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‘Why does he hate newspapers?’ Free Press publisher asks after Pallister slams subsidy

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The publisher of the Winnipeg Free Press is questioning why Manitoba premier Brian Pallister is sounding off against a funding package to help Canada’s struggling news media sector.

Without being prompted, Pallister told reporters Friday he was worried the independence of journalists would be compromised if a part of their paycheque is covered by Ottawa’s coffers.

In response, Bob Cox said he was puzzled by Pallister’s remarks.

“Everything this government has done has reduced support for newspapers,” he said.

‘Why does he hate newspapers?’

“They eliminated payment for recycling of newspapers, reduced government advertising in newspapers and they’ve passed legislation that would eliminate mandatory advertising in newspapers, so-called legal notices,” said Cox, the latter referring to a section of government legislation the province has so far decided against proclaiming.

“Why does he hate newspapers? I mean, that’s what I would question. He’s constantly questioning any kind of public support for newspapers and I have to ask why.”

Earlier this week, the federal government announced a $595-million package over five years to help non-profit and for-profit news organizations.

It’s expected most of the expense will be for a new tax credit for organizations to support the labour costs of producing original news.

The goal is for the program to be funded by the government but have no role for politicians to decide what constitutes a media outlet or who would be eligible. The full details won’t be available until the next federal budget, after the government receives advice from an independent panel from the journalism community. 2:12

Another temporary tax credit will be created for subscribers to digital news websites.

Plus, the government will allow non-profit media organizations to apply for charitable status, enabling them to seek donations for which they could issue tax receipts. 

Pallister said he wasn’t criticizing the Liberal government’s plan or the news media, but said the idea should prompt reflection about long-term dangers.

Lacking authority to criticize

“How easy will it be for the media to criticize anybody else or any other group that is in receipt of federal funding in years ahead?” Pallister said.

“It would seem that there would be a crisis of principle at that point in time and I think there might be a natural reluctance to criticize the hand that is feeding one’s organization.”

He argued journalists may feel a “sense of obligation or a perceived sense” of duty to the government that funds them. 

It might harm the trust that news organizations strive for, Pallister said.

“It may erode the very thing that you treasure, and I think that your readers and viewers treasure.”

Feds have history of supporting media

Cox, who serves as chair of the board of News Media Canada, said federal governments have long assisted a wide range of media organizations, such as the CBC, magazines, community newspapers and Indigenous publications.

“That money doesn’t influence coverage so why would any new money to journalism influence coverage?” he said.

Cox supports the creation of an independent body to define journalism standards and determine eligibility for the tax benefits.

It’s not outside the norm of what governments already do, he said.

“They give out money to various groups of various purposes and it does it at an arm’s length,” Cox said. “The Canada Council gives out arts grants based on the merits of applications. The government doesn’t decide who gets an arts grant, but it funds arts.”

Cox is hopeful the federal funding would cover around 10 per cent of his newsroom budget.

He expects the grant, at the least, to preserve current staffing levels, though he’s optimistic the funding will help the Free Press expand coverage.  

There may obviously be exceptions to that rule, but far and wide I believe in the freedom of the press.– NDP leader Wab Kinew

When asked if current federal funding undermines CBC’s objectivity, Pallister said other news organizations will begin to be cast in the same light.

“You’re all, quite frankly, going to take on the appearance of the CBC to some degree with respect to their subsidization.”

In a statement, CBC spokesperson Chuck Thompson said the broadcaster is encouraged by Ottawa’s measures to address the economic challenges affecting all media and the government’s commitment to assist the sector while safeguarding journalistic independence.

NDP leader Wab Kinew doesn’t think the objectivity of journalists is at risk.

“Journalists, in my experience, are governed by official codes of conduct but, more often than not, personal and moral codes of conduct to be free and unbiased in their reporting,” he said. “There may obviously be exceptions to that rule, but far and wide I believe in the freedom of the press.”

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Real Estate

Couple from Toronto buys dream home in Mushaboom

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MUSHABOOM – A couple who lived and raised a family in downtown Toronto developed a five-year plan in 2015 to purchase their dream home.

In September they moved into the home – located on Malagash Island in Mushaboom on Nova Scotia’s stunning Eastern Shore – that met and exceeded their best dreams for their retirement.

The Camerons, Bruce and Tanya, decided in 2019 they would explore the Maritimes to see what real estate was available to become their potential retirement home. In the spring of 2020, during a global pandemic, the real estate boom hit their city, and they were hearing the same for Nova Scotia. Our province was their first-choice for attaining their desire for an entirely different lifestyle – away from the busyness of the city.

“We had $300,000 to $350,000 as a home value in mind to buy. Our semi-detached located off Danforth in Toronto was priced at $850,000. We wanted to come out ahead, so we would be secure in retirement,” Tanya said.

Their century-old home had prime location near the subway and GO Transit Line for a great 13-minute commute downtown.

“We enjoyed our community,” explains Bruce “… we had great neighbours, young children around and street parties – lots of social activity.”

Bruce says, “Our agent suggested a starting quote of $899,000. We did not do any renovations and only some staging. Fifty couples went through and we received four significant offers. Six days later we sold – with zero conditions – and a price of over a million dollars. We just requested a closing of September 2020 to get the kids off to school – which we got.”

The couple got more than they had anticipated.

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Rabobank Announces Leadership Changes in U.S., Canadian Offices

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NEW YORK, Dec. 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Rabobank, the leading global food and agribusiness bank, has appointed two of its top executives, Tamira Treffers-Herrera and Robert Sinescu, to become Co-Heads of North American Client Coverage, positioning the Bank for future growth in the region.

Treffers-Herrera has also assumed the role of Vice Chairperson and Head of the Atlanta office, where she additionally oversees Rabobank Mexico, which is led by Eduardo Palacios. Sinescu is the Head of the Chicago office, and also oversees Rabobank Canada, led by Marc Drouin, who was recently appointed as Canada’s General Manager.

Treffers-Herrera and Sinescu report to David Bassett, Head of Wholesale Banking North America, the Bank’s corporate and investment banking business for the region based in New York.

“Both Tamira and Robert have a demonstrated history of strong leadership, operational excellence and passion for our clients,” Bassett said. “Their broad experience and deep sector expertise will be invaluable in delivering dynamic results for clients while accelerating our growth trajectory in North America.”

Each office will have an even greater focus on key Food & Agribusiness sectors and clients: The Chicago office will drive growth in sectors including Dairy, Farm Inputs and Grains & Oilseeds, which are also key areas of focus for the Canada office. The Atlanta office will focus heavily on sectors such as Animal Protein, Beverages, Sugar, and Supply Chains, which are important sectors in Mexico as well.

“Rabobank is fully committed to our clients throughout North America, and we believe our new sector-focused coverage will improve our ability to provide knowledge-based, value-added solutions that benefit our clients,” Bassett said.

Treffers-Herrera was most recently based in London as CEO of Rabobank’s European Region from 2016-2020, where she took the organization through Brexit. Prior to that, she worked in the Atlanta office from 2002-2016. During her tenure in Atlanta, Treffers-Herrera served as Global Sector Head – Consumer Food & Beverages, and prior to that she was a senior banker for a portfolio of large beverage and consumer foods clients. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Kentucky, a Master of Arts from the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce and has studied at The University of Chicago Booth School of Business and Harvard Business School.

Sinescu has been with Rabobank for over 21 years and was previously General Manager of Rabobank Canada, where he oversaw all operations, business development, commercial strategy and relationships with regulators. In addition, he continues to serve as CEO of Rabo Securities Canada Inc. Prior to Canada, he was a senior banker, Head of Corporate Banking, European Sector Head for Sugar, and a member of the Management Team for Rabobank France. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Business from the Bucharest School of Business, a Master of Business Administration & Management and a Master of Science in Banking and Corporate Finance from Sorbonne University in Paris, and has studied at Brown University.

Drouin has worked with Rabobank’s Canadian team for more than nine years and most recently served as a senior banker, Head of Rabobank Canada’s AgVendor Program and a member of Rabobank Canada’s Management Team. He brings extensive wholesale banking experience within the Dairy, G&O, CPG and Supply Chain sectors. Drouin holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from McGill University and a Master of Business Administration in International Finance, Marketing and Management from the Schulich School of Business at York University.

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Real Estate

Greybrook Realty Partners & Marlin Spring Brand Jointly Owned Asset Manager – Greyspring Apartments

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TORONTO, Dec. 14, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Greybrook Realty Partners and Marlin Spring are pleased to announce the new branding of their jointly owned investment and asset management firm, Greyspring Apartments. With a portfolio of more than 2,000 units and CAD$375 million in assets under management, Greyspring Apartments is focused on the acquisition and repositioning of multi-family assets throughout Canada.

The new name and branding is an important step in Greyspring’s evolution as an independent operating business. Formed in 2018 by long standing-partners Marlin Spring and Greybrook Realty Partners, Greyspring Apartments was established with the goal of building a leading asset management firm with a robust portfolio of residential rental real estate assets in primary and secondary markets across Canada.

Greyspring’s talented team of real estate, asset management and finance professionals is overseen and guided by the Management Board, whose members include Benjamin Bakst, CEO, Marlin Spring; Elliot Kazarnovksy, CFO, Marlin Spring; Sasha Cucuz, CEO, Greybrook Securities Inc.; Peter Politis, CEO, Greybrook Realty Partners; Chris Salapoutis, President & COO, Greybrook Realty Partners; Ashi Mathur, President, Marlin Spring; and Karl Brady. In addition to his role on the Management Board, Karl Brady leads Greyspring Apartments as its President. 

“We are pleased to announce the official name and branding of a business we formed with our partners at Marlin Spring a few years ago,” said Peter Politis, CEO, Greybrook Realty Partners. “Greyspring has been diligently focused on the execution of strategic value-add programs across its portfolio that are improving the quality of housing for tenants and overall asset values. For Greybrook investors, expanding from our core business in real estate development to the value-add space through Greyspring, has allowed us to provide our clients with investment opportunities that diversify their real estate investment portfolios.”

“Marlin Spring and Greybrook have partnered on many residential real estate projects in recent years,” said Benjamin Bakst, CEO and Cofounder, Marlin Spring. “To a great extent, Greyspring illustrates our approach to partnerships. We believe in, and strive for, responsible growth through deepening our relationships with our trusted partners. With Greyspring, we’ve formalized our focus on providing better and more affordable living experiences for Canadians. This vision aligns with our mission to deliver exceptional real estate value to all our stakeholders with an uncompromising adherence to our core values.”

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