Economics & Finance & Trade

CEOs earn a potful and then some

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives reported Jan. 4 that the country’s 100 highest-paid corporate executives averaged $10.9 million in compensation in 2020, up some $95,000 or 0.87 per cent from 2019. CCPA Senior Economist David Macdonald combined base salaries, cash bonuses and stock options in calculating the averages. David Klein, CEO of the Ontario-based cannabis company Canopy Growth, reportedly topped the latest ranking at just over $45 million. [node:read-more:link]

Trade ruling favours U.S.

Canada has lost its first dispute under the new North American trade agreement as a tribunal agreed with a U.S. complaint that Canada broke a promise to allow slightly more dairy imports by imposing complicated rules. The U.S. says Canada now has several weeks to comply with the ruling but “the end goal is not to put retaliatory tariffs in place.” [node:read-more:link]

Details of draft First Nations deal released

The government and First Nations leaders today unveiled details of their agreement-in-principle to provide $20 billion in compensation to children and their families harmed by an underfunded child welfare system and to spend an equivalent amount on long-term reforms [node:read-more:link]

Japanese budget bolstered

Japan has approved a supplementary budget equivalent to some US$317 billion which includes additional funding for missile defense systems and other military technologies in the current fiscal year. However, the funding largely is meant for additional coronavirus measures as well as funding to support families and the country’s tourism industry. [node:read-more:link]

Yet another softwood challenge

Canada has told the U.S. to expect a legal challenge to the latest protectionist move against softwood lumber. Trade Minister Mary Ng pointed out Dec. 21 that the doubled duties will impact the U.S. residential and that she expects the challenge to succeed. However, several earlier challenges upheld by trade tribunals have essentially been ignored by the U.S. [node:read-more:link]

United front against U.S

Mexico’s economic minister is planning a multi-front effort with her Canadian counterpart against a proposed U.S. electric vehicle tax credit which poses a significant threat to Canadian and Mexican automotive industries. Both ministers say the plan, which seems stalled in Congress for now, say the proposal breaches the North American free trade pact. [node:read-more:link]

“The most dangerous weapon”

The global public and private sectors were urged today by the JPMorgan International Council to collaborate more on countering cyber threats, which one member, former U.S. Secretary of Defense Bob Gates, calls “the most dangerous weapon in the world politically, economically and militarily.” An international corporate panel, the New York-based council has 250 members from 19 countries who convene annually. [node:read-more:link]

Federal fiscal agenda “Omicron-centric”

Billions of dollars in new spending aimed at riding out the waves of coronavirus hitting Canada are at the heart of the federal government’s latest fiscal and economic update presented today by Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, who called the pandemic “our most important national project.” Most Liberal commitments in the last election campaign have been shelved until the 2022 budget. The current fiscal year’s deficit is projected at $144.5 billion and the debt-to-GDP percentage is pegged at 51.2 compared with pre-pandemic levels around 30. [node:read-more:link]

Huawei ban could backfire: Ambassador

Cong Peiwu, China’s Ambassador to Canada, says that any move to block Huawei Technologies from Canada’s 5G wireless network would be a “very wrong signal” to his Chinese companies. He suggested the discussion is being politicized “to try to abuse and overstretch the concept of national security, and that is not conducive for people doing business here in Canada.” [node:read-more:link]

Fall Economic Update coming

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, scheduled to unveil the government’s Fall economic and fiscal update Dec. 1, faces a struggle to get her draft legislation to extend pandemic support programs approved before Parliament’s year-end recess. Introduced last week, Bill C-2 includes more than $7 billion in benefits but the Conservatives and NDP say they would not fast-track it. [node:read-more:link]

New chance for Come-by-Chance

An idled Newfoundland oil refinery has new owners who plan to produce renewable diesel fuel and sustainable aviation fuel. The provincial government confirmed an agreement to sell a majority stake in the Come-by-Chance refinery to a Texas-based equity firm. Newfoundland & Labrador Premier Andrew Furey called it “a positive step as the province itself looks to transition into a greener economy.” [node:read-more:link]

COVID-19 funding misdirected

Ontario’s Ombudsman reported Dec. 1 that businesses which were ineligible for pandemic relief programs received support from the $11.2-billion initiative while others were over-compensated or excluded. “The absence of better controls or assessment processes is troubling,” AG Bonnie Lysyk said. “Even in a crisis, systems should be in place to make sure that only eligible businesses receive taxpayer dollars, and program funds reach those who need it most.” [node:read-more:link]

Softwood lumber dispute ramps up

One of Canada’s most enduring trade disputes, over softwood lumber exports to the U.S., ratcheted up Nov. 24 when the U.S. doubled its protective duties to an average 17.9 per cent. Now well into its third decade, the dispute is the result of the U.S. lumber lobby trying to protect domestic suppliers who have been historically unable to meet demand in the housing sector. [node:read-more:link]

Dissatisfaction with federal health funding

As provinces and territories clamour for more federal funding to support their overall health care systems, the debate is heating up on the question of mental health services. The Liberals had promised an initial $4.5 billion over five years in the last election campaign, contingent on compliance with national standards on accessibility but B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix says the plan is inefficient and threatens healthcare fundamentals. [node:read-more:link]

COVID-19 economic more targetted

A new slate of pandemic support programs is provided for in government bill C-2, introduced Nov. 24 in the House of Commons by Finance Minister and Deputy PM Chrystia Freeland. More targetted that the government’s initial round, which cost $289 billion to the end of last month, the new initiatives, which Freeland said should be “the final pivot” in the COVID-19 campaign, are estimated to cost $7.4 billion by early May. [node:read-more:link]


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