One of my earliest memories as a child was going to Prince's Island Park in Calgary every June to walk The World Partnership Walk. Back then, I looked forward to it because we made it a family affair. I would head down to the park with my family and it seemed that in exchange for walking a mere 8 kilometers or so, I would receive a delicious chili lunch, have a chance to part in some fun activities, get my face painted and even come away with a few prizes (it was all well worth the stickers).
Weakness in the developing world has had an ugly recent effect: vibrant Asian economies wilted over the summer months, and now face a less certain path in the months ahead. Vaunted as a key engine of the world economy, Asian economic powerhouses are now contributing to the pervasive sense of global gloom. Will Asia self-start, or will re-ignition require a boost from another battery?
The xenophobia from the Quebec election spilled over to the rest of Canada today when it was revealed that the Bank of Canada, our country's central bank, chose to carve out all hints of diversity from its $100 bank note after heeding to discriminatory judgements from focus groups. As Canadians born with names a rural Quebec mayor cannot pronounce and with facial features unfit for a Canadian bank note, it is high time Canada acknowledge its long legacy of divisiveness and address its ugly remnants in order to move forward to the pluralistic vision of our beloved country we have yet to fully achieve.
We had some not so friendly news hit the wires this week regarding China. The world's largest consumer of things from the ground and largest sibling in the Asian region recorded slower-than-expected GDP growth for the second quarter: 7.6 per cent. This is the sixth straight quarter in which growth has decelerated and represents a half a per cent decline from the growth seen in Q1.
It comes as welcome news that Prime Minister Harper will visit Beijing next month. Harper should use the opportunity to signal his version of a "pivot" to Asia -- without the overtones of geopolitical positioning that invariably accompany U.S. foreign policy. An excellent way to do so would be to propose a Free Trade Agreement with China.