China holding the world hostage over rare-earth elements

Decoupling will be difficult and costly, but is a necessity

China holding the world hostage over rare-earth elementsSeveral factors have induced Western governments and the firms they preside over to find substitute supply chains for the China-dominant ones they depend on. These factors include growing public revulsion at the repressive and persecutory policies the Chinese Communist Party has for its ethnic, religious and other minorities or critics; the increasingly aggressive expansionary moves…

Sorting out the value, volatility and durability of cryptocurrencies

Rising prices may be increasing their allure but there are considerable risks

Sorting out the value, volatility and durability of cryptocurrenciesThe value of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and others recently hit new record highs, in the thousands of dollars per unit. This escalation has attracted more speculators, further boosting prices over the past several months. Much of this is the result of investors fearing they will miss out on a chance to profit. While…

A clear example of why government and business shouldn’t mix

Centerra is being held hostage by Kyrgyzstan but, fortunately, it is no longer part of a Crown corporation so taxpayers aren't on the hook

A clear example of why government and business shouldn’t mixCenterra, a mid-size Canadian gold-mining company, is engaged in a legal and political dispute with the government of Kyrgyzstan, a former Soviet republic in Central Asia with a chronically unstable and fractious political class and culture. Its main asset, the Kumtor mine, is in that troubled land and the source of roughly half of its…

Why Canadian railroads want to expand aggressively

The regulatory environment in Canada makes foreign expansion not only more attractive but necessary to avoid stagnation or decline

Why Canadian railroads want to expand aggressivelyA bidding war erupted recently between Canada’s two mammoth and historic railways, Canadian National (CN) and archrival Canadian Pacific (CP), for the American railroad Kansas City Southern (KCS). KCS ultimately accepted CN’s US$30-billion bid after scrapping CP’s US$33.6-billion offer. This is all about KCS’s mid-American location and its extensive network in Mexico, where there’s considerable…

We can’t just laugh off unidentified aerial phenomena

The observers of these phenomena are sober professionals who seek to understand what it is that has been detected and recorded

We can’t just laugh off unidentified aerial phenomenaThe venerable television program 60 Minutes aired a segment recently focused on a topic that has been examined before, but not with the same widespread receptivity and credibility. It had to do with UAPs. And the Pentagon, directed by the United States Congress, recently released its file on UAPs, or unidentified aerial phenomena. These sightings…

Crown corporations are simply money pits

They are a bad idea and should be sold off

Crown corporations are simply money pitsReports, studies and analyses show that the essential character of state-owned enterprises, including Canadian Crown corporations, makes it impossible for them to have true independence or real profitability. These operations have inherent goals counter to the normal private sector pursuit of profit maximization. In the private sector, return on investment rewards shareholders for the risk…

Why wealth taxes hamper economies and punish us all

What you tax more of, you get less of

Why wealth taxes hamper economies and punish us allCalls by self-identified progressives and others who purport to champion equity, compelling everyone to pay their fair share, have grown louder and more strident. It seems these social justice warriors have discovered previously unknown inner fiscal conservatism, with their usual zeal for redistribution and punishment for those who they deem have excessive wealth. It’s wealth…

We can’t just pour more money into Air Canada

Fed's bailout marks a return to the airline's status as a stratospheric ward of the state

We can’t just pour more money into Air CanadaIn early April, the government of Canada announced it would support Air Canada through the rest of the lockdown-induced decline in air travel, with loans and, in a return to its previous status as a stratospheric ward of the state, $500 million in equity capital. It’s understandable that the government would want some chance of…

The dangers of shutting down North American pipelines

We should stop caving in to North American virtue signallers

The dangers of shutting down North American pipelinesMichigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has launched the latest political hit job on a Canadian pipeline. Whitmer is targeting Enbridge’s Line 5, which runs from Alberta through the Great Lakes region to refineries and chemical plants in Sarnia, Ont. The Sarnia terminus sells to companies that make products that fuel cars, trucks, vans, ships and airplanes…

Canada can manage its debt load by stretching out its loans

Locking in government bonds at current low interest rates, over extremely long terms, can help us manage our debt in challenging times

Canada can manage its debt load by stretching out its loansThe massive debt Canada’s federal government and other governments around the world took on to face the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic is the elephant in the room. This debt could soon become intolerably hard to service, if interest rates revert to more historic levels or even escalate past those levels. Investors will demand higher…

Keep government out of the internet business

Keep government out of the internet businessManitoba’s Opposition New Democratic Party proposes the creation of a new Crown corporation to provide high-speed internet service to rural and remote communities, particularly First Nations communities, in that province. This is a bad idea for several reasons. A host of private-sector and government organizations are launching enormous flotillas of low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites to…

Canada must stand up to China now

The Chinese government wants to dominate all other nations, seeking submission on its terms. We must resist

Canada must stand up to China nowThe vote by Canada’s Parliament to declare the actions of the Chinese government a genocide against the Uyghur people highlights the growing discordance between Western democracies and the increasingly repressive and aggressive Chinese regime. The Chinese government also engages in cultural repression, surveillance or discrimination against its Tibetan, Mongolian and Korean minorities. China has benefited…

Alberta had no business pumping public money into Keystone XL

Given what was known about Keystone XL, it’s hard to understand the decision-making the government undertook to buy into the scheme

Alberta had no business pumping public money into Keystone XLThe long-suffering citizens of Alberta recently learned that they’re on the hook for yet more billions of dollars via an ill-advised investment in an oil pipeline. The Keystone XL project was festooned with red flags well before the injection of hard-earned and now lost taxpayer funds. Political risk can be hard to quantify but it’s…

19 steps to reviving Canada’s lackluster economy

We need to increase personal income, improve living standards and pay down the mountain of debt

19 steps to reviving Canada’s lackluster economyThe federal government is preparing a budget to be unleashed on the public and the financial markets sometime in March. We can be terrified at the prospect of more huge debt taken on by our servants on Parliament Hill. Or we can hope they may take a more creative, constructive and growth-generating approach. Here are…

Time for oil-rich provinces to sell off their assets

More than 70 years of Alberta prosperity could be in jeopardy. And the continued fixation and dependence on fossil fuels could bring disaster

Time for oil-rich provinces to sell off their assetsLack of diversification is a risky invitation to investment disaster. Very few institutional, corporate or individual investors would put their total net worth into one sector. Yet that’s just what Alberta, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Saskatchewan have done. The economies of these provinces are heavily dependent on the fortunes of the petroleum industry. Corporate and…
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