A weaker Canadian dollar poses a threat to imported inputs to Canada's production machine, and to future Canadian investments abroad. But the soaring U.S. dollar isn't the only currency in play. Movements in other currencies are less dramatic. Perhaps this is an opportunity to scan the globe both for inputs to our production process and for direct investment undertakings in less-traditional markets.
How is Canada faring in our industrial diversification? Progress on trade diversification over the past 15 years is likely one of the most remarkable developments in Canadian economic history. A strong dependence on traditional markets was only enhanced by the Canada-US FTA, which saw exports to the US soar to over 85 per cent of the total. But a big shift began in the New Millennium.
With the holidays just around the corner, this got me thinking about the issue of "frustration-free" packaging. Not only is complex wrapping simply no fun for the kids receiving gifts packaged in such a manner, the fact is it's a much larger issue for the most rapidly growing segment of our population -- older adults.
Today's products come to you courtesy of a whole string of contractors and subcontractors, each with different employment and safety standards. Moving down the supply chain, you often find children forced to work in brutal, dangerous conditions for very little pay. Hours are so long that many have no chance to continue in school, relegating them to lifetimes of low-paid labour.
Plenty of people will shamelessly demand government spend lots of extra money to "buy local," even if the cost is millions or billions of dollars more. This is daft. The notion that jobs in Canada come at the cost of employment in Japan, India, China or Germany, or vice-versa, is profoundly mistaken. Jobs can be created in one's own country and abroad at the same time.
The price of a piece of clothing is not at all indicative of the working conditions of its manufacturer. On top of that, implying (or outright saying) that there is something morally wrong with paying ten dollars for a t-shirt is incredibly classist. The truth is that when brand names charge higher prices for their items, that extra cash usually goes to two places: into the pockets of CEOs and other higher-ups, and into the company's advertising budget.
Two words: Apocalypse Preparedness. It's on the minds of the citizens of the Western World and is stimulating this Leftist-Libertarianism. Simply put, when the world goes to shit and it's every person for themselves, those with a cold-storage full of preserves and an equipped workshop that can repair radios and shotguns will be more likely to survive.
When it comes to solar panel manufacturing the laws of supply and demand may as well be Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. Just ask the former president of one of the largest solar photo-voltaic module manufacturers in Canada. He's an affable, friendly guy who got started in the solar industry 24 years ago.
On Friday, Mark Carney told us that advocates of the so-called Dutch Disease theory have it wrong. A bit of data is a good thing in a heated debate. Consider Statistics Canada latest (seasonally adjusted) monthly manufacturing sales numbers covering June 2012 sales. And when you do, ask yourself a simple question: does the data support Dutch Disease -- or are we seeing a case of a Central Canadian Cold?