|Bid||90.05 x 800|
|Ask||96.50 x 900|
|Day's Range||92.66 - 93.68|
|52 Week Range||83.74 - 96.53|
|Beta (5Y Monthly)||0.94|
|PE Ratio (TTM)||15.86|
|Forward Dividend & Yield||1.74 (1.86%)|
|Ex-Dividend Date||Mar. 08, 2020|
|1y Target Est||N/A|
Via Rail Canada will temporary layoff approximately 1,000 employees as anti-pipeline blockades continue, bringing railway traffic across the country to a standstill.
MONTREAL — Via Rail says it is temporarily laying off 1,000 employees due to blockades that continue to halt trains on CN tracks in Eastern Canada.The Crown corporation has suspended passenger service on its Montreal-Toronto and Ottawa-Toronto routes for nearly two weeks due to the protests that have disrupted rail operations across the country.The layoffs come amid growing pressure on the federal government to take action against rail blockades in support of Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs who oppose a natural gas pipeline that is to pass through their traditional lands in British Columbia."It is with sincere regret that we must proceed with temporary employee suspensions," Via said in a release Thursday."Until CN Rail opens the remaining tracks for service, VIA Rail has no choice but to continue the cancellation of its services on a large part of its network."Via is to resume full service in southwestern Ontario Thursday morning but plans for partial service to begin between Montreal and Quebec City were cancelled until the end of day on Friday, it announced in a news release.The changes come a week after announcing a near-full network shutdown last Thursday.Chief executive Cynthia Garneau called the ongoing interruption due to a 13-day blockade east of Belleville, Ont., "unprecedented.""In 42 years of existence, it is the first time that VIA Rail, a public inter-city passenger rail service, has to interrupt most of its services across the country," she said in a statement.Via said it "commends the ongoing dialogue efforts" between the governments and First Nations leaders.The company has cancelled 599 trains affecting more than 110,000 passengers since blockades began on Feb. 6.Earlier this week, Canadian National Railway Co. temporarily laid off about 450 workers from its operations in Eastern Canada after cancelling more than 400 trains since protests arose.The Belleville-area blockade on a line bisecting Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory has forced CN to shut down one-quarter of its network — all in Eastern Canada — clogging its system from coast to coast."It really is all across the country," Dan Kelly, CEO of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) said in a phone interview. "The whole system starts to break down, and that has effects on a lot of smaller and medium-sized companies."I know one small manufacturer of flags and banners in Quebec that is waiting on a shipment of goods from Taiwan, has 12 employees and is set to lose a $100,000 contract because she's not available to fulfil it while she waits for the raw materials to come in since they're stuck on the rails right now," he said.The looming threat to jobs and goods prompted Kelly to send an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warning of dire consequences and reputational damage if the crisis continues.Agriculture and natural resources are the sectors most affected, but retailers and wholesalers are increasingly feeling the pinch — and have fewer financial resources to weather extended disruptions — according to the CFIB, which represents 110,000 small and medium businesses.Backed-up rail operations and pop-up blockades hampering access to ports in Vancouver, Prince Rupert, B.C., and Halifax have led to bottle necks, with some ships turned away and cargo rerouted to docks in the U.S. or on to less efficient truck transport, according to the Association of Canadian Port Authorities.Kelly is calling on Ottawa to work with the provinces and law enforcement to get trains back on the tracks.British Columbia approved the $6-billion, 670-kilometre Coastal GasLink pipeline between Dawson Creek and Kitimat B.C., with 20 First Nations band councils signing on to the project, including five of the six band councils in the Wet'suwet'en nation.However, Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs say band councils are only responsible for the land within their respective reserves because their authority stems from the Indian Act.RBC economist Nathan Janzen says the blockades have "clouded" the economic outlook for Canadian manufacturing. The crisis is stranding an estimated $425 million in goods every day, according to the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters trade group.The Via layoffs and the call from the CFIB come amid mounting criticism of the Liberal government from Conservative MPs and provincial premiers, with some demanding Trudeau denounce the blockades and articulate a plan to end the them.CIBC World Markets analyst Kevin Chiang inferred from the impact of the CN rail strike last November that the company would take a hit of three cents per share every week that the blockades continue, assuming the rail network is operating at 70 per cent to 75 per cent capacity.That would mean a roughly $43-million dent to earnings so far, or five per cent of its net income in the first quarter of 2019."The impact is actually not as acute for CN as people think. That’s a function of the fact that the network is so vast and so wide, and there’s a whole part of the network that goes to the Gulf Coast of the U.S. that’s not being affected," DBRS analyst Amaury Baudouin said in a phone interview."We still remain cautiously optimistic," chief financial officer Ghislain Houle said at a conference in Miami on Wednesday.As to whether CN will revise its earnings forecast for 2020, he said: "Stay tuned."This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 19, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX:CNR)Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — The Canadian Federation of Independent Business has sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau warning of dire consequences if blockades that have disrupted rail service across the country continue.CFIB head Dan Kelly is calling on Ottawa to work with the provinces and law enforcement to get trains back on the tracks as protests in support of Wet'suwet'en hereditary chiefs who oppose a natural gas pipeline in British Columbia enter their 14th day.The organization, which represents 110,000 small and medium businesses, says agriculture and natural resources are most affected, but that retailers and wholesalers are increasingly feeling the pinch — and have fewer financial resources to weather extended disruptions than large companies.RBC economist Nathan Janzen says the blockades, which have shut down one-quarter of Canadian National Railway Co.'s network and clogged its system from coast to coast, are clouding the economic outlook for Canadian manufacturing. Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters CEO Dennis Darby says the crisis is stranding an estimated $425 million in goods every day, while CN has temporarily laid off 450 workers.The call from the CFIB comes amid mounting criticism of the Liberal government from Conservative MPs and provincial premiers, with some demanding Trudeau denounce the blockades and articulate a plan to end the them.Via Rail's Montreal-Toronto and Ottawa-Toronto routes remain closed due to a blockade east of Belleville, Ont., halting passenger trains.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 19, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX:CNR)The Canadian Press
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MONTREAL — CN Rail is laying off about 450 workers in its operations in Eastern Canada after cancelling more than 400 trains in the past week over a rail blockade protesting an LNG pipeline in British Columbia.The layoffs will affect operational staff, including employees working at Autoport in Eastern Passage, Moncton, Charny and Montreal.The Montreal-based railway says the situation is "regrettable" because the impact on the economy and its employees from the protests is unrelated to CN's activities and beyond its control.CN said the shutdown is "progressive and methodical" to ensure it can be restarted when the blockades end completely.Coastal GasLink signed agreements with 20 elected band councils along the pipeline route, including the Wet'suwet'en First Nation's council.But Wet'suwet'en's hereditary chiefs are opposed to the project and say the council does not have authority over the relevant land.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 18, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX:CNR)The Canadian Press
(Bloomberg) -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called for patience and dialog as indigenous-rights protests that have brought rail traffic to a halt across Canada drag on.Blockades in British Columbia, where some hereditary chiefs oppose a new natural gas pipeline by TC Energy Corp., and solidarity protests along the key Montreal-to-Toronto corridor in Ontario forced Canadian National Railway Co. to shut down a large part its network last week.The crisis has stalled the flow of goods -- including oil for export and propane needed for heating -- in the sprawling, trade-dependent nation and prompted Via Rail, Canada’s primary intercity passenger service, to cancel nearly all trains.“On all sides, people are upset and frustrated. I get it,” Trudeau told lawmakers Tuesday morning in Ottawa, where he’s facing calls to intervene in the dispute.“To the Wet’suwet’en and Mohawk nations, and indigenous leaders across the country: We are listening,” the prime minister said. “We are not asking that you stop standing up for your communities, your rights and for what you believe. We only ask that you be willing to work with the federal government as a partner in finding solutions.”Trudeau had planned to spend the first part of this week lobbying Caribbean leaders to back his bid for a seat on the United Nations Security Council. But he was forced to scrap that trip late Sunday and convene an emergency meeting of key ministers in Ottawa on Monday.His government has prioritized improving relations with First Nations, and is leery of actions that could spark a repeat of violent clashes between the authorities and indigenous communities in the past.“To those who would want us to act in haste, who want us to boil this down to slogans and ignore the complexities, who think that using force is helpful: It is not,” Trudeau said.Those comments appeared to be a response to Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, who called last week for the prime minister to order the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to clear the protests.The opposition leader minced no words in his assessment of Trudeau’s remarks.“That was the weakest response to a national crisis in Canadian history,” Scheer said in the legislature, denouncing the prime minister’s speech as “word salad” in the place of a credible plan.(Updates with Trudeau’s remarks throughout.)To contact the reporter on this story: Stephen Wicary in Ottawa at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Theophilos Argitis at email@example.com, Chris FournierFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
MONTREAL — Industry players are warning governments that shortages of groceries, propane, drinking water and other goods are on the horizon as a rail blockade by anti-pipeline protesters enters its ninth day.Demonstrators set up a blockade on Canadian National Rail Co. tracks near Belleville, Ont., on Feb. 6 after RCMP officers enforced an injunction against opponents of the Coastal GasLink pipeline project that crosses the traditional territory of the Wet'suwet'en First Nation in northwestern B.C.Fresh food, personal hygiene products and baby formula are among the goods that could soon run out as halted railcars in the eastern half of the country clog CN's network from coast to coast."It's not like there’s 10,000 idled trucks sitting in some subterranean basement somewhere that can just be dusted off if there’s a rail stoppage. There’s just too much volume for that,” said Retail Council of Canada spokesman Karl Littler.Canadian Propane Association CEO Nathalie St-Pierre says wholesalers in the Maritimes have already begun to ration distribution while truck line-ups for the fuel in Sarnia, Ont., are now up to 10 hours long as water treatment plants, hospitals, farmers and rural residents await more shipments.Drinking water could also fall into short supply if chlorine for water treatment stays off the tracks, according to chemicals trade group Responsible Distribution Canada."If something doesn’t happen now, we’re going to start seeing municipalities in Ontario beginning to have boil-water advisories going out," said president Cathy Campbell."This week it’s going to get very scary."Hand sanitizer, de-icing fluid for aircraft and chemicals used to coat cars and clean food processing equipment could prompt production line shutdowns, she said.“It’s a little bit of everything,” said Avery Shenfeld, chief economist of CIBC Capital Markets.He cautioned that layoffs could be imminent, with the broader impact bound to dent the economy unless a resolution is found soon. “If goods start piling up at ports and factories, we’re going to see production halts that would affect employment.”Industries from manufacturing to fertilizer say they respect the right to peaceful protest but argue it's time for federal and provincial governments to bridge the impasse or enforce injunctions obtained by CN.“We do feel like we’re sort of getting sideswiped by a protest that pertains more to natural resources products than rail," said the retail council's Karl Littler.Via Rail has cancelled all service on CN tracks in Canada, leaving only two northern routes open — between Sudbury and White River in Ontario and between Churchill and The Pas in Manitoba.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday he has no plans to order the RCMP to end blockades of vital rail links across the country."We are not the kind of country where politicians get to tell the police what to do in operational matters," Trudeau said Friday in Munich, where he was attending a global security conference.Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer called on Trudeau Friday to order Public Safety Minister Bill Blair to use his authority under the RCMP Act to end what he called the "illegal blockades" by Indigenous Peoples at the centre of a dispute over a British Columbia pipeline project.Early Friday morning, demonstrators lifted a rail blockade that was set up four days earlier on the line into Prince Rupert, B.C. reopening a key port.First Nations leaders had suggested that would happen if federal and provincial politicians agreed to meet to discuss solutions to the ongoing dispute over construction of a natural gas pipeline through Wet’suwet’en traditional land.The ongoing eastern network shutdown impedes mills' ability to ship pulp, two-by-fours and wood panelling to the U.S. and beyond, said Forest Products Association of Canada CEO Derek Nighbor, who called the CN line a "critical artery.""For every train car that we use for pulp, it would take four trucks to move that same carload. For lumber it’s two trucks for every one train car," Nighbor said.Some mills are on the verge of suspending operations due to a lack of chemicals or fuel, while others are paying out of pocket for extra warehousing and truck transport, he said.“You can’t just turn the tap on and things are back to normal again. If everything got resolved to day...we probably wouldn’t get empty railcars to our mills till mid- to late-week next week."Jean Simard, CEO of the Aluminium Association of Canada, said plants from Saguenay, Que., to Kitimat, B.C., are scrambling to find makeshift solutions for incoming and outgoing shipments.“You have work out the delays and adapt your production, whether it’s tar, pitch or other types of products that normally come in on a regular basis,” he said.The Association of Canadian Port Authorities says ports are beginning to turn away ships, with cargo rerouted to docks in the U.S. or less efficient truck transport at the risk of “long-lasting reputational damage.”Canadian Federation of Agriculture president Mary Robinson says the backed-up rail lines are hampering producers' ability to export commodities, warning of "huge financial consequences" as farmers do not get paid until products get to market."Rail service disruptions can also have negative impacts on animal welfare issues, as propane shipments are crucial to keeping barns heated during the winter months," she said.While the repercussions of the rail shutdown are negative for the vast majority of stakeholders, the closure of Via's Ottawa-Toronto and Montreal-Toronto routes has proven to be a bonus for Porter Airlines, which said more passengers have booked flights between those cities over the past week as a result.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 14, 2020.Companies in this story: (TSX:CNR)Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian PressNote to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version stated that the Ontario blockade began Feb. 9.
(Bloomberg) -- Canada’s homegrown tech company Shopify Inc. is on a tear.After surging annually since its 2015 initial public offering, it has rallied 36% to a market value of almost C$82 billion ($62 billion) in 2020, making it the seventh largest company on the S&P/TSX Composite Index. That puts it about C$8 billion away from usurping Bank of Nova Scotia -- the fifth biggest company. Canadian National Railway Co. -- is No. 6 on the benchmark.Shopify’s value has climbed about C$7.9 billion just this week as fourth-quarter revenue topped analysts’ estimates and the provider of online shopping tools gave an optimistic forecast for the year.Shares of Shopify have skyrocketed to fresh records amid a dearth of quality tech companies on the S&P/TSX Composite Index. The benchmark tech gauge has a mere 10 members compared with over 71 on the S&P 500’s tech index, which includes FAANG giants such as Facebook Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Apple Inc., Netflix Inc. and Google parent Alphabet Inc.Still, Shopify’s meteoric rise has some analysts calling for caution. Credit Suisse analyst Brad Zelnick downgraded the stock to the equivalent of a hold on its “lofty valuation” but raised his share price target for the U.S.-listed stock to $575 from $450. He did, however, contend that company has a “great business.” The stock is currently sitting at about $527.Markets -- Just The NumbersChart of The WeekPoliticsPrime Minister Justin Trudeau said the government will do everything it can to resolve protests that have crippled parts of the country’s railways, leading to disruptions in passenger travel and the shipment of key goods. RBC Capital Markets said the demonstrations are another reason the Bank of Canada will be “biased to ease.”Get the latest news on the pipeline protests hereThe coronavirus continues to spread within China. Finance Minister Bill Morneau said that the epidemic will take a “real” toll on Canada’s economy given it’s global knock-on effects. Reduced tourism from China and lower commodity prices will also impact Canada’s growth.EconomyA new survey showed that Canadians are growing increasingly confident of getting a job with better pay were they to leave their current workplace, another indication of the health of the nation’s labor market as the unemployment rate sits at historic lows and wages climb near the fastest pace since the recession.The housing market in major Canadian cities continued to tighten as home sales fell and prices rose in January. A combination of steady population growth, low unemployment and cheap borrowing costs have brought buyers into the market but shrinking supply is damping transactions and driving bids for homes higher in places like Toronto.Up next, economists will be watching manufacturing sales figures on Feb. 18, inflation data due Feb. 19 and retail sales expected on Feb. 21. The stock market is closed on Monday for a holiday in Ontario and some other provinces.TrendingInCanada1\. Former Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion, also known as “Hurricane Hazel” turned 99 with NHL’s Maple Leafs team celebrating her birthday. She was in office for 12 terms before stepping back in 2014.2\. An extreme cold warning alert was issued for the city of Toronto Friday as temperatures dip below 30 degrees Celsius (that’s -22 degrees Farenheit).\--With assistance from Shelly Hagan.To contact the reporter on this story: Divya Balji in Toronto at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Kyung Bok Cho at email@example.com, Jacqueline Thorpe, Danielle BochoveFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the government will do everything it can to resolve protests that have crippled the country’s railways, leading to disruptions in passenger travel and the shipment of key goods.“We are a country that recognizes the right to protest but we are a country of the rule of law and we will ensure that everything is done to resolve this through dialog and constructive outcomes,” Trudeau said during a press conference in Munich.Environmental and indigenous-rights activists are blockading rail lines, ports and other infrastructure to show solidarity with portions of the Wet’suwet’en Nation that are protesting construction of TC Energy Corp.’s planned C$6.6 billion ($5 billion) Coastal GasLink pipeline through their territory in British Columbia.When asked whether the pipeline project will still proceed despite the protests, Trudeau emphasized that Canada has regulatory processes and a judicial system in place for the country to operate smoothly. “The responsibility of government, and of all levels of government, is to serve their citizens in the best way possible, and the legal framework we have built for our country is an important touch point for that,” he said. Key Developments:Canadian National Railway Co., the country’s biggest rail network, is shutting down operations in Eastern Canada, possibly leading to temporary layoffs.All Via Rail passenger traffic across the country has been haltedBusiness leaders increasingly frustratedRBC Capital Markets says protests another reason keeping Bank of Canada “biased to ease”West Coast ports “will take weeks” to resume service after supply-chain delays, the Chamber of Shipping says.Garneau Says ‘Concerned’ About Protests, Pledges Dialog (12:27 p.m.)Canadian Transport Minister Marc Garneau said while he’s “deeply concerned” about the impact of nationwide protests that are crippling the country’s railways, the government is intent on resolving the situation by engaging with First Nations.Environmental and indigenous-rights activists are blockading rail lines, ports and other infrastructure to show solidarity with portions of the Wet’suwet’en Nation that are protesting construction of TC Energy Corp.’s planned C$6.6 billion ($5 billion) Coastal GasLink pipeline through their territory in British Columbia.Federal Ministers to Meet with Indigenous Leaders (10:30, NY)Garneau said he’s encouraged by the removal of a blockade in British Columbia after the Canadian and provincial governments agreed to meet hereditary chiefs to discuss their grievance, allowing trains to begin running to the port of Prince Rupert.“Freedom of expression and peaceful protests are among the most fundamental rights of people in a democracy and must be respected and protected,” Garneau told reporters in Toronto. “However, I am deeply concerned by the demonstrations that are deliberately preventing the operation of our railways,” he said.Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett, will meet with protesters in British Columbia, while Minister of Indigenous Services Marc Miller will meet with groups that are running blockades in Ontario.Hard to Find Trucks to Replace Rail, Retailers Say (11:00 a.m., NY)The Retail Council of Canada says 20% of its members’ shipments go by intermodal transit. Walmart Inc. is the No. 3 customer of CN, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.“It’s not like somewhere in a subterranean garage there are thousands of additional trucks just waiting to be turned on to provide redundancy,” said Karl Littler, senior vice-president of public affairs at the council, which represents 45,000 storefronts. “Rail moves a lot of heavy volume, and it is already integrated with trucking.”The group recognizes the right to peaceful protest, but believes in the rule of law, Littler said. “When injunctions are issued they should be followed, and if they have to be they should be enforced by public authorities,” he said.Rail Disruption Another Factor Keeping BOC ‘Biased to Ease,’ RBC Says (8:05 a.m. NY)RBC Capital Markets called the CN shutdown another “transitory” impediment to growth.“Alongside possible virus-related distortions, it is becoming harder for the Bank of Canada to disentangle exactly what factors are contributing to expected below-potential growth,” Mark Chandler, and Simon Deeley, rates strategists at the Royal Bank of Canada unit.That “below-potential growth” still seems likely for both the fourth quarter and first quarter and, at the margin, “it should help to keep the central bank biased to ease,” they added.Resumption of Service ‘Will Take Weeks’ at West Coast Ports (3:25 a.m. NY)Supply Chain disruption is leading to congestion at Vancouver and Prince Rupert Ports from stranded imports and diminished capacity to service export cargoes, according to the Chamber of Shipping.In 2018, Canada’s ports moved over 342 million metric tonnes of cargo.“This action is harming the reputation of Canadian ports and the Canadian supply chain,” Robert Lewis-Manning, president of the Chamber said in a statement. “Even a resumption of service at this stage will take weeks to resolve and impacts the markets that Canadian shippers serve.”The Chamber of Shipping represents commercial carriers and their agents which trade internationally and domestically.\--With assistance from Divya Balji.To contact the reporters on this story: Theophilos Argitis in Ottawa at firstname.lastname@example.org;Doug Alexander in Toronto at email@example.com;Shelly Hagan in ottawa at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Derek Decloet at email@example.com, Jacqueline Thorpe, Chris FournierFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
(Bloomberg) -- Protests against a natural gas pipeline are crippling Canada’s railways -- key economic arteries in the sprawling, trade-dependent nation -- and prompting cries of “insanity” and “ecoterrorism” from business leaders.Canadian National Railway Co., the country’s largest rail provider, has canceled 400 trains in the past week and said on Thursday that it will shut down its operations in Eastern Canada, possibly leading to temporary layoffs. Via Rail, which operates passenger train service across the nation, is canceling all services effective immediately.The cancellations mark the most severe fallout yet from protests that have spread across Canada in recent days, disrupting shipments of oil, grain, propane, lumber and consumer goods. Environmental and indigenous-rights activists are blockading rail lines, ports and other infrastructure to show solidarity with portions of the Wet’suwet’en Nation that are protesting construction of TC Energy Corp.’s planned C$6.6 billion ($5 billion) Coastal GasLink pipeline through their territory in British Columbia.“This is a good case of insanity,” Don Walker, chief executive officer of auto-parts maker Magna International Inc., said in an interview with BNN Bloomberg on Thursday. The protests are a “very bad situation” that hurts Canadian business and its perceived competitiveness on a global scale.Mullen Group Ltd. CEO Murray Mullen called the disruptions a form of ecoterrorism and said on an earnings call that the the government should do something to ease the tensions before the economy is affected by the disruption in the supply chain. Mullen Group provides oilfield services, including trucking and specialized transport.TC Energy CEO Russ Girling said on an earnings call Thursday that he’s disappointed that police have had to help the company proceed with construction on the line. He said the company is continuing efforts to find a peaceful solution with the portions of the indigenous groups that oppose the project, which would connect natural gas fields in British Columbia to an export terminal that’s being built on the Pacific Coast.Potential LayoffsCN Rail said Thursday that it has been forced to start the shutdown of its operations in Eastern Canada, which may lead to temporary job cuts soon, the company said in a statement. Blockades have been cleared in Manitoba and may soon be resolved in British Columbia, but have persisted in Ontario, the Montreal-based company said.“This situation is regrettable for its impact on the economy and on our railroaders as these protests are unrelated to CN’s activities, and beyond our control,” CEO Jean-Jacques Ruest said in a statement.Federal Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller asked the protesters to end the disruption.“My request, that I ask you kindly to consider, is to discontinue the protest and barricade of the train tracks as soon as practicable,” he said in an email that he posted to Facebook on Thursday. Miller also asked to meet with the First Nations group.Respectful DialogEarlier this week Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the intensifying protests are “of concern” and added that his government will be engaging with ministers to look at next possible steps. Transport Minister Marc Garneau said “there is time for all parties to engage in open and respectful dialog to ensure this situation is resolved peacefully, and we strongly urge these parties to do so.”The protests are putting Trudeau in a bind. He got elected last year partly on a platform to reduce Canada’s carbon output and improve the environment, but his government also bought another pipeline to help ease bottlenecks that are cutting the price of the country’s crude.On Thursday, CN Rail spokesman Jonathan Abecassis said by phone that a disruption west of Winnipeg was disbanded. That demonstration had affected traffic between western and eastern Canada and south into the U.S.This is a second hit to CN Rail in three months after a worker strike in November also halted shipments.Proponents Versus OpponentsWhile two in five Canadians say they support the protesters, a slight majority support the Coastal GasLink project itself, according to a poll conducted by the Angus Reid Institute.“In each case, whether it’s the protesters or the pipeline, Canadians are divided into two sizable groups on each side of the issue,” the report said.Still, Canadians are mostly confident that the Coastal GasLink pipeline will be completed, according to the survey. About 57% believe that while it will take longer to build, it will still be completed and 34% have full confidence that it will go ahead regardless.Crude-by-RailAt least three Eastern Canadian refineries supplied by CN’s rail network have been cut off from crude-by-rail shipments on the system. The refineries account for about a third of the country’s refining capacity and include Irving Oil Corp.’s Saint John plant in New Brunswick, Canada’s biggest, Valero Energy Corp.’s Quebec City refinery and Suncor Energy Inc.’s Montreal plant. Valero and Irving didn’t respond to emails seeking comment.“We are closely monitoring the situation and are currently exploring alternate methods of distribution and have put measures in place to manage inventory,” a Suncor spokeswoman said. “We continue to take steps to mitigate any potential impacts.”\--With assistance from Stephen Wicary.To contact the reporters on this story: Divya Balji in Toronto at firstname.lastname@example.org;Michael Bellusci in Toronto at email@example.com;Robert Tuttle in Calgary at firstname.lastname@example.orgTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Jacqueline Thorpe at email@example.com, ;Derek DeCloet at firstname.lastname@example.org, Kevin Orland, Carlos CaminadaFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
The protests by an indigenous community opposing the construction of a gas pipeline project in British Columbia and its supporters have disrupted passenger trains and goods transportation for the seventh straight day. The shutdown will continue until the blockades end and may lead to temporary layoffs within its Eastern Canadian operational staff, the company said. "With over 400 trains canceled during the last week and new protests that emerged at strategic locations on our mainline, we have decided that a progressive shutdown of our Eastern Canadian operations is the responsible approach to take," Chief Executive Officer JJ Ruest said in a statement.
(Bloomberg) -- Escalating protests against a Canadian natural gas pipeline are putting rail shipments of grain, propane, lumber and consumer goods in jeopardy and prompting consternation among executives and lawmakers.Demonstrators are blocking rail lines and other key infrastructure to support parts of the Wet’suwet’en Nation, an indigenous group that opposes the construction of TC Energy Corp.’s planned C$6.6 billion ($5 billion) Coastal GasLink project. The pipeline would carry natural gas from Western Alberta to Kitimat, British Columbia, where the gas will be turned into LNG for export.A blockade on a rail line to the port of Prince Rupert, British Columbia, has halted grain shipments to a port where 1,400 cars are unloaded each week, said Greg Northey, a spokesman for industry group Pulse Canada. Cenovus Energy Inc., which ships a significant portion of its crude oil production via rail, said the protests pose a serious threat to the country’s economy.“There is a significant risk, not just to my business, but to the Canadian economy if these protests continue to shut down ports and shut down rail,” Cenovus Chief Executive Officer Alexander Pourbaix said Wednesday in an interview. The company shipped about 120,000 barrels of crude a day via rail in January, executives said on a call.The intensifying protests are “of concern,” said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who added that his administration will be engaging with ministers to look at next possible steps. “We recognize the important democratic right, and we will always defend it, of peaceful protest,” Trudeau said to reporters in Dakar, Senegal. “We are also a country with a rule of law, and we need to make sure those laws are respected.”In a separate statement issued Wednesday, Transport Minister Marc Garneau said “there is time for all parties to engage in open and respectful dialog to ensure this situation is resolved peacefully, and we strongly urge these parties to do so.”Rail NetworksOn Tuesday, Canadian National Railway Co. said in a statement it will have to shut down “significant” parts of its network because of the protests.Blockades near Belleville, Ontario, and between Prince George and Prince Rupert in B.C., have already disrupted passenger traffic as well as shipments of grain, propane, lumber and consumer goods, according to CN.“It’s not just passenger trains that are impacted by these blockades, it’s all Canadian supply-chains,” CN Rail CEO Jean-Jacques Ruest said in the statement.At least three Eastern Canadian refineries that have been supplied by CN’s rail network have been cut off from crude-by-rail shipments on the system. The refineries account for about a third of the country’s refining capacity and include Irving Oil Corp.’s Saint John plant in New Brunswick, Canada’s biggest, Valero Energy Corp.’s Quebec City refinery and Suncor Energy Inc.’s Montreal plant. Valero and Irving didn’t respond to emails seeking comment.“We are closely monitoring the situation and are currently exploring alternate methods of distribution and have put measures in place to manage inventory,” a Suncor spokeswoman said. “We continue to take steps to mitigate any potential impacts.”The Western Canadian oil patch has grown increasingly reliant on rail to get crude, Canada’s biggest export, to refiners as far away as the U.S. Gulf Coast.CN expects to be shipping 250,000 barrels a day by the end of the first quarter, up from 180,000 barrels a day in September, the company said last month. It shipped 36,000 carloads in the fourth quarter -- the most in the company’s history.Canadian oil prices weakened Wednesday amid the disruption with Western Canadian Select’s discount to benchmark futures widening $1.10 to $16.85 a barrel. Prices were also pressured by a refinery fire in Louisiana.The company transports more than C$250 billion worth of goods annually across a rail network of about 20,000 route-miles spanning Canada and mid-America.Other organizations have weighed in:The Alberta Wheat and Barley Commissions said protest blockades will cause “serious unintended consequences for farmers” and the entire agriculture industry.“Even a disruption of only a few days will cause a massive backlog with economic losses that are ultimately borne by farmers.”The Canadian Chamber of Commerce said it is “deeply concerned about the damage to the Canadian economy”“A rail disruption of this magnitude constitutes an emergency for the Canadian economy.”Political MinefieldCanada’s oil and gas industry has been the target of a rising protest movement, including opposition to the Trans Mountain and Keystone XL conduit projects. The demonstrations are creating a political minefield for Trudeau as he tries to plot a way forward for an industry plagued with bottlenecks while fulfilling his promise to reduce Canada’s carbon emissions.Trudeau’s government bought the Trans Mountain project in 2018 as a way to get Canada’s crude to tidewater and faces another stark decision in the weeks ahead on whether to approve Teck Resources Ltd.’s C$20 billion Frontier oil-sands mine.KKR & Co. and Alberta Investment Management Corp. agreed to buy a 65% stake in the Coastal GasLink project in a deal expected to close in June.(Adds Suncor comment in 11th paragraph)\--With assistance from Stephen Wicary, Chris Fournier and James Attwood.To contact the reporters on this story: Divya Balji in Toronto at email@example.com;Kevin Orland in Calgary at firstname.lastname@example.org;Robert Tuttle in Calgary at email@example.comTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Kyung Bok Cho at firstname.lastname@example.org, David Marino, Carlos CaminadaFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.
Canadian industries are bracing for potential shutdowns as anti-pipeline blockades continue in Ontario and B.C., grinding railway traffic to a halt in some parts of country.
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* Canadian dollar rises 0.2% against the greenback * Loonie touches a one-week high at 1.3264 * Price of U.S. oil increases * Canada 10-yr yield hits near one-week high at 1.395% By Fergal Smith TORONTO, Feb 12 (Reuters) - The Canadian dollar strengthened to a one-week high against its U.S. counterpart on Wednesday as reduced concern about the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak boosted stocks and the price of oil, one of Canada's major exports. At 7:44 a.m. (1244 GMT), the Canadian dollar was trading 0.2% higher at 1.3263 to the greenback, or 75.40 U.S. cents.
MONTREAL — Canada's rail system was under stress Tuesday as Via Rail cancelled passenger service on key routes and Canadian National Railway Co. warned it will be forced to close "significant" parts of its freight network unless blockades impeding its lines are removed.Via Rail cancelled service on its Montreal-Toronto and Toronto-Ottawa routes because of a blockade near Belleville, Ont., in support of opponents of the Coastal GasLink pipeline project that crosses the traditional territory of the Wet'suwet'en First Nation in northwestern B.C."Although we remain hopeful that a resolution will be reached, in view of the current uncertainty, VIA Rail is cancelling all departures until Thursday end of day on the Montreal-Toronto and Toronto-Ottawa routes, in both directions," Via spokeswoman Marie-Anna Murat said in an email.A blockade near New Hazelton, B.C., means normal rail activities are also being interrupted between Prince Rupert and Prince George, she said.Via Rail's announcement followed the warning from CN, which has halted more than 150 freight trains since Thursday evening, when demonstrators set up the blockades in B.C. and Ontario.The Montreal-based railway said Monday that long-distance freight shipments in Central and Eastern Canada were already at a virtual standstill.Chief executive JJ Ruest stressed the limited parking space in its network, with traffic backed up from Halifax to Windsor, Ont., and in parts of B.C. approaching Prince Rupert."CN will have no choice but to temporarily discontinue service in key corridors unless the blockades come to an end," he said in a statement Tuesday."The impact is also being felt beyond Canada's borders and is harming the country's reputation as a stable and viable supply chain partner."The ongoing blockades are near Belleville, Ont., and New Hazleton in B.C.'s northern interior, while demonstrations cropped up Tuesday in locations ranging from the Halifax port to the B.C. legislature.The Canadian Chamber of Commerce called on all levels of government and police to work together to bring an immediate end to the blockades and to restore all rail service."From propane to grain and food and consumer items, Canada's supply chains are being severely damaged by the continuing interruptions to Canada's rail services by protesters," the chamber said on Twitter. "The rail system affects the entire Canadian economy and Canadians everywhere, including people trying to get to and from work. They must be allowed to continue to serve the thousands of businesses that depend on them."Industry groups expressed concern about the shutdown as shipments to and from the U.S. and China are delayed or cancelled."It's a real crisis," said Joel Neuheimer, head of international trade with the Forest Products Association of Canada.Wood, pulp and paper producers have lost tens of millions of dollars so far, he said."We ship massive amounts of pulp to the United States and to places like Asia, so big negative impacts there," Neuheimer said in a phone interview."We have members whose customers aren't placing orders right now in the U.S. because they know that it's not going to get there as soon as it needs to get there."Olin Corp., a Missouri-based chemical maker with a facility near Trois-Rivieres, Que., cautioned Ottawa that its tight distribution schedule means the 50-odd Canadian companies it serves will soon stop receiving chlorine — used in part to treat drinking water — which it says is only shipped by rail."Olin is alarmed by the current freight rail situation in Canada, and we are concerned that customers and municipalities will not receive shipments of vital chemicals including chlorine within one week," chairman and CEO John Fischer said in a letter to federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau on Tuesday.The Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters Association, whose members typically load about 4,500 rail cars a day, is urging government officials to work with police to restore service on the tracks."In Canada there's not really other alternatives to move stuff around. The highways and trucks — especially in Quebec and southern Ontario — are already at a very, very high utilization of available capacity," association president Dennis Darby said in a phone interview.Stakeholders from chemical companies to Dannon Yogurt called this week to raise concerns, he said. "They can't get their stuff out."Garneau said he is working with the railways and his Ontario counterpart Caroline Mulroney to find a solution, and that blockage of tracks is "dangerous and illegal."Despite the countrywide impact, he underscored that responsibility for enforcing court injunctions against the anti-pipeline protesters lies with provincial politicians and police."Obviously we hope it's going to be resolved, but it is up to the provinces to make those injunctions effective by taking action," Garneau told reporters in Calgary. "It's having an important impact on the economy of the country."Earlier Tuesday, Via Rail said 157 passenger trains have also been cancelled, affecting 24,500 travellers on its Montreal-Toronto, Ottawa-Toronto and Kingston-Toronto routes.Ontario Provincial Police said officers are in talks with protesters behind a blockade that sits metres from the tracks, though not across them.OPP spokesman Bill Dickson said an officer of the court read an injunction to the protesters Tuesday morning ordering them to abandon the blockade, which bisects Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, about 20 kilometres east of Belleville.While CN obtained the injunction on Friday, Tuesday marked the first time it was read aloud in accordance with court procedure, Dickson said.Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte Chief R. Donald Maracle expressed solidarity with the Wet'suwet'en community in northwestern B.C. and called out actions by the RCMP, which has been enforcing a court injunction on the First Nation's traditional territory and arresting those attempting to block access to the pipeline route."We call on both federal and provincial governments to demand the RCMP immediately reconsider how it addresses peaceful protests and demonstrations, and allow the opportunity for sound discussion with a common sense approach to achieve peaceful outcomes," Maracle said in a statement.Brendan Marshall, head of economic and northern affairs at the Mining Association of Canada, said buyers of natural resource products were as vulnerable as producers — some of whom are already curtailing production."If you're a facility that's reliant on rail service in order to get your product to a site, then it's kind of like sand through the hourglass — when it runs out, the plant can't work anymore," he said.This report by the Canadian Press was first published Feb. 11, 2020.— With files from Michelle McQuiggeCompanies in this story: (TSX:CNR)Christopher Reynolds, The Canadian Press
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