Showing posts from September, 2016

Canadian released from Chinese jail and deported to Canada

Kevin Garratt, a Canadian held in jail in China on allegations that he was a spy was deported to Canada on Thursday after being convicted on Tuesday of spying and stealing state secrets. Kevin was reunited with his wife Julia at Vancouver airport.
Justin Trudeau, Canadian PM said that there was "tremendous potential" for stronger and more stable ties with China. The deportation of Garratt was no doubt a diplomatic coup for Trudeau. Trudeau had visited China earlier this month and Chinese Premier Li Kegiang is to arrive in Canada next week. According to theGlobe and Mail a government source claimed that Trudeau had made it clear in several meetings with top Chinese officials that a better relationship with Canada would be difficult to reach unless Garratt were released. The source said that when Trudeau's first official visit to China was over the release of Garratt was virtually assured. In an unusual step, Trudeau had Michel Columbo, director of the Canadian Security In…

Canadian household debt greater than GDP in second quarter this year

Canadian household debt's ratio to household income rose to a record high in the second quarter according to statistics just released by Statistics Canada.
The report is likely to raise concerns that Canadian consumers are overborrowing. Statistics show that the ratio of household debt to disposable household income rose to 169.85 percent from 167.37 percent in the first quarter. For every dollar of disposable income, Canadians are spending $1.70. The ratio of household debt to gross domestic product rose to 100,54 per cent compared to 98.7 percent in the first quarter. This means the total household debt during the quarter was slightly greater than the value of GDP during the quarter. The long period of low interest rates after the financial crisis have encouraged Canadians to take on more debt. This is especially true with respect to buying homes, with the result that prices have shot up in most markets. In markets such as Vancouver or Toronto houses are simply too expensive for…

Canadian banned from entering US because he admitted smoking pot recreationally

Even though the use of marijuana is legal in several U.S. states and Canada plans to legalize its use even for recreational purposes, a federal U.S. law allows people to be denied entry if they admit to smoking pot recreationally.
In an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting System (CBC) Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said:"We obviously need to intensify our discussions with our border authorities in the United States, including the Department of Homeland Security. This does seem to be a ludicrous situation." He noted that the use of marijuana was legal in several U.S. states. Four allow recreational use and nine have the issue on the ballot in November. Trudeau promises to legalize it by the Spring of 2017. The Canadian government has been speaking with the U.S. to inform that Canada intends to legalize the use of marijuana yet the issue of Canadians being stopped at the border remains unaddressed. Scott Bardsley, a spokesperson for Goodale said: "In terms of t…

Second quarter sees 1.6 percent annualized decline in Canadian GDP

In contrast to the first quarter when the Canadian economy grew by an annual rate of 2.5 percent the second quarter turned in a dismal performance with a decline of 1.6 percent at an annualized rate.
 1 of 3 This is the worst performance of the Canadian economy in the last seven years according to Statistics Canada. The decline was in large part due to the wildfires in northern Alberta that burned parts of Fort McMurray. The second quarter of 2009 when Canada was in the midst of the global financial crisis was the last time the economy saw such a large drop. However, economists had predicted a drop of around 1.5 percent, not too far off the actual result. Avery Shenfeld of CIBC Capital Markets said: "It wasn't pretty, but it wasn't expected to be." Exports of goods and services fell by 4.5 percent after a rise of 1.9 percent in the first quarter. The fires near Fort McMurray had forced the shutdown of several oilsands operations. Statistics Canada said that excluding …

On middle east foreign policy Trudeau mostly follows in Harper's footsteps

Stephen Harper the 22nd Canadian prime minister of Canada and long time leader of the federal Conservative Party has announced that he is retiring from politics after a nearly 18-year political career.
Harper was prime minister from 2006 until November of 2015 when Justin Trudeau and his Liberal Party won a majority government. Harper intends to move to the private sector. A spokesperson for Harper said that he has formed a consulting group to provide advice to international clients.The company, “will work in tech, finance, energy, infrastructure and manufacturing along (with) other files, in the US, Europe, Middle East and Asia". Harper left with little fanfare. His handlers often worried about his lack of charisma as a leader and tried various stunts to make him more appealing. This includes Harper at the piano singing along with an orchestra and Yo Yo Ma the famous cellist. The video is appended. Harper was very fond of cats and there are a number of photos of Harper with kitt…

Environmentalist oppose extending Nestle water extraction permit during Ontario drought

An environmental group argues that the Ontario government should not renew a water-taking permit in the south-western Ontario town of Aberfoyle which ran out on July 31.
 1 of 2 Wellington Water Watchers website points out: "Nestlé’s permit to take water in Aberfoyle expired July 31, 2016. No new permit has been granted, yet Nestlé’s water-taking continues, even in the midst of a drought." The group notes that Nestle submitted their application to renew the permit earlier this year. Ordinarily this will be posted on the registry on the Environmental Bill of Rights. After the posting there is a 30 day comment period after which the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change (MOECC) decides whether to renew the permit. This year they claim the notice was not posted and they automatically extended the permit without consultation or any restrictions because of the drought. Thegroup maintainsthat water should be for life not profit. Nestle Waters Canada responded to the compla…