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Showing posts from 2017

New US ambassador to Canada believes in "both sides of science" on climate change

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Kelly Craft, the new U.S. ambassador to Canada, said that when it comes to climate change she believes in "both sides of the science"
Craft told Rosemary Barton of the CBC that she appreciates all of the scientific evidence on climate change saying to Barton: "I think that both sides have their own results, from their studies, and I appreciate and I respect both sides of the science." Craft said that although the position of President Trump on climate change is different from that of the Canadian government that the two countries shared the same goal to "better our environment and to maintain the environment."" She also claimed that the U.S. could still fight climate change though it is leaving the Paris climate change accord. Craft said that the US pulling out of the agreement should not impact America's broader relationships with its allies. Craft's husband, billionaire coal-mining magnate Joe Craft, was critical of former president Obama&#…

Canada will be better off if Trump dumps NAFTA

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Many commentators appear worried that US President Trump will end up sabotaging any new NAFTA deal by insisting on new provisions that Mexico and Canada cannot accept.
An article byThomas Walkomsuggests what Canada can do if Trump kills NAFTA. If U.S. President Donald Trump rejects the North American Free Trade Agreement, there are essentially three things that Canada can do. One reaction would be to try and keep what remains of NAFTA with Mexico and hope that Trump's presidency wont last too long. Negotiations could resume with a new US president more amenable to a free trade deal that all three nations could accept. However, there may be a deep-seated negative attitude towards globalism in the US that could continue even if Trump's presidency ends. A second reaction would be to try to negotiate a bilateral deal with the US. That is not likely to be successful as Trump will insist on terms unacceptable to Canada. If NAFTA is ended then the 1989 US-Canada Free Trade Agreement …

Canadian households reach record debt to income level

The ratio of debt to incomerose to 167.8 percent from 166.6 in the first quarter, according to Statistics Canada. This means that for every dollar of income, Canadian households had $1.68 of debt. The Bank of Canada increased interest rates both in July and September. The early September hike was from 0.75 percent to 1 percent.Many economists predict more increases in the future. The debt ratio has been high for some time. In the third quarter of 2016 a record was also reached at 166.9 so the present debt level is not a huge increase.
Paul Ferley, assistant chief economist at the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) said: "Certainly it's confirming that debt levels remain high and (are) creeping up a little bit higher. That's been an ongoing vulnerability for the Canadian economy." Ferley thought that the higher interest rates might dampen consumer demand but he thought that most households would be able to cope. However, Scott Hannah of the Credit Counselling Society warned: &…

Vanocouver tech firms offer benefits to attract tech workers

As Vancouver tries to be a base for new tech start-ups it has found that it needs to offer bonuses of various types to attract workers to the city where living costs are high. While Vancouver has already established itself as the cheapest place among fifty markets in North America to establish a new tech start-up, companies in Vancouver realize that to be successful they must attract top tech talent.

The growth of the tech sector in Vancouver is being helped by the fact that large multinationals such as Amazon and Microsoft have recently opened offices in Vancouver. At the same time, Canadian startups such as Hootsuite have begun to obtain international status. Vancouver's high cost of living and the low value of the Canadian loonie relative to the US dollar are two drawbacks that Vancouver has to counter. However, the situation is even worse in some prime high-tech areas such as Silicon Valley in the United States which is notorious for the high cost of living in the Bay area.…

Study shows that tech students may be going to US rather than staying in Canada

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A study by two students at the University of Waterloo shows that in the fast growing tech market many tech graduates are deciding to go to the US rather than stay in Canada.
Atef Chaudary and Joey Loi are graduates of the Systems Design Engineering(SYDE) program at the University of Waterloo in Ontario. The small study of 82 graduating students to which 77 replied showed that many in the program went straight to the US rather than stay in Canada. This appears to show a brain drain from Canada at least in the tech area. However, the two who did the study warned against its being extrapolated. Yet the study does give at least some evidence for a potential brain drain in the restricted area of technology graduates. The tech area is the fastest growing market in North America and so there is fierce competition for graduates. Each student in the SYDE program had to take six co-ops in which they were required to work for companies to obtain experience. These co-op experiences are what drov…

Vancouver a great city to set up a tech company

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A report by Commercial Real Estate Research(CBRE) found that of 50 US and Canadian markets, Vancouver was the cheapest city to start up a new tech company.
CBRE has afull time staff of about 30 researchers spread across Canada. A typical tech company setting up in Vancouver would cost about $24 million a year US to cover both employee salaries and rent in Vancouver. In contrast the same company in the San Francisco Bay area, the most expensive area, would cost $67 million more than twice as much. CBRE, Research Director, Colin Yasukochi said that the lower start up costs in Vancouver are due in part to the lower-priced Canadian dollar, but also more favourable immigration policies, and lower rental rates than many major US tech centers play a significant role. Yasukochi said: "I think there's a better supply demand balance in Canada with regard to the account workforce and the demand for it." The average salary of a tech worker in Vancouver is $79,402 a year which is $34…

Canadian company Bombardier considering options for its train business

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The Quebec-based Canadian company Bombardier says that it is considering `multiple options` for its train business as the unit continues to provide strong profits and sales, enabling the company to break even in its latest quarterly results.
Overall, the Montreal-based company that makes mainly planes and trains used up $570 million US in the quarter that ended June 30. While the company lost $296 million or 13 cents per share this was an improvement over the same period last year when they lost $24 million or 24 cents a share. However, revenue fell 5 percent to $4.09 billion. However if special charges such as employee severance, and also benefits from a tax adjustment are considered, analysts had expected the company to post a one cent loss per share. Instead the company broke even. Investors were actually buoyed by the results with shares up 5.4 percent on Friday AM to $2.54. This is a rise of 63 percent from its low of $1.56 last September. Alain Bellemare the CEO said of the trai…

Two Canadian airports ban ads from Quebec company Flight Claim

The Quebec Company Flight Claim, based in Montreal, in April signed a contract for $73,000 that would allow them to run ads on baggage screens at Montreal's Pierre Elliot Trudeau airport.
The campaign started just last week and lasted only four days before it was abruptly stopped. The promotional ad claimed that passengers could receive up to $1,800 in compensation and to contact the company if they wanted help to fight their case. The ads can be seenhere. The general manager of Flight Claim, Jacob Charbonneau said: "We're just there to protect and help the rights of the passengers, so we feel it's kind of sad that we're not able to publicize in a free market" The company will take on passengers' claims in return for 25 percent of the compensation received. Charbonneau claimed that many passengers are unaware of their rights for delays, cancellations, and overbooked flights. The company website is here. An email sent to Flight Claim by the airport's a…

Canada increases defence spending by 70 percent over next decade

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Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan reveals that the Canadian government will increase defence spending by 70 percent over the next decade.
Canada's defense spending will increase from $18.9 billion now to $32.7 billion. When asked where the money would come from Sajjan would not say but promised it would be there when required. Money spent on defense is money not available for other programs such as medical care, infrastructure improvements, and other expenditures that arguably would be of much greater value to Canadians. Sajjan said that Canada will add hundreds of new elite special forces commandos, wage offensive cyber warfare, and also deploy armed drones to international battlefields as part of its military response to global security threats. No doubt these efforts will relieve some of the burden on the US of being a global policeman. As a recent article notes the secrecy that surrounds all the work of the Canadian special forces, and expansion of cyberattacks "rai…

President Trump appoints woman as Canadian ambassador

U.S. President Donald Trump is poised to nominate Kelly Knight Craft as the next American ambassador to Canada. The post has been vacant since the former ambassador Bruce Heyman appointed by former president Barack Obama resigned on January 20.  1 of 2 TheWhite House announcedin a statement late Wednesday that Craft had been picked for the post. Maryscott Greenwoodwho heads the Canadian-American Business Council praised the choice saying: "I think it's an inspired choice on the part of the president. It's a complement to Canada that the White House would choose a person of Kelly's calibre, intellect and talent, so I am excited about the prospect." Her nomination will need to be approved by the Senate. The Trump administration hopes to get her nomination approved quickly so she can be ambassador before the NAFTA trade negotiations begin in August. Craft is married to billionaire Joe Craft, president and CEO of Alliance Resource Partners LP, one of the largest coal…

Rail service to northern Manitoba port of Churchill suspended

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The northern Manitoba town of Churchill has lost its only rail service into the town as OmniTrax the Denver-based company that owns the rail line into the community from the south announced that the rail bed was washed away in 19 locations.
Five workers in Churchill were let go as a result of the service suspension. Business owners in the town say that there could be more layoffs. The owner of the 31 room Tundra Inn and hostel, Belinda Fitzpatrick said that it was upsetting and heartbreaking to layoff the 5 workers. She had intended to open a seasonal restaurant next week but the suspension of rail service caused her to drop her plans. She describes the rail line as the lifeline to the community. There is no road into the community from the south. The road ends at Gillam near where there is a large hydro development. The rail service ends there now as well.Churchillis a further 300 km from Gillam. Omnitrax describes the damage as catastrophic and said that the damage would be not fixe…

More and more Canadians borrowing against their home equity

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According to some Many Canadians may now be turning to their home equity as a way to raise money to fund a lifestyle that could be unaffordable for some.
A recent article in BNNpoints out that more and more Canadians are using their homes as if it were an ATM from which they could withdraw. Since 2011 the number of Canadians who have taken out a home equity line of credit (HELOC) has risen by 40 percent. As many householders are still paying on mortgages and other debts such as car loans, the added debt can sometimes not be managed. Many are not able to even make regular payments on time. The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada's(FCAC) commissioner Lucie Tedesco said: "At a time when consumers are carrying record amounts of debt, the persistence of HELOC debt may add stress to the financial well-being of Canadian households." The Agency's report says there are about three million HELOC accounts in Canada, and the average outstanding balance is $70,000. Canada's d…

Manitoba Conservative government may privatize home care services

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The Manitoba Progressive Conservative (PC) government of premier Brian Pallister is looking to save money on provincial home care service programs and may even privatize the service.
However, Pallister won't sayyet whether he plans to privatize the service saying: "I'll continue to say that we are looking for results and improving results. We shouldn't be close-minded about it. All across the country other provinces have faced up to these challenges — some private improvements, lots of changes within the public sector delivery model. We are pursuing these things. We are looking for options." A private company will operate the service only if it makes a profit so unlike a public service it needs to aim for more than just covering its costs. It would not want to incur a deficit to handle expanding needs. either. In spite of Pallister's remarks, the Manitoba Government and General Employees'' Union (MGEU) revealed that the Winnipeg Regional Health Author…

Ontario economy grew at twice the Canadian average last year

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For years while the price of oil was high, Ontario's growth lagged behind that of Alberta and Saskatchewan the main oil producing provinces. However, now its growth is surging while the oil producers are hard hit.
Canada's large banks predict that this year Ontario's growth will be near the top of all provinces. The jobless rate, 5.8 percent, is the lowest since 2001. Thenational averageunemployment rate is 6.5 percent itself the lowest since 2008. In 2016, Ontario added 96, 800 full-time jobs and surprisingly part-time jobs actually decreased by 10,200 a plus for many workers. Manitoba has the lowest rates at 5.4 percent and British Columbia 5.5 percent. However there are still 437,000 Canadians looking for work according to Statistics Canada. In 2016 the province grew at twice the national average. The growth is not related to just one sector but includes manufacturing, real estate finance and technology. Tax revenue from corporations grew 16,.8 percent last year and 19.…