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Found 17 results

  1. Building permits fall for third month Canwest News ServiceFebruary 5, 2009 9:01 AM OTTAWA—The value of Canadian building permits fell in December for a third straight month as a slowdown in the economy continued to temper construction activity in both residential and non-residential sectors. Statistic Canada said Thursday that municipalities issued $4.6 billion worth of permits during the month, a decline of 3.9 per cent from November. Residential permits were down 3.2 per cent to $2.6 billion in December, marking the ninth monthly drop in 2008. “Increases in multi-family permits in Ontario were not enough to offset the declines in single-family permits in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia,”the federal agency said. The value non-residential permits fell 4.9 per cent to $2 billion, the third straight monthly decline. This drop was mainly in institutional permits in Alberta and commercial permits in British Columbia, the agency said. Construction permits declined in five provinces and all three territories in December, it said.
  2. Le festival Juste pour rire se décline en version bruxelloise « Juste pour rire » et « Kings of comedy » ont présenté, jeudi après-midi, au Kings of comedy club à Ixelles, leur refonte du Brussels comedy festival dans la formule internationale de « Juste pour rire ». Du 27 avril au 12 mai prochain, les nouveaux talents belges seront mis en lumière par des vedettes francophones du rire au Cirque royal, au théâtre 140 et au théâtre Saint-Michel. Le Kings comedy club accueillera, en seconde semaine, des artistes de la nouvelle vague québécoise. La troisième édition du Brussels comedy festival adopte le nom « Juste pour rire Brussels » pour 2013. Gilles Morin, fondateur de « Kings of comedy », a l’ambition de pousser les humoristes belges sur le devant de la scène francophone internationale et rêve « un cirque du soleil du rire dont l’énergie rayonne hors des frontières ». http://www.lesoir.be/141800/article/actualite/fil-info/2012-12-20/festival-juste-pour-rire-se-d%C3%A9cline-en-version-bruxelloise
  3. Almost 80,000 jobs lost in February: StatsCan By The Canadian Press OTTAWA - Non-farm payrolls lost 79,600 jobs in February, with manufacturing taking the worst hit, Statistics Canada reported Wednesday. The agency said those losses continue a slump that began last October and which has cost 296,000 jobs. The agency's survey of non-farm, payroll employment found the biggest February drop was in manufacturing, where 19,300 jobs were lost. Since October, 99,700 manufacturing jobs have disappeared, a loss of 6.1 per cent. That figure is three times the rate of decline of total payroll employment. Nearly a quarter of the manufacturing job losses came in the auto industry. The survey said the number of employees working in motor vehicle parts manufacturing has fallen by 13,300 since October, while motor vehicle and motor vehicle body manufacturing has dropped by 10,200. As of February, there were 111,500 employees in motor vehicle assembly and parts, down 65,000 or 37 per cent from the peak recorded in 2001. The auto slump has echoes in related industries. Payrolls in auto repair shops are down by 5,000 since October. Auto dealers have cut 4,200 jobs in the period, while parts dealers have 2,300 fewer workers. The construction sector lost 11,100 jobs in February. There were more modest declines other sectors, including non-Internet publishing (4,800), credit intermediaries and related activities (4,300) and truck transportation (4,200). But there were some job gains in health and education, including elementary and secondary schools, and community colleges and CEGEPs in Quebec. The February losses came in all provinces, but Quebec, Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia took the worst hits. Quebec lost 30,300 jobs in February, a 0.9 per cent drop. Ontario and Alberta each experienced a decline of 0.6 per cent, while British Columbia employment fell by 0.4 per cent. While Quebec experienced the largest monthly decline, both Ontario and British Columbia had the biggest drop between February 2008 and February 2009. Over the year, Ontario payrolls declined by 1.7 per cent or 97,800 jobs. The losses were mostly in manufacturing, with a 12.1 per cent drop of 94,000. In British Columbia, payroll employment was down 28,400 or 1.5 per cent in February compared with a year earlier. Much of this decline was linked to forestry and its related industries. Major communities in southwestern Ontario have all shown sharp losses and in March, Windsor had the highest unemployment rate of any large community in the country - 13.7 per cent. Average weekly earnings, including overtime, of payroll employees in February was $820.95, up 1.8 per from February 2008. This was slower than January's year-over-year increase of 2.4 per cent. From Yahoo news: http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/capress/0...ness/jobs_lost
  4. Montreal faces uphill battle in new economic order KONRAD YAKABUSKI Report on Business April 9, 2009 MONTREAL -- The Montreal Exchange, now part of TMX Group, is forwarding journalists' calls to Toronto. The new head of BCE Inc. has not taken up residence in the city that, officially anyway, is still home to the telecom giant's headquarters. Alcan's "head office" is shrinking under parent Rio Tinto. AbitibiBowater answers to its bankers in Charlotte, N.C. When Michael Sabia had a getting-to-know-you lunch last week with Quebec Inc.'s grands fromages, the new head of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec found himself talking to a sparser crowd than any Caisse chief before him would have likely faced. The ranks of Quebec Inc., that Quiet Revolution embodiment of Quebec's French-speaking business class, are thinning. Where will this all leave Montreal if, as Creative Class guru Richard Florida recently predicted in The Atlantic magazine, "the coming decades will likely see a further clustering of output, jobs and innovation in a smaller number of bigger cities and city-regions"? Can Montreal aspire to be one of them? Or has its fate already been sealed? Prof. Florida, now director of the Martin Prosperity Institute at University of Toronto, warns that "we can't stop the decline of some places, and we would be foolish to try. ... In limited ways, we can help faltering cities to manage their decline better, and to sustain better lives for the people who stay in them." Let's be clear: Montreal is not Detroit. St. Jude himself could not save Motor City. The unemployment rate there now stands at 22 per cent. When only one in 10 Detroiters has a college degree, the jobless rate won't be coming down any time soon. If ever. The current economic crisis, as Prof. Florida notes, will "permanently and profoundly" alter the economic geography of North America. Montreal needs to get busy if it is to carve out a place for itself in this new economic order. It has a lot going for it: A vibrant inner city, a deep talent pool of "knowledge" workers, a diverse population and creativity to burn. Its problem is just that Toronto has even more of these things. Toronto also has the support of its provincial government. Montreal's provincial masters seem at best indifferent to it, if not chronically at war with it. How else do you explain why, despite decades of promises, the current Liberal government has yet to proceed with the construction of two new mega-hospitals in Montreal to replace a complex network of antiquated institutions spread over multiple sites? If the new hospitals do get built - delivery is now promised between 2013 and 2018 - will there even be enough doctors to work in them? Quebec pays its general practitioners and specialists about a quarter less than Ontario, and a new interprovincial labour mobility agreement will make it easier for them to practise elsewhere. But Montreal can't afford to lose any more of its "brain surgeons," regardless of their profession. In 1976, Montreal and Toronto had nearly identically sized populations, each with about 2.8 million people living within its Census Metropolitan Area (CMA). Since then, the population of the Toronto CMA has doubled to 5.6 million; Montreal has only managed to reach 3.7 million, a 30-per-cent increase in three decades. In its latest Metropolitan Outlook, the Conference Board of Canada predicted that Montreal will post the weakest growth of any major Canadian city over the next half-decade. Though its economy will not contract as much as Toronto's this year, Montreal's output will expand much more slowly once the recession lifts. Part of the explanation for this may lie in another report out this week, this one also supported by Conference Board data, on Toronto's status as a global city. Though the Toronto Board of Trade's Scorecard on Prosperity highlighted Toronto's shortcomings when compared to the 20 other cities studied, it provided even grimmer news for Montreal. Toronto ranked fourth over all. Calgary was first. Montreal was 13th, the poorest performance of any Canadian city on the list. There are grounds for optimism. The proposed Quartier des Spectacles - the redevelopment of a run-down downtown intersection into a hub for the arts - will help Montreal catch up, or at least decline more slowly relative to Toronto's now superior cultural infrastructure. But it's hard not to be disheartened when the top news story in city politics these days is how Mayor Gérald Tremblay's former right-hand man vacationed in the Caribbean on the yacht of a construction magnate just before the latter's consortium won a juicy municipal contract to install water meters. When this much energy gets absorbed in damage control, how much is left for the kind of creative thinking needed to ensure Montreal's position in Prof. Florida's new economic landscape? Or is it already too late for that? [email protected] http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/GAM.20090409.RYAKABUSKI09ART1924/TPStory/TPComment
  5. Construction slowdown looms VIRGINIA GALT Globe and Mail Update August 7, 2008 at 6:22 PM EDT The head of construction powerhouse EllisDon said Thursday he is “very wary and very concerned” about where the Canadian economy is going. “I am worried right across the country that things are tightening up and that a year from now we are going to see a drop-off,” Geoff Smith, the company's president and chief executive officer said in an interview after Statistics Canada reported that the total value of building permits fell 5.3 per cent in June to $6.3-billion. Economists had projected a decline in the value of building permits issued in June, but not of the magnitude that Statistics Canada reported. The consensus had been for a 1 per cent drop Mr. Smith expressed concern for the construction industry as a whole Thursday, although EllisDon has not yet experienced a drop in demand for the heavy construction in which it specializes. “Over the short term, we [at EllisDon] are still seeing a reasonably healthy market. A lot of that is in public sector work and infrastructure rebuilding work,” he said. “But I certainly understand that once you get outside of that space, the big hospital and infrastructure spending, that things are quite tight in the industry,” Mr. Smith said. Statscan reported Thursday that the slowdown in the residential sector resulted in a month-to-month decline of 4.4 per cent to $3.6-billion in June. And in the non-residential sector, the value of permits decreased by 6.6 per cent to $2.8-billion, due to declines in industrial and commercial building intentions, Statscan reported. Mr. Smith said major commercial and industrial customers are being “more careful” about committing to new projects. However, the outlook is not nearly as bleak as in the 1990s, “where things just dried up very dramatically,” he said. The market is cooling, but new projects are still being planned, added Sandy McNair, president of Toronto-based Altus InSite, which conducts market research for governments, lenders, building managers and the heavy construction industry. “No-one's gone crazy and thinking they are going to start 30 new buildings tomorrow. But on the other hand, there is no sense that the sky is falling and our world is about to end either,” Mr. McNair said. Toronto-Dominion Bank economist Millan Mulraine said in a research note that the decline in the value of building permits was broad-based – and “on a city-by-city comparison, the report was fairly ugly.” The value of permits issued in Montreal was down 12.1 per cent, in Calgary down 15.2 per cent, in Vancouver down 13.4 per cent and in Saskatoon down 16.7 per cent, Mr. Mulraine wrote, adding that the overall value of building permits is now 9.1 per cent lower than in the corresponding period last year. Merrill Lynch economist David Wolf said in an economic report Thursday that Canada's housing market is entering a “sustained downturn” and he expects Canadian home builders to pull back “substantially” in response. Bank of Montreal economists had expected June building permits to decline 3.1 per cent, “as the housing market continues to cool and non-residential intentions retrace part of the prior month's massive gain,” the bank said in a research note. The steepest decline occurred in Ontario, where the value of building permits was down 7.9 per cent to $2.3-billion, due mainly to a 15.8 per cent decline in plans for non-residential buildings, Statscan said. The decline in Ontario's residential sector was 1.7 per cent. Alberta posted a 7.5 per cent decline, due to a 19.6 per cent drop in the residential sector. British Columbia and New Brunswick also experienced declines in both the residential and non-residential sectors, Statscan said. “In contrast, intentions rose 3.5 per cent in Quebec, with gains in both the residential and non-residential sectors.” Overall, there was a slight increase in the value of permits issued for single-family residences – up 1.8 per cent to $2.3-billion. But there was a sharp drop in the value of permits issued for multiple-family dwellings. “Municipalities issued $1.3-billion worth of permits for multi-family housing in June, down 13.8 per cent, a second consecutive monthly decrease. Most of these declines occurred in Ontario and Alberta,” Statscan said. “It is now becoming clear that the Canadian housing market is continuing to cool, as the level of activity moderates to more sustainable levels,” the TD Bank said in its research note. “And we expected this correction to continue at a measured and orderly pace.” Mr. McNair said the month-to-month data on non-residential building activity tends to be “lumpy” because these tend to be larger projects “and the decisions don't get made evenly spread out across the 12 months of the year.” There is “a reasonable level of activity going on across the country” right now, he said. “Edmonton has never had more construction activity in 20 years in terms of office building activity. Calgary is extremely active as well. Toronto has a healthy level of construction activity going on right now. Ottawa, even Montreal, have a healthy level of activity under way,” Mr. McNair said. “They have got their permits and they are building them out.” Mr. McNair said the residential sector appears to be stable as well, although construction activity is moderating from the rapid pace of the past few years. “It [residential] is moderating, but it's not going over a cliff the way it has in the United States,” he said. Comme si c`était surprenant que Montreal aille bien..... Globe and mail cr**
  6. http://westislandgazette.com/bluenotes/23052 Blue Notes Thursday, May 26, 2011 When did the decline of Montreal really start? posted by BOFarrell at 7h15 I spent some of my early childhood in the beaches area of Toronto. My father was in the marine insurance business. He, like many of his colleagues, would have to go up to Montreal once a month to meet with "head office." That was when Montreal was the largest inland ocean port in the world. That was when Montreal was in charge of the country. He used to bring me back Tintin books in French, thinking that it was a way to inculcate me with culture. Luckily, there were pictures. But I did learn the phrase: "Tonnerre de Brest." I am still waiting for an opportunity to use it in conversation. Captain Haddock was my favourite character. He was crusty and drank too much. Even then I had an inkling of my own future. Those of us who can see clearly know full well the impact of Quebec nationalism and the subsequent language laws on the decline of Montreal. Those of us not protected from reality by the spin of the Quebec political class. But is it not probable that Montreal's economic decline began even before that, with the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959? That was when trans-oceanic shipping no longer had to stop here. And trade could bypass Montreal and go directly into the great lakes. That was when the ascendancy of Toronto began in earnest. I wonder if the architects of the seaway foresaw the coming political crises in Quebec. If they understood that Montreal would end up being on the wrong side of the Quebec border and, therefore, they had to make a preemptive strike. The seaway had a large effect on the ecology of the great lakes. Ocean-going vessels brought various species into the water that had never been there before, Zebra mussels to name one. These consequences are well documented in books. But there is not much to be found on the political motives of the major players in this engineering feat, which was built between 1954 and 1959 as a federal government project by Louis St. Laurent's Liberal government. Most of the literature I could find only talks about the politics between Canada and the U.S., the rocky road to how it eventually became a bilateral project. Because it happened before the rise of Quebec nationalism, there is no discussion about that as a motive for its creation. But in retrospect it has had so many detrimental effects to the economy of Montreal that one would figure that some of its more astute architects must have foreseen them. Before it ships had to be unloaded in Montreal and the goods put on trains. Wheat and other commodities were trained from the interior to Montreal and put on ships here. That diminished after the seaway. And the national railroads that once had their head offices here have moved out. So was there a "Bay Street conspircy" of some kind? Montreal did experience its zenith in the late '60s, when it hosted Expo 67. But perhaps this is what sociologists call a "sunset effect" - just before a society is about to collapse, it goes through a colourful cultural explosion. Right after that Montreal began to lose its position as the economic metropolis of Canada. And ever since, it seems that it has been losing out to Toronto. Rick Blue is a resident of Beaconsfield and is half of the musical comedy duo of Bowser and Blue.
  7. (Courtesy of HBO) It will be re-airing a few more times during the week. You should try and watch it when you have a chance
  8. Pay what you want in this Montreal restaurant PETER MCCABE FOR THE TORONTO STAR Crescent St. tavern hard hit by drop in business tries something new Feb 25, 2009 04:30 AM Andrew Chung QUEBEC BUREAU CHIEF MONTREAL – Already stung by a slide in American tourists and a deepening financial mess that's keeping business customers away, the Taverne Crescent, situated on one of Montreal's historic party streets, decided to implement a new policy: Pay what you can. So yesterday, lunch-hour customers were given the choice of an appetizer, plus either tagliatelle bolognese, salmon or braised beef, and coffee or tea, for whatever they wanted to pay. For a dollar even. Or nothing. "Some people might pay nothing," said owner George Pappas, "but maybe when they have more money in three or six months, they'll come back and pay more." Desperate times call for desperate measures, it seems. Pappas's actions, though gimmicky, illustrate the darkening picture for all those attached to the tourism industry in the province. Despite the proximity of major Canadian cities like Montreal to the border, the number of American tourists coming into Canada by car – still the vast majority compared to other means of transport – reached a record low last year, data from Statistics Canada show. There were nearly 10 million of those trips in 2001. Last year, just 7.4 million. It wasn't even that bad during the last two recessions, including the oil shock of the 1970s. Meanwhile, Americans are taking 1.3 million fewer trips to Quebec compared to 2001. That number, which includes same-day trips, is off by nearly half Canada-wide. "It's astounding," said Statistics Canada analyst Paul Durk, "these are very big drops." There are a number of reasons why the Americans are staying away. New border security requirements, the perception of long border wait times, and even cross-border shopping may be less attractive for aging baby boomers, Durk suggested. Overall, there is a growing fear for the coming year, particularly since the recession has gone global. Already, there has been a sharp decrease in tourism from Britain and soon the rest of Europe will follow. "It will affect big cities the most," said Pierre Bellerose, vice-president of Tourism Montreal. "The cities get more international clients." In the last few years, the American malaise has been offset by increases in tourism from Europe and Mexico. And Montreal's hotels were saved last year by a strong convention calendar. But this year will be different. Bellerose said they're expecting the tourism sector to decline 2 to 3 per cent overall. Quebec's government has stepped in. On Sunday, Tourism Minister Nicole Ménard announced she's giving $4.2 million in financial help to certain businesses and groups, such as Aventure Écotourisme Québec, to try to pump up the tourist volume, and, a spokesperson said, to get past the economic crisis. It won't be easy. The horizon is bleak. Last year, there were 336 restaurant bankruptcies, the Association des restaurateurs du Québec reports – a 20 per cent increase from the year prior. Pappas, who also owns a nightclub in Montreal, describes having to cut staff in response to the American tourist decline. And until his bright idea to "pay what you can," his Taverne Crescent was closed on Mondays and Tuesdays because it was losing money. With no Formula One Grand Prix in Montreal this summer, he said, "It's going to be worse!" http://www.thestar.com/article/592677#Comments
  9. Ontario in decline: From Canada's economic engine to clunker Can Dalton McGuinty see the light and reverse the decay with his forthcoming budget? By Paul Vieira, Financial Post March 23, 2009 A month before Dalton McGuinty, the Liberal Ontario Premier, hit the election trail in the fall of 2007 to seek a second mandate, an ominous warning sign of the province's crumbling economic stature emerged that should have provided fodder for the campaign. An analysis from leading Bay Street economist Dale Orr said Ontarians' standard of living had plummeted -- from a peak of 15% above the Canadian average in the mid-1980s to just more than 5%. Accompanying the analysis was a warning of further erosion by 2010. Alas, the eye-opening report hardly generated buzz during the election campaign. Instead, most of the talk was about a Conservative proposal to provide government funding for faith-based schooling. Ontarians didn't warm to the idea and re-elected Mr. McGuinty's Liberals with another majority. Reflecting today on that report, Mr. Orr said his nightmare scenario for Ontario has unfolded as envisaged. If anything, the situation in the province may be worse. As the McGuinty government prepares to table its sixth provincial budget on Thursday, it does so knowing the province that was once the country's economic engine is now the clunker of the confederation. While former have-nots such as Saskatchewan post surpluses this fiscal year, Ontario is bleeding red ink--a cumulative two-year deficit of $18-billion. Ontario's dramatic decline comes as no accident. It was decades in the making, based on a combination of mismanaged public finances and the ascent of emerging economies at the expense of high-cost manufacturing. Upon taking office in 2003, Mr. McGuinty moved to pour tens of billions of dollars into improving government services -- health care, education and social programs targeting the downtrodden -- while neglecting the changing economic landscape. To help finance this agenda, he raised corporate taxes and slapped a health-care levy on households. These moves, analysts say, helped cement Ontario as one of the least attractive places for companies to invest. Analysts wonder whether the economic crisis is finally going to force Mr. McGuinty and Dwight Duncan, his Minister of Finance, to make tough choices on spending and undertake the kind of tax reform -- as displayed this week by New Brunswick-- that will help the province attract investment to offset heavy job losses in Ontario. Derek Burleton, senior economist at Toronto-Dominion Bank, said Thursday's budget presents a possible turning point for the province. "There is no doubt we are undergoing a period of transformation as some of the industries that have driven healthy gains in living standards are on the decline," said Mr. Burleton, who co-authored a report with TD chief economist Don Drummond last fall that called on the province to embrace a "sweeping" new economic vision. "Given the sizeable deficit the province faces, that will put increasing pressure on the government to prioritize." One of those priorities is for Mr. McGuinty to cease his preferred manner of dealing with difficulties in the industrial heartland -- funneling tens of millions of dollars to the manufacturing sector, particularly automotive, through targeted tax relief or direct subsidies. "What the province should have been doing over the years was to make the province more flexible in attracting new businesses and not diverting resources into declining sectors," said Finn Poschmann, vice-president of research at the C. D. Howe Institute, a Toronto-based think-tank that has been critical of Ontario's tax breaks for struggling sectors such as autos and forest products. "Do you want to steer resources to the sectors where the outlook is positive and growing? Or do you want to divert resources from these stars, which are more likely to generate the long-term employment and wage growth that Ontario is accustomed to?" The manufacturing sector, and its high-paying jobs, used to be the province's crown jewel. But as a component of Ontario's GDP, it has dropped from a peak of 23% in 2000 to roughly 18% on factors such as a richer Canadian dollar, higher energy costs and offshore competition. It is expected to fall further once the dust settles from this crisis. The province was largely able to mask the decline in manufacturing through a combination of a booming housing market, a surge in public sector hiring and a robust financial services sector. The financial crisis, however, has exposed those flaws. For the period starting in 2003, only Quebec and Nova Scotia have produced weaker growth than Ontario. Forecasts suggest Ontario was the only province whose economy shrank last year, and economists say it will record either the worst, or second-worst performance, among provinces this year. Scotia Capital, for instance, has Ontario's economy contracting 2.9% in 2009, and posting meagre growth of 1.4% in 2010, below the expected national average. Of the roughly 295,000 jobs lost in Canada since October, nearly half have come from the province. The result? Unemployment in Ontario, at 8.7%, is now higher than it is the United States (8.1%) and above Quebec's 7.9% jobless rate-- the first time that has happened in three decades. The news is not expected to get any better any time soon. "We believe that the unemployment rate in Canada's largest province should hit 10% by 2010, even if the automobile sector's restructuring plan works," said Sebastian Lavoie, an economist at Laurentian Bank Securities. Further, Mr. Lavoie said wage growth in the province is destined to take a hit. In the past, companies were forced to offer comparable wages and benefits based on what the Canadian Auto Workers would negotiate with the Detroit car makers. But Mr. Lavoie said that will no longer be the case, with CAW accepting salary freezes and making concessions on perks such as cost-of-living-allowance. The financial crisis has just exacerbated a growing trend, said Mary Webb, senior economist at Scotia Capital. Ontario's receipts from foreign-bound exports last year represent an 11.7% drop from a peak of $185.1-billion recorded in 2000. For the same time period, Quebec's receipts fell by just 2.9%. For the rest of Canada, excluding Ontario and Quebec, receipts have surged a whopping 72%. Compounding Ontario's problem is the emergence of big deficit, fuelled in part by shrinking tax revenue and years of escalated program spending. Under Mr. McGuinty, program spending now stands at $23-billion per year more than when he took office in October, 2003, an increase of 36%. In fiscal year, 2007-08, program spending climbed more than 10% to $87.6-billion, compared with a 5.4% increase in tax revenue. Observers note Mr. McGuinty's ascent to power in 2003 can be attributed to a desire for change among Ontarians after years of the hard-nosed, right-leaning Conservative regime that earned scorned for cutting government services. Mr. McGuinty's two terms have been dominated by a push to restore spending on public goods such as education, health care, infrastructure and social services. Analysts say Mr. McGuinty was on the right track to bolster some key building blocks, such as post-secondary education. To help pay for this, Mr. McGuinty raised the corporate tax -- to 14% from 12% --in his first budget. "The balance of [McGuinty's] approach was not quite right," said Jack Mintz, public policy professor at the University of Calgary and renowned tax expert. "The problem was trying to [reinvest in public services] while at the same time trying to maintain a vibrant industrial sector." Mr. Mintz and other analysts say Ontario's tax regime, as currently structured, is suffocating the province's ability to attract investment and rebuild the economy. Last year, Jim Flaherty, the federal Finance Minister, suggested the tax system was making Ontario the "last place" businesses wanted to invest. Mr. Flaherty took lots of heat for that remark, but he was on to something. Mr. Mintz's research indicates the province's marginal effective tax rate on capital, which encompasses all levies slapped on investment in the province, stands at 35%, six points higher than the Canadian average, 29%. Further, the Ontario rate ranks as the ninth-highest in the world, tied with Japan. Despite moves to eliminate capital tax in 2010, and other business tax reductions from the federal government, Ontario's marginal rate is expected to drop only three points to 32% by 2012 -- still higher than all provinces and exceeding the national average. "Ontario will not be successful in retaining existing businesses and attracting new ones if its taxation system is not on sound competitive footing with other provinces and countries," said the TD report by Messrs. Burleton and Drummond. There are signs that Mr. McGuinty is acknowledging the need to change. Despite previous opposition, he said in January the province would take a "long, hard look" at harmonizing its provincial sales tax with the GST. As currently structured, Ontario's sales tax derives almost half of its revenue from taxing business inputs such as productivity-enhancingequipment. Harmonizing with the GST would shift the tax burden to households, but economists argue it would boost business investment and make Ontario more attractive. In a C. D. Howe research paper he released yesterday, Mr. Poschmann said putting an end to the "archaic" sales tax and harmonizing with the GST would move Ontario from a high-tax jurisdiction to a medium-tax jurisdiction by 2012, with the marginal rate on investment falling just over 10 percentage points. A signal toward sales tax harmonization could be contained in Thursday's budget, although observers are hedging their bets given the potential voter backlash. Any further moves on taxation, whether business or personal, may have to wait given the province's monster deficit and an unwillingness to give up further revenue to fund public service initiatives. "Ontario is going to be deeply challenged," Mr. Mintz said, "because it is going to be very hard for the government to do anything when you are so fiscally restrained-- unless it wants to make the deficit even bigger now." Glen Hodgson, senior vice-president and chief economist at the Conference Board of Canada, said the needed tax reductions would not see the light of day until Ontario decides what to do about health-care spending, which is growing at an annual clip of 8% to 10% and is the single biggest expense item in the budget. "This is a catalytic moment for the province," Mr. Hodgson said. "The light bulb has gone on, but it is not burning brightly yet. A lot of people would like to return to the Old World. But I think the Old World is gone -and that's the dilemma Ontario faces." --------- MANITOBA, N.B. SET EXAMPLE: As Ontario attempts to pull itself out of its economic quagmire, it can look to the provinces of Manitoba and New Brunswick for leadership. While the recession is expected to hit every province, Manitoba comes out near the top in most forecasts as one of the country's better performers in 2009. In its outlook, the Conference Board of Canada projects slight growth in the province of 1%, powered by infrastructure projects and tax cuts. Jack Mintz, public policy professor at the University of Calgary, said Manitoba was, along with Ontario, considered a high-tax jurisdiction for business investment. But the government has moved and Manitoba's marginal effective tax rate on investment dropped from 37% in 2007 to 33.8% last year. It is now scheduled to fall to 26.7% by 2012. "It is on the high side, but it will be closer to the national average" in 2012,Mr. Mintz said. "From the point of view of people who need to make investment decisions now, they know these changes are in place over the next several years. So Manitoba looks more appealing." Manitoba also benefits from having one of the most diversified economies in Canada. Roughly 30% of its economy is agriculture, which is more resilient to economic downturns. Further, Manitoba has a diversified manufacturing base with aerospace and buses playing key roles - and, unlike autos, demand for those products continues to be fairly solid. It also has abundant, cheap hydroelectricity. In contrast, questions abound over the reliability of Ontario's power grid, especially in light of the 2003 blackout that blanketed the province and much of the U.S. northeast. Meanwhile, analysts have applauded New Brunswick for taking aggressive steps on taxation this week in an effort to make the province more attractive for both investors and workers. The main change is the replacement of the existing four-bracket personal income tax structure to a simpler two-bracket structure by 2012. The lowest rate will be 9% for workers earning less than $37,893. Beyond that threshold, a flat tax of 12% will be applied. Perhaps more stunning, however, is that New Brunswick plans to lower its general corporate tax rate from 13% to 12%, effective this year, and all the way down to 8% by 2012 - the lowest in the country. "The New Brunswick government appears to be relatively more proactive compared to other jurisdictions, taking bolder steps to improve its economic and fiscal roadmap," said Carlos Leitao, chief economist at Laurentian Bank Securities, in his analysis of the province's budget. Source: Paul Vieira, Financial Post [email protected] ONE-TIME POWERHOUSE CAN'T KEEP UP WITH REST OF THE COUNTRY: Ont. Export Receipt Drop 11.7% Que. Export Receipt Drop 2.9% Receipt Rise Rest Of Canada 72% Ontario GDP Decline, 2009 2.9% RANKS OF WORKERS IN CANADA'S LARGEST PROVINCE TAKE IT ON THE CHIN: Ontario Unemployment 8.7% U.S. Unemployment 8.1% Quebec Unemployment 7.8% Ontario Unemployment, 2010 10% © Copyright © National Post
  10. U.S. Economy: Retail Sales Drop in October by Most on Record By Shobhana Chandra and Bob Willis Nov. 14 (Bloomberg) -- Retail sales and prices of goods imported to the U.S. dropped by the most on record, signaling the economy may be in its worst slump in decades. Purchases fell 2.8 percent in October, the fourth straight decline, the Commerce Department said today in Washington. Labor Department figures showed import prices dropped 4.7 percent, pointing to a rising danger of deflation, and a private report said consumer confidence this month remained near the lowest level since 1980. ``The weakness in growth is intensifying and inflation pressures have evaporated,'' said James O'Sullivan, a senior economist at UBS Securities LLC in Stamford, Connecticut, who accurately projected the decline in sales. ``Deflation is a word that will be increasingly used over the coming months.'' Spending may continue to falter as mounting job losses, plunging stocks and falling home values leave household finances in tatters. Retailers from Best Buy Co. to J.C. Penney Co. are cutting profit forecasts ahead of the year-end holiday shopping season, when many stores do most of their business. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said at a conference today in Frankfurt that continuing strains in financial markets and recent economic data ``confirm that challenges remain.'' The Fed chief said central bankers worldwide ``stand ready to take additional steps'' as warranted. Economists surveyed by Bloomberg News predict the Fed will lower its benchmark interest rate to a record 0.5 percent by March from the current 1 percent. Policy makers next gather in Washington Dec. 16. Stocks, Treasuries Stocks fell and Treasuries rose. The Standard & Poor's 500 Stock Index dropped 1.8 percent to 894.09 at 10:11 a.m. in New York. Yields on benchmark 10-year notes fell to 3.75 percent from 3.85 percent late yesterday. The Reuters/University of Michigan preliminary index of consumer sentiment was 57.9 in November compared with 57.6 last month. The measure averaged 85.6 in 2007. Retail sales were expected to fall 2.1 percent, according to the median forecast of 73 economists in a Bloomberg News survey. Purchases in September were revised down to show a 1.3 percent decrease compared with an originally reported 1.2 percent drop. ``The September-October credit jolt to the economy is showing up in all of the numbers now,'' Ellen Zentner, a senior U.S. macroeconomist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd. in New York, said in a Bloomberg Television interview. ``We're expecting the worst recession, possibly, post-World War II.'' Worse Than Estimates Retailers have now logged the longest string of monthly declines since the Commerce Department's comparable data series began in 1992. Excluding automobiles, purchases decreased 2.2 percent, almost twice as much as the 1.2 percent decline anticipated and also the worst performance on record. Declines were broad based as furniture, electronics, clothing and department stores all showed loses. Demand at automobile dealerships and parts stores plunged 5.5 percent after falling 4.8 percent in September. Car sales are among the most affected as banks make it harder to borrow. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson this week said the government will shift the focus of the second half of the $700 billion rescue plan from buying mortgage assets to unclogging consumer credit. President-elect Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress are under pressure to push through another stimulus plan even before the new administration takes over. Filling-station sales decreased 13 percent, also the most ever, in part reflecting a $1-per-gallon drop in the average cost of gasoline. Excluding gas, retail sales fell 1.5 percent. Gain at Restaurants Sales at furniture, electronics, clothing, sporting goods and department stores were also among the losers. Restaurants, grocery stores and a miscellaneous category were the only areas that showed a gain. ``Since mid-September, rapid, seismic changes in consumer behavior have created the most difficult climate we've ever seen,'' Brad Anderson, chief executive officer of Best Buy, said in a Nov. 12 statement. The Richfield, Minnesota-based electronics chain said sales in the four months through February 2009 will decline more than it previously estimated. Rival Circuit City Stores Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection this week. Macy's Inc., Target Corp. and Gap Inc. were among the chains that reported same-store sales dropped in October, while shoppers searching for discounts on groceries gave sales a lift at Wal- Mart Stores Inc., the world's largest retailer. Nordstrom yesterday cut its profit forecast for the third time this year. Worst Season J.C. Penney, the third-largest U.S. department-store company, today forecast earnings that trailed analysts' estimates and posted its fifth straight quarterly profit decline as shoppers cut spending on home goods and jewelry. Shoppers are pulling back as the labor market slumps. The unemployment rate jumped to 6.5 percent in October, the highest level since 1994. Employers cut more than a half million workers from payrolls in the past two months. The longest expansion in consumer spending on record ended last quarter, causing the economy to shrink at a 0.3 percent annual pace. The economic slump will intensify this quarter and persist into the first three months of 2009, making it the longest downturn since 1974-75, economists forecast in a Bloomberg survey conducted from Nov. 3 to Nov. 11. Excluding autos, gasoline and building materials, the retail group the government uses to calculate gross domestic product figures for consumer spending, sales decreased 0.5. The government uses data from other sources to calculate the contribution from the three categories excluded. To contact the reporter on this story: Shobhana Chandra in Washington [email protected]
  11. I hope Avenue, Tour des Canadiens and Icone go up. And then the rest can wait Softening market raises doubts over condo projects By Allison Lampert, THE GAZETTE January 9, 2013 8:11 PM 0 Story Photos ( 1 ) Softening market raises doubts over condo projects A number of properties are up for sale in Brossard, on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2013. Photograph by: Dave Sidaway , The Gazette MONTREAL - There are condo projects like the Tour des Canadiens which will undoubtedly be built, with the only lingering question surrounding their final height. But a decline in new home construction in Greater Montreal last year is increasingly raising doubts over the viability of the record number of condo buildings announced for the region: this summer, the city’s Ville Marie borough identified projects with 3,000 units destined for downtown alone. “You talk to the different developers and they are all confident that their project will go forward,” said Carlos Leitao, chief economist at Laurentian Bank. “But I don’t think that all the projects will come to fruition. I would be extremely surprised to see presales advancing for every project so some of them will have to drop off.” In 2012, a more balanced resale market led new home construction to decline nine per cent in the Greater Montreal Area and analysts are expecting a further 12-per-cent drop in housing starts for the region in 2013, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. said Wednesday. In December, the decline in housing starts, compared with the same month in 2011, was fuelled by a 65-per-cent drop in new home construction on Montreal Island. So even as the sold-out Tour des Canadiens near the Bell Centre is looking to add floors, the steep drop in new Montreal Island housing starts reflects the growing array of choices for buyers in the resale market. While Greater Montreal Real Estate Board data are not yet available for December, November resales tanked 19 per cent. Meanwhile, figures reported Tuesday by Royal LePage Real Estate Services showed condo inventory has shot up 30 per cent at the end of 2012, compared with a year earlier. Housing starts The numbers suggest Montreal’s current low interest rate-fuelled real estate boom peaked in 2011, even though demand still far exceeds historic norms. Compared with record-breaking 2011, new condo construction dropped six per cent to 11,880 units in 2012 — still the second highest year in Greater Montreal for condo building. To put that number in context, Greater Montreal developers were only building around 2,000 to 3,000 units a year before the last condo boom of the early 2000s that peaked with 10,000 units in 2004, explained CMHC analyst David L’Heureux. For the province of Quebec, new home construction dropped three per cent last year to 40,526 units above 2011, CMHC data show. Quebec and Nova Scotia were the only two provinces in Canada to report a decline in total housing starts for 2012. Nationally, housing starts declined for the fourth consecutive month in December, but remained well above sustainable levels, leading to further fears the economically important sector could be headed for a hard landing. The pace of housing starts slowed by a modest 1.7 per cent last month to 197,976 on an annual basis, the fourth drop in as many months. In a note, BMO economist Robert Kavcic said “2012 was a strong year for homebuilding in Canada, but it was distinctly a tale of two halves — we judge that 2013 will look more like the second half (cooling) than the first.” Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Softening+market+raises+doubts+over+condo+projects/7797746/story.html#ixzz2HXfyW4rB
  12. Quebec economy stuck in neutral: index No clear signs, Desjardins says. Rising energy costs seen as major concern GEOFF MATTHEWS, CEP News Published: 8 hours ago Quebec's economy faces more tough sledding as U.S. export markets remain slow and the province's employment rate edges up, according to the Desjardins Leading Index (DLI) released yesterday. After making a convincing recovery in the past few months, the index dropped to neutral in July, and "is not providing any clear sign of where Quebec's economy is headed, at least not for the time being," said a statement released by Desjardins. "Our forecast scenario that calls for Quebec to barely avoid a recession still stands," the report said. "Even if real GDP growth firms up somewhat in the second half of 2008, it will only reach 0.8 per cent for 2008 overall. Nothing should be taken for granted on this front, either." The DLI said rising energy costs remain a major concern for consumers despite recent declines in world oil prices. Quebec is also facing a rising unemployment rate - it climbed to 7.4 per cent in July - and a softening housing market. The decline of the Canadian dollar to under the 95-cent (U.S.) mark will give exporters a bit of a break, the Desjardins statement said, but even at this level, the situation remains difficult. "International exports of goods fell by 2.5 per cent in real terms in June," the report said. "This brings the year-to-date decline to 3.6 per cent for the first half of the year." Nor can the province look forward to lower interest rates to give its economy a boost, the report says."Canada's monetary authorities are dealing with a pace of total inflation that is in excess of three per cent," the statement said. "In this type of situation, the key interest rates should remain stable in Canada for the next few months."
  13. Manufacturing activity at 26-year low NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- A key index of the nation's manufacturing activity fell to a 26-year low, sliding into recession territory, a purchasing managers group said Monday. The Institute for Supply Management's (ISM) manufacturing index tumbled to 38.9 in October from 43.5 in September. It was the lowest reading since September 1982, when the index registered 38.8. Economists were expecting a reading of 42, according to a survey conducted by Briefing.com. The tipping point for the index is 50, with a reading below that indicating contraction in manufacturing activity. The index has hovered around the 50 mark since September 2007, with an average of 49.1. A reading below 41 is considered a sign that the economy is in recession. "It appears that manufacturing is experiencing significant demand destruction as a result of recent events, with members indicating challenges associated with the financial crisis, interruptions from the Gulf hurricane, and the lagging impact from higher oil prices," said Norbert Ore, chairman of the Institute for Supply Management's Manufacturing Business Survey Committee, in a statement. Employment in the manufacturing sector fell for the third month in a row. ISM's employment measure registered 34.6 in October, down 7.2 points from September. It was the lowest reading for the employment component since March 1991, when it registered 33.6. The index component for the prices manufacturers pay for raw materials declined 16.5 points to a reading of 37 in the month. It was the lowest point for the component since December 2001 when the prices index registered 33.2. In a sign of growing economic weakness worldwide, the index's measure of export orders fell 11 points to a reading of 41. The decline came after 70 months of expansion. Rising exports had been a bright spot for U.S. manufacturers as the domestic economy deteriorates. But last month's decline suggests that struggling consumers overseas are losing their appetite for U.S. exports.
  14. Revitalizing Calgary's core: Some possibilities for rebirth 'Calgary has reinvented itself before ... from a ranching/agriculture-based economy to oil and gas' By Richard White, CBC News Posted: Jun 17, 2016 While it is shocking that Calgary's downtown skyscraper vacancy rate skyrocketed to 20 per cent at the end of March, and that it could soon surpass the vacancy record of 22 per cent set in 1983 (twice what it was a year ago), we should keep some perspective. These numbers are not unheard of in major corporate headquarter cities. Back in the 1970s, New York City was in decline. By the mid-70s, the city came close to bankruptcy and its office vacancy rate hit 20 per cent. In 1993, Toronto's downtown office vacancy rate hit 20.4 per cent. Vancouver's rose to 17.4 per cent in 2004. And these may not even be records, as data only goes back to 1990 for those cities. Today, New York City, Toronto and Vancouver's downtowns are booming. All downtowns go through periods of growth, decline and rebirth. Montreal's decline and rebirth In the '60s, the case could still be made Montreal was Canada's business capital. Its downtown was a major office headquarters for Quebec's natural resource industry as well as a thriving financial industry, including the head offices of the Bank of Montreal, Royal Bank of Canada and insurance giant Sun Life. In 1962, when the Place Ville Marie office designed by iconic architects I.M. Pei and Henry N. Cobb opened, it symbolized Montreal's arrival as a world-class city. This was further reinforced with the hosting of Expo '67, the arrival of Montreal Expos baseball team in 1969, and the 1976 Olympics. However, the '70s brought the threat of separation, which prompted many corporate headquarters and their executives to move to Toronto. By 1971, Toronto's population surpassed Montreal's. The 1976 Montreal Olympics, the most expensive in history, plunged the city into a legacy of debt and decline for decades. Today, Montreal has reinvented itself as an international tourist destination and a major player in the gaming and music industries. New York's return from the brink In 1975, New York City was on the brink of bankruptcy. The gradual economic and social decay set in during the '60s. The city's subway system was regarded as unsafe due to crime and frequent mechanical breakdowns. Central Park was the site of numerous muggings and rapes; homeless persons and drug dealers occupied boarded-up and abandoned buildings. Times Square became an ugly, seedy place dominated by crime, drugs and prostitution. Today, New York City is back as one of the world's most successful cities, economically and culturally, and Times Square is again one of the world's most popular urban tourist attractions. Calgary's future Perhaps Calgary has already begun to reinvent itself. Despite the growing vacancy rate downtown, the CBRE's First Quarter 2016 Report says, "Not all commercial real estate in the city has been affected, though. Suburban office space held steady from the last quarter, and the industrial real estate market is still robust because it's not tied to oil and gas." Indeed, Calgary has become one of North America's largest inland port cities, including two state-of-the art intermodal rail operations. Calgary is now the distribution headquarters for Western Canada, a position once held by Winnipeg. And so Calgary's industrial sectors employ more people than the energy sector. Calgary Economic Development is working with the real estate community to implement a "Head Office/Downtown Office Plan" with three action items. One idea is the repurposing of smaller older office spaces as incubators and innovation hubs to attract millennials and/or entrepreneurs. A good example of this is in West Hillhurst, where Arlene Dickenson has converted an old office building at the corner of Memorial Drive and Kensington Road that was once home to an engineering firm into District Ventures, home to several startup packaged goods companies. Another repurposing idea would be to convert some older office buildings into residential uses. In the U.S., programs like Vacant Places Into Vibrant Spaces have been successful but mostly for office to residential conversions of older buildings with smaller floor plates. They don't work for offices buildings with floor plates over 7,500 square feet (which is the case for most of Calgary's empty high-rise office space), as it is expensive and difficult to meet residential building codes, which are very different from commercial ones, making it tough to compete with new residential construction. In an ideal world, Calgary could become a global talent hub, where skilled workers who have been displaced from the energy and related industries continue to live in Calgary but become a remote workforce for energy projects around the world. Temporary and permanent satellite offices could be established in Calgary with teams of engineers, geologists, accountants, bankers etc. working on projects around the world. The obvious strategy would be to woo international companies in the finance, insurance, transportation, agriculture, digital media and renewable resources to set up a Canadian or North American office in Calgary, maybe even relocate here. With cities like San Francisco, Seattle and Boston facing major affordable housing crises for millennial workers, Calgary could become a very attractive place for a satellite office for companies in those cities. One "off the wall" idea postulated by George Brookman, CEO of West Canadian Industries, would be to promote Calgary as an "International Centre for Energy Dispute Resolution," similar to the Netherland's TAMARA (Transportation And Maritime Arbitration Rotterdam-Amsterdam), which offers an extrajudicial platform for conducting professional arbitration for settling disputes. However, one wonders: Could Calgary compete with London and New York, which are already leaders in the international arbitration business? Incentivize rebirth Calgary has reinvented itself before, evolving from a ranching/agriculture-based economy to oil and gas in the middle of the 20th century. Indeed, the downtown core, which is an office ghetto today, would benefit immensely if incentives could be made to convert a dozen or so office buildings into condos, apartments or hotels to foster a rebirth of the core as a place to live. Calgary at a Crossroads is CBC Calgary's special focus on life in our city during the downturn. A look at Calgary's culture, identity and what it means to be Calgarian. Read more stories from the series at Calgary at a Crossroads. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/calgary-core-kickstart-richard-white-1.3638276
  15. By Jay Bryan, Special to Gazette February 15, 2013 8:04 PM Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/homes/Bryan+housing+numbers+point+soft+landing/7973381/story.html#ixzz2L1fXbpfN MONTREAL — For more than a year, there have been two competing narratives about the future path of Canada’s high-flying housing market: total collapse and moderate decline. The moderates, if we can call them that, still seem to me to have the better argument, especially when you consider the unexpectedly upbeat housing resale figures last month. Friday’s report from the Canadian Real Estate Association demonstrates that national home sales continue to be significantly lower than those of a year ago, but that virtually all of this decline happened abruptly last August, reflecting a tough squeeze on mortgage-lending conditions in July by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. Since then, however, there’s been no further month-to-month downtrend, notes CREA chief economist Gregory Klump. Prices, which don’t necessarily track sales right away, have also weakened, but less. While sales are down five per cent from one year ago, average national prices are actually up by three per cent, as measured by the CREA Home Price Index. However, this year-over-year price gain has slid gradually from the 4.5 per cent recorded in July. What’s the bottom line? In my opinion, it’s that the catastrophist scenario detailed not just by eccentric bloggers but also in national newspapers and magazines, looks increasingly unlikely. That’s not to say this outcome is utterly impossible. At least one highly regarded consulting firm, Capital Economics, has been predicting for two years that this country faces a 25-per-cent plunge in average home prices. This is the kind of drop — almost comparable to the 30-per-cent-plus crash in the U.S. — that would probably trigger a bad recession, especially in today’s environment of subdued economic growth. David Madani, the economist responsible for this frightening prediction, understands the housing numbers very well, but he simply doesn’t share most other analysts’ relative equanimity about what they mean. Yes, Canada’s banks are financially stronger and more prudent in their lending than their U.S. counterparts, he acknowledges, and yes, there’s little evidence of the fraud and regulatory irresponsibility that worsened the U.S. catastrophe, but he sees the psychology of overoptimistic buyers as uncomfortably similar. What looks like enormous overbuilding of condos in the hot Toronto market help to make his point, as does the still-stratospheric price of Vancouver housing. Madani certainly has a point, but the countervailing evidence seems even stronger. A key example is the behaviour of Canada’s housing market over the past six months. The latest squeeze on mortgage lending, the fourth in five years, is also the toughest, points out economist Robert Kavcic of BMO Capital Markets. It drove up the cost of carrying a typical loan by nearly one percentage point, or about $150 a month on a $300,000 mortgage. And as this shock was hitting the housing market, Canada’s employment growth was slowing. In a market held aloft by speculative psychology, it seems very likely that such a hammer blow would bring about the very crash that pessimists have been predicting. Instead, though, the market reacted pretty much as it had during previous rounds of Flaherty’s campaign to rein in the housing market, notes Derek Burleton, deputy chief economist at the TD Bank. Sales dropped moderately, but the decline didn’t feed on itself as it would in an environment of collapsing speculative hopes. Instead, the market proved to be rather resilient, with sales plateauing and then actually rising a bit in January. Burleton, along with Kavcic and Robert Hogue, an economist at the Royal Bank who follows housing, believe that we’ve already seen most of the market downside that will result from Flaherty’s move. Jay Bryan: New housing numbers point to soft landing This doesn’t mean that the market is out of the woods. It’s still overvalued, not hugely, but by something like 10 per cent, Burleton estimates. But moderate overvaluation can persist for years unless the market is hit by some shock to incomes or interest rates. While there’s no agreement on the path prices take from here, some of these analysts think they’ll drift down slowly, maybe three to eight per cent over a few years. At the same time, rising take-home pay will be shrinking the amount of overvaluation, creating a more sustainable market. Let’s hope they’re right. [email protected] © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/homes/Bryan+housing+numbers+point+soft+landing/7973381/story.html#ixzz2L1ew0d8Y
  16. It’s déjà-vu all over again. With the market updates being so identically close to the ones from November and December, January’s market news are no news at all. Still, let’s give the breakdown, to keep the tradition. Here we go: Compared to January 2008, last month we had an increase of 12% of properties listed in the market. New listings decreased by 14% Overall actual sales decreased by 37% Prices are still increasing: Condos: +4% Single Family Homes and Plexes: +3% If you take a look at the past reports you will see that not much has changed. The prices have not decreased, and sales continues to be slow. Michel Beausejour, FCA, Chief Executive Officer of the GMREB, notes: “It’s obvious that the sales decline is mostly due to a drop in consumer confidence. It’s not surprising to see this decline, even though the real estate market has been quite solid for the last 30 years or so, which is as far back as our statistics go.” http://montrealrealestateblog.com/
  17. Do we dare think big again? After three decades of decline, stagnation and costly federalist-separatist battles, Montreal politicians have taken to looking in rear-view mirrors to the Drapeau era megaprojects, when the term 'Big O' could have stood for 'optimism' JAMES MENNIE, The Gazette Published: 10 hours ago "Of all the achievements of the Drapeau administration," says Paul-André Linteau, a professor of history at the Université du Québec à Montréal, "Expo 67 occupies a special place in our collective imagination. "When we marked the 40th anniversary of Expo last year, it was heavily covered by the media, and full of teary-eyed, nostalgic baby boomers recalling the extraordinary summer they spent at Expo 67. "But often we experience a kind of deformation of memory that sees an individual's recollection transformed into something the entire community believes it experienced. Not everybody had a great summer in 1967, but the boomers expressing themselves on TV or radio (create) a strong, positive perception of Expo 67." Nostalgia is a valuable commodity in politics. Candidates who campaign on a platform of change usually depict their promises through the prism of the past. U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama hearkens to a day when the United States was economically strong and enjoyed the world's respect and opponent John McCain speaks of a simpler age when ordinary people had a role in determining what direction their country took. How much truth exists in either version of the past is debatable, but it makes for good oratory. Locally, where the political stakes may be less, the good old days aren't hard to locate. After 30 years of economic decline, an exodus of taxpayers to the suburbs and political trench warfare that pitted separatists against federalists, Montreal politicians in the here and now are hard pressed to rally the electorate to the promise of a better tomorrow. They've decided, instead, to stake their political futures on the memory of a better yesterday - in fact, a very specific collection of yesterdays from April 27 to Oct. 29, 1967, the golden days of Expo and a mayor named Jean Drapeau. The latest example occurred last week, when municipal opposition leader Benoit Labonté announced that he wanted Montrealers to work together to submit their city as a candidate to host the Universal Exposition for 2020. Brandishing a pair of passports from Expo 67, Labonté said the fair evokes memories of "the greatness of Montreal ... of a time when everything seemed possible. "The future seemed to belong to us, and it was probably the biggest moment of collective pride felt by Montrealers in the 20th century." Arguing that a second exposition could jump-start Montreal as a world class metropolis, Labonté invited all Montrealers - including Mayor Gérald Tremblay- to join in an effort to bring the show here. While some news organizations reported that Labonté's plan seemed to come out of the blue, the opposition leader had hinted broadly at it during an interview with The Gazette in May, saying that Montrealers needed a common cause they could focus their energies on and noting that the last time such a sentiment existed here was between Expo 67 and the 1976 summer Olympics. Whatever the genesis of Labonté's invitation, it was dismissed by city hall three hours after being made. "We like to dream with our eyes open," said Montreal executive committee member Alan De Sousa, describing Labonté's plan as "an electoral balloon." De Sousa's response wasn't totally unexpected, but it ignored the fact that pointing to the Drapeau-era as an inspiration for the future isn't a ploy invented by the municipal opposition. Tremblay has never spoken publicly about staging another world's fair here, but three years ago he did float the idea of luring another major event from the Drapeau-era back to Montreal. In August 2005 and flushed by the apparent success of the World Aquatics Championships, Tremblay mused that "Montreal will not wait another 30 years to renew acquaintances with the world," and that the city would "think" about bidding for the 2016 Olympic Games. Even though the idea went over like a lead balloon, the mayor's reverence for the Montreal of a generation ago came to the fore in speeches given during the 40th anniversary of Expo 67. "We owe to Jean Drapeau a great part of Montreal's recognition and international growth," Tremblay told a Board of Trade lunch as a slide show of Expo 67 pavilions flickered behind him. "Expo was a great project that marked our history and our imagination - an audacious project, the expression of an immense confidence in ourselves, in our capacity to create and invent." Even Projet Montréal, an opposition party holding one seat on city council and an equal amount of contempt for Tremblay and Labonté's policies, isn't immune from the lure of Expo. Party leader Richard Bergeron once observing that if Drapeau had dithered as much as the present administration, "the métro would never have been built." But while Linteau acknowledges that changes were afoot in Montreal and Quebec in 1967, it would be a mistake to think it was a magical time for Montreal. "The '60s were exceptional years," he says. "It was the Kennedy years in the United States. "We often look only at what Quebec was going through, but we were in the middle of a universe in transition." In fact, while the year may be remembered through rose-coloured mists, the reality was that the bloom was already leaving this city. Linteau acknowledges the optimism of the time - "when you consider all the projects that were being proposed, we thought there'd be 7 million people living in Montreal by 1980, that there would be 15 million visitors at Montreal airport by the end of the 1970s." But, he adds, "that optimism was quickly deflated because Expo occurred about the same time the decline of Montreal began. "Drapeau didn't care. Economic development and things of that nature were too trivial for him. He didn't notice our being overtaken by Toronto which, even by 1960, had passed Montreal as a major metropolis." Linteau notes that people usually like to be a part of something bigger than themselves. "A lot of humanity's monuments are the result of policies of grandeur and waste," he says. "Big projects are a bit megalomanical, but they get things moving, create change. "What's certain is that it's been a long while since we had that kind of project in Montreal. Just look at the bickering over the superhospitals." [email protected]