From 1990 to the present, cuts to our aid budget were triple that of domestic programs in percentage terms. Given that aid accounts for a mere two per cent of total spending, this was nickel-and-diming the poor was downright unconscionable. We now spend a miserly 0.26 per cent of Gross National Income (GNI) on aid.
The new year has only just begun, but it's already proving to be another interesting one for Canadian small and medium businesses (SMBs). While economic uncertainty and the changing political landscape are making it difficult to understand the challenges that lie ahead, one thing remains clear: Canadian entrepreneurs who are embracing technology -- and ecommerce, in particular -- are more diversified and feel better equipped to face 2017.
It's time for Trudeau to go beyond a cabinet shuffle and use Trump's brutally plain-spoken focus on U.S. self-interest as an opportunity to take a similarly honest and entirely self-interested approach to trade and diplomacy with the world's largest economy. Canada should look after itself first. Now's the time.
A national survey of a cross-section of 1,500 voting-age Americans, conducted by the Angus Reid Institute in the days leading up to the inauguration, reveals a strong attachment to Canada among the U.S. public, while Americans hold a decidedly different attitude toward their country's other neighbour, Mexico.
Ottawa's most important policy response to lagging growth has been a return to that great theme of Canadian history: building. Sixty per cent of Canada's GDP depends on trade. Canadians need to build now to get our goods and services to the growing global middle class, projected to grow from 1.8 billion today to five billion by 2030.
Canada remains a collection of 13 regional markets separated by a myriad of competing rules and standards that weakens economic growth by increasing costs and limiting choice for consumers, business and governments. It is astonishing that 28 independent countries can collectively lower the economic barriers between them while Canada has been unable to do so between 13 provinces and territories.
Trade between Japan and Canada has stagnated for over a decade. Exports from Canada to Japan grew only four per cent from 2006 to 2015, while Canada's imports from Japan have declined. There is good news -- foreign investment from both sides show an upwards trend -- but business will need help to capitalize on this opportunity.
Where once trade deals dealt with bringing down tariffs to allow for the freer flow of goods between countries, today's trade deals put much more emphasis on "non-tariff barriers" such as laws and regulations within the countries involved in a trade deal -- and grant extraordinary powers to corporations to sue governments that pass laws that hurt their profits.
The most pressing environmental policy problem facing Canada is the possible ratification of the "trade deal" known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The investor protection provisions (called the Investor State Dispute Settlement mechanism, or ISDS) in that agreement presents a major threat to environmental protection in Canada. Let me tell you why.