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Trump could strike back at Alberta oil cuts, says former provincial trade envoy

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A former Alberta trade envoy to Washington, D.C., believes United States President Donald Trump could slap the province with counter measures for its decision to impose mandatory oil production cuts. 

Gary Mar, who was Alberta’s representative in the U.S. capital for four years from 2007, said it’s uncertain how Trump will feel about the province’s decision to wade into the free market in a bid to raise Canadian crude prices.

But the president could take action if he becomes concerned with climbing prices, Mar said.

Trump has been a vocal advocate for lower oil prices, frequently calling on OPEC members to boost production in recent months. The vast majority of Alberta crude is sold into the U.S.

“The president of the United States obviously is very keen on his America First policy,” Mar told CBC Calgary’s News at Six in an interview this week.

“And if he sees that there is a change in the price because of a curtailment of production, he might not treat that very favourably. We don’t know what he’s going to do.

“But you can imagine that in an America First policy, as presented by the president of the United States, we could be in for some type of counter measure against our increased price.”

Watch Gary Mar explain how Trump could react to Alberta oil cuts:

Alberta’s representative in the U.S. capital for four years from 2007, said it’s uncertain how Trump will feel about the province’s decision to wade into the free market in a bid to raise crude prices. 2:06

Mar, who is now president of the Petroleum Services Association of Canada, made the comments in Ottawa, where he is meeting this week with federal officials to stress the importance of the domestic energy sector.

His remarks follow Premier Rachel Notley’s announcement Sunday of a temporary 8.7 per cent oil cut, or a decrease of 325,000 barrels a day, in the production of raw crude oil and bitumen starting Jan. 1, 2019. 

The action is aimed at lifting Alberta crude prices, which plummeted earlier this fall after production growth and pipeline bottlenecks contributed to a costly oil glut.

The day after Notley’s announcement, the price of Western Canadian Select heavy oil jumped $8.02 to $29.95 US a barrel.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley speaks during an announcement of a mandatory cut in oil production on Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)

Oil companies that had called for production cuts praised the premier for her decision. The move also found support among her political rivals.

However, Husky Energy and Imperial Oil — which both opposed mandatory cuts  — have warned that government-ordered curtailment could have implications for trade and investment.

“We believe the market is working and view government-ordered curtailment or other interventions as possibly having serious negative investment, economic and trade consequences,” Husky spokesman Mel Duvall said Sunday.

Provincial officials have downplayed such fears, saying they don’t believe curtailment will spark trade trouble. 

Christopher Sands, director of the Johns Hopkins University Center for Canadian Studies in Washington, D.C., also does not believe Alberta has opened itself up to either trade or diplomatic problems.

“The real trade vulnerability would be if curtailment led to lower shipments to the U.S. because then that would be actionable” under current trade terms, Sands said in an interview.

“By saying they will maintain all of their commitments to the U.S. … they have, I think, covered their exposure.”

Alberta’s plan appears to be carefully devised, he said, and even if rising prices cause American refiners to grumble, they’ll continue to take Alberta oil because their facilities are set up for it.

“The folks who are tuned to refine Canadian oil are going to absorb that price and, given the state of prices globally, it will still be profitable for everybody I would think,” Sands said.

Carlo Dade, director of the trade and investment centre at the Canada West Foundation, says Alberta’s curtailment plan doesn’t break NAFTA rules. (CBC)

Carlo Dade, an expert on Canada-U.S. trade at the Canada West Foundation, doesn’t think Alberta’s curtailment violates the North American Free Trade Agreement, which is still in effect.

Also, with America awash with oil and the president pre-occupied with other issues, Dade doesn’t believe the cuts would be on his radar. Still, with Trump in charge, you can never be entirely sure, he said.

“What would have been a no-brainer not to worry about under Obama or any of the Bushes is something that we do have to keep in the back of our minds,” Dade added. 

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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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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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