Home » Posts tagged 'canada'

Tag Archives: canada

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai III: Catacylsm
Click on image to purchase

Post categories

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai III: Cataclysm
Click on image to purchase

There Are 66,719 Empty Mansions In Vancouver

There Are 66,719 Empty Mansions In Vancouver

One year ago, when we first started discussing the Vancouver housing bubble, which as we first speculated – and was later confirmed – was the result of Chinese oligarch money-launderers parking “hot cash” in this offshore housing market (at least until a 15% property tax on foreign purchases made Seattle the new Vancouver), we said that Vancouver houses had become the de facto new Swiss bank account, and because of that the houses – once purchased – would remain a highly overprized, if vacant tribute to China’s soaring capital outflows.

Now, courtesy of data by urban planner Andy Yan of Simon Fraser University’s City Program, this has been confirmed because according to the latest census numbers, as of 2016 there were 25,502 unoccupied or empty housing units in the City of Vancouver. Expanding to include the entire metro area, Yan found that vacant or temporarily occupied dwellings have more than doubled since 2001 to 66,719 last year as neighborhoods have hollowed out.


A home sits empty, and awaiting demolition, at the corner of Parker Street 

and Victoria Drive in Vancouver on Wednesday

Yan compared census data for Vancouver over several decades to see how the percentage of “unoccupied” units or ones “occupied solely by foreign residents and/or temporary present residents on Census Day” has doubled during that time the Vancouver Sun reported. In 1986, it was 4%. By 2016, it had doubled to 8.2%.

“Exact definitions and measures have changed slightly over 30 years and patterns should be interpreted as directional,” Yan writes in a report released Wednesday.

The number of Vancouver’s prized, if vacant, mansions far outstrips other municipalities with 25,502 units that are either unoccupied or owned by temporary or foreign residents.

Yan said most of these were concentrated in three areas: Coal Harbour, Marine Gateway and Joyce-Collingwood. Surrey came in second at 11,195, Burnaby at 5,829 and Richmond at 4,021.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

38% of Canadians dip into RRSPs early, BMO survey suggests

38% of Canadians dip into RRSPs early, BMO survey suggests

Percentage of respondents withdrawing savings rose from 34% last year, poll indicates

Almost four out of every 10 Canadians withdraw money from an RRSP before they hit 71, a new poll from BMO suggests.

Almost four out of every 10 Canadians withdraw money from an RRSP before they hit 71, a new poll from BMO suggests. (Shutterstock)

Almost four out of every 10 Canadians polled in a recent BMO survey admit they’ve withdrawn money from their RRSP early, and almost a fifth of them don’t ever expect to replenish what they’ve taken out.

According to the poll of 1,500 people, conducted by Pollara but commissioned by Bank of Montreal, more and more Canadians are dipping into their retirement savings to keep their heads above water financially.

In a similar poll last year, 34 per cent of respondents said they had tapped their registered retirement savings plans early. This year, it jumped to 38 per cent.

The survey was conducted online between Dec. 14 and 19. It carries a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, BMO said.

Of those polled who had dipped into the kitty early, almost a third, 30 per cent, said they had a good reason for doing so: buying a house. Under the Home Buyer’s Plan, Ottawa allows an RRSP-holder to withdraw up to $25,000 from their RRSP if they’re going to use the money for a down payment.

But more than a fifth of those who have withdrawn money early said they did so to pay living expenses, and 18 per cent reported they did it to pay down debt — two excuses the tax man will not accept as legitimate enough to waive the penalty for doing so.

“It’s concerning to see that so many Canadians are dipping into their RRSPs to meet short-term needs, which should only be considered as a last resort,” Chris Buttigieg with BMO Wealth Management said in a release announcing the results of the poll.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Questions Remain As Shifting Narrative, Conflicting Testimony Indicates Cover Up in Quebec Terror Incident

Questions Remain As Shifting Narrative, Conflicting Testimony Indicates Cover Up in Quebec Terror Incident

Witness statements and reports which conflict with the Canadian government’s account of what occurred during the tragic January 29th, 2017 Quebec terror attack at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City raise questions about what actually happened the night of the tragedy. The evidence indicates that contrary to the official narrative, there was more than one gunman and multiple weapons were captured in the possession of arrestees. Media outlets also were so eager to claim the incident was caused by white supremacists that they were fooled into reporting false information from parody news accounts on twitter.

I. Multiple Media Sources Cited Witness Statements Claiming There Were Multiple Gunmen, Number Of Weapons Seized Inconsistent With “Lone Wolf” Narrative

The Canadian government’s claims that the Quebec shooting was a “lone wolf” incident is not consistent with multiple media reports and witness statements that there were at least two gunmen participating in the incident. Canadian news source Le Soleil reported that “at least one gunman” participated in the attack. A witness told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that they saw two masked gunmen enter the building, shout the Takbir (Islamic phrase “Allahu akbar” which means “God is great” in Arabic) and open fire on worshippers. The Sun also ran a statement from a 22 year old student named Abdi, who was reading the Koran with his friends at the time of the attack. Abdi similarly said he was convinced he had seen two attackers and that they shouted the Takbir before opening fire. Reuters also ran an additional report citing another witness statement which said that three attackers had taken part in the incident.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Trudeau challenged over carbon pricing on 2nd day of town hall tour

Trudeau challenged over carbon pricing on 2nd day of town hall tour

Prime minister hears frustration from rural resident over high hydro costs in Ontario

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gestures during a town hall meeting in Peterborough, Ont. Friday. Trudeau faced an emotional question about carbon pricing - and sparked some controversy with a comment about a "phase out" of the oilsands.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gestures during a town hall meeting in Peterborough, Ont. Friday. Trudeau faced an emotional question about carbon pricing – and sparked some controversy with a comment about a “phase out” of the oilsands. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was pressed to justify the implementation of a federal price on carbon during a town hall forum on the second day of his whirlwind outreach tour on Friday.

At a public meeting in Peterborough, Ont., Trudeau was asked by a woman struggling to pay her bills, amid high hydro costs in the province, why he was proceeding with a carbon price.

“I feel like you have failed me, and I’m asking you today to fix that,” said the woman, who later identified herself as Kathy Katula of Buckhorn, Ont. “My heat and hydro (electricity) now cost me more than my mortgage.”

“I’m asking you, Mr. Trudeau, how do you justify to a mother of four children, three grandchildren, with physical disabilities, and working up to 15 hours a day, how is it justified for you to ask me to pay a carbon tax when I only have $65 left in my paycheque every two weeks to feed my family,” she said to applause.

Defending his policy on climate change, Trudeau said Canada needs to make a transition away from fossil fuels, but that governments need to ensure that the most vulnerable are taken into account.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Canada’s Goods Producing Sector Caves

Canada’s Goods Producing Sector Caves

Many countries, including the US, report GDP on a quarterly basis. Canada reports on a monthly basis. So today Statistics Canada reported GDP for October. What’s disconcerting isn’t so much that GDP fell 0.3% on a monthly basis – these things happen – though it disappointed economists along the way…

The “results were surprisingly bad,” wrote Krishen Rangasamy, senior economist at Economics and Strategy, National Bank of Canada.

“The GDP report is an ugly snowball of reality to the face of the economy to end the year after a nice run earlier in the fall,” said Douglas Porter, chief economist BMO .

But what was disconcerting was just how much the goods producing sectors are getting hammered across the board.

This chart by NBF Economics and Strategy shows the decline in October (blue bars, left scale), and it also shows that this type of monthly decline, during our mediocre economic era, is not rare. The red line (right scale) shows the annualized rate for the last three months, which is still positive, but careening lower:

Output of the overall goods producing industries caved 1.3% from September. It was broad-based, with manufacturing, mining, quarrying, and oil & gas extraction, construction, utilities, agriculture, and forestry all declining. It more than wiped out the gains of the goods producing sectors in September.

Manufacturing, which contributes about 10% to GDP, has taken a big beating, despite the loonie that the Bank of Canada has successfully devalued over the past few years to make exports more competitive, particularly in the US. But manufacturing output fell 2% on a monthly basis, the largest monthly decline since December 2013. It has gone nowhere since February 2014 (red line):

Both durable and non-durable manufacturing fell. StatCan:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Trudeau Approves Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline As Part of Canada’s ‘Climate Plan’

Trudeau Approves Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline As Part of Canada’s ‘Climate Plan’

Justin Trudeau announced the approval of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline Tuesday, saying the project is integral to meeting Canada’s climate commitments.

Tweet: Sorry, what? @JustinTrudeau says #KinderMorgan is integral to meeting Canada’s climate commitments http://bit.ly/2g3PQLx #bcpoli #cdnpoli“Today’s decision is an integral part of our plan to uphold the Paris Agreement to reduce emissions while creating jobs and protecting the environment,” Trudeau told reporters at a press conference.

The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project will twin an existing pipeline running from Alberta to Burnaby, B.C. increasing transport capacity from 300,000 barrels of oil per day to 890,000 barrels per day. Trudeau also approved an application to increase capacity of the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline from 390,000 to 915,000 barrels per day.

According to Environment and Climate Change Canada, the two pipelines combined represent an increase of 23 to 28 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent released into the atmosphere.

Under the Paris Agreement Canada pledged to reduce emissions 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. Canada’s current policies aren’t expected to meet those targets. According to a recent analysis by Climate Action Network, Canada is expected to miss those targets by 91 megatonnes.

Trans Mountain and Line 3 put Canada at a further disadvantage when it comes to meeting those targets.

If built, these projects would facilitate huge growth in the tar sands,” Adam Scott, analyst with Oil Change International, said, “increasing total greenhouse gas pollution by as much as [27 megatonnes] of CO2 every year — equivalent to the pollution from 58 million cars on the road.”

Trudeau acknowledged the Trans Mountain approval was made in light of increased production in the oilsands.

We know there will be an increase in the production in oilsands in coming years,” Trudeau said, adding Canada’s pipeline network is operating at capacity, meaning more pipelines are necessary.

But Scott says that position isn’t backed up by the facts.

There is no need for any additional pipeline capacity,” Scott said, pointing to a recent analysis done by Oil Change International.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Donald Trump’s win ‘bad news for the auto industry,’ says David Dodge

Donald Trump’s win ‘bad news for the auto industry,’ says David Dodge

Former Bank of Canada governor predicts factories could move south of the border

A Chevrolet Cruze is assembled at General Motors' Lordstown Assembly Plant in Ohio. Donald Trump's goal of putting America first in trade agreements could be a problem for Ontario's auto industry.

A Chevrolet Cruze is assembled at General Motors’ Lordstown Assembly Plant in Ohio. Donald Trump’s goal of putting America first in trade agreements could be a problem for Ontario’s auto industry. (Mark Duncan/Associated Press)

A former Bank of Canada governor says renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement with president-elect Donald Trump will be dangerous for Canada’s automotive industry.

Part of Trump’s win has been credited to voters in the rust belt — Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania — where his anti–trade and protectionist promises played well with the electorate.

And he’ll remain beholden to those voters if he wants to stay in power, says Dodge.
“We’re going to have more of our classic border skirmishes with the Americans. The Canada-U.S. border will get thicker. I worry more about a lot of the bits and pieces that make trade difficult, as opposed to a wholesale slaughter,” he told the CBC’s Chris Hall in an interview for The House. 
Dodge federal budget

Former Bank of Canada governor David Dodge says Finance Minister Bill Morneau needs to focus on ‘setting the stage’ for the next four years ahead of this week’s federal budget. (Tom Hanson/Canadian Press)

“This is bad news for the auto industry in Ontario.… The only thing I can hope is the North American auto industry is so integrated across these borders and stuff flies back and forth so much that you can’t keep American factories operating without that flow taking place in the short run.”
…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Tiny Region of Wallonia in Small Country of Belgium Trips up Global Corporatocracy

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Pipeline Memo Guiding Trudeau Gov’t ‘Riddled with Mistakes’

Pipeline Memo Guiding Trudeau Gov’t ‘Riddled with Mistakes’

Economist Allan tells Natural Resources it was ‘dangerously misled’ four ways.

A Natural Resources memo extolling the economic benefits of more bitumen pipelines for Canada is “riddled with factual and analytical mistakes” that could “dangerously mislead” elected officials and the public, says an economist who has pored over its claims.

In a detailed 10-page letter, B.C. economist Robyn Allan has warned Jim Carr, minister of Natural Resources, that the memo’s conclusions are “unreliable and yet, based on recent public statements, you have adopted them to conclude new pipelines, such as Trans Mountain’s expansion, are necessary.”

Trans Mountain is one of four proposed pipeline projects, controversial for safety and climate change concerns, currently under consideration.

Allan’s letter documents a series of major errors in the February memo titled “Economic Benefits of Pipelines.” The memo wasn’t released until July due to a Freedom of Information Request. Allan, who served as president and CEO of the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia and as senior economist for B.C. Central Credit Union, analyzed the document in September.

The memo to the minister contends that Canada’s oil pipelines are currently operating at “over potential”; that they need one million barrels of new capacity by 2020; that lack of tidewater access has cost the economy billions and that Asian markets are “fast growing.”

Yet the facts support none of these claims says Allan, who has long questioned the economic argument for expanding bitumen production in an era of low and volatile oil prices.

Allan asserts these errors:

1. Not true that pipelines are operating beyond potential.

The memo states that Canada’s pipelines were operating at fullest potential in 2014. But it omits the ongoing problem of leaking and faulty pipelines and its dramatic impact on pipeline capacity.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

David Suzuki: We Can’t Dig Our Way Out of the Fossil Fuels Hole

David Suzuki: We Can’t Dig Our Way Out of the Fossil Fuels Hole

Rather than focusing on short-term economic and corporate priorities, though, politicians should first consider the long-term health and well-being of the people they’re elected to represent. When it comes to climate change and fossil fuels, many aren’t living up to that.

We celebrate the federal government’s decision to implement nation-wide carbon pricing, even though what’s proposed won’t, without additional measures like regulations, get us to our commitments under the Paris Agreement, which is also inadequate for keeping global warming from catastrophic levels. A government could be forgiven for going slow on a measure opposed by some industrial sectors, provinces and citizens, but it’s difficult to take a government seriously when it approves or supports expanding fossil fuel infrastructure and development while the world continues to break warming records, with increasingly dire consequences.

massive B.C. “carbon bomb” LNG project in the midst of critical salmon-rearing territory, in defiance of many area First Nations’ wishes. Likely approval of at least one more bitumen pipeline to support expanded oil sands development. A provincial government that pretty much says, “We’ll support federal efforts to fight climate change if you support our efforts to fuel it.” None of this makes sense.

As a report from non-profit Oil Change International and 14 other groups concludes, “The potential carbon emissions from the oil, gas, and coal in the world’s currently operating fields and mines would take us beyond 2°C of warming,” and “The reserves in currently operating oil and gas fields alone, even with no coal, would take the world beyond 1.5°C.” That’s without any new development!

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

There’s No Plateau in a Housing Bubble, Not Even in Canada

There’s No Plateau in a Housing Bubble, Not Even in Canada

Vancouver in turmoil, Toronto spikes.

Canadian house prices jumped 11.7% in September from a year ago, according to The Teranet–National Bank National Composite House Price Index released today. But the index papers beautifully over the dynamics in each metro.

In six of the 11 metro markets of the index, prices have been languishing or even declining over the past couple of years, as they’ve hit the wall of reality after often stupendous price gains in the prior decade: Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton, Quebec City, Halifax, and Ottawa-Gatineau.

In the two largest markets – Toronto and Vancouver, which combined account for 54% of the index – prices have blown through the roof. Both markets are among the hottest, most over-priced housing bubbles in the world. UBS recently ranked Vancouver Number 1 globally on that honor roll.

But suddenly the dynamics have changed.

Vancouver’s housing market is in turmoil, to use a mild word, as sales have crashed, after the implementation of a real-estate transfer tax this summer by British Columbia, aimed squarely at non-resident investors. In Vancouver, those investors are mostly Chinese. And where do these folks now go to inflate prices? Toronto.

Still, the national house price index (red line, right scale), after the 11.7% jump over the past 12 months (blue columns, left scale), has doubled since 2005!

canada-house-price-index-2016-09

The index, similar to the Case-Shiller Home Price index in the US, is based on repeat sales. It looks at properties that sold at least twice over the years to establish “sales pairs.” It then uses a proprietary formula to deduct price changes from these transactions and extrapolate them into an index for each of the 11 markets and nationally. It’s not perfect, but it offers an alternative view to median prices or Canada’s “benchmark” prices.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Canada’s Fourth Largest Bank Erases $1 Billion In Excess Capital In Unexpected Accounting Gimmick

Canada’s Fourth Largest Bank Erases $1 Billion In Excess Capital In Unexpected Accounting Gimmick

Early in 2016, when oil prices were plunging and when US banks were careful to push up their loan loss reserves to exposed E&P loans, we noted something surprising: Canadian banks had barely taken any loss reserves to their exposure in the oil and gas sector.

As and RBC report calculated at the time, if they used the same average reserve level as that applied by US banks, Canadian banks’ current loss allowance excluding RBC would surge from $170MM to over $2.5 billion, resulting in a substantial hit to earnings, and potentially impairing the banks’ ability to service dividends and future cash distributions.

For months this discrepancy persisted even as oil remained well below last year’s levels, leaving Canadian bank watchers stumped as to just how Canadian banks planned to pull this particular “Exxon” without suffering balance sheet impariment, until this morning when we may have gotten the answer how the local Canadian money centers “planned” to resolve this odd accounting gimmick.

Today Bank of Montreal, perhaps the biggest violator of the loan loss reserve recongition, fell the most in two months after restating it restated its regulatory capital ratios for the first three quarters of the year. As Bloomberg first noticed, the shares slid 1.3% to C$84.72 in morning trade, the most intraday since July 27 and the worst performance in the eight-company S&P/TSX Composite Commercial Banks Index. The stock has gained 8.5 percent since Dec. 31. What was most notable about the restatement is that as one analyst calculated, the move was comparable to erasing C$1.3 billion ($1 billion) of excess capital at Canada’s fourth-largest lender.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Canada Moves To Burst Housing Bubble, Closes Foreign-Buyer Loophole

Canada Moves To Burst Housing Bubble, Closes Foreign-Buyer Loophole

In a move which many Canadians, especially those who have been persistently priced out of the housing market, welcomed with open arms, overnight Finance Minister Bill Morneau unveiled new measures aimed at slowing the flood of foreign money pouring into overheated housing markets like Vancouver and Toronto, a move which some dubbed an unprecedented federal intervention in the sector.

As first reported by the Globe and Mail, Ottawa announced it would close a tax loophole that allows non-residents to buy homes and later claim a tax exemption on the sales.

According to the revision, the government will make sure the principal-residence exemption is only available to individuals who reside in Canada in the year the home is purchased, which immediately excludes thousands of “hot money” Chinese tourists who come to Canada simply to park billions in Chinese cash.

The Ottawa shift comes after home prices soared dramatically the last few years in the Vancouver and Toronto markets, triggering a vigorous debate about the role of foreign money. As reported in the summer, British Columbia imposed a 15-per-cent foreign buyers tax on homes which led to a dramatic cooling in the Vancouver housing market. Just today we learned that Vancouver home sales had plunged another 32.6% relative to a year ago as the market remains paralyzed as a result of a lack of buyers willing to chase near record prices.

The finance minister also announced new measures to combat offshore speculation, including closing the loophole. The moves follow a Globe and Mail investigation that revealed a network of speculators flipping homes for profit and avoiding taxes by classifying them as principal residences.

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

In September, Did the Liberals Out-Harper the Conservatives?

In September, Did the Liberals Out-Harper the Conservatives?

On climate, foreign workers, and unions, Trudeau government moves this month have rankled progressives.

The key players in Stephen Harper’s government would have been high-fiving after the month Justin Trudeau’s is finishing up.

In September, the Liberal government took a hard line stance with a public union, held steady to the Conservatives’ greenhouse gas targets, approved a liquefied natural gas plant and pipeline assailed by environmentalists and Indigenous groups, and some say signalled it may extend, rather than curtail, powers to spy on citizens granted by the Harper government’s controversial Bill C-51.

For good measure, Trudeau’s Liberals also suggested making it easier for businesses to bring more temporary foreign workers to Canada, taking a position even Harper had backed away from after abuses of the federal program hit the headlines. The Conservatives tightened restrictions on who can hire foreign workers under the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. Earlier this month, a Liberal-dominated Parliamentary committee released a report recommending easier access to the program for businesses.

Trudeau rode to victory in October by running to the left of the NDP on many issues. In New York this month, he painted his government, and Canada, as progressive beacons to the world, particularly in welcoming refugees.

But at home, the Trudeau government’s actions have left many progressive Canadians feeling frustrated and misled.

Even Conservatives are concluding that Trudeau’s team has come to embrace Harper’s political agenda.

Conservative Colin Carrie, Oshawa MP and critic for health, says the Liberals’ decision to “copy” Conservative policy shows the Harper government was on the right track.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

 

Dakota Pipeline Struggle Between the ‘People’ and the ‘Powerful’ Remains Underreported

Dakota Pipeline Struggle Between the ‘People’ and the ‘Powerful’ Remains Underreported 

    Angela Miracle Gladue, a member of the Frog Lake First Nations, a Cree community in Edmonton, Canada, attends a rally in support of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and in opposition to the Dakota Access oil pipeline. The event was in Lafayette Park near the White House in mid-September. (Jacquelyn Martin / AP)

A David and Goliath story is unfolding in North Dakota with a familiar theme: The “people” (who seek to do good for the planet) versus the “powerful” (who want to pursue evil that destroys the lives of the people and earth).

The colossal struggle around the extraction of the earth’s diminishing natural resources has been mounting since the Keystone XL pipeline proposal was commissioned in 2010. At that point, the Rosebud Sioux Nation in South Dakota and other native nations declared the pipeline construction “an act of war” that violates tribal sovereignty and abrogates treaty rights. The villainy continued when Bank of America became the lead financier of the lofty-sounding Plains All American Red River II pipeline that violated the same rights of the native peoples of Oklahoma.

This undeclared war continues in Canada with the controversial Kinder Morgan tar sands pipeline and export terminal facility. That proposal seeks to plow new pipelines and shipping lanes through the pristine wilds of Canada and its Salish Sea in order to transport some 890,000 barrels daily of Alberta tar sand liquid bitumen through areas inhabited by indigenous and non-indigenous peoples, as well as plants and animals.

Kinder Morgan, the largest pipeline company in the U.S., was founded by Richard Kinder, who took over from Jeffrey Skilling, the former CEO of Enron, now serving 24 years in prison for fraud and insider trading. Called “the luckiest ex-Enron employee” by The Wall Street Journal, Kinder is the 110th richest man alive, with a net worth of $8.2 billion.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai II: Exodus
Click on image to purchase

Olduvai III: Cataclysm
Click on image to purchase