Oil industry not dead yet despite disruptions

But a true recovery in oil prices will require an economic recovery, whose timing remains unclear

Oil industry not dead yet despite disruptionsWhile there’s certainly carnage and woe in the oil and natural gas sectors at the moment, reports of the death of the industry are exaggerated. Many climate change activists and their sympathizers have been cheered by the dramatic drop in oil prices that coincided with, and were partly caused by, the COVID-19 pandemic. Prominent among…

Why do Canada’s provinces gamble on the oil markets?

Provincial governments need to be sober, disciplined, realistic and do whatever they can to not lose money for their citizens

Why do Canada’s provinces gamble on the oil markets?While crude oil’s startling and unprecedented recent price plunge into negative territory was notable, it didn’t mean that producers were actually paying others to take oil off their hands. It did point to major problems the industry faces, however. In the short term, the foremost issue is weak demand. And it raised a significant problem…

Want to pay for medical supplies? Stop funding CBC

Our health-care budgets were already greatly strained before the COVID-19 crisis; they’re completely blown out now

Want to pay for medical supplies? Stop funding CBCTwo of the major issues arising from the current medical emergency and lockdown are how much it would cost to prepare for a similar crisis and how Canadians would pay for it (as well as pay for the one we’re enduring). The N95 particulate mask is deemed necessary to ensure that neither the wearer nor…

Easing urban traffic congestion no simple task

Cities are establishing taxes on electric cars and other low-emission vehicles to reduce traffic and raise infrastructure funds

Easing urban traffic congestion no simple taskThe state of Oregon recently became the latest devotee of a variation of congestion fees. The system falls short, even if the goal is worthy. It’s a sort of tax on road use more commonly directed at motorists and commercial vehicle drivers who access the central area of a city. Those drivers presumably add to…

How Canada can confront future pandemics

Our leaders should have ways to handle a public health disaster without throwing half the population into penury

How Canada can confront future pandemicsMost of the nations in the developed world, including Canada, were unprepared for the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. So we need to examine what steps should be taken to forestall or substantially mitigate the next microbial conflagration. While the current main weapon – the medieval quarantine – might still be part of the future arsenal, more…

Mortgage misery awaits too many Canadian families

At the heart of the COVID-19 crisis sits the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corp. and its low-income borrowers

Mortgage misery awaits too many Canadian familiesThe shutdowns ordered by Canadian governments to slow the spread of COVID-19 have caused unemployment to leap. And put mortgages in peril. Many of the millions of workers laid off have been low-income and lower-middle-income earners. They’re just the sort of people who qualify for home mortgages insured by the federal Canada Mortgage and Housing…

Practical ways to tackle our emissions problems

Climate warriors spend a great deal of time condemning current practices without offering realistic solutions

Practical ways to tackle our emissions problemsIn the past several months, we’ve heard dire and angry imprecations and accusations from the new climate crusaders. They demand total obeisance to their escalating demands. Any critics to their approach to catastrophic global warming are denounced as deniers or heretics. A new religious-political-social movement has sprung out of this trend: Extinction Rebellion, with the…

Industrial world held hostage by China

The COVID-19 crisis has amplified the warning: dependence on Chinese products is a key vulnerability for Western nations

Industrial world held hostage by ChinaMany key pharmaceutical ingredients used in North America reportedly come from China or, in the case of generics, India. In turn, India imports key ingredients from China. So diverting imports from China to India might not reduce our dependence on Chinese manufacturers. In addition, China reserves the right to provide its citizens with vital drugs before…

One government after another fails in face of COVID-19

Governments around the world have been tardy, negligent, dysfunctional or otherwise an impediment to an aggressive and successful outcome

One government after another fails in face of COVID-19While residents around the world deal with restrictions imposed to minimize transmission of COVID-19, many wonder how we got into a predicament where thousands die, millions are infected, and millions more lose their jobs or investment nest eggs. There were preliminary indications as far back as Nov. 17 that some people who frequented the wet…

Canada must regain its competitiveness 

We need tax reforms and other initiatives that will help spur entrepreneurial spirit and encourage investment

Canada must regain its competitiveness Canada is gradually losing its competitiveness – but it can be regained. According to the International Institute for Management Development (IMD), a graduate business school and research centre, we’re down three spots from 2018 to 13th. Canada is now ranked below the United States and Switzerland, as well as other energy-dominated nations such as Norway,…

Putting an end to Quebec’s energy vulnerability

The province's aversion to pipelines and its ban on fracking create serious problems. It's time to let free enterprise pave the way to a better future

Putting an end to Quebec’s energy vulnerabilityAlberta Premier Jason Kenney has suggested to Quebec that pipelines would prevent events like the recent propane shortage caused by the CN Rail strike. The lack of propane hampered harvest for Quebec farmers, and endangered users of propane heating in seniors residences, hospitals and mobile homes. Critics have noted pipelines don’t usually carry propane. But…

CMHC nudging more aggressively into housing market

The risk of housing price declines piles onto the risk CMHC already takes on when insuring mortgages

CMHC nudging more aggressively into housing marketCanada’s federal government will soon participate in the property bubble in a direct, equity-owning way through its new First-Time Home Buyer Incentive. But the merits of the program are questionable. Since the end of the Second World War, it’s been federal government policy to help low-income would-be home buyers via Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp.…

Unlimited cheap natural gas is a win for everyone

Even climate extremists should embrace natural gas, since it’s slowly replacing coal and oil, and cutting carbon emissions

Unlimited cheap natural gas is a win for everyoneThe shale revolution, technology unleashing vast new oil and natural gas production, is delivering lower energy costs to countries, industries and consumers. Without revolutionary hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and horizontal drilling, Canadians’ heating bills would be twice what they are now. Gasoline prices – soaring now due it is half as deleterious as oil. And if…

Canada needs to respond to U.S. tax reform

Companies in the U.S. will have more cash to give pay raises to employees, increase investment or raise dividends

Canada needs to respond to U.S. tax reformCanada needs significant corporate tax reform to remain competitive with the United States. Federal and provincial policy-makers need to act quickly. A contentious but mostly growth-boosting tax system overhaul finally passed through the United States Congress shortly before Christmas and was signed into law by President Donald Trump. While it didn’t simplify and clean up…

Atlantic Canada should abandon government liquor monopolies

It’s time to focus on preserving public safety while permitting a market system to thrive through the entire supply chain, from producer to consumer

Atlantic Canada should abandon government liquor monopoliesBy Alex Whalen and Ian Madsen Atlantic Institute for Market Studies In October 2012, Gerard Comeau left his home in Tracadie, N.B, and drove to Quebec to buy alcohol. Comeau, a retired power lineman, knew he could buy the same alcohol for less in Quebec. However, upon returning to New Brunswick, Comeau was stopped by…