Canadian Banned musicians take the stage at SXSW

first_imgAdvertisement Advertisement Further driving home ContraBanned’s point about the foolishness of Donald Trump’s attempted travel ban, the evening’s scheduled closing act, Iranian-born U.K. DJ Ash Koosha, was conspicuously absent because he was denied entry into the States to attend the festival. Advertisement Login/Register With: AUSTIN, TEXAS—Music knows no borders, and all the travel bans in the world can’t do anything about it.That was the message sent the way of the Trump administration at the South by Southwest festival on Friday evening, as artists representing the six nations targeted by a United States travel ban gathered in Austin for a defiantly joyous protest concert dubbed “ContraBanned: #MusicUnites @ SXSW.”The musicians on hand — including Somali-Canadian sister act Faarrow and Toronto rapper Emmanuel Jal, representing South Sudan — came from worlds as varied as hip-hop, jazz, R&B and classical, but that was kind of the point. They could all easily come together onstage in the spirit of peace and unity, which a world separated by pointless political and religious borders would do well to emulate. LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Facebook Twitterlast_img read more

Where are the women Juno Awards criticized for mens dominance

first_img LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Alysha Brilla wasn’t surprised by the lack of female representation when this year’s Juno Awards nominees were announced.Years ago, the Waterloo, Ont.-based musician and producer decided to conduct an experiment. She carefully tabulated the gender diversity among Juno nominees and found there wasn’t much at all, particularly in the technical categories, which were completely dominated by men.After scrolling through this year’s list of contenders — the winners are announced this weekend in Ottawa — she concluded little has changed. “I don’t want to see women take over the industry. I want to see a balance,” says Brilla, a two-time Juno nominee for best adult contemporary album.“(But) there’s a lot of resistance,” she adds, “mainly from folks who don’t think there’s a problem in the first place.” Brilla points to data that shows only four women have won the producer award in the 45 years that Junos have been handed out; the engineer prize has never gone to a woman.Among this year’s nominees selected by CARAS members in categories that aren’t based on sales, the figures show a stark disparity.Album categories including country, adult alternative, francophone, classical, contemporary Christian, rap, R&B/soul and reggae all only have one female nominee each. Both the engineer and producer of the year categories don’t have a single female nominee.When Brilla raised the issue with Junos brass in the past the response she got shocked her.Representatives said better diversity at the Junos would only happen if more women became members of the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences (CARAS).“The woman on the phone said to me, ‘We don’t have a lot of female voters so if you could find us some, that would be great,’ ” Brilla remembers.“So I went out and did the work. I solicited every woman I knew who was technically qualified — who works in the industry. I asked artist friends, asked production friends and brought back a couple to them.”She waited until the next year to see if her efforts made a difference in the list of Juno nominees. They didn’t, she says.“A lot of people in the industry would say that everything is fine. You work hard and get where you want to be,” Brilla says.“To some extent that’s true . . . but I’m a very rare example of a woman in the industry who has the platform to voice these feelings. Why aren’t things shifting?”In February, Tegan and Sara published an open letter drawing attention to this year’s lack of female nominees and urged the industry to more actively consider women for technical jobs.Allan Reid, president of CARAS and the Junos, phoned the sisters upon hearing their concerns. He encouraged them to become CARAS members and Junos voters.Sara Quin says the conversation motivated her to write letters to about 250 women in the industry. She plans to urge them to pay the CARAS membership fee, vote and “get more involved.”It’s an initiative that sounds familiar to other prominent musicians.“I did exactly what Sara did — last year,” says Amy Millan, a member of Broken Social Scene and Stars.“I wrote (Sarah) Harmer, Sarah Slean and Jenn Grant and I wrote all these women and said, ‘Are you a member of CARAS?’ Most of them came back and they said, ‘No, because what’s the point?’ ”Millan doesn’t exactly blame the Junos, but she doesn’t think it’s helping matters either.She believes the awards show is emblematic of a bigger problem plaguing Canada’s music industry and that women aren’t getting a fair shake.“(The Junos) are the period at the end of the sentence,” she says.Last year, Millan drew attention to a lack of women among the 2016 Juno nominees with the Twitter hashtag #JunosSoMale, a nod to the #OscarsSoWhite movement. It was quickly embraced by other musicians including electro-pop singer Grimes, who is nominated this year for three Junos including alternative album.“I did not expect it to garner nationwide attention,” Millan says. “It opened a floodgate of questions for all of us.”Her move also pushed the Junos to respond, with the organization’s president saying the Junos are only mirroring the broader music industry.“We simply reflect what comes to us, what’s submitted,” Reid says.Putting the blame on CARAS voters doesn’t necessarily make sense either. Overall its membership is 42 per cent female, he notes.Instead, the problem is reflected more clearly in who submits their work to the Junos, Reid argues.This year, only nine women put their names in for producer of the year among 118 contenders, he says. That’s little changed from last year when women represented seven of 119 submissions, either solo or as part of a team.Winners for the production category are voted on by active members of the Canadian music producer community who are also CARAS members.Reid believes there are bigger questions surrounding why more women don’t submit to the technical categories.“Women aren’t getting into these fields,” he says.“I don’t have the answer to that question of, ‘Why don’t women want to sit inside the studio for 10 to 12 hours without a window?’ Maybe, I don’t know, some of them just don’t want to do that.”Brilla scoffs at the sentiment that women aren’t interested in technical work. She believes responsibility lies with the music industry, which she says does little to encourage young women to pursue fields traditionally reserved for men.In high school, she enrolled in a recording studio co-op that left her feeling like the “weird one.” When she looked around the industry for female production mentors, she found there were hardly any.“Women aren’t making money behind the scenes,” she says. “They’re often the ones simply fronting the whole operation.”Hill Kourkoutis, a Toronto-based producer, takes a more optimistic outlook on the industry.While she used to frequently encounter people shocked to learn she worked behind a mixing console, she’s finding that sentiment is slowly changing.“I don’t look the type to necessarily geek out over gear,” concedes Kourkoutis. “That’s probably been the hardest thing, being taken seriously.”Over the past few years she says she’s witnessed a spike in the number of young women interested in production and believes it signals a “transitional period” for the industry.“There is that stigma to overcome, but that’s been experienced in other industries,” says Kourkoutis. “It’s just a game of catch-up at this point.”Vancouver’s Nimbus School of Recording is an example of where a push for gender diversity appears to be working.Chief executive Mike Schroeder says they’ve reached out to high schools to encourage more girls to consider music production fields and within their organization have made gender diversity a priority.Female enrolment hit 20 per cent among its 154 students last year, an increase from seven per cent in 2011, which is progress but shows there is still plenty of room for improvement.“It takes time to bring gender parity to an industry,” Schroeder says.“I want to make sure that whatever we do is based on equality and not an artificial program.”BY DAVID FRIEND / CANADIAN PRESS Twittercenter_img Facebook Advertisement Advertisement Login/Register With:last_img read more

BC now Canadas leading province for film and TV production report

first_img Facebook In this image released by Paramount Pictures, Zachary Quinto, left, and Karl Urban appear in a scene from “Star Trek Beyond”, that is filmed in Vancouver. Kimberley French / AP Advertisement Advertisement British Columbia has become Canada’s leading province for film and television production, surpassing Ontario for the first time, according to a new report from Canadian Media Producers.B.C. has long been known as Hollywood North, but in truth, despite a nickname that makes it seem like the giant of Canada’s film and TV industry, it has never been the busiest province when it comes to media production. Ontario has always led the way, with B.C. vying with Quebec, the home to Canada’s French-language production industry, for second.But things changed last fiscal year (the period of April 1, 2016 to March 31, 2017), according to Profile 2017, as B.C. broke clear of its two main competitors due primarily to an explosion in the foreign location and service (FLS) production sector, as Metro Vancouver became even more of a hot spot for new series on streaming platforms and major Hollywood blockbusters like Deadpool 2 and Star Trek Beyond. FLS production in British Columbia increased by 46.8 per cent last year, accounting for over $2.31 billion in volume. Per the report, Star Trek Beyond alone contributed $69 million to the province’s economy during the production’s 78 days of filming.British Columbia now accounts for 62 per cent of Canada’s FLS production. Ontario is second in the category at just 23 per cent.Per the report, “Both B.C. and Ontario now host nearly $3 billion in film and television production annually,” giving a massive boost to the national economy and creating thousands of jobs in both markets.Film and TV production in Canada created 171,700 full-time jobs in 2016-17, with the majority coming from these two provinces. But 2016/17 marks the first time B.C. has created more, with 24,120 direct full-time jobs in the industry — just 40 more than Ontario — and another 60,870 full-time jobs generated by the industry, over 6,000 clear of Ontario’s 54,080.Full-time employment created in Canada by film and television production. Screenshot /CMPIn total, it was an incredible, record year for the Canadian film industry, as production volumes in Canada last year reached an all-time high of $8.38 billion.While the spike in FLS production was most pronounced in British Columbia, the rest of Canada saw major gains as well, jumping by 42.1 per cent to $3.76 billion in 2016-17 — “the highest level this country has seen,” per the report.Annual FLS production by type in Canada. Screenshot / CMPCanada has been a major benefactor of the modern content explosion or, as its commonly being called, the “age of abundance.” With more channels and streaming platforms creating and delivering mass media than ever before — Canadians have access to nearly 800 television channels, for instance — there are more opportunities than ever in the Canadian film and television industry, and the country has worked hard to court the big spenders.Companies like Netflix, Facebook, Apple and Amazon are striving to build massive libraries of video content, and spending billions to do so. Next year alone, Apple is reportedly prepared to spend US$1 billion on global video content. Netflix is expected to spend US$7 billion and Amazon Prime will spend upwards of US$4.5 billion.But the surging demand from foreign producers is creating new challenges: suddenly, one of the largest concerns is whether Canada has the ability to meet it without threatening Canadian media in the process.“The theme of last year’s Profile was transition, tempered by both uncertainty about evolving business models in production, distribution and content exploitation,” said CMP in the report. “This year, it is clearer that the demand for content is there. What remains unclear is how the content creation business models — currently prevailing in Canada — and supporting government policies can meet this demand in a sustainable manner.”The report goes on to explain that, despite Canada’s policies designed to support Canadian content, in a market this wide open, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for Canadian productions, films especially, to thrive locally.“Capturing more than 3% of its domestic box office for Canadian films remains elusive,” it reads.But even there, British Columbia is leading the way. According to the report, the volume of theatrical films made by B.C.-based producers increased by 92.7 per cent in 2016/17 to $79 million. And Canadian television production from B.C.-based producers increased by 26 per cent to $504 million.by HARRISON MOONEYcenter_img LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Login/Register With: Advertisement Twitterlast_img read more

Five big draws at this weekends Toronto Comic Arts Festival

first_imgAdvertisement Login/Register With: 2. Celebrate Toronto artists!The big kickoff panel on Friday night celebrates this city’s comics scene. Butcher extols the “generations of Toronto cartoonists who have either come back to graphic novels and done a new work this year or are releasing their first books after being a real integral part of the Toronto comics scene.” This includes Ho Che Anderson, known for his groundbreaking comics biography King of Martin Luther King Jr. He’s been working in film but wanted to tell a story in comics — it’s called Godhead. Fiona Smyth has a career-retrospective graphic novel debuting at the festival called Somnambulance. Smyth was an integral part of the local artistic scene in the ’90s, having done the exterior mural on Sneaky Dees and the art for the inside of its Dance Cave, and her massive new collection spans her entire career. (Toronto Comics: Past, Present, and Future, Friday, 6:30 p.m., Appel Salon, Toronto Reference Library.) You won’t see crazy costumes, but you will see comics fans buzzing around the centre of the city this weekend soaking up the reflected light of the brightest stars in comics and graphic arts from Canada and around the world. On the occasion of the festival’s 15th anniversary, we spoke to co-founder and artistic director, Christopher Butcher, who told us why you need to see this year’s Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF).1. Once-in-a-lifetime opportunitiesIf you’re a fan of Japanese manga this is one you won’t want to miss. Japanese creator Inio Asano has had more than a dozen books published in English and is here to promote his newest speculative fiction series Dead Dead Demon’s Dededede Destruction. Christopher Butcher tells us that Asano doesn’t do public appearances or events in Japan, and this is only his second time outside of Japan ever. As with other TCAF guests from Japan, “travel is exceptionally difficult and limited — so we haven’t been lucky enough to have any of our Japanese guests in the history of the festival back for a second time.” So if you’re a fan of Asano’s work this is maybe your only chance to meet him in your whole life. (Spotlight: Inio Asano, Saturday, 1:30 p.m., Toronto Reference Library and Live Draw Sunday, 10:30 a.m., Beeton Auditorium, Toronto Reference Library.) Advertisement Posters for the 2018 Toronto Comic Arts Festival feature work by Ho Che Anderson, left, and Fiona Smyth, right. (TORONTO COMIC ARTS FESTIVAL) Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment 3. You don’t need a costume …In North America comics festivals tends to be more convention-oriented, with lots of people dressing up — with the art and the people who make it being secondary concerns, notes Butcher. But in Europe, a huge component of events is gallery shows and displays of original art. Inspired by Europe, see career retrospectives from Fiona Smyth and Michael Comeau; a Danish comics pavilion; and a German comics exhibit featuring the work Spring: an anthology of stories by eight German and eight Indian women cartoonists about the concerns of women and how they transcend borders. (Exhibits in various venues in the downtown core, including The Beguiling at 319 College St. and the Toronto Reference Library.)4. There’s a hockey opera!A comic-book, bilingual chamber opera to be exact. It’s called Hockey Noir: An Opera In 3 Periods and is being co-produced with Ensemble contemporain de Montreal and Continuum Contemporary Music. It’s set in the ’50s and is about the rivalry between the Toronto and Montreal hockey teams, organized crime, love, lust, blood and betrayal. Comics author Cecil Castellucci (The P.L.A.I.N. Janes) wrote the libretto — and comics images will be projected throughout. Says Butcher: “It’s the kind of thing that you can’t believe we’re doing, but we’re doing it.” (May 10 at 8 p.m., May 11 at 2 and 8 p.m., Jane Mallett Theatre; tickets — $40 for adults, $30 seniors/art workers, $20 students — available through Ticketmaster.)5. There’s fun for all the family — and did we say free?By the numbers: there are 23 countries represented at what Butcher calls the most international festival yet. There are two full days of kids programming. Most of the events will take place at three venues: the Toronto Reference Library; the Marriott Bloor hotel; and the Cumberland Terrace. That’s where hundreds of ‘zine makers and “ziy” folks will take over the second floor for a two-day zine fair.Best of all? Aside from the hockey opera, it’s free to see.The Toronto Comic Arts Festival runs Saturday May 12, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday May 13, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information on the festival and all of the events go to http://www2.torontocomics.com/By DEBORAH DUNDAS – Books Editor Twitter Facebooklast_img read more

YOU CAN NOW BE PRESCRIBED A VISIT TO THE ROM BY A

first_img Twitter Advertisement “We know that museum experiences have the power to enhance the health and well-being of communities. By offering greater access to the ROM, our collections, and our programs, this new initiative will enrich the lives of many visitors.”According to the program, research has shown that supplementing traditional treatments by engaging people in art and culture can help alleviate social isolation, promote physical and mental well-being, and improve overall quality of life.And starting in January 2019, healthcare and social service providers can “prescribe” a visit to the ROM as a non-medicinal, therapeutic service to promote health and well-being.The ROM says that with a referral through the Social Prescription Program, individuals are given a ROM pass (valid for up to four visitors) to enjoy free general admission to the museum and its associated activities.The Alliance for Healthier Communities launched social prescribing in June, with 10 Community Health Centres Across Ontario, two of which are in Toronto: Rexdale Community Health Centre, and Stonegate Community Health Centre. The Rexdale Centre has helped shape the ROM Social Prescription Program by participating in a preliminary pilot program in the summer.Social prescriptions are described as “a means for healthcare, community, and social service professionals to refer people to non-clinical and non-medical services that, along with existing treatments, can be a therapeutic tool for improving health and well-being.”Kate Mulligan, Director of Policy and Communications at the Alliance, told Daily Hive that the program helps people that may have health needs that can’t be met by taking pills, instead it provides support, friendship, and volunteer opportunities that may benefit them socially.“This innovative pilot project will mean more people struggling with health issues can visit the ROM and experience the many therapeutic aspects that arts and culture have to offer,” said Michael Tibollo, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport. “By partnering with the community, ROMCAN will help people lead healthier lives and maintain better overall well-being.”Mulligan said that with the launch of the program with the ROM, more partners are now interested to get on board with social prescriptions.The ROM may just be the beginning. Facebook Doctors can now prescribe visits to the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM).The Museum has announced a new health and wellness initiative that will help the well being of many at no cost.As part of a one-year social prescription pilot program, the ROM is working on a collaborative effort with the partners of the ROM’s Community Access Network (ROMCAN), and it provides “an opportunity for people accessing health or social services to benefit from the uplifting experience of engaging with art and culture.”“We are very proud to launch this ground-breaking wellness program with our community-based partners across the province,” said Josh Basseches, ROM Director and CEO, in a release. Login/Register With: Advertisement Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment last_img read more

SCHITTS CREEK LETTERKENNY LEAD CANADIAN COMEDY TAKEOVER IN US

first_img LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Some cast members of Schitt’s Creek, including Eugene Levy, centre, pose on the red carpet of Canadian Screen Awards gala honouring Creative Fiction Storytelling on March 27 in Toronto. (Sharon Wu/CBC) Advertisement As the Canadian Screen Awards week culminates with Sunday night’s broadcast gala, expect Canadian comedies to be front and centre. CBC’s hit comedy Schitt’s Creek, which just last week announced next season will be its last, has six nominations, while Crave TV’s Letterkenny has three.But the industry buzz both shows have recently received has less to do with their achievements in Canada and more to do with their success in the U.S. — something that’s eluded Canadian-made comedies for decades, even as Canadian comedians became household names. Schitt’s Creek, in particular, is enjoying a rare combination of commercial and popular success south of the border: from the glowing New York Times reviews to sold-out live shows by its cast members.“Schitt’s Creek has really broken through in a way that not a lot of even American-produced comedies have done lately,” says Alan Sepinwall, chief TV critic for Rolling Stone magazine.Schitt’s Creek’s journey Advertisement Advertisementcenter_img Sitting in his office at Pop TV in Los Angeles, Brad Schwartz is beaming with pride and emotion as he recalls the day he decided his small cable channel should broadcast Schitt’s Creek to American audiences.Dan and Eugene Levy, the show’s creators and stars, already had CBC secured as the Canadian broadcaster. But Schwartz, a Canadian well established in the U.S. TV system, thought the little show with the funny title just might work there as well.“It’s a show that started with a wealthy family, a riches-to-rags story that in itself doesn’t seem like anything we haven’t seen before,” says Schwartz. “But the writing and the acting is so phenomenal, that the little things happen in the episode and the characters learn from those little things that happen, that change them in the next episode, and change them in the next episode.” Facebook Login/Register With: Twitterlast_img read more

FILM SHOOT FOR SEAN PENNDIRECTED FLAG DAY SENDS MANITOBA TOWN TO THE

first_imgIn this file image, Sean Penn poses for a portrait in New York to promote a novel. (Taylor Jewell/Invision) Login/Register With: Facebook A number of older cars and trucks could be seen in La Salle on Rue Principale, which was also closed to traffic for the shoot..‘Flag Day’ is based on Jennifer Vogel’s non-fiction book about her father, ‘Flim-Flam Man’ and stars Penn, his children Dylan and Hopper Penn, Josh Brolin and Miles Teller.. Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment center_img Advertisement Advertisement A street in a Winnipeg bedroom community got a retro makeover Wednesday for a film shoot of a feature directed by Sean Penn.According to a notice posted to a La Salle community Facebook group, the scenes for ‘Flag Day’ were set in the 80s, so parking had to be restricted to make sure all vehicles in view fit the time period. Twitterlast_img read more

A look at the twoperson race for the one Nunavut seat

first_imgAPTN National NewsCanada’s biggest jurisdiction by geography, and one of the smallest for population, Nunavut is about as unique as a Canadian electoral area gets.APTN’s Kent Driscoll takes a look at what is shaping up to be a two-person race for the one Nunavut seat.last_img

Tragedy strikes Winnipeg family on the first camping weekend of the season

first_imgShaneen Robinson-Desjarlais APTN National NewsIt’s a parents worst nightmare.A nine year old Manitoba boy lost his life over the long weekend.He was camping at Rushing River Provincial park in Ontario.Now is his mother is asking parents to be extra careful this summer.srobinson@aptn.calast_img

Sober Remembrance Day ceremony impresses young Inuk

first_imgBeverly Andrews APTN News This year marks the 100-year anniversary of the First World War battle of Passchendaele in Belgium and an Inuk from Nunavut had a front-row seat for the Remembrance Day ceremony.“Only a few people ever get to do this,” said Teghan Angulalik.“This is a great opportunity to help me understand more about our history and what happened in the past.”The 16-year-old from Cambridge Bay was there as part of the Canadian delegation, which gifted a monument to recognize the soldiers who fought in one of the bloodiest battles of the war.The young cadet travelled with the Canadian military to various sites and allied battlegrounds in the Flanders area.(The Brooding Soldier’s monument in Belgium. Photo: Beverly Andrews/APTN)She says she is looking forward to sharing what she has learned with her community.“A lot of soldiers didn’t return home,” Angulalik said. “A lot of soldiers took their last steps here.”The monument is known as Canada Gate. An impressive steel structure designed by Nova Scotia artist Nancy Keating.Canadians are still remembered fondly here for their role in the battle of Passchendaele in November 1917. The troops relieved Australian and New Zealand forces and cleared the Germans out.It took the lives of more than 4,000 Canadian soldiers and wounded 12,000.“Canada Gate is meant to mark the sacred grounds here at Passhendaele,” said veteran Ken Hynes, curator of the Halifax Army Museum.Indigenous soldiers were among the casualties.“We did lose many, many young warriors here,” said Steven Ross, a retired private representing the Saskatchewan First Nations Veterans Association.“The people that never returned never went back home to their families – children, grandchildren – that are lying here in these lands, they are the true warriors,” he said.(The grave marker of Cree soldier Alex Decoteau who was killed in the battle of Passchendaele in October 1917. Photo: Beverly Andrews/APTN)It may be a hundred years later, but it’s not unusual to still find shrapnel in the fields. A stark reminder of the lives lost in the now-calm countryside.“It’s important to learn this type of stuff so we can teach the next generation,” said Angulalik. “So the memory stays.”last_img read more

Unlimited movietheatre deal could be too good to survive

first_imgNEW YORK, N.Y. – MoviePass is trying to bring to movie theatres what Netflix did for DVDs and online streaming: Let subscribers watch as many movies as they want for $10 a month.In doing so, MoviePass has struck a chord with moviegoers and a nerve with the movie industry.For many people, going to the movies is worth it only a few times a year. Ticket prices keep rising, and moviegoers have plenty of cheaper alternatives, including Netflix.MoviePass believes it can get people to theatres more often. Major theatre chains and movie studios aren’t so sure, putting MoviePass’ business plan at risk.Subscribers with MoviePass can watch a movie a day, be it a splashy blockbuster or an indie movie contending for the Oscars.Though MoviePass works at most theatres, it has key restrictions: It excludes pricier 3-D and Imax showings and most advance online sales. And even if everyone in a group has a subscription, tickets must be purchased individually. Subscribers also complain that MoviePass responds too slowly, or not at all, when there’s a problem.Nonetheless, the thrill of the bargain has sparked interest. MoviePass said Thursday that it signed up a half-million subscribers in less than a month, bringing the total to 2 million.“I’ve seen a little over a dozen movies, which is way more than what I would have without it,” said Cassie Langdon, a 28-year-old Indianapolis woman who works in sports communications and joined MoviePass in October.Langdon said she’s taking chances on smaller releases instead of sticking with blockbusters and their sequels.Success could ultimately bring MoviePass’ demise. Although subscribers pay just $10 a month, or less with promotions, MoviePass is paying most theatres the full price of the ticket. The U.S. average is about $9, though $15 and up is common in big cities, putting MoviePass in the red with just one movie. By contrast, MoviePass competitor Sinemia offers just two or three movies a month for higher fees.Plus, with an unlimited plan, MoviePass has to eat some unnecessary costs, such as when a subscriber buys a ticket just to use the theatre’s restroom.MoviePass’ parent company, Helios and Matheson Analytics, warns in a financial report that MoviePass’ future is in “substantial doubt” because it “has incurred losses since its inception and has a present need for additional funding.”The service is ultimately counting on a “gym membership” effect: Subscribers might binge at first, but slow down once the novelty wears off. Although subscribers can cancel anytime, they wouldn’t be able to sign up again for another nine months to discourage short-term memberships.MoviePass wants to work out ticket discounts and revenue-sharing deals on the premise that it’s driving more people to theatres. The company is also eyeing a share of concession sales, saying moviegoers are more willing to buy popcorn and soda when scoring a “free” movie.And MoviePass believes it can help promote movies because it knows what subscribers see, when and where. Promotions could even extend to sending alerts to buy a soundtrack or movie poster as subscribers leave the theatre.But several industry experts say MoviePass doesn’t add much to the marketing data from theatre chains, online ticketing services and other sources.MoviePass will have leverage once it has “millions and millions of subscribers,” said MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe, a Netflix co-founder who left while it was still a DVD-by-mail business.To get well beyond the 2 million it already has, MoviePass needs to convince people that they really want to go to movies more often. In most cities, a subscriber needs to watch 13 movies a year to break even. In big cities, it’s eight.“For someone like myself, who usually sees movies twice a year, it wasn’t something I would end up doing,” said Lisa Berey, a 40-year-old social worker in New York.And consider that MoviePass’ original business plan didn’t work out. When the service cost $30 to $50 a month, it had just 20,000 hard-core movie fans. MoviePass slashed prices significantly in August to grow.There’s apprehension that as moviegoers get accustomed to much cheaper prices, consumer anger might be redirected at theatres if MoviePass raises its prices, changes terms or goes out of business.Adam Aron, CEO of the giant theatre chain AMC, has called MoviePass’ price “unsustainable.” AMC initially threatened legal action, but seems to have backed off. The three theatre chains that control roughly half of U.S. screens — AMC, Regal and Cinemark — say they’re happy to accept MoviePass’ money, but pooh-pooh any revenue-sharing deals.This fear isn’t unfounded. In an attempt to gain leverage with AMC, MoviePass recently excluded 10 of the busiest AMC theatres, including big multiplexes in New York and Los Angeles. Confused customers complained on social media to both AMC and MoviePass.For their part, theatre chains are making their own changes. Many theatres now have more comfortable seats and better food. And though still a novelty, some theatres have servers bring restaurant-style entrees and cocktails to seats, providing both the dinner and movie components of date night.Meanwhile, Cinemark launched its own subscription program , though the deal isn’t as good as MoviePass. Regal is testing higher prices for popular times and cheaper ones during slower periods.“I have a hunch that most of the theatres are thinking, ‘how do we beat MoviePass at this game?’” said James McQuivey, principal analyst at research firm Forrester.last_img read more

Lawmakers say UK should consider postponing Brexit

first_imgLONDON – Britain should consider postponing Brexit because there may not be enough time to strike a deal with the European Union before the U.K. leaves the bloc a year from now, a key committee of British lawmakers said Sunday.The House of Commons Exiting the EU Committee said if major aspects of the future relationship with the EU remain unsettled by October, Britain should seek a “limited extension” of its EU membership.Britain and the EU want a deal on future relations settled by the fall so national parliaments can approve it before Britain officially leaves the 28-nation bloc on March 29, 2019.In a report published Sunday, the lawmakers said a proposed transition period of about two years should be able to be extended if needed. The two sides have agreed in principle that Britain will continue to remain part of the bloc’s structures and rules until the end of 2020.Seven pro-Brexit members of the 21-member, all-party committee refused to back the report, preparing an alternative version that took a more uncompromising tone toward the EU.The majority-backed report said it is worrying that there has been “little progress” in solving the key issue of how to maintain an open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland after Brexit.Britain and the EU agree there must be no customs posts or other infrastructure along the all-but-invisible border, but the committee said Britain has yet to put forward credible proposals for how this could work.“We know of no international border, other than the internal borders of the EU, that operates without checks and physical infrastructure,” said the committee’s chairman, Labour lawmaker Hilary Benn.The pro-Brexit dissenters’ alternative document accused the EU of taking an unhelpful approach to the border issue. They suggested that new technology and “streamlined” customs arrangements can deliver a frictionless border.Rather than having Britain seek to extend its EU membership, the minority group said the U.K should walk away without a deal if talks bog down.last_img read more

British Columbias economy is forecast to remain strong through 2020

first_imgVANCOUVER – British Columbia is predicted to have solid economic growth through 2020 by a trade association of credit unions.Central 1 Credit Union says 2017 was a year of “stellar growth” and the positive momentum will continue in B.C. for the next 24 months, despite a slower housing market.The new forecast calls for a three per cent growth in the province’s real gross domestic product, which is the inflation-adjusted value of all goods and services produced in B.C.Growth is expected to slow to just over two per cent next year, but Central 1 economists are calling for a rebound to 3.3 per cent by 2020, marking what they say has been “more than a decade of uninterrupted annual growth.”Federal lending restrictions, provincial government policies and stepped up home construction will combine to keep a lid on B.C.’s housing market, but Central 1 does not foresee a price correction.Bryan Yu, deputy chief economist at Central 1, says warning flags include trade disruptions due to trade wars or disputes over renewal of the North American Free Trade Agreement, but he says B.C.’s exports are spread across the province, limiting some of the risk.Yu also forecasts faster wage growth for B.C. workers, as average unemployment moves toward four per cent over the next two years.“Employers will face increasing challenges in finding workers to support operations as employment is constrained by growth in the labour force due to an aging population,” he says in a news release.Overall, Yu predicts a surge in investment by the end of the decade as major private and public works projects get underway.“B.C.’s economy remains in a strong position with consumer demand underpinned by high employment and income growth, rising exports and government spending,” he says.last_img read more

Frustration rules as Venezuela unveils new currency

first_imgCARACAS, Venezuela – Saul Jimenez just wanted to buy bread from his neighbourhood bakery in Venezuela’s capital on Monday. It did not go well.Banks and most other businesses were closed for the day as Venezuela launched a series of dramatic economic reforms, beginning with the release of a currency with five fewer zeros in a bid to tame soaring inflation.Rampant inflation means it would take a fistful of bills to pay for a loaf of bread, so many Venezuelans like Jimenez rely on bank cards.But with banks closed to reset their systems for the change, Jimenez’s cards wouldn’t work — in a scene that played out across Caracas.“It wasn’t just mine. Others’ didn’t work either,” said the attorney, who left the bakery empty-handed and frustrated. “Neither the debit card nor the credit card.”The currency conversion is among the less controversial parts of President Nicolas Maduro’s economic plan. He’ll next hike the minimum wage by more than 3,000 per cent and raise gasoline prices — now less than a penny to fill up — to international levels.Critics say the package of measures will only make the economic crisis worse.Opposition leaders are seizing on tension among residents, calling for a nationwide strike and protest on Tuesday. They hope to draw masses into the streets against Maduro’s socialist ruling party — something they’ve failed to do in over a year.The closed banks spent Monday preparing to release the new currency: the “sovereign bolivar.” Maduro’s government says it will raise gasoline prices in late September to curtail rampant smuggling across borders. The dramatically higher minimum wage will go into effect starting Sept. 1.Economists say the package of measures is likely to accelerate hyperinflation rather than address its core economic troubles, like oil production plunging to levels last seen in 1947.As Maduro declared Monday a national holiday, Caracas was quiet with most store fronts closed for business.Other banking activities shut down for about twelve hours to allow for a transition to the new currency. Most banks on Monday reactivated their online services and ATMs, but some customers complained of troubles.The impact of the currency conversion won’t be known until Tuesday. One question is whether the banks hold enough cash to meet the public’s need, as officials have promised.Venezuela was once among Latin America’s most prosperous nations, holding the world’s largest proven oil reserves, but a recent fall in oil prices accompanied by corruption and mismanagement under two decades of socialist rule have left the economy in a historic economic and political crisis.Inflation this year could top 1 million per cent, according to economists at the International Monetary Fund.Inflation has made it difficult to find paper money. The largest bill under the outgoing cash system was the 100,000-bolivar note, equal to less than 3 cents on the commonly used black market exchange rate. A cup of coffee costs more than 2 million bolivars.The new paper bills will have two coins and paper denominations ranging from 2 up to 500. The lowest represents the buying power of 200,000 current bolivars while the highest stands in for 50 million.The old and new currencies will remain in circulation together during a transitional period.The government made a similar move in 2008, when then-President Hugo Chavez issued new currency that eliminated three zeros to combat soaring inflation.Maduro has also said he wants to peg wages, prices and pensions to the petro — a cryptocurrency announced in February but which has yet to start circulating. He said one petro would equal $60, with the goal of moving toward a single floating exchange rate in the future tied to the digital currency.Business owners say they fear the sudden wage hike would make them unable to pay employees without sharply increasing prices.The next few days will be very confusing for both consumers and the private sector, especially commercial retailers,” said Asdrubal Oliveros, director of Caracas-based Ecoanalitica. “It’s a chaotic scenario.”last_img read more

Key decision coming in battle over Greater Toronto Area real estate data

first_imgTORONTO – The end might be near for a seven-year battle that has kept the public from easily finding sales data for homes in the Greater Toronto Area.The Supreme Court of Canada said it will announce on Thursday morning whether it will hear an appeal from the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB) that would keep TREB’s members from publishing home sales data on their password-protected sites.TREB’s fight began in 2011 when the Competition Bureau, a federal watchdog designed to protect consumers by investigating business policies and mergers, challenged TREB’s policy preventing the publication of such information, saying it impedes competition and digital innovation.TREB, Canada’s largest real estate board which represents more than 50,000 Ontario agents, argued at the Competition Tribunal that posting that data would violate consumer privacy and copyright.The quasi-judicial tribunal ruled in the bureau’s favour in April 2016 and later the Federal Court of Appeal upheld the tribunal’s ruling, so the board recently headed to the Supreme Court to try to protect the data.Those currently seeking home sale data usually turn to real estate agents and brokers, who have access to the Multiple Listing Service database, where sales data is compiled when deals close. Others rely on online property value services like Teranet or local land registry offices, which charge a fee for the public to access sales data.TREB refused to comment on the forthcoming decision, but a spokesperson for the Competition Bureau said if the Supreme Court dismisses TREB’s request to appeal the decision, it will be “an important win for consumers.”If the Supreme Court refuses to hear the case, real estate lawyer Alan Silverstein thinks TREB will have likely exhausted all the ways of fighting the publication of the data.“I would think this is the last straw,” he said.If the data is made available online, buyers and sellers will be able to more easily educate themselves on how to price homes and negotiate and won’t have to rely on realtors for getting information, said Silverstein.The case also stands to affect real estate businesses that have held back publicizing sales data, including online listing site REW.ca.In mid-May, REW.ca started making British Columbian data available online, but general manager Allen Moon said TREB’s court battle has made it difficult to bring the service to Ontario.He sees TREB’s fight against publicizing data as “a defense strategy to protect the industry” from losing business to innovators and said it prevents transparency around the biggest investment most people will make.“(When) I want to buy a laptop or a TV, I can do a price comparison and see what they are selling for, but when I want to buy a house — something I will probably be in debt for or pay a mortgage for for the rest of my life — I have to trust someone else for that information and trust that I am getting the full picture,” he said.“It shouldn’t be this hard in an on-demand generation, where everything else is accessible.”REW.ca’s B.C. sales data launch took five years to arrange, mostly because the province’s datakeepers wanted the company to demonstrate that it would be “good stewards of data,” but also because realtors feared the public would misinterpret such numbers, said Moon.He’s found Ontario’s real estate industry to be even more resistant towards those wanting to publish data because he believes the sector feels the data gives them an edge and widening access to it would put their revenues at risk.Lauren Haw, the chief executive officer of real estate site Zoocasa, said several companies have already published such data quietly, but they have been served with cease-and-desist orders by TREB.Zoocasa, which is a TREB member, will make the data public if the board allows it because Haw thinks it will make buyers more educated earlier on in the buying process.She doesn’t think increased transparency will negatively impact the industry too much because a similar U.S. battle caused little turmoil for realtors and “being the keepers of sold price information is not what we see is the value that an agent brings to the transaction.”“Any agent that feels that their only reason for being is providing sold data won’t survive long in this industry.”last_img read more

Low and slow A tale of online recreational pot orders across Canada

first_imgCanadians were eager to buy legal cannabis for recreational use online on Oct. 17, as government-run and privately operated pot portals were lit up with thousands of orders within the first 24 hours of legalization day.However, the problems plaguing many of those initial orders such as delivery delays highlights the growing pains facing the newly legal market.The Canadian Press tried to order the cheapest available gram or pre-roll of dried flower in each province and territory during the afternoon of Oct. 17. One order could not be completed and two had still yet to arrive more than one week later.All websites required various age verification checks and most interfaces were easy to navigate, but the available product was low and delivery times were often slower than promised.The fastest delivery was in Halifax where the bureau received its order within two days, while it took a full week before the order arrived in Iqaluit. The cheapest order including delivery was in Quebec at roughly $14 and the most expensive was in the Northwest Territories at more than $31.Here’s how the pot order process rolled out across the country:NewfoundlandDelivery date: Still waitingShipping fee: $10 minimumCost: $8.99; $20.34 total costCannabis NL’s website was clean and easy to navigate, but on Oct. 17 the options for a quick, low-cost gram were limited. The “shop” section advertised dried flower, oils, pre-rolled joints and plants, but most products were labelled “coming soon.” The product page was fairly informative with a breakdown of the plant’s THC and CBD levels, growing method and province of origin, as well as acceptable methods of use. Sorting by lowest to highest price, the most affordable flower was a hybrid plant called Island Pink from Emerald Health Therapeutics Canada. The “expedited parcel” shipping was the cheaper option, promising a delivery time between five and seven days. On the morning of Oct. 26, the product had not yet arrived and Cannabis NL sent customers an email that said “unexpected challenges with supply” are causing “unfortunate delays.” It added that suppliers have agreed to begin refunding the Xpresspost shipping fees for orders that do not arrive within the posted delivery times.— Holly McKenzie-Sutter in St. John’s, N.L.———Prince Edward IslandDelivery date: Oct. 22Shipping fee: $7Cost: $7.83; $17.05 total cost including shippingThe P.E.I. Cannabis Corp. website greets you with a scenic Island landscape. The standard warnings flash “Start low. Go slow,” and various other catchy slogans. In product descriptions, some companies have opted to keep established illicit market names like “Diesel” while moved to establish their own names with strains like “Radiate”. The website allows users to sort by format, plant type, strength or brand, but not price. The package arrived Monday around 11:00 a.m. looking like anything else one would receive in the mail. FIGR’s No. 17 ground cannabis sealed in a red packet came with pamphlets about responsible smoking and a receipt. Though, the website advertised THC totals of 9.99 to 17.00 per cent and the description boasted levels of 21 per cent, the physical product was marked with a total THC percentage just under 13 per cent.— Tony Davis in Charlottetown———New BrunswickDelivery date: Oct. 22Shipping fee: $7Cost: $10.50; $17.50 total cost including shippingThe ordering process was simple. Just click on a button to state you are over 19, set up an account, order the product and go to the checkout to give your credit card info. A confirmation page after the order is placed indicated that the order should arrive by Friday. However, the package did not arrive at the office — part of the legislature press gallery in a secure government building — until Monday morning. Another reporter signed for the delivery, but was not asked for ID to ensure he was over 19 years of age. However, he’s close to 50 and bald. Inside the large plastic Canada Post envelope was a packing slip and the small brown paper envelope containing the cannabis. The envelope had a label with the product information and the perforation at the top of the envelope had a Cannabis NB seal over it.— Kevin Bissett in Fredericton———Nova ScotiaDelivery date: Oct. 19Shipping fee: $6.09Cost: $8.65; $16.95 total cost including shippingThe Halifax bureau attempted to order the least expensive brands of dried flower cannabis from the government operated Nova Scotia Liquor Corp. Cannabis site at 3 p.m. on legalization day, just hours after obtaining an identification number from a downtown store. The brands that ranged from $6.33 to just under $7.50 per gram were unavailable, according to the website’s search by price function. However, one gram of the Haven St. Mango Kush was available at $8.65. A Canada Post delivery agent arrived at the door of the office two days after the order and a colleague who hadn’t ordered the marijuana signed for it. The packaging included consumer information that suggested the user “start low and go slow” in using the marijuana, and noted the effects could last up to six hours.— Michael Tutton in Halifax———QuebecDelivery date: Oct. 22Shipping fee: $5Cost: $8.50; $14.25 total cost including shippingThe Montreal bureau ordered one gram of Harmoniser — an indica strain from Aphria Inc. at 3 p.m. on Oct. 17. When the package arrived the following Monday at 10:15 a.m., the Canada Post delivery person asked for an employee’s signature at the door. The package gave no hint of what it contained, except for the “18+ signature” printed above the barcode. The delivery person did not request ID to confirm age upon delivery — but the person accepting the package looked more than 25 years old.— Christopher Reynolds in Montreal———OntarioDelivery date: Still waitingShipping fee: $5.65Cost: $10.40, $16.05 total cost including shippingWith no brick-and-mortar cannabis stores in Ontario until next spring at the earliest, Ontarians can only buy legal recreational pot online. Unlike some other provincial retail websites, the designers of the Ontario Cannabis Store seem to have strived for austerity. Devoid of colour, there are no stock photos, only an OCS logo and a message warning off those below the age of 19. Once inside, it’s all business. The user is sent straight to the product range, represented by photos of the packaging, making it unclear in some instances what exactly is on offer. After choosing one gram of Tangerine Dream from brand San Rafael for $10.40, the checkout process was quick and efficient. A shipping charge of $5.65 was added, bringing the total to $16.05, far above the black market price of less than $10 per gram. OCS said the product should arrive within one to three days, but the order has yet to arrive more than one week later.— Jody White in Toronto———ManitobaDelivery date: Oct. 22Shipping fee: $7.95Cost: $12, $21.59 total cost including shippingWinnipeg’s Delta 9 Cannabis Store website is easy to navigate and advertises same-day delivery in the city, but the shelves of the online store were nearly empty. Of the 11 dried cannabis strains, eight were sold out. Most of the strains left were only sold in larger quantities (five grams for $60 or 10 grams for $120) and only one offered smaller quantities (DNA Genetics Lemon Skunk for $12 a gram). There were also smoking tools and accessories for sale including papers, lighters, vaporizers and cannabis cook books. Despite the website saying American Express was an accepted payment, after an hour in an online help chat and on the phone with employees and the bank, the only suggestion was use a different card. It took five days of waiting for it to show. It arrived in an unnecessarily large plastic container in a giant bubble-wrap envelope. It looked large for a gram but, much like a Prairie tumbleweed, it was not dense and extremely dry.— Kelly Geraldine Malone in Winnipeg———SaskatchewanDelivery date: Online orders were not available on Oct. 17Those looking to buy cannabis online from Jimmy’s Cannabis were out of luck on legalization day. A message on its website on Oct. 17 said it held back on online sales due to discussions between Health Canada and Canada Post, Jimmy’s shipping provider. Upon accessing its website, the user was asked to put in their date of birth. The website itself was both clean and trendy with a video playing above a header that said “Welcome to Jimmy’s.” There were five options at the top including flower, oil, accessories, apparel and a drop down with contact information, locations, about the company and the online shop. Upon clicking the online shop option, there were flowers, oil, pre-roll and accessories. However, on Oct. 22, Jimmy’s said in a post on its website that it was unable to open its e-commerce store “due to inventory shortages.” On Oct. 26, online cannabis sales were still unavailable.— Ryan McKenna in Regina———AlbertaDelivery date: Oct. 19Shipping fee: $9.95Cost: $9.24 before tax, $20.15 total cost including shippingAfter a few simple questions to verify age — Alberta’s site checks submitted answers against provincial databases — users are taken to the product page. Only plain white packages are shown. Each product entry provides THC content and whether it’s a sativa, indica or a hybrid. Strawberry Ice, $9.24 a gram, is described as “fun and fruity,” and “perfect for making the most of a sunny summer day.” The site won’t allow you to ship to a different address than the one provided for age verification. On Wednesday, the site offered 73 different types of dried flower from 24 different growers. By mid-afternoon, six were out of stock. It had four kinds of pre-rolled joints, two of which were gone by 3 p.m. Its only oil offering was also gone. The site was clean and classy, with lots of Alberta scenery and no psychedelia. You could be buying tires. The most expensive per-gram offering cost $14.95. The cannabis arrived Friday afternoon, two days after it was ordered, and picture identification with a current address was required.— Bob Weber in Edmonton———NunavutDelivery date: Oct. 24Shipping fee: roughly $9Cost: $16.99; $27.29 total cost including shippingAs an online customer in Nunavut, you become accustomed to a lack of options, all of which are expensive, and a sense of relief for even just getting an online order through. Internet speeds and access are far below national averages. Pot is no different. The government’s website says you can only buy from the approved vendor list, which contains one entry: Canopy Growth Corp., whose brand name is Tweed. To verify your age, you enter your date of birth and confirm you are not ordering from a shared device. Tweed offered four options — only dried flowers — in various quantities: one indica, two sativa and one hybrid. All but two options were sold out. With shipping, one gram of Lemon Skunk came to $27.29. Seven days later, postal workers deposited a package slip into a P.O. Box. It’s a short ATV ride to the postal warehouse. There, a worker said half the warehouse is full of pot orders.— Thomas Rohner in Iqaluit———Northwest TerritoriesDelivery date: Still waitingShipping fee: $12.47Cost: $17.50; $31.47 total cost including shippingThe Northwest Territories’ cannabis website was simple and easily navigated, though creating an account took 15 minutes longer than anticipated as a verification email took time to arrive. There were only seven items available, offering five strains in various sizes. Despite the territory’s pledge that cannabis prices would start at around $8.50 per gram, the cheapest one-gram package available online on legalization day cost $31.47. The total price included $17.50 for a gram of the Rockstar strain (one of two strains available in one-gram packages, identically priced), $1.50 in tax, and $12.47 in shipping to Yellowknife. The territory’s website stated proof of age would be required upon delivery. The package was shipped on Oct. 24 according to an email from the NWT website — well within standard time for anything to arrive. By the morning of Oct. 26, the package had not yet been delivered.— Ollie Williams with Cabin Radio in Yellowknife———YukonDelivery date: Oct. 23Shipping fee: $12 expedited shippingCost: $15.94; $29.34 total cost including shipping.The Cannabis Yukon website has an age verification process and a question about whether you are intoxicated. The scheduled website launch on Oct. 17 at 11 a.m. ran into a technical glitch, and didn’t go live until just before 12:30 p.m. At 3 p.m., it took a few tries through a couple of different computers before being able to access the site. The website showed pictures of happy people in various settings such as around a kitchen table or a campfire with direct links to various cannabis types. The website offers value, core and premium pricing, ranging from just over $10 to $155. The cheapest pre-rolled cannabis was $15.94. The only choice was expedited shipping, costing $12 — almost as much as the joint itself. The package didn’t arrive until Tuesday about 11 a.m. and delivery required identification and a signature, even though they did get my name wrong.— Tim Kucharuk with CKRW in Whitehorse———British ColumbiaDelivery date: Oct. 26Shipping fee: $10Cost: $8.99 before tax. $21.27 total cost including shippingIt took less than 15 minutes to complete an online order for one gram of marijuana at B.C. Cannabis Stores. To enter the B.C. cannabis website, users must confirm they are 19 years or older by providing their date of birth. There were about eight cannabis product for sale on legalization day in prices ranging from $6.99 per gram to $11.99 per gram. The cheapest brands of cannabis at $6.99 were already sold out just hours after the online store went live. Tangerine Dream at $8.99 a gram was still available. The total price, including a $10 shipping charge, taxes and the one gram of cannabis, was $21.27. On Oct. 20, the B.C. Liquor Distribution branch said it was “working hard to ship every order as quickly as possible” but “slight delays” meant rather than the estimated delivery period of up to two business days, the order would be shipped from the warehouse on Oct. 22. The order was picked up at a neighbourhood Canada Post outlet on the morning of Oct. 26. Packaged in a small, blue cardboard box, it included details about the strain, the THC and CBD content and a warning label, “Cannabis smoke is harmful.”— Dirk Meissner in Victorialast_img read more

Hotel workers remain on strike after latest offer rejected

first_imgHONOLULU — Hawaii hotel workers are expected to remain on strike this week after negotiations between the union and Kyo-ya Hotels and Resorts failed to result in a deal.The Unite Here Local 5 union and Kyo-ya are scheduled to return to talks next week.About 2,700 Marriott employees on Oahu and Maui went on strike early last month, seeking higher wages and better benefits.“We are extremely disappointed that Local 5 leadership rejected our latest offer which would have been the largest increase in compensation for any of the striking markets nationwide,” Kyo-ya said in the statement.Kyo-ya said its offer would have given employees an increase in combined wages and a workload reduction for housekeepers. Benefits for all active employees and retirees would not have changed.“Instead of accepting what would have been a fair and generous agreement, Local 5 leadership has elected to keep our employees out of work,” Kyo-ya said.The union said in a statement that the offer was not enough, but it is hopeful a “true settlement” will be made next week.“A true settlement offer is one that looks at the true cost of living and working in Hawaii and brings us toward the goal of all workers: ‘One Job Should Be Enough,’” the union said.Workers need to be paid enough so they only need one job in order support themselves, the union said.Kyo-ya Hotels and Resorts owns the Marriott-managed Moana Surfrider, The Royal Hawaiian, Sheraton Waikiki, Sheraton Princess Kaiulani, and Sheraton Maui Resort and Spa.The Associated Presslast_img read more

Chao announces 15 billion in infrastructure grants

first_imgWASHINGTON — The Transportation Department says it has approved $1.5 billion to fund 91 infrastructure projects.The grants will fund road, rail and port projects across the United States. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announced the grants on Tuesday.Chao said the grants were the product of bipartisan co-operation between congressional Republicans and Democrats. Infrastructure is seen as a potential area of agreement between the Trump administration and Democrats, who will take control of the House of Representatives in January.Boosting infrastructure spending was one of President Donald Trump’s main campaign promises, but he’s made little headway with a plan to invest $1.5 trillion in public and private funds over a decade.The Associated Presslast_img

Natural gas producer Peyto Exploration shares fall on dividend and spending cuts

first_imgThe Canadian Press CALGARY — Shares in Peyto Exploration and Development Corp. fell by as much as 15 per cent after it said it would cut its dividend and capital spending due to low natural gas prices in Western Canada.In early trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Thursday, the Calgary-based company’s shares fell to a low of $6.91 from their Wednesday close of $7.93.Peyto, which says it is the fifth largest natural gas producer in Canada, says it is temporarily cutting its monthly dividend to two cents from six cents per share.It also says it will reduce the 2019 capital budget it announced in November by $100 million, from a mid-point of $275 million to $175 million, resulting in fewer wells being drilled on its western Alberta lands.Peyto says it plans to ramp up annual spending again in 2020 and 2021 to between $270 million and $320 million, predicting that planned natural gas pipeline expansions by TransCanada Corp. will improve market access and allow a recovery in local prices.Last week, Saskatchewan-focused Crescent Point Energy Corp. cut its dividend by nearly 90 per cent and announced a program of share buybacks. It also cut its capital budget for the year by about $500 million to about $1.25 billion in reaction to global oil price volatility.last_img read more