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Bond rating agency sends economic warning to Trudeau

The warning from Finch comes as Statistics Canada released stark economic news on Friday.

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Bond rating agency Finch has fired another shot across the bow of Canada’s economic ship.

“The recent announcement for significant additional spending by the Canadian federal government (on pandemic response) will support Canada’s economic recovery but will also widen the deficit, underscoring the risks surrounding future fiscal consolidation and the trajectory of public debt,” said Fitch this week.

“While we expect government spending to drop back sharply starting in 2021, a significantly widened deficit will make medium-term consolidation of the general government debt and deficit more challenging.”

In June, citing ‘significant fiscal deterioration in 2020’ Finch downgraded the Justin Trudeau Liberal government’s credit rating to AA+’/Stable.

“The latest announcements point to continued risks of further deficit widening.

“These measures, and the federal government’s $343 billion estimate of the upsized fiscal 2020/2021 deficit announced in the July fiscal snapshot point to a general government deficit above 21 pre cent of GDP in 2020, wider than our 16.1 per cent of GDP estimate at the time of the downgrade.

“The gross general government debt to GDP ratio will rise above 120 pre cent of GDP, significantly higher than the ‘AA’ median.”

The warning from Finch comes as Statistics Canada released stark economic news on Friday.

Stats Can reported the economy posted its steepest decline on record in the second quarter as the COVID-19 pandemic forced the closure of non-essential businesses and slowed the economy to a crawl.

The agency says real gross domestic product contracted at an annualized rate of 38.7 per cent for the three-month period, the worst showing since the start of 2009 at the height of the global financial crisis.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

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B.C. NDP committee blasts own party on diversity

The email said the election has been “terrible” from the perspective of people of colour

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A B.C. NDP committee is slamming its own party for lack of diversity and says it should apologize.

The damning memo was from the NDP’s IBPoC (Indigenous, Black, Persons of Colour) executive committee was obtained by the Vancouver Sun.

The email said the election has been “terrible” from the perspective of people of colour, and that some IBPoC members have left the party, the Sun reported.

The committee called for anti-white supremacy training and diversity/equity training for all party leadership, as well as commitments to address policies important to people of colour, such as banning street checks and protecting hotel-worker jobs, said the paper.

The email said their committee voiced their displeasure in an Oct. 14 phone call with NDP provincial director Heather Stoutenburg and that some action was promised, including a written apology from the campaign leadership team and a video apology from Premier John Horgan “addressing what he did wrong and how he plans to do better.”

“While we have done a lot of work to ensure diverse representation in the legislature through our slate of candidates, we still have much more work to do — specifically within our campaign staff and campaign leadership team,” Stoutenburg said in a statement to the Sun.

“We’re working to assess and improve our hiring practices with a lens on diversity.”

B.C. voters go to the polls Saturday.

Polls taken this month point to a Horgan majority.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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Trudeau gave $237-million contract benefiting Liberal buddy’s company

The $237 million was given to FTI Professional Grade, a company that was only established seven days before. It’s website said the company had two employees.

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The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is demanding answers after it was revealed the Justin Trudeau government gave a $237-million no-competition contract to a firm that had been created just seven days before and overpaid by nearly $100 million.

The details were revealed Thursday in the Journal de Montréal.

The report showed during the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the $237 million was given to FTI Professional Grade, a company that was only established seven days before. It’s website said the company had two employees.

The contract was for the manufacturing of 10,000 ventilators. 

After getting the money, FTI hired the firm Baylis to handle the manufacturing of the ventilators, said the paper.

Baylis belongs to Michael Baylis, an ex-liberal MP and an active member of the party since the 1980s. He is also a close friend of Trudeau.

According to the Journal de Montréal, the Trudeau government overpaid by nearly $100 million. 

“The company Medtronic is one of the main ventilator manufacturers. Medtronic sells its unit for approximately $10,000 US, or $13,700 CAD. The ventilators manufactured by Baylis were based on the Medtronic model, but Baylis charged the Canadian government $23,700 per unit,” said the paper’s report.

“This definitely needs to be looked into by a parliamentary committee. It’s possible that there are special circumstances given the urgency, but there’s no reason now, after the fact, not to go back and examine what those might be. If there is any evidence of inappropriate favouritism, it needs to be answered for. This is taxpayer money and it needs to be used prudently, not used to line the pockets of politically-connected individuals,” Aaron Wudrick, Federal Director at the Canadian Taxpayers Federation told Westphalian Times.

The Tories are also demanding answers.

“The awarding of the contract to FTI Professional Grade raises huge questions, because of the ties and proximity of Frank Baylis, who was a Liberal MP until 2019,” said Conservative MP Pierre Paul in an interview with the Journal.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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New test means travellers to Alberta can escape quarantine

“We just can’t allow (coronavirus) to shut everything down,” Premier Jason Kenney said.

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Alberta will give international arrivals at the Calgary International Airport a chance to escape the federally mandatory 14-day quarantine period.

The announcement was made Thursday by officials, including Premier Jason Kenney, who is currently in isolation after his municipal affairs minister Tracy Allard came down with COVID-19.

Kenney said starting in early November, international arrivals at YYC and Coutts will be offered a chance to participate in a pilot project that will see them get a COVID-19 test when they arrive.

The traveller would then have enter into quarantine until the test results come back. If negative, the person will be allowed to leave quarantine as long as they promise to have another test within six to seven days after arriving.

Kenney said every traveller would have to check in daily with health officials and stay within Alberta until the 14-day period expires.

Also on Monday, essential Alberta workers who have to leave the country will have access to a $150 fee-for-service test that will see results come in 72 hours before the person arrives at their destination.

“We just can’t allow (coronavirus) to shut everything down,” Kenney said.

“The impact (of the 14-day quarantine period) has been enormous.

“We must find a way to bring back safe travel.”

Kenney said in 2020 international visitors will spend $3.5 billion in Alberta, a whopping decrease of 63% for the previous year.

He said currently, only 3% of Alberta cases have been as a result of international travel.

Kenney said it’s hoped the pilot project can be expanded to Edmonton’s airport early in the new year.

“This announcement is welcomed by WestJet. WestJet has been advocating for a science-based rapid testing solution to help safely ease the quarantine requirements. With our home and largest hub in Calgary, guests from the province will be the first to experience this extremely important trial as an alternative to a 14-day quarantine,” said Ed Sims, CEO of WestJet.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

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