Gordon Fyfe departs federal pension fund to head BC Investment Management

VICTORIA — The chief executive of PSP Investments, which manages pension funds for the federal public service, Canadian Forces and RCMP, is leaving to become CEO of B.C. Investment Management Corp.In his new role, Gordon Fyfe will manage a fund with $114.8 billion in assets — compared with $90 billion of assets managed by PSP Investments for the federal public sector.Fyfe has more than 30 years of experience in investment and finance, including at JP Morgan, the Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec and TAL Global Asset Management.He replaces Doug Pearce, who is retiring after more than 20 years as head of the B.C. fund manager.B.C. Investment Management manages investments for public sector pension plans, public trusts and insurance funds.The Public Sector Pension Investment Board says it has a CEO succession plan in place but it didn’t announce Fyfe’s successor.The Canadian Press read more

Shopify Inc looks to help businesses with online marketing by acquiring messaging

OTTAWA — E-commerce company Shopify Inc. has acquired Kit CRM Inc., a messaging app that helps businesses with online marketing.Kit, which operates via text message, runs targeted ads and posts updates on Facebook and Instagram to help businesses make recommendations to customers based on store activities.The app also sends updates via text message to businesses regarding their social media activity.Shopify did not disclose the purchase price for the private acquisition.Inside Shopify Inc’s Toronto office: How the e-commerce company makes space for introverts and extrovertsRogers Communications Inc among companies offering customer service through Facebook Messenger, and customers love itEarlier this week, the company announced it will be the main tenant of a new office building in downtown Toronto.Shopify has committed to lease about 112,000 square feet at the King-Portland Centre, which would be developed over the next three years.The announcement Wednesday comes nearly a year after Shopify’s initial public offering on the Toronto and New York stock exchanges, which raised US$131 million.Shopify provides e-commerce services to more than 243,000 customers in 150 countries including Tesla Motors, Budweiser, Red Bull and the LA Lakers.It has more than 1,000 employees working at offices in Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa and Waterloo, Ont. read more

Quebec government puts end to oil and gas exploration on Anticosti Island

QUEBEC — The Quebec government announced Friday there won’t be any further oil and gas exploration on Anticosti Island, putting the controversial drilling project to rest.Natural Resources Minister Pierre Arcand said a decision was taken to protect the island’s natural character and support its bid to become a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which the province has formally backed.“It was clear to us that it was very difficult both to exploit the hydrocarbons and at the same time to apply to UNESCO for Anticosti,” Arcand said in Montreal.The project, conceived under the previous Parti Quebecois government, had become a political hot potato after Premier Philippe Couillard’s Liberals came to power in 2014.In 2014, the PQ announced a $115 million investment, a first step towards gas exploration on Anticosti Island, estimating a potential of 46 billion barrels.The exploration work was aimed at determining the hydrocarbon potential, in terms of quality and volume, on the eastern Quebec island.However, Couillard increasingly distanced himself from the project after attending the international climate conference in Paris in 2015.The premier expressed concerns about environmental risks and had questioned the project’s economic viability, repeatedly noting it was reached under the previous PQ government.The provincial government said Friday that negotiations are underway to compensate a number of companies for cancelling their contracts.Deals have been reached with Junex, Corridor and Maurel & Prom for a total compensation of $41.4 million.“These agreements demonstrate the seriousness of our government and our commitment to respect the signature of the previous government,” Arcand said.Discussions are ongoing with Quebec City-based Petrolia Inc. (TSX-V:PEA) and Trans American.The island located in the Gulf of St. Lawrence is home to deep canyons, impressive waterfalls and numerous caves.The head of a local environmental group said the risks of drilling there would have far outweighed any potential economic benefit.“Anticosti is a jewel, a place worthy of being part of UNESCO’s world heritage,” said Steven Guilbeault of Equiterre.“Allowing oil companies to draw millions of litres of water, to dig thousands of oil wells, to inject chemicals in the soil would have been a grave error.”Many local residents were opposed to oil and gas activity on the island and fear the environmental impact and dangers for fish and wildlife.John Pineault, the mayor of the Quebec municipality and a fervent opponent of the drilling, says the firms must now restore the sites to what they were.“Let them clean up their sites to put this behind us,” he said in an interview.Pineault also thanked groups that had supported his efforts to have drilling stopped: First Nations, environmentalists and labour unions.The Canadian Press read more

UK wants LLRC report implemented

“I also welcome the outcome of the vote on the Sri Lanka resolution. This underlines the importance that governments across the world attach to supporting lasting peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka. We urge the Sri Lankan Government to take the necessary steps to implement the recommendations of their Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission as soon as possible,” he said in a statement today. Britain has urged the Sri Lankan government to implement the recommendations of the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) as soon as possible.UK Foreign Office Minister Jeremy Browne said that the vote on the resolution on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) underlines the importance that governments across the world attach to supporting lasting peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka. He further said that Britain will continue to work with its international partners on several issues, to support the work of the UN Human Rights Council and ensure that those who are responsible for human rights violations and abuses are held to account by the international community. (Colombo Gazette) read more

C4 journos refused entry

The Channel 4 journalists were among those blacklisted in Sri Lanka following the airing of the controversial war crimes videos. The military also launched its own inquiry after the LLRC released its final report late last year with a set of recommendations.  (Colombo Gazette) The government had however rejected the allegations and said that the videos were doctored and not authentic.Following international pressure the government later appointed the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) to look at some of the incidents which took place during the war including the allegations raised in the Channel 4 video. The immigration and emigration department says it refused entry into the country to two Channel 4 television journalists yesterday.Immigration head Chulananda Perera said that one female journalist, Shirani Sabaratnam, was refused entry at the Katunayake airport. Her husband Stuart Cosgrove, a Director at Channel 4, had meanwhile entered the country and was at a Colombo hotel when he was taken back to the airport by immigration officers and sent back, Perera said. read more

Hirunika arrested freed on bail

However when contacted by the Colombo Gazette, Hirunika Premachandra rejected the claims. Hirunika Premachandra also raised hope that justice will finally be meted out against her father’s killers, more than a year after he was shot dead. She said her bodyguards had come in-between the man and her and pushed the man behind.He had then lodged a complaint with the police saying the bodyguards had assaulted him. Hirunika Premachandra was arrested by the Borella police and then freed on police bail this evening, the police said.She was arrested together with two others for assaulting a man in Borella, the police added. Premachandra said that the police had asked her to apologize to the man over the incident, which she refused to do. She was then arrested and released on police bail.Hirunika Premachandra, the daughter of late government member Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra had recently told the Colombo Gazette that she feared for her life after the Attorney General’s department had instructed the police to file a case against MP Duminda Silva.Parliamentarian Duminda Silva returned to the island recently. Silva was receiving treatment in Singapore for the injuries he suffered during a shooting incident in 2011 in which presidential adviser Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra was killed. Presidential Advisor Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra was killed in the shooting incident in October 2011 and Silva was seen as one of the main suspects in the murder.  (Colombo Gazette) She said that when she had gone to meet the man with her bodyguards over a private dispute the man had stormed at her. read more

UK concerned over Weliweriya

Britain has expressed concerns over the incidents which took place in Weliweriya last week.UK Foreign Office Minister, Alistair Burt said he noted with “serious concern” emerging reports of the violent disruption of peaceful protests by the Sri Lankan security forces in Weliweriya, in which at least 3 people died. The U.S. Embassy in Colombo had also last week expressed concerns over the incident.The Embassy called on the Government of Sri Lanka to respect the rights of people to protest peacefully, and urged restraint from all sides. (Colombo Gazette) “My thoughts are with the families of those who were killed or injured,” he said. Burt urged the authorities to ensure the right to peaceful protest is protected and to ensure a swift and transparent investigation, the British Foreign Office said. read more

US Government eases military trade restrictions on Sri Lanka

The United States government has eased long-standing military trade restrictions imposed on Sri Lanka, the US Department of State’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls (DDTC) has announced.The DDTC confirmed that licensing restrictions on defence exports to Sri Lanka had been lifted and that it will now review licence applications on a case-by-case basis, the Janes Defence website reported. The sanctions prohibited the use of US assistance to support defence exports but excluded transfers of equipment or services related to demining, disaster relief, and aerial and maritime surveillance. (Colombo Gazette) The sanctions previously imposed on Sri Lanka were outlined in US appropriations acts in response to Sri Lanka’s civil war, which started in the early 1980s and ended in 2009.

SLFP decides to take disciplinary action on party members

The Sri Lanka Freedom Party Central Committee has decided to take disciplinary action on several party members.The decision was taken when the SLFP Central Committee met late this evening with President Maithripala Sirisena. As part of the move the SLFP has decided to suspend the party membership of Parliamentarian Sanath Nishantha.The SLFP has also decided to hold an inquiry on a group of SLFP members who tore party interview papers at a media briefing this week. (Colombo Gazette)