Fitter and Faster – Francis ready for 2016

first_imgJamaica’s 400m champion Javon Francis feels he is at his strongest and fastest this year as he hopes to challenge for a medal at the Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil this summer.The 21-year-old quarter-miler opened his season on January 23, with a 46.19 run at the inaugural McKenley/Wint Track and Field Classic at his alma mater Calabar High School in Kingston, cruising home well ahead of the chasing pack.”It was the first time I had opened up so fast, usually I open at the Camperdown Classic (held in February) so I am very pleased with my time,” said Francis, who believes he is now stronger than he was last season when he ran a personal best 44.50.After winning the national championships later that month in 44.70, expectations were high that Francis would have been among the medal contenders at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China. He was, however, eliminated in the semi-finals having run 44.77 to be 12th fastest overall. He qualified for the semi-finals with a creditable run of 44.83.Despite some disappointment from his fans, Francis was quite pleased with his performance.At the national championships Francis suffered a groin injury during the 400m finals, and it prevented him from training for three to four weeks. He managed to get fit in time for Beijing, but he was not back at his best.”I never expected to run very fast because I was coming off an injury, so I was very pleased with my performance although I didn’t get a medal, but I benefited from the experience,” said the runner, who would later lead Jamaica to a fourth-place finish in the mile relay with a blistering 43.5-second anchor leg.”Last year people were saying I could go for the national record, but in my mind I always say records come and records go. Every time I go out to perform I go to win a medal,” Francis said.last_img read more

Gasoline companies to speak at public inquiry into B.C. pump prices Wednesday

first_img“The advance ruling on confidentiality does go a long way to satisfy Husky’s concerns,” Mel Duvall said in an email Thursday.“That said, we are still considering whether there are other measures that can be implemented by the BCUC that would provide further protection for the interveners.”Shell said it would provide the data ordered but requested the inquiry use the same confidentiality process that the National Energy Board used in proceedings dealing with pipeline access, including storing confidential material in a red folder.Suncor said it was preparing to submit the figures by Monday, while Imperial Oil said it still wasn’t comfortable doing so. Costco submitted two copies of a questionnaire Friday, one for the public and one with three additional answers it deemed confidential.Questions shared in advance by the utilities commission reveal some of the information the public may learn.Advertisement Calgary-based Parkland Fuel, which had raised concerns about confidentiality, also complained of tight deadlines in a letter from its lawyers to the commission on Tuesday.“The inquiry has the potential to profoundly impact Parkland’s business,” it said, adding that it is a voluntary participant and short notice on what the hearings would look like impedes their “full and fair participation.”“The only way to mitigate that harm is to delay the workshop.”The utilities commission released a schedule and description of the so-called oral workshops, along with questions that will be asked, over the next two days. But it said it’s committed to staying on schedule and Parkland said Friday it would still participate.Other companies said they were reassured by the new confidentiality terms, including a spokesman for Husky, but didn’t commit to release the data.Advertisement VANCOUVER — An industry expert says a public inquiry into British Columbia’s record-breaking gasoline prices may increase the public’s understanding of a murky market but the provincial government’s options for response are limited.Michael Ervin, senior vice-president with consulting firm Kent Group that specializes in the downstream petroleum industry, said he also doesn’t expect the inquiry to uncover any bombshell revelations.The reason prices at the pump are so much higher in Vancouver and other B.C. cities than comparable jurisdictions all funnels down to supply and demand, he said.- Advertisement -“It really comes down to very tight supply relative to pretty strong demand in the Lower Mainland and B.C. in general,” Ervin said in a phone interview.Premier John Horgan ordered the inquiry in May when prices at the pump reached $1.70 a litre, saying gas and diesel price increases were “alarming, increasingly out of line with the rest of Canada, and people in B.C. deserve answers.”He tasked the British Columbia Utilities Commission with overseeing the inquiry. A three-member panel chaired by CEO David Morton is set to begin its oral proceedings on Wednesday in Vancouver.Advertisement But the inquiry has already encountered some hurdles.The utilities commission beefed up its confidentiality terms last week after six of seven fuel companies refused to share their retail margins, saying it would compromise their positions in a competitive market.The new terms grant advanced approval of confidential status to those who submit information that they identify as commercially or competitively sensitive under the new terms, rather than granting the status after the content is reviewed and deemed eligible.“We felt that under the circumstances it would not be unreasonable to provide them with that assurance,” Morton said in an interview.Advertisement They cover capacity and costs of using the Trans Mountain pipeline, whether refineries co-ordinate with one another to plan for maintenance repairs and shutdowns, and whether companies divert refined product from B.C. when gas prices are low.“We’ll be making findings on what we’ve found, whether it’s competitive or not, how the prices are set, why the prices are different here and why they fluctuate more than they do in other parts of Canada,” Morton said.The province has also asked the utilities commission to explore mechanisms the province could use to moderate price fluctuations and increases.Recommendations on the Trans Mountain pipeline are unlikely, Morton said, adding that he didn’t want to preclude anything prematurely.Ervin said there are a few options facing the province:— It can create a watchdog agency to monitor the elements going into the pump price and where they seem to change, in order to better understand and explain to the public what happens and why.— It can reduce taxes, which are among the highest in Canada, especially in the Metro Vancouver area where the carbon tax represents 9 cents per litre and the transit authority adds another 18.5 cents per litre.— Or it could pursue regulation of crude going into refineries, wholesale gasoline prices, or prices at the pump. Each of those regulations is “problematic,” he said.Crude and wholesale gasoline are globally traded commodities, he said. That means for example, that if wholesale gasoline prices are capped low, American wholesale buyers may buy them up leaving B.C. dry, he said.The Atlantic provinces regulate prices at the pump but that may have a counterproductive effect in B.C. Retail margins aren’t large and have actually declined over the last 20 to 30 years when inflation is taken into account, Ervin said.“It would most certainly have the consequence of putting gas stations out of business,” he said.Amy Smart, The Canadian Presslast_img read more