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Posts tagged ‘USA’

Friday Rant: "NAFTA-gate"

I don’t think this will be a regular feature, as this isn’t a political blog, but everyone’s talking about it, and it’s like nails across the blackboard to me.

At issue is the “leaked” memo from Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Office which surfaced recently and its comments about U.S. Presidential hopeful Barack Obama’s plans to re-negotiate NAFTA (The North American Free Trade Agreement.) The “scandal” here is that by making these comments, Canada interfered with another sovereign state’s election process, a clear threat to democracy.

I have three four problems with this:

1. This was an internal memo that wasn’t supposed to go public. People have opinions. People with opinions sometimes work for government. Private memos between people with opinions have no place being publicized as official government position or opinion.

2. The U.S. doesn’t listen to anything we or anyone else has to say anyway, especially about their elections (and rightly so – neither would any other sovereign nation).

3. This isn’t the Presidential election. It’s the Democratic Primary. They’re determining a candidate, not a President.

4. For the love of everything good on this Earth, The Watergate scandal involving U.S. President Nixon happened over 35 years ago. Why, oh, WHY must we continue to call anything semi-scandalous that pisses people off x-gate? From Nipplegate to Skategate, it’s silly, inane, and clichéd.

I admit this post was mostly to get item number four above off my chest. I try not to get into politics too much.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tim Ayres


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Friday Rant: “NAFTA-gate”

I don’t think this will be a regular feature, as this isn’t a political blog, but everyone’s talking about it, and it’s like nails across the blackboard to me.

At issue is the “leaked” memo from Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Office which surfaced recently and its comments about U.S. Presidential hopeful Barack Obama’s plans to re-negotiate NAFTA (The North American Free Trade Agreement.) The “scandal” here is that by making these comments, Canada interfered with another sovereign state’s election process, a clear threat to democracy.

I have three four problems with this:

1. This was an internal memo that wasn’t supposed to go public. People have opinions. People with opinions sometimes work for government. Private memos between people with opinions have no place being publicized as official government position or opinion.

2. The U.S. doesn’t listen to anything we or anyone else has to say anyway, especially about their elections (and rightly so – neither would any other sovereign nation).

3. This isn’t the Presidential election. It’s the Democratic Primary. They’re determining a candidate, not a President.

4. For the love of everything good on this Earth, The Watergate scandal involving U.S. President Nixon happened over 35 years ago. Why, oh, WHY must we continue to call anything semi-scandalous that pisses people off x-gate? From Nipplegate to Skategate, it’s silly, inane, and clichéd.

I admit this post was mostly to get item number four above off my chest. I try not to get into politics too much.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tim Ayres


Subscribe via e-mail, your favourite feed reader, or bookmark this post:

Subscribe  by Email AddThis Feed Button AddThis Social Bookmark Button

BC Home Sales Sheltered From US Market Woes

Hello fellow professionals. More evidence today from the BC Real Estate Association that our market in British Columbia is continuing to thrive despite the implosion in the United States brought on by the sub-prime mortgage issues and economic difficulties. Below is the release. Those of you with blogs or e-mail newsletters, you need to get this information out there. Post it, e-mail it. Don’t assume they’ll hear about it on the news or in the paper. Every day we’re asked questions from people who are nervous about buying or selling, because they assume that what is happening in the US is also affecting us. Spread the good word!

Tim Ayres 

BC Home Sales to Surpass 100,000
BCREA Fall Housing Forecast

Vancouver, BC – September 27, 2007. The British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA) released its fall 2007 Housing Forecast today.

BC Multiple Listing Service® (MLS®) home sales are forecast to break the 100,000 unit mark for only the second time in history. BCREA forecasts that BC MLS® residential sales will hit 101,000 units this year, up 4 per cent from 2006. The highest number of MLS® sales in the province was recorded in 2005, when a total of 106,310 homes were sold. The ten-year average is just under 78,000 units.

“Exceptionally strong consumer demand over the summer months has changed the outlook for this year from declining home sales to the second highest on record,” said Cameron Muir, Chief Economist. “While eroding affordability is squeezing some potential buyers out of the market, the housing stock is increasingly diverse, providing a mix of home types that appeal to a wide consumer market.”

BC home prices are also on the rise. The average MLS® residential price is forecast to climb 12 per cent to $437,000 this year. “While home prices continue to face upward pressure, the rate of growth is expected to moderate,” added Muir. The BC average MLS® price increased 18 per cent last year, and is forecast to rise at a more modest 8 per cent in 2008.

BC housing starts are forecast to decline 7 per cent to 33,900 units in this year and a further 4 per cent to 33,000 units in 2008. While single detached housing starts are trending down, multiple housing starts are holding firm at 21,000 units this year. Multiple housing starts now comprise 62 per cent of all new residential construction activity in the province.

The BCREA Housing Forecast is a semi-annual publication produced in the spring and fall of each year. The report contains forecasts and analysis of the BC economy and housing markets, including detailed forecasts by home type of the province’s 12 real estate board areas.

A complete copy of BCREA’s Housing Forecast is available here: www.bcrea.bc.ca/economics/forecasts/2007-09Forecast.pdf.

A Coming of Age for Canada's Economy?

Is the continued diversion of Canada’s economy from the USA’s a sign that we’ve grown up?

Picture two brothers. The older brother is wildly successful, and the younger brother looks up to his senior sibling all his life, often modeling certain parts of his life after his counterpart. The years go on, and younger brother experiences success also, all the while following the elder’s advice.

One day, younger brother sees a change in older brother. He’s out too late, partying too much, spending too much money on unwise and risky investments. Younger brother decides he’s learned enough over the years and strikes out on his own, making his own decisions, taking his own chances. Sadly, he watches his older brother in a downward spiral into financial trouble and economic uncertainty. Strangely, younger brother’s success is now independent of his older brother. He’s grown up now.

Money money money monaaaaay!It’s not exactly a subtle parable, I know, and perhaps a tad on the trite side. But I think it can help many understand what is going on in the North American economy. The US is in a tailspin, while we’re flying high. Our economy is booming, while there is talk of the dreaded “R-Word” in the US.

The sub-prime mortgage issue in the states has not affected us here in Canada as much as many thought it would. When the story broke, people started to panic. Our economy, for so long, has been tied to the fortunes of the larger, more powerful economy of the USA, that people were certain that it meant economic doom north of 49. But it didn’t. Canada’s economy has come of age.

But why? Anyone with a basic understanding of economics can see that Canada is in a much healthier position than the USA for a strong economy. The US economy is largely based on consumer spending. If they stop buying things, it slows the economy down. The US is a net importer; their trade deficit is enormous. Canada is a net exporter. And what we export is in demand. Oil, forest products, minerals, metals, grain. Demand from Asia has partially replaced some of the lower demand from our number one trading partner, the USA (due to their flagging dollar).

And the strong Loonie helps too: much of what we buy in Canada is imported. As our dollar climbs, importers can bring goods in more cheaply and either pass on the savings to consumers, or make more profit, further fueling the economic cycle.

Finally, Canada’s successful economy vis-a-vis the American one is also partly due to divergent fiscal policies between the two countries. We saw what was going on down there and struck out on our own. We watched inflation carefully. Canadian banks didn’t risk it with the sub-prime lending.

Can we sustain this pace without the larger economic powerhouse of American consumer spending buying our goods and services? It’s unknown at this point – we’ll have to wait and see. Or has the time of the US economy setting the pace for the North American economy come and gone?

-Tim

A Coming of Age for Canada’s Economy?

Is the continued diversion of Canada’s economy from the USA’s a sign that we’ve grown up?

Picture two brothers. The older brother is wildly successful, and the younger brother looks up to his senior sibling all his life, often modeling certain parts of his life after his counterpart. The years go on, and younger brother experiences success also, all the while following the elder’s advice.

One day, younger brother sees a change in older brother. He’s out too late, partying too much, spending too much money on unwise and risky investments. Younger brother decides he’s learned enough over the years and strikes out on his own, making his own decisions, taking his own chances. Sadly, he watches his older brother in a downward spiral into financial trouble and economic uncertainty. Strangely, younger brother’s success is now independent of his older brother. He’s grown up now.

Money money money monaaaaay!It’s not exactly a subtle parable, I know, and perhaps a tad on the trite side. But I think it can help many understand what is going on in the North American economy. The US is in a tailspin, while we’re flying high. Our economy is booming, while there is talk of the dreaded “R-Word” in the US.

The sub-prime mortgage issue in the states has not affected us here in Canada as much as many thought it would. When the story broke, people started to panic. Our economy, for so long, has been tied to the fortunes of the larger, more powerful economy of the USA, that people were certain that it meant economic doom north of 49. But it didn’t. Canada’s economy has come of age.

But why? Anyone with a basic understanding of economics can see that Canada is in a much healthier position than the USA for a strong economy. The US economy is largely based on consumer spending. If they stop buying things, it slows the economy down. The US is a net importer; their trade deficit is enormous. Canada is a net exporter. And what we export is in demand. Oil, forest products, minerals, metals, grain. Demand from Asia has partially replaced some of the lower demand from our number one trading partner, the USA (due to their flagging dollar).

And the strong Loonie helps too: much of what we buy in Canada is imported. As our dollar climbs, importers can bring goods in more cheaply and either pass on the savings to consumers, or make more profit, further fueling the economic cycle.

Finally, Canada’s successful economy vis-a-vis the American one is also partly due to divergent fiscal policies between the two countries. We saw what was going on down there and struck out on our own. We watched inflation carefully. Canadian banks didn’t risk it with the sub-prime lending.

Can we sustain this pace without the larger economic powerhouse of American consumer spending buying our goods and services? It’s unknown at this point – we’ll have to wait and see. Or has the time of the US economy setting the pace for the North American economy come and gone?

-Tim