Showing posts from January, 2015

Loonie takes a dive after Bank of Canada cuts interest rate

After Canada's central bank, the Bank of Canada, cut the bank rate from 1.0 percent to .75 percent, the Canadian dollar, the loonie, fell to its lowest level against the US dollar since 2011.

This morning, January 23, the loonie was still trading below 81 cents to the US dollar. The Bank of Canada rate cut caught markets by surprise as no economists had been predicting the drop at this time, although many were beginning to see a drop later in the year if economic growth remained sluggish. A statement from the bank said: “This decision is in response to the recent sharp drop in oil prices, which will be negative for growth and underlying inflation in Canada, The bank's policy action is intended to provide insurance against these risks, support the sectoral adjustment needed to strengthen investment and growth, and bring the Canadian economy back to full capacity and inflation to target within the projected horizon." The rate drop was made as both the bank…

Target Canada to begin stock liquidation in stores in February

Target Canada informed its customers that it will begin to liquidate stock from its Canadian stores early in February. Target announced last week it would shut all its 133 stores in Canada soon.
Eric Hausman, the Target spokesperson for Canada, said to CBC: "Nothing definitive yet in terms of liquidation timing [but] we do expect it will begin in about 2-3 weeks." Within four to five months, both its stores and distribution centers in Canada will be history. The chain, owned in the US, will need to move quickly not only to move all its merchandise but fixtures and office supplies. CBC reporters on the ground saw full stores and even lineups but so far there have been no heavy discounting of goods.

The chain has more than 17,000 employees in Canada and the company claims there is a trust fund of $70 million to provide employees severance pay. When the closure was announced Target issued a statement about the fund: "The Employee Trust will provide all e…

Bank of Canada surprises markets with rate drop

In a surprise move, Canada's central bank, the Bank of Canada, reduced the overnight lending rate by a quarter of a percentage point. The reason given was the threat to the economy of plunging oil prices.

The move by the Bank reduced the lending rate from 1.0 percent to 0.75 percent. The Bank governor Stephen Poloz said: "The drop in oil prices is unambiguously negative for the Canadian economy. Canada's income from oil exports will be reduced, and investment and employment in the energy sector are already being cut." While the overall effect of the drop in oil prices may be negative, the impact will vary from province to province. With its huge oil resources, Alberta will suffer a significant drop in income from royalties and a decline in economic activity in the oil patch, but other provinces with industries that use oil welcome the lower prices for inputs. Consumers, airlines, truckers, and cabbies will be cheering the downward trend in fuel pric…

Canada trying to free Al Jazeera Egyptian-Canadian journalist held in Egypt

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird left for Egypt Monday bound for Egypt. He is expected to be in Cairo this Thursday. He will meet with government officials in an attempt to obtain the release of Mohamed Fahmy an Egyptian-Canadian journalist. Baird will discuss Fahmy's imprisonment with the Egyptian foreign minister, religious leaders, and even President el-Sisi.

 Fahmy's parents moved to Canada from Egypt in 1991 and Fahmy became a Canadian with them. Fahmy is a television producer. He worked not only for Al Jazeera but for CNN. When he was arrested back in December of 2013 he was the Cairo bureau chief for Al Jazeera.

Under President el-Sisi, Egypt has passed draconian anti-terror laws that repress free speech. Other laws have resulted in the Muslim Brotherhood being declared a terrorist group. Anyone who writes anything positive about the group or criticizes the draconian actions against them is liable to be tried and convicted under anti-terror laws.

 When Fah…

January 11th: 200th anniversary of birth of first Canadian prime minister

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper celebrated the 200th anniversary of the birth of the first Canadian Prime Minister John A. Macdonald at the City Hall in Kingston Ontario.

Harper told the assembled crowd of dignitaries that what you do is more important than where you are from of who you know. The event was non-partisan with former Liberal prime minister John Turner at the event. However, Harper's remarks about it not mattering who you are or where you are from might possibly have been a subtle dig at Liberal leader Justin Trudeau whose name has a high profile in Canada as his father Pierre Trudeau was himself a former Prime Minister of Canada. Harper claimed that Macdonald produced much good though little was expected of him. He also praised Macdonald for his vision and leadership, but did acknowledge that he was at times a heavy drinker. Harper avoided the large media group at the event and would not take any questions from reporters.   One of the questions…

Alberta Premier Prentice praises Nebraska court decision on Keystone XL

The premier of Alberta said that the Nebraska Supreme Court ruling which vacated a district court judgment that a law determining how the route would be determined was unconstitutional, helped move the approval process forward.

The premier, Jim Prentice, said that the political process of approving the project is still far from over: “I think it remains to be seen how this plays out in the United States. From my perspective, the project should be approved. It will create jobs, it’s an environmentally defensible project, it’s supported by the American people. I think my role as the premier of Alberta is to be in Washington to ensure that the facts are clear, to speak to the environmental record of Alberta as a jurisdiction." Prentice intends to go to Washington in February to lobby in favor of approval for the project.  During the period when the Nebraska Supreme Court was considering the lawsuit case brought by Nebraska landowners the US State Department review of t…

Manitoba Premier, Greg Selinger, to run again for NDP provincial leader

The beleaguered premier of Manitoba, Greg Selinger, is running to retain his leadership of the Manitoba New Democratic Party(NDP) at a convention to be held on March 8.

Selinger faced a recent revolt by five cabinet ministers who criticized Selinger and suggested he step down as premier. The five ended up resigning but continue as NDP members and will support government legislation.Two of the ministers have filed papers to run for the leadership. Selinger filed his nomination papers at the NDP provincial office in Winnipeg. At the same time he defended his decision to raise the provincial sales tax to 8 per cent from 7. The decision was very unpopular since during the election campaign he had promised not to raise the tax. Selinger will continue to be premier during the leadership race and said: “I plan to make my first responsibility governing is for the people of Manitoba. There is a leadership contest going on. That will be the second priority in the sense that your …