But we compete with each other [on the world stage] from time to time,” Oliver said on the sidelines of a conference in New York. “There’s a huge shale boom in the U.S., and clearly we need to diversify our markets.” Both of North America’s economic powerhouses are eclipsed on the world stage by countries such as Qatar, Australia, Malaysia and Russiaall of which are among the most dominant of the 17 countries that export natural gas. A prime target for Canadian LNG exports is Asia’s $150 billion market, where Japan and South Korea consume more than half of the world’s natgas stocks, according to the International Gas Union, a natural gas trade group that represents 95 percent of global natgas exporters. Underscoring the stakes, the organization says LNG trade has surged by 36 percent in the past five years alone, and is set to grow further Less controversy north of the border While U.S. natural gas is cheaper and more abundant, Canada’s political and regulatory environment has been friendlier to the shale boom than the one in America has. John Brynjolfsson, chief investment officer at Armored Wolf, an investment management firm, said the U.S. should “unshackle the industry from restrictions based on protectionist tendencies or unjustified environmental concerns.” One of the key concerns about the shale boom continues to draw controversy over hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which extracts natural gas from the ground. Environmental groups warn the procedure could contaminate drinking water or cause earthquakes. Recently, some have drawn a link between earthquakes in Ohiowhere natgas development is boomingand fracking. Objections over the process have hamstrung the proposed construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, an artery designed to ship oil and gas between Canada and the U.S. However, Oliver insisted to CNBC that “the public is comfortable” with the process, renewing a call for the U.S.to end its five-year hold on the Keystone project. By CNBC’s Javier E. David.
The version of the plan revealed on Thursday is less ambitious than earlier efforts, but is designed to win over additional provinces before its 2015 launch. Still, the French-speaking province of Quebec, led by a separatist government, rejected the plan and hinted at fighting it in court. Flaherty said the agreement “represents the best of what can be achieved when a shared responsibility becomes a mutual goal.” He expects others to join the plan quickly, but the intention is to push ahead with the initiative even if there are holdouts. The three governments said they would enact provincial legislation and complementary federal legislation by the end of 2014 so that the new regulator can start operating in July 2015. TOUGHER WATCHDOG SOUGHT The new body will replace the Ontario Securities Commission, which is now Canada’s major securities regulator, and the British Columbia Securities Commission as well as their counterparts in any other provinces that choose to participate. The plan is intended to make it easier for companies and investors to navigate the system by eventually having a single set of rules nationwide, and to give Canada a single voice in global discussions of regulatory issues. Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa said the partial deal beat the alternative: a federal agency that Flaherty had threatened to create if he couldn’t reach a deal with the provinces. “To introduce yet possibly another federal regulator, with all the others included, would create an international reputational signal that would say, you know, we don’t have our act together,” Sousa said. QUEBEC FIERCELY OPPOSED Some provinces, particularly Quebec, have seen the efforts to create a national regulator as an intrusion on their powers. The Supreme Court ruled in 2011 that it was unconstitutional for Ottawa to impose a common regulator on the provinces and territories. As a result, Flaherty switched from a unilateral approach to a cooperative format with willing provinces. But more legal wrangling could be in store. The Quebec government said it might challenge the plan in court. “We will ask the Justice Ministry for a legal opinion to analyze the proposal that was announced this morning and we will not hesitate to go to court,” said Alexandre Cloutier, Quebec minister for intergovernmental affairs. Ian Lee, a professor at Carleton University’s Sprott School of Business, noted Quebec’s importance in Canadian capital markets has weakened in the last 30 to 40 years as many of its companies migrated to Toronto.
Work permits for Canada can be a trap
Forgetting to exercise prudence, several aspiring immigrants were taken for a ride that cost them hefty, hard-earned money. Parthiv Thakker, 29, a resident of New SG Road, received a mail from a Canadian company offering him a job in Canada. After sending the required details to the company, he received a phone call from Quebec, a French speaking province of Canada. He was told that his recruitment process is on and they are awaiting approval from the government. In a week’s time, Thakker had his contract letter and was asked to contact a local agent in Delhi and make an initial payment of 187 dollars (about Rs 12,000) as application charge. Parthiv got suspicious as he knew that the process of work permit cannot be completed in such a short span. The company’s website carried the official symbol of CSIC (Canadian Society Of Immigration Consultants) and the agent’s ID too was mentioned in the mail. But when he checked the list of the agents, the ID was missing. When he checked with the Canadian embassy, they informed him that no such ID was registered and the person from whom he received the job offer does not exist. When he contacted the local visa agent to trace the scam, he came to know that the local bank in which he was asked to deposit the money existed in Mizoram and the names of the account holder and mobile SIM card holder differed too. Parthiv says, “The scamsters followed the official process of Canadian work permit issuance so well that there was not a single reason to doubt them.