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Posted on June 6, 2018

 

Vancouver

Hey Jaime,

All of us love a bit of drama, especially when it involves some family intrigue. But as all of us in B.C. are learning, when the family in question is the ruling political party, it can get tricky pretty fast. The balance between creating jobs and protecting the environment is nothing new,  especially in Canada where one affects the other so often. But when a party hasn’t yet found that balance internally and when the Green party holds more cards than ever it can lead to some contradictory policies. We’re seeing that here as the NDP swings from pursuit of subsidies for the LNG business to opposing the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion, from approval of the Site C Dam to “speculation taxes” on home buyers to pursuit of electoral reforms that will change the way the province elects representatives. Small wonder that the business community is grumbling about the lack of consistency. All the more given the corporate donations the NDP grabbed in the weeks before the rules changed last year.

Hope you are well,
Alex Shiff

 

Calgary

Hi Jaime,

It’s all Trans Mountain all the time in Calgary these days, at least when people aren’t bashing their B.C. neighbours for stalling the project. To be clear, the project isn’t the only thing that’s been stalled. So has investment in the entire energy sector, as companies understandably try to make sense of what it all means for the future. Producers want a better sense of how their oil is going to get to market before they invest any more, and the pipeline companies have been very public about their negative view of the new federal regulations they face.

Pretty much the only bright spot in the whole situation is the political career of Rachel Notley. Even skeptics are impressed by how she’s stood up for the province and the industry. B.C. better not come by any time soon asking to borrow a cup of sugar!

Take care,
Jason Hatcher and Randy Dawson

 

London, UK

Dear Jaime,

The mood in London is truly one of dreary resignation. Britain and Italy are the slowest growing economies in the G7, and investment decisions of almost any size are on hold. Even the ardent Brexiteers are relatively quiet. Any notion that new trade deals with new partners will make up for lost EU trade has fallen away with a thud. Those who want to remain in the EU may be clinging to the hope the whole thing will blow over, but it won’t. The trade talks with the EU are ongoing but it will be the end of this year before a deal is agreed on.

There are lots of other points of focus—Russia, the poisoning in Salisbury of a former Russian spy, the crisis in Syria. But none of these are cheering either.

Best to the team in Toronto.

Cheers,
Ashley Prime

 

Ottawa

Bonjour Jaime,

It’s going to be a long, hot summer in Ottawa with Trans Mountain and NAFTA on the front burner. Even all the shade being thrown at National Security Adviser Daniel Jean over the Prime Minister’s India trip won’t cool things down. If that’s not enough, there’ll be a low-hanging hot air mass moving in as the Ottawa Senators gear up for the coming season, following the mass despair over missing the playoffs.

Whatever decision ensues about the future of Trans Mountain, it’s going to remain the biggest challenge of the Trudeau mandate politically and economically. At least Premier Notley seems comfortable in the role of bad cop, not something this Prime Minister likes to play. Whatever comes out of the NAFTA negotiations, there will be lots of detail and impact analysis to sift through, sector by sector. As for the India trip, if it becomes more certain that the PMO was behind the alleged “fake news” that the Indian government deliberately sabotaged the trip, the PM will wear it in the end—much like the kurti he favoured on that tour.

All the best,
Andrew Balfour and John Delacourt

 

Montréal

Mon cher Jaime,

Depuis les 24 derniers mois, le mouvement de désinvestissement des énergies fossiles semble accumuler les victoires à un rythme effréné, et ce, à l’échelle internationale. En effet, plusieurs institutions académiques, telles que la London School of Economics, Stanford University et l’Université Laval ont publiquement annoncé leur intention de se départir de leurs placements dans les énergies fossiles. Cela dit, certains pourraient y voir qu’un simple mouvement de militants écologiques se limitant aux campus universitaires, mais non, c’est tout le contraire.

Par exemple, en janvier dernier, la Ville de New York a fait l’annonce qu’elle se délestera de plus de 5 milliards d’investissements au sein d’entreprises actives dans les énergies fossiles. De plus, la ville a l’intention d’assigner en justice cinq entreprises pétrolières, dont Shell, ExxonMobil et British Petroleum (BP), pour leur supposé rôle dans les changements climatiques. Juste avant Noël, c’est le géant français AXA, qui a décidé d’exclure de ses investissements, les entreprises qui sont actives dans la production de sables bitumineux ainsi que celles impliquées dans la construction de nouveaux pipelines de sables bitumineux.

Plus près de chez nous, Michael Sabia, président de la Caisse de dépôt et de placements du Québec (CDPQ), a reconnu que le niveau de risque associé aux investissements dans les entreprises pétrolières est plus important qu’auparavant. Par conséquent, la CDPQ souhaite diminuer de 25 % son empreinte carbone d’ici 2025. Toutefois, selon les propos de M. Sabia, pour ce faire, des décisions difficiles devront être prises.

Alors la question se pose, pourquoi ce mouvement connaît-il autant de succès sachant les difficultés que les grands gestionnaires de fonds doivent affronter afin de satisfaire les nombreux actionnaires ? Et bien, selon l’ancien ministre français du Développement, et maintenant directeur général de la World Wide Fund for Nature — France (WWF), Pascal Canfin, trois raisons expliqueraient le succès de ce mouvement : « la première est éthique. La deuxième est financière. Et la troisième est juridique. » En effet, selon ses dires « la responsabilité des investisseurs qui ne prennent pas en compte le risque climatique va être mise en cause. » Avec ce type d’arguments, Il ne fait aucun doute que ce mouvement ne s’arrêtera pas de sitôt.

À bientôt,
Patrick Doyon

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