Canada column for Sunday, March 12/17
THE CANADIAN REPORT
By Jim Fox
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has let United States officials know that Canada is against any new levies or taxes for people entering the U.S.
A so-called “border adjustment tax,” being talked about by the Republican administration would hurt the economy in both countries, he suggested.
In speaking to a gathering of international politicians and energy sector executives in Houston, Trudeau said the two economies are so closely intertwined that “anything that creates impediments at the border – extra tariffs or new taxes – is something we’re concerned with.”
At the CERAWeek conference, Trudeau gave the keynote address and made the case for investing in Canadian natural resources.
The construction of new pipelines must work alongside carbon-pricing plans designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, he said.
“Nothing is more essential to the U.S. economy than access to a secure, reliable source of energy . . . and Canada is that source,” he added.
Canada has approved Trans Mountain’s Kinder Morgan line and Enbridge’s Line 3 rebuild and is looking for the U.S. to now approve the long-delayed TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline.
The jobless rate across Canada fell to its lowest level in more than two years at 6.6 percent in February, down 0.2 percent from January.
Statistics Canada said the economy created more jobs than expected even as fewer people were looking for work.
Last month 15,300 jobs were added to the workforce, with most in full-time jobs with fewer part-timers.
The numbers suggest to economists that the central Bank of Canada won’t be considering a cut in its 0.5 percent trendsetting interest rate as the economy returns to sustained healthy growth.
News in brief:
- Canada’s federal budget to be unveiled on March 22 is expected to boost private-sector investment in infrastructure and labor along with training workers. Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos is among the cabinet ministers meeting with Canadians to discuss the state of the country’s middle class in advance of the budget. He said the government will try to reduce anxiety among Canadians who feel vulnerable in their jobs, earnings and savings.
- A negative report about pressure to sell products caused the biggest sell-off of shares in the Toronto-Dominion Bank since 2014 on Friday. The Canadian Broadcasting Corp. reported employees admitted taking even unscrupulous acts to meet sales targets and keep their jobs. The stock was off by $3.87 a share, about six percent, as TD disputed the report.
Facts and figures:
The Canadian dollar is lower at 74.26 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.346 Canadian, before exchange fees.
The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate is steady at 0.5 percent while the prime-lending rate is 2.7 percent.
Stock markets are lower, with the Toronto exchange index at 15,481 points while the TSX Venture index is 791 points.
The average price for gas in Canada is higher at $1.069 a liter or $4.06 (Canadian) for a U.S. gallon.
Lotto 6/49: (March 8) 10, 17, 24, 28, 35 and 36; bonus 40. (March 4) 5, 16, 24, 31, 38 and 47; bonus 42. Lotto Max: (March 3) 3, 7, 20, 25, 29, 31 and 44; bonus 27.
- Margaret Mitchell, a former New Democrat Member of Parliament known as a “champion of women’s rights,” has died at age 92. She represented Vancouver East from 1979 to 1993. NDP politician Shane Simpson of Vancouver Hastings said it was “appropriate she passed on International Women’s Day as the fight for women's equality was such an important part of her life’s work.”
- The Canadian government is hoping to spur innovation and growth in the fish and seafood sector in Atlantic Canada. Federal Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc has announced a $325-million Atlantic Fisheries Fund. The government plans to work with the Atlantic provinces to establish priorities for the fund, he said.
- Police arrested a 23-year-old man for drunken driving after he destroyed a $300,000 McLaren Spider sports car in Burlington, east of Toronto. He wasn’t seriously hurt but a second passenger was admitted to a hospital. The car crashed into an electrical box and tree near the man’s home.
Jim Fox can be reached at email@example.com