Yearly Archive: 2011

Happy Holidays

Thank you for your loyal readership. Season’s Greetings to all and a Happy, Healthy New Year in 2012.

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Time for them to go

Much in all as it pains me to say this, it’s time for Mike Lazaridis and Jim Balsillie to step aside at Research In Motion. After almost twenty years as co-CEOs, the world record long ago set, the company needs new leadership. The offer by Mike and Jim to reduce their salaries to $1 a year is bold but does not speak to the issues involved. Others need to participate in the solution. As share price plummeted 80 per cent this year, institutional investors have been unusually quiet. A modest revolt at the time of the annual meeting was snuffed...

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Deutschland uber alles

I’m not one to play Chicken Little but the situation in Europe appears to be intractable. For 18 months politicians and bureaucrats have been claiming to do something but so far little has been accomplished. To be sure, some holders of Greek bonds voluntarily took a haircut, central banks have acted in concert, and leaders in Greece and Italy are out but the situation just grows worse. Tomorrow marks the eight summit on the crisis this year. The worst case scenario is a cascading collapse that makes the Great Depression look like Disneyland. Meanwhile net world debt just keeps on rising, up...

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The grieving process

It’s been six months since Sandy died. Anyone who has lost a spouse, a mother, a son, or a close friend knows what these past few months have been like. At first, I couldn’t sleep at night and I couldn’t stay awake during the day. My stress levels were high. Tears would flow without notice. I saw a man on the subway carrying flowers I assumed he was taking home to his wife. That used to be me. I stood there and openly wept. Family and friends have been very supportive. Without them, I couldn’t have made it this far....

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Enough

For a time I was able to argue the Occupy Toronto situation either way. I agreed with those encamped at St. James Park that there are wrongs in society and within the economy that need to be addressed. But once attention has been drawn, then what? They have no plan, no leader, not even an ideology to keep them warm. And yet I don’t want the rough-and-ready police response that we have seen in some cities. The protesters are not terrorists although they did charge through a few downtown office towers a couple of weeks ago. As a result, access...

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Up a lazy river

The Conference Board of Canada has been harping about productivity for years, but their most recent figures are startling. Canadian productivity levels are only 80 per cent of what they are in the U.S., our largest trading partner. If Canada had kept pace with productivity growth in the United States during the last two decades, every Canadian would have $7,500 more in annual disposable income. Moreover, real GDP would have been 21.3 per cent higher, governments would have collected $31 billion more in revenue, and deficits would be less troublesome. Why has this happened? First off, productivity isn’t about people working...

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Road to the White House

Now that a second accuser has come forward to talk about sexual harassment at the wandering hand of Herman Cain, I think it’s safe to say that his run for the Republican nomination is all but over. With Texas Governor Rick Perry also sinking in the polls, it looks as if Mitt Romney will eventually prevail. I had an interesting conversation a few days ago with an old friend, a Republican, living in the Deep South. There was a time when he couldn’t have voted for Governor Romney because of his Mormonism. “How can I support someone who thinks Jesus...

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To catch a thief

I passed my neighborhood Shoppers Drug Mart today and noticed the life-sized Justin Bieber cut-out that had been in the window for a few weeks had been replaced by another display. I wheeled inside, hoping to buy or otherwise obtain Beebs for my granddaughter, a fan. The cosmetician just rolled her eyes. Turns out I’m not exactly the only interested party. The cosmetician had recently attended a Shoppers gathering at which she’d learned the pop star’s cardboard cut-out had already been stolen from 36 Shoppers stores. The cut-outs are meant to promote the singer’s new fragrance, Someday, and according to...

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