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‘We are cleaned out’: Lumber cost on the rise, Saskatoon business says



Arnold Reimer has worked in the lumber industry for 35 years and says this year has been difficult because supply has diminished and demand is on the rise.

“As a business owner I am working a lot of extra hours to get material, trying to get through this.”

According to Reimer the price of lumber before the pandemic was what he called “steady” because demand was low, however once the pandemic began families were kept at home with many completing renovations.

“It turns out that the pandemic caused a surge in home building and deck building and renovations more than we have ever seen and we are cleaned out of materials,” said Reimer.

Reimer says an eight-foot four-by-eight OSB panel could rise to $27 or $28 from $13 to $15 depending on the location.

“Margins have dropped and we are not terribly profitable at this time and no one could be after such a wild ride,” said Reimer.

Chris Guerrett from the Saskatoon Home Builders Association says if the cost of lumber continues to rise it could also raise prices on homes.

“We are digging into it because the concern is that when you have such a sharp increase in any kind of supply such as a house, that will affect the price and affordability will be eroded,” said Guerrett.

The Forest Products Association of Canada says they are aware of the shortage and are hopeful that the supply will increase in the upcoming weeks however Reimer is not convinced that will happen.

“When you work in a market that is moving up 200 percent in three months we have no way to forecast what to expect,” said Reimer.

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Latest COVID-19 business exposures, as of Oct. 24




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The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) is warning the public of potential exposures to COVID-19 on three Regina Transit bus routes and at several businesses in Regina and Saskatoon.

The alerts issued Saturday mean a person who later tested positive for COVID-19 rode the bus or visited a business while they were likely infectious.


Oct. 10:

Habano’s Martini & Cocktail Club, 2288 Dewdney Ave., from 8 p.m. to 2:30 a.m.

Oct. 15:

Stone’s Throw Café, 1101C Kramer Blvd., from 8:30 to 9 p.m.

Boston Pizza, 10-3795 Chuka Blvd., from 6 to 7 p.m.

Oct. 16:

Regina Transit bus route #10 and route #4, from 1 to 1:45 p.m.

Pennington’s, 2034 Prince of Wales Dr., from 11 to 11:20 a.m.

Brewed Awakening, 3115 Woodhams Dr., from noon to 12:15 p.m.

Home Depot North, 1030 Pasqua St. N, from 3:30 to 7:15 p.m.

Shoppers Drug Mart, 2223 Victoria Ave. E #E4, from 9 to 9:30 p.m.

Oct. 7:

Northland Confectionary Groceries, 479N Broad St., from 4 to 9 p.m.

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Four years in, Trump has plenty of unfinished business




WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump swept into office nearly four years ago as an outsider who promised to get things done quickly on behalf of the American people through sheer force of will and unrivaled knowledge about the art of the deal.

He has checked off some items on his to-do list.

Trump pushed through the most significant overhaul of the U.S. tax system since President Ronald Reagan. Trump, as he said he would, tilted the Supreme Court further to the right with confirmation of two conservative justices and likely a third, Amy Coney Barrett, in the coming days. His promise to get tough on illegal immigration has resulted in a surge in migrant apprehensions at the U.S.-Mexico border.

But Trump has also faced the same hard truth that each of his White House predecessors learned: Governing is rarely easy.

A look at some of the president’s unfinished business as he asks voters for a second term in the White House:


Trump has managed to undermine President Barack Obama’s health care law, but has fallen far short of his promise to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

His administration has managed to dismantle parts of the law. Enrollment periods have been shortened, some subsidies were ended and the individual mandate — the fine for people without health insurance — has been eliminated.

Trump says he’s still focused on replacing the with something “much better and much less expensive.” He said in an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes” that “it will be so good” if the Supreme Court puts an end to “Obamacare” when the justices hear challenges to it next month.

The number of uninsured Americans has risen under Trump’s watch. According to Census Bureau data released last month, nearly 30 million people in the U.S. lacked coverage at some point during 2019, about 1 million more than in the previous year.



Trump has made only modest progress toward meeting his 2016 pledge to bring home all troops from what he calls America’s “endless wars.”

When Trump took over the White House, the number of U.S. forces in Afghanistan stood at about 8,400, and there were about 6,800 troops in Iraq.

Within a year, the number of troops in Afghanistan climbed to about 15,000. Trump approved commanders’ requests for additional troops to reverse setbacks in the training of Afghan forces, fight an increasingly dangerous Islamic State group and put enough pressure on the Taliban to force it to the peace table.

In February, the U.S. and the Taliban signed an agreement that calls for the eventual complete withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan.

With an eye toward the election, Trump has accelerated his push to bring troops home, teasing that all U.S. troops could be out of Afghanistan by the end of the year.

Pentagon officials said the number of troops in Afghanistan will drop to 4,500 in November. But defence officials insist there are no plans to have all troops home from Afghanistan by the end of the year. U.S. officials also say there currently is no approved plan to reduce the number to 2,500 by early next year. The officials were not authorized to publicly discuss internal deliberations and spoke on condition of anonymity.

In Iraq, the number of U.S. troops has dipped from about 5,000 to roughly 3,000, although officials say the number fluctuates higher as units rotate in and out.



During his 2016 primary run, Trump sought to mark his ground as a hard-line immigration enforcer who would build “a great, great wall on our southern border.”

“And I will make Mexico pay for that wall,” Trump said as he launched his run for the White House in June 2015. “Mark my words.”

Nearly four years later, Trump still has work to do completing his wall and much that has been completed has been paid by U.S. taxpayers despite promises otherwise.

The president’s administration has promised to build 450 miles by the end of this year and has so far built 371. Trump has replaced hundreds of miles of old, worn-out barriers, meant only to stop cars, with tall, 30-foot fencing that is much harder to get over and impedes wildlife from crossing the border. Conservationists in Arizona, where a bulk of the building has taken place, say the new wall is detrimental to wildlife and the surrounding ecosystems.

Mexico has steadfastly refused to pay for the border wall, though Trump earlier this year suggested that the wall is being paid, in part, by remittances from Mexican immigrants working in the U.S.

To date, the money is coming from the U.S. Treasury, meaning today’s taxpayers and the future ones who will inherit the federal debt. To the extent any people who came into the U.S. illegally are kicking in for the wall, it’s because they’re working and paying taxes like other workers.

Trump also freed up $3.6 billion for the wall last year by diverting money from military construction projects as well as $2.5 billion from approved counterdrug spending.





Early in his presidency, Trump expressed confidence that his administration could broker a long-term peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. “We will get it done,” Trump declared in May 2017. He put his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner in charge.

Trump moved the U.S. Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, a step that was cheered by Israelis and the president’s evangelical Christian supporters in the U.S. but angered Palestinian leaders. He scored a big win in recent weeks with the U.S. nudging Bahrain, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates — three Arab states — to normalize relations with Israel.

The normalization of relations between Israel and the three Arab nations is certainly an important achievement. But the agreements between nations that have never been in direct conflict don’t meaningfully move the ball in achieving the large and long elusive goal of achieving peace between Palestinians and Israelis.



The White House’s multiple attempts to designate an “infrastructure week” — each effort quickly eclipsed by other issues — have become something of a running punchline in the administration.

In his 2016 victory speech, Trump said he would rebuild the nation’s highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools and hospitals, making American infrastructure “second to none” and putting millions to work in the process.

Nearly four years later, Trump’s soaring rhetoric has failed to produce legislation.

In April 2019, Trump reached an agreement with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., to pursue a $2 trillion infrastructure plan. This March, he resurrected the idea for a “VERY BIG & BOLD” plan for infrastructure spending to help jolt the staggering economy after the coronavirus pandemic hit.

While Pelosi and Schumer again threw their support behind big infrastructure spending, Senate Republicans have bristled at deficit spending, and Trump’s sales pitch has gone nowhere with his own party.



On the debate stage four year ago, Trump said his federal income taxes were “under a routine audit” but promised they would be released as soon as the IRS finished.

Four years later, Trump says the IRS still hasn’t completed its work, and the president has yet to fulfil his promise to release his tax returns. No law prevents Trump from making his tax filings public while under audit.

Questions about Trump’s tax returns — and his broader financial situation — have only grown following revelations that he is personally liable for more than $400 million in debt. That sort of debt load, ethics experts say, raises concerns he could be manipulated to sway U.S. policy by those to whom he’s indebted.

The New York Times reported last month that Trump’s debt includes more than $300 million in loans that will come due in the next four years.

Trump dismisses his debt load as a “peanut” compared with his assets.

The president is the only post-Watergate president not to release his tax returns.


Associated Press writers Robert Burns, Hope Yen, Calvin Woodward and Astrid Galvan contributed to this report.

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How London’s top restaurants are skewering the Covid rules | Business




“A table for six? No, sir, that is against the Covid-19 restrictions … unless you promise that your party will discuss business, not pleasure.”

Some of London’s fanciest restaurants have discovered a loophole in the tier-2 coronavirus lockdowns restrictions designed to prevent households from mixing and thereby slow the spread of the virus.

An exemption that the government included in the rules to allow freelancers to work over lunch is being exploited by high-end restaurants encouraging up to 30 people to dine together as long as “the topic is business”.

Caprice Holdings, the restaurant empire run by multimillionaire Richard Caring, emailed loyal clients this week to invite them to make bookings that appear to break the single-household rule.

“We wish to make it clear – when the topic is business, you can still meet over a fabulous working lunch or dinner without the restriction of the ‘single household rule’, ie mixed households are permitted up to six guests,” the email said. “We can host up to 30 people within our private dining spaces for business meetings.”

The Cinnamon Club, popular with politicians and lobbyists due to its location near the Palace of Westminster, said: “It’s become clear that if you are coming down to our restaurants for business purposes, you can meet over lunch or dinner without the ‘single household’ restriction and this is permitted for up to six guests.”

D&D London, which owns the upmarket Quaglino’s, Coq d’Argent, the Bluebird Café and the German Gymnasium, said: “We are pleased to confirm that you can still have business meetings over lunch and dinner. Provided that the primary purpose of your booking is business, we are delighted to welcome you as usual.”

Jeremy King, co-owner of Corbin & King, which owns business crowd favourites including the Delaunay on the Strand and the Wolseley in Piccadilly, emailed favoured clients to tell them: “Whilst social occasions need to be from a single household, it has been determined that business meeting are acceptable.”

Despite restricted elevator capacity, several restaurants in the Shard and Heron towers are accepting big bookings for business lunches. Duck & Waffle, on the 40th floor of Heron Tower by Liverpool Street station, will take bookings for six for a business lunch, while Sushi Samba two floors below is happy for up to 14 people to discuss spreadsheets over lunch.

The restaurants are relying on “exception 3” in the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Local Covid-19 Alert Level) (Medium) Regulations 2020 Act, which states: “Exception 3 is that the gathering is reasonably necessary – a) for work purposes or for the provision of voluntary or charitable services.”

The messages appear to have worked. Many of London’s most famous restaurants, including the Ivy, part of Caring’s empire in Soho, and Le Coq d’Argent in the City, were doing a roaring trade on Friday lunchtime.

At Sexy Fish, Caring’s latest pricey fish restaurant on Berkeley Square in Mayfair, all the tables were occupied, forcing walk-ins, like reporters from the Guardian, to dine at the bar, adorned with bronze mermaids sculptures by Damien Hirst.

Perusing the menu, which includes king crab and caviar sushi at £42 a piece which can be washed down with a £16,000 Armand de Brignac champagne, were three groups of four who did not appear to be from the same household.

A group of four ladies dining together said they were “sort of” having a business lunch as they “are ex-colleagues” catching up. Challenged further, one of the party said she was “happy to break the rules as I know I am not going to be doing anyone any harm, otherwise I wouldn’t”.

The women said they did not book, but walked into the restaurant and were not asked by the maitre d’ if they were from separate households. The restaurant manager, who asked the Guardian reporter to leave the restaurant, said he realised that the three tables of four people broke the rules.

“We alert that to every guest and we do that on confirmation email,” he said. “We do as much as we possibly can … We are doing our absolute best, we’re doing as many precautions as possible … You can’t ask me a single question.”

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There seemed to be confusion in the government about who could clarify the official position on business lunches. The Treasury suggested the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. BEIS, in turn, pointed to a higher authority.

Downing Street said most cross-household work meals were not permitted, and that they should only happen if there was no other option. But a spokesman indicated that the government was unlikely to take any action against restaurants promoting business lunches.

“We obviously encourage people to use alternatives for work meetings where possible, like Covid-secure workplaces, or through other means – virtually or on the phone,” a No 10 spokesman said. “We have set out this week why the exemption was introduced, in order to allow freelancers and others who maybe don’t have access to a Covid-secure workplace to use. But we encourage everyone to act responsibly.”

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