White House welcomes Senate vote killing consumer rule

first_imgWASHINGTON – The White House is welcoming a congressional measure killing the ability of millions of Americans to band together to sue bank or credit card companies to resolve financial disputes in a major win for Wall Street.The Senate narrowly voted late Tuesday night to nullify the rule, with Vice-President Mike Pence casting the final vote to break a 50-50 tie. The measure now goes to President Donald Trump for his signature.“President Donald J. Trump applauds the Congress for passing,” the resolution, the White House said in a statement shortly after the vote that highlighted its own Treasury Department report criticizing the rule. “The rule would harm our community banks and credit unions by opening the door to frivolous lawsuits by special interest trial lawyers.”The banking industry had been lobbying hard to roll back the regulation from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The bureau had moved to ban most types of mandatory arbitration clauses found in the fine print of agreements consumers often enter into when opening a checking account or getting a credit card.The vote reflects the effort of the Trump administration and congressional Republicans to undo regulations that the GOP argues harm the free market.Democratic lawmakers said the CFPB’s rule would have given consumers more leverage to stop companies from financial wrongdoing. They cited the sales practices at Wells Fargo and the security breach at credit company Equifax as examples of misdeeds protected through forced arbitration.“So who does forced arbitration help? Wall Street banks and other huge corporations that never pay the price for cheating working people,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.Richard Cordray, director of the consumer bureau, said: “Tonight’s vote is a giant setback for every consumer in this country. Wall Street won and ordinary people lost. This vote means the courtroom doors will remain closed for groups of people seeking justice and relief when they are wronged by a company.”Republicans said the arbitration system has worked wonderfully for consumers. They said the payouts for the average consumer in arbitration cases are generally much larger and come more quickly than when compared to the relief gained through class-action lawsuits.“The effort to try to characterize this as some devious system that has been created to try to stop consumers from having access to fairness is simply false,” said Sen. Mike Crapo, the Republican chairman of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. “We have a very fair system that has been working for over 100 years in this country.”Crapo said the average pay-out for consumers in class-action lawsuits against financial companies was just $32, but lawyers stood to make millions.Democrats argued that consumers generally don’t have the time and means to pursue claims in arbitration, and since most disputes revolve around small amounts, they typically just give up. They said banks and other financial firms know that in the end they won’t have pay a real price for taking advantage of a consumer.But class-actions would serve as a powerful tool for consumers, they said.“Once again, we’re helping the powerful against the powerless,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., as the Senate neared the vote, sensing the Democrats would lose.Two Republicans sided with Democratic lawmakers to keep the rule — Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John Kennedy of Louisiana.The advocacy group Consumers Union and several veterans groups, including the American Legion, lobbied to keep the rule. They said consumers would still have the option to use arbitration to resolve a dispute, if both parties want to go that route.“Without the CFPB rule, consumers can be forced into a rigged system where they have no recourse. It’s a disgrace,” said Linda Lipsen, CEO of the American Association for Justice, an advocacy group that works to improve the legal system.The American Bankers Association cheered the Senate vote. “Today’s vote puts consumers first rather than class-action lawyers,” said Rob Nichols, the group’s president and chief executive officer.last_img read more

UK agency investigates midair collision with casualties

first_imgLONDON – An aircraft and helicopter collided in mid-air Friday northwest of London and a “number of casualties” were reported, authorities said.Fire and ambulance services rushed to the scene at 12:06 p.m. GMT (7:06 a.m. EST) near Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire. Two ambulance crews, two ambulance officers and a rapid response vehicle were deployed, the South Central Ambulance Service said.“We’re aware of a number of casualties following an incident this afternoon,” Thames Valley Police said in a tweet. “There were a number of road closures following the incident, which have now been lifted.”The Air Accidents Investigation Branch said it was sending a team to the site of the accident, which is in dense woodland.The crash took place near Waddesdon Manor, which is managed by the Rothschild Foundation, a family charitable trust, on behalf of the National Trust. The manor said the crash did not happen at the site and there were no casualties at the manor.A nearby military base, RAF Halton, also said no military aircraft were involved.last_img read more

Retailer MEC to stop ordering from Vista Outdoor in response to Florida

first_imgVANCOUVER – Mountain Equipment Co-op has decided to stop selling several outdoor equipment brands owned by Vista Outdoor Inc., which is also a gun manufacturer.MEC doesn’t sell guns, but had faced a petition calling on it to stop selling brands owned by Vista Outdoor because the U.S. company also develops and manufactures firearms similar to the type of rifle used in a recent Florida mass shooting.The retailer said Thursday its existing inventory of Bushnell, CamelBak, Camp Chef, Jimmy Styks and Bolle gear will remain on its shelves until it is sold, but it has suspended further orders of the brands owned by Visa Outdoor.MEC chief executive David Labistour issued a statement saying he has heard the calls to boycott the brands, but also from members who believe that decision should be left to individual consumers.“I hope that you will see that the decision we made today is balanced and considered and positions us to inspire a wider discussion throughout our industry and North America,” Labistour said.He added he believes a member-owned organization like MEC needs to engage in the “complex and highly charged debate” surrounding the Feb. 14 shooting at a high school in Parkland, Fla., that resulted in 17 deaths.The retailer will also “continue to engage with these brands as well our peers in the outdoor industry in North America in ways that are consistent with our mission and values,” he said.On Wednesday, Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods took steps to restrict gun sales.Dick’s said it will stop selling assault-style rifles and ban the sale of all guns to anyone under 21.Walmart said it will no longer sell firearms and ammunition to people younger than 21.A 19-year-old former student of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School has been accused of using an AR-15 rifle, that he purchased legally, for the attack.last_img read more

Campbell Soup Company names Mississauga as site for new headquarters

first_imgMISSISSAUGA, Ont. – Campbell Soup Company says its new Canadian headquarters will open in Mississauga, Ont.It will be located in the Airport Corporate Centre region, which is a 15-minute minute drive from its soon-to-be-closed Etobicoke manufacturing plant.The company decided to shutter the 87-year-old plant in January and cut 380 jobs, citing complications with retrofitting such an old building as the reason for the closure.Campbell says it chose Mississauga for its new headquarters because of its proximity to its Etobicoke facility and because of the area’s demographics.The headquarters will house 160 employees, all from its current team.The move from Etobicoke will happen in stages, but the company hopes the headquarters will be operational by the first quarter of 2019.last_img read more

WestJet pilots vow not to disrupt long weekend as a goodwill gesture

first_imgWestJet pilots have committed to not disrupting passenger travel plans over the Victoria Day long weekend despite voting overwhelmingly to give its union a strike mandate.The Air Line Pilots Association said its WestJet members voted 91 per cent in favour of strike action.About 95 per cent of WestJet’s 1,500 pilots voted.“I’m hoping with the gesture of goodwill we made today that we’ll see some significant progress at the table and we can hopefully come to a successful negotiation relatively quickly,” Capt. Rob McFadyen, chairman of the WestJet association’s master executive council, said in an interview.He said the union decided to delay a potential strike date past the long weekend so as not to disrupt the travel plans of WestJet passengers.McFadyen, who met Thursday with WestJet CEO Ed Sims, said the vote was a show of unity that the company should take seriously.“Today the pilots made it very clear with a very unified voice that these issues are very important to us, and they are unified in making sure that we do achieve that contract that the pilots expect.”The result was announced with eight days remaining in the 21-day cooling-off period, after which the union can launch a strike or the airline can lock out employees.Pilots will be in a legal position to commence job action on May 19, but now say they won’t strike before May 22.He added that it’s time for the efforts of pilots to be properly recognized in terms of industry-standard compensation and working conditions, and job security that prevents management from outsourcing jobs.“We’re making progress on some of the smaller issues that we hoped to clear up quite some time ago but I believe we’ll be addressing a lot of the major issues in the coming week.”The union said negotiations will continue starting next week in Halifax and it is committed to staying there for as long as it takes to get a first collective agreement done.Sims said the Calgary-based airline respects the outcome and recognized the mandate pilots have given the association.He also said the airline appreciates that passenger travel plans won’t be disrupted over the long weekend.“We remain at the negotiation table to drive a sustainable agreement, in the best interest of our pilots, 13,000 WestJetters and the 70,000 guests who fly with us daily,” he said in a news release.WestJet warned on Tuesday that its bookings have slowed as passengers respond to the threat of a potential labour disruption from pilots who are trying to negotiate their first collective agreement.Air Canada has capitalized on its rival’s situation by formally announcing Thursday that it is expanding capacity on key transcontinental routes in response to the strike mandate at its large domestic rival.The Montreal-based airline said it will use larger planes on some flights from its main hub in Toronto to Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Montreal, Ottawa, Halifax, from Vancouver to Calgary, Edmonton, and from Calgary to Montreal.“Travellers who may be concerned about the uncertainty resulting from WestJet’s strike vote mandate can book Air Canada with confidence,” it said in a release.“With our flexible and diverse fleet, we will continue adjusting capacity where possible to limit disruptions for people travelling.Follow @RossMarowits on Twitter.Companies in this story: (TSX:WJA, TSX:AC)Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said WestJet Encore pilots also voted to strike.last_img read more

Bad drivers to pay more in BC under new Crown auto insurance

first_imgVANCOUVER – Drivers who cause crashes or have fewer than 15 years of experience will pay more for vehicle insurance in British Columbia as part of a sweeping plan to overhaul how premiums are calculated.The provincial government introduced the proposed changes on Thursday to modernize the system used by the Crown auto insurance corporation, which hasn’t been updated in decades.If the changes are approved by the B.C. Utilities Commission, two-thirds of drivers will pay less than they otherwise would while one-third will pay more, said Attorney General David Eby.The current model to calculate rates used by the Insurance Corporation of B.C. is “broken,” he said.“From now on, British Columbians can have more confidence that if they drive safely and don’t cause crashes, the rates they have to pay will much more closely represent the risk they actually represent on the road,” he said.Nearly 40 per cent of drivers would see up to a $50 reduction in their annual premiums, while 15 per cent would see more than a $100 reduction, the province said, adding that just over 10 per cent would see an up to $50 increase and 17 per cent would see their rates hiked more than $100.The adjustments would take effect in September 2019, although some elements will not be fully implemented until 2027.The changes are revenue-neutral and not intended to put a dent in ICBC’s forecasted $1.3 billion deficit — a situation Eby has called a “financial dumpster fire.”However, Eby said he hopes the measures will reduce costs to ICBC with a financial incentive to drive safely and prevent crashes, which are at a record high.One key change is that B.C. would move to a driver-based model from a vehicle-based insurance, so at-fault crashes are tied to the driver and not the car owner.Premiums would be calculated based on years of experience, number of at-fault crashes, place of residence and how the vehicle is used, with additional discounts or add-ons on top.Customers would have to list all the drivers who may operate the vehicle, and the experience and crash history of each driver would be taken into account in the premium.Those with a vehicle being used by a driver with a learner’s permit would have to pay as much as $200 more annually. But crashes caused by the learner before they get their licence won’t be counted in their driving history.ICBC would still offer discounts to inexperienced drivers, but those discounts would be reduced to better reflect the “risk” that those drivers represent, the province said.Under the plan, a driver would be considered inexperienced if they have fewer than 15 years of experience on the road.The corporation would consider at-fault crashes that happened over the past 10 years — up from three — to help determine a driver’s premium.But when the changes come into effect in September 2019, ICBC will only look back at two and a half years of at-fault crashes to determine premiums. Each year after that, it will extend the period by one year until 2027, when the full 10-year period will be in place.The corporation would forgive one at-fault crash for customers with 20 years of driving experience.The proposed model means drivers with more years of experience and no at-fault crashes would see greater discounts.Drivers are already paying more if they live in dense, urban areas, which are more risky for crashes. But the province is updating the map to better reflect what B.C. looks like in 2018, the province said.The utilities commission is set to hold a hearing in December to determine whether auto insurance rates will go up overall in the province.Andrew Wilkinson, leader of the Opposition Liberals, accused the NDP government of doing little to fix the problems at ICBC.“All the Attorney General has done today is lay blame at the foot of B.C. drivers, instead of overhauling the broken system that is ICBC,” said Wilkinson in a news release.The NDP countered with a news release saying the Liberals raided $1.2 billion from ICBC while they were in power in order to pad their own annual budgets.— Follow @ellekane on Twitter.last_img read more

Canada Goose reports secondquarter profit up raises outlook for full year

first_imgCompanies in this story: (TSX:GOOS) TORONTO — Canada Goose Holdings Inc. beat expectations as it reported a second-quarter profit of $49.9 million and raised its outlook for growth for the year.The luxury parka maker says the profit amounted to 45 cents per diluted share for quarter ended Sept. 30 compared with a profit of $37.1 million or 33 cents per diluted share a year ago.Revenue in what was the company’s second quarter totalled $230.3 million, up from $172.3 million in the same quarter last year.On an adjusted basis, Canada Goose says it earned 46 cents per diluted share in the quarter, up from an adjusted profit of 29 cents per diluted share a year ago. Analysts had expected a profit of 26 cents per share for the quarter, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.In its outlook, Canada Goose says it now expects annual revenue growth of at least 30 per cent compared with its earlier forecast for at least 20 per cent.The company also expects annual growth in its adjusted net income per diluted share to be at least 40 per cent compared with its earlier guidance of at least 25 per cent. The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Smith Broman lead Winthrop past Campbell 9086 in Big South

first_imgBUIES CREEK, N.C. — Nych Smith and Bjorn Broman, who sat out the previous game with injuries, combined for a clutch five points in the last 19 seconds and Winthrop fended off Campbell 90-86 on Thursday.Smith, Winthrop’s top scorer at 16.0 ppg., scored a career-high 27 in his return, hitting a dagger of a 3 with 19 seconds left that pushed the Eagles (10-5, 2-0 Big South Conference) ahead by five, 88-83. Campbell (8-8, 1-1) answered with a 3 of its own but Broman sealed the win with a pair of free throws a five seconds left.Chris Clemons, who leads the nation in scoring with 29.3 ppg., scored 34 against the Eagles. He threw down a dunk with 44 seconds left that cut the gap to 85-83, fed Jordan Whitfield for a 3-pointer with nine seconds remaining that made it 88-86. His attempt at a game-winning 3-pointer was blocked by Adam Pickett as time ran out.Clemons was 10-for-28 shooting and 4-for-14 from deep. His six assists were a season high.The Associated Presslast_img read more

China 2018 exports up 71 per cent imports up 129 per cent

first_imgBEIJING — China’s government reports 2018 exports rose 7.1 per cent as a trade battle with Washington intensified, while imports were up 12.9 per cent.Monday’s announcement comes as Beijing tries to reverse a decline in economic growth while facing a potential fall-off in American orders for Chinese goods following President Donald Trump’s tariff hikes in the fight over China’s technology ambitions.Chinese exporters also face pressure from cooling consumer demand in other global markets.The Associated Presslast_img read more

PGE bankruptcy could mean price hikes unpaid fire lawsuits

first_imgSACRAMENTO, Calif. — Pacific Gas & Electric Co. said this week it will file for bankruptcy, raising concern that rates for electricity and gas will rise and victims of California wildfires who are suing the nation’s largest utility won’t get all the money they may be owed.Here are some key things to know about the impact of the company’s financial situation:WHAT DOES BANKRUPTCY MEAN?PG&E says it can’t afford at least $30 billion in expected costs related to California’s deadly 2017 and 2018 wildfires. Filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy will allow the company to hold off creditors and keep providing electricity and natural gas service while it gets its finances in order.Richard Kelly, chairman of PG&E’s board of directors, said the reorganization allowed under Chapter 11 is “the only viable option to address the company’s responsibilities to its stakeholders.”While the filing wouldn’t make the lawsuits against PG&E disappear, it would consolidate them into a single proceeding before a bankruptcy judge, not a jury. That could buy the company time and prevent excessive jury verdicts.Bankruptcy also makes it easier for a company to take out new loans and sell off assets. PG&E, which also went through bankruptcy early 20 years ago, has been considering splitting off its gas division.WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?The utility’s Monday announcement kicks off a 15-day period before the official filing, which is expected on or before Jan. 29.California Gov. Gavin Newsom said he wants to keep the bankruptcy from going through, but that it might not be possible. He’s put his chief of staff in charge of looking for solutions, with help from financial and bankruptcy experts.Lawmakers may not be so eager to prevent the bankruptcy, but they have other questions to answer, such as how to keep electricity rates from rising or ensure wildfire victims who win lawsuits against PG&E get paid.WHO ARE PG&E’S CUSTOMERS?San Francisco-based PG&E is the nation’s largest utility based on customers and revenue. It serves more than 16 million people with electric or gas service.It also serves an area with roughly three-quarters of the California land most vulnerable to wildfire, Newsom said, putting the utility in a unique position compared with Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas and Electric, two of California’s other largest utilities.PG&E customers could bear some of the cost from the bankruptcy as a charge on their power bills. PG&E customers still have a charge on their monthly bills from the utility’s 2001 bankruptcy.The bankruptcy judge will determine what happens to parties owed money by PG&E, but state regulators will still decide what rates customers are charged.WILL THE POWER GO OUT?Newsom stressed Monday that the situation is not the same as PG&E’s bankruptcy in 2001, when the state faced an energy crisis that led to rolling blackouts.“We are not in a position where we’re worried about the lights turning out,” he said.The earlier bankruptcy stemmed from rising electricity costs during a shortage caused by the state’s attempts at deregulating the power industry.Now, the company is filing for bankruptcy because of crushing wildfire liability costs. California officials have determined PG&E’s equipment caused multiple 2017 fires.State investigators have not yet determined what caused a blaze that swept through Santa Rosa in 2017 or the fire that destroyed the town of Paradise and killed more than 40 people last November. But PG&E already faces lawsuits because it reported equipment issues around the time and place where last year’s fire sparked.PG&E is on the hook for major wildfire costs because California law makes utilities entirely liable for fires sparked by their equipment, even if the company didn’t act negligently.WHAT CAN LAWMAKERS DO?They tried to prevent a PG&E bankruptcy last year by approving a law allowing the utility to pass on some costs of the 2017 wildfires to ratepayers. It didn’t include a similar provision for 2018, which was a deadlier and more destructive wildfire season.State Sen. Bill Dodd, a Napa Democrat who wrote the law, said lawmakers didn’t want to give PG&E incentives to stop focusing on safety.But now lawmakers are forced to confront a bankruptcy. State Sen. Jerry Hill, a PG&E critic, said it might be a good thing because PG&E as it exists does not have a record of safety.Kathleen Ronayne, The Associated Presslast_img read more

1000 children to receive access to inclusive child care

first_imgVANCOUVER, B.C. – The B.C. Ministry of Children and Family Development has announced that 1,000 children with extra support needs will have access to inclusive child care with the help of SCD and ASCD programming.The funding is part of a three-year, $30-million investment through the Early Learning and Child Care agreement with the Government of Canada.The ministry says this funding, announced in February 2018, will reduce waitlists for inclusive child care and improves access to programs across the province for children with extra support needs. “Every parent wants the best for their child, yet many families with children who have extra support needs have been struggling for years to find quality care,” said Katrine Conroy, B.C. Minister of Children and Family Development.“This investment is a key part of our vision of affordable, quality child care for every B.C. family who wants it.”Supported Child Development (SCD) can include:One-On-One help for children who may need assistance during meals or to take part in activities with peers.Information and training for child care staff to help them make their programming more inclusive, such as creating a visual schedule to help children better understand their daily routine, or allowing children to begin their day earlier to be better oriented before the day begins.Working with families to link them to other local resources and support groups in the community, or to help them access medical and other needed services.The Province is investing more than $1 billion in child care over the next three years through Childcare BC, moving towards its long-term vision of a universal childcare system in B.C.last_img read more

Grande Prairie RCMP issue warning after a series of overdoses

first_imgGRANDE PRAIRIE, A.B. – Grande Prairie RCMP are issuing a warning following a series of recent overdoses.According to RCMP, the Alberta Health Services EMS responded to approximately 14 overdose calls within the last four days.Police say investigations revealed a common trend of purple and pink coloured pills suspected to be heroin. Grande Prairie RCMP along with AHS, are cautioning individuals who engage in illegal drug use to exercise extreme caution when purchasing, and using illicit drugs.Individuals experiencing an overdose can show the following symptoms;breathing slowly or not breathing at allnails and/or lips are bluechoking or throwing upmaking gurgling soundsskin is cold and clammyNaloxone kits are available at pharmacies, community clinics and emergency departments.If you suspect an individual is experiencing an overdose, call 911 immediately.For more information on drug overdoses, you can visit drugsafe.ca.last_img read more