Welcome

Greetings to thousands of readers the past month from the United States and Canada, as well as the United Kingdom, Russia, India, Germany, France, Japan and Latvia.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Canada warns of worldwide economic meltdown unless tough action is taken in Europe

   Canada column published Sunday, Sept. 25/11

   ---

   THE CANADIAN REPORT
   (c) By Jim Fox

   Canada’s finance minister has issued a stern economic warning to the world as Canadian stock markets plunged and the dollar dropped below parity with the U.S. greenback.
   Jim Flaherty said another financial meltdown similar to what happened in 2008 will happen if action isn’t taken to deal with the world debt crisis, particularly in Europe.
   Uncontrolled government debt could sink the economies of Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal and “there’s been a lack of political decisiveness in Europe,” he said.
   The Canadian government vows to eliminate its deficit by 2014 and cut $4 billion in annual spending through program reductions and efficiencies.
   Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other world leaders have called for strong action at Cannes G20 summit in November to boost economic stability and growth.
   Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, said growing debt problems in Europe and the United States are “entering a dangerous phase.”
   After a major selloff on the Toronto Stock Exchange and lower oil prices, Canada’s dollar dropped three cents to 97 cent U.S., its lowest level in almost a year.

Monday, September 19, 2011

New Democrats pull together as Canada's Parliament resumes

   Canada column for Sunday, Sept. 18/11

   ---

   THE CANADIAN REPORT
   (c) By Jim Fox

   When Canada’s Parliament resumes on Monday, it will be without a familiar face as the New Democrats attempt to pull together after the death of their leader.
   Politician Olivia Chow, widow of the socialist party’s leader Jack Layton who died last month of cancer at age 61, emotionally urged members to stay united.
   “We have a lot of work to do to carry on his torch,” Chow told the party caucus.
   “I’m so glad there are over 100 of us to take on that work because we know that we are united and strong in the values of the New Democratic Party of Canada that Jack embodied throughout his life,” she added.
   Layton had his greatest election victory last May when he led the party to number two in the standings, electing 102 members, and making the New Democrats the official opposition in the House of Commons.
   The party’s challenge is to be effective without being divided or distracted by the process of selecting a new leader next March.
   Interim leader Nycole Turmel said Layton’s legacy is his political team that “can’t wait to get back to Parliament and take on (Prime Minister) Stephen Harper.”

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Many Canadians feel they are forced to work longer before "Freedom 55" retirement years

   Canada column published on Sunday, Sept. 11/11

   ---

   THE CANADIAN REPORT
   By Jim Fox

   Goodbye “Freedom 55” as more cash-strapped Canadians are forced to work longer before retiring.
   Freedom 55 was a Canadian financial corporation’s advertising slogan, referring to being able to retire at age 55 – before recessionary and taxation impacts of recent years.
   Now, more than two-thirds of Canadians say they have set back their retirement plans because they can’t save enough to quit working, a survey by the Canadian Payroll Association has found.
   The survey said 57 percent of Canadians live from paycheck to paycheck and about half save less than 5 percent of their annual net pay for retirement, not the 10 percent recommended by planners.
   It is “particularly troubling” that 74 percent of workers say they have been able to save less than a quarter of their retirement savings goal, said Dianne Winsor, association chair.
   Even with Canada’s socialized “free” medical care, financial planners recommend keeping at least three months of expenses, such as for rent, mortgage, bills and groceries, available as an emergency fund.

Canadian politicians feeling confident of U.S. approval for Keystone oil pipeline

   Canada column published on Sunday, Sept. 4/11

   ---

   THE CANADIAN REPORT
   By Jim Fox

   The Canadian government is confident the U.S. administration will approve a $7-billion pipeline to supply Texas refineries with crude oil from Canada.
   "I think that we can look forward to eventual approval by the American government," Environment Minister Peter Kent said of the controversial 1,700-mile pipeline.
   While acknowledging concerns of environmental protesters – with hundreds of them arrested outside the White House – Kent said he supports TransCanada's Keystone XL pipeline.
   An Obama administration report concluded the pipeline, which would supply about 500,000 barrels of oil daily from Alberta’s tar sands, is unlikely to cause significant environmental concerns. It would double the capacity of an existing pipeline from Canada.
   A final decision is expected by the end of the year and the pipeline could be in operation in 2013.
   "The fundamental issue is energy security,” said TransCanada president Russ Girling.
   This will allow the U.S. to “secure access to a stable and reliable supply of oil from Canada where we protect human rights and the environment.”
   The alternative is to “import more higher-priced oil from nations who do not share America's interests or values,” he added.