Tag Archives: Canada

Saudi Investment Freeze Doesn’t Amount to Much in Canada

The decision by Saudi Arabia to halt new investments and unload assets in Canada is likely to have limited impact.

Saudi assets in Canada are confined mainly to stakes in upscale hotel operators, some small stock holdings in companies like Canadian National Railway Co., and grain facilities.

Most investments have been made by Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal through his Kingdom Holding Co., a Riyadh-based conglomerate with investments in hotels, real estate and equities. The company’s international hotel unit joined Bill Gates’s Cascade Investment and Canadian Isadore Sharp in a 2007 buyout of management company Four Seasons Hotels Inc., taking a 47.5 percent stake.

“The matter does not affect the day-to-day operations of Four Seasons,” spokeswoman Sarah Tuite said in an email. “It is business as usual as we continue to welcome guests to our hotels and resorts worldwide.”

Alwaleed’s influence in the kingdom has diminished after his arrest last year in an anti-corruption sweep by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is seen to be sending a message to critics of his leadership with this latest reaction against Canada.

Wheat Board

G3 Global Grain Group, a joint venture between state-owned Saudi Agriculture & Livestock Investment Co. and U.S. agri-food company Bunge Ltd., bought a 50.1 percent stake in the Canadian Wheat Board for C$250 million ($192 million) in 2015. SALIC boosted its stake to 75 percent a year later. The partnership also holds an interest in a grain export terminal being built near Vancouver. On Tuesday, officials of the Winnipeg, Manitoba-based G3 said the company continues to buy and sell grain as usual. Officials didn’t immediately return requests for comment on Wednesday.

Last year, Toronto-based technology startup QD Solar Inc. received funding from a group that included Saudi’s King Abdullah University of Science and Technology and Netherlands-based venture capital firm DSM Venturing.

Saudi lender National Commercial Bank has an asset manager that held investments in 41 Canadian companies including Suncor Energy Inc., Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. and Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. in its AlAhli North America Index Fund, according to May 2017 filings. CN Rail, at $473,500, was the largest Canadian investment of the fund’s $148.2 million portfolio.

Trading With the Kingdom

Oil made up 99 percent of Canadian imports from Saudi Arabia in 2017

Source: Statistics Canada

Two-way trade between the two countries is tiny — around 0.4 percent of Canada’s total trade in 2017. Canada exported C$1.37 billion worth of goods to Saudi Arabia last year, mostly tanks and other armored fighting vehicles and their parts, according to Statistics Canada. The country imported C$2.63 billion in goods from Saudi Arabia over that period, mostly crude imported to the Irving Oil Ltd. refinery in Saint John, New Brunswick.

Export Development Canada, the country’s trade financing agency said it has exposure of about C$2 billion to Saudi Arabia, and about 250 customers operating in the kingdom.

“Canada stands up firmly and respectfully for human rights,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters Wednesday in Montreal, sidestepping questions on the impact of the Saudi moves. He also declined to say whether Canada would apologize for its statements about the women’s activists.

The tanks and armored vehicles are manufactured by General Dynamics Land Systems Canada, based in London, Ontario, a unit of U.S. defense giant General Dynamics Corp., under a C$15 billion contract with Saudi Arabia signed by the Canadian government in 2014.

Currency Reverses

Saudi’s move had a brief impact on the Canadian dollar, with the loonie depreciating as much as 0.5 percent to C$1.3120 per U.S. dollar after the Financial Times reported the Saudi Arabia central bank and state pension funds instructed overseas asset managers to dispose of Canadian assets starting Tuesday.

Canada’s currency later reversed those losses to trade 0.3 percent higher at 4:29 p.m. in Toronto. The S&P/TSX Composite Index closed 0.2 percent higher at 16,315.08. Yields on 10-year government bonds fell 1 basis point to 2.36 percent.

Saudi holdings of Canadian dollar reserves are between C$10 billion and C$25 billion, with the upper end of that estimate representing 10 percent of daily Canadian dollar trading volume, according to estimates from the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

Gold, Engineering

Canadian direct investors in Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, include Barrick Gold Corp., the world’s second-biggest producer, and SNC-Lavalin Group Inc., Canada’s biggest engineering and construction company.

SNC, which has been operating in the kingdom for five decades, said late Wednesday it’s not yet been able to “fully assess” the impact of the tensions with Saudi Arabia on its business. SNC had revenue of about C$993 million in the country last year, representing about 11 percent of total sales.

“If a widespread commercial embargo on Canadian commercial interests in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia were to be implemented on a prolonged basis, there will be an impact on our future financial performance,” SNC said in a statement.

As for Barrick, the Toronto-based miner said it doesn’t expect its copper mine in Saudi Arabia to be affected by the escalating tensions with Canada.

(Updates with SNC-Lavalin comment in penultimate paragraph.)

    Read more: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-08-08/saudi-arabia-investment-freeze-doesn-t-amount-to-much-in-canada

    ‘Places you’ll only visit due to random misfortune’: an alt guide to Canada’s cities

    Canada Day 2017 can also be the countrys 150th birthday. To mark this special day, we present this handy help guide to its greatest urban centres, as based in the CANADALAND Help guide to Canada

    Welcome to Canada! Even though many people consider it as being an enormous expanse of snowy backwoods, 75% of Canadians really live within 1 hour 30 minutes of america border that they anxiously hang on to for warmth and tv shows.

    Most Canadians live in a number of metropolitan areas that you might end up in because of layovers or random misfortune. It is not easy to inform one from another … this might help.

    Toronto

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    Toronto: why so ugly? Illustration: Andrew Barr/Canadaland

    Toronto is a large North American city. Youll know youre here and not in Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, or a dozen other places, because of the very tall tower downtown.

    Why so ugly?

    Toronto was labelled a temporary city for the first years of British rule. As it grew in the 19th century, this protestant backwater turned to meatpacking as its primary industry. You actually needed a special license to buy liquor for personal use until 1969, and some neighbourhoods maintained prohibition until 1994.

    In the 60s and 70s, fear suddenly made Toronto the centre of Canadas universe, as companies terrified by the possibility of a sovereign Qubec moved their head offices from Montral to the next best option. They were soon followed by equally terrified Anglos (English-speaking Montralers).

    Seemingly overnight, Toronto boomed. Construction exploded at the exact ugliest moment in the history of architecture, with no regard for urban planning or aesthetics of any kind.

    How to fill the void?

    Ever had a kebab the size of your arm? Toronto has! How about poutine with pork 3 ways? You betcha! 14-day eco-friendly juice cleanse? Theyre right on the doorstep! The town includes a particular penchant for novelty baked goods, pretentious fusion, and also the needlessly wheat-less. Because the citys meals are the only real factor which has ever introduced residents any semblance of pleasure, they stuff chow mein burritos within their mouths like theyre not every around the slow, inevitable route to oblivion.

    Amalgamations revenge

    Toronto is really a composite of boroughs and cultures stitched together. After decades of unhindered suburban sprawl, its many communities were all of a sudden amalgamated into an incoherent and ungovernable behemoth in 1998. Wish to extend the subway system with a couple of stops? Not a problem. That’ll be completed in twenty years approximately.

    A progressive paradise?

    You’ve clearly forgotten Mayor Rob Ford.

    Vancouver

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    Vancouver: A hermit kingdom, separated from reality by the Rocky Mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. Illustration: Andrew Barr

    Vancouver is a hermit kingdom, separated from reality by the Rocky Mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. In its isolation, Vancouver has gone insane and lost all frame of reference, and locals are consistently in one kind of fantasy stupor or another. Come for a visit soon, as a massive earthquake is expected to jolt Vancouverites to reality every day now.

    Who youll meet

    Junkies: Vancouvers downtown eastside hosts a sobering quantity of heroin addicts, and a trip to any Hastings alleyway will mortify the most hardened street-occupant. This really is terrible, remarked a scandalised Snoop Dogg inside a 2016 Instagram video as his Sports utility vehicle drove over piles of syringes. You have to clean this shit up.

    Teen millionaires: Wealthy Chinese (also Indians, Iranians, and Saudis) families frequently send their offspring to Vancouver, where they live in trendy homes (for tax-sheltering purposes) and drive costly cars.

    Teen millionaires 2.: Huffing the northward-drifting fumes of Plastic Valley, local gurus and thinkfluentials all wish to score big using the next Hootsuite or Lots of Fish. Understand what Retsly, Zeetl, Tingle, or Yiip do? Thats OK, neither do their workers.

    Sporty enlightened hippies: Other Vancouverites are fitness-crazed, eastern philosophy-loving, fleece-putting on, property-speculating hippies.

    What to do

    Kitsilano: A captivating middle-class neighbourhood, well-liked by youthful parents, full of parks, beaches, and delightful heritage homes all of which be easily wiped from the face of the world with a cataclysmic 8.+ megaquake.

    Yaletown: Formerly the citys rail yard, Yaletown has changed into a neighbourhood filled of stylish bars, parks, spas and boutiques, and it is set to change again when an earthquake rips our planet open just like a zipper, as you researcher place it.

    Gastown: The place to find a few of the citys most widely used historic sites, restaurants, profit-free tech startups, and least earthquake-resistant structures. It won’t be able to escape within the destruction.

    Opponents of Vancouver

    Vancouver has more destitute people than elsewhere in Canada additionally, it has more empty homes than elsewhere in Canada.

    Ottawa

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    Ottawa: Winters are oppressive as a future overlord. Illustration: Andrew Barr/Canadaland

    Ottawa is the seat of political power in Canada, and it is ripe for the picking. Whether youre a French insurrectionist or simply a busload of teenagers protesting abortion, here is how to sack and occupy Canadas capital and thus, the entire nation.

    Climate challenges

    Ottawas winters are as oppressive as you are, future overlord. It has some of the countrys coldest, snowiest winters, with an average snowfall of 236cm. It also ranks in the top 10 for hottest, most humid summers in Canada. It is the worst of both worlds. Do yourself a favour and conquer Ottawa in the spring or fall, then holiday in Florida like everybody else.

    Canada Day

    Like any despot, you will need to adapt to local customs to maintain stability. Keep your iron grip by hiring the Barenaked Ladies or Avril Lavigne to experience a totally free public concert around the hill.

    Rewrite history

    Glorify yourself in Ottawas 14 national museums. Roughly 7.3 million people go to the capital region every year and millions more can come to worship at the altar. Pressure the Royal Canadian Mint to simply press coins together with your visage. The Canada Aviation and Space Museum should show the most recent in ballistic missile technology on loan out of your buddies in North Korea. The Nation’s Gallery of Canada should showcase only boring art which makes people feel at ease (so no changes needed there).

    Montreal

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    Montreal: The most charming and sexy city in North America. Illustration: Andrew Barr/Canadaland

    More than Canada, less than Europe. A city of cobblestones and potholes, wine in convenience stores, and unsettling levels of street clowning. If you like good food, civil unrest, high art, common-law marriage, beautiful architecture and endemic corruption: bienvenue!

    Where to go

    The Old Port: The citys historic port dates back to the early 1600s, when French fur traders used it as a trading post. Today you can catch an Imax flick there and weep at the citys neglect of the districts crumbling, ancient buildings.

    The Main: The beating heart of Montral, Boulevard Saint-Laurent the citys main strip was the historical dividing line separating the citys working-class French in the east from the working-class Anglos in the west.

    Park Ex: Follow the citys tearful trail of migration northwards to the borough of Villeray-Saint-Michel-Parc Extension, aka Park Ex. Ride the 80 bus for four hours until you arrive in the centre of Qubcois cool. Live like a local artist, weed dealer or grad student by dining on cheap Pakistani food and drinking overproof beer in Jarry Park.

    What to do

    Tam-Tams:Montralers gather every week in Mount Royal Park to fill the air with the beats and baps of amateur drumming. They also fill the air with the scent of stepped-on hash, beeswax candles and body odour.

    Nothing: The very fact that you are consulting a travel guide tells me youre a loathsome Anglo who likes to ruin everything by planning for it. Put down this guidebook and live your life for once.

    Get chided for speaking broken French:The look of contempt youll get from a Francophone say, when you ask for laddition at a restaurant when you want your bill, as one might in France is one of the citys most beautiful sights.

    Enjoy high culture:From cinema to comedy to music, to whatever FrancoFolies is on about, arts festivals are unavoidable throughout the couple of several weeks of the season when Montral isn’t frozen. If you like arranging for things or squeezing the body through densely packed mobs to look at jam bands noodle on free public stages, this is actually the spot for you.

    Leave: Montral is easily the most charming and sexy city in The United States. It’s sophisticated, civilised and economical. Following a weekend visit or perhaps a college degree, most attempt to stay. Remember: you might love Montral, but it’ll never adore you back. Au revoir!

    It is really an edited extract in the book The Canadaland Guide to Canada by Jesse Brown, printed by Touchstone

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    Find out more: https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2017/jun/30/canada-day-2017-150th-birthday-alternative-cities-guide-toronto-vancouver

    Leonard Cohen obituary

    Canadian singer, songwriter, novelist and poet revered for works including the song Hallelujah

    It is a remarkable testament to the scope of popular music that Leonard Cohen could ever have been filed under the headings of rock or pop. A poet and novelist as well as a songwriter, Cohen, who has died aged 82, was as much a literary figure as a musical one.

    Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/nov/11/leonard-cohen-obituary