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Hard Numbers: UNESCO rescues Canadian rock, Victoria taxes Airbnb for housing, US pays a price for Canada’s new pipeline, Ottawa runs risk with new tech tax

Rock on the newest UNESCO site Anticosti Island

Rock on the newest UNESCO site Anticosti Island

440 million: Quebec’s Anticosti Island – where fossils provide a record of the world’s first mass extinction 440 million years ago – was officially named a UNESCO World Heritage site. The designation of the rocky island in the Gulf of St Lawrence is a win for locals who have fought to protect it from oil and gas extraction.

2.5 million: Faced with high rents, scarce affordable housing, and a lot of Airnbs, the city of Victoria is trying a new approach: the city council has voted to allocate $2.5 million worth of revenue raised from taxes on short-term rentals to build a new affordable housing building that will prioritize hospitality workers.

2: Canada’s long-delayed Trans Mountain oil pipeline extension is set to open early next year. By increasing the volume of oil shipped from Alberta oil fields to refiners and exporters on the Canadian Pacific coast, the line will divert crude that is currently sent south to U.S refineries. That will increase oil prices in the US by as much as $2 per barrel – bad news for the Biden Administration, which is hoping to keep gas prices as low as possible ahead of the 2024 election.

41: A group of 41 members of the US House of Representatives sent a frisky letter to Ottawa this week, warning the Canadian government not to impose a new tax on digital services. Nearly 140 other countries recently agreed to delay imposing their own digital services taxes as part of a broader international compromise, but Canada says it’s ready to move ahead on its own next year. The letter from the US, which is home to many of the world’s leading tech companies, blasts the measure as “aggressive and discriminatory” and says it will damage US-Canada relations.


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