Crosscountry: Canada at a glance — September 2015

The Panama Canal expansion could bring more traffic to BC ports. Plus, Russia files a bid for 1.2 million square kilometres of Arctic sea shelf.


In ship shape

The US$17 billion Panama canal expansion, which should be completed in 2016, will not only double the capacity of the Central American passageway; it could also bring a boost to the British Columbia economy, reports Business in Vancouver.

Ships leaving China and heading for the Panama Canal usually stop at ports along the west coast of North America, says Paul McGavin, president of Equinox Marine and a Vancouver-based shipping expert. As a result, extra traffic through the Panama waterway should also bring extra traffic to BC ports.

The fact that the Port of Prince Rupert is being expanded, while California ports remain deeply congested, also adds to BC’s appeal.

Arctic sea shelf


Ice folly?

Recent territorial demands by Russia concerning the Arctic could put Canada in a tight spot, reports Le Devoir, citing Canadian defence expert Ron Huebert of the University of Calgary.

In early August, Russia’s foreign ministry filed a bid with the United Nations for 1.2 million square kilometres of Arctic sea shelf. If considered legitimate, the claim would give Russia access to 13% of the world’s unexploited oil reserves and 30% of its unexploited natural gas reserves, according to a US study.

The UN bid is not Russia’s only initiative in the Arctic. An increasing number of large military manoeuvres are being conducted in the region and the federation’s naval doctrine was amended in July to strengthen its Northern Fleet.


The sounds of silence

Nothing like a concert in the park to give that extra lilt to a summer’s eve. But what about an event that bills itself as the Quietest. Concert. Ever?

For its second edition, the free quiet concert took place at the end of August at low tide in Fundy National Park with Juno Award-winning artist Serena Ryder.

For onlookers, quiet concerts might seem a bit odd, because there is no sound, yet musicians can be seen performing on stage, while audience members move to their own rhythm. The secret? Each spectator has headphones, supplied by Sennheiser, that allow them to hear the music exactly as the musicians intend it to sound. So there is not a bad seat in the house and neighbours can’t complain about the noise, reports the CBC.

The sound of silence


Canada LEEDs the way

Canada has earned the No. 1 spot on the US Green Building Council’s Top 10 Countries for LEED, the world’s most widely used green building rating system.

With more than 4,814 LEED-registered and LEED-certified projects, Canada is the largest user of the rating system outside the US. It ranks far ahead of China and India, which come next on the list.

It’s important to note, however, that the list does not include our neighbour. If included, the US would crush the competition with 53,908 LEED-certified and registered projects.