N.B. Government: Cross-Border Beer Battle Could Change Canadian Federalism

New Brunswick is asking the Supreme Court of Canada (pictured) to rule that the provincial Liquor Control Act does not violate the Constitution Act.

FREDERICTON — The New Brunswick government says a battle over cross-border beer sales threatens to end Canadian federalism as it was originally conceived.

In its arguments submitted to the Supreme Court of Canada, the province says allowing a New Brunswick man to purchase alcohol in a Quebec border town could ultimately “redesign Canadian federalism.”

Gerard Comeau was charged with possessing liquor not purchased from the New Brunswick Liquor Corporation and fined $292.50 after police stopped him on his way home from Quebec with 14 cases of beer and three bottles of liquor in his trunk.

He took the case to court and a New Brunswick trial judge ruled that the charge violated constitutional law, overturning a ban on bringing alcohol across provincial boundaries.

The New Brunswick Court of Appeal declined to hear the Crown’s appeal but the country’s highest court agreed to hear the potentially landmark case on what the fathers of Confederation really meant by a constitutional clause about free trade among provinces.

The province is asking the top court to rule that the provincial Liquor Control Act does not violate the Constitution Act.

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Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2017/08/21/n-b-government-cross-border-beer-battle-could-change-canadian-federalism_a_23156108/

Chef Bryan Caswell’s newest restaurant to open next week

Chef Bryan Caswell has announced when his newest concept will debut.

Oxbow 7 will open Aug. 29, according to CultureMap. The restaurant is located inside the renovated Le Meridien Houston Downtown hotel at 1121 Walker St. The hotel will also open on that date and is accepting reservations for stays on or after Sept. 12, according to its website.

The chef has said that this concept is “incredibly personal” and different from his award-winning seafood eatery, Reef, which was slated to undergo…

Source: http://feeds.bizjournals.com/~r/bizj_houston/~3/izLKya4DehM/chef-bryan-caswells-newest-restaurant-to-open-next.html

C-suite exec leaves Francesca’s after less than 2 years

Francesca’s Holdings Corp. (Nasdaq: FRAN) announced Aug. 21 that Laurie Hummel, executive vice president and chief merchandising officer, has left the company after less than two years.

The Houston-based specialty retailer did not disclose the reason for Hummel’s departure, but the company has already begun a search for a new chief merchant, according to a press release.

“We have a lot of talent in our merchandising team and are confident in their ability to execute our strategy as we search…

Source: http://feeds.bizjournals.com/~r/bizj_houston/~3/t4WNAqT4nbc/c-suite-exec-leaves-francescas-after-less-than-2.html

New York bank opens first Houston wealth management office

The Bank of New York Mellon Corp. (NYSE: BK) has opened its first Houston wealth management office.

Thomas Cademartori has been named regional managing director for the Houston office of BNY Mellon Wealth Management at 2229 San Felipe St. He’ll lead the Houston office along with Texas Regional President Todd Carlton, who’s based in Dallas.

Most recently, Cademartori was vice president in BNY Mellon Wealth Management’s Dallas office. He has nearly 20 years of wealth management experience and…

Source: https://www.bizjournals.com/houston/news/2017/08/21/new-york-bank-opens-first-houston-wealth.html?ana=RSS%26s=article_search

NAFTA Talks: First Round Concludes With ‘Great Deal’ Of Negotiations Still Needed

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland talks to the media after day one of the NAFTA talks in Washington, D.C., on Aug. 16, 2017.

WASHINGTON — North American countries concluded their first round of negotiations toward a new continental trade agreement Sunday with a statement that suggested major issues needed to be sorted out in the talks ahead.

A joint statement from the three countries couldn’t even agree what to call this process: A ”modernization,” which implies simple changes and is the preferred term of Canada and Mexico, or ”renegotiation,” the word most often used in the U.S.

The statement used both terms. In a joint communique issued as negotiators left Washington on Sunday afternoon, Canada, Mexico and the U.S. declared: ”(We) launched the renegotiation and modernization.

The next round will be held in Mexico City from Sept. 1-5. The countries will in the meantime consult domestic stakeholders and prepare to table more texts that will form the backbone of a new agreement.

A third round will be held in Canada in late September.

There’s considerable work ahead, the countries acknowledged in their statement: ”While a great deal of effort and negotiation will be required in the coming months, Canada, Mexico and the United States are committed to an accelerated and comprehensive negotiation process.”

Talks to continue at ‘rapid pace’

Veterans of trade negotiations say this is the most ambitious schedule they’ve ever seen.

The countries are aiming to wrap up a trade deal within a few months, before the Mexican election heats up next spring — because otherwise talks could drag out another year, past the U.S. congressional elections, and into 2019.

”Negotiations will continue at this rapid pace,” said the statement.

The initial round was heavy on introductory sessions and schedule-setting. But it also touched substantive issues that revealed possible irritants ahead. Among the two-dozen-plus topics discussed so far were auto-parts rules, cutting edge pharmaceuticals, and labour.

On auto parts, the U.S. surprised its allies on Day 1 by hinting it might favour a Made In America-style content quota. The statement on that from U.S. trade czar Robert Lighthizer was vague and, according to sources, was not followed up by any specific numbers being tabled by the U.S. side in the initial round.

However, the idea was swiftly opposed by Canada, Mexico and the auto industry.

On pharmaceuticals, the U.S. has also proposed a 12-year patent-style protection for cutting-edge biologics medicines, sources say. This is significantly higher than the protections in Canada and Mexico, would drive up prices, and could be an irritant if the U.S. sticks to it.

However, it’s no surprise this was the U.S. opening gambit. It was practically required under U.S. law. The domestic fast-track law that gives the White House the power to conduct trade negotiations demands that harmonizing intellectual property rules to American standards be a U.S. negotiating priority.

A report in Inside U.S. Trade said Canada has also presented demands on labour rights that would force the U.S. to sign all the International Labour Organization conventions. That’s generally been a non-starter for the U.S.

Otherwise, the first round of talks was free of public drama.

We seek a deal in the original spirit of NAFTA.U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence

President Donald Trump didn’t even tweet about it. While forcing these three countries together for a major trade negotiation was the culmination of a key Trump campaign promise, the president didn’t say a word about it, in a week consumed by drama over race relations and a planned announcement on the next U.S. moves in Afghanistan.

The one senior U.S. official to talk about it was Vice-President Mike Pence. As usual, in his comments on trade, as on other issues, Pence sounded more like a traditional Republican than his boss’s America First-touting rhetoric.

”We seek a deal in the original spirit of NAFTA,” Pence told an event in Panama.

”Canada and Mexico agree that NAFTA has significant room for improvement to ensure a level playing field for all. And as I told Prime Minister Trudeau last month, we will work together for a win-win-win outcome.”

Pence also spoke of renegotiating — and modernizing.

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Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2017/08/21/nafta-talks-first-round-concludes-with-great-deal-of-negotiations-still-needed_a_23155812/

5 things to know in Texas energy this week

Several large acquisition deals were announced in Texas’ energy sector recently with several billion dollars in cash, stock and debt binding together giants in the industry. Sempra Energy upset Berkshire Hathoway’s attempt to buy Oncor with a bid of its own, and Total, whose U.S. headquarters is in Houston, has agreed to acquire Maersk Oil. Meanwhile, Nabors is getting ahold of Tesco Corp., while Silver Run Acquisition swept up two companies with operations in Oklahoma. Here are five things to know…

Source: https://www.bizjournals.com/houston/news/2017/08/21/5-things-to-know-in-texas-energy-this-week.html?ana=RSS%26s=article_search

Inner-Loop Mexican restaurants close, hint at new iterations

Two unrelated Mexican restaurants — one in the Heights area and another near Montrose and River Oaks — closed recently.

Tila’s Restaurante closed its location at 1111 Shepherd Drive after 20 years, and Skinny Rita’s Grille at 4002 N. Main St. closed after three years, according to reports.

According to photos posted by Swamplot, signs at Skinny Rita’s say the restaurant is closed — at least for now.

“This location will be rebranding in the next few weeks and will be temporarily closed,”…

Source: https://www.bizjournals.com/houston/news/2017/08/21/inner-loop-mexican-restaurants-close-hint-at-new.html?ana=RSS%26s=article_search