Tuesday, December 9, 2008

By the Numbers

ITEM: Chrysler Canada is threatening to take their car plant and bolt to the US. Give us $1.6 Billion in taxpayers bounty or we will leave 8,000 Canadians out of work. Nice.

ITEM: Condo construction accounts for 60% of all new housing starts in Vancouver and those starts are down 29% over last month. Of course, it's Christmas.

ITEM: Tribune Co., which owns the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Cubs baseball team, among other gems, has filed for bankruptcy. And you thought you had problems.

ITEM: Air Canada is bleeding from its many noses as usual and its CFO said, "Later."

ITEM: Anheuser-Busch, brewers of Bud, is cutting 1,400 jobs to save $1.5 Billion.

All the news out of Ottawa is about the seat jockeying bull.

Nothing yet about the economic guillotine hanging over Canadian heads.

Fiddling while Rome burns? Is that a good enough metaphor?

Piddling and putzing while profits are punished?

Head in the sand? Head deep up your own....?

I have friends deeply divided on the Harper-Coalition noise.

This is easy for me. I am not torn at all.

I think they are all disgusting. Harper and the Liberal/NDP/Bloc have equally spit in the face of democracy.

Tell me, show me how one side or the other is blameless.

Show me a statement from either camp in the last 14 days that displays an iota of concern for Canadian citizens.

And the media is so caught up in the cults of personality that it has lost any small focus that it might have had.


Anonymous said...

"I have friends deeply divided on the Harper-Coalition noise."

Namely, my wife . . . . she's for the Coalition and I'm not. Neither one of us like the Conservatives, especially their leader but she's a Labour leader, so . . . . Me, I just don't like the way the Coalition is subverting our constitutional history, no matter how it may be written. However, I don't want to see another vote either because my fear is that the Coalition has blown it with their leadership fiascoes and therefore the Conservatives just might win with a majority.

If there's a vote, the Coalition will certainly get it though as having a Harper majority would be the scariest scenario of all. IMHO

Anonymous said...

The economy grew last quarter, housing starts are up we're not even in a recession. Stick to stuff you know, like movies and songs, the economy you just look foolish.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps *you* anonymous should stick to stuff *You* know.

"Housing starts fall 21% as condo construction slows: CMHC
Last Updated: Monday, December 8, 2008 | 10:50 AM ET CBC News

November housing starts fell to 172,000 units, representing a 21.6 per cent decline in year-over-year comparisons, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation said Monday.

The federal agency attributed the decline in part to slumping demand in the condo market.

"Note that at the beginning of the new millennium, Canada posted strong housing start levels given a pent-up demand that existed then," said Bob Dugan.

"Over the last few years, this excess demand gradually decreased and our forecast for 2008 and 2009 reflects this new reality with housing starts, more aligned with long run demographic demand."

Seasonally adjusted urban multiple starts fell 29.1 per cent to 81,700 units from 115,300 in October. Urban single starts slowed nine per cent to 63,100 units."

I agree David when you say "I think they are all disgusting. Harper and the Liberal/NDP/Bloc have equally spit in the face of democracy."

They all disgust me. I don't want a majority government with Harper at the helm and I don't respect or want any of the other jokers.


Anonymous said...

David, there is more to come, much more - the second volley of sub-prime mortgage defaults will happen this May and the third a year later!

From the rumor mill:

Ebay in trouble; Amazon.com in trouble; half of the US electronic retailers in trouble; and so on!

A report on CBS news said a fully one fifth of shopping malls in the USA may close within 2 years!

The "Depression" word is being used more and more often ~ we live in interesting times. And what our politicans are doing ~ zip ~ having a hissy fit!

Anonymous said...

A 90 year old gentleman that I know (long,long retired from politics) was heard to say:
A constitutional crisis over this?
And they want to call me senile!
There are other things that are so called "leaders" need to focus on.

Anonymous said...

Not in a recession . . . says who?

From the CBC News site . . . (note the third paragraph in particular . . . )

The Bank of Canada slashed a key interest rate by three-quarters of a percentage point Tuesday as the central bank moved to combat major economic weakness.

With the interest rate reduction — the biggest drop since one of a similar size in October 2001— the bank's overnight rate now stands at 1.5 per cent, a level not seen since 1958.

"While Canada's economy evolved largely as expected during the summer and early autumn, it is now entering a recession as a result of the weakness in global economic activity," the bank said.

"The recent declines in terms of trade, real income growth and confidence are prompting more cautious behaviour by households and businesses."

Most economists had been expecting a cut of half of a percentage point, although some had been calling for the more aggressive reduction the central bank made.

In the wake of the Bank of Canada's decision, the Canadian dollar fell 0.66 of a cent, closing at 79.08 cents US, after being down close to a cent earlier in the day.

After the central bank's move, TD Bank became the first of the country's big banks to reduce its prime lending rate — what it charges its top customers — although it didn't go for the full reduction of 0.75 of a percentage point. TD dropped its prime rate by a half-point to 3.5 per cent. The other top banks followed suit.

Economists said the central bank may not be done with interest rate cuts, given the weak condition of the economy.

"Canada is only just entering a recession that will likely get worse before it gets better," said TD Bank economist James Marple.

"Given the further deterioration in the outlook for inflation, an additional 50-basis-point cut when the Bank of Canada meets again on Jan. 20 is a reasonable expectation."

Dawn Desjardins, assistant chief economist at Royal Bank, believes the Bank of Canada's key rate will remain at 1.5 per cent, although she said future cuts could be necessary if the economic downturn is protracted.

Anonymous said...

I suspect the Pac Press Papers support the P3 principle only because they wants some of that good old-fashioned government money for themselves.

(Do the hundreds of millions of tax dollars promised to the Asper Foundations' Canadian Museum for Human Rights count?)

MurdocK said...


Interesting that you chose the guillotine as your image.

The unravelling of the 'nation-state' since the French Revolution gave them their great big start has been ongoing.

I do not think you can pin anything on the current Federal Government, as your point about the Chrysler plant, Condos, Tribune Co, Air Canada, and Bud brewers points out...the largest of conglomorate players are starting to fall. Perhaps economies of scale and slashing work forces are not the 'right way' to go?

I have to ask,
"Is Rome burning? Or is it undergoing a great transformation?"

A transformation as radical as the switch from the Agrarian ecomomy to the Industrial one...something that really got going after the end of the Napoleonic Wars.

This time the stakes will be even larger...with about 6 times as many of us on the planet and the whole world economy linked into a giant network.

David Berner said...


Read it again.

I did not pin anything on the federal government other than its gross irresponsibility in not rewacting in some useful way to the obvious.

MurdocK said...


There is nothing any federal government CAN do that will have any meaningful effect on the transformational change that is happening right now.

It is like asking the armored knights that faught at Agincourt to do something about the printing press and how that was changing the education of the peasants.

Or akin to demanding that greater adherence to observing religious festivals was the way to greater prosperity while everyone else around you is taking part in the cottage industries that came before the actual industrial revolution.

Asking government to solve the problems related to the transformation to the information age is a waste of time.