‘If things with the U.S. do not go well, Canada will not go well either.’
The political tensions between Canada and China ramped up Tuesday with Beijing announcing a ban on all Canadian meat imports. It’s the latest salvo in the diplomatic confrontation that began when Canadian authorities arrested Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou at Vancouver’s airport last year, at the U.S.’s request.
The fallout from the confrontation is beginning to take effect, and not just in Vancouver’s housing market. Chinese applications for 10-year visitor visas to Canada fell by nearly 40 per cent in the first two months of this year, compared to the same time last year, according to data from the Globe and Mail. In January, China’s government issued a “cautiously visit” notice on Canada, urging citizens to assess the risk when visiting Canada, in light of Meng’s arrest.
But this might also have to do with souring relations between China and the U.S., which are now engaged in a full-on trade war. “Generally, Chinese tourists going to Canada are those who are touring North America as a whole,” Xu Xiaolei, a marketing expert with China CYTS Tours, told the Chinese state-run Global Times. “If things with the U.S. do not go well, Canada will not go well either.”
Watch: These are some of the Canadians detained by China. Story continues below.
Trump threatens to sue social media
Shares of social media companies were under pressure Wednesday after U.S. President Donald Trump said Facebook and Google should be sued over what he says is a bias against conservatives. “We should be suing Google and Facebook and all that, which perhaps we will,” Trump said in an interview with Fox Business Network, as quoted at The Hill. The comments came after famed conservative provocateur James O’Keefe released a video which purportedly showed the head of Google’s responsible innovation team, Jen Gennai, making comments suggesting Google is trying to prevent “another Trump.” Gennai said in a blog that O’Keefe “selectively edited and spliced the video to distort my words and the actions of my employer.”
Should Canada become a nuclear (energy) power?
Did you know that generating nuclear power emits zero carbon? Apparently many Canadians were unaware of this, but with attention focused on reducing carbon emissions, nuclear power is suddenly becoming fashionable again among Canada’s chattering classes. Two opinion pieces in the Globe and Mail in recent days have extolled the carbon-free virtues of splitting the atom, one describing it as a “necessary evil.” Meanwhile, the CBC has run a story arguing Canada may have a bright economic future in the development of portable nuclear reactors known as small modular reactors (SMRs). “We need nuclear and renewables,” the article quoted International Energy Agency executive director Fatih Birol as saying. “If we don’t bring all the clean electricity technologies we have innovated, there is no chance whatsoever to reach our climate targets.” Of course, it’s not all bright sunny futures. For an idea of the risks involved, see the Wikipedia entry on the Chernobyl disaster, or this entry about the Three Mile Island accident.
World economy’s fate rests on U.S.-China talks
The world is “one step away” from a recession, and if the U.S. and China fail to come to some agreement at G20 talks in Japan this week, that might be enough to push the economy over the edge, banking giant UBS told investor clients this week. If the trade war escalates, “we estimate ... the contours would resemble a mild ‘global recession’,” UBS economic research head Arend Kapteyn wrote, as quoted at CNBC. In that scenario, all the major central banks would be forced to lower interest rates, Kapteyn noted. So that might be the bright spot for Canadians: an escalated trade war could bring down monthly mortgage payments.
Drink up, stoners
Cannabis beverages will make up 20 to 30 per cent of the marijuana market, Molson Coors’ CEO says, and the brewing giant aims to be a major player in that market. “Our ambition is to be the beverage specialist,” Brett Vye told Bloomberg. “We want to lead this category and we will lead this category.” Molson Coors last year partnered with cannabis firm Hexo to develop cannabis drinks. The company’s largest competitor in the field is expected to be Canopy Growth, which partnered with Constellation Brands, owner of Corona and Modelo, to produce pot drinks. Cannabis beverages, along with edibles, will be legal in Canada on Dec. 16.