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Money Matters

Does "local" matter? It does to Canada's farmers

Ngaio Hotte
May 13th, 2013

Photo from Flickr.

Another summer was unofficially ushered in this past weekend with the opening of the Kitsilano and Trout Lake Farmers’ Markets. Supporters of local food braved ominous-looking skies to get their pick of this year’s freshest veggies. Their reasons for “buying local” vary: they like to know who is producing their food and how, are concerned about environmental issues related to food production, want to support the local economy, etc. Many just enjoy the bustling, festive atmosphere of an outdoor market. Few, if any, are contemplating how their choices will impact the Canadian economy for generations to come.

PACs and super PACs: how the rich are buying the 2012 U.S. election

Jenny Uechi
Mar 26th, 2012

Rich super PAC donors have a giant influence in the 2012 presidential race. Republican candidate Newt Gingrich (left), for example, may be irrelevant were it not for billionaire Sheldon Adelman (right). 

PACs and super PACs have become so influential in the 2012 US Presidential race that some wonder whether America's super-rich can simply "buy" an election. Is there a point to the "one person, one vote" rule of democracy when a small handful of elites can dictate what a party does once elected? 

Warren Buffett sings for Chinese New Year: Video

Jenny Uechi
Jan 22nd, 2012

好奇怪, 巴菲特唱歌...yep, that's Warren Buffett, singing on his ukulele.

Warren Buffett, the billionaire chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, has become a hit with Chinese audiences for singing on his ukulele for Chinese New Year (January 23). 

Wearing a black sweatshirt saying "Still plays with trains", the world's third-richest man sang "I've been working on the railroad" in a video on China Central Television (CCTV), with a toy train set in the backdrop.

"Your country has accomplished amazing things, and the best is yet to come," he told CCTV. 

The video was played during the run-up to the station's popular New Year gala, which features dance, music, arts, comedy and high-profile performances, attracting around 700 million viewers each year. 

Canadian belt-tightening won't fend off European threat

Christina Montgomery
Dec 8th, 2011

Photo of the Bank of Canada courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Canadians have begun to cut back on their borrowing and make a start on reducing the personal debt that they had begun to accumulate as lending rates dropped -- but there are still dark clouds on the economic horizon.

The Bank of Canada continues to warn that the debt crisis in Europe is escalating quickly and Canada's economy is coming under increasing stress, which will be passed along to those of us still carrying large debts.

The Canadian Press has the sobering details:

OTTAWA -- Global financial conditions stemming from the debt crisis in Europe are deteriorating rapidly, placing Canada's economy under greater stress and Canadians with large debts at greater risk, warns the Bank of Canada.

The central bank's semi-annual financial stability review says bluntly that Canadians need to start worrying about the worsening debt mess in Europe, and its ability to hit home hard.

As Europe wobbles, will we lean back toward the States?

Christina Montgomery
Dec 1st, 2011

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

It seems like there's a headline and a deadline a day on the Euro crisis, and the European crisis, and the effect that a collapse there might have on Canada.

Ottawa's purse strings may have to loosen, economists warn

Christina Montgomery
Nov 29th, 2011

Photo of Finance Minister Jim Flaherty courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Chief economists at five of Canada's biggest banks had faint praise Tuesday for Ottawa's insistence that eliminating the deficit is the party's top priority.

As they met to brief the Conservative caucus in Ottawa, they applauded the effort -- but warned that Ottawa should be ready to reverse course if the economy collapses.

The meeting was jammed. And private.

But sources say the economists told the caucus they were worried about the possible fallout from European debt woes.

"We are dealing with an uneven, uncertain and underwhelming recovery,'' is how the Royal Bank's Craig Wright summed up the situation.

The message to the government? Stay the course' -- but be ready to return to appropriate stimulus spending if the global economy dives into a second recession.

Corporate boards are feeling their oats

Christina Montgomery
Nov 28th, 2011

Photo of chair David O'Brien courtesy of

If there's anything at all to a trend spotted by the Globe and Mail -- that Canada's corporate boards are sliding out from under the thumbs of the company CEOs and beginning to show some independence -- then it's only good news for B.C.

And not just on the private-sector front.

Canada among nations that "wouldn't trade places with the US"

Staff Reporter
Aug 16th, 2011

"There's not a country on Earth that wouldn't want to trade places with us," US President Barack Obama said in his weekly weekly radio address on Saturday. 

Actually, there probably are -- about 10 countries, according to investment news website 24/7 Wall St.. Canada is one of them. In addition to its AAA economy, Canada is the most mineral and oil-rich country in North America, and recent gang violence notwithstanding, still has a "remarkably low crime rate".

The President's speech was mostly about his America's position as a world leading nation which boasts the "best universities, most creative entrepreneurs, and most dynamic businesses".

Still, when it comes to economy and living standards, critics would say that countries like Canada are not rushing to trade places with its neighbour any time soon. Here are the nine other nations picked by the website: 

Warren Buffett's wise words

Staff Reporter
Aug 15th, 2011

Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Billionaire investor Warren Buffet’s searing commentary, "Stop Coddling the Super-Rich,” in the New York Times yesterday has unleashed a tidal wave of interest around the world: people were shocked to read one of the world’s richest men on earth demand the government  raise taxes for himself and his fellow billionaires. 

Buffet, along with fellow billionaire Bill Gates, has been repeating this mantra for years. But following the U.S. stock market troubles last week, he seems to have captured the zeitgeist of our times. 

Here are a few more words of wisdom from the Oracle of Omaha:

1. If you’re in the luckiest 1 per cent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 per cent.

2. The smarter the journalists are, the better off society is. For to a degree, people read the press to inform themselves-and the better the teacher, the better the student body.

So Glenn Beck was right about gold

Staff Reporter
Aug 11th, 2011

Glenn Beck's investment tip to buy gold turned out to be eerily accurate following the stock crash on Monday: as U.S. stocks flounder, gold rose to a record high, and appears to be the most coveted commodity on the market today. 

Beck is actually a paid spokesperson for precious metals vendor Goldline, a fact which got him in trouble when critics claimed he was  misleading audiences by urging them to buy gold ahead of the market crash. Now, however, many people are thanking him for saving them with sound financial advice. 

Beck took a month from hawking gold for a few moments in May, as he jokingly told his Insider Extreme audience to ditch gold for the latest hottest economy. 

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