[COVID-19] ‘It Is Important For All Concerned To Show Maturity In Dealing With The Situation’, Tripura HC Seeks Response From Govt. On Several Issues [Read Order]

first_imgNews Updates[COVID-19] ‘It Is Important For All Concerned To Show Maturity In Dealing With The Situation’, Tripura HC Seeks Response From Govt. On Several Issues [Read Order] Sparsh Upadhyay18 Sep 2020 7:16 AMShare This – xThe Tripura High Court on Friday (18th September) made a few observations and suggestions for the consideration of the State Government which in Court’s opinion “would enable the administration to handle the Coronavirus care better.”The Division Bench of Chief Justice Akil Kureshi and Justice S. Talapatra put forth such suggestions and observations after perusing the affidavit dated…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginThe Tripura High Court on Friday (18th September) made a few observations and suggestions for the consideration of the State Government which in Court’s opinion “would enable the administration to handle the Coronavirus care better.”The Division Bench of Chief Justice Akil Kureshi and Justice S. Talapatra put forth such suggestions and observations after perusing the affidavit dated 17th September 2020 filed by Dr. Subhasis Debbarma, Director to the Department of Health & Family Welfare, Government of Tripura in response to the Court’s order dated 11th September 2020.Suggestions/Directions/Observations of the CourtOn the issue of wearing face masks and maintaining Social DistancingAs per the observations of the Central team which visited the State recently, the reasons for deaths due to the disease were attributable to the 3 (three) factors – (a) Not using mask properly; (b) Not maintaining social distance; (c) Late admission in the hospitals.To this, the Court said,”When the experts in the field put so much stress on the proper use of face masks in order to reduce the possibility of transmission of the virus, we still find that large number of people move about in public places either without masks or without properly wearing the masks, thereby putting themselves as well as others to grave risks.”Further, the Court asked the State Government to indicate the amount of fine being collected for breach of the directive of wearing masks in public places and the number of cases in which such fine has been collected.The Court asked the Government to ensure that this rule is enforced to the maximum possible extent. Maintaining social distancing in public places is also equally essential.Most importantly, the Court remarked,”The State Government may list the efforts being made to enforce this requirement. It may be a good idea to increase the awareness and tactical use of enforcement of this requirement of maintaining social distance.”On the Issue of continuous communication from the hospital administration to the relatives of the patientsThe Court stressed the requirement of continuous communication from the hospital administration to the relatives of the patients.In this context, the court opined,”It is important for the members of the family of the patient to be assured that their relative who is admitted in the hospital is being well looked after and his overall health issues are being properly addressed. Even if these things are being done, it is important that the same is communicated periodically to the relatives of the patient.”Further, the Court suggested the administration to consider setting up a Special Inquiry Cell at AGMC hospital from where information may be available round the clock and the information on the health condition of all admitted patients is centralized at the said centre.The Court further remarked,”This would go a long way in instilling confidence in the public health system and even if, as is bound to happen, in a given case something untoward happens, the relatives of the patient would be assured that it did not happen on account of lack of any efforts on part of the administration in administering proper treatment.”Other Suggestions/Directions/Observations of the Court1- The detail regarding break-up of engagement of Lab Technicians (district wise) by the State was asked by the Court.2- The respondents were asked to provide the guidelines for home quarantine, under what condition it is permitted and how this home quarantine is enforced. The affidavit shall also state how such a patient who has been home quarantined, is provided medical support in the form of testing, supplying medicines and medical guidance wherever needed.3- The affidavit shall give the break-up of the admitted number of patients and available beds as on 7th September 2020 as well as currently in AGMC & GBP Hospital, Agartala. Besides the said hospital at Agartala there are dedicated COVID health centres and COVID care centres. The affidavit shall give the break-up of the capacity of these centres to treat patients.4- The Court asked for the number of ventilators available at present. The affidavit states that whenever a patient is to be shifted from elsewhere to AGMC & GBP hospital, it is done through dedicated ambulance having full equipment with a continuous supply of oxygen. The number of such fully equipped units available in the State shall also be disclosed.5- The Court observed that efforts should be made to negotiate the rates with the private hospital so that the relatives of the patients who wish to take treatment in a private hospital are not forced to pay unreasonable or exorbitant charges.6- Further, affidavit shall provide the data of the number of testing done every day in last one week, the positivity rate of those who were tested and the current recovery rate in the State.7- The Court suggested that the administration may also consider setting up a centre for receiving complaints and suggestions. If a complaint resolution mechanism is set up, genuine issues can be resolved8- The Court advised the State administration to address the concerns of the medical and paramedical staff since their inputs would be most valuable.9- From the affidavit, the Court gathered that the Central medical team which had recently visited the State has submitted a report to the State Government. Copy of the report has also been asked for the perusal of the Court.Lastly, the Court took note of the concerns of the learned Advocate General that when the State is grappling with a pandemic of gigantic scales, it is important for all concerned to show maturity in dealing with the situation which alone can help us to tackle and eventually overcome the crisis.Click Here To Download Order[Read Order]Next Storylast_img read more

Solvay boys basketball takes down Weedsport, 77-60

first_img Tags: boys basketballSolvay As if having a state ranking and a 14-3 record wasn’t enough, the Solvay boys basketball team thought it would have the opportunity to ruin the perfect season of Weedsport on the first day of February.Before this could happen, though, Weedsport got upended last Wednesday, the Warriors’14-game win streak stopped by Cayuga County rival Cato-Meridian in a 62-55 decision defined by the 32 points scored by the Blue Devils’ Marcus Ramicus.Still, Weedsport was 14-1, so Solvay knew this was a big test. And it played with the respect and urgency needed for such a game, handling the Warriors by a score of 77-60.Pushing the pace from the outset, the Bearcats also played solid defense, holding Weedsport to nine points in the first quarter and steadily working its way to a 38-28 halftime advantage.That margin kept growing in the second half, and Elijah Wright set a new career mark along the way, pouring in 28 points from 11 field goals and six successful free throws.Jaimen Bliss also stood out, earning 18 points, while Brock Bagozzi and Antonio Gonzalez had 11 points apiece. Josh O’Connor (16 points), Jake Brown (12 points) and Aidan Mabbett (11 points) led Weedsport.Before all this, Solvay battled Homer last Monday night, and it was stressful for a while after the Trojans pared downt the Bearcats’ 34-22 halftime lead by outscoring them 20-12 in the third quarter.But Solvay regained control late and won 60-47, getting strong defense along with 19 points from Brock Bagozzi as Elijah Wright contributed 13 points. Jaimen Bliss had nine points and Antonio Gonzalez contributed eight points.And on Friday night, it was the Bearcats against Phoenix, with the defense in a particularly strong place as it shut down the Firebirds for long stretches on the way to a 55-29 victory.Phoenix never managed more than eight points in any single quarter, so Solvay’s own production could stay modest and it was Gonzalez leading the way, earning 12 points.Wright finished with 11 points, with Bliss again earning nine points. Brendan Carolina produced seven points and Bagozzi had six points.Just two games remain in the regular season for the state Class B no. 19-ranked Bearcats (15-3) and one of them is Monday night’s visit from Westhill, who has won seven of eight since falling to Solvay on Jan. 2.Share this:FacebookTwitterLinkedInRedditComment on this Story last_img read more

Coach of Hor Halutie expected a better finish

first_imgCoach of Ghanaian sprinter Hor Halutie, Anselm Nyavedzi claims he is proud of her performance in the Commonwealth Games women’s 100m final but admits he was expecting a better time.  Halutie failed to improve on her qualification time as she finished the final race in 11.54 seconds, a time which landed her an eighth finish.  ”I was expecting at least 11.25 or 11.30, but there is nothing I can do so I accept it,’’ Nyavedzi told Joy Sports. On her future, Nyavedzi believes Halutie furthering her education abroad – specifically in the US – will expose her to great facilities that will help her improve. Ahead of the Games, the 19-year alumni of  T.I. Ahmaddiya Secondary School in Kumasi, was least expected to excel.But her persistence and determination ensured she outperformed experience sprinters Fling Owusu Agyapong and Gemma Acheampong and became Ghana’s brightest hope of landing a medal in the track event.  Although she couldn’t win a medal, there are many who believe the young athlete, given the needed assistance, will be a huge success in subsequent international Games such as the Olympics.last_img read more

ICT industry finalises BEE charter

first_img13 May 2005The empowerment charter for the information and communications industries has been delivered to Minister Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri for final approval. It is expected to be in operation later this year.ICT Empowerment Charter Working Group chair Dali Mpofu said that a final round of consultations with industry stakeholders would be held once the minster had presented the charter to Cabinet.The process of drawing up the charter has taken two years. One of the major issues has been that of “Double Jeopardy”, which refers to a situation in which many ICT companies find themselves, where they may be subject to the guidelines of two sectoral charters.The ICT sector is not homogeneous, like some other sectors that have released charters. Unlike the mining sector, for example, there is a wide range of business sizes, from the very small to very large multinationals.The process of drawing a the charter has been described as a uniquely consultatitive and inclusive process.The working group that wrote the charter was drawn from various industry associations, including the Black IT Forum, the SA Communications Forum, the Computer Society of SA, the Electronic Industries Federation, Information Industry SA, the Information Technology Association and the SA chamber of Business.SouthAfrica.info reporterlast_img read more

Rand leapfrogs Nigeria’s naira as Africa’s top currency

first_img12 August 2016The South African rand has regained its position as Africa’s top currency,leapfrogging the Nigerian naira this week.This comes after four major events in recent months: the Brexit vote, theSouth African municipal election results, the rand gaining more than 16% againstthe dollar since the start of 2016, and the naira losing more than a third of its valueafter Nigeria’s central bank removed a currency peg in June.South Africa’s economy was at $301-billion (R4-trillion), while Nigeria’s grossdomestic product (GDP) was $296-billion (R3.9-trillion), Bloomberg reported. Thesefigures are based on GDP at the end of 2015, published by the InternationalMonetary Fund.The momentum that took the naira above the rand two years ago was now longgone, according to the Bloomberg article.Business Day Live reported that at 9.05am on 12 August‚ the rand was at R13.4267 to the dollar from R13.4065 at the previous close. It was at R14.9591 against the euro from R14.9303 previously‚ and at R17.3839 against the pound from R17.3670 previously.Despite the positive news on the rand, Bloomberg said its reign as top currencymay not last long as the naira may bounce back.The rand got a major push following Britain’s vote on 23 June to exit theEuropean Union, which made investors turn to emerging markets. But the SouthAfrican local elections on 3 August, particularly its dramatic results, haveencouraged investors even further.Local electionsThe local government elections – whereby the African National Congress lost afew major metros to the opposition Democratic Alliance because of a substantial dipin support, and the Economic Freedom Fighters grew its support – benefitted therand, stated the Financial Times. Investors are encouraged by the notion that pressure will be put on the ruling party to introduce economic reforms that will boost growth and cut unemployment.The election results were seen as a positive by investors because it meantPresident Jacob Zuma’s power was dwindling, Luis Costa, CitiGroup’s strategist, told Financial Times. Events such as the axing of former finance minister Nhlanhla Nenewere less likely to be repeated. “The implications of this week’s election outcomeare market-friendly.”In another interview with Bloomberg, Costa said: “It will keep Zuma in a verysecondary stance when it comes to making economic policy decisions at least overthe next quarter.”Investors had been encouraged by significantly lower energy prices over thelast three months and steadiness in iron ore, platinum and gold, Costa added. “Thatin general produces a very nice dynamic in terms of trade for South African assets.”Investors treading cautiouslyDespite the good news, Reuters reported early on the morning of 11 Augustthat the rand’s rally against the dollar had paused, with investors treadingcautiously after Statistics South Africa released data on local mining andmanufacturing.According to Stats SA, mining production decreased by 2,5% in June 2016compared to the same period in the previous year, with the most negativeperformers being manganese ore, diamonds, nickel, copper and other non-metallicminerals. Coal, however, remained on a high.In May 2016, mineral sales rose 17,4% compared to the same period in 2015.In the meantime, use of production capacity by large manufacturers was 81,6%in May 2016 compared with 80,3% in May 2015, an increase of 1,3%.Sources: Bloomberg, Statistics South Africa, Reuters and SouthAfrica.info reporter.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website?See Using SouthAfrica.info materiallast_img read more

10 Real-World Things To Consider Before Scaling Your Startup

first_imgWhat could possibly be bad about scaling up your startup? If you’re thinking about growth because the demand is there, you’re clearly doing something right.But a rush to ramp up too soon can lead to serious growing pains, especially in the human resources and accounting departments. We asked 10 entrepreneurs in the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) to share their own experiences with scale—and their best advice for founders about to embark on a big push in the new year. 1. Scale RemotelyThe biggest problem with scaling is you take on commitments. Commitments for offices, technology, employees and any number of assets that can slow you down and bleed your bank account. A great option is remote employment. At Staff.com, we run a team of more than 50 employees from 9 different countries; our employees are more efficient than local ones and we don’t have commitments like offices, payroll or the bureaucratic headaches that local employees produce. We still have some local employees, but each local worker is augmented by remote ones. This relationship produces incredibly efficient employees at a fraction of the cost. – Liam Martin, Staff.com 2. Spend Money On The Best PeopleWhether you’re selling a product or service, maintaining quality during periods of quick scaling is hard. At Pandemic Labs, we experienced this in both our agency business and our software platform. Our solution is in our people. When your business is moving along at a steady, manageable pace, you might not see the value of hiring someone for $90,000 when you can fill that position with someone for $40,000. But there’s a big reason, and you’ll see it when business ramps up. A-level people cost more, but they’ll be able to keep a steady hand on the wheel with you in situations where other companies would crumble under the speed of their own growth. The best people will feel expensive at first, but a team of great people can control a train that would otherwise fly off the tracks. – Matt Peters,Pandemic Labs 3. Understand What It Takes To Serve 10X The CustomersThe biggest mistake startups can make when trying to scale a business is to not understand what it takes to support 10 customers versus 100 customers. As an entrepreneur, project all the resources you will need as you grow. Forecast how each of your key resources (i.e. staff, strategic leadership, infrastructure) will need to be expanded. Yodle scaled successfully because we invested in careful planning in order to be properly prepared for each juncture of growth. In this way, we achieved controlled growth – and this was the best way to manage additional costs and resources. – John Berkowitz, Yodle 4. Set Up Systems FirstMy company, RewardMe, is a digital loyalty platform for restaurants. Our success therefore depends on our ability to capture as much of the market as possible. Our initial 100 clients were in Northern California and it seemed like we were ready to scale: hire sales people across the country and implement as fast as possible. But the smartest decision we made was to delay scaling until we had all our systems and training manuals in place. When you bring people on board to scale sales, everything must be a no-brainer: they must know exactly how to get clients, how long it takes to close deals, how much to sell the product for, and the intricacies of the implementation process. Don’t scale until every single aspect from customer acquisition to implementation is a process. – Jun Loayza, Passport Peru 5. Premature Scaling KillsThere is no doubt about it – startups offer some amazing opportunities to exercise Computer Science and Systems Engineering knowledge. Engineering friends of mine regularly marvel at the amount of data companies like Google, Amazon and Netflix have to process, analyze and serve. Here’s the problem: This opportunity doesn’t exist for early-stage startups, because, by definition, they have no users or customers. Worrying about “scale” in the early days of your startup is simply a bad investment. You may not have even discovered whether a product or market is worth pursuing, but you will have already invested in scaling that pursuit. Startup founders have to develop a craft in rapid application prototyping. Scaling comes later. – Andrew Montalenti, Parse.ly 6. Listen To Your CustomersOne of the best barometers for scaling should be customer satisfaction. If your customers are satisfied, you can scale as fast as you want. Typically, when something starts going wrong or you’re understaffed, your customers will tell you! When we started pushing hard toward the 7-figure mark in our first year, my brother/business partner was left managing customer support from his Gmail account. He was a senior in college, a starter on the baseball team, and working 50-60 hours each week. We knew something had to change, and that’s when we found a full-time customer support staff member. While Scott was doing all he could, I knew our customers were growing restless. Since then, I’ve been able to leverage Scott’s abilities, and our business has never been stronger. – Brian Moran, Get 10,000 Fans 7. Ride One Horse At A TimeWhen we started franchising our business, we expanded rather quickly, and it seemed logical to test out new service lines and launch new brands. However, we stretched ourselves thin and ended up over our heads in unfamiliar waters. Our core business suffered, and the new initiatives didn’t work. My advice: Focus on dominating the sandbox you’re already in before branching out. Make sure you have strong systems and resilient revenue streams. Run market tests and grow your business slowly so that every piece is sturdy, stable and cohesive. If you try to ride more than one horse at the same time, you’re going to fall off. – Nick Friedman, College Hunks Hauling Junk 8. Be Selective, Open Up SlowlyWhen we launched SaberBlast.com a year ago, it grew so fast that we couldn’t keep up with demand. Our clients would try to send out newsletters with 30,000 or 100,000+ subscribers on it – and either the server would blow up or the resulting traffic would kill us. It was embarrassing. With the recent relaunch of the service, not only have we upgraded our technology, but we’ve upgraded how we onboard clients. We actually have an application process and a waiting period. Then, once a month we open up X number of new spots and email clients who are on the waiting list telling them they can sign-up. This way, by controlling demand and being selective about who we take on as clients, we’re controlling the risk of growing too fast without sacrificing the quality of how our service is delivered. – Matthew Ackerson, Saber Blast 9. Stay Focused On Cash FlowThe most dangerous problem with scaling too quickly is usually cash flow. I experienced that when building my second business when I was 19. We nearly hit our $1 million in revenue in the first few years, but as we got bigger clients, they required better payment terms. One missed payment from a big client could be disastrous, which is what happened. Cash flow is king in scaling up your business. Most entrepreneurs learn the hard way and this is definitely something that needs to be talked about more. – Peter Nguyen, Literati Institute 10. Estimate Growth, Then Divide By 2As much as we love to dream about explosive growth and unyielding demand for our product or service, our passion and excitement may skew the truth about future projections. If you can estimate revenue for the next 12 months, take that number then divide by 2 – and plan your resources and expenses around that number instead. Case in point, I ordered 2,000 jerseys for my new sports business (we ran rec leagues for adults) based on lofty expectations about how may players would sign up to play. We had 75 people show up on opening day and for an entire year I did not know if I was running a sports business or a t-shirt business. Be modest in your expectations and seek outside help for an unbiased estimate. It is never a bad thing to sell out beyond capacity, it creates demand. – Steven Staley, Playbook CommunityThe Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons. Tags:#startups How OKR’s Completely Transformed Our Culture Tips for Selling Smart Supply Chain Solutions End-of-Life Software: Keep it, Update it, or Fi…center_img Related Posts Will Development Eventually Make Itself Obsolete? scott gerberlast_img read more

Coremelt Releases Text Animation Plugin for AE, Premiere & FCP7

first_imgIf you utilize a lot of animation text in your video editing projects, check out the FREE ActiveText plugin from Coremelt.Text animation, although common in video editing projects, always seems to be a neglected feature set in most software video editing apps.  This lack of options has inspired a host of third party text animation tools for a more robust typography toolset.  Among these type plugins is the free ActiveText tool from Australian-based post production software company, Coremelt.ActiveText comes free as a part of the CoreMeltFREE plugin engine and includes ten free titling templates to use in your video editing app.  ActiveText currently supports Adobe Premiere Pro, FCP 7, Adobe After Effects and Motion.The main advantage of ActiveText is that it takes away the need to keyframe your text animations.  Rather, you can adjust the duration of your text clip and the clip will auto-adjust the motion to fit.  In addition, you can duplicate text quite simply by just copy and pasting ActiveText clips on the timeline – a much more expeditious approach compared to using Premiere’s built-in text editor.  The text templates range from editing stand-bys like ‘blur fade in’ to more outrageous (and a bit more cheesy) effects like ‘neon burn’.Previous CoreMeltFree users will need to download the latest update to take advantage of these new text templates.Anytime video editing tasks can be speed up is a welcome improvement.  When it comes to typography, ActiveText seems to do just that.Click here to check out a video of ActiveText in motion and download the recent update.last_img read more

a month agoAdvisers urge Foden to stick with Man City

first_imgAdvisers urge Foden to stick with Man Cityby Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the lovePhil Foden is being urged to stick with Manchester City.Foden feels a loan move away from the reigning Premier League champions would hinder his progress, despite his limited playing time.The family and friends of the 19-year-old are reported to be keen for the England youngster to continue his role at the Etihad under Pep Guardiola, in which he receives game time primarily in cup competitions.The Times says there is a feeling within Foden’s close circle that leaving City on loan could actually prove damaging to the teenager’s progression.And City have no intention of sending Foden out to another Premier League club on loan. TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

DC Entertainment To Receive Visionary Award At 2017 GLSEN Respect Awards Los

first_imgGLSEN, the leading education organization creating safe and inclusive schools for LGBTQ youth, will honor DC Entertainment with the Visionary Award at the 2017 GLSEN Respect Awards.Diane Nelson, President of DC Entertainment and President of Warner Bros. Consumer Products, will accept the award at the gala on Friday, October 20th at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.DC is a leader in supporting LGBTQ content and characters. With a commitment to showcasing diverse storylines, they broke barriers in mainstream comics with characters like Batwoman as the first lesbian Super Hero as a comic lead and Alysia Yeoh as the first trans character. The comics feature numerous groundbreaking characters like Midnighter, Catwoman, Renee Montoya, and many others. In June 2016, DC along with IDW Publishing, brought together writers and artists to support victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando with “Love is Love.” And DC TV shows feature LGBTQ characters on shows like Supergirl, Arrow, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and Gotham.“GLSEN is excited to honor DC Entertainment with the Visionary Award for their impact and innovation,” said Eliza Byard, Executive Director of GLSEN. “Superheroes hold an incredibly powerful place in our popular culture. Equally powerful is for LGBTQ youth to see themselves in our world, and DC enables just that. DC’s commitment to representing LGBTQ characters in all forms of media is both incredibly important and empowering.”“We are honored to accept the Visionary Award at this year’s GLSEN Respect Awards,” said Diane Nelson, President, DC Entertainment and President, Warner Bros. Consumer Products. “At DC, we are committed to telling stories that reflect and inspire our diverse audience and we look forward to celebrating with the LGBTQ students and activists from across the country.”DC Entertainment will join previously announced 2017 GLSEN Respect Awards Honorees Kerry Washington, Bruce Bozzi, and Zendaya.The GLSEN Respect Awards, introduced in 2004 and held annually in Los Angeles and New York, showcase the work of students, educators, community leaders, and corporations who serve as exemplary role models and have made a significant impact on the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. Past Los Angeles honorees include Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake; Julia Roberts and Danny Moder; Marilyn and Jeffrey Katzenberg; Bob Greenblatt; Shonda Rhimes; Matt Bomer & Simon Halls; and Kate Hudson. The GLSEN Respect Awards – Los Angeles will welcome approximately 600 guests, including outstanding youth leaders and educators from around the country, raising more than $1 million in support of GLSEN’s work.GLSEN has led the way on LGBTQ issues in K-12 education since 1990. Through ground-breaking original research, innovative program development, student leadership and educator training, community organizing, and targeted state and federal advocacy, GLSEN has seen the impact of its work with the development of educational resources, direct engagement of youth and educators, and national programs like GLSEN’s Day of Silence, GLSEN’s No Name-Calling Week, and GLSEN’s Ally Week.Tickets for the Respect Awards are available now. For additional information, please visit www.glsen.org/events.last_img read more

Canadas provinces promote free trade in Washington Some conditions apply

first_imgWASHINGTON – The premiers of Canada’s two largest provinces came to Washington on Friday to sing the praises of free trade: lower prices, more jobs, better selection at the grocery store and supply chains that create geo-political bonds.But that trade-liberalizing passion comes with some caveats.The premiers of Quebec and Ontario acknowledged that their own trade practices are not perfectly open in every sector and will not suddenly become that way in a newly renegotiated North American Free Trade Agreement.In one exchange, the governor of Colorado voiced a desire for freer trade in dairy. He made the request on a panel while seated beside Kathleen Wynne and Philippe Couillard — premiers of the two main dairy-producing provinces in a country that limits dairy imports.“Colorado is a big cheese-manufacturing state. So I’d probably want to negotiate a little bit about the cheese,” said Gov. John Hickenlooper.“Because we all have our specific things that we think, maybe, aren’t quite as fair.”Dairy isn’t the only protected sector in Canada. So is poultry. In addition, sub-national jurisdictions protect certain types of government contracts. Also, Couillard said it’s important for Quebec to maintain protections on cultural products in order to preserve its francophone culture.Couillard said it’s normal to maintain some protections in a trade deal.“I would say, tongue in cheek, there’s no such thing as a free-trade agreement. There are trade agreements with exceptions and specificities — ones countries need to keep in order to keep their policies and priorities moving forward,” Couillard told a panel at the Washington International Trade Association.“So, (let’s proceed with) modernizing (NAFTA). Keeping each others’ interests in perspective. Being able to put yourself in the other person’s shoes — to understand why (certain sectors are) so important… But overall let’s keep markets open.”On government procurement, Couillard told reporters he’s considering whether to speed up planned renovations of Montreal metro cars in order to provide work for Bombardier, as layoffs are threatened there.States and provinces have the right to exempt certain public agencies from competitive bidding under WTO rules, although Canada entered these NAFTA negotiations hoping to expand free trade for public contracts with the giant U.S. market.The U.S. has taken the opposite approach — it’s looking to limit trade in public works. That’s one of several controversial proposals from the Americans, who have also proposed creating a so-called sunset clause that could end NAFTA every five years.Wynne said this negotiation has been unusual.“Do I think there needs to be some systematic approach to reviewing (NAFTA)? I think we can all agree,” she said.“(But) what has triggered this review is not a systematic or rational process. That was not a political comment. But if there were a way to have a more rational (five-year) trigger, I think that would make sense.”Events a few kilometres away underscored her point.As Wynne was speaking at that panel, U.S. President Donald Trump was just outside the city at a conservative political conference where, in his speech to partisans, he trashed NAFTA.“NAFTA is no good. It never was any good. But, for some reason, nobody ever changed it,” Trump said.“They emptied our factories. You’ve got to see the car plants and the auto plants in Mexico. Like, you’ve never seen anything like it before. I want those companies — and they’re starting — I want them back here.”Ironically, he was saying this at a conference made famous by Ronald Reagan — the conservative favourite who spearheaded North American free-trade talks. Meanwhile, in downtown Washington, D.C., the premiers were promoting NAFTA inside the Ronald Reagan Building.The premiers are in Washington for the annual winter conference of state governors. State leaders have proven to be influential allies to people trying save NAFTA — writing letters, lobbying U.S. President Donald Trump and sharing their concerns with Vice-President Mike Pence.Couillard said he and his Ontario counterpart have met dozens of U.S. governors since last year — and every one supports NAFTA. He said they understand the benefits of free trade — cheaper fruits and vegetables available throughout the year, minerals from Canada that supply manufacturing in the southern U.S., an integrated defence-industrial base and nine million jobs linked to trade in the U.S. alone.“Open markets create jobs,” Couillard said. “Closed markets kill jobs. … Closed markets increase prices, for people who have economic difficulties.”He urged the countries to reach a quick agreement. He said businesses hate uncertainty, and said the uncertainty at some point needs to end.Projections from Scotiabank and the Bank of Canada estimate that if ambiguity lingers over NAFTA into next year, the ensuing investment concerns would reduce Canada’s GDP by about one-fifth of one per cent through 2019.last_img read more