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Canadian government approves $6.5B Northern Gateway oil pipeline

The Douglas Channel just south of Kitmat, British Columbia, is the proposed shipping route for oil tanker ships in the Enbridge Northern Gateway project.
The Douglas Channel just south of Kitmat, British Columbia, is the proposed shipping route for oil tanker ships in the Enbridge Northern Gateway project.
Published Jun. 20, 2014

The Canadian government has approved the $6.5 billion Northern Gateway oil pipeline but much work remains before Enbridge Inc. can begin the controversial project.

The pipeline would move Alberta oilsands crude to British Columbia for shipping by sea to Asian markets, but it is subject to 209 conditions from a regulatory panel.

As well, there are federal and provincial regulatory hurdles, legal battles from environmentalists and First Nations groups opposed to the plan, and negotiations with communities along the proposed route.

The proposal to move Canada's oil to a west coast port for shipping is partly in response to no decision forthcoming from the United States on TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline to move Alberta crude to Texas refineries.

There is also a proposal to ship Alberta oil through pipelines to Canada's east coast.

Enbridge CEO Al Monaco said there is an economic case to be made for the pipeline to supply eager buyers in other countries but no rush to build it.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers predicts oilsands production will reach 4.8 million barrels a day by 2030, up from 1.9 million barrels last year.

Tornado rips through town north of Toronto

A tornado ripped through a small community north of Toronto on Tuesday, damaging about 100 houses.

Essa Township Mayor Terry Dowdall said it was a "miracle" no one was hurt in the late afternoon tornado in Angus.

Many of the houses had their roofs torn off and sections ripped away while power was cut to several thousand homes and businesses overnight.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne toured the area Friday and said it is not yet known if money will be available from the province's emergency relief program for costs not covered by insurance.

Police Sgt. Peter Leon said engraved wedding rings found in the debris were matched up with their owners and returned.

News in brief

• Canadians have been trimming their mortgage debt, taking advantage of low interest rates, a strong stock market and rising home prices. Statistics Canada said household net worth grew by 2.5 percent in the first quarter, rising to $222,600 per capita.

• Higher energy prices helped push Canada's annual inflation rate to 2.3 percent last month from 2.0 percent a month earlier. Energy costs were up by 8.4 percent from last year, with natural gas jumping by 21.3 percent.

Facts and figures

Canada's dollar is higher at 92.86 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.0768 in Canadian funds, before bank exchange fees.

The Bank of Canada's key interest rate is steady at 1 percent while the prime lending rate is unchanged at 3 percent.

Stock markets are higher, with the Toronto exchange index at 15,110 points and the TSX Venture index at 1,021 points.

The average price of a liter of gasoline in Canada is up at $1.3773 (Canadian).

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Regional briefs

• About 1 million acres of farmland in Manitoba could go unseeded because of rain-saturated conditions. Flooding has made it impossible for farmers to get on their fields, said Doug Chorney of Keystone Agricultural Producers. Seeding got off to a slow start across the Prairies after a frigid and snowy winter.

• Joe Fontana, 64, has resigned as mayor of London, Ontario, after being convicted of fraud, forgery and breach of trust. "I will not return to public life," Fontana said. The former Liberal federal cabinet minister will be sentenced July 15 for altering an expense claim for $1,700 to pay for his son's wedding reception in 2005 instead of a political event.

• The British Columbia Teachers' Federation is calling for a mediator to settle a dispute with the provincial government that led to a strike by 40,000 teachers that started last Tuesday. Education Minister Peter Fassbender said both sides are "not even close to a deal" and the union must revise its demands for wages, benefits, signing bonuses and class sizes.

Jim Fox can be reached at