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Monday, July 9, 2018

Auto, truck tariffs would threaten Canadian jobs, manufacturing

   Canada column for Sunday, July 8/18

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Canada’s economy and jobs would take a direct hit should the United States carry out its threat to put tariffs on Canadian-made cars and trucks.
   The government retaliated with tariffs on July 1 against President Donald Trump’s new duties on Canadian steel and aluminum.
   Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised quick action on the further threat of a 25-percent tariff on cars and trucks.
   The federal strategy on tariffs is to neither back down nor escalate the dispute, said Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.
   A CIBC Capital Markets study predicted that U.S. tariffs at 25 percent on foreign auto sales in the U.S. would cut Canadian production by 400,000 vehicles a year.
   That number could rise to 900,000 fewer vehicles annually if such a tariff is aimed solely at Canada.
   The Canadian Automobile Dealers Association wants the government to resist retaliatory tariffs on autos as it would put up to 30,000 sales jobs at risk in the retail sector.


   Prime Minister Trudeau has been trying to deflect questions about a groping allegation arising at a music festival he attended 18 years ago.
   Trudeau, who was a teacher and 28 at the time, said he is “confident” he did not act inappropriately toward a female journalist at the Kokanee Summit festival in British Columbia.
   He did, however, concede the female reporter might have experienced their encounter “differently” than he did and that he apologized at the time for being “so forward.”
   In 2000 after the event, the Creston Valley Advance published an editorial accusing Trudeau of “groping” and “inappropriately handling” a young unnamed female reporter who was covering the festival.


   News in brief:
   - The driver of a semi-trailer that collided with a hockey team bus killing 16 people on April 6 in Saskatchewan now faces multiple counts of dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing death and bodily harm. Jaskirat Singh Sidhu, 29, was arrested Friday after months of investigation into the crash involving the team bus for the Humboldt Broncos en route to a playoff game. As well as those killed, there were 13 seriously injured.
   - Speculation is growing that Canada’s central bank will raise its key interest rate in the next week as labor force statistics show more people are working and there are still-strong wage gains. The Canadian economy added 31,800 positions last month as the jobless rate rose to 6 percent from 5.8 per cent in May, Statistics Canada said. There was an influx of 76,000 job seekers back into the labour market that’s showing a hotter economy.


   Facts and figures:
   Canada’s dollar is higher at 76.39 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.308 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 higher, with the Toronto exchange index at 16,333 points while the TSX Venture index is 740 points.
   The average price for gas in Canada has risen to $1.359 a liter or $5.16 (Canadian) for a U.S. gallon.
   Lotto 6/49: (July 4) 6, 25, 37, 44, 47 and 49; bonus 26. (June 30) 2, 3, 7, 11, 16 and 20; bonus  17. Lotto Max: (June 29) 3, 5, 17, 23, 28, 43 and 46; bonus 29.


   Regional briefs:
   - Two popular travel video bloggers were among three hikers who died after falling into fast-moving water over Shannon Falls north of Vancouver. The High on Life bloggers were Alexey Andriyovych Lyakh and Megan (Misty) Scraper while the third victim was Charles Ryker Gamble. Police said they were walking along the edge and slipped and fell.
   - Postmedia Network, Canada’s largest newspaper group, is closing another six small-town papers and ending print publication at four more to cut costs. Being closed are the Camrose Canadian and Strathmore Standard in Alberta, and the Kapuskasing Northern Times, Ingersoll Times, Norwich Gazette and Petrolia Topic all in Ontario. It will also stop printing the Graphic in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba and in Ontario the Northern News in Kirkland Lake and the Daily Observer in Pembroke.


Jim Fox can be reached at canadareport@hotmail.com

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