Tranquillity base

I don’t like Donald Trump any more than anyone else, but I think we should all follow Barack Obama’s lead and give the president-elect some time and space. Forget about the early White House appointments and what they might signal. And don’t fret about the bond market losing $1 trillion in a matter of a few days. The traders are just sending Trump a signal not to count on spending whatever he wants on infrastructure. An inflationary economy is a bad idea. Nor should we worry overly about rowdy demonstrations and police with assault rifles at the ready. This is nothing compared to 1968...

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Doing the two step

Ontario Minister of Transportation Steven Del Duca wrote me a letter recently to say that I’d been chosen at random for a traffic survey. I was delighted to participate. After the weather, traffic is the number one topic of conversation in Toronto. The survey was straightforward. They designated a specific day and asked where I went and how I traveled. In my case, it was simple: a three-point trip by subway downtown to the Toronto-Dominion Centre, on to Yonge and St. Clair, and then home. Hard to imagine what they learned from that. In fact it’s hard to imagine what they’ve...

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Loonie tunes part two

Previously, I chided Stephen Poloz for having exporters too much on his mind as governor of the Bank of Canada. It would seem that he’s driven down the C$ to help exporters yet export sales have not risen to any great extent. In fact, the number of manufacturing firms is dropping all the time. Over the last ten years Canada has lost more than 10,000 manufacturers. Even at a modest 10 employees per plant that’s 100,000 jobs no longer tied to exports. Moreover, most Canadians don’t work in export businesses. About 80 percent of all Canadian jobs are in service roles such as...

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Loonie tunes

David Rosenberg, chief economist with Gluskin Sheff + Associates, parsed the recent pontifications of Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz and noticed repeated use of the word “exports.” Three times in two sentences, in fact. And how Poloz seemed to want an even lower Canadian dollar when measured against the U.S. dollar. So much so that Poloz said the central bank considered lowering interest rates last week but kept them flat. Such an admission by a central banker is very unusual. Rarely do they say what they might have done. Maybe Poloz counted on such talk driving down the C$ even further. If...

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Strike out

Just when you thought Toronto couldn’t look any more foolish, what with a baseball fan throwing a beer can at an outfielder, someone goes to court to stop Cleveland from being called the Indians. Douglas Cardinal, a renowned architect and indigenous Canadian, argued he would be affronted to see the Indians play last night at Rogers Centre. Then Cardinal went to China where he probably couldn’t or didn’t watch the game anyway. I’d like first to declare my bona fides when it comes to such matters. I’ve helped raise money for the Native Canadian Centre so I think I can say, without...

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Tell me that it isn’t true

When I heard that Bob Dylan had won the Nobel Prize for Literature, I felt like a member of the crowd at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965 when the folksinger first went electric: I booed. Dylan might have been a wonderful musician in the 1960s, with or without electrical amplification, but hardly worth a Nobel Prize for Literature. How does “The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind/ the answer is blowin’ in the wind” compare with the works of previous winners such as John Steinbeck, Alice Munro or Boris Pasternak. Was the Nobel Committee in some sort of time warp...

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Fish out of water

Clover Leaf Seafoods has a new website where you can look up information on the tuna in the can you bought. Go to cloverleaf.ca/trace-my-catch. Once on the site you enter the numbers and letters on the can. My can contains albacore tuna. No surprise there. Next, there’s a map showing that the tuna was caught in the South Pacific, east of the Solomon Islands, using longline fishing gear with baited hooks. That’s good, no net scraping the ocean floor. The vessel was the Sui Yuan Yu 30 from China and my tuna was caught sometime between August 9 and September 3, 2015. A year ago....

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Memories are made of this

Along with a lot of other Canadians, I was saddened to hear that BlackBerry will no longer make smartphones. To be sure, the company has been irrelevant for some time. In February 2012, I was in Arizona, thumbing away on my BlackBerry when someone said to me, “You must be the last man in America with a BlackBerry.” Only two years before, when my book on BlackBerry came out, Research In Motion was flying high with 50 percent of the U.S. smartphone market. I remained loyal, and bought the Q10 in 2014, but most didn’t. Market share is now barely measurable. I...

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