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Kevin Libin: The Liberals’ talk-tough, do-nothing Climate Routine is Back and Better Than Ever



The dream of the ’90s is alive in Ottawa, where the Liberals are back doing what they do best: Talking tough on climate and looking damn good doing it, while artfully avoiding actual policies that would unduly punish the Canadian economy. Monday’s news that the Trudeau Liberals are planning to impose a “national carbon price” brought reports of a proposal full of so many loopholes, caveats, carve-outs and inevitable complications as to render the very concept meaningless.

Appearing on CTV’s Question Period Sunday, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna was so reluctant to come right out and declare that her government would bring down a hammer on provinces without carbon pricing that interviewer Evan Solomon accused her of “skating” over his questions. When Solomon asked her whether the price on carbon would be uniform nationally, McKenna pulled a Salchow. “It’s mandatory that everyone will have to have a price,” she said, but “you can’t just say here’s a price,” since some provinces use cap and trade, while others use taxes. “We have two systems. We need to figure out equivalency on those systems.”

When Solomon asked how the feds would treat a province refusing to impose a tax, or increase taxes, given that Saskatchewan appears ready to fight and B.C. won’t raise its tax, McKenna went for the full Triple Lutz. “We will have a system,” is all McKenna would offer, twirling right past any firm answer on whether Ottawa would penalize non-compliance.

With 92% of Canadians unaffected, the Liberals would demand nothing but undeserved credit

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is already arguing that not only cap-and-trade and carbon taxes should be counted when pricing CO2. He points out that Saskatchewan does its own thing by capturing coal-fired electricity emissions and reselling CO2 to oil producers to re-pressurize old oil wells for enhanced recovery methods. That, he says, counts as a carbon price, too.

Meanwhile, Nova Scotia’s premier Stephen McNeil has argued that “our carbon tax is actually in our power rates,” citing soaring electricity prices in switching from coal to expensive renewables as being just as meaningful. Ontario might want to keep that argument on file, too, if the feds don’t credit the free emission allowances the Wynne government has promised to dole out with its usual subsidizing enthusiasm to over 100 major emitters.

With Alberta, B.C., Quebec and Ontario already imposing, or about to impose, carbon taxes, 86 per cent of Canadians could already be exempted from the Liberals’ plan to provide a national “backstop,” as McKenna calls it, supposedly designed to step in when provincial governments don’t step up. If Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia successfully argue their cases for exemption, 92 per cent of the Canadian population would be unaffected by a federal backstop, leaving the Liberals with virtually nothing to demand but undeserved credit for climate righteousness. Then again, if the Trudeau government decides it won’t be so flexible on defining carbon prices, or insists that provinces like B.C. raise current prices at a federally determined tempo, the whole matter might easily end up becoming a serious constitutional confrontation.

Environmental law is a shared responsibility between provinces and the federal government constitutionally, but provinces retain power over resource development. Meanwhile, McKenna has sketched out a law that will apply to different emitters in different provinces differently, depending on their respective provincial laws, something emitters themselves have little control over. Designing a federal law that fairly achieves “equivalency” between a cement manufacturer in B.C. and one in Ontario while accommodating for distinctly different provincial subsidies, credits and carbon-pricing schemes in each seems like something that could tie bureaucrats up for a generation.

Constitutional law expert Carissima Mathen at the University of Ottawa thinks there are several ways that the federal government might go about trying to make a “backstop” law constitutional, using the Criminal Code or emergency powers granted under “peace, order and good government.” But a paper by Alberta legal scholars Alastair Lucas and Jenette Yearsley a few years ago found many reasons why federal attempts to impose carbon-trading and emission-reduction proposals at the time using those premises could be constitutionally challenged. Either way, expect to find plenty of lawyers on both sides prepared to drag any provincial-federal standoff through years of expensive court proceedings.

McKenna’s announcement comes right when numerous economists and even prominent champions of carbon taxes are urgently exhorting policy-makers to remember that the entire model is based on the total absence of any other emissions regulation, whether that’s coal bans or subsidies for renewables. If we merely leave the snarling mess of greenhouse gas regulations in place and lay CO2 prices on top, as Ross McKitrick reminded us in FP Comment recently, there is nothing to suggest the system will be efficient or have the desired impact on emissions. Actually, it is guaranteed to be less efficient and more expensive — and then a carbon price “could very easily do more harm than good.”

He also reminded us that even a well-designed carbon tax system could see emissions increase (if, for example, firms consider their profits to be worth paying the price). Perhaps all this is why McKenna admitted in the same CTV interview Sunday that despite having dismissed the emission-reduction targets of the previous Conservative government as insufficiently ambitious, her new government will not commit to anything more. But unlike the Tories, she says, she actually wants to meet them.

She won’t. But such graceful ice-dancing by McKenna is the same routine the federal Liberals were famous for in the Chrétien years: Acting like they were tougher on climate than conservatives while being pragmatic enough to realize that foot-dragging was necessary to stay economically competitive. It’s nice to see that, after all these years, they’ve still got the moves.

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Beauty Week is back at Hudson’s Bay in Toronto and it’s time to get glam



Beauty enthusiasts rejoice! Beauty Week at Hudson’s Bay is back in Toronto for another year. It’s time to stock up on all of your fall essentials and, maybe discover some new ones. 

From Friday, August 18 to Sunday, August 27, you can expect a truly elevated beauty experience in-store with incredible special offers, limited-time gifts, and exciting activations. 

If you’re a diehard beauty lover, you’ll already know that Hudson’s Bay is the place to shop thanks to its extensive range of over 195 skin and makeup brands from both luxury labels and masstige brands — including Tata Harper, Estée Lauder, YSL, Nars Cosmetics, Bobbi Brown, and so much more.

Throughout The Bay’s Beauty Week, visitors can take in some at-counter activations and interactive expert-led tutorials, where there will be chances to get makeup touch-ups from top-tier brands, try a spritz of the most alluring fragrances, and sample tons of new products.

This year’s Beauty Week highlight is the ‘Best in Beauty’ tote, a meticulously-curated selection of 30 deluxe samples from an array of top-tier brands like Dr. Barbara Sturm and Shiseido spanning skincare, fragrance, and makeup — all in a super sleek bag.

The tote, which is valued at over $300, is retailing for just $39 and is a fantastic way to explore new products (without breaking the bank). However, there is a limited quantity, so if you want to get your hands on one, you’ll need to be fast.

Wondering exactly what Beauty Week’s free gifts with purchases entail? If you spend over $95 at Lancôme, you will receive a six-piece set valued at $130. Or, you can get an Estée Lauder gift valued at $170 with purchases over $80. (And that’s just to name a few.)

If you’re a Hudson’s Bay Rewards member, you’ll also get $20 in Hudson’s Bay rewards when you spend over $100 on beauty.

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The Canadian Armed Forces are hiring for several non-combat military jobs



The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have several non-combat jobs, some of which do not require a college degree or past work experience.

Life in the forces has several benefits, such as paid education plans (college, university and graduate-level programs), 20 paid vacation days, health and dental coverage for you and your family, maternity and paternal leave, and pension plans. You can learn more about the benefits in detail here.

And to make it easier to gauge if you qualify, the listings also include related civilian jobs to see if it’s your ideal role.

Financial services administrator

Related civilian jobs: Financial records entry clerk, financial manager, accounting technician, bookkeeper, budget officer, cashier clerk, business planner technician, and verification manager.

Description: You’ll help budget resources for all military activities besides providing financial assistance.

Education: You need to have completed Grade 10.

Duties: As a financial services administrator, you’ll be responsible for bookkeeping and managing budgets. You’ll also provide support in accounts payable and accounts receivable.

Work environment: Those in this role work at CAF bases, on ships or overseas. You might also be expected to help special operation units, recruiting offices, schools, and medical organizations.

Postal clerk

Related civilian jobs: Mail clerk, mail sorter.

Description: You’ll provide postal services to members and their families at bases and establishments.

Education: Grade 10. No previous work experience or related career skills are required.

Duties: As the postal clerk, you’ll handle mail duties.

Work environment: Besides a postal office, you may work on a ship or a mobile postal van. You might be expected to serve with Royal Canadian Navy, the Army, and the Royal Canadian Air Force in Canada and abroad.

Dental technician

Related civilian jobs: Dental assistant, dental hygienist.

Description: You’ll be helping dental officers provide dental services to CAF members, their families, and dependents.

Education: Level II dental assisting diploma from an accredited college or a National Dental Assisting Examining Board (NDAEB) certificate.

Duties: Those in this role will be responsible for various responsibilities, including disinfection and sterilization of dental equipment, applying rubber dams, placing cavity liners, and controlling bleeding. In addition, you’ll assist in laboratory procedures like creating casts, custom trays, and mouthguards.

Work environment: This role will require you to work in a military dental clinic, a Mobile Dental Clinic, an Air Transportable Dental System, or onboard a ship. You might be expected to work on a base in Canada or other operations in other parts of the world.

Human resources administrator

Related civilian jobs: Records administrator, data entry supervisor, receptionist, office manager, executive assistant, payroll clerk, and information management technician.

Description: Provide administrative and general human resources support.

Education: Grade 10. No previous work experience or related career skills are required.

Duties: In addition to human resources administration and services, you’ll be handling pay and allowances, managing automated pay systems, and maintaining personnel records.

Work environment: HR administrators work at all CAF bases in Canada. They also work on ships and overseas to support the Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Navy, or Royal Canadian Air Force operations.

Medical assistant

Related civilian jobs: Emergency medical responder, ambulance and first aid attendant, registered nursing assistant, licensed practical nurse, and hospital orderly.

Description: Successful candidates will help treat the sick and injured in CAF units. You’ll be assisting and supporting nursing and medical officers.

Education: Minimum of Grade 11 biology, Grade 10 physics or chemistry, and Grade 10 math.

Duties: You’ll provide initial care and essential life support treatments in trauma cases. You’ll help with health assessments (hearing and vision tests, perform basic lab procedures, etc.) and initiate and manage medical records and reports. You’ll also be expected to provide support and first aid during training exercises.

Work environment: Medical assistants may serve with the Royal Canadian Navy, the Royal Canadian Air Force or the Canadian Army as part of the Canadian Forces Health Services Group. Those in this role are exposed to the same risks as the forces they support.

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Porter’s new loyalty program promises to match Air Canada’s Aeroplan status



Porter Airlines is once again stirring the pot among Canadian airline rivals, now going after Air Canada’s Aeroplan members by offering to match their loyalty status to an equivalent of their own.

The beloved airline, which recently ranked as having the best cabin service in North America, challenged the competition for the second time this year, after previously deploying a similar tactic against WestJet in the spring. 

Earlier in April, Porter presented customers with a limited-time offer to match the loyalty status of WestJet’s patrons with VIPorter levels.

Now, they’re offering Aeroplan members to seamlessly transition to an equivalent VIPorter Avid Traveller status based on their existing membership tier.

Members can then take advantage of an array of travel perks that come with flying Porter, including seat selection, baggage, and flight changes.

For those currently holding an Aeroplan membership, there are two ways to acquire the Avid Traveller status for the rest of 2023:

Status-Based Match:
  • Aeroplan 25K members = VIPorter Venture
  • Aeroplan 35K members = VIPorter Ascent
  • Aeroplan 50K, 75K, and Super Elite = VIPorter First
Flight Segments-Based Match:
  • 5 flight segments = VIPorter Passport
  • 8 segments = VIPorter Venture
  • 17 segments = VIPorter Ascent
  • 28 or more segments = VIPorter First

Members will have to first submit their applications on Porter’s website. Registration will remain open until September 6, 2023.

In order to maintain their membership level through 2024, customers will have until the end of 2023 to reach the following reduced qualifying spend (QS) targets:

  • Passport = $500 in QS
  • Venture = $750 in QS
  • Ascent = $1500 in QS
  • First = $2500 in QS

Over the past year, Porter has launched an aggressive expansion strategy, including everything from introducing longer flights on newly-purchased jet planes flying out of Toronto Pearson, free WiFi, and a new all-inclusive economy experience.

With Canadians losing both Swoop and Sunwing as WestJet incorporates both into their mainline business, Porter’s direct competition is welcome to keep prices competitive.

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