Editorial: May 19

CBJ May 2019

LiUNA and its Canadian leader Joseph Mancinelli are the focus of this month’s cover story. Widely acknowledged as the most progressive and successful labour union in the country, LiUNA and has now diversified into many other business sectors beyond the traditional construction industry. The diversification has led to incredible financial returns for past and present members. Meanwhile, a fascinating partnership developed between LiUNA and Sir Richard Branson. LiUNA is now the majority owner of what will be the new Virgin Hotel in Las Vegas and will be front and centre for the renovations and restorations from what is currently the Hard Rock Hotel. I’ll be sure to stop by when I’m in Las Vegas this month.

Trade figures recently released by Statistics Canada indicate that Canada has increased the amount of oil it imports from Saudi Arabia by an astounding 66% since 2014. Think about that for a moment. Keep in mind we are a country plentiful in resources – so much so that there is more than enough crude for Canada and other countries for decades to come. However, the topic of pipeline transportation remains caught in a maze of bureaucratic and political red tape and because of that refineries such as Irving Oil get their oil from rogue nations because there is no Energy East pipeline. As LiUNA boss Joe Mancinelli rightly notes, we are killing our own economy.

Manufacturing has taken a big hit in Canada, and specifically Ontario, where the automotive sector has fallen upon hard times. However, there was some good news recently when Toyota announced it would be producing its new Lexus NX SUV at its Cambridge, Ontario plant beginning within three years. The Cambridge factory currently produces the Toyota RAV4 crossover vehicle. A new assembly line will be added to accommodate assembly of the new luxury vehicle. There will be both gas-powered and hybrid (gas and electric) vehicles made.

Ford Motor Co. is investing $500 million into electric vehicle startup Rivian in a deal that has the companies working together on developing a new Ford electric vehicle. Rivian will remain an independent company. But Ford President of Automotive Joe Hinrichs will get a seat on the startup’s seven-member board. The deal is still subject to regulatory approval. Ford become a minority partner in Rivian, which is headquartered in the Greater Detroit area.

Online streaming service Netflix continues to increase in popularity with the biggest three-month subscriber gains in the history of the company, adding 9.6 million new subscribers in the first quarter of 2019. The increase is that much more impressive for the 12-year-old company considering the anticipated intense forthcoming competition from the likes of Walt Disney Digital Streaming Services and Apple. Netflix expects to add another five million subscribers during the current quarter ending June 30.

Angus Gillespie
angus@cbj.ca
@CanBizJournal

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