Canada column for Sunday, June 28/15
THE CANADIAN REPORT
(c) By Jim Fox
As the value of the Canadian dollar rises and falls, real estate investors from Canada and the United States are expanding their horizons.
Now that the Canadian dollar has settled around 80 cents U.S., more Americans are looking north to buy vacation and recreational properties.
Re/Max agent Priscilla Sookarow recently closed a deal with a Texas family for a $3-million vacation property in the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia.
A big lure, along with the natural beauty of the area and Canada’s natural air-conditioning in the summertime, is the U.S. dollar being worth about $1.23 in Canadian funds.
Other hot areas are British Columbia’s Gulf Islands, Atlantic Canada and Muskoka and Niagara lakefront in Ontario.
It mirrors Canadians buying up houses and vacation properties in Florida, California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas and Hawaii from 2007 to 2011 as prices bottomed out.
Now, many Canadians are cashing in those properties as prices have recovered and the U.S. dollar has strengthened.
Dean Del Mastro, a former Conservative Member of Parliament, has been released on bail as he appeals his conviction of an election violation.
He was sentenced to a month in jail and four months of house arrest for fraud in the 2008 election and barred from seeking public office for five years.
Superior Court Judge Lisa Cameron convicted the Peterborough, Ontario politician for knowingly exceeding campaign spending limits, failing to report a personal contribution of $21,000 and submitting a falsified document.
His actions are the very “antithesis” of democracy and an “affront” to the principles of Canada’s democratic system, Cameron said.
News in brief:
- Thomas Mulcair, leader of the socialist New Democrats, has widened his party’s lead in advance of October’s federal election. A Forum Research poll shows the party with 36 percent support among decided voters while the ruling Conservatives and Liberals are tied at 28 percent. Biggest support is in British Columbia, at 54 percent, Quebec with 36 percent and Ontario, 34 percent.
- Canadian automakers are driving toward their biggest profit in 13 years, powered by a weaker dollar and higher demand for new vehicles. Production of vehicles and parts is expected to grow by 2.5 percent this year, the Conference Board of Canada reported. Canadian auto manufacturer profits should rise to $2.36 billion, the highest since 2002.
Facts and figures:
Canada’s dollar is lower at 81.12 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.232 in Canadian funds, before bank exchange fees.
The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate is steady at 0.75 percent while the prime-lending rate is 2.85 percent.
Markets are mixed, with the Toronto Stock Exchange index up at 14,787 points and the TSX Venture index lower at 680 points.
The average price of gas is lower at a national average of $1.18 a liter or $4.48 (Canadian) for a U.S. gallon.
Lotto 6/49: (June 24) 9, 13, 15, 18, 21 and 46; bonus 25. (June 20) 10, 11, 30, 33, 41 and 44; bonus 20. Lotto Max: (June 19) 7, 14, 15, 16, 21, 30 and 41; bonus 17.
- Grocery-store chain Sobeys plans to cut 1,300 mainly office jobs over two years as it combines operations after acquiring Safeway Canada. The Nova Scotia-based chain will also open automated distribution centers in Ontario and Alberta. Marc Poulin, head of Empire Co., Sobey’s owner, said additional jobs will be eliminated later at a support center in Calgary.
- The Nova Scotia government is adopting all 29 recommendations in a task force report calling for greater enforcement of regulations governing exotic animals. The study was launched after two young boys were killed by an African rock python that escaped from his cage in 2013 while they were at a friend’s apartment for a sleep-over. The homeowner, Jean-Claude Savoie of Campbellton, is facing trial for criminal negligence causing death.
- Alberta’s New Democratic government has enacted bills to ban corporate and union donations to political parties and changed the tax structure so large corporations and the top seven percent of earners will pay more. It was the first order of business for the party that ended 44 years of Conservative rule in the province.
Jim Fox can be reached at email@example.com