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Monday, August 29, 2011

Future of the Canada's New Democratic Party after death of leader, Jack Layton

   Canadian news roundup column published on Sunday, August 28, 2011


   THE CANADIAN REPORT
   (c) By Jim Fox

   Continued massive support for Canada’s New Democrats is in question as members of the socialist party struggle to cope with the death of their leader.
   A state funeral was held Saturday for Jack Layton who lost his battle against cancer at age 61.
   It was only last May when the populist leader was credited with leading his party to its greatest election victory ever and became the official opposition in the House of Commons.
   Prime Minister Stephen Harper made an exception to honor Layton with a full state funeral, normally reserved only for heads of state.
   There has been a national outpouring of grief and condolences for Layton as thousands paid their respects at his flag-draped coffin on Parliament Hill and Toronto City Hall before the service at Roy Thomson Hall.
   In a letter written just before his death, Layton urged people fighting cancer not to give up hope as well as those wanting to create a better society in Canada.
   The letter, released by his widow Olivia Chow, urged the party to choose his successor early next year with Nycole Turmel of Quebec continuing as interim leader.
   “Let’s demonstrate in everything we do in the four years before us that we are ready to serve our beloved Canada as its next government,” Layton wrote.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Steady as she goes for Canada's economic recovery

   Canada column for Sunday, Aug. 21/11

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   THE CANADIAN REPORT
   (c) By Jim Fox

   Canada is keeping a “steady-as-she-goes” course against world financial headwinds that could blow it adrift in paying off the federal deficit within three years.
   Finance Minister Jim Flaherty gave that assessment to the House of Commons finance committee while reiterating Canada isn’t immune to global economic problems.
   Even with the economy still growing, there is much concern about the financial well-being of the United States, Canada’s largest trading partner, and Europe.
   "The current problem is largely a lack of confidence in governments to move forward with concrete plans to deal with their deficits," he said.
    Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney told the committee with the world “awash with debt,” it will take years to repair the balance sheets of banks, households and countries.
   "The considerable headwinds are now blowing hard," Carney said, adding the central bank has “a wide range of tools and policy options” to deal with the crisis.
   The assessment along with news that Canada’s consumer price index fell to 2.7 percent last month increased the expectation the bank won’t soon be increasing interest rates.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

U.S. giant affects economic outlook for Canada


   Canada column for Sunday, Aug. 14/11

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   THE CANADIAN REPORT
   (c) By Jim Fox

   Economists say Canada will be unable to escape the shadow of its massive trading partner and neighbor to the south in any world economic upheaval.
   In a “misery-loves-company” scenario, BMO Financial Group has positioned Canada squarely behind the United States by cutting its North American economic growth forecasts for the second time in two weeks.
   “We do not believe there will be another recession in the U.S. economy,” BMO chief economist Sherry Cooper said.
   She suggested that economic growth will be 1.7 percent, down from 2.5 percent projected earlier for this year.
   With the U.S. being Canada’s biggest trading partner, this country’s Gross Domestic Product will now only top out at 2.4 percent, due to a robust first quarter.
   Canada’s jobless rate will rise to 7.3 percent but fall back to 7 percent by the end of next year compared with about 9 percent and 8.5 percent, respectively, in the U.S., BMO said.
   The decision by the U.S. Federal Reserve to leave interest rates low, along with the world economic situation, appears likely to force the Bank of Canada to do the same for now.
   The bank had indicated earlier that interest rates would likely start increasing in the fall.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Canada Report: Economy spooks stock markets, dollar

   Canada column for Sunday, Aug. 7/11

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   THE CANADIAN REPORT
   (c) By Jim Fox

   Canada has been caught up in concerns over the world’s economic prospects as stock markets had their biggest one-day decline in two years and the dollar plunged.
   The Toronto Stock Exchange composite index lost 436 points on Thursday and more than 200 points on Friday blamed by economists on nagging doubts over the economic realities in the United States, Canada’s biggest trading partner.
   The drop on Canada’s major exchange put the index eight-percent lower than where it was at the start of the year.
   As Canada is an oil exporting nation, the drop of more than $5 a barrel cut the Canadian dollar’s value by almost two cents to about $1.02 U.S., down from more than $1.06 a week earlier.
   Economic data showing weaker U.S. manufacturing levels, lower consumer spending and slower job growth “suggests there is now the risk of a serious economic slowdown,” said Sid Mokhtari of CIBC World Markets.