Brand-New NYC Venue, Chelsea Music Hall, Set To Officially Open This Weekend

first_imgChelsea Music Hall is a brand-new venue scheduled to open this weekend, set in the basement of New York City’s Chelsea Market (the entrance is at 407 West 15th St between 9th & 10th Ave). The venue plans to host live music, comedy, DJs, visual art, and theatre, as well as private events. Chelsea Music Hall will also have delicious food options with Israeli celebrity chef Eyal Shani of Chelsea Market’s Mizon restaurant handling the menu and kitchen operation. The venue has been in soft-open mode since mid-September and has hosted a few shows in the past month.Unlike most music venues around the city, the venue won’t be focused on one specific genre of music and will serve as a 250-occupant space for performers to try new things, according to the venue’s director, Michael Ginsberg. “Our vision of the music hall is one that lives beyond its four walls,” Ginsberg reported to do NYC.The kitchen opens on Friday, October 19th, which is also the first official scheduled event: a weekly Friday-night dance party called “Soul in the Horn.” Although Chelsea Music Hall’s schedule still seems to be mostly vacant, there will be a dance party four days a week dedicated to Cleopatra, which serves a fusion of music, dance, fashion, theatre, and nightlife.[H/T do NYC]last_img read more

VMware Cloud on Converged Infrastructure: Essential, Easier Than Ever

first_imgConverged infrastructure (CI) drives complexity out of IT and transforms daily business operations so organizations can focus on what sets them apart. I hear these points from Dell Technologies customers all the time—like a mantra!As the VMworld 2020 online event begins, I’m reminded how VMware innovations (including vSphere virtualization) have always been at the heart of that amazing Dell Technologies CI value proposition. We focus on delivering perpetual value by continually building in the latest and best VMware technologies through our CI engineering best practices.One example is Dell EMC VxBlock Central—software that provides system-level awareness, automation and analytics. We’ve integrated it with VMware vRealize Suite to support and facilitate the VMware-based cloud operating model for VxBlock customers. A new VxBlock Central cloud dashboard extends that value by providing a lifecycle management view with key milestones for all system components across the stack (VMware and more), making upgrade decisions easier.Mission-critical private and hybrid cloud will become easier than ever with the release of expanded VMware technology options for VxBlock 1000:VMware NSX-T 3.0 Data Center, upgradable from 2.5 – available nowVMware vSphere 7.0, upgradable from 6.7 and 6.5 – planned availability Q4 2020A new VMware vSAN-based model of the VxBlock management domain, also known as the Advanced Management Platform – planned availability Q4 2020We’ve developed and tailored this solution to take advantage of the strengths of proven three-tiered infrastructure. It enables customers to:Deploy a strong, prescriptive network virtualization and security foundationMore easily develop a mix of traditional and cloud-native applications for the same infrastructureDerive more value from their Fibre Channel (FC) storage arrays (i.e. for workload domains)Scale the benefits to diverse end points (multiple systems and sites) with required high availability and reliability via the vSAN-based management domainTake advantage of flexibility to deploy VMware Cloud Foundation (VCF) on the same infrastructure in the futureI invite you to learn more about the solution in the related on-demand technical session [VCNC1766] presented by Dell Technologies VxBlock 1000 Product Manager Martin Hayes for VMworld 2020.Learn more about the perpetual value of VMware in Dell Technologies converged infrastructure.last_img read more

Lakers host Dave Chappelle as newcomers lean into celebrity status

first_img Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers “It is cool,” he said. “I wouldn’t say I get starstruck but it’s definitely cool to see somebody you admire and have been entertained by. It’s neat and great for all of us.”The players said Chappelle naturally made them laugh, but intoned a more serious message. Green said the 46-year-old comedian, famous for his sketch show and multiple stand-up specials, spoke about being honest and finding self authenticity in his work.“Moreso breaking down you can’t be afraid to make mistakes or be yourself, basically,” Green said. “And that’s the point where he’s at in his life, where he’s not really trying to filter anything, and he’s carefree and more honest with himself than anybody.”HOT STARTAfter their win on Sunday, the Lakers stood alone at 11-2, the best record in the NBA going into Monday morning. And even within the team, that start has defied expectations.Vogel acknowledged that following a drama-filled trip to China that limited the team’s practices and conditioning sessions, he had his doubts.“Looking at the China trip and understanding how that could have put us behind the 8-ball a little bit and delayed our growth and our progress, I was concerned about getting off to a slow start,” he said. “Thankfully we’ve been able to sort of overcome that and lay a solid foundation for what we can be. But it’s still at the foundation stage and we’ve gotta keep growing.”As of Monday, the Lakers led the NBA in defensive rating (99.9) and net rating (plus-9.3). Even though the offense has been widely described as lagging behind the defense, the Lakers are still top-10 in offensive rating (109.3). They’ve outscored opponents by a league-leading average of 10.2 points per game.In terms of growth, Vogel said he’d like to get veteran point guard Rajon Rondo on more sure footing with the second unit, and lately the bench has struggled to score when LeBron James is off the court. Vogel also mentioned he wants to get Anthony Davis, who has been quiet offensively in back-to-back games, the ball more as he’s in motion. The Lakers always look to improve their defense.The good news for the team is there’s plenty of leeway to work on the areas they feel need to get better. The Lakers’ next six games are against teams with losing records, starting with home-and-home games this week with Oklahoma City. But Vogel didn’t treat the upcoming slate with any sense of ease, and he doesn’t think his team will either.Related Articles How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years center_img “They all understand, we all understand, anybody can beat you on a given night and we can’t pay attention to that,” he said. “This team that’s coming in, OKC, has one of the best point guards in NBA history (Chris Paul) running the show for them. There’s going to be nothing easy about the next two games against OKC and we’ve gotta be ready.”DANNY THE DUNKEREven a day later, one of the most-discussed plays of Sunday night’s game against the Hawks was a dunk off an offensive rebound laid in by one of the Lakers’ least flashy players: Green.The Lakers locker room crackled with buzz about the play, which was one of Green’s few dunks so far this season. LeBron James called it “UNC Danny,” referencing Green’s college days. Anthony Davis and Kyle Kuzma joked that they didn’t know Green could dunk, much less that he was capable of creating the highlight of the night.Green said after Monday’s practice that he was still hearing a lot about the dunk and joked that he didn’t mean to reset expectations. Most of the time, the Lakers’ 3-point threat will be hanging out by the perimeter – but he has his moments.“People think it’s easy to do,” he said. “‘You should dunk all the time.’ I don’t want to mislead anybody. Not an all-time type of thing.” AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersThe celebrity treatment isn’t new to the returning Lakers, but it has some novelty for those who are just starting in the organization. Danny Green said the star factor is “definitely multiplied, magnified times 10 from anywhere else I’ve been.”Sunday night’s blowout victory over the Atlanta Hawks was a strong example: Will Ferrell, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Hart and the rap group Migos were among the most high-profile guests. Green said the courtside scenery has been jarring at times, even a decade into his career.“How many fans and celebrities on the road cheering, it feels like America’s team everywhere we go,” he said. “But also all the types of celebs I got to grow up watching and still a fan of, sitting courtside and want to be friends and say hello and speak. It’s kinda crazy and surreal.”Not all those interactions take place at games. Coach Frank Vogel was flying to Los Angeles for his introductory press conference in May when he found himself sitting near Lea Thompson, of “Back To The Future” fame, and her husband. Vogel found out, through conversation, that they both happen to be Laker fans.While Vogel has been a coach in Indiana and Orlando before, being the Lakers’ coach has unique perks. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error EL SEGUNDO — He’s got comic barbs to toss, but what about a jab step?The tail moments of the Lakers’ practice on Monday included a special guest, comedian Dave Chappelle, who was the latest speaker in the Lakers’ Genius Series. And after giving a few pointers on how he’s succeeded in his field, the Lakers repaid in kind, giving him tips on his jumper and his stepback.Even among Genius Series guests – a list that has included actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, rapper Kendrick Lamar and technology entrepreneur Elon Musk – Chappelle seemed to have added cachet among the players.“I wasn’t surprised because I already knew he was coming, but I was super excited,” third-year forward Kyle Kuzma said. “I think he’s the greatest standup comedian, whatever you want to call him, of all time.”last_img read more

Tony Becca: The Australian inspiration

first_img Everybody was playing, young and old. They played in the backyard and in the front yard. They were seen on television enjoying the Test matches, and by playing everywhere and anywhere, and by playing every day and everywhere, the young players were in a position to replace the stars whenever their time came to step aside. They had the numbers. That was how it was in those days. While it is basically the same in the other countries, it is no longer so in the West Indies, and certainly not so in Jamaica where a cricket match, almost any cricket match, is like a ghost town. Today, the team, the West Indies team, still wins a few matches, but they are few and far between, and mostly against teams as low as Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. And they are gradually catching up with the West Indies. Their performers are few and far between, and with one like Chris Gayle and probably another like Dwayne Bravo not involved, the relatively good performers are Darren Bravo, Kirk Brathwaite, and Marlon Samuels, and they are so only now and again. The reason is that those who are equipped to take the places of the stars are not around, or by playing only now and again, they take too long in getting there. It is difficult these days to spot, not only another Brian Lara or another Curtly Ambrose, another Shivnarine Chanderpaul or another Courtney Walsh, but also a player who really looks like for one for the future England, Australia, South Africa, and especially India turn these type of players out almost every season. They flow like off a production line, Alistair Cook, Ian Bell, Steve Hamison, Joe Root, Jos Butler, James Anderson, Stuart Broad, and Steven Finn, Michael Clarke, David Warner, Aaron Finch, Steve Finch, Michael Johnson, and Mitchell Starc, Jacques Kallis, Herschelle Gibbs, Hashim Amla, Quinton De Kock, Faf Duplessis, A.B. De Villiers, Makhaya Ntini, and Dale Steyn. And from India, Sachin Tendulkar, V.V.S. Laxman, MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinka Rajane, Rohit Sharma, R. Ashwin, Umesh Yadav, Suresh Raina, and many more. It is almost like you hear about them today and by tomorrow they are gone, and not because they are not that good enough, but because a better one appears on the scene. One of the reasons why England, Australia, South Africa, and India keep producing more and better players more often than the West Indies is because their cricket fraternity really loves cricket. Based on what I have seen they go to cricket from they are young until they are old, and during that time, they play cricket, in the backyard, in the front-yard, and even competitively until after their 75th birthday. The Australians, who were in Jamaica two weeks ago courtesy of Paul Campbell’s Sports Innovation Group, played four 20-over games against a Kingston CC Masters Invitational X1, a Melbourne CC Masters Invitational X1, and two games against a Paul Campbell Masters Invitational X1, were from Victoria. They came to Jamaica from Mexico and Cuba, and they were heading to Vancouver in Canada before going on to Philadelphia in the USA for a seven-match series in five days to end the tour. The Philadelphia series has been going on for the past 20 years. The reason for the headline is this: the tour was an eye-opener for the Jamaicans, certainly to regulars like former Jamaica nationals Delroy Morgan, John Gordon, Terrence Corke, and Odelmo Peters and to regular master league players like Mark English and Myron Chin. The local players were, however, nowhere near 60 or 75 years old, and while there were maybe a few of them, who may play five or six games a season, the Australians number thousands, who play a minimum of 15 competitive games a season. It is because of that why the Jamaicans were astonished by these older Australians, who, while were attired in the green and gold of Australia, ran sprightly and smartly between the wickets, something which is almost foreign to West Indies cricket these days. “Boy, these guys certainly taught us a lesson. Imagine, 70 and 75 yeas old and still playing, and playing two games a day on top of that,” said one of the Jamaicans who was just pushing his 50th birthday. That’s what made cricketers like Clarke and Smith, and also others like Johnson, Starc, and company. “These guys really love cricket, man. We really have to take a leaf out of their book if we are to match them,” said one of the Jamaicans who required a substitute fielder half way through the match at Melbourne Oval. If the West Indies played cricket like the Aussies, they probably would not have suffered so badly for so long: 1995 to 2016 at the bottom, or near to the bottom, of the Test and One-day rankings. Competitively Some people may now be questioning the reason for this headline, The Australian inspiration. After all, the West Indies did go from 1976 to 1995 losing only one Test series against all comers, they defeated Australia mercilessly in seven series from 1980 to 1993 and during all those years there skill was such that they were considered the greatest set of cricketers ever to play the game. Maybe the headline reflected the 4-1 defeat in 1951-52 when Australia first played the West Indies, or maybe it brought back memories of the 3-0 thrashing they dished out in 1955 when they first toured the West Indies. No, it could not have been. Those defeats, and others, were well and truly avenged during the 19 years of ascendancy and the many thumpings that Australia received from the West Indies during that time, even though those victories are nearly as far away and as long ago as the wonderful and historic 3-1 victory against England in 1950. The headline is for another reason. Back in those days, cricket was popular among the six or seven countries which really played the game, and Test cricket was what other cricket was judged by. Whenever stumps were driven into the ground and two men in white walked out of the pavilion, it was the signal for the people to turn out in their thousands, or for rain to come tumbling down. People loved the sport, and they used to revel in who wins and the successful performers were the toast of the day, as they are today. In that atmosphere, with everybody, toddlers to grandparents, probably even to great grandparents, involved in the game, England, Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, the West Indies, India, and Pakistan were happy. They won series and they lost series. They produced good players. Young playerslast_img read more

MCGUINNESS DOES UEFA B COACHING COURSE WITH FORMER MANCHESTER UNITED AND CELTIC STAR

first_imgJim McGuinness is continuing his progression in coaching by participating in a UEFA B diploma course being held by the FAI in Fota Island, Cork.McGuinness was joined on the course by former Celtic FC and Manchester United star Liam Miller. Miller is back playing in the LOI with his native team Cork City after a spell in the Australian A League.McGuinness is the Sports Psychologist at Celtic FC and works with the club’s first-team after being employed initially to work the academy and development sides.McGuinness is keen to acquire his coaching badges in order to get a better understanding of the world of professional soccer.He feels it will help him improve in his role as a Sports Psychologist if he has a better knowledge of the tactical and technical roles required from professional players at the club. It mightn’t be long before we see Jimmy’s Winning Matches being sung around the stands at Celtic Park. 🙂   MCGUINNESS DOES UEFA B COACHING COURSE WITH FORMER MANCHESTER UNITED AND CELTIC STAR was last modified: July 23rd, 2015 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:celtic fccoaching courseJim McGuinnessnewssoccerSportUEFA Blast_img read more

SAA takes delivery of new aircraft

first_img24 July 2013 South African Airways (SAA) has taken delivery on Tuesday of the first two of 20 A320 Airbus planes that the airline has on order from Airbus. The shipment of the state-of-the-art, fuel-efficient aircraft is set to deliver significant cost efficiencies while allowing South Africa’s national carrier to expand its regional route network in the rapidly growing sub-Saharan African market. The A320s will replace SAA’s current fleet of 737-800s and augment the A319s it already has in service. Airbus describes the A320 as “the world’s best-selling and most modern single-aisle aircraft”, with over 9 600 ordered and more than 5 600 delivered to over 380 operators worldwide. “With proven reliability and extended servicing periods, the A320 family has the lowest operating costs of any single-aisle aircraft,” Airbus said in a statement on Wednesday. “Operating a modern and homogenous fleet plays a significant role in cost reduction and boosting revenue,” SAA chief executive Monwabisi Kalawe said. “The A320 will assist SAA to achieve this while providing our passengers with a more superior cabin product.” John Leahy, Airbus’s chief operating officer for customers, said that South African Airways “has long been regarded as a bellwether for Africa on aircraft selection, and we are looking forward to expanding our relationship. “Our reliable, fuel-efficient and comfortable A320s will give SAA a competitive edge and help the airline achieve sustainable profitability.” SAinfo reporterlast_img read more

Gustos First Original Design Series THE SEARCH FOR CANADAS NEXT DESIGNER Premieres

first_img Twitter Grab your allen keys, Canada! Gusto debuts its first original design program with the premiere of THE SEARCH FOR CANADA’S NEXT DESIGNER. From Bell Media In-House Productions, the six-episode, 30-minute series airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET, beginning October 16 on Gusto.Hosted by THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW’s design expert Tommy Smythe, the series sees six competitors vie for a coveted design contract with IKEA Canada as they face weekly challenges and eliminations. THE SEARCH FOR CANADA’S NEXT DESIGNER encores on CTV Two, Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET, beginning Oct. 20.For a group of up-and-coming Canadian design experts, the opportunity of a lifetime is about to begin! THE SEARCH FOR CANADA’S NEXT DESIGNER pits six individuals against one another in a series of high-stakes décor challenges. The lucky grand prize winner nabs a coveted design contract with IKEA Canada and a dream trip to Sweden. Each week, designers work with IKEA Canada products to showcase their innovative design skills. From DIY-themed challenges to dealing with dated décor on a budget, the challenges reference both IKEA’s current line of products as well as the brand’s history. With the threat of elimination hiding behind every challenge, it’s up to each designer to put their skills to the test and show what they’ve got. Also in the blueprints are game-changing twists and fast time turnarounds! There’s a lot at stake in this competition, and only one designer can come out on top.“We are thrilled to be working on Bell Media’s first ever in-house produced design series for Gusto,” said Michelle Crespi, Executive Producer, Bell Media In-House Production. “We’ve executed successful design challenges on some of Bell Media’s daytime series, so to be given the opportuntity to take that concept, and turn it into a series with the engaging Tommy Smythe at the helm, is exciting. We know this series will resonate with Canadians.”In addition to Smythe, THE SEARCH FOR CANADA’S NEXT DESIGNER features IKEA Canada judge Alicia Caroll and a cast of top-tier guest judges, including celebrity chef Roger Mooking, THE SOCIAL co-host Lainey Lui, Canadian home renovation guru Sebastian Clovis, winner of THE MARILYN DENIS SHOW’s search for their next designer expert,  Andrew Pike, and more.The six competitors competing in THE SEARCH FOR CANADA’S NEXT DESIGNER are:Christopher, Interior DesignerJoey, Owner of Joey Vogel Interior DesignMarcy, Entrepreneur and YouTube personalityMartha, Engineer and Lead Designer at Hedgeford & BerkleyNatalie, Owner of Nest Design StudiosVictoria, Television Art DirectorIn the premiere episode of THE SEARCH FOR CANADA’S NEXT DESIGNER (Sunday, October 16 at 9 p.m. ET on Gusto) the competition is on! Host Tommy Smythe dishes out the first-ever challenge for six up-and-coming design experts: a dining space transformation. Working with a limited budget  and tight deadline, the designers soon find out that every little detail matters – and for one of them, the journey is about to come to an end. The episode features special guest judge, Roger Mooking.THE SEARCH FOR CANADA’S NEXT DESIGNER is executive produced by Michelle Crespi. John Simpson is co-executive producer. Nanci MacLean is Vice-President, Bell Media Production. Mike Cosentino is Senior Vice-President, CTV and Specialty. Randy Lennox is President, Broadcasting and Content, Bell Media. Advertisement Login/Register With: Social Media links About Gusto:Gusto, Bell Media’s first food and lifestyle channel, features a delicious mix of creative cooking and food programming paired with exciting home renovation, travel, and lifestyle shows. Gusto features a menu of original Canadian series and specials produced in 4K including ONE WORLD KITCHEN and FISH THE DISH, as well as acquired series from stars such as Jamie Oliver and Martha Stewart. Gusto is distributed to more than five million households across Canada and is also available online at www.gustotv.com and on-demand via participating television service providers. Gusto is a division of Bell Media, which is part of BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE), Canada’s largest communications company. @bellmediapr @gustotv BellMediaInc GustoTV @gustotv Gustotv Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement About IKEAIKEA is a leading home furnishing retailer with 375 stores in more than 50 countries worldwide, which are visited by 884 million people every year. IKEA Canada has 12 stores, an eCommerce virtual store, 6 Pick-up and order points in Quebec City and southern Ontario and two Collection Points in Halifax and Saskatoon. The company also recently announced plans to open stores in Halifax and Quebec City. Last year, IKEA Canada welcomed 25 million visitors to its stores and 75 million visitors to the IKEA.ca website. Founded in 1943, IKEA’s business philosophy is to offer a wide range of products of good design and function at prices so low, the majority of people can afford them. For more information on IKEA, please visit: www.IKEA.ca. Facebooklast_img read more

HOW CANADIANMADE ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE IS HELPING HOLLYWOOD WRITE BETTER SCRIPTS

first_img Facebook Advertisement Login/Register With: Jurassic World, Avengers: Infinity War, the latest in the Star Wars franchise, Solo: Movie theatres, as usual, are jam-packed with sequels this summer.Hollywood is addicted to sequels for one reason: A proven concept can reduce the risk of failure in a business where hundreds of millions of dollars are at stake.But some Canadian tech entrepreneurs believe the the odds of making an original hit movie could be greatly improved — and so could sequels — with the help of artificial intelligence. “Hollywood is using very primitive data analytics,” said Jack Zhang, of Greenlight Essentials in Kitchener, Ont.His company’s software analyzes movie plots, audience profiles and box office ticket sales to predict a film’s future success and help identify who will watch.Aron Levitz, of the Toronto-based Wattpad Studios, is just as confident in his technology.“We want to change the entire entertainment industry,” he said. “Whether scripts are in Turkish, or French, or English — or whatever. We could put hundreds of millions of dollars back into the industry.”From an app to a blockbusterWattpad is a story-writing platform with 65 million users worldwide, where anyone can self-publish books via the website or the app. Users can also read and comment on stories written by others.The company uses artificial intelligence to mine its readership data for insightsinto what’s popular, which has helped turn some of its writers into bestselling authors. Now Wattpad Studios — a two-year-old offshoot of the original brand — is increasingly producing more movies and TV series.One of the most-watched movies on Netflix right now, The Kissing Booth, started as a story written on Wattpad by 15-year-old Beth Reekles of Wales. She landed a book deal with Random House, and the book spawned the movie. LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment center_img Twitter Advertisement The Kissing Booth is currently one of the most popular movies on Netflix. The story was originally written on the Wattpad story-sharing platform. (Komixx Entertainment/Netflix) Advertisementlast_img read more

CN apologizes promises immediate action to clear backlog of grain shipments

first_imgOTTAWA – Canadian National is apologizing for failing to keep grain shipments moving reliably by rail, and says it’s taking immediate steps to clear the backlog — including mobilizing more train cars and workers.The move comes just two days after CN dumped its president and CEO amid growing complaints that the backlog of shipments is compromising Canada’s reputation as a reliable exporter, costing sales and putting farmers in a cash-flow crunch.“We apologize for not meeting the expectations of our grain customers, nor our own high standards,” Jean-Jacques Ruest, who took over the helm of CN from Luc Jobin on an interim basis, said in a statement early Wednesday.“The entire CN team has a sense of urgency and is fully focused on getting it right for farmers and our grain customers, regaining the confidence of Canadian businesses and protecting Canada’s reputation as a stable trade partner in world markets.“Moving the Canadian economy is in our DNA. We can and we will do much better and that starts today — no excuses.”Among other things, the company says it’s offering incentives for key operating employees to delay retirement and postpone vacations, and to entice recently-retired employees to return to work.It’s also deploying qualified managers to operate extra trains and adding train crews in western Canada.CN says it has leased 130 locomotives to increase capacity, almost all of which are now in use. And it’s investing more than $250 million this year to build new track and yard capacity in western Canada.According to the Ag Transport Coalition, CN and Canadian Pacific combined provided only 38 per cent of the rail cars ordered by grain shippers during the week of Feb. 12 — CP delivered 66 per cent of its orders and CN just 17 per cent.On Tuesday, Transport Minister Marc Garneau and Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay wrote a joint letter aimed at putting pressure on the country’s two major railways to clear the backlog.They expressed their “serious concern” about the failure of the railways to meet the expectations of shippers and customers over the winter. While the ministers said they understand the railways have faced challenges due to a larger than expected grain crop last year and extreme winter weather, they called the companies’ performance “disappointing.”The ministers asked the railways to publicly provide a clear description of how they intend to clear the backlog, as well as their plans for maintaining the fluidity of future shipments. They gave the companies until March 15 to publish the information on their websites.The duo said the backlog has created problems that are most acute for farmers, who need their grain delivered in order to have the cash to pay off past loans and purchase inputs for the coming crop year. But they also said shippers in a variety of other sectors — including forestry, energy and chemicals — have “lost significant business and opportunities” due to the inability to move their products in a timely way.In its statement, CN said it will provide weekly tracking of grain shipments. The company also urged Parliament to pass Bill C-49 swiftly.The legislation, which has been stalled in the Senate since the fall, would financially penalize railways that fail to deliver promised rail cars on time. It would also require railways to publicly report each summer on their abilities to move that year’s grain crop, and to publish by Oct. 1 each year a winter contingency plan for keeping shipments moving regardless of bad weather.last_img read more

US midterm results could delay new trade deal into 2020 watchers warn

first_imgOTTAWA – Canadians are inspecting the new U.S. political landscape following midterm election results that many believe have added fresh trade-related uncertainty.The Democrats’ majority victory in the House of Representatives could mean the ratification of the recently struck United States-Mexico-Canada deal, known as USMCA, will have to wait well into 2019 — or even until 2020.Experts predict the pact will eventually gain approval, but until it’s ratified businesses will have to deal with considerable unknowns as they try to make longer-term decisions on export strategy and investments.“There will be a lot of uncertainty for a number of months and that uncertainty is not good for Canadian business interests,” said Lawrence Herman, a Toronto-based trade lawyer with Herman and Associates. “There is a chance that the Democrats would agree to have this deal approved. On the other hand, as we’ve heard, there are those in the Democratic party who don’t want to give Trump and the Republicans any kind of break whatsoever.”Dan Ujczo, an Ohio-based international trade specialist, said it will be a “political miracle” to have the USMCA voted on in the spring.March, he added, is the earliest the deal could be voted on in Congress. Before that, the practical aspects of choosing a new speaker and committee chairs’ settling into their positions will take up considerable time. He also noted the 2020 U.S. election season will likely begin as early as spring 2019.“We’ll be lucky to get a vote in 2019,” said Ujczo, a partner in the law firm Dickinson Wright. “I think we’ve got to realistically look at 2020.”U.S. trade deals must be passed by both the House and the Senate, where the Republicans strengthened their majority in Tuesday’s vote.A senior Canadian source with knowledge of the trade discussions said Wednesday that Ottawa doesn’t think the midterm results have changed much in terms of timing when it comes to USMCA’s ratification. They insisted ratification has been considered dependent on calendars in the U.S. and Mexico all along.While Ottawa expects the Democrats’ new majority in the House to lead to political battles on trade, the feds are comfortable there’s widespread, bipartisan support for the U.S.-Canada trading relationship, said the official who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly on the matter.The U.S. political parties, the official added, will need to find areas of common ground and Ottawa thinks USMCA will be one of them.Capri Cafaro, executive in residence at American University’s School of Public Affairs in Washington, said she doesn’t expect the obvious divisions between the parties to hold up USMCA’s ratification for too long. Cafaro, a former Democratic minority leader in the Ohio state senate, expects the deal to be very early business in 2019.The Democrats have traditionally stood for free and fair trade, she said.“It is more likely than not that this might be an area where Democrats could work with the Trump administration and push it forward,” she said.“I don’t foresee it being an issue, but you never know.”Canada should also keep the worst-case scenario in mind — the USMCA fails to pass Congress and U.S. President Donald Trump decides to terminate the deal.Trump has repeatedly called NAFTA one of the worst trade deals he’s ever seen and he did so again at a news conference Wednesday. He called on the Republicans and Democrats to come together in support of the deal.“USMCA has gotten rave reviews,” Trump insisted as he addressed reporters.“Now is the time for members of both parties to join together, put partisanship aside and keep the American economic miracle going strong. It is a miracle — we’re doing so well.”Canada will also scrutinize the midterm results for other cross-border impacts, including the fate of the Trump administration’s painful tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from north of the border.Unifor president Jerry Dias, whose union represents auto workers, said now that the midterms are over Canadian MPs from all parties must apply more pressure to secure the removal of unjust tariffs he argues were imposed to score political points with the Republican base.But neither Cafaro nor Ujczo expects the U.S. tariffs — which allies, including Canada, have responded to with countermeasures of their own — will disappear any time soon.“I think barring significant market forces — that may have even more significant political implications — I don’t see the tariff issues going away,” Cafaro said.Ujczo said he hopes the tariffs are lifted by the USMCA signing at the end of November, but he noted there’s an increasing expectation in the business community that the levies will remain in place well into 2019.last_img read more