, where living expenses will be paid by the consortium.

Local real estate prices surged from 2012 to 2014 during the modernization project at the Rio Tinto aluminum smelter in Kitimat, but the housing market declined from 2015 to 2017. The smelter completed its upgrades in mid-2015.

Most of the interest this month has come from out-oftown residents, led by people in the Vancouver region, according to Re/Max.

"The offers coming in are typically sight unseen. People aren't viewing properties, they're just buying them. And we've had individuals who've purchased two or more properties," Ms. Dos Santos said.

LNG Canada said it made two home purchases in the summer as part of a program to encourage senior managers who have families to relocate to Kitimat.

The consortium also has access to a work camp run by Civeo Corp., which has 434 rooms at a complex called Sitka Lodge.

There are also another 200 rooms in modular trailers on Civeo's site.

As well, Civeo and Bird Construction Inc. will be building a larger work camp, dubbed Cedar Valley Lodge, that will have space for at least 4,500 people.

The sprawling 64-hectare camp site, equivalent to nearly 100 city blocks, is near the planned LNG export terminal.

Horizon North Logistics Inc.

plans to get in on the housing action with its own 1,000-room work camp, to be located farther away from the LNG terminal site than Cedar Valley Lodge.

Prices for existing homes already climbed in anticipation of the co-owners of LNG Canada approving the energy megaproject. The average price of detached houses sold in Kitimat rose to $259,504 in first nine months of this year, up 14 per cent from $227,750 for the same period in 2017.

Francois-Charles Guay bought a house in Kitimat with his wife in 2014 while the region's economy was on a roll. Mr. Guay, a manager at the 1,000-worker Rio Tinto aluminum smelter, transferred to the B.C. community from Saguenay, Que.

He recalls the housing crunch in 2014, and he cautions that Kitimat will again face pressures in the months and years ahead.

"The work-force housing will cover most of the demand, but not all of it," Mr. Guay said.

Some landlords have reported that they still have plenty of rental vacancies, but those spots will likely be snapped up when hundreds of people start pouring into Kitimat in early 2019. Prospective tenants are worried that rents for newly refurbished units will increase sharply.

The city of Terrace, located a 45-minute drive north of Kitimat, is expected to attract many workers willing to commute. The price of detached homes sold in Terrace averaged $327,950 in the first nine months of this year, up 5 per cent from the comparable period last year.

"People are phoning Kitimat and can't find anything suitable, so they're coming to Terrace for houses, but there's also interest in industrial land," said Sheila Love, managing broker of Re/ Max offices in Kitimat and Terrace.

Associated Graphic

Some Kitimat landlords say they still have plenty of rental vacancies, but those spots will likely be snapped up when hundreds of people start pouring into the municipality in early 2019.

AMBER BRACKEN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

The LNG Canada consortium is urging out-of-town construction employees to stay at one of its work camps, such as Civeo Corp.'s Sitka Lodge, seen on Oct. 5, in Kitimat, B.C.

Prices for existing homes were climbing even before the LNG Canada project was approved. The average price of detached houses sold in Kitimat reached $259,504 in the first nine months of 2018, up 14 per cent from $227,750 for the same period last year.

PHOTOS BY AMBER BRACKEN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL


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After 'many ups and downs,' Kitimat residents brace for boom with LNG megaproject
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Monday, October 8, 2018 – Page A8

KITIMAT, B.C. -- It's a new beginning for the residents of this northern B.C. community.

After LNG Canada said it would go forward with a $40-billion energy megaproject in Kitimat, more than 1,000 people gathered to celebrate the area's impending economic boom times.

Days after the Royal Dutch Shell PLC-led consortium held a news conference in Vancouver last week to announce the project's green light, the community feted over the weekend, including at a sprawling outdoor party, complete with music by a local rock band called the Rats and capped by fireworks.

The festivities, which will continue at various events this week, reflect the enthusiasm for LNG Canada's liquefied natural gas terminal among residents and the Haisla Nation, in sharp contrast to the vocal opposition in B.C. to oil exports.

Residents say construction of the LNG Canada project over the next five years will rejuvenate the area's economy, and the export terminal will have high-paying jobs over the long term.

Kitimat residents Metro, 83, and Phyllis Bereza, 76, who have lived in the district for 40 years, showed up for a slice of vanilla cake at one event and said they came to participate in the historic moment.

"LNG means that for younger families, their children will be able to get a job here and not have to travel away," Ms. Bereza said. "I think that's important."

Residents say it's still painful to recall the exodus of families over the years. In 2006, methanol maker Methanex Corp. shuttered its local plant, leaving 130 people without jobs. And in 2010, the Eurocan pulp and paper mill closed, throwing 535 people out of work.

"Kitimat has lost an awful lot of jobs over the years," Tom Balfour said after he ducked under a tent to get out of the light rain on Saturday night. Mr.

Balfour, 79, worked for 30 years at the now-defunct local pulp and paper mill, retiring as a steam engineer nine years before the plant shut down in 2010.

But the US$4.8-billion modernization project at the Rio Tinto aluminum smelter in Kitimat from 2012 to 2015 provided an economic boost. Rio Tinto's local plant employs about 1,000 people.

While those in Kitimat and Canada's energy industry are thrilled that LNG Canada is forging ahead, environmentalists have cautioned that the project's emissions of greenhouse gases will be a setback in the fight against global warming.

Opposition to energy projects have cancelled or delayed several other proposals. The now-defunct Northern Gateway project would have carried diluted bitumen from Alberta's oil sands to a marine terminal in Kitimat, and Trans Mountain has run into a series of delays as it struggles with plans to nearly triple its oil pipeline capacity from Edmonton to the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby.

Hundreds of people will start pouring into Kitimat in early 2019 and 4,500 workers are expected at the peak of LNG Canada's construction in 2021. With the community's population hovering around 8,000 residents, the goal is to set up work camps to accommodate the bulk of the influx of construction staff.

Shell is the largest partner in the LNG Canada project, with a 40-per-cent stake. The other co-owners are Malaysia's state-owned Petronas (25 per cent), PetroChina (15 per cent), Japan's Mitsubishi Corp. (15 per cent) and South Korea's Kogas (5 per cent).

Nicole Audette, a long-time resident who works at a second-hand store, said Kitimat has "been through many ups and downs."

She knows Kitimat Mayor Phil Germuth because she takes her car into his auto service shop regularly for maintenance. Ms. Audette spotted Mr. Germuth outside as he passed by the second-hand store, and she briskly walked over to give him a hug in recognition of his support for LNG Canada. "It's so exciting," Ms. Audette said.

Mr. Germuth said the District of Kitimat will benefit from LNG Canada being added to the industrial tax base. "There will be a boom," he said. "There's no doubt."

The export terminal is also the first major project in the region to have the full participation of an Indigenous group, First Nations leaders say. The terminal will be built on the traditional territory of the Haisla Nation, which has an impact benefits agreement with LNG Canada.

"We've been so focused on LNG Canada that if this project were to go away, I couldn't even gather myself to be able to think in that manner," Haisla Nation Chief Councillor Crystal Smith said in an interview. "It's the first project in the Haisla's history where we've been true partners."

B.C. Premier John Horgan, LNG Canada chief executive Andy Calitz, Ms. Smith and Mr. Germuth played host Saturday to a cake-cutting ceremony.

"The decision by LNG Canada to make a final investment decision in the north of British Columbia sends a signal around the world that British Columbia is ready to open our doors to investment, provided you work with Indigenous communities, who have the rights and title to the land," Mr. Horgan said.

Local merchants are also hoping to see a surge in new customers.

Grant Yeager, acting manager of the Source electronics store in Kitimat, said the economy has been on a roller-coaster ride, and he predicts a prolonged upswing. He said the retail store is looking forward to an influx of workers with solid disposable incomes.

"It should mean great things for businesses around here."

Associated Graphic

A work camp site, pictured on Friday, is under construction in Kitimat, B.C. Hundreds of people will start pouring into Kitimat in early 2019 and 4,500 workers are expected at the peak of LNG Canada's construction in 2021.

PHOTOGRAPHY BY AMBER BRACKEN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Left top: Kitimat Mayor Phil Germuth watches a video about the journey to the final investment in the LNG export facility in Kitimat on Saturday. 'There will be a boom,' Mr. Germuth says. 'There's no doubt.' Left: Nicole Audette, a long-time Kitimat resident who works at a second-hand store, says her municipality has 'been through many ups and downs,' but the LNG Canada project is 'so exciting.'

Top: Haisla elder Marilyn Furlan, centre, joins LNG Canada's CEO Andy Calitz, left, and LNG Canada director of external affairs Susannah Pierce for a cake-cutting ceremony hosted in part by B.C. Premier John Horgan.

Members of the Kitimat community celebrate the LNG Canada project with fireworks and a party on Saturday.


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The path for pipelines:
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How B.C. is embracing one while fighting another
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Saturday, October 6, 2018 – Page A12

VICTORIA VANCOUVER -- This past week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined B.C. Premier John Horgan to celebrate a decision by investors to approve LNG Canada, a major infrastructure project to export liquefied natural gas. "It's a good day for Canada," Mr. Trudeau said. Alberta's Premier, Rachel Notley, could barely muster applause - Mr.

Horgan's government continues to oppose the Trans Mountain project that would allow her province to get its oil to overseas markets. Alberta supports the LNG project, she said, but chided B.C. for "jaw-dropping hypocrisy."

Both projects are worth billions of dollars to the Canadian economy, and thousands of jobs. Both would move fossil fuels through pipelines crossing British Columbia for export off the coast, and each would add to the country's greenhouse-gas problem.

But LNG Canada has received a relatively smooth ride compared with the Trans Mountain expansion (TMX) experience. The fundamental difference is the product. LNG is marketed as a low-carbon, transition fuel that would help reduce global emissions.

Mr. Horgan's government regards the diluted bitumen that would be shipped from Trans Mountain's line as a pending environmental disaster.

But these are not the only differences. The Globe and Mail looks at the two projects side by side:

ECONOMIC VALUE LNG: The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers estimates that Canada's economy could grow by an average of $7.4-billion a year over a 30year period if total export volumes were to reach 30 million tonnes a year from LNG Canada and potentially a smaller-scale project. (LNG is forecast to export more than 26 million tonnes a year at full capacity if two phases are completed.) The B.C. government forecasts LNG Canada will produce $23-billion in provincial revenue alone, over a 40-year period, based on Phase 1 of the project.

TMX: The Conference Board of Canada envisages $47-billion in various government revenue over a 26-year period under Trans Mountain's expansion plans.

BUSINESS CASE LNG: LNG Canada is forging ahead amid forecasts that there will be global supply constraints of the fuel in the mid-2020s. Construction of the terminal in Kitimat, B.C., could be completed in 2024, in time to catch the window of opportunity in which the global market is thirsty for LNG. It has been a rollercoaster ride for the co-owners of LNG Canada. In 2016, the project got delayed amid worries about a worldwide glut of LNG developing.

TMX: TMX's proponents say the pipeline expansion is required to give Western Canadian oil producers access to higher-value export markets and lessen their dependence on the United States. Former owner Kinder Morgan, and now the Canadian government, say oil companies have made 15- and 20year commitments that add up to about 80 per cent of the capacity in the expanded pipeline. The expansion project would roughly triple the capacity of the existing system.

PERMITS AND APPROVALS Megaprojects on the scale of LNG Canada or the Trans Mountain expansion require hundreds of permits along the way, but LNG Canada has not had the same level of scrutiny because the project is being built within B.C.'s borders.

TMX: TMX requires permits from 14 provincial and federal departments, and had cleared two major regulatory hurdles: The National Energy Board review concluded the project would have no significant adverse effects but imposed 157 conditions, and B.C. Environmental Assessment produced an additional 37 conditions. With the Federal Court of Appeal ruling, however, the project is now going through another NEB hearing specifically on the project's marine-shipping impact on the environment, which is to be completed by February. However, Ottawa has also reopened consultations with Indigenous communities and it is not clear when that will be complete.

LNG: LNG Canada did not require an NEB review, but it has received the necessary approvals - an export permit, Navigation Protection Act approval and Fisheries Act authorizations, to name a few, after a joint environmental assessment that did find the project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects - but those effects were deemed "justified in the circumstances." The project does face uncertainty, however, due to a legal application seeking to force a full NEB review. That application has not been decided.

INDIGENOUS CONSENT The proponents of both projects began engagement with Indigenous communities who would be affected years in advance of breaking ground. But the outcome of those consultations has defined why one is stalled and the other is going ahead.

LNG: LNG Canada has reached agreements offering financial benefits with every elected First Nations government along the route of the pipeline, and along the shipping route through the Douglas Channel. There is one protest camp along the pipeline route. The LNG facility is in the traditional territory of the Haisla Nation, which has embraced LNG as a means to financial self-sufficiency. In addition to impact-benefit agreements with First Nations, the proponents have ensured Indigenous businesses are in line for jobs: LNG Canada says billions of dollars will flow to First Nations in training, contracting, employment and community payments.

TMX: TMX has signed 43 benefit agreements with Indigenous groups in B.C. and Alberta, but says it cannot release a list of those communities because of confidentiality agreements. It does say it has agreements with First Nations wherever its pipeline crosses reserve lands. However, the project has been blocked by coastal First Nations who successfully argued in the Federal Court of Appeal that they were not adequately consulted by Ottawa, and that the government did not make accommodations according to their specific concerns.

ENVIRONMENTAL FOOTPRINT The environmental risks of shipping heavy oil through Vancouver's harbour to the open Pacific waters has been a major sticking point for Trans Mountain, leading to the Federal Court of Appeal quashing the environmental certificate in August. A new NEB review is now getting under way. But both projects have also been scrutinized because of their contribution to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions at a time when Canada is committed to cutting CO2.

LNG: Environmentalists have warned that the energy-intensive process of transforming natural gas into LNG threatens to derail British Columbia's legal requirements to reduce GHGs by the year 2030.

Once in production, the first phase of the LNG Canada project would generate 3.45 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent annually, according to the B.C. government. That includes 1.24 million tonnes for extraction of natural gas in B.C.'s Montney gas fields, based on the expected incremental increase in gas production. As well, there would be 0.11 million tonnes for the energy used to squeeze the gas down the pipeline, and 2.1 million tonnes generated in the liquefaction process. During the construction period, the project would release 0.2 million tonnes of CO2.

TMX: By comparison, the National Energy Board estimates the annual emissions from the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline would not even trigger reporting requirements except at the export terminal in Burnaby. The pipeline and export facility would generate 0.4 million tonnes of GHGs. However, the emissions generated "upstream," where the oil is extracted in Alberta's oil sands, could dwarf the LNG footprint: To meet the capacity added by the expansion project, Environment Canada estimates emissions could range from 14 million to 17 million tonnes of GHGs a year. However, the report notes: "It is likely that the upstream emissions calculated in this assessment would occur regardless of whether the project was built or not." It will depend on what happens with oil prices. Construction emissions would total one million tonnes of GHGs.

JOB CREATION LNG: LNG Canada says its project will create up to 10,000 jobs at the peak of construction and up to 950 permanent jobs once the liquefaction plant is running.

TMX: TMX estimates that the pipeline expansion will create the equivalent of 15,000 construction jobs, and also produce 90 permanent jobs.

PUBLIC SUBSIDIES Both Trans Mountain and LNG Canada benefit from a host of subsidies provided to Canada's oil-and-gas sector. Deep drilling credits, development and exploration-expense write-offs, royalty reductions - the International Institute for Sustainable Development says Canada and the provinces give away more than $3-billion each year to keep fossil-fuel production afloat.

TMX: TMX received the ultimate financial aid when the government of Canada purchased the existing pipeline for $4.5-billion this summer, and agreed to take over the expansion project. On top of that purchase price, Canadian taxpayers could be on the hook for construction costs of $7.4-billion or more.

LNG: LNG Canada's partners signalled doubts about their project two years ago, suspending a final investment decision and saying the economics of the project didn't work at that time. This spring, the B.C.

government announced a new LNG tax framework - it works out to $5.34-billion in relief from provincial taxes and fees for LNG Canada. As well, the federal government will provide $275-million to support infrastructure improvements and increase marine protection.

Of the two energy megaprojects, Mr. Horgan maintains that LNG Canada is better for the environment, for Indigenous communities, and for the economy. But this is a B.C. investment in getting B.C.

resources to market. For Alberta, TMX remains the project that matters.

Associated Graphic

Trucks drive through the proposed site of an LNG Canada work camp, left, in Kitimat, B.C., in August. An oil tanker, right, sits near the Trans Mountain Burnaby Terminal in North Vancouver in September. The

JOHN SOPINSKI/THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: LNG CANADA; ROYAL DUTCH SHELL; GASLINK.COM; TILEZEN; OPENSTREETMAP CONTRIBUTORS; HIU; NATURAL RESOURCES CANADA; OPEN GOVERNMENT; KINDER MORGAN; GOVERNMENT OF CANADA

Trans Mountain expansion's path to production has been relatively bumpy, in contrast with the LNG project. LEFT: ROBIN ROWLAND/THE CANADIAN PRESS; RIGHT: IAN WILLMS/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, speaks with B.C. Premier John Horgan during an LNG Canada news conference in Vancouver on Tuesday. Mr. Horgan's government has been at odds with that of Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, right, over a proposed expansion to the Trans Mountain pipeline.

LEFT: DARRYL DYCK/THE CANADIAN PRESS; RIGHT: DEAN BENNETT/THE CANADIAN PRESS


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LNG Canada forges ahead with $40-billion B.C. project
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Wednesday, October 3, 2018 – Page A1

VANCOUVER, OTTAWA And VICTORIA -- A $40-billion energy megaproject on the West Coast has been approved in a decision expected to revitalize the economy of northern British Columbia.

LNG Canada says it will create thousands of temporary jobs and hundreds of permanent ones in a region that has been an economic laggard as the Royal Dutch Shell PLCled liquefied natural gas project in Kitimat, B.C., forges ahead with construction.

"This is a generational opportunity for northern British Columbia, one that could not be passed up," B.C. Premier John Horgan said Tuesday.

While Canada's energy industry has been hoping for LNG Canada to go ahead, environmentalists have cautioned that the project will be a setback in the fight against global warming.

The decision comes just one month after the Federal Court of Appeal quashed the approval of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline, a decision that cast doubt on Canada's ability to build energy megaprojects.

The federal Liberal government has been on the defensive as industry and opposition critics attack it over delays to Trans Mountain's expansion plans and new environmental assessment legislation that has been faulted as overly burdensome.

Ottawa recently bought the Trans Mountain pipeline and West Coast terminal, and inherited the troubled plans to expand the line from Alberta to Burnaby, B.C.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hailed LNG Canada's announcement - coming on the heels of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement on trade - as a sign of confidence in the Canadian economy.

"It is proof that that our country's rich natural resources and talented work force can make Canada an attractive place for investors to do business and support a clean-growth economy," he said during a news conference on Tuesday in Vancouver.

CIBC World Markets Inc.

praised the project's approval, following a series of setbacks for Canada's energy industry. "We see the sanctioning of this project as a major milestone for the Canadian oil and gas sector, particularly during a year that has been mired with negative macro headlines," CIBC analysts said in a research note.

While there were more than 20 LNG proposals in B.C. in 2014, some industry analysts say only four serious plans remain today.

Exports from the LNG Canada terminal will be shipped to Asia, which is a coveted export market, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers said.

Maarten Wetselaar, integrated gas director at Royal Dutch Shell, said LNG Canada will be globally competitive in costs while still primarily employing Canadian workers for the five-year construction phase.

"Sixty per cent of the money will be spent in Canada and 10,000 construction jobs will be created," Mr. Wetselaar said in an interview after Shell and the four other co-owners of LNG Canada announced their final investment decision to press ahead. "It will be a big injection into the Canadian economy."

Huge LNG modules, including some that are 10 storeys tall, will need to be ordered from fabrication yards in China because no Canadian manufacturers exist to construct the gigantic components, he said.

But Mr. Wetselaar said the specialized, high-tech modules will be assembled in Kitimat on B.C.'s northern coast, creating thousands of Canadian jobs during construction at the terminal site, and there will also be thousands of more jobs created to build TransCanada Corp.'s pipeline that will run from northeast B.C.

to Kitimat. "You either do it this way, or you don't have a project.

Canadians will have a lot of work to do at LNG Canada," he said.

TransCanada has been tapped to build a $6.2-billion natural gas pipeline, called Coastal GasLink, part of total spending of up to $40-billion related to LNG Canada.

TransCanada, which has already spent $470-million on the route, revised its cost estimate upward on Tuesday, due to inflation and other changes in the scope of the pipeline plans. The previous cost estimate for Coastal GasLink was $4.8-billion.

Besides thousands of construction jobs at the Kitimat terminal and along the pipeline route, up to 950 permanent employees will be needed to operate the West Coast plant once it's built. Construction of the terminal will be on the traditional territory of the Haisla Nation.

Mr. Trudeau, Mr. Horgan, LNG Canada chief executive Andy Calitz, Haisla chief councillor Crystal Smith and Kitimat Mayor Phil Germuth attended Tuesday's signing ceremony in Vancouver.

Shell is the largest partner in the project, with a 40-per-cent stake. The other co-owners are Malaysia's state-owned Petronas (25 per cent), PetroChina (15 per cent), Japan's Mitsubishi Corp.

(15 per cent) and South Korea's Kogas (5 per cent).

The federal government will provide $275-million to support infrastructure improvements and increase marine protection to mitigate impacts of increased ship traffic. Ottawa also cleared the path for a positive final investment decision by agreeing with the consortium that fabrication of modules could not be undertaken in Canada, and that import modules from China should not be hit with tariffs on fabricated industrial steel components.

Mr. Horgan defended his government's tax package for the industry, saying it levels the playing field with other sectors of the economy by eliminating a special LNG income tax, and providing the same industrial power rates and provincial sales tax breaks that other industries qualify for.

"There is going to be $23-billion in revenue coming to the province that we can put toward the things that all of us want to see in our communities - child care, education, health care," Mr.Horgan said.

"I'm over the moon about it because a whole bunch of people over a long, long time worked to get this done."

Former BC Liberal premier Christy Clark has been a longtime advocate for B.C.'s fledgling LNG industry.

"This approval sends a message to the world that you can do business in British Columbia and Canada as a private-sector enterprise. The Trans Mountain fight has really shaken confidence," Ms. Clark said in an interview on Tuesday.

The minority BC NDP government relies on the support of the BC Green Party to hold on to power. Although the Greens oppose the LNG project, there is little prospect of the government falling in the near term over LNG.

Associated Graphic

JOHN SOPINSKI/THE GLOBE AND MAIL, SOURCE: LNG CANADA; ROYAL DUTCH SHELL; COASTALGASLINK.COM


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Vancouver housing prices easing as sales tumble in September
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By JANET MCFARLAND, BRENT JANG
  
  

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Wednesday, October 3, 2018 – Page B3

Home sales in the Vancouver region spiralled lower in September while prices are slowly easing in Canada's most expensive housing market.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV) said the number of homes sold in September fell 43.5 per cent compared with September last year, marking the weakest September for sales in six years.

The decline follows a trend that has unfolded in recent months.

The number of homes sold in the Vancouver region fell 36.6 per cent in August, 30.1 per cent in July and 37.7 per cent in June compared with the same months in 2017.

The steep drop began after the B.C. government announced a package of changes in late February aimed at making housing more affordable by deterring speculation, including a higher foreign-buyers tax and a new tax largely aimed at out-of-province buyers in certain regions of the province. Those changes also came on the heels of tougher mortgage stress test rules introduced by the federal government on Jan. 1.

Brad Henderson, president of Sotheby's International Realty Canada, said the province's policy changes have had a major impact on the market, moving many buyers and sellers onto the sidelines out of fear the market is poised to drop further.

"When there's a significant change like that, a lot of people take a wait-and-see approach to see if the market is in fact going to soften and if there is going to be any kind of significant price correction," he said. "The big fear if you're a buyer is that you'll pay too much, and the big fear if you're a seller is that you'll sell for less than what you believe it's worth or what the market will come back to at some point in time."

Mr. Henderson said government policy can dampen sales, but it has not been as effective at driving prices lower. That's because many people who can wait are not listing their homes for sale or not accepting bids below the price they want, so it takes a long time for market prices to fall significantly even when sales are dropping.

REBGV said the MLS homeprice index benchmark price for all properties in Metro Vancouver is down 3.1 per cent over the past three months, but still up 2.2 per cent compared with September, 2017.

The year-over-year price gain is due entirely to strength in the condo market, where prices remain 7.4 per cent ahead of last September, while detached house prices are down 4.5 per cent compared with September, 2017.

The benchmark price for all types of homes sold in September was $1,070,600, while the benchmark price for a detached house was $1,540,900 and condominiums sold for a benchmark price of $687,300.

Jason Turcotte, vice-president of Cressey Development Group, said people who own single-family detached houses in Greater Vancouver have seen the market value of their properties decrease month-over-month during the summer, and realize prices are down compared with a year earlier.

"It takes a while for an erosion of confidence. There has been a trend downward in the singlefamily detached market in terms of sales volume and price," he said.

Mr. Turcotte said falling prices could mean baby boomers who have built up equity in their homes might be less willing to help their adult children with down payments. "There is less equity moving around, looking to reinvest," he said.

September's sales volume was 36-per-cent below the 10-year average for September, REBGV said, pushing the volume of listings in the market back to levels not seen for four years. There are 13,084 properties listed for sale in the Vancouver region, a 38.2 per cent increase over last September.

"Metro Vancouver's housing market has changed pace compared to the last few years," said Ashley Smith, REBGV presidentelect. Ms. Smith said Vancouver's townhouse and condominium markets are "in balanced market territory," while the detached home market is "a clear buyers' market."

Sales are also falling outside of Vancouver, with the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board reporting Tuesday that sales fell 36.1 per cent in September over last year, making September the weakest month for sales so far this year.

Associated Graphic

THEGLOBEANDMAIL,SOURCE:REALESTATEBOARDOFGREATERVANCOUVER


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Final decision on B.C. LNG project looms
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After Friday's approval of Kitimat terminal by two partners, source says other three could decide in next 10 days
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By BRENT JANG, JUSTINE HUNTER, SHAWN MCCARTHY
  
  

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Monday, October 1, 2018 – Page A3

VANCOUVER; VICTORIA; OTTAWA -- A $40-billion project to export liquefied natural gas from northern British Columbia is rapidly gaining momentum as the coowners strive toward making an announcement for LNG Canada's go-ahead within days.

Two of the five partners in Shell-led LNG Canada approved the project on Friday, leaving the remaining three poised to publicly announce plans to forge ahead with constructing the terminal in Kitimat on the West Coast.

A final investment decision by all five co-owners will come any time in the next week to 10 days, a source told The Globe and Mail on Sunday.

After PetroChina and South Korea's Kogas gave the green light, attention turned on the weekend to Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Malaysia's state-owned Petronas and Japan's Mitsubishi Corp.

Kitimat Mayor Phil Germuth said that in contrast to the illfated Northern Gateway oil pipeline proposal, which Ottawa rejected in 2016, there is widespread support for LNG Canada. "The federal government wants to see this LNG project happen, too. Ottawa knows there is support for LNG from northeast B.C. to Kitimat," Mr. Germuth said.

PetroChina owns 15 per cent of LNG Canada and Kogas holds a 5per-cent stake. Royal Dutch Shell (40 per cent), Petronas (25 per cent) and Mitsubishi Corp. (15 per cent) have yet to announce their respective final investment decisions.

Susannah Pierce, director of external relations at LNG Canada, said Sunday that "LNG Canada has not received approval from its joint venture participants on their final investment decision. If and when it does, it will make an announcement."

Tara Lemay, a spokeswoman for Shell Canada, which is owned by Royal Dutch Shell, added that the consortium as a whole is continuing its due diligence on the plans to export LNG to Asia. "The LNG Canada team has submitted an investment proposal to joint venture participants for review," she said in a statement. "Each joint venture participant is required to make an independent investment decision based on their assessment of the proposal."

Plans call for up to $40-billion to be invested, including TransCanada Corp.'s proposed $4.8-billion Coastal GasLink pipeline route that would transport natural gas from northeast B.C. to the planned Kitimat terminal.

The federal Liberal government is eager for some positive news on energy megaprojects, as it faces an angry backlash in resource-rich Western Canada over the delays to the Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion project and new environmental assessment legislation that has been criticized as overly burdensome for industry.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met last Tuesday in New York with Royal Dutch Shell chief executive Ben van Beurden and said on Twitter that they discussed how the government and the company "can work together to advance energy projects that are good for our economy and our environment."

The Globe and Mail learned last week that Ottawa has told LNG Canada that it agrees the Kitimat terminal will need to be constructed from imported LNG modules, a position that, if endorsed by federal agencies, would avoid hefty tariffs.

Ellis Ross, the Liberal member of the B.C. Legislature whose riding includes Kitimat, said LNG Canada is still waiting for the BC NDP minority government to implement promised tax relief. That LNG legislation could be introduced as early as this week when the fall session of the provincial legislature begins, he said.

Although the NDP government cannot count on passing the bill, Mr. Ross and the Opposition BC Liberals have been champions of LNG and would be unlikely to throw a wrench in the works.

For the NDP government led by Premier John Horgan, a final investment decision would be a major coup - securing the largest single private-sector investment in the province's history.

The former BC Liberal government created the strategy to build an LNG industry, but LNG Canada's co-owners backed away from a final investment decision two years ago, saying the economics did not work at that time. Since then, the BC NDP promised a new tax framework offering additional incentives.

However, the Horgan government will face a challenge accounting for the large increase in greenhouse gas emissions that an LNG facility will create. A new climate action plan is due out this fall, which will show how the government plans to achieve its promised reductions in GHG emissions.


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As he turns 90, Jim Pattison is still fine-tuning his business empire
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Monday, October 1, 2018 – Page B1

VANCOUVER -- Jim Pattison had a mission: Saskatchewan or bust.

Determined to make the lengthy drive to the Prairie province from Vancouver, the B.C. billionaire embarked on his journey in mid-September, bound for his hometown of Luseland.

Mr. Pattison, who turns 90 on Monday, also visited John Deere farm equipment dealerships and Save-On-Foods grocery stores under the Jim Pattison Group umbrella, gaining valuable insights into his vast business empire.

The whirlwind trip served as a grassroots reminder that Jim Pattison Group can't afford to stand still, he said in a wide-ranging, 90-minute interview with The Globe and Mail, days after returning from his adventure.

"If you like your work, it's not a chore. I like what I do. There's always something to do - put it that way."

Mr. Pattison started with one car dealership in 1961 and now oversees a worldwide privately held conglomerate, doing business in more than 85 countries, surpassing $10-billion in revenue last year. Annual revenue is more than five times higher than two decades ago and the number of employees has exceeded 45,000 people, compared with 9,300 workers two decades ago.

Today's holdings are diverse, including: Guinness World Records; Ripley's Believe It or Not; Great Wolf Lodge; Sun-Rype fruit beverages; the Save-On-Foods supermarket chain and other grocery stores; Jim Pattison Auto Group; packaging manufacturing; a broadcasting unit with more than 40 radio stations; and through various entities, Mr.

Pattison holds large stakes in forestry firm Canfor Corp. and coal-exporting facility Westshore Terminals Investment Corp.

Mr. Pattison doesn't take his wide array of holdings for granted. He has the mileage to prove it. "I visited 26 different locations in Saskatchewan.

Good trip," the entrepreneur and philanthropist said as he looked at a large map of Saskatchewan on his office wall.

Mr. Pattison drove on his own for most of the nearly two-week journey in September, though former Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. chairman William Stinson joined him in Regina for a portion of the trip. While in Saskatchewan, Mr. Pattison needed to make an interprovincial detour because of a commitment to attend an event in British Columbia.

Ever resourceful, he requested his private jet to take them to Oliver, B.C., and back the same night.

He also crossed over to Manitoba to visit two John Deere outlets in that province, and he missed only one of the 17 dealerships in Saskatchewan, because "they weren't there on the weekend."

Mr. Pattison returned from his journey on Sept. 22, in time to attend a customer appreciation day at the Choices store in Vancouver's Kitsilano neighbourhood, one of 11 locations for the specialty grocery chain in the province.

At Jim Pattison Group's headquarters last week, he recalled his family's humble roots. His mom was raised in a sod house in Major, Sask., while his dad served as the postmaster in Luseland. His parents moved to Vancouver's east side when he was five years old. In the early 1940s at the age of 13, he travelled back to Saskatchewan for a summer job, playing a trumpet at church camps.

Brimming with energy, he veered in and out of his office, and led a colourful tour of photos and mementos on the walls and scattered throughout the 18th floor of Shaw Tower, located near downtown Vancouver's waterfront - walking distance to his yacht.

The hallways near his office are adorned with dozens of photos and mementos from prominent figures around the world over the decades. He mentions some of the photos, in which he is shown posing with such luminaries as Oprah Winfrey, Pierre Trudeau, Justin Trudeau, Billy Graham, Bob Hope, Tony Bennett, David Foster, Warren Buffett, Queen Elizabeth and Margaret Thatcher.

"And there's Shaq," Mr. Pattison said, referring to former basketball star Shaquille O'Neal, of course.

In the photo, Mr. O'Neal is carrying the five-foot-six Mr. Pattison in his arms on a stage in front of an audience during a Vancouver convention. "I talked about how I would like to be tall like Shaq. He's seven-foot-one. He reached over and picked me up," Mr. Pattison said with a chuckle.

He then took an impromptu walk across the street to a luxury condo unit, which Jim Pattison Group reserves for visiting VIPs.

He pulled out his trumpet, blaring a few notes on the balcony at the Fairmont Pacific Rim condo/hotel building.

Inside sitting at the grand piano, and against the majestic backdrop of mountains and Burrard Inlet, he played I Left My Heart in San Francisco. "No charge," he quipped. After some improvisation, he also played a fragment from Battle Hymn of the Republic.

After leaving the condo, Mr.

Pattison headed back to Shaw Tower and the basement garage, where he showed off the Ram 1500 Laramie truck that he drove on his recent trip. He reminisced about the first used car that he sold: "It was a 1939 Dodge. My boss gave me the car and told me to sell it."

The billionaire has a knack not only for selling, but also for buying. Through Ripley's Believe It or Not, Mr. Pattison bought the iconic dress that Marilyn Monroe wore when she sang "Happy Birthday, Mr. President" to John F. Kennedy in 1962, paying US$4.8-million at auction in 2016.

"It was my idea. I heard that the dress was going to be for sale, and we bought it for Ripley's," Mr. Pattison said. The dress's first Canadian stop: his hometown of Luseland, followed by a Save-OnFoods in Saskatoon. His son, Jim Pattison Jr., is the Florida-based president of Ripley's Entertainment, the only one of Mr. Pattison's three children working at Jim Pattison Group.

Mr. Pattison emphasizes that he values family. He and his wife, Mary, have been married for 67 years.

Those working closely with him have stuck with him almost as long. Maureen Chant has been his administrative assistant since 1963. At Shaw Tower, he points to a portrait of a two-car showroom that he opened in May, 1961, in Vancouver: "That's where we started. Maureen worked in the parts department, and I worked behind the tire department."

He also values giving back to the community. Mr. Pattison made headlines in early 2017 when he donated $75-million to the St. Paul's Hospital Foundation.

In his office, he takes a framed sheet of paper off the wall, and holds it in his hands. It's a cherished gift from his late mother, Julia, who copied an inspirational poem written in her own elegant handwriting, putting American poet James Russell Lowe's name at the bottom.

In part, it reads: "Life is a sheet of paper white, whereon each one of us may write."

Julia Pattison visited her son's Pontiac/Buick dealership on the opening day in 1961 in Vancouver.

"My mother came to my office.

She said, 'Jimmy, we don't have a lot of money as you know and I can't give you a nice present.' But she gave me this. This is important."

Associated Graphic

Jim Pattison plays the piano at a company-owned condo in downtown Vancouver. He began with a car dealership in 1961 and now oversees a worldwide privately held conglomerate.

DARRYL DYCK/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Jim Pattison, in Vancouver on Sept. 25, points to a photo of the car dealership he opened in Vancouver in May, 1961. The dealership was the first block in building the billionaire's financial empire, now doing business in more than 85 countries around the world.

DARRYL DYCK/THE GLOBE AND MAIL


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Two LNG partners approve B.C. terminal
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With green light from PetroChina and Kogas for Kitimat project, LNG Canada edges closer to its goal, but will wait for unanimous approval
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By BRENT JANG, JUSTINE HUNTER, SHAWN MCCARTHY
  
  

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Saturday, September 29, 2018 – Page B19

VANCOUVER; VICTORIA; OTTAWA -- Two of the five partners in a liquefied natural-gas project have given their approval for plans to build an export terminal in British Columbia as the LNG Canada consortium edges closer to deciding whether to forge ahead.

PetroChina and South Korea's Kogas said Friday in separate announcements that they approved plans for LNG Canada, a project that would see a terminal built in Kitimat. TransCanada Corp. also proposes to construct a natural-gas pipeline from northeastern B.C. to the coastal export site in Kitimat.

PetroChina owns 15 per cent of LNG Canada and Kogas holds a 5-per-cent stake. Royal Dutch Shell PLC (40 per cent), Malaysia's state-owned Petronas (25 per cent) and Japan's Mitsubishi Corp. (15 per cent) have yet to make their respective final investment decisions.

"The investment in the first phase of the construction of the Canadian LNG project has a total equity investment of US$3.46-billion," PetroChina said in a filing to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, referring to its share in the consortium.

Plans call for up to $40-billion to be invested, including TransCanada's 670-kilometre Coastal GasLink pipeline route.

China had been seen as a weak link after having the most concerns, said one official close to the LNG Canada project. He said Ottawa is continuing to work with B.C. and the consortium on financing of some key infrastructure improvements that would serve both the project and the broader community of Kitimat, including upgrades to bridges, the electricity transmission system and a regional airport.

Susannah Pierce, director of external relations for LNG Canada, said in an interview that there are still some hurdles ahead for the partners to consider, including an Indigenous protest camp along TransCanada's planned Coastal GasLink route, and an effort by an environmentalist to send the pipeline proposal to the National Energy Board for a new review.

But she said the final investment decision may not wait until all those questions are settled.

"In the life cycle of a project, when you start it you have a whole bunch of uncertainties, and as you go through, you try to get the uncertainty to a manageable level," she said. "For any new challenge, you have to look at it and ask, is this manageable?" She said the plan is to wait for unanimous approval from all five partners. "Each of them will need to make a final decision," Ms. Pierce said. "If we get to the point where we can get unanimous support, then off we go."

Shell Canada spokeswoman Tara Lemay confirmed that each of the five co-owners are required to conduct their own reviews. "A go/no-go decision on LNG Canada is only final once all of the joint venture participants have made their decisions," she said from Calgary.

Earlier this week, The Globe and Mail learned that Ottawa has told LNG Canada that it agrees the Kitimat terminal will need to be constructed from imported LNG modules, a position that, if endorsed by federal agencies, would avoid substantial tariffs.

With a report from Xiao Xu

Tuesday, October 02, 2018
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Kitimat residents hopeful as LNG project takes shape
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Shell-led company is in the preliminary preparation stage for the construction of a $40-billion natural gas export terminal
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Thursday, September 27, 2018 – Page B2

VANCOUVER, VICTORIA -- Excitement is building in Kitimat, B.C., after the federal government cleared the way for a proposed liquefied natural gas project that would require thousands of construction workers.

A work camp is starting to take shape in Kitimat - activity that local residents see as evidence that Royal Dutch Shell PLC-led LNG Canada will go ahead with the construction of a terminal that would supercool natural gas into liquid form, with LNG then shipped to energy-thirsty customers in Asia.

"There have been gravel trucks going back and forth at where the camp would be. It looks like they're putting in fill," Kitimat Mayor Phil Germuth said in an interview on Wednesday, adding that pro-LNG rallies are scheduled for Friday and Saturday in northwest British Columbia.

Over the past several weeks, the trucks have been part of the preliminary preparation for the sprawling work camp dubbed Cedar Valley Lodge, to be built by Civeo Corp. and Bird Construction Inc. if Shell and four co-owners of LNG Canada decide to forge ahead.

The $40-billion project would include the export terminal and TransCanada Corp.'s plans to build a 670-kilometre pipeline carrying natural gas from northeast B.C. to Kitimat. For the terminal alone, an estimated 4,500 workers would be needed during the construction pha-se, including staff required for certain tasks such as the assembly of massive LNG modules to be imported from China. At least another 2,000 workers are envisaged for TransCanada's proposed $4.8-billion Coastal GasLink route.

The Globe and Mail has learned that Ottawa has told LNG Canada that it agrees the terminal will need to be constructed from imported LNG modules, a position that, if endorsed by federal agencies, would avoid substantial tariffs. The federal Liberal government agrees with LNG Canada's view that there is no domestic supplier for huge LNG modules.

But the Finance Ministry has been waiting for a tariff ruling, expected within weeks, from the Federal Court of Appeal, before making a decision on intervening with relief from duties on fabricated industrial steel components, which go into LNG modules that can be up to 10 storeys tall. "There is due process in place for the remission of surtaxes in the event that there is no domestic supplier, and that process must be followed," said PierreOlivier Herbert, a spokesman for Finance Minister Bill Morneau.

While there is optimism among residents, Shell and four partners remain concerned about possible obstacles, including one posed by environmentalist Mike Sawyer, who is going through the National Energy Board to challenge whether TransCanada has the proper regulatory approval to build the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

David Johnston, who is running for Kitimat mayor against Mr. Germuth in the civic election on Oct. 20, is helping to organize pro-LNG rallies in Kitimat on Friday and in nearby Terrace on Saturday. "The excitement here is through the roof," Mr. Johnston said from Kitimat. "You can't deny the air of confidence."

Winston Michell, general manager at Hirsch Creek Golf and Winter Club in Kitimat, said construction of an LNG project would be an enormous boost to northern B.C.'s economy. "As a business, we're very hopeful and optimistic, but we're also not taking anything for granted that the decision will be positive," Mr. Michell said. "It's definitely going to get crazy if things were to happen."

Shell Canada said in a statement that the consortium expects to make a final investment decision (FID) by the end of 2018: "The exact date of an FID is up to the joint venture participants to decide, based on global energy markets, and the overall competitiveness and affordability of the project."

Opposition B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson is scheduled to attend Friday's rally, but NDP Premier John Horgan is not.

The B.C. NDP government announced last spring a new LNG tax package designed to entice LNG Canada's investors to proceed with the project. The package would "put natural gas development on a level playing field with other industrial sectors," according to the government. It would offer LNG Canada an estimated $6-billion in tax breaks, including relief from the provincial sales tax, preferred industrial electricity rates and the elimination of the LNG income tax.

Those changes require legislative amendments that have not yet been passed in the legislature.

The BC Greens, who are supporting the minority NDP government, have promised to vote against the proposed tax changes, but the NDP could likely count on the Opposition Liberals, who support LNG, to allow the package to pass.


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Ottawa clears way for proposed LNG terminal on B.C. coast
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Wednesday, September 26, 2018 – Page A1

OTTAWA, VANCOUVER And VICTORIA -- The federal government is clearing a path for a proposed $40-billion liquefied natural gas project in British Columbia by agreeing that the coastal terminal should not be subject to steel tariffs that would add $1-billion in costs.

The Globe and Mail has learned that Ottawa has told the Royal Dutch Shell PLC-led consortium backing the project, LNG Canada, that it agrees the terminal will need to be constructed from imported steel modules, a position that, if endorsed by federal agencies, would avoid substantial tariffs.

Facing recriminations in Western Canada over its energy policies, the federal Liberal government is now optimistic Shell and its consortium partners will decide to go ahead with the project before the end of the year, two sources said on Tuesday.

One of the biggest uncertainties impeding the project had been whether LNG Canada could use Canadian steel to supply the massive modules used to construct the plant in Kitimat, B.C.

But LNG Canada had argued there is no Canadian supplier and, as a result, imported modules - some as tall as 10 storeys - should not fall under the list of fabricated industrial steel components subject to Canadian tariffs. The tariffs would add at least a billion dollars in costs.

One of the two sources said the Canadian government agrees. Ottawa and B.C. are also expected to help finance construction of certain infrastructure required by the Kitimat plant, sources said.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau noted there is a process that must be followed to allow the project to be exempted from the tariffs. He added: "We are hopeful that Shell will make a positive investment decision which will lead to the creation of thousands of jobs."

Shell Canada spokeswoman Tara Lemay said in a statement from Calgary that LNG Canada continues to review its options around the project.

"We are expecting to take a 'go-no go' decision on LNG Canada this year," she said.

The consortium filed a request last year for the federal Finance Ministry to grant a "duty remission" that would exempt the project from import duties of up to 45.8 per cent on the steel modules.

But the Finance Ministry has been waiting for a tariff ruling, expected within weeks, from the Federal Court of Appeal.

Analysts have said the Canadian tariffs could inflate LNG Canada's costs by at least $1-billion, putting the project in danger. The steel portion typically accounts for 20 per cent of the value of an LNG module. The consortium estimates the project will cost as much as $40-billion, a sum that includes building a pipeline across northern British Columbia.

Last year, LNG Canada filed an application in the Federal Court of Appeal to seek a judicial review of the Canadian International Trade Tribunal's decision to deny the Shell-led group's tariff-exemption request. The Canada Border Services Agency's duty affects imports of fabricated industrial steel components from China, South Korea and Spain.

An order from Ottawa to exempt tariffs is seen as a measure of last resort, to be applied if the Federal Court of Appeal sides with steel fabricators. If the court sides with LNG Canada, then it would open the door to a process that would lead to tariff exemptions.

Shell owns 40 per cent of LNG Canada, while Malaysia's Petronas now holds a 25-per-cent stake after it recently joined the consortium in a deal first announced in May. The remaining partners are PetroChina (15 per cent), Japan's Mitsubishi Corp. (15 per cent) and South Korea's Kogas (5 per cent).

Construction workers are currently doing site preparation at the proposed facility in Kitimat.

The project has significant First Nations backing, led by the Haisla Nation.

B.C. Liberal Ellis Ross represents the provincial riding of Skeena, which includes Kitimat. The former chief councillor of the Haisla ran in the last provincial election to help secure LNG development for his community. He said in an interview that the major obstacles have now been stripped away, and Kitimat is already experiencing a real estate boom on the expectation that the co-owners will make a positive final investment decision.

"I have been at LNG projects for 14 years, and I have never seen the signals that I'm seeing today, and the amount of activity I'm seeing now," Mr. Ross said. "When you see what is being done around Kitimat - it's got to happen, there is really nothing stopping them announcing a positive [decision]."

However, he said, even with a final investment decision, there are major hurdles ahead, including an Indigenous protest camp on the Coastal GasLink pipeline route. TransCanada Corp. is planning to build the $4.8-billion pipeline from northeast B.C. to Kitimat.


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Haisla Nation backs TransCanada's natural gas pipeline in B.C.
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Friday, September 14, 2018 – Page B2

VANCOUVER -- The Haisla Nation, an Indigenous group that opposed plans for the controversial Northern Gateway oil pipeline, has thrown its support behind TransCanada Corp.'s proposed natural gas route in northern British Columbia.

TransCanada said on Thursday that the Haisla became the 20th elected Indigenous group along the planned Coastal GasLink pipeline to sign an agreement of support. The Calgary-based company now has the support of all of the elected Indigenous groups along the route from northeastern B.C. to Kitimat in the northwest part of the province.

The gas-pipeline project is now awaiting a decision from an international group that plans to build a terminal to export liquefied natural gas from the marine port at Kitimat. The LNG Canada project, led by Royal Dutch Shell PLC, is expected to make a final investment decision by the end of 2018 on whether to forge ahead.

The enthusiasm for natural gas among elected First Nations is in sharp contrast to the vocal opposition in British Columbia against proposed oil projects. The now-defunct Northern Gateway project would have carried diluted bitumen from Alberta's oil sands to a marine terminal in Kitimat, and Kinder Morgan Canada Inc.

had planned to nearly triple its Trans Mountain oil pipeline capacity from Edmonton to the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby.

Ottawa recently bought the Trans Mountain line and West Coast terminal, and inherited the pipeline-expansion plans. The proposed $4.8-billion GasLink line would run 670 kilometres from the Groundbirch area near Dawson Creek to LNG Canada's site in Kitimat. TransCanada estimates more than 2,000 construction jobs could be created related to Coastal GasLink.

"First Nations in Northern B.C. have a real opportunity to work together to build benefits for each of our communities, which respects Aboriginal rights and title," Haisla chief councillor Crystal Smith said about the project on Thursday. The Haisla's traditional home is on the east side of Douglas Channel in Kitamaat Village, located near the community of Kitimat.

TransCanada spokeswoman Jacquelynn Benson said that in addition to the Haisla agreement, "the project has also secured all of the necessary regulatory permits and completed necessary field work over the summer to begin construction, should LNG Canada make a positive final investment decision." But Coastal GasLink still faces a regulatory challenge. In July, a prominent B.C.

environmentalist applied for a federal review of the planned pipeline. Mike Sawyer argues that Coastal GasLink, approved by the BC Environmental Assessment Office in 2014, should have undergone a federal review by the National Energy Board.

Besides opposition from Mr. Sawyer, protesters at the Unist'ot'en camp in northwest B.C. are also seeking to block Coastal GasLink.

Earlier this month, the mayors of 14 B.C. communities wrote a joint letter to Mr. Sawyer to express their concerns, saying he is overlooking the economic benefits. "Both the proposed LNG Canada export facility and Coastal GasLink pipeline have been subject to very extensive and rigorous assessment and review processes that actively sought public comment," the mayors wrote.

Karen Ogen-Toews, chief executive officer of the First Nations LNG Alliance, said she is optimistic about plans for LNG Canada, which has budgeted spending up to $40-billion in total, including $4.8-billion for Coastal GasLink.

"When the pipeline goes through, it will mean employment and career opportunities for Indigenous people, and long-term revenue for their communities and councils," she said in a statement.

David Keane, president of the BC LNG Alliance, said Thursday's announcement represents the culmination of years of TransCanada working with band councils.

Shell owns 40 per cent of LNG Canada while Malaysia's state-owned Petronas now holds a 25-per-cent stake after it recently joined the consortium in a deal first announced in May. The remaining partners are PetroChina (15 per cent), Japan's Mitsubishi Corp. (15 per cent) and South Korea's Kogas (5 per cent).


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Canada drops in global rankings of foreign-bribery law enforcement
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Thursday, September 13, 2018 – Page B1

VANCOUVER -- Canada is losing ground in its battle against international bribery even as it faces intense global pressure to combat financial crime.

A report by Transparency International, released on Wednesday, said Canada fell in its latest global rankings of enforcement against corruption, placing it near "the back of the pack" of OECD countries that are assessed on foreign bribery enforcement.

More than two decades after signing the OECD convention to stamp out the white-collar crime, Canada's standing dropped from "moderate" to "limited enforcement," the report said, pointing to this country's insufficient enforcement record.

The report comes as Canada is under pressure to combat the bribery of foreign officials. Canada, which has acknowledged the need to improve detection of bribery abroad, is in the process of overhauling its anti-money laundering and terrorist financing legislation.

Montreal-based engineering giant SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. and two indirect subsidiaries face criminal charges over Libyan business activities. In 2015, the RCMP charged each of those entities with one count of fraud under the Criminal Code and one count of corruption under the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act.

None of the charges has been proved in court. A court hearing for the preliminary inquiry is set to start on Oct. 22.

In 2012, both the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and Transparency International ranked Canada as the worst Group of Seven country at fighting bribery.

On the global stage, Canada is being urged to crack down on corruption when companies conduct business abroad. In early 2020, Austria and Britain will lead a review of Canada's implementation of the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions.

Transparency International, a Berlin-based nonprofit that aims to fight corruption, said in its 2018 report that Canada fell to the "limited" category for enforcement. The rankings have four categories: "active," "moderate," "limited" and "little or no enforcement."

"Canada dropped from moderate to limited enforcement namely due to the minuscule number of cases commenced between 2014-2017. In that time, Canada only commenced four foreign bribery cases and concluded one," according to a release accompanying the 160-page report, titled Exporting Corruption.

Transparency International, which rated 44 leading exporters, said it found that "only 11 major exporting countries - accounting for about a third of world exports - have active or moderate law enforcement against companies bribing abroad in order to gain mining rights, contracts for major construction projects, purchases of planes and other deals."

Canada is at the "back of the pack" of OECD countries when it comes to clamping down on the bribing of officials abroad, Transparency International said, adding that the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention requires parties to criminalize bribery of foreign public officials.

"Disappointingly, there has been little change in the overall enforcement level since the last report in 2015," Transparency International said in its 2018 report.

"This apparent standstill means the convention's fundamental goal of creating a corruption-free level playing field for global trade is still far from being achieved, due to insufficient enforcement." Alesia Nahirny, Transparency International Canada's executive director, said inadequate enforcement cannot be tolerated.

"We've fallen behind and need to play catch up on a number of anti-corruption fronts," Ms. Nahirny said in a statement. "Canadians want us to be leaders with respect to the fight against corruption at home and abroad and we can no longer rest only on our good reputation. The inadequacies in our enforcement system can no longer be ignored."

Wednesday's report said 33 exporters, comprising 52 per cent of global exports, still have limited or little to no corruption enforcement. "That includes all four of the exporters not party to the [OECD] convention - China, Hong Kong, India and Singapore - all of which get the lowest rating of little or no enforcement," Transparency International said.

In a 2016 review, the Financial Action Task Force, a global intergovernmental body, found that crossborder movements of money internationally are rarely analyzed by law enforcement.

With a report from Rita Trichur


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U.S. Commerce Department rejects tariff exemption for Canadian shingle makers
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Wednesday, September 12, 2018 – Page B2

VANCOUVER -- The U.S. Department of Commerce has rejected a request from Canada's shake and shingle industry to be exempt from tariffs against Canadian softwood lumber.

The recently formed Shake and Shingle Alliance asked the Commerce Department in June to review the scope of products that fall under the softwood file. U.S. tariffs average 20.23 per cent against most Canadian lumber sent south of the border.

In a ruling this week, the Commerce Department cited a passage from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wood Handbook, which refers to the production of shakes and shingles as being part of the lumber sector. "This excerpt supports the proposition that there is no clear distinction between shake and shingle production and the lumber industry," according to a 20-page ruling from the Commerce Department's anti-dumping and countervailing duty operations.

The Canadian alliance argues its members' cedar products are thin enough to warrant tariff exemptions, and should not be confused with lumber. Cedar shakes and shingles (CSS) are used mostly for roofing, but also for siding.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection told Canadian makers of the wood materials in a notice in March that cedar products that are tapered to less than six millimetres in thickness at one end are not necessarily exempt from the softwood tariffs.

The Commerce Department agreed in its ruling this week: "CSS are not outside of the scope of the orders simply because a portion of the product is tapered to less than six millimetres."

The decision is a painful blow to Canadian producers, which began paying U.S. duties in March on cedar shakes and shingles, said Hugh Farris, a sales representative at Best Quality Cedar Products Ltd. in Maple Ridge, B.C.

"It's pretty frightening, and I'm still in shock. The Commerce Department disregarded us. It seems outrageous," Mr. Farris said in an interview on Tuesday.

Best Quality, one of 12 members of the alliance, shut down operations for four weeks this summer as demand slumped from U.S. customers. Five alliance members are based in British Columbia, four in Quebec and three in New Brunswick.

Mr. Farris said temporary shutdowns are looming at many mills, and that would include a yet-to-be-determined number of layoffs from Best Quality's payroll of more than 55 workers.

"We have built up quite a bit of inventory, so layoffs are a matter of time," he said.

This week's ruling said wood shims, which are used to fill small gaps, and certain siding products are already subject to duties, and they are similar to the cedar roofing materials being produced by members of the alliance.

The alliance is now examining its options for appealing the Commerce Department's decision.

Until this year, U.S. tariffs had not been applied on Canadian cedar shakes and shingles since 1991. The administration of Ronald Reagan put a 35-per-cent duty on Canadian shakes and shingles in May, 1986. Then-prime minister Brian Mulroney's government imposed tariffs a month later on U.S.

items such as books, computer components and Christmas trees. The Americans gradually reduced the duties against shakes and shingles, ending them in June, 1991.

Canada has repeatedly won cross-border trade arguments on appeal in the long-running softwood battle dating back to 1982. The latest clash over softwood is the fifth round in the fight.

The United States began imposing preliminary duties on Canadian lumber in April, 2017.

The final combined tariffs took effect in early 2018. Those duties work out to a weighted average of 20.23 per cent, consisting of 14.19 per cent in countervailing duties and 6.04 per cent in anti-dumping levies, imposed against most Canadian lumber exporters.

In November, 2017, the Canadian government began filing documents to appeal the Commerce Department's lumber tariffs, launching the action through the Chapter 19 dispute-resolution mechanism of the North American free-trade agreement. Ottawa is also challenging U.S. lumber duties by taking its fight to the World Trade Organization.

20.23% Average U.S. tariff against most Canadian lumber sent south of the border

Associated Graphic

Workers at Best Quality Cedar Products Ltd. cut cedar shake and shingles at a facility in Maple Ridge, B.C., in June.

BEN NELMS/THE GLOBE AND MAIL


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Vancouver housing sales hit six-year low in August
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Thursday, September 6, 2018 – Page B8

VANCOUVER -- Buyers' fear of being left out is waning as real estate sales in the Vancouver region decline to a sixyear low while prices for various housing types weaken during a summer slump.

The Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver saw 1,929 residential sales in August, down 36.6 per cent from the same month in 2017. It marks the lowest number of sales for August since 2012, with total transactions down 25.2 per cent compared with the 10year average for the month.

"The fear-of-missing-out mentality is much weaker. Buyers are being patient and not being rushed into purchases," said Josh Gordon, assistant professor at Simon Fraser University's school of public policy. "Speculative expectations, where people think that prices will continuously increase at strong rates, have been taken out of the market for now."

Housing policies at the federal and provincial level combined to cool off the Vancouver area's real estate market, where year-overyear sales have fallen for seven consecutive months.

Prof. Gordon said the B.C. government's plans for what it calls a speculation tax, targeted primarily at out-of-province residents, have already dampened flipping activity. Industry experts describe the tax as largely a vacancy tax on people who pay little or no B.C. income tax.

"When prices fall, that isn't good for some people, but for affordability, it is a good thing," he said in an interview on Wednesday. "The demand-side policies are having a cooling effect on the market."

Steve Saretsky, a real estate agent who also writes a housing newsletter, said the trend of fewer detached houses being flipped could soon spill over to result in less speculation for presale condos in Canada's most expensive housing market.

Mr. Saretsky notes that the price for detached houses sold within the city of Vancouver averaged $2,493,952 in August, down 19 per cent from the record high of $3,080,907 in April, 2016 - four months before the introduction of the foreign-buyers tax in the Vancouver area.

In Greater Vancouver, the benchmark price for all residential types has decreased for three consecutive months, hitting $1,083,400 in August. The region's benchmark price, which is an industry representation of the typical home sold in an area, has fallen since reaching a record $1,094,000 in May.

"Home buyers have been less active in recent months and we're beginning to see prices edge down for all housing types as a result," board president Phil Moore said in a statement.

Benchmark prices have declined month-over-month, with the market for detached houses slipping the most. The benchmark price decreased to $1,561,000 for detached properties last month in Greater Vancouver, or a drop of 1.5 per cent from July.

The benchmark price for condos sold in the region fell to $695,000 in August, down 1.4 per cent from July, while townhouse prices declined 0.8 per cent month-over-month to $846,100.

Prices for condos and townhouses are still higher than a year ago.

In the Fraser Valley Real Estate Board's territory, there were 1,155 sales last month, or a 38.5-percent decrease from the 1,879 transactions in August, 2017. The board, which includes the sprawling suburb of Surrey, said its August sales were the lowest for that month since 2012.

The Fraser Valley board's average price for all property types dipped to $748,226 in August, down 2.8 per cent from July, but up 8.3 per cent from a year earlier.

Brad Henderson, president of Sotheby's International Realty Canada, said the Vancouver region could face further price declines through the rest of 2018.

Recent government policies and higher borrowing costs have eroded sales, he said.

In February, British Columbia's NDP government raised the foreign-buyers tax to 20 per cent from 15 per cent, while expanding it beyond the initial target of the Vancouver region. Federally, Canada's banking regulator implemented a stress test on Jan. 1 making it tougher for buyers to qualify for mortgages.


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Ottawa seeks Indigenous input as it puts B.C.'s Ridley coal terminal back on block
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Friday, August 10, 2018 – Page B1

VANCOUVER -- Ottawa plans to sell Ridley Terminals Inc., a federal Crown corporation that owns a B.C. coal export facility, to buyers that could include Indigenous groups partnering with a private-sector firm.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau said Thursday that the terminal at the Port of Prince Rupert in Northern British Columbia is back on the block, and Ottawa is seeking Indigenous input on the sale.

"By consulting early on with Indigenous communities on the future of Ridley, we are reiterating our commitment to advance reconciliation and to renew the relationship between the Crown and Indigenous peoples in Canada," Mr. Garneau said in a statement.

The previous Conservative government said in late 2012 that it wanted to sell Ridley. Those plans, which were delayed as coal prices declined from 2013 to 2015, went into limbo when the Liberals took office in November, 2015. Canada Development Investment Corp., a federal Crown corporation that began the process of selling Ridley in December, 2012, has been retained again to oversee the relaunch of the sale process.

Westshore Terminals Investment Corp. would be a logical bidder that could end up in a "partial ownership structure" with First Nations groups, RBC Dominion Securities Inc. analyst Walter Spracklin said in a research note. Companies owned by B.C. billionaire Jim Pattison recently held about one-third of Westshore's outstanding shares.

"This would be a positive for Westshore as the coal market is just now rebounding and would give it participation in any further turnaround," Mr. Spracklin said.

"We also believe the government would welcome a bid from Westshore, given its proven expertise, existing customer relationships and Canadian ownership."

Transport Canada said Thursday that the federal government, "in advance of the sale and in the spirit of reconciliation ... is engaging with six First Nations in the Prince Rupert area to discuss the potential divestiture."

Indigenous groups in the Prince Rupert area belonging to the Tsimshian First Nations are: Lax Kw'alaams, Metlakatla, Gitxaala, Kitsumkalum, Kitselas and Gitga'at.

"By engaging in meaningful discussions with these six First Nations, the government of Canada is taking into consideration their unique perspectives on Ridley Terminals Inc.," a Transport Canada spokeswoman said in an e-mail.

A Westshore executive said Ottawa's announcement came as news to the company but declined further comment. Officials at First Nations groups either declined comment or couldn't be reached on Thursday.

Industry observers say a winning bidding group will need to agree to keep Ridley open to any coal producer needing to export instead of acquiring it for the use of a limited number of shippers. That would likely exclude Vancouver-based Teck Resources Ltd., Canada's largest diversified mining company, from bidding.

Teck ships coal through Ridley and the Westshore site, located south of Vancouver, and also exports through Neptune Bulk Terminals (Canada) Ltd. in North Vancouver. Teck owns 46 per cent of Neptune and is the sole shipper of coal through the site.

Ridley exports both thermal and metallurgical (or coking) coal, primarily to energy-hungry markets in Asia. Environmentalists have said they are concerned about carbon dioxide emissions from electricity plants fired by thermal coal, which has a larger impact on the environment than steelmaking metallurgical coal.

Industry observers say Ridley went from a coveted possession having several potential bidders in early 2013 to being an economic casualty in the coal industry in 2015, when it was an underperforming terminal running at one-quarter of its capacity.

Clark Williams-Derry, director of energy finance at the Sightline Institute, a Seattlebased environmental think tank, said Ridley's shipments collapsed from 2014 through mid-2016 as international coal prices tumbled. But coal prices have seen a recovery over the past couple of years due to increases in global demand and constraints on supply.

"Exporting coal is still a risky business," he said. "Westshore - or any other buyer - should be wary of overpaying for an asset that's been so volatile."

Industry experts say Ottawa might have been able to fetch up to $1.3-billion for Ridley in early 2013 had coal prices stayed high.

The Prince Rupert Port Authority, a federal agency, leases land to the terminal located on Ridley Island.

Four months ago, the federal Auditor-General's office said it uncovered major shortcomings at the terminal, citing "significant deficiencies in Ridley Terminals Inc.'s governance, strategic planning, performance management and reporting, risk management, and human resource systems and practices." From January, 2015, through October, 2017, Ridley operated without an approved corporate plan from Ottawa. In the spring of 2017, Calgary-based AltaGas Ltd. began construction on its $500-million propane export terminal on Ridley Island. AltaGas expects to start operations next year.

Associated Graphic

The Ridley coal terminal exports both thermal and metallurgical coal, primarily to energy-hungry markets in Asia.

JOHN LEHMANN/THE GLOBE AND MAIL


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U.S. newsprint mill says it's being 'vilified' in tariff case
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Thursday, August 9, 2018 – Page B2

VANCOUVER -- A Washington State newsprint mill that sparked a cross-border trade battle has fired back at Canadian paper producers, saying they are exaggerating the impact of U.S. tariffs.

North Pacific Paper Co., also known as Norpac, lodged a complaint with the U.S. Department of Commerce in August, 2017, alleging unfair competition from Canadian producers of uncoated groundwood paper, including newsprint and book-grade paper.

It cited advantages such as discounted electricity rates and financial assistance from governments.

Earlier this year, the Commerce Department imposed preliminary duties on Canadian newsprint in response.

Last week, in its final determination, the department reduced those tariffs on most Canadian newsprint producers. But the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), which is also investigating Norpac's complaint, has the power to cancel those duties.

Canadian producers passed most or all of the tariffs onto customers in the United States, where the newspaper industry warns higher newsprint costs have created financial hardships, especially for publications in small communities.

Norpac, in a filing to the ITC last week, slams Canadian producers. "They have made dire predictions of the ruin of small town and rural newspapers, with the heaviest negative impact on the elderly, when the record demonstrates that the economic impact of duties will be very small," Norpac argues.

"Newspapers have been able to increase their subscription prices significantly over time, independent of changes in standard newsprint prices/costs."

The ITC is slated to vote on Aug. 29 on whether to uphold its finding last year that the U.S. groundwood industry is being injured by Canadian imports.

The Commerce Department focused its investigations on three Canadian companies, which it refers to as mandatory respondents: Catalyst Paper Corp. of Richmond, B.C., and two Montreal-based firms, Resolute Forest Products Inc. and Kruger Inc.

"Respondents have vilified Norpac and its owner, One Rock Capital Partners, for seeking relief, asserting that One Rock is a greedy 'hedge fund' seeking only to cover a poor investment decision," Norpac's filing to the ITC said. "One Rock, however, is a private-equity firm with a long track record of investing in and providing support and expertise to U.S. manufacturing companies."

Members of the U.S. Congress from a wide array of states have said the U.S. tariffs benefit a single mill, Norpac, while hurting hundreds of newspapers in the United States.

"Significant political pressure has been brought to bear," Norpac said in its filing to the ITC.

Last week, the Commerce Department imposed final duties of 20.26 per cent on Catalyst, 9.81 per cent on Resolute, 9.53 per cent on Kruger and 8.54 per cent on most other Canadian producers. Resolute's duties rose, but tariffs for other Canadian producers are lower than in the department's preliminary ruling.

In interviews with The Globe and Mail, the chief executives of two Canadian producers rejected Norpac's arguments. Catalyst CEO Ned Dwyer and Resolute CEO Yves Laflamme are urging the ITC to reverse course, in a move that would lead to the cancellation of the tariffs.

Mr. Dwyer and Mr. Laflamme stressed that a bipartisan group of U.S. politicians also oppose the tariffs.

"This has been very challenging for the U.S. newspaper industry and a lot of the commercial printing industry as well," Mr. Dwyer said. "Our concern is that as these things take time to get sorted out, there will be a permanent destruction in demand for these paper products."

Mr. Dwyer said Canada has a long history of supplying newsprint to U.S. newspapers, recently accounting for about 65 per cent of total demand south of the border. "It's a consistent drumbeat.

Representatives of congressional districts and states all around the U.S. are in opposition to newsprint tariffs," he said.

Within the United States, Norpac said it recently held 47 per cent of the groundwood production capacity, with its mill in Longview, Wash.

Resolute is the second-largest producer of U.S. newsprint. "It's pretty unique, having a bunch of senators and representatives from Congress in front of the ITC against those duties," Mr. Laflamme said. "Is it a possibility that the ITC is going to make a different decision based on that?

That is what we hope, but I don't know."

Associated Graphic

A crewman inspects a roll at Resolute Forest Products in Gatineau in January. A final duty of 9.81 per cent was imposed on Resolute by the U.S. Commerce Department last week.

CHRISTINNE MUSCHI/REUTERS


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