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[LINK] “Go north, not west: Yukon lures businesses with new company rules”

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CBC’s Paul Haavardsrud wrote at the beginning of the month how Canada’s northern Yukon Territory wants to make its autonomous government a potent selling factor for business, by making Yukon a preferred place to incorporate businessses. Leveraging its sovereign jurisdiction in this way could work: Look at Delaware.

What do a Chilean mining company, an Illinois-based pharmaceutical firm that just sold for $12.8 billion, and a gold producer from Colorado operating in Turkey have in common?

They’re all registered in Yukon.

That Alacer Gold, Catamaran, or Orosur Mining don’t do any work in the territory is a quirk of Canadian regulatory history that Yukon wants to make less of an oddity. So today, Yukon is changing its Business Corporations Act in a bid to convince even more far-flung companies that part of the answer to tapping Canada’s capital markets can be found north of 60.

“If you want to send a message to the business community that this is a good place to come, what better way to say it than you’ve got really good business legislation,” says Paul Lackowicz, a partner at Lackowicz & Hoffman, a Whitehorse law firm.

[. . .]

How much of a difference can some esoteric changes to business legislation really make? For a province like Ontario or Alberta, not much at all. But for a remote locale with a population of only 36,500, even a little economic activity can move the needle.

In that regard, Yukon is in the same boat as Delaware, a tiny state that’s so amenable to business that nearly half of the public companies in the United States are incorporated there. Yukon’s regulatory changes don’t include tax benefits, so no one should expect it to become Delaware North.

Registering for a business licence in a jurisdiction is also different than incorporating there as a legal entity. Still, in a sparsely populated territory that raised its employment rate 2.1 percentage points in 2013 by adding an extra 400 jobs, even changes at the margin can matter.

Written by Randy McDonald

May 13, 2015 at 2:04 am

[LINK] “IOC cites low iron ore prices as it lays off 150 in Labrador City”

The Globe and Mail carried a Canadian Press report describing how falling ore prices have led to catastrophe in Labrador.

The Iron Ore Co. of Canada is laying off 150 workers indefinitely from its mine in Labrador City effective June 14.

It’s the latest blow in Labrador West, a region hit by closures last year at Wabush Mines and the nearby Bloom Lake mine in Quebec.

About 2,000 people work at the IOC mine in Labrador City.

The company says the price of iron ore hit a low this week of $47.50 per tonne and it must cut costs to make production in Labrador viable.

About 1,200 members of the local United Steelworkers union in February voted against IOC’s request that they give up a 4-per-cent wage increase.

The union said the company is making big profits despite slumping prices and could save cash by cutting contract workers.

Written by Randy McDonald

April 10, 2015 at 9:44 pm

[LINK] “What’s in a name? A Chipewyan’s battle over her native tongue”

Rachel Browne of MacLean’s reports on the inability of a Chipewyan woman in the Northwest Territories to give her child a name in her (endangered) language.

Every March, Aboriginal Languages Month is celebrated across the Northwest Territories with book launches, workshops and traditional drumming ceremonies. Created by the Assembly of First Nations in 1993, it’s a month meant to recognize and promote the rich heritage of Aboriginal languages and cultures. It’s especially meaningful for the territory, which has the highest number of official languages in Canada: nine Aboriginal languages on top of English and French.

But this time of year can also serve as a reminder of their uncertain future. “Some of our Aboriginal languages are struggling, not because we are not doing enough to support them, but because the challenges they face are complex,” the territory’s minister of official languages, Jackson Lafferty, said in the territory’s legislative assembly on March 4.

One of the big challenges, it turns out, is the government itself. Last week, Shene Catholique-Valpy, an Aboriginal woman born and raised in the Northwest Territories, spoke out publicly about her year-long fight to have the the traditional Chipewyan spelling of her daughter’s name, Sahaiʔa May Talbot, on her birth certificate. Sahaiʔa roughly translates to: “As the sun breaks through the clouds or over the horizon.” And the symbol, which resembles a question mark without the dot, called a glottal stop, indicates the correct pronunciation and meaning; without it, the name is incorrect.

The Northwest Territories is the only jurisdiction in Canada that officially recognizes the Chipewyan language. Yet one month after Catholique-Valpy, whose mother happens to be the territory’s official languages commissioner, gave birth last February and filed the paperwork for Sahaiʔa’s birth certificate, she got a call from the vital statistics department, which said it couldn’t accept the name due to the glottal stop. The department said it has to adhere to the Vital Statistics Act, which recognizes only names that use letters from the Roman alphabet. Having symbols like the glottal stop on birth certificates would also interfere with obtaining passports and other documents issued by the federal government, according to an email from a department spokesperson. (Citizenship and Immigration Canada could not confirm by press time if this indeed the case.)

Written by Randy McDonald

March 25, 2015 at 10:56 pm

[LINK] “Northerners debate uranium mine and caribou effects”

Bob Weber’s Canadian Press article is almost stereotypically sad and depressing and entirely believable in its depiction of the treatment of the North and its people.

Hilu Tagoona was just a girl the first time uranium miners proposed to develop a massive deposit of the radioactive metal near her home town of Baker Lake, Nunavut.

“I was about 11,” she says. “I spent many an hour listening to (presentations), spending time at the hearings.”

Now, at 37, she’s about to relive her childhood as final hearings begin Monday before the Nunavut Impact Review Board on a second proposal to eventually build a mine on the tundra. As a spokeswoman for the anti-uranium group Makitagunarningit, her opinion on it hasn’t changed.

“Our big concern is the caribou and their calving grounds.”

French nuclear giant Areva is proposing to build one underground and four open-pit mines just west of Baker Lake, on the edge of the calving grounds of one of the North’s great caribou herds and near the largest and most remote wildlife sanctuary on the continent.

Written by Randy McDonald

March 7, 2015 at 3:59 am

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • blogTO notes the end of long-running Toronto literary journal Descant.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes the Russian acquisition of another SSBN.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money links to a Los Angeles Times article examining child labour on Mexican farms.
  • Marginal Revolution links to a paper examining surnames in Catalonia for mobility.
  • Livejournaler moiraj mocks, with facts, the predictions of Canadian conservative journalist Diane Francis.
  • The New APPS Blog considers the biopolitics of inexpensive medical tests.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw started a discussion about the attractiveness or not of villains, even before the Sydney tragedy.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer notes how Mexico City made construction issues for its subway Line 12 into a net positive.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog debunks a myth about Russian premature mortality for the 1923 cohort that still tells of terrible things.
  • Strange Maps notes the significant problems of explorers trying to map northeastern, Arctic, Canada.
  • Torontoist notes Toronto’s Black Lives Matter march while Towleroad notes the lack of a GLBT-black coalition.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that Russian economic problems are worsening the government’s relations with republics like Tatarstan, wonders how long Kadyrov will stay in power in Chechnya, and suggests Belarusian bases might be used to threaten Ukraine.

[BRIEF NOTE] On indigenous peoples and threatening geographic marginality in Canada and Australia

Royce Kurmelovs’ Al Jazeera article describing how changes in government funding to Aboriginal communities threaten to result in the shutdown of many of the more remote ones is quite alarming to me, not least because I can see certain parallels with many Canadian First Nations communities. Many of my recent posts about Arctic Canada have related to the high cost of living and various failing efforts to bring this down to southern standards, while other remote reserves face similar serious issues. I suspect that Canadian First Nations might be somewhat better off, if only because they have enjoyed for a very long while many of the attributes of sovereignty that Aboriginal groups seem to have enjoyed only recently, but still.

Comments? The question of cutbacks in our era of austerity is very real, and all the more threatened for their associations with ethnic biases by neglectful central governments.

The West Australian state government may bulldoze 150 remote indigenous communities that it says are too expensive to keep open under a new funding arrangement between federal and state authorities.

Canberra has offered each state a one-time, lump-sum payment to take over the responsibility of financing remote Aboriginal communities indefinitely.

In an ultimatum, Western Australia was offered $90m, enough to fund remote communities through to 2017.

But as of June 30, 2015, past federal funding agreements will end, effectively giving Western Australia authorities about seven months before they must start working out how to fund remote communities in the future – and which ones will have to close.

Similar arrangements have been made with South Australian, Queensland, Victorian and Tasmanian state governments.

All have so far remained silent on the details with the exception of South Australia, which rejected a $10m payment on the basis that it was not enough for the obligation being created.

South Australia’s Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation Ian Hunter warned if his government was forced to accept the new arrangement, 60 remote communities – home to 4,000 people – would have to close.

Written by Randy McDonald

December 10, 2014 at 8:55 pm

[LINK] “Aglukkaq reads newspaper while Nunavut food debate flares around her”

I mentioned last month problems living in the Canadian North with its increased costs of transportation and decreased opportunities. One of these problems involved the very high cost of food, and the failure of a Canadian government subsidy program intended to make it affordable. Just two days ago, the Aboriginal People’s Television Network–a Canadian First Nations-run network that has done its share of breaking news stories relevant to the North and First Nations–broke the story that Leona Aglukkaq, Environment Minister and Nunavut MP, was reading a newspaper as a debate on the food subsidy program and her personal reactions to the crisis.

Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq was caught on camera reading the newspaper while debate raged around her in Question Period Monday about a food crisis in Nunavut.

Aglukkaq has said she is considering legal action against Rankin Inlet’s deputy mayor Sam Tutanuak who claimed the minister tried to extract an apology during a phone conversation with the Nunavut hamlet’s senior administrative officer.

Aglukkaq has flatly denied she tried to get an apology for Tutanuak’s comments to APTN Investigates that high grocery prices in the community had forced people to scavenge for food at the local dump.

Aglukkaq’s office also denied claims from five different MPs that she yelled ‘that’s not true’ during Question Period last week when the NDP brought up the issue of Inuit searching for food in the dump.

The Auditor General of Canada released a scathing report last Monday on the management of the Harper government’s food subsidy Nutrition North program. Auditor General Michael Ferguson said Ottawa had no idea whether the program was working or if Northern grocery retailers were passing on the government subsidy for perishable foods like vegetables.

She has later apologized for reading the newspaper–APTN has a screen capture–but has defended her government’s actions otherwise.

Written by Randy McDonald

December 5, 2014 at 2:04 am


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