Showing posts from August, 2012

PQ could win a slim majority in Quebec Sept. 4th

A recent article in the Globe and Mail projects a slim majority government for the Parti Quebecois in the upcoming provincial election on September 4. The latest polls are as follows. CROP poll of August 29: Liberals 26%; Parti Quebecois 32%; CAQ 28%, Quebec Solidaire 9%. FORUM poll August 28: Liberals 28%; PQ 33%; CAQ 27%; Quebec Solidaire 8%. The Liberals do not seem to be making up any ground on the PQ. The CAQ(Coalition Avenir Quebec) may split the vote in several constituencies now held by Liberals and allow the PQ to win. The Globe and Mail predictions for seats are as follows. The PQ would win 66 seats based on 34.% of the vote. This percentage is a bit higher than in the polls I referenced. Sixty three seats are needed for a majority. The Liberals would win 32 seats with 28.5% of the vote and the CAQ would win 25 seats with 25.8%. Finally Quebec Solidaire would win two seats with 6.7% of the vote. Other parties including the Greens and Option Nationale would not win any seats…

Harper government reviewing CNOOC takeover bid for Nexen

The Canadian Industry Minister Christian Paradis has confirmed the review has started of China National Offshore Oil Company's $15.1 billion takeover deal with Calgary-based Nexen Inc. On Wednesday Paradis said in an e-mail:: "I can now confirm that CNOOC has filed an application for review of its proposed acquisition of Nexen under the Investment Canada Act and I am conducting a review of the proposed investment," During the initial period the review will take 45 days but the period can be extended if more time is required. The review must decide if the takeover is of net benefit to Canada. CNOOC has already promised as part of the deal that Calgary would be the headquarters of its North and Central American operations and will keep all of Nexen's employees and management. This along with an attractive price for Nexen shareholders will no doubt help to show a net benefit to Canada. The price offered per share was over 60 per cent higher than the price at which shar…

PC sales slump

Two of the big names in personal computers Hewlett-Packard and Dell report disappointing sales as new products compete with laptops and desktops. Not so long ago if you went on line it was through a laptop or desktop personal computer usually. Now people are going on line using smartphones, tablets, and other platforms. HP(Hewlett-Packard) in the most recent quarter had its worst result since the company was created 73 year ago. Dell also suffered a bad quarter as personal computer sales declined. No doubt the slowdown in the global economy accounts for some of the decline. Many people may be waiting for Windows 8 to be launched before they buy a new machine. But sales of personal computers have been declining for the past five years. More and more people are using their smartphones and tablets for on line work. However as Wired points out the situation may not be so much of a slump in performance but a wholesale change in the market with desktops and laptops never regaining their dom…

Conservative government allows use and sharing of information gained through torture

After earlier allowing spy agencies to use and share information obtained by torture, the Canada government has now extended the same powers to the national police force(RCMP) and federal border agents. The Conservative government has been quietly without any notice to the public been changing the rules with respect to information that may have been tainted by torture. The Canadian Press managed to obtain documents from Sept. 9 2011 through the Access to Information Act. The documents are directives to the RCMP and the Border Services Agency. Up until now the documents have remained classified even though this is an important change in policy and one would think should have been discussed in parliament. CBC asked the officer of the Public Safety Minister's Office about the story from the Canadian Press. CBC asked if the government would use information obtained by torture. A spokesperson for Vic Toews the minister said:. "The minister's directive is clear, the primary res…

CAQ second to PQ in Quebec election polls. Liberals in third!

As voting day nears in the Quebec provincial election, the Liberal Party led by Quebec Premier Jean Charest is running in third place in an August 24th poll. The separatist Parti Quebecois remains in first place. Voters in Quebec go the polls September 4 to elect a new provincial government. An August 24th poll by Leger Marketing showed the Parti Quebecois (PQ) leading with 33 per cent of the vote. The newer party the CAQ(Coalition Avenir Quebec) has overtaken the ruling Liberal Party with 28% and the Liberals were third with 27%. The trend seems to be favoring the CAQ as both Liberal and the PQ seem to be losing votes to the CAQ. The CAQ party leader Francois Legault is playing down the whole idea of a referendum on Quebec independence. Legault claims he is a nationalist rather than a sovereigntist or federalist meaning that he neither supports independence for Quebec nor does he support a federalist government. The first is the position of the PQ and the second of the ruling Libera…

Jean Charest fights back in Quebec election debates

Down in the polls, Quebec Premier Jean Charest came out swinging in the leaders' debate last night. He claimed that the PQ (Parti Quebecois) main objective was to separate from Canada,. He also pointed out that a past PQ government was corrupt. Charest took an aggressive stance against his opponents. A skilled debater, Charest tried to neutralize constant attacks upon his own government for corruption by pointing out that in 2006 a report found that the PQ had acted illegally in its financing activities. Charest's Liberal government is plagued by corruption charges especially in the Quebec construction industry. Charest also pressed hard on the sovereignty issue trying to portray the PQ and leader Pauline Marois as wanting to hold a referendum on sovereignty as quickly as she can. The PQ is leading at present in the polls. Ironically Marois tried to steer clear of the sovereignty issue. She was criticized not just by Charest but by another separatist party the left-leaning Qu…

Quebec election debate tonight August 19

The Quebec provincial election is set for September 4. With the campaign now half way through there is to be a key debate between leaders tonight (Aug 19) The ruling Liberal Party lead by premier Jean Charest is trailing in the polls. The CBC(Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) will carry the debate from 8 PM to 10 PM eastern time. The debate will also be available on line at The debate will be in French with English translation. At dissolution of the provincial legislature on August 1st the ruling Quebec Liberals had 64 seats, the Parti Quebecois 47, the Coaltion Avenir Quebec 9 and Quebec Solidair 1. Recent polls show the Liberals trailing the PQ(Parti Quebecois) An August 16 poll by Leger Marketing show the Liberals with 28%, the PQ with 33% and the up and coming CAQ(Coalition Avenir Quebec) with 27%. Quebec Solidaire has 6%. A bid by another party Option Nationale to take part in the debates failed as a court did not support their injunction to force the stations invol…

Canada retains top credit rating

Moody's Investors Service has renewed the triple-A rating for Canada. A review by the company found that Canada's economic performance and financial situation was sufficiently strong to retain the high rating.

The Moody's report noted:
"Although the recession caused a reversal of the improvement in the debt ratios, they did not deteriorate as much as in most other Aaa-rated countries, are now on an improving trend, and remain compatible with the country's Aaa rating."
Before the recession began, the federal government actually had been running budget surpluses for a number of years. With the recession, however, the Harper Conservative government spent on infrastructure and other projects meant to stimulate the economy. These expenditures and falling tax revenues because of the recession led to rising debt.
Many countries have had their credit ratings downgraded, particularly in Europe, and Canada remains among the few with triple-A ratings. Economist Dana Peterso…

Enbridge yet to include scathing report on oil spill as evidence in Northern Gateway hearings

A scathing report by the U.S. National Transportation Board into the 2010 Enbridge oil spill into the Kalamazoo River in Michigan has not been included as evidence in the company's assessment of the risks associated with the pipeline.

In an interview with CBC Radio B.C. economist Robyn Allan claimed that even though the negative report was published back in July Enbridge the company seeking approval for the Northern Gateway project has not tabled any information about the spill. The Northern Gateway project is to build a pipeline that would carry oil from the oil sands of Alberta to a port in northern BC. The oil would then be shipped to Asian markets. Allan argues that by excluding the Kalamazoo spill in its risk assessment Enbridge's calculations underestimate the risks posed by the pipeline. Allan said:
"So far, it's as if Kalamazoo never happened."

The Kalamazoo spill leaked an estimated 877,000 gallons (3.3 million liters) of oil into the Kalamazoo river in J…

Canadian military to spend a billion on armed drones

The Canadian military intends to spend about one billion dollars on armed drones. The military claims that the drones will enable Canadian Forces to fill critical deficiencies and are needed in the Arctic.

Even during Canadian participation in the war in Libya senior Canadian defence officials were itching to use the occasion to spend up to 600 million on armed drones to use in the conflict according to documents obtained by the Ottawa Citizen newspaper. The war ended but not the desire to obtain armed drones. Now the military-industrial complex is at it again.
Even though the Conservative Harper government is all for reducing our budget deficit as quickly as possible that can be done by cutting social programs. What is crucial is to have armed drones that can be used to defend the Canadian Arctic. No doubt they can also help out in U.S. or NATO adventures around the globe. The Chief of Staff of the Canadian Forces General Walter Natyncyk is closely linked to the U.S. military and was a…

NWT Premier Bob McLeod proposes oil pipeline to Beaufort Sea from Alberta

Bob McLeod who is premier of Canada's Northwest Territories argues that the province of Alberta should consider promoting a pipeline north through the territories to the Beaufort Sea. The pipeline would move oil north from the Alberta Tar Sands and then it could be shipped through the Beaufort Sea and Bering Strait to Asian markets.

There is already a proposed pipeliine through British Columbia to a Pacific port in British Columbia that would then ship oil by tanker to Asian markets. However that pipeline called the Northern Gateway faces strong opposition from environmentalists and aboriginal people who occupy land along the proposed route.'The premier of British Columbia, Christy Clark, has also demanded that certain conditions be met before her government would approve the project.

McCleod hoped that the Northwest Territories would benefit from a proposed McKenzie Valley pipeline that would carry natural gas from the Beaufort Sea into Alberta where it would join with an exi…

Loonie reaches parity with U.S. dollar

The Canadian dollar, nicknamed the Loonie, managed to reach parity with the U.S. dollar today. The outlook for exports has improved with high job creation numbers in the U.S. Ironically if the dollar goes too high exports could suffer since the high dollar makes Canadian goods more expensive for U.S. buyers.

The value of the Canadian dollar rose for a fourth week. Stocks and crude oil also rose.Futures traders have now reversed bets and are betting that the Canadian dollar will rise more against the U.S. dollar.

Adam Button an analysts from Montreal said:“It’s nice to see the Canadian dollar break through parity, but you have to be a little bit disappointed with the follow through,” “There seems to be plenty of eager corporate sellers of the Canadian dollar around parity.”

The loonie is up by .2 per cent this week alone. A Canadian dollar buys just a little over one U.S. dollar.Greg Anderson at Citigroup Inc.advised investors to buy Canadian and Australian dollars against the Euro which …

Quebec to hold election on September 4th

Premier of Quebec Jean Charest has triggered an election on September 4 after a meeting this morning with his cabinet. Charest's Liberal government has slumped in polls as investigations continue into corruption in the Quebec construction industry Quebec premier Jean Charest is the longest-serving premier of any province. However, he is facing a fierce battle this time around. Not only are there damaging corruption investigations ongoing but many citizens are upset by the harsh conditions imposed on demonstrators by Bill 78. The bill created even more demonstrations by students and others.

 The main opposition is the Parti Quebecois (PQ) led by Pauline Marois. The party is for the independence of Quebec as Wikipedia notes:. The Parti Québécois (PQ) is a centre-left provincial political party that advocates national sovereignty for the province of Quebec and secession from Canada. The Party traditionally has support from the labour movement. Marois has been party leader since 2007.…