Ordinarily Canadians who retire before age 65 and choose to draw CPP early receive reduced benefits for the rest of their lives. That makes sense as they will not have paid in as much in premiums. The bridge benefit allows many government workers to claim their full pension early, penalty-free. If this seems rather unfair, that's because it is.
Canada is a vast country with ample resources, however political and economic machinery in this country are not open enough to create true and genuine marketplace for disruptive ideas. Cultural, artistic and intellectual innovation form the foundation of innovative economies. No nation can stay competitive and economically advanced while stagnating culturally and intellectually. Innovation requires taking risk and being open to new ideas. The biggest obstacles in the way of innovation in Canada are regressive and closed institutions.
Should Canada not ratify the agreement now and decide to try and join later, it's doubtful that any of the probably hundreds of exemptions and carve-outs that it currently has would be offered again. In other words, if you don't like this version of the TPP you'll be less happy with what we would get later.
The role of the Canadian government in both the short and long term should be to embrace and foster the growth of all parts of our diverse economy. The government should certainly not champion some sectors and demoralize others. Sadly, we have already started to see that approach by the Trudeau government.
With the December Paris climate agreement, leaders and experts from around the world showed they overwhelmingly accept that human-caused climate change is real and the need to curb emissions. In light of this, I don't get the current brouhaha over Kinder Morgan, Keystone XL, Northern Gateway or the Energy East pipelines.
The Loonie is the lowest it has been in 15 years, a barrel of gas is trading for less than $30 -- compare these factors against the rising U.S. greenback and you get one gloomy economic forecast. However, there is one section of our economy that seems to be unaffected, as real estate is showing little signs of slowing down.
Steel manufacturing in Canada is a $14-billion-per-year industry that currently supports 20,000 direct jobs, with another 100,000 indirect jobs tied to the sector. Tens of thousands of steel industry retirees rely on the continued viability of their pension plans for a dignified retirement and protection from dire poverty.
We see the preferred share shakeout as a great buying opportunity, particularly among rate-reset preferreds -- especially those that have a rate reset of at least two years into the future -- as their plunge in prices has made their yields attractive and there is significant potential for capital gains if and when Canadian interest rates do begin to rise.