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Monday, June 18, 2018

Buy Canadian movement is catching on after U.S. tariffs, threats

   Canada column for Sunday, June 17/18

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Canadians are being urged to stay cool as they react to punishing tariffs, threats and verbal knocks from U.S. officials.
   An online movement urges a boycott of U.S. goods and vacations and buying T-shirts saying “Buy Canadian Eh” (www.teespring.com/shop/buy-canadian-eh) that is gaining momentum.
   Economists suggest that a trade war could only make matters worse.
   Things heated up after the G7 conference in Quebec last weekend when U.S. President Donald Trump objected to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau saying that Canada wouldn’t be pushed around by the U.S.
   He tweeted that Trudeau was “dishonest” and “weak” while White House trade advisor Peter Navarro went further to comment that there is “a special place in hell” for Trudeau.
   Trump later said Trudeau’s comments would cost Canadians “a lot of money.”
   The Canadian government plans strategic retaliatory tariffs on July 1 to counter the U.S. fees on steel and aluminum and there are threats to expand that to the automotive sector.
   Social media hashtags such as #BuyCanadian, #BoycottUSA and #BoycottUSProducts include #ThanksCanada for Americans to show support for Canadians.

   Weaker home sales in British Columbia and Ontario have prompted the Canadian Real Estate Association to lower its national home sales forecast by 11 percent.
   Sales will drop to 459,900 units this year, it said, as that also takes into account higher home prices, interest rate hikes, market uncertainty, supply shortages, government policies and the new mortgage stress test to determine buyer affordability.
   The national average price for houses sold last month was $496,000 (Canadian), down 6.4 percent from a year ago.


   News in brief:
   - Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer wants Liberal Prime Minister Trudeau take measures to stop immigrants “jumping the line illegally” at unofficial border crossings with the U.S. This is causing a “public safety crisis at our borders” while those who follow the rules to seek asylum in Canada “now must wait longer” than the line-jumpers, he said.
   - A Conservative filibuster that forced an all-night voting session stalled progress on the government’s cannabis legalization bill and other work in the Commons. The party forced the Liberal government to delay work to deal with more than 100 motions in a protest over not being told how much the carbon pricing plan will cost Canadians. Finance critic Pierre Poilievre said the government obviously “has got something to hide.”


   Facts and figures:
   Canada’s dollar has fallen to a value of 75.8 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.319 in Canadian funds (bank exchange fees extra).
   The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate is steady at 1.25 percent while the prime-lending rate is 3.45 percent.
   Stock markets are mixed, with the Toronto exchange index up at 16,321 points while the TSX Venture index is lower at 754 points.
   The average price for gas in Canada is higher at $1.329 a liter or $5.05 (Canadian) for a U.S. gallon.
   Lotto 6/49: (June 13) 6, 22, 24, 31, 32 and 34; bonus 16. (June 9) 19, 25, 31, 36, 46 and 47; bonus 26. Lotto Max: (June 8) 12, 25, 27, 29, 34, 44 and 45; bonus 7.


   Regional briefs:
   - Polls show Coalition Avenir Quebec Leader François Legault, who co-founded Air Transat, in first place for the Oct. 1 provincial election. Legault said he is best suited to counter the U.S. tariff policies and their impact on Quebec as opposed to current Liberal Premier Philippe Couillard, a former brain surgeon. Parti Quebecois Leader Jean-Francois Lisee is in third spot.
   - British Columbia residents still believe it was “poo” that fell from the sky onto their cars recently in Kelowna and Abbotsford. Transport Canada says, however, it was not “human feces from an aircraft” referred technically as frozen lavatory waste or “blue ice.” Susan Allan said the substance that fell into her eyes through her car’s sunroof was foul-smelling and “had to be excrement.”


Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com

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