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Found 98 results

  1. Prosperity gap to widen, Conference Board says Growth in Quebec expected to hit 1.4% DAVID AKIN, Canwest News Service Published: 8 hours ago Booming Saskatchewan will lead all provinces in economic growth this year, while Ontario and Quebec will suffer through a difficult year, said forecasters at the Conference Board of Canada. The widening prosperity gap between the West and those in central and eastern Canada presents federal policy-makers with some unique challenges. The West may need policies that slow growth and curb inflation, while central Canada has few inflationary worries but needs some economic stimulus to encourage growth. In its semi-annual provincial outlook, the Conference Board says Saskatchewan's economy is booming thanks to surging commodity prices, particularly oil and potash, and as a result, the provincial economy there will grow by 4.2 per cent this year. In fact, the Conference Board said workers are leaving Alberta and heading to Saskatchewan to make their fortune. The report says that, as a result, retailers in Canada's flattest province may be in for a particularly good year. "The positive labour outlook, combined with lofty wage gains, is spurring a spending spree. Retail sales are expected to soar by 12.2 per cent in 2008," it said. Meanwhile, in Quebec, things will be a bit better this year, where growth of 1.4 per cent is expected. "Since the middle of 2007, the Quebec economy has been at a near standstill. The weakness in the manufacturing sector has eroded economic gains made in other industries,' the report said. Next door in Ontario, where manufacturers had particular trouble coping with the one-two punch of a fast-rising loonie and skyrocketing energy prices, economic growth will be just 0.8 per cent, the Conference Board said. Only Newfoundland and Labrador will see slower economic growth than Ontario this year. After a stellar year in 2007 with double-digit economic growth, the Conference Board said the pace in Canada's most eastern province is stalled. It predicts growth there of just 0.2 per cent this year. Overall, the Conference Board believes Canada's economy will grow by 1.7 per cent. The forecasters at the independent think-tank are much more optimistic than the Bank of Canada, which said last month it believes Canada's economy will grow by one per cent.
  2. Le Petit Maghreb By Joel Ceausu Little Italy and Chinatown are getting a new sibling — and since it’s just a few blocks, maybe Louise Harel won’t mind. Le Petit Maghreb is now more than just a casual moniker for a certain part of the city: it’s an official part of Montreal’s commercial destination network, and an unofficial but growing tourism draw. The area in the Villeray-Saint-Michel-Parc-Extension borough has received $40,000 from the city of Montreal’s Programme réussir à Montréal ([email protected] Commerce) recognizing the efforts of the local Maghreb business association for revitalization of Jean-Talon Street between Saint-Michel and Pie-IX boulevards. “Thanks to this support, local businesspeople finally have the means to create an official new district in Montreal,” said a clearly delighted borough mayor Anie Samson. “It’s excellent news for the Maghreb community, as well as the growing attraction of our borough and Montreal.” The local Maghreb community hails mostly from North Africa, particularly Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia. Over the years, this important stretch of Jean-Talon has become a gathering place for Montreal’s Maghreb community — estimated at about 150,000 people. The funds will be used to develop a master plan to mobilize businesses, reach targeted communities, and carry out an economic and physical strategy to define a public image for the sector. About half of the 105 area businesses are related to Maghreb culture in bakeries, butchers, Arab pastry shops, restaurants and tearooms, along with hairdressing salons and travel agencies. Malik Hadid is also happy that after three years of work the designation will become official. “I am very happy that the Association can count on the support of [email protected] Commerce,” said the travel agency owner and local association president. He was quick to add that the Maghreb association also enjoys close cooperation with the borough, the local economic development agency and Station 30 police. The city’s [email protected] program is already at work in other neighbourhoods around the island, helping spruce up commercial districts and adding appeal to important arteries using architecture, infrastructure and marketing, and helping boost investment by matching funds of local investors. Other east-end streets selected for the program include Promenade Fleury, Jean-Talon St. in Saint-Leonard, and Charleroi in Montreal-Nord.
  3. A new era of prosperity RICHARD FOOT, Canwest News Service Published: 8 hours ago Boom times for have-not provinces are redrawing Canada's economic and political map. The remarkable growth is resource-driven: potash and uranium in Saskatchewan, offshore oil in Newfoundland and Labrador To find the front lines of the global commodities boom, drive an hour east from Saskatoon on the Yellowhead Highway to Lanigan, Sask., home of the world's largest potash mine. Two huge, dome-covered warehouses, each about the size of a football field, stand on the mine site, eerily empty except for a few dusty sweepings of potash on the floors. "A decade ago there would have been a mountain of potash in here," said Will Brandsema, general manager of AMEC, whose engineering firm recently completed a $400-million expansion of the mine for the Potash Corp. of Saskatchewan. Potash Corp.'s Lanigan mine in Saskatchewan. The price of the mineral has soared to nearly $1,000 a tonne from about $100.View Larger Image View Today, worldwide demand for the pinkish, chalk-like mineral is so great, Potash Corp. can't keep its warehouses full. In the past four years, the price of potash - the basic ingredient of fertilizer - has soared to nearly $1,000 per tonne from about $100, largely because of rising populations in China and India and their sudden appetite for high-value, fertilizer-grown food. Thanks to a quirk of geologic good fortune, Saskatchewan is filled with potash and now produces more than a quarter of the world's supply. What was for years an unremarkable export has suddenly become one of the most treasured commodities on Earth - pink gold, you might call it - which, alongside surging sales of oil, uranium and even grain, is suddenly making Saskatchewan the economic envy of the nation. About 3,000 kilometres away, another once-poor province accustomed to life on the economic fringes is also reaping a windfall from its natural resources. Skyrocketing oil prices are fuelling an extraordinary economic turnaround in Newfoundland and Labrador, where a fourth offshore oil project will soon be in development. Petrodollars are transforming St. John's from a down-at-the-heels provincial capital into a bustling energy city brimming with stylish restaurants, affluent condo developments and a sense of euphoria not seen there since cod were first discovered on the Grand Banks. "The Newfoundland and Saskatchewan economies have gone from stagnant to stellar," Statistics Canada declared in its May Economic Observer. "These two provinces have moved beyond old stereotypes and stepped into a new era of prosperity." Both provinces led the country last year in growth of exports, in the rate of housing starts and in growth of gross domestic product - the only provinces, along with Alberta, whose per capita GDP was above the national average. In June, a report by the TD Bank Financial Group called Saskatchewan "Canada's commodity superstar" and said if the province were a country, it would rank fifth in the world among member nations of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, in terms of per capita GDP. It would trail only Luxembourg, Norway, the United States and Ireland. (Alberta would come second if ranked on the same list.) John Crosbie, who announced the cod fishery's shutdown as federal fisheries minister and is now the province's lieutenant-governor, expressed the mood of many Newfoundlanders while reading his government's throne speech in March: "Ours is not the province it was two decades ago," Crosbie said. "We are - for the first time in our history - poised to come off equalization very soon. This is a stunning achievement that will reinforce the bold new attitude of self-confidence that has taken hold among Newfoundlanders and Labradorians." What do such economic shifts mean for the country as a whole, and how will the rise of two weaker provinces, coupled with the manufacturing malaise in Ontario, affect the workings of confederation? First, many economists say it's a mistake to underestimate the resilience and strength of the huge Ontario economy. They also say the surging energy economies of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland face their own challenges, including cyclical commodity prices, the social costs of rapid development and severe labour shortages. Canada is already facing a labour crunch that's only going to worsen with time. In six years, said economist Brian Lee Crowley, president of the Atlantic Institute for Market Studies, there will be more people leaving the country's labour force than entering it. The new demand for workers in Saskatchewan and Newfoundland, especially in construction and engineering, can only exacerbate the problem. In 2006, for the first time in 23 years, Saskatchewan stopped losing people, on a net basis, to other provinces, thanks to the thousands of workers streaming home from Alberta to new jobs in Regina, Saskatoon, Moose Jaw and elsewhere. As job opportunities also grow in Newfoundland, and competition for skilled workers intensifies, the availability of labour will decline and the cost of it will increase, putting further pressures on the dollar and on manufacturers. The rampant growth of Canada's resource-rich economies is also expected to force changes to the federal equalization program. In April, the TD Bank forecast that Ontario, a longtime contributor to equalization, could become a recipient as early as 2010 - not because Ontario's economy is falling apart, but because it is slipping relative to the extraordinary growth of commodity-producing provinces. As the resource boom pushes the average level of provincial revenues higher, provinces like Ontario will fall below that average, and the cost of funding equalization will increase. Yet the federal government won't be able to afford the program, because Ottawa has no access to the commodity revenues that are driving up its cost; natural resource royalties flow only to the provinces. "The amount of money required for that program is going to get bigger and bigger," said Wade Locke, an economist at Memorial University in St. John's. As for Newfoundland and Labrador, over the past decade its per capita GDP has risen to $10,000 above the national average from $10,000 below - the fastest 10-year turnaround of any province in Canadian Newfoundland and Saskatchewan both reaped a bonanza last year from commodity royalties. Newfoundland posted a record $1.4-billion budget surplus; Saskatchewan announced a $641-million surplus plus a $1-billion infrastructure spending spree. While those two provinces enjoy their economic rebirth, recession stalks other regions of Canada, in particular the industrial heartland of Ontario. There, many manufacturers are struggling with high energy costs and a strong dollar, and the North American automakers - once Canada's economic engine - are shedding jobs and shutting factories. John Pollock, chairman of Electrohome Ltd. in Kitchener, Ont. - he is winding up the affairs of a once-proud consumer electronics maker forced to the sidelines by overseas competition - predicts Ontario is entering a period of perhaps a decade or more in which it will no longer drive the country's economy. "There's going to be a period of transition that's going to be tough," he said. "Ontario has supported the rest of the country - provinces like Saskatchewan and Newfoundland - for years. Maybe it's time for a shift." Global financier George Soros recently described Canada's economy as a split personality - half beleaguered by a sluggish manufacturing sector, and half enjoying the wonders of the worldwide resource boom. Never before have the fault lines between Central Canada's energy-dependent provinces and the far-flung energy-rich ones been so stark, says Brett Gartner, an economist with the Canada West Foundation, a Calgary think-tank. "Of course, Ontario's not about to fade away. It still accounts for more than 40 per cent of the national economy," Gartner said. "But let's not discount what's happening in the regions. It's quite astounding." In Saskatchewan, for example, Potash Corp., buoyed by a share price that has made it one of the leading companies on the Toronto Stock Exchange, is spending $3.2 billion to construct new mines and expand existing ones. Much of that work has gone to AMEC, an international engineering firm that recently refurbished a second mill at the Lanigan mine after the facility was closed in the 1980s because of lack of demand. Will Brandsema, who runs AMEC's Saskatoon office, says he can't hire engineers fast enough to fill the jobs created by mine expansions in the potash and uranium industries. Eight years ago, AMEC employed 64 people in Saskatoon; today that number is 325. "You talk about have-not provinces," he said. "Ten years ago, I spent most of my time in the office looking for business. Now I spend most of my time with human resources, looking for people to hire. "It's just amazing the growth here, and not only in potash. Thirty per cent of the world's uranium comes out of this province. And we have other commodities - oil, gas, coal and the whole agricultural side. All of these are going to grow." Saskatchewan left the ranks of equalization-receiving provinces in 2007. Newfoundland and Labrador is expected to become a "have" province this year or next, a startling change considering that the cod fishery - once the foundation of the province's economy - has not substantially reopened since its devastating closure by Ottawa in 1992. "It's currently $13 billion. It's going to be $30 billion in 10 years. The federal government doesn't have the financial wherewithal to fund that program." Yet abolishing or changing equalization, a program required by the constitution, presents huge political problems, particularly in Quebec, which receives the largest equalization payment, although the lowest per capita amount. "You're going to see some serious restructuring of equalization, but not before the next election," Locke said. "The Harper government is not going to do it." Changes to equalization, not to mention a realignment of "have" and "have-not" provinces, could also prompt a new wave of regional beefs and resentments - the bane of confederation. Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty is already complaining about how much his province's taxpayers contribute to national transfer programs, a system Ontario governments once supported in better economic times. Oil itself could become a flashpoint that divides the country. Public demands in Quebec, Ontario or British Columbia for a national carbon tax would now raise the ire of more than just one oil-producing province. In the meantime, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland, which typically wield little weight in national discussions, could use their new economic clout to campaign for a truly effective Senate, with real power to represent regional interests. "There is some realignment of economic power occurring that will influence the national political debate," said former Newfoundland premier Brian Peckford, who now works as a business consultant in British Columbia. "Premiers' meetings, for example, won't be dominated by only a few big provinces. Smaller provinces like Saskatchewan and Newfoundland won't have to shout and demand to be heard. We'll get noticed simply by being there." Still, Peckford - who grew up in a province so poor that he remembers, as a boy, studying his schoolbooks by kerosene lamp - warns Newfoundlanders not to let their budding affluence go to their heads. "I would caution them that as they grow financially, they must also grow emotionally and socially," he said. "The last thing Newfoundland and Labrador should do is get arrogant about this, because one never knows how long it will last. "A lot of Canadians helped us after we joined confederation, so it's our turn now to contribute back." Rags to resources: First of a series Boom times for the "have-nots" are redrawing Canada's economic and political map. Next: Day 2: Flush with commodities cash, Saskatchewan revels in its rebirth. Day 3: From misfit to petro-darling: Newfoundland's remarkable transformation. Day 4: Hard times in the industrial heartland: Ontario's painful transition. Day 5: The ''curse'' of resources: Post-fortune perils. Day 6: Finding new fortunes: Quebec's industrial heartland moves on. http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/story.html?id=6fd0d4f0-4e9c-462d-af41-4ae1b93545a0&p=3
  4. Andrew Duffy, Ottawa Citizen, Ottawa Citizen 03.17.2015 Ottawa’s share of new immigrants continues to decline as newcomers increasingly opt for the economic opportunities of Western Canada or the cultural diversity of Montreal. A Statistics Canada study released Wednesday reveals that the percentage of immigrants who cited Ottawa as their intended destination has dropped to 2.4 per cent in 2012 from 3.4 per cent in 2000. It means that the actual number of immigrants settling in Ottawa has gone down even as Canada welcomed more newcomers. Annual immigration to Canada rose to 280,700 in 2012 from 227,500 in 2000. “The recession hit Ontario pretty hard and it’s normal that immigrants don’t want to go to someplace where economic conditions are not as good,” said Gilles Grenier, a University of Ottawa economics professor who specializes in labour market and immigration issues. The Statistics Canada research paper, Changes in the Regional Distribution of New Immigrants to Canada, examines the country’s evolving settlement pattern. It shows that new immigrants have started to look beyond Toronto and Vancouver to destinations such as Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Saskatchewan, where — at least until the recent crash in oil prices — economies have been booming. Montreal, already a major destination, has also seen its share of newcomers increase substantially to 18.1 per cent in 2012. Meanwhile, Toronto, which attracted almost half (48.4 per cent) of all new immigrants in 2000, saw its share of newcomers fall to 30 per cent in 2012. Still, that city remains the country’s biggest magnet for immigrants. StatsCan analysts suggested that the new settlement pattern reflects changes in regional economic activity and employment. “In short, labour market conditions were better in Western Canada than they were in the rest of the country,” the report concluded. That more newcomers were settling outside of Toronto and Vancouver was also a reflection of Canada’s revised immigration system. Provincial nominee programs (PNPs) allow provinces to select and nominate immigrants to meet their own economic goals and growth targets. “Over the 2000s, the PNPs considerably increased the number of immigrants going to destinations that previously received few immigrants,” the study found. The percentage of immigrants arriving in Canada as provincial nominees increased to 13 per cent in 2010 from one per cent in 2000. The program has been particularly successful at attracting immigrants to Manitoba, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. StatsCan analysts said the distribution of newcomers within Canada has also been affected by shifts in the country’s immigration sources. In the late 1990s, most of Canada’s immigrants came from China and India, and they tended to settle in Toronto and Vancouver. By 2010, however, the Philippines was the biggest source of Canadian immigrants, and they have settled in cities across the country, the report said. Montreal’s growth as a destination city was driven by increased immigration from Africa, South America, Central America and the Caribbean. Gilles Grenier said the study shows that Canada’s immigration system is maturing. “It’s a good thing that immigrants disperse in Canada,” he said. “Because Ontario, for many years, was the main destination for immigrants in Canada, especially Toronto, where almost half the population is foreign-born.” The recent drop in oil prices, however, could cause immigration patterns to shift again, Grenier warned, as immigrants chase new job opportunities. BY THE NUMBERS 48.4: Percentage of new immigrants who wanted to settle in Toronto in 2000 30: Percentage of new immigrants who wanted to settle in Toronto in 2012 5.5: Average unemployment rate in Toronto in 2000 9.2: Average unemployment rate in Toronto in 2010 21.3: Percentage of Canadian immigrants that came from China in 2000 12.8: Percentage of Canadian immigrants that came from China in 2010 14: Percentage of Canadian immigrants that arrived from the Philippines in 2010 Source: http://www.montrealgazette.com/News/ottawa/Ottawa+share+immigrants+decline+newcomers+look+Montreal/10902540/story.html
  5. Comme membre de cette communite pour 2 annees, j'entends beaucoup de bitchage. Nous bitchons que notre sort et a cause du federal/du provinciale/les anglais/les quebecois hors de Montreal etc etc. We have the power to change. If Montrealers united together to a project, an idea of rebuilding Montreal into a great metropolis - there is no reason why we cant get there. Why are we so focused on secondary or tertiary issues (language/NIMBY's/scandals).. instead of focusing on primary issues (economic prosperity/infrastructure investment/festival and idea generations). We are a product of our thoughts and intentions - and one cant help but to see how mediocre we've become in this city. We can change the city - its nobody's fault but OURS We let go of Mr.Drapeau dreams, we let go of thinking big, I cant help to think that Toronto stole our dream. End of rant...
  6. Take the test here Your political compass Economic Left/Right: 0.75 Social Libertarian/Authoritarian: -1.03 Graph
  7. Montreal to host conference on reducing growth BY MICHELLE LALONDE, GAZETTE ENVIRONMENT REPORTER http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Montreal+host+conference+degrowth/6600947/story.html MONTREAL - Just as events are forcing Quebecers to debate some fundamental questions about our economy and our future, five Montreal universities happen to be hosting a weeklong conference on “degrowth” – a movement that questions whether economic growth should be our society’s primary goal. “Degrowth is an attempt to force us out of this lock-step way of thinking that growth is always good,” said Peter Brown, a professor at McGill University’s School of Environment and one of the conference’s organizers. Brown said the conference – which starts Sunday and ends Saturday, May 19 – has been in the works for years and is modelled on similar conferences in Paris in 2008 and Barcelona in 2010, and is leading up to a global conference on the issue next fall in Venice. But he admits the timing is serendipitous. The Occupy movement, the recent record-breaking Earth Day march in Montreal, concerns over the push to develop northern Quebec and the continuing student strikes are all signs that many Quebecers are questioning the “business-as-usual” approach to economic development. Brown says all of these movements may find common ground in the notion that a narrow focus on growing the economy at any cost, while discounting effects on the environment and human well-being have led mankind to commit some catastrophic errors. Gross domestic product should not be used as the key measure of a country’s well being, because it ignores the cost of creating wealth (for some), such as environmental degradation and human suffering, say proponents of degrowth. Errors like runaway global warming, habitat destruction and a widening wage gap between rich and poor will lead to calamity for future generations, and a forced, unplanned “degrowth” period that will be painful, they warn. “Any healthy civilization looks after future generations ... we just don’t do that,” Brown told The Gazette on Thursday. The conference will feature panels and lectures by academics and activists prominent in the North American degrowth movement. The big draw will be a public lecture by ecologist David Suzuki called Humanity in Collision with the Biosphere: Is it Too Late? on Friday at 11 a.m. at UQÀM. (Admission to Suzuki’s talk is free, but registration is required). The conference, titled Less is More; Degrowth in the Americas, runs from May 13 to 19. Registration costs $200 per day, or $390 for all seven days, with reduced fees offered to students or members of “grassroots Montreal-based organizations.” Talks will be recorded and posted on the conference website (montreal.degrowth.org). [email protected] Twitter: @mrlalonde © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette ********************************************************************************************************************* Québec - Forward Never, Backwards Ever
  8. http://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/montreal-now-a-member-of-the-world-tourism-cities-federation-575257221.html MONTRÉAL, April 11, 2016 /CNW Telbec/ - Montréal is now officially a member of the World Tourism Cities Federation (WTCF). This non-profit organization is a select club made up of the world's leading tourism cities, such as Los Angeles, Paris, Berlin and Barcelona. Initiated in 2012 by Beijing, its primary objective is to promote exchanges between top international destinations and share tourism development experience. With its headquarters in China, the organization is committed to improving the attractiveness of tourism cities and promoting harmonious economic and social development in these centres. "We are delighted to see that Montréal has a seat at the table with the world's biggest tourism superpowers. This is an excellent opportunity to position our city among the very best urban destinations on the planet," said Denis Coderre, Mayor of Montréal. "Montréal will have the chance to draw inspiration from these reputed destinations to enhance its tourism potential. In addition to participating in discussions, we will seize the opportunity to forge closer ties with various Chinese institutions. China is an important market for Montréal, with very promising tourism and economic opportunities," added Yves Lalumière, President and CEO of Tourisme Montréal. With new direct flights to China and increased economic missions to the country, Montréal is now in an excellent position to attract more tourists from this rapidly developing country. Moreover, tourist traffic from China is expected to increase 15% annually for the next three years. About Tourisme Montréal Tourisme Montréal is responsible for providing leadership in the concerted efforts of hospitality and promotion in order to position the "Montréal" destination on leisure and business travel markets. It is also responsible for developing Montréal's tourism product in accordance with the ever-changing conditions of the market.
  9. " Moins il y a de liberté, moins il y a de richesse " Les Affaires, 2 août 2008 Le Québec fait piètre figure en termes de ce que vous appelez la " liberté économique ". Que faire pour améliorer la situation ? En effet, selon notre récente étude Economic Freedom of North America, le Québec possède un des niveaux de liberté économique les plus bas parmi les États de l'Amérique du Nord. Nous nous classons au 59e rang sur 60 ! Pour s'améliorer, le Québec doit réduire la taille de l'État, alléger le fardeau fiscal et éliminer les entraves au marché du travail. Par exemple, sur le plan fiscal, le Québec se classe 60e en Amérique. L'élimination totale de la taxe sur le capital pour les entreprises et la diminution des taux d'imposition marginaux pour les particuliers seraient deux mesures qui aideraient beaucoup. Quelles sont les entraves dans le marché du travail ? Le marché du travail au Québec est également plus contraignant qu'ailleurs, avec un salaire minimum et un taux de syndicalisation plus élevés. Par exemple, il est beaucoup plus facile de se syndiquer ici, au Québec, qu'ailleurs en Amérique du Nord. De plus, il y a des lois comme celles régissant les heures d'affaires qui réduisent la liberté économique et compliquent la vie des entrepreneurs. En quoi la liberté économique est-elle importante ? Parce qu'il y a un lien direct entre richesse et liberté économique. Moins il y a de liberté, moins il y a de richesse. Moins il y a de restrictions, plus il y a de possibilités et plus grande est la prospérité. Les Québécois ont moins de choix économiques et cela se reflète dans leur richesse. Seulement 1,8 % de la population gagne plus de 100 000 $ par année. Comment se classe le Canada à l'échelle mondiale ? Selon l'étude Economic Freedom of the World de 2004, le Canada était en 5e place, ex aequo avec les États-Unis et la Grande-Bretagne. Les premiers pays étaient, dans l'ordre, Hong-Kong, Singapour, la Nouvelle-Zélande et la Suisse. Le Québec ne figure pas dans cette étude. C'est précisément pour comparer les territoires à l'intérieur des États-Unis et du Canada qu'on publie Economic Freedom of North America. On constate qu'il y a une grande divergence entre les États américains et les provinces canadiennes.
  10. Article by FDI intelligence (financial times) Rankings: 1. New York City 2. Sao Paulo 3 Toronto 4.MONTREAL 5. Vancouver 6. Houston 7. Atlanta 8. San Francisco 9. Chicago 10. Miami "Canadian cities Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver ranked third, fourth and fifth, respectively, and performed particularly well in the attraction of knowledge-intensive FDI. All three locations were among the top 20 key destination and source cities for FDI. With the exception of New York, Montreal-based companies invested in more FDI projects than other city in the Americas region" "Business friendly Canada Placed in third, Montreal’s success lies in retaining and developing relationships with existing investments – data from fDi Markets shows that one in five FDI projects since 2003 were expansions. Montreal tops strategy list The prize for Best Major American City for FDI Strategy 2013/14 is awarded to Montreal. It beat 126 competitors across North and South America who submitted information regarding their FDI strategies. In its American Cities of the Future submission, economic development agency Montréal International stated that its economic development strategy has centred predominantly around high-tech clusters, and in particular aerospace, life sciences and health technologies, as well as information and communications technology (ICT). Elie Farah, vice-president of Investment Greater Montréal, says: “The year 2011 was one of the best for Montréal International in terms of attracting FDI since 2005. This is partially explained by the investments from Europe which, in the past two years, have become the main source of FDI in the region.” http://www.fdiintelligence.com/Locations/Americas/American-Cities-of-the-Future-2013-14
  11. April 29, 2009 By LANDON THOMAS Jr. LONDON — Tetsuya Ishikawa reaped the fruits of London’s financial boom, structuring and selling his small share of the complex securities that fueled both his professional rise and the uninterrupted economic growth of Britain. When the boom went bust last year, he lost his job at Morgan Stanley, along with about 28,000 other Londoners working in finance. Mr. Ishikawa, who has written a fictional memoir, has no plans to return to the City, as London’s banking district is known. But Britain’s revenue-starved Labor government will find no such escape. “By 2010, the U.K. will have the largest budget deficit in the developed world,” said Richard Snook, a senior economist at the Center for Economic and Business Research in London. “The problem is that the financial services industry has been a huge cash cow for the British government for the last 10 years and now it is going into reverse.” The country’s budget deficit has soared to 12 percent of gross domestic product; its public debt burden could soon reach 80 percent of annual economic output, a figure that would leave it roughly in the same position as Greece. But at a time when Britain more than ever needs a financial sector firing on all cylinders, its economic engine is conking out — for a number of reasons, including some that critics blame on the government. All told, more than 70,000 jobs in finance are expected to disappear over the next two to three years, a big chunk of the total estimated job losses of about 280,000 in London. The British government has poured hundreds of billions of pounds into preventing several of its largest banks from falling into bankruptcy as the extent of their bad bets became evident. But there is little prospect of a revival anytime soon, as the government is about to impose stiffer demands on banks to keep high capital ratios and to rely less on leverage and once-lucrative trading activities. That, combined with a more aggressive posture by the regulatory authorities to put a check on bonuses, is likely to hasten what has already been a sharp falloff in corporate and income taxes from the City. The economic contribution from the British financial sector, according to the Office for National Statistics, peaked at 10.8 percent of G.D.P. in 2007 — up from 5.5 percent in 1996, just before Labor took over. By comparison, the contribution from financial services in the United States to the American economy never exceeded 8 percent. In a bid to capture more revenue, the British government has decided to raise tax rates on the affluent, many of them working in finance. But the new top income tax rate of 50 percent for those earning at least £150,000, or $219,000, may only make things worse, said Mr. Snook, the economist. “These people are highly mobile and they will leave London,” he said. “The impact on public finances will be negative.” Britain’s top tax rate will soon rank fourth behind those of Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands — not quite the advertisement one would expect from one of the world’s leading financial centers. In many ways, Mr. Ishikawa’s career tracked the credit explosion that has now imploded. When he began work as a lowly credit analyst in 2002, banks in London issued about £20 billion in securities linked to various mortgage instruments. His career took off as that figure surged to over £180 billion by 2008, when Mr. Ishikawa secured for himself a $3 million bonus from Morgan Stanley as a reward for peddling assets that turned out to be toxic. With that line of business virtually defunct, banks in the coming years must return to lower-risk and lower-return businesses like equity and bond underwriting, foreign exchange trading and traditional deal-making — businesses that may well be profitable, but can in no way make up for the loss of such a lush specialty. The Center for Economic and Business Research estimates that corporate and income taxes from the financial industry will shrink from 12 percent of the overall tax take in 2007 to 8 percent this year and perhaps lower in the years ahead, a prospect that could force Britain to increase its already substantial borrowing requirement. The crisis has humbled all financial centers, from Wall Street to Dubai. According to an index produced in Britain that ranks financial centers around the world, the City of London still comes out on top, closely followed by New York. The gap, though, between these two and Singapore, which is now third, is narrowing. Lord Adair Turner, the chairman of the Financial Services Authority, agrees that London as a financial center will be in for an adjustment and says that a large portion of the banking industry’s profit contribution to the economy was “illusory.” But even in a more restrictive environment, he points out, London’s importance as a global financial hub and the most valuable trading center in Europe will not go away. “The City is important today for the same reason it was important in 1890,” he said. As for Mr. Ishikawa, who is 30 and grew up in Britain as the son of a successful Japanese executive, he is putting his hopes into a new career as a writer. His book, “How I Caused the Credit Crunch,” chronicles the debauched excesses of the boom — he was briefly married to a Brazilian lap dancer — by lightly fictionalizing his six-year stint in finance. “I really don’t miss it,” he said, sipping a coffee near the building where he was laid off. “There are many more kids out there more hungry than me.” Like Faruq Rana, for example. Mr. Rana, the 26-year-old son of Bangladeshi immigrants, was born and reared in Tower Hamlets, a district abutting Canary Wharf that has Britain’s highest unemployment rate. From his window, he can see the towers of Citigroup and Barclays reaching into the sky and his ambition to one day work as a trader in one of those buildings soars nearly as high. “Every day when I wake up and open up my window, I can smell my job,” said Mr. Rana, who is a student in a government-financed program at Tower Hamlets College that prepares local youths for jobs in the financial industry. Unlike Mr. Ishikawa, Mr. Rana did not go to Eton or Oxford, but he remains undeterred. “I have the motivation and the drive,” he said. “I think I can be one of them.” http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/29/business/global/29city.html?ref=global-home
  12. City has designs on becoming fashion centre $2.4 million for clothing industry. Quebec, Montreal launch 3-year plan to promote local couturiers The GazetteMarch 4, 2009 Retail sales are declining and people are thinking twice before spending money to renew their wardrobe. But as far as Quebec's minister of economic development is concerned, support for the province's clothing industry never goes out of fashion. "It's clear that consumers are slowing their spending because they don't know what's going to happen to them," Raymond Bachand told reporters yesterday as the Quebec government and the city of Montreal announced plans to promote this city as a centre of fashion design. "But there are still 92 per cent of Quebecers who are at work," he noted. "This is the best timing because what we're doing ... is focusing on our designers, helping our designers ... getting buyers from around the world to come to this fashion show, getting our designers to go elsewhere in the world ... branding Montreal as a city of creation and design and putting it on the world market. "This is not a one-shot deal. ... This a long-term vision of building Montreal. ... We always have to keep in mind where we want to be in 18 months, where we want to be in two years." Bachand and Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay met with reporters during the first full day of Montreal Fashion Week to announce a three-year plan to promote internationally this city's fashion and design industry and the people working in it. During Fashion Week's kickoff Monday night, the province announced a $1.1-million investment in three local fashion enterprises in addition to the $82 million over three years earmarked in 2007 to bolster the industry. Tremblay, who this week confirmed the economic downturn has compelled the city to trim $100 million in costs, shared Bachand's opinion that the $2.4-million set aside for the plan would be money well spent. "Everyone's talking about stimulus in the economic situation we're going through," Tremblay said. "We want to encourage Montrealers, Quebecers and Canadians to buy local, to encourage our local designers, the ones that are known and the ones that are less known. "We want to make sure we have better recognition around the world. ... We don't want to copy what is happening in other cities or by being Paris, London or New York. "We want to be different." The local fashion industry employs about 50,000 people and accounts for more than 80 per cent of the exports by Quebec's clothing industry. © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette
  13. Edmonton's economy hottest in Canada: CIBC Western city tops ranking for first time as Calgary slips into second spot OTTAWA -- Edmonton's weather may be cold but its economy isn't, says CIBC World Markets, which reported Monday that the Alberta capital has the hottest local economy in Canada, surpassing Calgary. Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver also rank high in economic activity, while there's little economic momentum in the national capital region of Ottawa-Gatineau, according to CIBC's economic activity index, which is based on nine economic variables. "For the first time on record, the city of Edmonton tops our city ranking in terms of economic momentum," it said, crediting strong population growth, impressive employment gains, low unemployment rate, and below-average personal and corporate insolvency rates. Calgary, meanwhile, slipped into second spot with a score of 24.5, compared with 30.1 for Edmonton. Calgary's slippage reflects what the report said was a slowdown in the pace of job creation momentum in the city -- less than that of Edmonton, Saskatoon and Victoria -- and a cooler housing market. Saskatoon reached third spot with a score of 23.7, propelled by strong job and population growth, and the hottest housing market in the country. "Interestingly, Montreal is currently enjoying some renewed momentum," the report said, noting that Montreal's third-place score of 22.8 -- the only other city with a ranking above 20 -- indicated improvement in labour and housing market activity. However, the report cautioned that the momentum in Montreal's industrial economy -- based on data up to September -- is not likely sustainable with a loonie at or near parity with the U.S. dollar. Toronto, the country's largest city, had a consistently strong showing in the rankings with a score of 17.5. This reflects the growing diversity of the city, which has the fourth-fastest population growth in the country, and which boasts relatively high-quality employment. However, its labour market is softening with below-average job growth and above-average unemployment of 7%. Vancouver's ranking, at 17.3, just slightly below Toronto's, is due to the fact that -- while it did not excel in any area -- the city was above average in many areas, including strong population and job growth. Among the larger cities, Ottawa-Gatineau had the lowest ranking at just 4.7, reflecting what the report's author CIBC economist Benjamin Tal said was "some softening in employment growth, housing activity and non-residential building permits." There has been a cooling in the city's large high-tech sector, which was very strong over the past two years. The other cities and their rankings were: Sherbrooke 16.3, Victoria 15.8, Trois-Rivieres 13.6, Regina 12.5, Saint John 11.4, Quebec City 10.2, Halifax 9.1, Kitchener 8.8, Greater Sudbury 7.9, London 7.8, Hamilton 6.0, St. John's 5.5, Kingston 3.4, Thunder Bay 3.0, St. Catharines-Niagara 2.4. Two cities had negative readings -- Saguenay -2.8 and Windsor -3.3 -- highlighting the difficulties in their manufacturing sectors. "The recent appreciation in the dollar and the weakening in the U.S. economy are probably adding another layer of difficulties facing those cities," the report said.
  14. http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Celine+Cooper+Montreal+city+state/9536579/story.html Montreal as its own city-state? BY CELINE COOPER, THE GAZETTE FEBRUARY 24, 2014STORY Quebec Finance Minister Nicolas Marceau, left, is applauded by Quebec Premier Pauline Marois, right, and members of the government after he presented his budget speech, Thursday, February 20, 2014 at the legislature in Quebec City. Photograph by: Jacques Boissinot , THE CANADIAN PRESS Greetings from Administrative Region 06. What’s that? Oh. You may know it by another name — Montreal, the second largest city in Canada. The economic hub of Quebec. The city that generates approximately 65 per cent of provincial tax revenues. One might assume that buoying a metropolis — investing in the human potential, entrepreneurship and global networking opportunities the city has to offer — would be a central plank in any provincial or federal budget. Then again, one might be wrong. Last Thursday, Finance Minister Nicolas Marceau tabled the 2014-15 provincial budget. In his budget speech in the National Assembly, Marceau stated that his government acknowledges Montreal’s unique status as the metropolitan economic engine of Quebec. His budget commits to the renewal of the province’s annual $25-million investment in the city. In anticipation of the 375th anniversary of Montreal in 2017, a total of $125 million is earmarked for four projects: Parc Jean Drapeau, Espace pour la vie, the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts and the Montreal Museum of Archaeology and History. But dig a little deeper and things start to ring hollow. For example, there is no detail regarding what Montreal will get back from these investments, or whether these projects may, in fact, increase the city’s operating expenses in terms of security, maintenance or infrastructure. On more pressing challenges facing Montreal, the budget doesn’t go far enough. There is $6 million set aside for fighting homelessness — an urgent concern for many residents of the city. But there is no new money allocated for social housing, public transit or immigrant integration, and no money earmarked for the retention of families on the island of Montreal. To be fair, it seems almost silly to take this budget seriously. No one expects it to be voted on in the National Assembly. Before Marceau had even completed his announcement, the Coalition Avenir Québec and the Liberals had roundly rejected it. Beyond the proposed increase in daycare user fees from $7 a day to $9 by 2015, it is non-controversial and lacking in detail. There are no general tax increases to irk voters. Detailed spending information is conveniently omitted. In short, this is less a budget than a financial framework for an election campaign. With the latest CROP poll putting the PQ into majority-government territory and MNAs headed for a two-week leave on Thursday, many expect an election to be called as early as this week. Either way, Marceau’s announcement gives voters an idea of how Montreal will be positioned symbolically (or not) in the coming electoral campaign. Why does this matter? With half of the province’s population concentrated here (close to 4 million people), our metropolitan area has some serious demographic heft. As Journal de Montréal columnist Benoît Aubin recently pointed out, if Montreal decided to go its own way and become the 11th province of Canada, it would be more populous than all the Atlantic provinces combined. Yet provincial governments across Canada — including Quebec’s — continue to take a relatively flat approach to budgeting. Despite our urbanizing world, cities are still seen as “creatures” of the provinces, just another administrative region on an electoral map — in Montreal’s case, Administrative Region 06. But in the imminent general election campaign, expect to see some pushback. Real acknowledgement of Montreal as Quebec’s metropolis means revising the fiscal arrangement between Quebec and Montreal and negotiating a meaningful devolution of powers from the province to the city. “It’s time a major economic engine of the province and the country is accorded more rights,” as Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre was quoted as saying in a Gazette article last week. Interestingly, François Cardinal, a columnist at La Presse, has emerged as one of the strongest, most coherent champions of giving Montreal more power. In an article titled Manifesto for a City State published recently in the journal Policy Options, he writes: “ … what Montreal needs is special treatment, more autonomy and more diverse sources of revenue. In short, it needs a premier who will stand on the balcony of City Hall and proclaim: “Vive Montréal! Vive Montréal libre!” On issues of both economy and identity, cleavages between Montreal and the rest of Quebec have been growing deeper. Although often dismissed as a pie-in-the-sky idea, I’m starting to see an increased momentum behind the idea of Montreal as its own city-state. As we head into an election, provincial parties would wise not to dismiss it out of hand. Twitter:@CooperCeline
  15. I'm going to enjoy the popcorn and watch the whiners come out "http://business.financialpost.com/news/transportation/air-canada-wants-torontos-pearson-airport-to-be-a-mega-hub-but-high-costs-stand-in-the-way" "Canada has long been an afterthought for the global aviation market, an out-of-the-way destination with taxes and fees so high that some five million Canadians a year trek across the border to fly out of cheaper U.S. airports. But Air Canada and the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) are determined to flip that view on its head by turning Toronto’s Pearson International Airport into a mega-hub on the scale of Amsterdam’s Schiphol, Singapore’s Changi or Dubai International Airport. Pearson is already well on its way to meeting that goal since it attracts more international passengers than any other airport in North America except John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) in New York City. Toronto’s primary airport is now the fourth-largest entry point by air into the United States, surpassing many large U.S. airports, according to National Bank analyst Cameron Doerksen. But to become a true mega-hub comparable in scope and status to the Dubais of the world, a lot needs to change. Pesky taxes and fees make Pearson “the most expensive airport in the world at which to land a plane,” according to a 2012 Senate report. There’s also the problem of congestion — in the airport, on its runways and on surrounding roadways — that will only get worse unless significant investments are made in infrastructure. If these issues aren’t addressed, Pearson could miss out on an opportunity to become part of the exclusive mega-hub club — there are currently only 11 worldwide — and all the attendant economic benefits, including the creation of more than 200,000 jobs in the area. Jack Boland / Toronto Sun / QMI Agency Jack Boland / Toronto Sun / QMI AgencyToronto's Pearson International Airport is a hub for passengers coming into Canada domestically and internationally. The GTAA, which manages and operates Pearson, defines a mega-hub as an airport that processes 50 million passengers a year, including at least 20 million international passengers, and connects to 80 per cent of the global economy. Pearson is pretty close to those numbers. In 2015, it moved 41 million passengers, including 25 million international travellers, and connected to 67 per cent of the global economy. It was recently ranked 19th in the world for its connectivity — sandwiched between Philadelphia, which is not a mega-hub, and Frankfurt, which is — by air-travel intelligence company OAG. There’s plenty of potential for further growth at Pearson. Howard Eng, GTAA’s chief executive, said the airport has the largest catchment area — defined as the population within a 90-minute flight — of any airport in North America, bigger than even JFK or Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). Pearson also has an enthusiastic partner in Air Canada, which accounts for 57.6 per cent of the airport’s seat capacity, according to the Centre for Aviation, and has been pursuing an aggressive international growth strategy using its new fleet of Boeing 787s. To support Air Canada, the GTAA has agreed to fix the airline’s fees for 10 years in exchange for agreed-upon passenger growth targets, and will offer rebates if it exceeds those targets. “They want to be a mega-carrier and, as a result of that, they need a mega-hub to work out of,” Eng said in an interview. “We’re both aligned on the concept.” One of Air Canada’s main growth pillars is expanding so-called sixth-freedom traffic, or traffic from a second country to a third country via an airline’s home market. In Air Canada’s case, that primarily means Americans travelling from their home cities via Toronto to destinations in Europe or Asia. The airline’s stated goal is to attract a 1.5-per-cent “fair share” of the U.S. sixth-freedom market, which would add $600 to $700 million in incremental revenue, but chief executive Calin Rovinescu said it can probably do “much better than that.” “We’ve been basically increasing our sixth-freedom flying by mid-to high-teen (percentages) in each of the last two years,” Rovinescu said in a recent interview. He hopes to turn Pearson into a “world-class hub” comparable to Amsterdam, Singapore or Dubai. Related How you can nab premium flights without paying through the nose Air Canada ready to compete with new, low-cost airlines, CEO says “Those countries don’t have a large population base, but they have built very powerful hubs,” Rovinescu said. “Toronto is still relatively speaking underserved in terms of the catchment area and the market potential for it.” But in order to become a truly successful mega-hub, Pearson will need to overcome two major limitations. The first is those exceedingly high costs that drive so many Canadians to U.S. border airports — the equivalent of 64 Boeing 737s every day, according to a 2012 report by the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications. The World Economic Forum’s 2015 Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report ranked Canada 124th out of 141 countries on price competitiveness. This is a function of Canada’s “antiquated” national airport model, according to a recent review of the Canada Transportation Act (CTA) by former federal cabinet minister David Emerson. In 1994, the federal government transferred the management, operation and development of 26 major airports to non-profit airport authorities while retaining ownership of their land and fixed assets and charging them rent. The GTAA pays Ottawa $130 million a year in ground rents for Pearson. Add in government security charges and, in Ontario, a jet-fuel tax that will hit 6.7 cents a litre by April 2017, and the airport is at a real cost disadvantage compared to its competitors. Tyler Anderson/National Post Tyler Anderson/National PostHoward Eng, president and CEO of the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) Pearson’s landing charges alone are “twice that at Boston Logan, a third more than at Chicago O’Hare,” said David Bentley, chief airport analyst at the Australia-based Centre for Aviation. “You know why that is? It’s because of the ridiculous rents that they have to pay.” Emerson’s review of the CTA concluded that the solution is to move towards a fully privatized, for-profit structure with equity-based financing from large institutional investors. “Will privatization make a difference to Canada? I think it probably would,” Bentley said. “Toronto would become more efficient in terms of its costs to airlines and, therefore, could compete better with the likes of Chicago and other airports in the region.” Eng at the GTAA will not say whether he’d prefer a share-capital structure to the current non-profit system. But he’s quick to emphasize that Pearson is already run like a private entity, paying down $500 million in debt over the past four years and investing $700 million of capital in airport infrastructure and amenities since 2010. Pearson has also frozen or reduced the airlines’ average aeronautical fees per passenger for eight consecutive years, for a total reduction of 30 per cent since 2007. “We run it like a private corporation,” Eng said. “My focus is on how we can generate the revenue in order to pay down the debt, reinvest in the airport and create the facility that’s needed to process the passengers.” The second limitation at Pearson is congestion. The airport’s passenger traffic has grown so rapidly that the airport’s infrastructure — its security and customs checkpoints, runways, de-icing stations and even the surrounding roads — are having trouble keeping up. “A lot of people say there’s no competition for airports because every city has one large airport,” Eng said. “But once you’re into the global hub status, in Pearson’s case almost 35 to 40 per cent of our traffic is what we call transfer traffic, they have a choice.” Passengers who are connecting to another destination are generally looking for the shortest connection time, he said. To that end, Pearson is working to improve the flow of passengers and luggage by offering things such as self-serve baggage drops, automated border kiosks and automatic luggage transfers for passengers travelling from certain global cities to other Canadian destinations. However, Eng stressed that Pearson also needs the government’s help to speed up security and border processing times, which are notoriously slow. Most passengers at Pearson wait 20 minutes for pre-board screening compared to five minutes for 95 per cent of passengers at London’s Heathrow Airport and Hong Kong International Airport. “We’re not asking for a special favour, (just) that they provide their processes in a manner that is equivalent to what the best airports are doing around the world,” he said. Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Sun/QMI Agency Ernest Doroszuk/Toronto Sun/QMI AgencyTravellers at Terminal 1 at Toronto Pearson International Airport The GTAA is also working with other airports in southern Ontario, including those in Hamilton, London and Kitchener-Waterloo, to encourage them to take some of the burden off Pearson by providing more short-haul, private-jet, cargo and charter flights. Another key part of Pearson’s mega-hub strategy is to improve the notoriously bad road traffic around the airport region. According to the GTAA, only 10 per cent of Pearson’s passengers arrive on public transit compared to 39 per cent in Amsterdam and 63 per cent in Hong Kong. A recent study by the Neptis Foundation found that there are a million car trips per day in and out of the Pearson region by employees and travellers. The recent launch of the Union Pearson Express rail line to downtown Toronto has helped, but “not enough,” Eng said. “We probably need various domestic lines, special lines, high-speed rail lines,” he said, adding that the GTAA is prepared to help fund the development of a ground-transportation hub at the airport, but it will need government support as well. fp1201_mega_hub_transitIf Pearson isn’t able to lower its costs and improve its infrastructure, it could miss out on a huge potential economic opportunity. According to Frontier Economics, becoming a mega-hub will increase the airport economic zone’s GDP by 75 per cent to $62.1 billion and create more than 200,000 jobs by 2030. “Airports are changing from city airports to airport cities,” said John Kasarda, director of the Center for Air Commerce at the University of North Carolina. Kasarda devised the concept of the “aerotropolis,” a notion that airports are far more than just transportation infrastructure, but rather anchors of regional business development. “The 21st-century airport is quite different than the 20th-century airport,” he said. “They’re multi-modal, multi-functional enterprises that attract a substantial amount of commercial development.” This can create a virtuous circle of expansion, Kasarda added. “Not only does the better airline connectivity, the route structure, serve as this magnet for business, but as business grows it generates greater volumes of passengers and cargo, which supports more airline connectivity,” he said. “It’s mutually reinforcing.” Smoother connections can also help keep airlines’ costs down by generating more non-aeronautical revenue from retail, restaurants and other services. “It’s a necessity, not an option,” Kasarda said.
  16. The banking system in eastern Europe is increasingly vulnerable to a severe economic downturn, Moody’s has warned, saying western European banks with local subsidiaries are at risk of ratings downgrades. “The relative vulnerabilties in east European banking systems will be exposed by an increasingly tougher operating environment in eastern Europe as a result of a steep and long economic downturn coupled with macroeconomic vulnerabilities,” Moody’s said in a report. The ratings agency said it expected “continuous downward pressure on east European bank ratings” because of deteriorating asset quality, falling local currencies, exposure to a regional slump in real-estate and the units’ reliance on scarce short-term funding. Eurozone banks have the largest exposure to central and eastern Europe, with liabilities of $1,500bn – about 90 per cent of total foreign bank exposure to the region. Shares of the handful of banks with substantial investments in eastern Europe – led by Austria’s Raiffeisen and Erste Bank, Société Générale of France, Italy’s UniCredit (which owns Bank Austria) and Belgian group KBC – tumbled after the ratings agency said it was concerned about the impact of a slowdown and the ability of the parent banks to support their support units in the region. The Austrian banking system is the most vulnerable, with eastern Europe accounting for nearly half of its foreign loans, while Italian banks are exposed to Poland and Croatia and Scandinavian institutions to the Baltic states. Central and eastern European currencies have come under intense pressure in recent weeks. The credit crisis has raised fears over the region’s ability to finance its current account deficits and slowing global growth has heightened concerns over the health of its export-dependent economies. The Polish zloty plunged to a five-year low against the euro on Tuesday, while the Czech koruna hit a three-year trough against the single currency and the Hungarian forint falling to a record low. The Prague and Warsaw stock indices meanwhile fell to their lowest levels in five years, while the smaller markets of Budapest, Zagreb and Bucharest skirted close to multi-year lows. The euro dropped to a two-month low against the dollar on Tuesday on heightened concerns over eurozone banks’ exposure to the worsening conditions in eastern Europe. Amid the growing sense of crisis in eastern European economies, Hungary on Tuesday outlined plans to save Ft210bn (€680m, $860m) this year to prevent an increase in the budget deficit. Hungary’s economy is expected to contract by up to 3 per cent this year, much more than earlier expectations. Antje Praefcke at Commerzbank said eastern European currencies were in a “self-feeding depreciation spiral.” “The creditworthiness of local banks, companies and private households, who hold mainly foreign currency denominated debt, is deteriorating with each depreciation in eastern European currencies, thus further undermining confidence in the currencies,” she said. Ms Praefcke said further depreciation of eastern European currencies was thus a distinct possibility, which was likely to undermine the euro. “The collapse of these currencies is likely to constitute a risk for the euro,” she said. “So far markets have largely ignored this fact, but are unlikely to be able to maintain this approach if the weakness of the eastern European currencies continues.” Western European banks have piled into the former Communist countries in recent years as economic growth in the region outpaced domestic gains. The accession of 10 new members to the European Union in 2004, and of Romania and Bulgaria in 2007, added to optimism about the region. In 2007, Raiffeisen and Erste Bank earned the vast majority of their pre-tax profits in eastern European countries including Russia and Ukraine. Since the onset of the global financial crisis, Hungary, Latvia and Ukraine have all received emergency loans from the International Monetary Fund, with other countries in the region expected to follow.
  17. Opinion dans la Gazette. Cooper: Can Montreal become a ‘future city?’ BY CELINE COOPER, SPECIAL TO THE GAZETTE APRIL 8, 2013 Revellers at this year’s Nuit Blanche warm up by the fire at Montreal’s Quartier des spectacles. In his new book A History of Future Cities, Daniel Brook writes: “The true city of the future is not simply the city with the tallest tower or the most stunning skyline but one that is piloted by the diverse, worldly, intelligent people it assembles and forges.” Can Montreal be one of these? Photograph by: Tim Snow , The Gazette MONTREAL — What is Montreal’s place among the world’s future global cities? I recently picked up Daniel Brook’s new book A History of Future Cities. In it, he skilfully braids together historical detail, journalism and storytelling to trace the impossible rise of Shanghai, Dubai, Mumbai and St. Petersburg from developing world “instant-cities” into four of the world’s most influential global hubs. Brook looks at how these cities in China, the United Arab Emirates, India and Russia were forged. His description of how soaring cityscapes were planned and erected out of deserts, frozen marshland, oceans and rice paddies through both the ambition of visionaries and the cruelty of despots gives us some context for the emerging Asian era that we are witnessing today. We learn a bit about how the economic development of the world’s nations has come to be inextricably linked to the development of global cities. So what does this have to do with Montreal? As it happens, I started reading this book about future cities on the same day that a sinkhole swallowed two cars at Montreal’s Trudeau airport. On top of the crumbling bridges, man-eating potholes and mould-infested public schools, there was also news that day about Bill 14, the Parti Québécois’s bid to bolster the province’s language laws and further regulate who can speak what, when and where. Much of this discussion focuses on the fear that Montreal is becoming “anglicized.” Which brings me back to the question: what is Montreal’s place in this new world landscape that is no longer necessarily one of nations, but of cities? For many of us who live here, Montreal occupies a special place on the global grid and in our imaginations. We often think of it as a metropolis that straddles old and new, French and English, Europe and North America. But thankfully Montreal and its inhabitants are much more complex than that. As Columbia University sociologist Saskia Sassen and other scholars who study global cities have argued, cities are where new norms and identities are shaped. Despite the fact that it has been hemorrhaging economic clout since the late 1970s and the 1980s, and that its infrastructure is falling apart at the seams, Montreal remains an inspiring, dynamic city. Montreal’s creativity — its colourful population and the ideas they bring to life — is without a doubt the city’s greatest asset. And yet while other urban hubs are leveraging their cultural and linguistic diversity to build intellectual and economic corridors that connect them to the rest of the world, here in Quebec we are told (by our government, no less) that Montreal’s diversity is not an asset but a problem to be managed. There is too much pasta and caffè in our restaurants. Our artists are composing songs in the wrong languages. Our children are learning too much English in the classroom. These things must be regulated with new bills, laws and decrees. It reminds me of a line by urban thinker and activist Jane Jacobs in her book The Death and Life of Great American Cities, published in 1961. Jacobs wrote: “There is a quality even meaner than outright ugliness or disorder, and this meaner quality is the dishonest mask of pretended order, achieved by ignoring or suppressing the real order that is struggling to exist and to be served.” And so it is. A History of Future Cities attests to the fact that a built urban environment is important. Dazzling feats of engineering, architectural brilliance, skylines of human-made steel and glass stalagmites are meant to be both inspiring and functional, a draw for the world’s financially and intellectually ambitious people. But one of the most compelling lines in the book — and the one that resonated with me as I pondered Montreal’s future in the world — was this: “The true city of the future is not simply the city with the tallest tower or the most stunning skyline but one that is piloted by the diverse, worldly, intelligent people it assembles and forges.” In other words, a fancy cityscape matters, but the people who live there matter more. For Quebec to succeed as it moves into the future — whether as a sovereign country or as part of the Canadian federation — it needs Montreal to thrive. Montreal’s place among future global cities will depend on not only attracting the world’s best and brightest, but allowing them the freedom to be diverse, to be themselves, and to be brilliant. [email protected] Twitter: @CooperCeline © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette Original source article: Cooper: Can Montreal become a ‘future city?’ Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Celine+Cooper+Montreal+become+future+city/8202375/story.html#ixzz2Puw40uY7
  18. Canadian retail sales up in 2008: Report By Derek Abma, Canwest News ServiceJanuary 9, 2009 10:04 AM A report released Friday by Canada's largest processor of credit- and debit-card transactions indicates people were spending more money this past holiday season than the year before despite the downbeat economic environment. Moneris Solutions said its data for December sales indicates "resilience" in consumer spending last month and "dramatic growth" for certain categories, such as department stores and clothing retailers. Moneris said it processed two per cent more sales in all merchant categories in December compared with a year earlier. It said sales at department stores — which includes Wal-Mart and Zellers — were up nine per cent, and sales at apparel outlets were up six per cent. "Canadian consumers and retailers are owed a little bit of credit," said Brian Green, senior vice-president of Moneris Solutions. "Despite the inclement weather and despite all the noise about the economy, consumers went out and they bought more this year than they did last year, and retailers gave them a reason to do that." Green said retailers should be credited for their holiday sales performance because they responded to "a more difficult economy" by providing discounts, conducting successful promotions, and ensuring a positive experience for the people that came to their stores. He said in better economic times, the increase in holiday sales processed by Moneris has been as much as seven per cent. Richard Talbot, president of retail-analysis group Talbot Consultants, said he's not surprised by these numbers and never expected this past holiday season to be as bad as some expected. "I was not a great believer in the doom and gloom for Canada that we were led to believe in the media ahead of time because that wasn't the feedback I was getting from the retailers I deal with," he said. Talbot said the economic situation in Canada is not as dire as in the United States, though there could be more difficulties for domestic retailers in the coming year as the downturn for Canada's largest trading partner, the U.S., spills across the border. Moneris' figures for December showed sales for discount retailers, such as the various "dollar stores," were down 11 per cent from the year before. Moneris said it processed nine per cent less sales for wholesale outlets last month, a category that includes Costco. Green said it's possible the bargains being offered by department and specialty stores cut into some of the business for discount and wholesale outlets. Moneris said the average transaction value in December was three per cent less than a year before. Green said it was the first time Moneris, which has been doing these holiday-season comparisons for eight years, has seen a year-to-year decline in the average transaction amount. The company attributed this to a combination of discounting, lower gasoline prices and overall economic conditions. © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette
  19. Poll Finds Faith in Obama, Mixed With Patience Article Tools Sponsored By By ADAM NAGOURNEY and MARJORIE CONNELLY Published: January 17, 2009 President-elect Barack Obama is riding a powerful wave of optimism into the White House, with Americans confident he can turn the economy around but prepared to give him years to deal with the crush of problems he faces starting Tuesday, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll. The latest on the inauguration of Barack Obama and other news from Washington and around the nation. Join the discussion. While hopes for the new president are extraordinarily high, the poll found, expectations for what Mr. Obama will actually be able to accomplish appear to have been tempered by the scale of the nation’s problems at home and abroad. The findings suggest that Mr. Obama has achieved some success with his effort, which began with his victory speech in Chicago in November, to gird Americans for a slow economic recovery and difficult years ahead after a campaign that generated striking enthusiasm and high hopes for change. Most Americans said they did not expect real progress in improving the economy, reforming the health care system or ending the war in Iraq — three of the central promises of Mr. Obama’s campaign — for at least two years. The poll found that two-thirds of respondents think the recession will last two years or longer. As the nation prepares for a transfer of power and the inauguration of its 44th president, Mr. Obama’s stature with the American public stands in sharp contrast to that of President Bush. Mr. Bush is leaving office with just 22 percent of Americans offering a favorable view of how he handled the eight years of his presidency, a record low, and firmly identified with the economic crisis Mr. Obama is inheriting. More than 80 percent of respondents said the nation was in worse shape today than it was five years ago. By contrast, 79 percent were optimistic about the next four years under Mr. Obama, a level of good will for a new chief executive that exceeds that measured for any of the past five incoming presidents. And it cuts across party lines: 58 percent of the respondents who said they voted for Mr. Obama’s opponent in the general election, Senator John McCain of Arizona, said they were optimistic about the country in an Obama administration. “Obama is not a miracle worker, but I am very optimistic, I really am,” Phyllis Harden, 63, an independent from Easley, S.C., who voted for Mr. Obama, said in an interview after participating in the poll. “It’s going to take a couple of years at least to improve the economy,” Ms. Harden added. “I think anyone who is looking for a 90-day turnaround is delusional.” Politically, Mr. Obama enjoys a strong foundation of support as he enters what is surely to be a tough and challenging period, working with Congress to swiftly pass a huge and complicated economic package. His favorable rating, at 60 percent, is the highest it has been since the Times/CBS News poll began asking about him. Overwhelming majorities say they think that Mr. Obama will be a good president, that he will bring real change to Washington, and that he will make the right decisions on the economy, Iraq, dealing with the war in the Middle East and protecting the country from terrorist attacks. Over 70 percent said they approved of his cabinet selections. What is more, Mr. Obama’s effort to use this interregnum between Election Day and Inauguration Day to present himself as a political moderate (he might use the word “pragmatist”) appears to be working. In this latest poll, 40 percent described the president-elect’s ideology as liberal, a 17-point drop from just before the election. “I think those of us who voted for McCain are going to be a lot happier with Obama than the people who voted for him,” Valerie Schlink, 46, a Republican from Valparaiso, Ind., said in an interview after participating in the poll. “A lot of the things he said he would do, like pulling out the troops in 16 months and giving tax cuts to those who make under $200,000, I think he now sees are going to be a lot tougher than he thought and that the proper thing to do is stay more towards the middle and ease our way into whatever has to be done. “It can’t all be accomplished immediately.” While the public seems prepared to give Mr. Obama time, Americans clearly expect the country to be a different place when he finishes his term at the end of 2012. The poll found that 75 percent expected the economy to be stronger in four years than it is today, and 75 percent said Mr. Obama would succeed in creating a significant number of jobs, while 59 percent said he would cut taxes for the middle class. The survey found that 61 percent of respondents said things would be better in five years; last April, just 39 percent expressed a similar sentiment. The telephone survey of 1,112 adults was conducted Jan. 11-15. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points. The poll suggests some of the cross-currents Mr. Obama is navigating as he prepares to take office, and offers some evidence about why he has retooled some of his positions during this period.
  20. Less Charter, more economy. MONTREAL — There was an initial sense among many observers that the Liberal election victory would be good for the economy, at least in the short run. It’s true that some measure of political stability will return to the province as the PQ’s divisive Charter of Quebec Values is thrown in the wastebasket and as the immediate risk of a referendum on sovereignty is removed. But the sobering truth is that Quebec could face years of mediocre economic growth unless it undertakes some major structural reforms. That warning came this week from Glen Hodgson, senior economist at the Conference Board of Canada, who said Quebec is heading for a prolonged period of economic underperformance unless decisive steps are taken by government and the private sector. “Quebecers could face the disagreeable prospect of deteriorating public services combined with a rise in income taxes” unless the province’s competitive position improves, he wrote in an opinion piece in La Presse. Interviewed Tuesday, Hodgson noted that over the past couple of years, during a period of economic recovery, Quebec has been unable to do better than a growth rate of around one per cent. That raises the question: What’s in store once the North American economic cycle shifts back to recession? The current underperformance has weakened the government’s fiscal position and made it less able to withstand the next economic downturn. Combined with a slowdown in private investment and little growth in the job market, this is playing havoc with government revenues. There are reports that the $2.5 billion deficit projected for 2013-14 may run as high as $3.3 billion once the Liberals get a full picture of public finances. Meanwhile, Quebec’s public debt is the highest in Canada, equalling about 50 per cent of its economic production. The Conference Board estimates growth of two per cent this year as the recovery in the United States picks up steam and extends into next year. “But the recovery will not last,” said Hodgson, “because the foundation for growth in Quebec is not solid.” The province’s long-term growth potential is around 1.5 per cent, he says, which will put it behind the eight ball. “You can’t grow at 1.5 per cent and be able to pay for health care when it’s growing at five per cent.” One doesn’t have to look far to find the reasons for Quebec’s troubles. “It’s really driven by demographics, private investment and productivity,” Hodgson said. Demographic forces are hitting Quebec harder than Ontario, which is also struggling with a weak economy. As active participation in the Quebec labour force declines, paying for expensive government programs like health care and education will get more difficult. The Conference Board projects growth in the labour force of just 0.5 per cent after 2015 as baby-boomer retirements kick in. Compensating for that reduction will require integrating more immigrants into the economy, providing more job training and boosting productivity. Former Liberal finance minister Raymond Bachand says he’s optimistic that some of those hurdles can be overcome. Bachand has agreed to head a new economic think tank called the Institut du Québec, which will be a joint venture between the Conference Board and the HEC business school in Montreal. The goal, he says, is to stimulate public debate with evidence-based research on the economy and public finances. Too many think tanks these days have a political bias, he believes. “We’re going to come up with a fiscal outlook in the next few weeks as our first piece of research,” Bachand said. “We know that we have a demographic challenge. We need the labour market to be healthy. “We have to get private investment back and we have to get our health costs under control. That’s the real goal of the Institut: to contribute to the debate from a fact-based point of view.” Between the Conference Board and HEC, the joint venture will have 400 researchers at its disposal to try to contribute to the debate. That should help the new finance minister and other government players get a better sense of the policy options available.
  21. Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/montreal/story/2010/01/29/qc-charest-protests-india-asbestos.html#ixzz0e4r4XXPU