Economics & Finance & Trade

Inflation continues to drop

Statistics Canada reported today that the country’s annual inflation rate in March was 4.3 per cent, a drop from the previous month’s 5.2 per cent and continuing a downward trajectory. The effect of higher mortgage rates was softened by lower energy prices. [node:read-more:link]

New G7 wind and solar goals

Canada and the other G7 countries have pledged to add a combined 150 gigawatts of offshore windpower generation capacity by 2030 as well as installing a collective one terawatt of solar power capacity. “Initially, people thought that climate action and action on energy security potentially were in conflict,” Canadian Minister of Environment & Climate Change Jonathan Wilkinson said April 16 after their two-day summit in Japan. “But […] they actually work together.” [node:read-more:link]

Parliament back with busy agenda

With the House of Commons and Senate back today from their winter hiatus, two weeks-long spring sessions before summer have a packed agenda for MPs, including discussion of precedence for 25 government bills. They include a pending budget approval bill as well as Bill C-21, which would amend several statutes to improve firearms controls. [node:read-more:link]

Coal “net zero” goal elusive

Environment and energy ministers from Canada and the other G7 have been unable to set a timeline for phasing out coal-fired power plants. In a statement after two days of talks in Japan, they restated a commitment to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Canada’s Steven Guilbeault reiterated his call for “strong language”, adding that “phasing out coal-fired electricity generation by 2030 has never been so urgent” in Canada. [node:read-more:link]

Mixed reaction to border blockade

Nearly 260 pages of emails made public this week showed that individuals who supported the blockade of an Alberta border crossing into Montana early last year didn’t like how the RCMP carried out their duties. While proponents of a crackdown called the blockading truckers “economic terrorists”, critics resorted to “political hit men” while others likened Canada to Communist regimes and called it “Orwellian.” [node:read-more:link]

Canadian drug prescription end-run

Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos says the federal and provincial governments are working to limit the “outrageous” exportation of essential medications to the U.S. He was responding April 13 to reports that a Texas-based physician licensed in Nova Scotia had written 17,000 prescriptions which were filled by two B.C. pharmacies in B.C. then mailed to American residents. [node:read-more:link]

Canadian banks back fossil fuels

Oil Change International, an international coalition of environmental groups coordinated in Washington, reported April 13 says that Royal Bank of Canada was the biggest fossil fuel financier in the world in 2022, providing more than US$42 billion in funding of nearly $140 billion in lending by the five major Canadian banks. Scotiabank and TD ranked ninth and 10th globally at $29.5 billion and some $29 billion, respectively, while Bank of Montreal and CIBC were 15th and 16th at $19.3 billion and $17.9 billion, also respectively. [node:read-more:link]

Higher bank rates possible

Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem says the bank is prepared to raise its policy rate if necessary to bring inflation back to its 2 per cent target in 2024. The rate is on hold at 4.5 per cent on Wednesday as inflation continues to decelerate but Macklem said April 12 that “if monetary policy is not restrictive enough to get us all the way back to the […]target, we are prepared to raise the policy rate.” [node:read-more:link]

PM plays down minister’s remarks

Justice Minister David Lametti committed last week to Assembly of First Nations chiefs that he would be “looking” at natural resources jurisdiction and was immediately denounced by the three Prarie premiers as “dangerous and divisive.” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said April 12 that the premiers were “trying to elevate fears that have absolutely no grounding in truth” and that Lametti was talking about Canada’s obligations under the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People. [node:read-more:link]

PSAC approves strike mandate

Even as its negotiators remain at the bargaining table, the Public Service Allliance of Canada has voted in favour of a strike mandate for its more than 120,000 members. “PSAC members are feeling squeezed along with everyone else,” the union’s national president said today. “Our members have been without a contract since 2021. Today, an overwhelming majority of our members have told us they can’t wait any longer.” [node:read-more:link]

Bank rate stays the course

The Bank of Canada confirmed today that it is holding its overnight lending rate at at 4.5 per cent. It had been expected because the bank had telegraphed the decision after raising the rate eight times between March 2022 and February 2023. [node:read-more:link]

Tax workers positioned to strike

The union representing 35,000 Canada Revenue Agency service workers says they have voted “overwhelmingly” in favour of strike action, which would be legal as of April 14. Their last contract expired some 17 months ago. [node:read-more:link]

Is neutrality a viable doctrine?

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine prompted Finland and Sweden to seek NATO membership, leaving only a handful of European states claiming neutrality. There are questions about how their doctrines can be sustained without them becoming a security risk because of the likelihood that major powers could be less inclined to respect their neutrality. [node:read-more:link]

Davie joins shipyard roster

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced today that Chantier Davie Canada, based in Lévis, Quebec, has joined the roster of shipyards formally approved for Defence Department and Coast Guard work. The decision evidently was prompted by a decade of CDC lobbying and delivery delays by Seaspan Shipyards of Vancouver and Irving Shipbuilding of Halifax. [node:read-more:link]

B.C. tackles housing crisis

The B.C. government plans to invest an initial $4 billion over three years in the hope of easing a housing crisis which Premier David Eby said April 3 “is touching people in every corner of the province.” He also pointed out that “businesses are struggling to attract workers who can't afford to live in the communities where the jobs are.” [node:read-more:link]


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