The Tuesday news briefing An ataglance survey of some top stories

first_imgHighlights from the news file for Tuesday, July 18———FEDS UNVEIL PLANS TO CLOSE TAX LOOPHOLES: The federal government is proposing measures to tighten loopholes for private corporations that it says enable many Canadians to “unfairly” cut down how much tax they pay. Finance Minister Bill Morneau unveiled plans Tuesday designed to prevent some business owners from using legal strategies to shield part of their income in order to gain tax advantages. Even Morneau himself, who had a successful business career before entering politics, admitted that if the changes are introduced, he will likely pay more taxes going forward. The possible changes include steps to prevent business owners from using their private corporations as a way to shift their income among family members subject to lower personal tax rates — even if those relatives are not involved in the business. The federal government also released proposed changes to target those who gain tax relief through passive investment income, which enables corporate owners and employees to make one-time investments from $100,000 of pre-tax income and retain them for 10 years.———TRUDEAU STICKING BY SUPPLY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he will continue to defend the supply management system that protects the Canadian dairy industry in talks on revamping NAFTA. A U.S. House subcommittee raised the long-standing trade irritant at its hearing on North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations today, suggesting Canadian measures to protect the industry will be a sticking point. Congressman Ron Kind, a Democrat from Wisconsin, says he does not want to jeopardize a crucial trading relationship with Canada. However, Kind says the system should be “fair and balanced” and he does not believe that is currently the case. The Trump administration released a summary of its objectives for the new NAFTA on Monday, which include seeking better access for its agricultural exports. Trudeau says Canada has signed significant trade deals with Europe, North America and elsewhere while still protecting the supply management system and will continue to do so.———TRUMP’S NAFTA PUSH WORRIES CANADIAN RETAILERS: The CEO of Harry Rosen Inc. says it would be a catastrophe for Canadian retailers if Ottawa gave in to U.S. demands to raise the value of goods American stores can send to Canada tax and duty free. The U.S. is calling for the so-called de minimis threshold to be increased from C$20 to a “value comparable” to its US$800 limit. The request is one of the American administration’s objectives for the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Larry Rosen says it would create a huge disadvantage for Canadian retailers, who must charge taxes and whose goods would become comparatively more expensive as a result. He says it would be a boon for U.S. border towns, like Buffalo, as Canadian retailers including Harry Rosen would move a chunk of their businesses, like warehouses, south of the border. Canada’s de minimis threshold has remained the same since 1985, but is a hotly debated topic with some lobbying government to increase the figure, while others staunchly oppose a change. The Retail Council of Canada has advocated against raising the amount, saying even a small increase could lead to job losses.———CACHE CREEK, B.C., RESIDENTS PREPARE TO GO HOME: Residents of Cache Creek, B.C., are thrilled to be heading home after being rushed out by a fast-moving wildfire, but fear an uphill battle in repairing the community’s tourism economy. Lisa Balouch, manager of the Sunset Motel, says the loss of 11 days of visitors is significant, not only to hotels but also to restaurants, gas stations and other businesses dependent on tourists. More than 40,000 people remain out of their homes as 155 wildfires burn across the province. Cache Creek, located in the province’s Interior with a population of about 1,000, was the first major community to be evacuated after the wildfires broke out July 7. Officials said while the 520-square-kilometre Ashcroft fire continues to grow and burn out of control, the imminent threat to Cache Creek has diminished and residents can return starting Tuesday. But the village will remain on evacuation alert, meaning people must be prepared to leave again at a moment’s notice.———LOTTERY WINNER DONATES TO B.C. WILDFIRE RELIEF: A British Columbia lottery winner says he will donate some of his cash to the province’s wildfire battle. Jason Labby of Kamloops won $500,000 playing the Extra on the July 7 Lotto Max draw. Labby hasn’t said how much he will donate but that a portion of his winnings will help people affected by scores of wildfires. Labby also intends to use his windfall to buy a home. Another item at the top of his bucket list is to “relax more.” About 40,000 people have been ordered out of their homes by wildfires that have scorched more than 1,880 square kilometres of timber, bush and grassland since the wildfire season began on April 1.———SEARS CANADA GETS OK TO START LIQUIDATION SALES: Liquidation sales at dozens of Sears Canada locations slated for closure could begin as early as this week after an Ontario court signed off on the plan Tuesday. The sales can start Friday and run no later than Oct. 12 with the deep discounts happening only at the 59 department and Sears Home stores that have been slated for closure. Sears lawyer Jeremy Dacks told the hearing to approve the plan that it was “crucial” the retailer be permitted to begin sales of its merchandise, furniture, fixtures and equipment as soon as possible so it could “maximize” benefits for its stakeholders. The majority of the sales will be overseen by a third-party liquidator with current employees being asked to stay on the job until the sales are complete and the locations are shut down. Sears Canada has been operating under court protection from creditors since June 22 when it announced its plan to shutter 59 stores and cut approximately 2,900 jobs.———AUDIT FLAGS ISSUES WITH VETERANS’ FUNERAL BENEFIT: Veterans Affairs Canada is promising action after an internal audit found the families of some recently deceased veterans may not be getting the funeral benefits they deserve. Veterans who died because of their military service or whose survivors can’t afford a proper burial are eligible to have some funeral costs covered. How many families aren’t getting that money wasn’t in the audit, but it did say the estates of only a fraction of the roughly 21,000 veterans who die each year are being assessed to determine whether they qualify. That includes 3,000 veterans who were receiving disability benefits when they died, but whose families were never contacted about whether they were eligible for financial help with the funeral. The audit also raises concerns that veterans who were homeless, poor, single or widowed when they died were more at risk of being overlooked than others. Veterans Affairs, which has long struggled with complaints from veterans about difficulties obtaining support and services, says it is now looking at ways to ensure more access to the program.———FORMER CANADIAN SKI COACH TO APPEAL SEX-CRIME CONVICTIONS: A former high-performance Canadian ski coach convicted of 37 sex-related charges involving the exploitation and sexual assault of his young female students is appealing the verdict. Bertrand Charest’s lawyer argues the trial judge erred in several instances and that his client should be acquitted on all charges or granted a new trial. Quebec court Judge Sylvain Lepine called Charest a sexual predator when he convicted him last month on charges involving nine of the 12 women who’d accused him. The crimes date back more than 20 years when he trained aspiring professional downhill skiers. Charest, 52, was acquitted on 18 of the charges, while the court said it didn’t have jurisdiction over two other counts that happened abroad. The 57 charges included sexual assault, sexual exploitation and one of sexual assault causing bodily harm. Charest has been detained since his March 2015 arrest and the sentencing phase of his case is set to begin Aug. 23.———TRUMP SIGN REMOVED FROM LUXURY HOTEL: The “Trump” sign is no longer on the Trump International Hotel and Tower in downtown Toronto. Workers removed the sign from the 65-storey tower Tuesday. U.S. President Donald Trump never owned the building, but the Trump Organization ran the hotel and licensed his name to it. The building’s owner, JCF Capital, announced a deal last month that would see the U.S. president’s name removed from the property. It’s unclear when the name will be changed, and the company’s website still lists the property as bearing the Trump name. Trump-branded properties, including a recently opened tower in Vancouver, have been the target of protesters angry about the U.S. president’s policies.last_img read more