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Deep freeze offers only cold comfort for natural gas producing firms

CALGARY — Analysts say the cold snap that continues to blanket many parts of North America is driving short-term natural gas prices higher but the trend is unlikely to significantly affect either Canadian consumer bills or producer profits. Cold weather typically increases demand for the home heating fuel, which draws down storage levels and pushes prices higher, but the affect...

Crude awakenings: stabilizing oil unlikely to improve the TSX’s performance in 2018

TORONTO — While stabilizing oil prices helped Canadian equities break out of their doldrums in the second half of 2017, investors expecting the Toronto Stock Exchange to catch up with its outperforming global peers in the new year should instead anticipate more modest returns with the add-on of greater market volatility. "Despite being flat in the early part of the...

Crude awakenings: stabilizing oil unlikely to improve the TSX’s performance in 2018

TORONTO — While stabilizing oil prices helped Canadian equities break out of their doldrums in the second half of 2017, investors expecting the Toronto Stock Exchange to catch up with its outperforming global peers in the new year should instead anticipate more modest returns with the add-on of greater market volatility. "Despite being flat in the early part of the...

Alberta carbon tax jumps, but NDP says it’s connected to improving economy

EDMONTON — Alberta's carbon tax jumped on New Year's Day, but the province's NDP government maintains the tax played a vital role in Alberta's improving economic outlook. Deputy premier Sarah Hoffman told reporters there was a clear link between the approval of several pipelines last year and the tax that Alberta first introduced on carbon on January 1, 2017. Hoffman noted...

Canadian IPOs rebounded in 2017, generating $5.1 billion in proceeds, PwC says

MONTREAL — PricewaterhouseCoopers says a resurgence in the mining sector in the final months of 2017 pushed total proceeds from initial public offerings in Canada to $5.1 billion last year, up from $466.7 million in 2016. There were 38 issues from Canadian companies or companies listing on Canadian exchanges in 2017. That included 13 in the fourth quarter, which raised a total...

Suncor operations cease at base plant after ‘process upset’ knocks out power

CALGARY — Suncor Energy Inc. says operations have ceased at its oilsands base plant near Fort McMurray, Alta., after a temporary power loss Wednesday afternoon. Company spokesperson Erin Rees would only describe the cause of the power loss as a "process upset" but says power was restored as of Wednesday night. Rees says she cannot provide more detail because it's a "day to day operational issue." She says the incident does not...

Federal Court judge finds Packers Plus fracking technology patent is invalid

CALGARY — A Canadian court is declaring invalid the patent for a fracking technology held by Calgary-based Packers Plus Energy Services Inc. The Federal Court of Canada says the company's patent granted in 2002 isn't valid because it was an "obvious" improvement on existing systems which had been publicly disclosed before the patent application was filed.  The decision has sweeping implications for the oil and gas industry because variations of the technology...

Draft policy: Alberta United Conservatives eye flat tax, private health delivery

EDMONTON — Alberta's governing NDP says draft policy ideas put forward by the Opposition United Conservatives are risky and would benefit the wealthy — but the new party calls that baseless fearmongering. Finance Minister Joe Ceci says a proposal to return to a flat personal income tax rate would take $700 million out of revenue for the benefit of the highest-income earners. "This is a...

Supporters of controversial sunken B.C. ship bouyed by fishy visitors

VANCOUVER — Officials with the Artificial Reef Society of B.C. say the sea floor is adapting well six months after the sinking of a decommissioned Canadian warship in Howe Sound, north of Vancouver.

HMCS Annapolis went down amid controversy in Halkett Bay off Gambier Island in April, ending years of legal battles from critics who argued paint on the ship's hull contained toxic chemicals.

Howard Robbins, the president of the artificial reef society, says those worries appear unfounded and the ship is living up to its environmental goal.

Rockfish stocks have been declining in Georgia Strait, but Robbins says some of the small, spiny fish have already been spotted nosing around the Annapolis. 

He says the old ship is also becoming increasingly popular with divers, closing the loop on a circle route for scuba fans that includes the HMCS Chaudiere in Sechelt Inlet, and several ships near Nanaimo.

In all, the artificial reef society has sunk seven vessels in B.C. waters. (CKAY)

The Canadian Press

Pacquiao could face disciplinary action for not disclosing shoulder injury

LAS VEGAS — Manny Pacquiao could face disciplinary action from Nevada boxing officials for failing to disclose a shoulder injury before his fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr. Nevada Athletic Commission chairman Francisco Aguilar said Monday that the state attorney general's office will look at why Pacquiao checked "no" a day before the fight on a commission questionnaire asking if he...

Ryan McDonagh scores in overtime, Rangers beat Capitals 2-1 in Game 5 to stay alive

NEW YORK — Ryan McDonagh scored 9:37 into overtime and the New York Rangers kept their Stanley Cup hopes alive with a 2-1 victory over the Washington Capitals on Friday night in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinal. Chris Kreider breathed life into the Presidents' Trophy winners by scoring with 1:41 left in regulation to force the overtime. The Capitals...

Don’t want extraordinary measures in end-of-life care? Do some advance planning

TORONTO — A family member or friend is drawing up a living will and asks you to be their substitute decision maker. If you watch TV medical dramas you may have only a partial picture of the decisions you could face should your loved one become unable to direct his or her medical care. Living wills often stipulate that...

One winning ticket for $35-million jackpot in Saturday night’s Lotto 6-49

TORONTO — There was one winning ticket for the $35-million jackpot in Saturday's Lotto 6-49 draw. Officials say it was sold in Toronto. The next Lotto 6-49 draw on Wednesday will have a jackpot worth an estimated $5 million.

Many protesters flattering themselves if they think CSIS is watching: former spy

OTTAWA — Many demonstrators are flattering themselves when they publicly fret about coming under the scrutiny of security services, says a former spymaster. The Canadian Security Intelligence Service had the resources to monitor only those threats "in the red, high-risk, high-probability zone" when he served as the agency's assistant director of intelligence earlier this decade, Ray Boisvert said Thursday. "That meant...

New U.S. refining demand expected to spur Canadian heavy oil demand in 2018

CALGARY — A new forecast from Deloitte says demand for Canadian heavy oil will likely rise this year as shrinking volumes from Mexico and Venezuela open new opportunities to sell to U.S. refineries. The accounting and consulting firm says the demand surge will work to overcome recently steeper price discounts received by Canadian producers due to pipeline outages that have stretched tight export transportation capacity. The report forecasts the...

University of B.C. gives 95-year-old practising lawyer honorary doctorate

VANCOUVER — Sixty-four years after she walked across the stage to collect her law degree, Constance Isherwood was back at the University of British Columbia for yet another ceremony. The 95-year-old Victoria lawyer received an honorary doctorate of law, recognizing her decades of legal work and service to her community. As she accepted the recognition today, she told the crowd that...

Nineteen fires merge to create largest fire in B.C. history

KAMLOOPS, B.C. - More than 400 firefighters are battling to contain the largest recorded wildfire in British Columbia's history. Kevin Skrepnek with the B-C Wildfire Service says 19 fires burning west of Quesnel and William’s Lake have merged to create a single fire estimated to be more than 467,000 hectares in size. The largest previously recorded wildfire in B.C. history was...

Canadian Natural Gas Growth To Be Stunted By US Exports: NEB

CALGARY, A.B. — The National Energy Board predicts that conditions will worsen for Canada’s struggling natural gas producers. It says Canadian natural gas output will decline through 2018 as production rises in the United States. It also expects Canadian natural gas prices will fall this year before before strengthening gradually into 2018. The predictions are contained in a report published this morning...
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