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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Canadian economic recovery slow but steady; quality of life not keeping pace

   Canada column published on Sunday, Oct. 23/11


   (c) By Jim Fox

   Canada remains on track to avoid a double-dip recession but quality of life isn’t keeping up with the pace of economic growth, two studies have found.
   The Conference Board of Canada, an independent research organization, said while averting another recession, economic recovery will be slow but steady.
   The real gross domestic product will be a slim 2.1 percent this year and grow to 2.4 percent next year, putting the recovery on a stronger footing than most other developed countries.
   Major concerns are a “sluggish outlook for the United States” that’s not good news for trading partner Canada and an uncertain debt situation in Europe, board director Pedro Antunes said.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Police concerned over possible violence in economic protests

   Canada column published on Sunday, Oct. 16/11


   (c) By Jim Fox

   Police in Toronto and Vancouver are concerned over a possible repeat of violence and vandalism as economic activists have expanded their protests to Canadian financial districts.
   There was extensive vandalism in G20 summit protests in Toronto last year and in Vancouver in June during the final game of the National Hockey League playoffs.
   The latest protests across Canada are part of the global initiative spawned by the Occupy Wall Street movement.
   Demonstrators were gathering outside the Toronto Stock Exchange and Bank of Canada offices this weekend and plan to remain there for an indefinite period.
   Organizers called for an “entirely non-violent” protest against corporate greed and the growing gulf between the rich and the poor.
   The Occupy Toronto group said it stands “in unity with the rest of the world to seek and work towards drastic changes to economic systems that are destroying our economy, social fiber and environment.”
   Other protests are taking place in Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton and other Canadian cities.

Activists plan to expand occupations to Canadian cities

   Canada column published on Sunday, Oct. 9/11

  (c) By Jim Fox

   Activists are planning to occupy financial districts in major Canadian cities over fears of another recession.
   A group known as Occupy Toronto Market Exchange said the protests against “financial greed” will begin Oct. 15.
   They would be similar to protests by activists camped out on Wall Street in New York City.
   So far, the group has organized a gathering in downtown Toronto next weekend, with a protest march on Oct. 17 when the stock exchange opens.
   The group’s website also suggests plans to occupy the stock exchange offices as well as those of the central Bank of Canada.
   “We will not be leaving the TSX (stock exchange) -- not after 7 days, not after 30 days,” an organizer said.
   The group is also planning occupations in cities including Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Don't fence me in, some Canadian politicians tell the United States

   Canada column published on Sunday, Oct. 2/11


   (c) By Jim Fox

   Will the proverb “good fences make good neighbors” hold true if Canada is someday fenced off from the United States?
   That’s what Canadian politicians and others are wondering after a leaked report said an option to boost security along the 3,976-mile land border with Canada is to build a fence.
   Gary Doer, Canada’s ambassador in Washington, said despite the report there is “no indication” it will happen.
   The draft document for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency suggests using “fencing and other barriers” to manage “trouble spots where passage of cross-border violators is difficult to control.”
   Other options are increased use of radar, sensors, cameras, drones and vehicle scanners along with improved or expanded facilities at ports of entry.
   The Canada Border Services Agency said the fence option hasn’t been part of discussions on ways to improve border management.
   “It is in the interests of both Canada and the United States to ensure that the border remains open, efficient and secure,” it said in a statement.
   A fence along the world’s longest undefended border is “stupid,” said New Democratic politician Joe Comartin.
   “The American people don’t see us as a threat,” he said.


   A report says climate change will cost Canada about $5 billion a year by 2020 and up to as much as $43 billion by the 2050s.
   The National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy said that increasing greenhouse gas emissions worldwide will “exert a growing economic impact.”
   The study looked at impacts of warmer weather that would affect the timber industry with more pests and forest fires, flooding with changes in sea levels and human health.
   Roundtable president David McLaughlin said the conclusion is the longer the effects of climate change are ignored, the costlier they become.
   Environment Minister Peter Kent said the government plans to “meet our target of reducing greenhouse gases by 17 percent from the 2005 base level by 2020.”