White House Delays Tariffs on E.U., Canada and Mexico for 30 Days


The reprieve will come as a relief to major American allies that were bracing for damage to their economy from lower sales of metals into the United States. But it could fuel criticism that Mr. Trump is more bark than bite and increase the pressure on the White House to squeeze concessions from other nations.

In recent weeks, American negotiators have pressed allies to restrain their own metal shipments to the United States voluntarily in exchange for having the tariffs lifted.

Photo

Steel pipes at a factory in China. Countries such as China that don’t have exemptions will face a 25 percent tariff on steel imports to the United States.

Credit
Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“In all of these negotiations, the administration is focused on quotas that will restrain imports, prevent transshipment and protect the national security,” the White House said in its statement Monday evening.

But officials have also embarked on unrelated trade discussions. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who has been charged with negotiating with the European Union, had been pushing for the bloc to reduce its tariffs on imported cars and lower its trade surplus with the United States.

Foreign allies and companies that source steel and aluminum from abroad were left in suspense about how the tariffs deadline would play out until late Monday and were fretting about the uncertainty created by the situation.

So far, European officials have held firm to their insistence that the trade measures violate international trading law. The temporary extension is unlikely to satisfy the European Union, whose leaders have said they do not want to negotiate under threat and have demanded a permanent and unconditional exemption from the tariffs.

If the tariffs do go into effect after the 30-day reprieve, Europe has promised swift retaliation. It has drawn up a lengthy list of American products it would penalize in return, including orange juice, cranberries, motorcycles and bluejeans. It has also asked to join a dispute China brought at the World Trade Organization against the steel and aluminum tariffs.

An extension of the tariff deadline was more widely expected for Canada and Mexico, which are still in negotiations with the United States over Nafta. Although differences of opinion remain, officials from the countries insist they are making quick progress toward a goal of concluding their talks by the end of May.

Canada and Mexico have said that putting tariffs in place in the middle of these discussions could upend delicate negotiations. On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada said he was “optimistic” that his country would secure an exemption, arguing that the Trump administration understood that tariffs on Canada would hurt jobs on both sides of the shared border.

The administration has also been in talks with Japan, the largest American ally to be left off the initial list of countries that were granted a temporary exemption from the tariffs — in part because of the country’s trade patterns, including a large surplus with the United States, but also because the Trump administration hoped to urge the country into one-on-one trade talks.

But Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan dashed those plans after visiting the president at his Mar-a-Lago resort in mid-April. Mr. Abe insisted that talks take the form of the United States rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a multicountry trade deal Mr. Trump withdrew from. Mr. Trump derided the deal, writing on Twitter that it had “too many contingencies.”

The monthlong reprieve prolongs the state of uncertainty hanging over the global economy, making it difficult for businesses to plan and discouraging them from investing in new factories or hiring more workers.

That unpredictability has plagued even steel and aluminum companies that support the measure. Todd Leebow, the president and chief executive of Majestic Steel USA, which buys and sells American-made steel, said the tariffs were already helping to revive the American industry. Still, he noted that his customers did not know where they would be able to purchase metals from, and where prices might head.

“From an industry perspective, the challenge that we have is it creates uncertainty,” Mr. Leebow said.

But some said the measures are helping accomplish one of the administration’s major goals: combating an overcapacity of metals from China. The European Union and Canada, among others, have introduced steeper measures in recent months to crack down on cheap flows of steel into their markets, and to stop China from shipping steel through their countries to the United States.

“There’s some evidence that the approach is working,” said Scott Paul, the president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, which supports the metal restrictions. He said that temporary exemptions did not worry him, but that they should not be left in place indefinitely or unconditionally.

Other nations affected by the tariffs have not been so optimistic.

In Europe, the tariffs have driven down steel prices, as countries that did not receive exemptions, like Russia, Turkey and India, redirect their shipments from the United States.

The flood of imports has hit the European steel industry just as it is bouncing back from a crisis that began five years ago and was caused by steel sold at dumping prices by Chinese producers.

“They are worried that another wave of imports could throw the industry back into crisis mode,” Martin Theuringer, the managing director of the German Steel Federation, an industry group, said of European steel makers.

Continue reading the main story

White House Delays Tariffs on E.U., Canada and Mexico for 30 Days


The reprieve will come as a relief to major American allies that were bracing for damage to their economy from lower sales of metals into the United States. But it could fuel criticism that Mr. Trump is more bark than bite and increase the pressure on the White House to squeeze concessions from other nations.

In recent weeks, American negotiators have pressed allies to restrain their own metal shipments to the United States voluntarily in exchange for having the tariffs lifted.

Photo

Steel pipes at a factory in China. Countries such as China that don’t have exemptions will face a 25 percent tariff on steel imports to the United States.

Credit
Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“In all of these negotiations, the administration is focused on quotas that will restrain imports, prevent transshipment and protect the national security,” the White House said in its statement Monday evening.

But officials have also embarked on unrelated trade discussions. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, who has been charged with negotiating with the European Union, had been pushing for the bloc to reduce its tariffs on imported cars and lower its trade surplus with the United States.

Foreign allies and companies that source steel and aluminum from abroad were left in suspense about how the tariffs deadline would play out until late Monday and were fretting about the uncertainty created by the situation.

So far, European officials have held firm to their insistence that the trade measures violate international trading law. The temporary extension is unlikely to satisfy the European Union, whose leaders have said they do not want to negotiate under threat and have demanded a permanent and unconditional exemption from the tariffs.

If the tariffs do go into effect after the 30-day reprieve, Europe has promised swift retaliation. It has drawn up a lengthy list of American products it would penalize in return, including orange juice, cranberries, motorcycles and bluejeans. It has also asked to join a dispute China brought at the World Trade Organization against the steel and aluminum tariffs.

An extension of the tariff deadline was more widely expected for Canada and Mexico, which are still in negotiations with the United States over Nafta. Although differences of opinion remain, officials from the countries insist they are making quick progress toward a goal of concluding their talks by the end of May.

Canada and Mexico have said that putting tariffs in place in the middle of these discussions could upend delicate negotiations. On Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada said he was “optimistic” that his country would secure an exemption, arguing that the Trump administration understood that tariffs on Canada would hurt jobs on both sides of the shared border.

The administration has also been in talks with Japan, the largest American ally to be left off the initial list of countries that were granted a temporary exemption from the tariffs — in part because of the country’s trade patterns, including a large surplus with the United States, but also because the Trump administration hoped to urge the country into one-on-one trade talks.

But Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan dashed those plans after visiting the president at his Mar-a-Lago resort in mid-April. Mr. Abe insisted that talks take the form of the United States rejoining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a multicountry trade deal Mr. Trump withdrew from. Mr. Trump derided the deal, writing on Twitter that it had “too many contingencies.”

The monthlong reprieve prolongs the state of uncertainty hanging over the global economy, making it difficult for businesses to plan and discouraging them from investing in new factories or hiring more workers.

That unpredictability has plagued even steel and aluminum companies that support the measure. Todd Leebow, the president and chief executive of Majestic Steel USA, which buys and sells American-made steel, said the tariffs were already helping to revive the American industry. Still, he noted that his customers did not know where they would be able to purchase metals from, and where prices might head.

“From an industry perspective, the challenge that we have is it creates uncertainty,” Mr. Leebow said.

But some said the measures are helping accomplish one of the administration’s major goals: combating an overcapacity of metals from China. The European Union and Canada, among others, have introduced steeper measures in recent months to crack down on cheap flows of steel into their markets, and to stop China from shipping steel through their countries to the United States.

“There’s some evidence that the approach is working,” said Scott Paul, the president of the Alliance for American Manufacturing, which supports the metal restrictions. He said that temporary exemptions did not worry him, but that they should not be left in place indefinitely or unconditionally.

Other nations affected by the tariffs have not been so optimistic.

In Europe, the tariffs have driven down steel prices, as countries that did not receive exemptions, like Russia, Turkey and India, redirect their shipments from the United States.

The flood of imports has hit the European steel industry just as it is bouncing back from a crisis that began five years ago and was caused by steel sold at dumping prices by Chinese producers.

“They are worried that another wave of imports could throw the industry back into crisis mode,” Martin Theuringer, the managing director of the German Steel Federation, an industry group, said of European steel makers.

Continue reading the main story

In Canada, 2 Provinces Feud Over Pipeline: Will It Bring Jobs or Spills?


The dispute has been festering for months. But the tension peaked when the pipeline’s owner, Kinder Morgan of Houston, said last weekend that it is suspending all nonessential spending on the program.

Photo

Tankers filled by the current Kinder Morgan pipeline now sail to refineries on the West Coast of the United States.

Credit
Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press, via Associated Press

The company gave British Columbia until the end of May to end its attempts to delay or block the project. If not, the company said it would cancel its plan to add a second pipeline along aroute that opened in 1953.

To try to resolve the standoff, Mr. Trudeau has summoned Rachel Notley, the premier of Alberta, and John Horgan, her counterpart in British Columbia, to Ottawa for talks on Sunday.

Given the intransigence of both sides, even Mr. Trudeau’s top officials are downplaying the idea that the conversation will end the battle. But it may provide a glimpse of how Mr. Trudeau intends to grapple with an issue in which any resolution will inevitably alienate some voters, and on which there isn’t a clear national consensus.

“Canadians are quite divided,” said Shachi Kurl, the executive director of the Angus Reid Institute, a nonprofit polling firm based in Vancouver. “So much of this debate is rural versus urban Canada.”

Like the Keystone XL pipeline to the Gulf Coast of the United States, which was quashed by President Barack Obama and revived by Mr. Trump, the expansion of the existing Kinder Morgan pipeline is the latest attempt by the oil sands industry to push more of its product out to market. The pipelines have not expanded at the same rate as output from the oil sands, leaving many producers relying on expensive rail shipments to get their product to the United States, which currently buys almost all of Canada’s oil and gas exports.

Tankers filled by the current Kinder Morgan pipeline now sail to refineries on the West Coast of the United States. The extra capacity from an expansion could, in theory, allow oil sands companies to also begin shipping to Asian markets where demand for oil is growing, said Andrew Leach, an energy and environmental economist at the University of Alberta.

Photo

Protest signs are displayed outside of the Kinder Morgan Inc. facility in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada, on Wednesday.

Credit
Ben Nelms/Bloomberg

Ms. Notley, and her left-of-center New Democratic Party, surprised the Canadian political world in 2015 by bringing four and a half decades of Progressive Conservative rule to an end in Alberta. While she vowed in her campaign to take on the big oil interests in the province, politically she has no choice but to be a booster of the pipeline. Polls show that Albertans overwhelmingly want the expansion to go ahead.

To defend the expansion, the premier has shown a willingness to get tough with her provincial neighbor to the west. Earlier this year, Ms. Notley briefly banned imports of wine from British Columbia.

And unless the meeting Sunday changes her mind, Ms. Notley’s government is expected to introduce legislation next week that will give it the ability to restrict oil and gas shipments to British Columbia, and so driving up prices in the province.

“If the national interest is given over to the extremes on the left or the right, if the voices of the moderate majority of Canadians are forgotten, the reverberations of that will tear at the fabric of Confederation for many, many years to come,” Ms. Notley said on Monday, referring to the power-sharing system that Canada adopted in 1867.

This past week, Ms. Notley suggested that if Kinder Morgan decides not to go ahead with the expansion, the provincial government may buy and build the pipeline. Officials in Mr. Trudeau’s cabinet have suggested that the federal government might support such a plan.

For Mr. Horgan in British Columbia, the political calculus surrounding the pipeline expansion was more complex. The project is widely opposed in the areas around Vancouver and Victoria, the provincial capital, according to Ms. Kurl, the pollster. But support is strong for it elsewhere in the province, where resource industries are big employers.

Photo

Supporters of the pipeline demonstrated in Vancouver last month. “So much of this debate is rural versus urban Canada,” a pollster said.

Credit
Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press, via Associated Press

Perhaps tipping the scale in his decision to try to block the project is that Mr. Horgan, also a member of the New Democratic Party, relies on the support of three Green Party members to pass legislation. That party, like many environmental groups, argues that Canada should not be building oil pipelines while it is attempting to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

So Mr. Horgan plans to ask a court to determine if British Columbia can use local permits and provincial environmental laws to block the pipeline.

Mr. Trudeau’s government has cited several decisions, including some from the Supreme Court, that it contends give Ottawa complete authority over interprovincial pipelines. But it appears that the federal government can do nothing to stop Mr. Horgan from going to court. Any judicial review could at least delay the project.

The sparring between the two premiers may prove to be the least of Mr. Trudeau’s worries in the pipeline fight, as he tries to balance Canada’s economic dependence on the energy industry with his climate change commitments.

Environmental groups and some indigenous groups have vowed to stop the pipeline expansion through widespread civil disobedience. Those arrested already for breaking court orders to keep back from Kinder Morgan property include Elizabeth May, the leader of the federal Green Party.

Many environmental groups are using the pipeline expansion as a proxy in the fight against the oil sands, a source of fossil fuels that they condemn as excessively polluting.

“In an ideal world, we would like to see the federal government recognizing that it made an egregious mistake in approving this pipeline,” said Cam Fenton, a Canada strategy manager for 350.org, a nonprofit that opposes new fossil fuel projects. “At the end of the day polls change, science doesn’t. And it says we cannot deal with climate change and build pipelines.”

Continue reading the main story

A Town That Lives for Hockey Is Devastated by Humboldt Broncos’ Deaths


Most of the people in the long line donated much more than the suggested 7 Canadian dollars, or $5.50, for the buffet to Ruth and Bob Kienlen, who were managing the cash box at the door. The retired couple, like many in this community, once billeted members of the Broncos.

“Our life was lived around hockey when we were hosts,” said Ms. Kienlen, whose three children were young when the family hosted players in their homes. “We had a player who was just 15 years old. Imagine that: just 15 years old. But he needed parents. We didn’t know how to parent teenagers then, but it worked.”

The custom of players’ living with local families means the deaths double the number of parents affected. In a new subdivision behind Humboldt’s hospital, David and Rene Cannon were hosts to three players killed in the crash: Xavier Labelle and Logan Hunter, both 18, and Adam Herold, whose 17th birthday would have been on Thursday.

“We aren’t built to not get attached,” Ms. Cannon told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. “We take every single boy that’s ever come into our house right into our hearts and into our family.”

Photo

A pancake breakfast at St. Augustine Catholic Church in Humboldt on Sunday became a fund-raiser for the families of the those killed in the crash and the injured survivors.

Credit
Noel West for The New York Times

She added: “They’re children of our heart from the moment they walk in our door. We don’t just feed them and house them, we care about them.”

Now, Ms. Cannon said, “We feel like our hearts have been splintered. There are three people in our lives we will never get to hold and hug and tell them to go kick some butt on the ice ever again.”

The outsize role the team plays in Humboldt was obvious even on the outskirts of town, where a large sign on the highway at the Humboldt exit called for prayers for the team. On the main street — named Glenn Hall Drive, after the hometown hero, a goalie who went on to the National Hockey League, winning two Stanley Cups — gold, green and white Broncos jerseys hung behind counters in shops, restaurants and hotels. It seemed almost everyone in town was wearing green lapel ribbons to honor the team.

The Humboldt arena has a capacity of 1,854 — a seat for every 2.6 residents, given the town’s official population. Yet during playoff games, like the two held against the Nipawin Hawks this past week, the arena is so full of spectators that it’s standing room only.

“It’s amazing that any of these small towns can do junior hockey teams,” said Dean Bookman, a former Broncos head coach. His successor, Darcy Haugan, was among those who died in the crash. “It’s a full-time, 12-months-a-year fund-raiser to keep the team afloat. It’s a very intimate relationship. Now it’s a very, very tragic time.”

The town was in a daze on Sunday as preparations were underway at the Elgar Peterson Arena for a vigil to remember the dead, instead of what had been scheduled for the evening: the sixth game of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League playoffs.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was expected to attend the memorial service.

While junior hockey players are not paid, the competition to join top teams like the Broncos is intense and involves recruiting, networking and even a draft.

The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League is one of 10 such Junior A leagues spread across Canada, the elite amateur tier for players 16 to 21. Its most skilled players aspire to one of the country’s major-junior leagues, where the players are paid and the teams act as development squads for N.H.L. teams.

Saskatchewan has a history of producing a disproportionate number of N.H.L. players relative to its population of 1.1 million. Currently, 31 active N.H.L. players come from the province.

But Mr. Bookman, the former coach, said that whatever dreams of N.H.L. glory the young players harbor, their practical objective is generally to attract a hockey scholarship from a Canadian university or an American college.

Photo

Mass at St. Augustine Catholic Church on Sunday.

Credit
Noel West for The New York Times

On top of a heavy training and game schedule, the younger players on the Broncos attended the local high school, which is part of a municipal complex that includes the arena, meeting halls and a curling rink. Many of the older players took University of Saskatchewan extension courses at a community college.

Mr. Labelle, a Broncos defenseman and the son of an emergency-room physician in nearby Saskatoon, not only excelled at hockey, he was also an accomplished piano player. A regional C.B.C. radio program played a recording of a performance by him on Sunday.

The Broncos have an annual budget of about $700,000, and the team and the town come with up with novel approaches to raising money.

One year, the team ran a lottery for a new combine harvester, a piece of farm equipment worth several hundred thousand dollars. And a group of local farmers have set aside 160 acres for the team and turn over the proceeds of the grain it yields to the Broncos.

The collision has prompted a national, and global, outpouring of support. A GoFundMe campaign for the team was nearing its goal of 4 million Canadian dollars, or $3.1 million, by late Sunday afternoon.

Not all of the victims were players. The injured included a team trainer, and the dead included Tyler Bieber, 29, who did the play-by-play announcing for the Broncos’ radio broadcasts.

The death of Brody Hinz, the team’s statistician, particularly stung at Westminster United Church, where he was long an active member of the congregation. He was about to graduate from high school; Mr. Hinz’s father died from cancer when the son was just 5, the Rev. Brenda Curtis said.

“He was just crazy about all sports,” said Molly Salmon, a classmate at Humboldt Collegiate Institute. “He just knew everything about anything you could ask. The school’s absolutely devastated at what happened.”

Minister Curtis, who has spent much of her time since Friday with Mr. Hinz’s mother and younger sister, was similarly at a loss.

“He had so much potential, it’s just been painful for all of us,” she said after Sunday’s service. “And that’s just one story out of 15 stories of people who have pain because they lost their loved ones and they all have stories of their uniqueness and their potential. And it’s gone, it’s gone in an instant. I’m a minister, but I’m still damned angry.”

Continue reading the main story

White House Tries to Pull Nafta Back From Brink as Deadlines Loom


“They said, ‘Oh, let’s have Nafta before.’ I said, ‘Don’t rush it. We’ll take it nice and easy, get it done right or we’ll terminate it,” the president said.

The talks, which appeared to be on the brink of collapse just a few months ago, kicked back into gear in recent weeks as political and practical realities prompted a newfound urgency among American negotiators. For a revised Nafta to be approved by the current Republican-controlled congress, the Trump administration would probably have to finalize it before the end of May to allow time for congressional review given the House and Senate calendar.

Other trade tensions helped jump-start the discussions, including the administration’s new steel and aluminum tariffs. The White House temporarily exempted Canada and Mexico from the tariffs through May 1, saying it would make those exemptions permanent if the three nations could agree to a revised Nafta. The administration must now make good on that promise and negotiate a deal that would allow key allies to continue importing metals into the United States. Canada is a top supplier of metal to the United States military.

A quick resolution would also allow negotiators to bypass complications stemming from the upcoming Mexican elections on July 1, which appear likely to usher in a left-leaning president who has sharply criticized Mr. Trump over his broadsides against Mexico. And the White House could promote a revised Nafta as a political win ahead of the congressional midterm elections in November, while giving the president’s top trade advisers room to turn their attention to resolving a potential trade war with China, which has fired back against American trade actions with punitive measures of its own.

White House trade advisers are meeting with their Mexican and Canadian counterparts in Washington this week to try to hammer out areas of consensus on the most difficult issues of the talks. Robert Lighthizer, the United States trade representative, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland of Canada and Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo of Mexico were expected to kick off trilateral talks on some of the pact’s thorniest issues over dinner in Washington on Thursday night.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada struck an optimistic note on Thursday, saying the countries were having a “very productive moment,” a sharp change in tone from previous comments about a Nafta resolution.

“We are in a moment where we are moving forward in a significant way,,” Mr. Trudeau said. “Hopefully there will be some good news coming.”

He is expected to attend the two-day Summit of the Americas in Peru next week, alongside Mr. Trump and President Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico.

Yet hurdles remain, including how far the United States is willing to go in surrendering many of its negotiating goals, given Mr. Trump’s frequent and vocal criticism of Nafta. Negotiating partners are still waiting to see whether the United States will compromise on the tough requests it has made over the past eight months of negotiations. Many of those demands, including those linked to American auto production, have angered business groups and lawmakers, who say such requirements would actually hurt companies and workers by shifting more manufacturing out of the United States.

A quick resolution would necessitate concessions from the Trump administration, potentially resulting in a deal not significantly different from the one Mr. Trump has denounced as a travesty and embarrassment.

“Unless the United States is quite a bit more flexible, I don’t see how it’s possible to have a quick agreement, even just an agreement in principle,” said Antonio Ortiz-Mena, a senior vice president at the Albright Stonebridge Group and a former Mexican diplomat in the United States.

Photo

A steel plant in Canada, which along with Mexico was temporarily exempted by the United States from new steel and aluminum tariffs. The White House gave the nations until May 1 to work out a revised Nafta deal.

Credit
Ian Willms for The New York Times

Some concessions appear to be in the offing. The United States has now backed away from a proposal that would require half of the value of an automobile to be manufactured in the United States to qualify for Nafta’s preferential tariffs. Instead, it is proposing a system that would require a certain proportion of auto parts to be made by workers earning certain wages.

That proposal is likely to be more palatable to Canada and could also encourage Mexico to ultimately pay higher wages. And it could help Mr. Trump court the votes of congressional Democrats, who complain that Mexico’s low wages are the reason companies have relocated auto production from the United States.

Still, the proposal is likely to face opposition from Mexican negotiators, given that their current wage scales are too low to qualify. And some auto executives also criticized the new proposal, saying it would be nearly as difficult for companies to comply with as earlier ideas, and could ultimately push manufacturing out of North America to cheaper areas.

Other key areas of dispute also remain: Negotiators have so far concluded work on only six of the trade agreement’s roughly 30 chapters, and little progress has been made on contentious issues like mechanisms for settling trade disputes or rules for government purchases.

Yet the renewed push to revise Nafta could usher in an agreement that until recently seemed at risk of collapse. Both supporters and critics of the Trump administration have pointed to the trade deal that the United States recently concluded with South Korea at the end of March as a possible precedent. Mr. Trump fiercely criticized that pact, but in the end his administration declared victory after renegotiating fairly modest changes.

Labor unions, which have backed Mr. Trump’s plan to dramatically remake trade policy, were disappointed with that deal, which did not include changes to labor standards, investment rules or content requirements for automotive manufacturing.

“You see what you get if your priority is speed over quality,” said Celeste Drake, trade and globalization policy specialist at the A.F.L.-C.I.O. “A quick deal that’s not a good deal — is that what the administration wants to sell in these next few months? Or is it really looking to take the time it needs to get a good deal?”

Even an agreement in principle would not rule out the possibility of months or years of wrangling over an eventual deal. Patrick Leblond, senior fellow at the Center for International Governance Innovation, noted that Canada and Europe signed an agreement in principle for a trade pact in the fall of 2013, but that the final deal did not come into effect until September 2017, after almost being derailed.

“As trade negotiators repeatedly point out, nothing is agreed until everything is agreed,” Mr. Leblond said.

Continue reading the main story

Pruitt Had a $50-a-Day Condo Linked to Lobbyists. Their Client’s Project Got Approved.


The March 2017 action by the E.P.A. on the pipeline project — in the form of a letter telling the State Department that the E.P.A. had no serious environmental objections — meant that the project, an expansion of the Alberta Clipper line, had cleared a significant hurdle. The expansion, a project of Enbridge Inc., a Calgary-based energy company, would allow hundreds of thousands more barrels of oil a day to flow through this pipeline to the United States from Canadian tar sands.

The sign-off by the E.P.A. came even though the agency, at the end of the Obama administration, had moved to fine Enbridge $61 million in connection with a 2010 pipeline episode that sent hundreds of thousands of gallons of crude oil into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan and other waterways. The fine was the second-largest in the history of the Clean Water Act, behind the penalty imposed after the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

A spokesman for Williams & Jennings said that the lobbying firm did not intervene with the E.P.A. or Mr. Pruitt on the Enbridge pipeline expansion either before or after Mr. Pruitt was living in the condo owned in part by Vicki Hart, the wife of J. Steven Hart, the chairman of the firm.

The lobbying firm also said it had not worked on similar regulatory issues for Enbridge in the past year, even though it was registered at the time as lobbying for the company on “issues affecting pipelines and construction of new pipelines,” its disclosure report from early 2017 says.

Cynthia Giles, who served at the E.P.A. as an enforcement official in the agency’s mid-Atlantic region in the 1990s before becoming an assistant administrator at the agency in the Obama administration, said Mr. Pruitt’s housing arrangements raised questions about the fairness of the E.P.A.’s decision-making process.

“The people at the E.P.A. are charged with following the science and facts as it applies to individual decisions,” she said. Appearing to accept favors from influential figures “is just not good judgment.”

Ms. Bowman said the criticism was unjustified, saying that Mr. Pruitt paid what one E.P.A. official called a “market value” rent. However, an examination of Capitol Hill rentals suggests that rates typically are considerably higher and generally do not come with a provision, as Mr. Pruitt’s did, that the renter can pay for only the nights stayed at the condo.

The E.P.A.’s review of the Alberta Clipper project was one of at least a half dozen regulatory matters before the E.P.A. related to clients who were represented by Williams & Jensen at the time that Mr. Pruitt was living part-time in the Capitol Hill condo.

Williams & Jensen, for example, was lobbying the E.P.A. early last year, according to its disclosure reports, on behalf of both Oklahoma Gas and Electric, a major coal-burning utility, and Concho Resources, a Texas-based oil and gas drilling company.

Photo

Scott Pruitt, the E.P.A. head, was renting a condominium linked to Enbridge’s lobbying firm.

Credit
Tom Brenner/The New York Times

The work for Oklahoma Gas involved the effort to repeal or revise the landmark Obama-era rule that pushed states to move away from coal in favor of sources of electricity that produce fewer carbon emissions. An E.P.A. calendar in March 2017 shows that Mr. Pruitt and his chief of staff were scheduled to meet with company executives at the request of a Williams & Jensen lobbyist.

Brian Alford, a spokesman for Oklahoma Gas, said the company had received no favors from Mr. Pruitt. “By no means has O.G.E. benefited from any living arrangements for Administrator Pruitt,” he said in a statement. “In fact, Administrator Pruitt did not attend the mentioned meeting.”

Concho, a 2017 lobbying disclosure report shows, hired Williams & Jensen to help it handle matters including “EPA regulatory proposals re: oil and gas operations.” The company’s regulatory filings indicate its concerns included the regulation of methane emissions (a major factor in climate change) from drilling and production operations, as well as rules intended to protect drinking water supplies. Mr. Pruitt has considered revisions in both regulatory areas.

In the Enbridge case, the E.P.A. was asked to evaluate the potential environmental effect of the pipeline expansion application, as well as the quality of a preliminary review of the project that the State Department had already conducted. When the pipeline opened in 2010, it was permitted to carry only as much as 500,000 barrels of oil a day. The expansion would allow it to move an additional 390,000 barrels through a key three-mile section near the Canadian border.

Michael Barnes, a spokesman for Enbridge, said the project deserved to be approved, noting the “vital service that this existing pipeline provides in delivering secure and reliable supplies of North American crude oil to the United States.”

The oil it carries comes from the so-called Canadian tar sands, like the oil for the proposed extension of the Keystone XL pipeline. Extraction from tar sands has drawn opposition from environmentalists, given that the process requires more energy than traditional drilling.

Pipelines, like this one, that cross an international border into the United States require a presidential permit, which is issued only after the State Department has conducted a detailed environmental review and has taken input from other federal agencies, including the E.P.A.

In this case, the pipeline expansion was further complicated by the fact that a related Enbridge pipeline involved in oil imports from Canada spilled nearly 1 million gallons of oil in Marshall, Mich., in July 2010 after tape intended to prevent corrosion on the pipeline failed. Investigators later found that employees allowed the oil to continue to flow after wrongly assuming that the alarms sounding were caused by a harmless vapor bubble.

Enbridge has argued it has learned from that accident and taken corrective measures to prevent it from happening again. The settlement with the E.P.A. also requires the company to spend at least $110 million to install advanced leak detection and monitoring measures to prevent spills.

In March 2017, while Mr. Pruitt’s lease at the Washington condo was in effect, the E.P.A. issued a letter giving the pipeline project the second-best rating it offers out of 10 possible scores. The agency concluded that while the project raised “environmental concerns,” the review had adequately examined the alternatives and determined that “no further analysis or data collection is necessary.”

If the E.P.A. had wanted to more aggressively challenge the project, the agency could have rated it as “environmental objections” or “environmentally unsatisfactory.”

The conclusion stands in contrast to a similar evaluation by the agency in 2013 of the Keystone XL pipeline project. That evaluation focused more on the effect that the flow of tar-sands oil could have on the goal of limiting global climate change and gave the project an “environmental objections” rating.

With the sign-off by the E.P.A. and the State Department, Enbridge received the expansion permit it needed in October, five years after it first applied for permission. Additional pumping stations have already been built, meaning the pipeline expansion project is already completed, the company said.

Mr. Pruitt is separately the focus of an investigation by the E.P.A. inspector general, Arthur A. Elkins Jr., based on Mr. Pruitt’s travel in early 2017 back to his home state of Oklahoma on government-funded flights, as well as his use of first-class tickets for flights and, at times, costly chartered planes.

Discussions have already started on Capitol Hill about asking the E.P.A. inspector general to expand his inquiry to include the condo deal. Late Monday, three House Democrats who serve on the committee with oversight of the E.P.A. sent a letter to Mr. Pruitt asking a series of questions about the condo lease, which was first reported by ABC News.

“As administrator you have taken a number of actions to benefit industries regulated by E.P.A.,” the letter said. “And this news raises the possibility that you may have personally benefited from your relationship with industry.”

Continue reading the main story

Pruitt Had a $50-a-Day Condo Linked to Lobbyists. Their Client’s Project Got Approved.


The March 2017 action by the E.P.A. on the pipeline project — in the form of a letter telling the State Department that the E.P.A. had no serious environmental objections — meant that the project, an expansion of the Alberta Clipper line, had cleared a significant hurdle. The expansion, a project of Enbridge Inc., a Calgary-based energy company, would allow hundreds of thousands more barrels of oil a day to flow through this pipeline to the United States from Canadian tar sands.

The sign-off by the E.P.A. came even though the agency, at the end of the Obama administration, had moved to fine Enbridge $61 million in connection with a 2010 pipeline episode that sent hundreds of thousands of gallons of crude oil into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan and other waterways. The fine was the second-largest in the history of the Clean Water Act, behind the penalty imposed after the Deepwater Horizon spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

A spokesman for Williams & Jennings said that the lobbying firm did not intervene with the E.P.A. or Mr. Pruitt on the Enbridge pipeline expansion either before or after Mr. Pruitt was living in the condo owned in part by Vicki Hart, the wife of J. Steven Hart, the chairman of the firm.

The lobbying firm also said it had not worked on similar regulatory issues for Enbridge in the past year, even though it was registered at the time as lobbying for the company on “issues affecting pipelines and construction of new pipelines,” its disclosure report from early 2017 says.

Cynthia Giles, who served at the E.P.A. as an enforcement official in the agency’s mid-Atlantic region in the 1990s before becoming an assistant administrator at the agency in the Obama administration, said Mr. Pruitt’s housing arrangements raised questions about the fairness of the E.P.A.’s decision-making process.

“The people at the E.P.A. are charged with following the science and facts as it applies to individual decisions,” she said. Appearing to accept favors from influential figures “is just not good judgment.”

Ms. Bowman said the criticism was unjustified, saying that Mr. Pruitt paid what one E.P.A. official called a “market value” rent. However, an examination of Capitol Hill rentals suggests that rates typically are considerably higher and generally do not come with a provision, as Mr. Pruitt’s did, that the renter can pay for only the nights stayed at the condo.

The E.P.A.’s review of the Alberta Clipper project was one of at least a half dozen regulatory matters before the E.P.A. related to clients who were represented by Williams & Jensen at the time that Mr. Pruitt was living part-time in the Capitol Hill condo.

Williams & Jensen, for example, was lobbying the E.P.A. early last year, according to its disclosure reports, on behalf of both Oklahoma Gas and Electric, a major coal-burning utility, and Concho Resources, a Texas-based oil and gas drilling company.

Photo

Scott Pruitt, the E.P.A. head, was renting a condominium linked to Enbridge’s lobbying firm.

Credit
Tom Brenner/The New York Times

The work for Oklahoma Gas involved the effort to repeal or revise the landmark Obama-era rule that pushed states to move away from coal in favor of sources of electricity that produce fewer carbon emissions. An E.P.A. calendar in March 2017 shows that Mr. Pruitt and his chief of staff were scheduled to meet with company executives at the request of a Williams & Jensen lobbyist.

Brian Alford, a spokesman for Oklahoma Gas, said the company had received no favors from Mr. Pruitt. “By no means has O.G.E. benefited from any living arrangements for Administrator Pruitt,” he said in a statement. “In fact, Administrator Pruitt did not attend the mentioned meeting.”

Concho, a 2017 lobbying disclosure report shows, hired Williams & Jensen to help it handle matters including “EPA regulatory proposals re: oil and gas operations.” The company’s regulatory filings indicate its concerns included the regulation of methane emissions (a major factor in climate change) from drilling and production operations, as well as rules intended to protect drinking water supplies. Mr. Pruitt has considered revisions in both regulatory areas.

In the Enbridge case, the E.P.A. was asked to evaluate the potential environmental effect of the pipeline expansion application, as well as the quality of a preliminary review of the project that the State Department had already conducted. When the pipeline opened in 2010, it was permitted to carry only as much as 500,000 barrels of oil a day. The expansion would allow it to move an additional 390,000 barrels through a key three-mile section near the Canadian border.

Michael Barnes, a spokesman for Enbridge, said the project deserved to be approved, noting the “vital service that this existing pipeline provides in delivering secure and reliable supplies of North American crude oil to the United States.”

The oil it carries comes from the so-called Canadian tar sands, like the oil for the proposed extension of the Keystone XL pipeline. Extraction from tar sands has drawn opposition from environmentalists, given that the process requires more energy than traditional drilling.

Pipelines, like this one, that cross an international border into the United States require a presidential permit, which is issued only after the State Department has conducted a detailed environmental review and has taken input from other federal agencies, including the E.P.A.

In this case, the pipeline expansion was further complicated by the fact that a related Enbridge pipeline involved in oil imports from Canada spilled nearly 1 million gallons of oil in Marshall, Mich., in July 2010 after tape intended to prevent corrosion on the pipeline failed. Investigators later found that employees allowed the oil to continue to flow after wrongly assuming that the alarms sounding were caused by a harmless vapor bubble.

Enbridge has argued it has learned from that accident and taken corrective measures to prevent it from happening again. The settlement with the E.P.A. also requires the company to spend at least $110 million to install advanced leak detection and monitoring measures to prevent spills.

In March 2017, while Mr. Pruitt’s lease at the Washington condo was in effect, the E.P.A. issued a letter giving the pipeline project the second-best rating it offers out of 10 possible scores. The agency concluded that while the project raised “environmental concerns,” the review had adequately examined the alternatives and determined that “no further analysis or data collection is necessary.”

If the E.P.A. had wanted to more aggressively challenge the project, the agency could have rated it as “environmental objections” or “environmentally unsatisfactory.”

The conclusion stands in contrast to a similar evaluation by the agency in 2013 of the Keystone XL pipeline project. That evaluation focused more on the effect that the flow of tar-sands oil could have on the goal of limiting global climate change and gave the project an “environmental objections” rating.

With the sign-off by the E.P.A. and the State Department, Enbridge received the expansion permit it needed in October, five years after it first applied for permission. Additional pumping stations have already been built, meaning the pipeline expansion project is already completed, the company said.

Mr. Pruitt is separately the focus of an investigation by the E.P.A. inspector general, Arthur A. Elkins Jr., based on Mr. Pruitt’s travel in early 2017 back to his home state of Oklahoma on government-funded flights, as well as his use of first-class tickets for flights and, at times, costly chartered planes.

Discussions have already started on Capitol Hill about asking the E.P.A. inspector general to expand his inquiry to include the condo deal. Late Monday, three House Democrats who serve on the committee with oversight of the E.P.A. sent a letter to Mr. Pruitt asking a series of questions about the condo lease, which was first reported by ABC News.

“As administrator you have taken a number of actions to benefit industries regulated by E.P.A.,” the letter said. “And this news raises the possibility that you may have personally benefited from your relationship with industry.”

Continue reading the main story

Peter Munk, 90, Dies; Built World’s Biggest Gold Mining Company


And it made Mr. Munk immensely wealthy, though there are few good estimates of his fortune. He controlled Barrick without holding most of its shares. In 2013, it was estimated that he owned only 0.2 percent of its stock.

But Mr. Munk led the life of an international billionaire. He had three homes in Ontario and houses in Paris and Switzerland, where he remained a keen skier late in life, and took to the sea in a 140-foot-long yacht, the Golden Eagle.

His associates included Prince Charles; fellow billionaires like Bernard Arnault, the chairman and chief executive of the French luxury goods maker LVMH; and Brian Mulroney, the former Conservative prime minister of Canada.

Photo

Mr. Munk in 2014. He attributed his success at Barrick to his lack of a mining background.

Credit
Mark Blinch/Reuters

As Barrick expanded globally, Mr. Munk often dealt with governments with widely condemned human-rights records. He devoted part of Barrick’s annual meeting in 1996 to praising the economic program of Gen. Augusto Pinochet, the former military dictator in Chile, although Mr. Munk subsequently condemned General Pinochet’s human rights abuses in a letter to the newspaper The Globe and Mail.

An electrical engineer by training, Mr. Munk often attributed his success at Barrick to his lack of a mining background. That meant, he said, that he made decisions about his company almost entirely from a financial perspective, introducing measures that offset the inevitable financial risks of mining.

“For 100 years it was assumed that a successful mining company had to be run by miners,” he told The Economist in 2014. “What I did know was how to run a business. The investor doesn’t give a damn about what you know about mining. They want results.”

For all of Barrick’s later success, it was his stereo equipment company, Clairtone — Mr. Munk’s first big venture and his greatest humiliation — that most shaped his approach to business.

“Clairtone was the single-most formative experience in my life, because it was so traumatic,” he told The New York Times in 1993.

He set off to manufacture stereo equipment in 1959 with David Gilmour, a friend, and the help of 2,800 Canadian dollars from the father of Mr. Munk’s first wife, the former Linda Gutterson. The audio gear became popular internationally as much for its futuristic design as for its sound. Clairtone stereos appeared in films starring Frank Sinatra and Sean Connery.

The company’s success led to a move from Toronto to a large manufacturing plant in Nova Scotia, drawn in part by the province’s offer of 7 million Canadian dollars in assistance. Overwhelmed by a variety of problems, however, including an unsuccessful move into television and poor management of the company’s growth, the founders were ousted in 1968. Clairtone collapsed six years later.

Mr. Munk was born into a Jewish family in Budapest on Nov. 8, 1927. When the Nazis occupied Hungary in 1944, Mr. Munk’s grandfather Gabriel, a chocolate distributor and real estate investor, used most of the family fortune to secure train passage to Switzerland for 14 family members, including Mr. Munk and his father, Lajos.

The trip was organized by the Hungarian journalist Rezso Kasztner, who was credited with saving thousands of Hungarian Jews by shepherding them to Switzerland.

Photo

Mr. Munk, wearing his signature fedora, arriving with his wife, Melanie Munk, at Barrick’s shareholders meeting in 2014.

Credit
Mark Blinch/Reuters

By then Mr. Munk’s parents had long been divorced, and his mother, the former Katharina Adler, did not join the group. She was later sent to Auschwitz but survived.

By some accounts, his mother is credited with suggesting that Mr. Munk join an uncle in Canada. At 20, he left Switzerland for Toronto on a student visa to study at the University of Toronto. The odd jobs that financed his studies included selling Christmas trees.

“When he landed in Canada, he was stunned by what he viewed as a relatively pleasant atmosphere,” said Anna Porter, a friend, former publisher and author of a book about Kasztner and his wartime rescue missions.

Throughout his business career, Mr. Munk publicly bemoaned the sale of Canadian corporations to foreign investors. “He chose to see himself as a nationalist,” Ms. Porter said.

His first marriage ended in divorce. He is survived by his wife, the former Melanie Jane Bosanquet, whom he married in 1973; five children, Anthony, Nina, Marc-David and Natalie Munk and Cheyne Munk Beys; and 14 grandchildren.

In addition to Barrick, Mr. Munk controlled Trizec Properties, whose holdings included the Watergate complex in Washington until 2006. Mr. Munk retired from Barrick in 2014, but he continued to insist in interviews that he had never stopped working.

As a philanthropist, Mr. Munk donated about 300 million Canadian dollars (about $232 million in American money today) to a variety of medical and academic centers. He also devoted much of his time to turning a former naval base in Montenegro into a superyacht marina.

When he sold the marina in 2016, Mr. Munk told The Globe and Mail that when he first arrived in Montenegro, appearing to many as a Canadian interloper, he was greeted with more than suspicion.

“I was threatened physically,” he said. “They spat on my taxi.” But he won the Montenegrins over, he said. “Today they love what we’ve done,” he said.

Correction: March 30, 2018

A headline with an earlier version of this obituary misstated Mr. Munk’s age at his death. He was 90, not 92.

Correction: April 1, 2018

An earlier version of this obituary misspelled the name of a company controlled by Mr. Munk. It is Trizec Properties, not Trizac.

Continue reading the main story

Peter Munk, 92, Dies; Built World’s Biggest Gold Mining Company


And it made Mr. Munk immensely wealthy, though there are few good estimates of his fortune. He controlled Barrick without holding most of its shares. In 2013, it was estimated that he owned only 0.2 percent of its stock.

But Mr. Munk led the life of an international billionaire. He had three homes in Ontario and houses in Paris and Switzerland, where he remained a keen skier late in life, and took to the sea in a 140-foot-long yacht, the Golden Eagle.

His associates included Prince Charles; fellow billionaires like Bernard Arnault, the chairman and chief executive of the French luxury goods maker LVMH; and Brian Mulroney, the former Conservative prime minister of Canada.

Photo

Mr. Munk in 2014. He attributed his success at Barrick to his lack of a mining background.

Credit
Mark Blinch/Reuters

As Barrick expanded globally, Mr. Munk often dealt with governments with widely condemned human-rights records. He devoted part of Barrick’s annual meeting in 1996 to praising the economic program of Gen. Augusto Pinochet, the former military dictator in Chile, although Mr. Munk subsequently condemned General Pinochet’s human rights abuses in a letter to the newspaper The Globe and Mail.

An electrical engineer by training, Mr. Munk often attributed his success at Barrick to his lack of a mining background. That meant, he said, that he made decisions about his company almost entirely from a financial perspective, introducing measures that offset the inevitable financial risks of mining.

“For 100 years it was assumed that a successful mining company had to be run by miners,” he told The Economist in 2014. “What I did know was how to run a business. The investor doesn’t give a damn about what you know about mining. They want results.”

For all of Barrick’s later success, it was his stereo equipment company, Clairtone — Mr. Munk’s first big venture and his greatest humiliation — that most shaped his approach to business.

“Clairtone was the single-most formative experience in my life, because it was so traumatic,” he told The New York Times in 1993.

He set off to manufacture stereo equipment in 1959 with David Gilmour, a friend, and the help of 2,800 Canadian dollars from the father of Mr. Munk’s first wife, the former Linda Gutterson. The audio gear became popular internationally as much for its futuristic design as for its sound. Clairtone stereos appeared in films starring Frank Sinatra and Sean Connery.

The company’s success led to a move from Toronto to a large manufacturing plant in Nova Scotia, drawn in part by the province’s offer of 7 million Canadian dollars in assistance. Overwhelmed by a variety of problems, however, including an unsuccessful move into television and poor management of the company’s growth, the founders were ousted in 1968. Clairtone collapsed six years later.

Mr. Munk was born into a Jewish family in Budapest on Nov. 8, 1927. When the Nazis occupied Hungary in 1944, Mr. Munk’s grandfather Gabriel, a chocolate distributor and real estate investor, used most of the family fortune to secure train passage to Switzerland for 14 family members, including Mr. Munk and his father, Lajos.

The trip was organized by the Hungarian journalist Rezso Kasztner, who was credited with saving thousands of Hungarian Jews by shepherding them to Switzerland.

Photo

Mr. Munk, wearing his signature fedora, arriving with his wife, Melanie Munk, at Barrick’s shareholders meeting in 2014.

Credit
Mark Blinch/Reuters

By then Mr. Munk’s parents had long been divorced, and his mother, the former Katharina Adler, did not join the group. She was later sent to Auschwitz but survived.

By some accounts, his mother is credited with suggesting that Mr. Munk join an uncle in Canada. At 20, he left Switzerland for Toronto on a student visa to study at the University of Toronto. The odd jobs that financed his studies included selling Christmas trees.

“When he landed in Canada, he was stunned by what he viewed as a relatively pleasant atmosphere,” said Anna Porter, a friend, former publisher and author of a book about Kasztner and his wartime rescue missions.

Throughout his business career, Mr. Munk publicly bemoaned the sale of Canadian corporations to foreign investors. “He chose to see himself as a nationalist,” Ms. Porter said.

His first marriage ended in divorce. He is survived by his wife, the former Melanie Jane Bosanquet, whom he married in 1973; five children, Anthony, Nina, Marc-David and Natalie Munk and Cheyne Munk Beys; and 14 grandchildren.

In addition to Barrick, Mr. Munk controlled Trizac Properties, whose holdings included the Watergate complex in Washington until 2006. Mr. Munk retired from Barrick in 2014, but he continued to insist in interviews that he had never stopped working.

As a philanthropist, Mr. Munk donated about 300 million Canadian dollars (about $232 million in American money today) to a variety of medical and academic centers. He also devoted much of his time to turning a former naval base in Montenegro into a superyacht marina.

When he sold the marina in 2016, Mr. Munk told The Globe and Mail that when he first arrived in Montenegro, appearing to many as a Canadian interloper, he was greeted with more than suspicion.

“I was threatened physically,” he said. “They spat on my taxi.” But he won the Montenegrins over, he said. “Today they love what we’ve done,” he said.

Continue reading the main story

Quebec Road Trip: Humans of Quebec: Portraits of Those I Met on My Road Trip


Overlooking the frozen Saint Lawrence River, the hotel has been a fixture of the city stretching back to 1893. It has been the setting of a Hitchcock film (“I Confess”), was host to Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt during World War II and, three weeks ago, was hostto Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Richard, whose father-in-law also worked at the hotel, was a talented hockey player before he traded in his hockey stick for a doorman’s cap. “I hear and see everything but hear and see nothing,” he said with a mischievous smile.

Richard said the strangest request he had ever received was from a New Yorker, who asked him to rent a tow truck to take his car around town during a snowstorm. He didn’t want its tires to touch snow. “Then he drove back to New York.”

Quebecers, he added, are a hospitable bunch. “I am not sure about Paris or New York, but if you fall on the floor here, a Quebecer will come pick you up.”

Join the conversation on Instagram here.

Jbcbrooklyn: Let him know that we New Yorkers will pick him up off the floor if he visits.

Photo

Mohamed Labidi is the director of the Islamic Cultural Center of Quebec City.

Credit
Jasmin Lavoie for The New York Times

Mohamed Labidi, 60

Director of the Islamic Cultural Center of Quebec City

In Quebec City, the windows of the main mosque are still pocked with bullet holes. This week I met there with Mohamed Labidi, the director of the mosque where six people were killed by a Quebecois shooter more than a year ago.

Speaking after prayers at the mosque, where dozens of worshipers from North Africa, Africa and the Middle East knelt on the floor, Mohamed said many Muslims were still reeling from the attack. He said it had deeply shocked him and underlined some growing fissures in Quebec society.

Last year Mohamed’s car was lit on fire in front of his home after he sought to build a cemetery for the Muslim community. But he says he is undeterred.

“The situation for us has gotten worse over the past decade,” he said. “It has taken blood to flow for us to build bridges again.”

Join the conversation on Facebook here.

Ahmed Salihbegović: Blessed are the peacemakers (and bridge-builders) of any & every extraction and background.

Photo

I enjoyed a lively, coffee-fueled chat with Louise Penny, the best-selling detective novelist.

Credit
Jasmin Lavoie for The New York Times

Louise Penny, 59

Detective novelist, Knowlton, Eastern Townships

Dozens of readers urged me to meet Louise Penny, the best-selling detective novelist and an Anglophone who conjures up French-speaking Québécois characters. Her police detective, Armand Gamache, has become to Quebec what Hercule Poirot is to Belgium.

So it was that I found myself having a lively coffee-fueled chat with Louise in the snow-covered town of Knowlton, in the Eastern Townships. Sleepy, bucolic Knowlton inspired the fictional Three Pines of her novels, where her likeable and inquisitive Chief Inspector Armand Gamache excavates the town’s dark secrets. After 13 books in the series, Louise noted wryly that Three Pines had struggled to “sustain the murder count.”

Louise’s novels were translated into 23 languages before they were finally translated into Quebec French in 2010, partly reflecting the cultural divide in the province.

“My books are love letters to Quebec — the language of my characters is French and I wanted my characters to live in that language,” Louise said. “The translation meant so much to me because I wanted my friends and neighbors to be able to read them.”

Join the conversation on Instagram here.

Revirgriver: Love her! She came to my store last year for an event. A total joy.

Photo

Cezin Nottaway, an Algonquin chef who runs a catering business, smokes moose meat using a method she learned from her grandmothers.

Credit
Jasmin Lavoie for The New York Times

Cezin Nottaway, 38

Chef, Kitigan Zibi reserve, near Maniwaki

Cezin Nottaway learned how to kill and skin a beaver at age 5. She is as at home in the forest as she is running her catering company. She is part of a rising generation of Indigenous cooks and scholars trying to preserve and spread the food culture of their ancestors.

Speaking on her Algonquin reserve of Kitigan Zibi, near Maniwaki, Quebec, Cezin told me she had been shaken to the core by the recent case of Colten Boushie, a young Cree man shot dead by a white farmer in Saskatchewan who was found not guilty of murder.

“I had thought we were making progress, but the verdict made me sad and angry,” she told me. “I’ve warned my son never to trespass anywhere, I’ve told my daughter never to be vulnerable. There is no justice for Indigenous people in Canada.”

In a community plagued by drugs and alcohol, Cezin and her husband, Wesley, are notable success stories. Wesley was a drug dealer who will soon prescribe medicine as a doctor when he finishes McGill Medical School.

How did he transform his life? Cezin explains. “I told him: ‘Enough is enough! What do you choose, drugs or your family?’”

Many young people I spoke to here credited strong women — mothers, wives, grandmothers — for changing their lives.

Wesley jokes that not listening to Cezin wasn’t really an option.

Join the conversation on Instagram here.

Cezinnottaway Thanks again for stopping by! Safe travels les boys!

Photo

Isaac Tremblay is the founder of one of Quebec’s most successful microbreweries, Le Trou du Diable (The Devil’s Hole).

Credit
Jasmin Lavoie for The New York Times

Isaac Tremblay, 42

Microbrewer and founder of Le Trou du Diable (The Devil’s Hole), Shawinigan

By Day 5 of my road trip, it was time for a beer break. And so I made my way to Shawinigan, in central Quebec, at the red-neon-lit brewery of Le Trou du Diable (The Devil’s Hole), with Isaac Tremblay, the laid-back founder of one of Quebec’s most successful microbreweries.

Isaac, a former film technician on movie sets, first conceived of the idea for the brewery at age 25 with a group of friends from Shawinigan. He named it after a mythical bottomless caldron at the base of Shawinigan waterfall that leads straight to hell (he wrote his business plan on set during breaks). Isaac likes to draw, and his beer labels feature intricate narratives and psychedelic colors.

Many readers urged me to visit a microbrewery because beer is such a part of Quebec’s social fabric. Quebec’s first brewery, the Brasserie du Roi, was established in 1668 by Jean Talon, the chief administrator after the French colonized Quebec. Today, there are roughly 150 microbreweries in the province, reflecting an appetite for local producers, and artisanal beer.

Over a dinner of beef tartare and a citrus and coriander-infused pint of Blanche de Shawi beer, Isaac noted that, in this former pulp and paper industrial region, the “taverne” has long been a place that marked the end of a factory shift, a place for beer-fueled political banter and letting loose. “Quebec is a melting pot of France, Britain and Irish immigration, and drinking beer is part of its bon vivant spirit,” he said.

Join the conversation on Instagram here.

Jf_dugas: But not a microbrewery anymore… Big Beer Molson-Coors bought them a few months ago which created a shock wave in the microbrew world. Un débat très polarisant dans le Québec brassicole. (Translation: A very polarizing debate in the Quebec brewery world.)

Photo

Shady Hafez, the son of an Algonquin mother and a Syrian Muslim immigrant father, wants Canada to give Indigenous people back their stolen land so they can finance their own institutions.

Credit
Jasmin Lavoie for The New York Times

Shady Hafez, 26

Activist, Kitigan Zibi reserve, near Maniwaki

Shady Hafez is the son of an Algonquin mother and a Syrian Muslim immigrant father. He grew up between Ottawa and Kitigan Zibi.

After completing an undergraduate degree in law and Canadian studies, he is completing a master’s in Indigenous governance so that he can serve his community. His demand? That Canada give Indigenous people back their stolen land so they can finance their own institutions.

Thank you for your submission.

“If you move people off their land and oppress them,” he said, “don’t be surprised when they develop drinking problems.”

To unwind, he sings and dances and is learning how to hunt. Asked the secret of his success, he credited his strict Muslim paternal grandparents.

Join the conversation on Instagram here.

Jeanb51: Je suis Québécois depuis 66 ans, et chaque jour j’apprends quelque chose de nouveau sur mon pays dans votre chronique. Merci de ce regard rafraîchissant. (Translation: I have been a Quebecer for 66 years, and every day I learn something new about my country from your dispatches. Thank you for this fresh outlook.)

Photo

Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois is a proud left-winger and proponent of Quebec’s independence from Canada. He got his start in politics as one of the leaders of the 2012 “Maple Spring” student protests.

Credit
Jasmin Lavoie for The New York Times

Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois, 27

Politician, Montreal

Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois is a proud left-winger, who compares his politics to that of Bernie Sanders, Jeremy Corbyn or Jean-Luc Mélenchon. He was one of the leaders of the 2012 “Maple Spring,” the huge student protests against an increase in university tuition fees that galvanized a generation of young Quebecois. He is also unrepentant about Quebec pursuing its national sovereignty.

“Quebec needs to change the rules of the game, and that is not possible when Canada is based on a system in which Queen Elizabeth is the head of state and the constitutional system is centuries old,” he told me over a coffee in Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie, a gentrifying working-class neighborhood. It is part of the district he represents in the province’s National Assembly as one of three members from his left-wing party, Quebec Solidaire.

While he acknowledged that the separatist movement was “not at its peak,” he stressed that about 30 percent of Quebecois supported an independent Quebec, according to recent polls.

Join the conversation on Instagram here.

Onawaytrepanier: So much I admire about their platform. But their aim is Québec independence and I just can’t go there.

Photo

Phyllis Lambert is one of Montreal’s most important conservationists.

Credit
Jasmin Lavoie for The New York Times

Phyllis Lambert, 91

Philanthropist, architect, sculptor, innovator and civic leader, Montreal

In 1954, 27-year-old Phyllis Lambert wrote an eight-page, single-spaced letter to her father, Samuel Bronfman, head of the Seagram distillery empire. Her father planned to build a new headquarters in New York, and the banality of the proposed building filled her with dread.

“Dearest Daddy,” the letter began. “No, No, No, No, No,” she wrote, outlining with a mixture of passion and analytical verve why her father had a civic responsibility to build a memorable building that would change the world. The result — the towering Seagram Building on New York’s Park Avenue — transformed 20th-century architecture.

Phyllis took charge of its construction, choosing the modernist Ludwig Mies van der Rohe as its architect. Among its innovations, Phyllis noted, the building had a 90-foot-deep marble and granite plaza, breaking up the city’s plodding uniformity.

“It changed New York,” she told me over tea in her kitchen in a triplex in Old Montreal with a dramatic skylight, an interior elevator and playful modern Canadian art.

Phyllis has brought that same determination to her native Montreal. She is the city’s most important conservationist, even if that has meant opposing projects financed by her own family. Among her crowning achievements, she helped found Heritage Montreal and founded the Canadian Center for Architecture, a pioneering global center for architecture. Acutely intelligent with an easy sense of humor, she shows little signs of slowing down and recently curated an exhibition about Montreal’s historic greystones.

“I never wanted to be bored,” she said.

Join the conversation on Facebook here.

Janna Levitt: Phyllis is a national treasure.

Continue reading the main story