Archive for April 2019

TORONTO – Ontario’s first cap-and-trade auction sold out all current allowances, giving the new market a strong start, but the province’s environment minister warned the real test of the system will be in the emission reductions it brings about.

The March 22 auction brought in $472 million, the government said Monday.

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But over the next 15 auctions, to the end of the compliance period in 2020, the market can probably expect “a reasonable amount of volatility and unpredictability,” said Environment Minister Glen Murray.

“The participation rate, whether it’s 100 per cent or 20 per cent or 50 per cent or 60 per cent or 13 per cent, is not the success of the market,” he said. “The success of the market is really based on our ability to reduce (greenhouse gases). We will not expect to get 100 per cent all the time.”

The system aimed at lowering greenhouse gas emissions puts caps on the amount of pollution companies in certain industries can emit. If they exceed those limits, they must buy an equal number of allowances at auction or from other companies that come in under their limits.

Most large emitters in Ontario are receiving allowances for free until 2020, which the government says is meant to prevent them from moving to jurisdictions without carbon pricing. But for now certain electricity importers, natural gas distributors and fuel suppliers are among those required to participate.

Bidders in the first auction included Union Gas, Enbridge Gas, Imperial Oil, the Greater Toronto Airports Authority, the city of Kingston, Ont., the University of Guelph, Ontario Power Generation, Apotex, Labatt, BP Canada Energy Group, Shell Energy North America and Suncor Energy Products Partnership.

READ MORE: Ontario gas prices increase due to province’s cap-and-trade program

The provincial Liberal government hopes the quarterly auctions will bring in $1.9 billion a year, to be invested in programs that reduce emissions and help businesses and consumers adapt to a low-carbon economy.

The auction floor price was $18.07 and the actual settlement price was $18.08. Murray said he was pleased about that because he wanted the actual price to be as low as possible.

“One of the objectives of cap and trade is to manage the transition to a low carbon economy at the lowest-possible prices to Ontarians and Ontario businesses,” he said. “So we didn’t want to see early upward movement on that.”

The successful first auction is a great start for the new market, but it’s good to avoid reading too much into it, said Erica Morehouse, senior attorney with the Environmental Defense Fund.

“It is just one auction and I think the overall success of a program should be judged on the strength of its design and whether it’s able to work to keep carbon pollution in check,” she said.

About one quarter of the future vintages on offer were also sold and while the number may seem low, Murray said it was more than they were expecting. The result shows confidence in the longevity of the market, he said.

Ontario plans to link its cap-and-trade system with a joint Quebec-California market next year, and Murray said he will be in California soon for negotiations.

But when linked, an estimated $466 million will leave the Ontario economy over three years, because it will be cheaper to buy allowances in those jurisdictions, the auditor general has said. Both the environmental commissioner and the auditor have said that means greenhouse gas emissions won’t actually be cut in Ontario.

Progressive Conservative Leader Patrick Brown – whose party is ahead in the polls and could form government in 2018 – has said he would dismantle the cap-and-trade system in favour of a carbon tax, with the cost to consumers and business offset through other tax cuts.

READ MORE: Cost of cap-and-trade for Ontario consumers beginning Jan. 1, 2017

Brown was undeterred by the first auction’s success.

“The Wynne Liberals want us to believe they are protecting the environment, but it’s a smokescreen,” he said in a statement. “Their plan sends millions of dollars to one of the richest jurisdictions on earth for emission reductions there, which means failing to cut emissions here at home. This does not make sense.”

NDP critic Peter Tabuns said he is still concerned that revenue could be used to finance projects that are already underway, which wouldn’t help fight climate change.

“We still have our concerns about effectiveness, transparency, fairness, but we do believe the cap-and-trade system is something Ontario needs,” he said.

Since Jan. 1, cap and trade has added 4.3 cents per litre to the price of gasoline and about $80 a year to natural gas home heating costs, in addition to indirect costs that will be passed onto consumers.

The next auction is on June 6.

One of the last things that Michael Garland Elliott ever heard was that U.S. President Donald Trump had been impeached.

He hadn’t. But just hearing it was enough for Elliott to take a “final, gentle breath,” and for his earthly work to be concluded, said an obituary published in The Oregonian newspaper.

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Elliott died on April 6, “surrounded by people who loved him dearly and cared for him selflessly during the last months of his life.”

His age was uncertain — he wasn’t entirely sure which year he was born in.

Michael had no family left, but he was survived by Teresa Elliott, his ex-wife and best friend, the obituary said.

“Though their marriage ran aground, their friendship only grew stronger and hers was the last voice Mike heard.”

READ MORE: Woman pens funny obit for grandmother, just as she would have wanted it

Teresa was the one who told Michael that Trump was impeached, The New York Daily News reported.

“I knew that would bring him comfort and it did,” she told the newspaper.

Michael was a “news junkie” who “hated [Trump’s] effing guts,” Teresa said. And he conveyed his dislike for the president until he wasn’t able to do it anymore.

In this Tuesday, March 28, 2017, file photo, President Donald Trump listens during a meeting with the Fraternal Order of Police, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington.

AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File

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But there was more to him than a distaste for Trump.

Michael was also a golf enthusiast who was a founding member of Portland’s The Reserve golf club.

He was once so frustrated by a shot that he threw every one of the clubs in his bag at a tree.

Then, when his health declined and he couldn’t play golf anymore, he “threw things at the TV instead,” the obituary read.

READ MORE: ‘I think I was a pretty nice guy’: Cape Breton man writes his own blunt obit

Michael isn’t the only person who referenced the 2016 election in their obituary.

Mary Anne Noland died last year at the age of 68.

Her obituary opened as follows:

“Faced with the prospect of voting for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, Mary Anne Noland of Richmond chose, instead, to pass into the eternal love of God.”

Jim Noland, Mary Anne’s husband of 46 years, said one of their sons penned the line as a way of carrying on her sense of humour, he told NBC 12.

An airline pilot who was so drunk he appeared to pass out in the cockpit before takeoff has been sentenced to eight months in jail.

Miroslav Gronych pleaded guilty last month to having care and control of an aircraft while he had a blood alcohol level that was three times the legal limit.

Gronych was escorted off a Sunwing Airlines plane in Calgary on Dec. 31 that was supposed to fly to Regina and Winnipeg before continuing to Cancun, Mexico.

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    The court heard that when Gronych got on the plane, he struggled to hang up his coat, was slurring his words and was staggering.

    The court was also told the co-pilot suggested Gronych should leave the plane, but he eventually returned to the cockpit, sat down and appeared to pass out with his face resting on the window.

    The defence had asked for a three- to six-month sentence while the Crown had asked the judge for one year in jail.

    Gronych did not visibly react when the sentence was read in court.

    Taking into account time served he will spend seven months and one week behind bars,

    READ MORE:
    Exclusive: Liberals ‘will welcome discussion’ on random alcohol testing for pilots

    The court heard that Gronych, a Slovakia national who is married and has two young children, has lost his job.

    Members of a flight crew are prohibited under Canadian aviation regulations from working within eight hours of consuming alcohol or while under the influence of alcohol.

    Sunwing has said it has a zero tolerance policy on crew members consuming alcohol within 12 hours of going on duty.

    With files from David Boushy

Lawyers on both sides in a preliminary hearing for a Saskatchewan farmer accused of fatally shooting Colten Boushie say they hope the truth will come out.

The week-long hearing, which began Monday, will determine whether Gerald Stanley will face trial for second-degree murder in the death of the indigenous man last summer.

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    Boushie, who was 22, was shot and killed Aug. 9 while riding in an SUV that went onto a farm near Biggar, Sask.

    READ MORE: Family of Colten Boushie calls for out-of-province investigator

    Details of the preliminary hearing are under a publication ban.

    Lawyer Chris Murphy, who represents Boushie’s family, said the family wants to get to the truth and ensure Stanley receives a fair trial.

    Murphy said it was hard for the family to hear evidence presented at the preliminary hearing.

    “I think it’s difficult for anybody to watch the evidence that occurred today and that’s just if you’re not a family member,” Murphy said outside the provincial courthouse in North Battleford, Sask.

    “So I think if you compound that basically by a thousand times and you probably understand what the family’s going through.”

    At one point in the hearing, Boushie’s mother, Debbie Baptiste, became emotional and briefly left the courtroom.

    Baptiste declined to comment outside court.

    Stanley’s lawyer, Scott Spencer, said the process is extremely hard for his client as well.

    “This is extremely stressful, extremely difficult,” Spencer said outside court. “The tragedy’s not lost on anybody. The family’s in the courtroom suffering and you know that’s tough on everybody.”

    READ MORE: Sask. RCMP say online comments about Colten Boushie shooting could be criminal

    Stanley has pleaded not guilty and is out on bail. He sat quietly next to Spencer in court Monday.

    The killing of Boushie, who was from the Red Pheasant First Nation, ignited racial tension in Saskatchewan.

    There have been large rallies outside court when Stanley made previous appearances.

    RCMP closed the road in front of the courthouse Monday for the preliminary hearing, but the scene was quiet.

    “The last thing on anybody’s mind in this family is to cause any unrest. They’re here just to see what happened to their son and their brother,” said Murphy.

    A handful of people held signs that said “Justice 4 Colten.” Another sign said “He was somebody’s son, cousin, nephew, uncle, brother, grandson, friend.”

    Still another held a sign quoting lines from Boushie’s obituary.

    “Not how did he die but how did he live? Not what did he gain but what did he give?”

Logan Shaw picked the right time to score his first career game-winning goal.

Shaw scored with 3:06 left in the third period to lift the Anaheim Ducks over the Calgary Flames 4-3 on Sunday.

“That one felt nice,” said Shaw who drove hard to the net to swat a Ryan Kesler rebound past Calgary goalie Brian Elliott for just his third goal of the season (and second against the Flames).

“When I saw Kes going, I figured I may as well jump up there with him. I knew he was going to throw the puck at the net or behind the net so I was just going to the right place.”

Patrick Eaves, Jakob Silfverberg and Korbinian Holzer also scored for the Ducks (43-23-13), while Kesler finished with three assists.

“I was just trying to create a rebound off the net,” said Kesler in regards to Shaw’s clutch goal. “I knew both their D went to me. I was just trying to get rid of it.”

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The Ducks moved back into first place in the NHL’s Pacific Division ahead of the idle Edmonton Oilers (44-25-9), who beat Anaheim 3-2 in overtime at home one night earlier.

Anaheim goalie Jonathan Bernier made 18 saves to improve his record to 10-0-2 in his past 12 games. Bernier stopped 17-of-25 shots during an 8-3 loss to the Flames in his last start in Calgary on Dec. 4.

Kris Versteeg had a pair of goals for the Flames (44-31-4), who play the Ducks again on Tuesday at Anaheim’s Honda Center where Calgary has lost 24 straight regular-season games dating back to Jan. 19, 2004.

“It’s going to be ramped up,” said Versteeg. “We know how good they are at home and we expect to be ready.”

Michael Frolik also scored for Calgary, while TJ Brodie and Mark Giordano had two assists apiece.

Elliott made 30 saves, including a highlight-reel stop in the second period when he kicked out his left leg to get a skate on a point-blank shot by Ryan Getzlaf.

“That’s just desperation and that’s why he’s been so good for us lately and put us in the position that we’re in right now,” said Flames forward Troy Brouwer.

Eaves opened the scoring with a power-play goal at 11:32 of the first period. Elliott stopped the initial point shot by Cam Fowler before Eaves snapped the rebound past the Calgary netminder for his seventh goal in his past eight games.

Silfverberg gave the Ducks a 2-0 lead with 56.2 seconds remaining in the opening period when he took a drop pass from Kesler and snapped a perfect shot to the top corner, blocker side.

The Flames bounced back with a pair of power-play goals by Versteeg at 3:48 and 10:01 of the second period. After wiring a shot to the top corner past Bernier, Versteeg then scored on a two-man advantage when he skated out from the corner and shovelled a shot past the Anaheim goalie.

Anaheim pressed hard to retake the lead and were rewarded with 2:07 left in the second when Holzer pinched in off the point to take a pass from Getzlaf before snapping a shot past Elliott.

Frolik tipped Giordano’s point shot past Bernier at 5:42 of the third period to pull the Flames even again.

Notes:

Defencemen Sami Vatanen and Hampus Lindholm both suffered upper-body injuries during Anaheim’s 3-2 overtime loss in Edmonton on Saturday. … Anaheim called up defenceman Shea Theodore from the AHL’s San Diego Gulls on Sunday and made it to Calgary on time to suit up for his 31st game of the season for the Ducks. … After sitting out Saturday’s game against the Oilers, defenceman Brandon Montour also made his return to Anaheim’s lineup against Calgary.