Canada column for Sunday, May 20/18
THE CANADIAN REPORT
(c) By Jim Fox
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made his best pitch yet at Yankee Stadium for an agreement on a revised North American Free Trade Agreement.
As Canada, the United States and Mexico looked for a speedy resolution of the talks, Trudeau was making a commencement speech to New York University graduates at the ball park.
It was the 16th time Trudeau has taken a working trip to the U.S. since becoming prime minister in 2015 to tell his audiences that the Canada-U.S. trade relationship is critical for both countries.
Despite his best efforts and optimism that a deal was close, Trudeau also spoke with U.S. President Donald Trump who earlier threatened to end the agreement.
The U.S. then rebuffed Trudeau’s hope for deal for the pact first signed in 1994 and for which negotiations to modernize it began last August.
U.S. trade czar Robert Lighthizer said a deal wasn’t imminent due to differences on intellectual property, agriculture, online purchases, energy, labor, rules of origin and other issues.
While in New York, Trudeau received an honorary degree from the university.
The top spot on Christie’s global list of the hottest luxury housing markets is Victoria, British Columbia.
The Vancouver Island city leads the list prepared by the real estate division of the famed auction company.
It said strong sales growth and high demand for housing put the city at the top of those around the world.
Right behind are San Diego and Orange County, California, Washington D.C. and Paris.
Toronto was in 9th spot for prime property and Muskoka, Ontario was second for hottest secondary/leisure home markets.
News in brief:
- Radical Ontario Conservative leader Doug Ford, still leading in the polls for the June 7 provincial election, says he will cut corporate taxes and reduce the price of gasoline by 10 cents a liter (38 cents a U.S. gallon). He said his party wants to trim corporate taxes by one percent to 10.5 percent and put more money “back into the pockets” of business owners and taxpayers. The program costs will be funded by “billions of dollars of efficiencies” his party will find, he said.
- Inflation is continuing at its strongest pace in six years at 2.2 percent last month, down 0.1 percent. Along with higher gas prices, more expensive air transportation and restaurant meals put upward pressure on inflation. The Bank of Canada is expected to remain on the sidelines with no key interest rate hike until at least July, economists predict.
Facts and figures:
Canada’s dollar is lower at 77.6 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.288 in Canadian funds (exchange fees extra).
The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate remains at 1.25 percent while the prime-lending rate is 3.45 percent.
Stock markets are higher, with the Toronto exchange index at 16,162 points while the TSX Venture index is 786 points.
The average price for gas in Canada has risen to $1.36 a liter or $5.16 (Canadian) for a U.S. gallon.
Lotto 6/49: (May 16) 19, 21, 28, 30, 39 and 46; bonus 7. (May 12) 6, 17, 21, 34, 37 and 44; bonus 13. Lotto Max: (May 11) 11, 22, 28, 33, 39, 43 and 47; bonus 23.
- The Canadian government will compensate the Kinder Morgan company for any further delays in construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline caused by political bickering, Prime Minister Trudeau said. The offer is “an insurance policy of sorts” so the controversial pipeline expansion will be built to take Alberta crude oil to British Columbia seaports.
- The strike by 2,300 workers at Caesars casino in Windsor, Ontario continues after Unifor Local 444 rejected a second tentative contract agreement. The vote against was 53 percent after the union and casino management announced a new agreement. The workers left their jobs and the casino closed on April 6 over demands for more money and better working conditions.
Jim Fox can be reached at email@example.com