Housing Bubbles & Oil Troubles

The Round-Up Three Elections Gunman Referendum

The World in a Flash This week's Round-Up covers news in Canada, OPEC, Troubles between Syria and Russia, and more! Canada’s Population New Over 36 Million Thanks to preliminary numbers released by Statistics Canada this week we now know that the population of the True North has now topped 36 million. Most of this is due to the large influx of immigrants and the large influx of Syrian refugees. The increase is being hailed as one of the largest increases since the baby boom in the 1950s. While this is an interesting milestone, it remains to be seen if we can manage to keep up the infrastructure and services needed for a larger population. US/Russia Syria Talks Break Down In a disappointing (and deadly)

Trump & Ford: An Appeal to the Disenfranchised

Ford Trump Compilation

Donald Trump’s candidacy for the US presidency has attracted a lot of scorn for many of Trump’s supporters. Kevin Williamson and David French wrote contemptuously in the National Review about how the working-class Americans supporting Trump had no one to blame but themselves for their problems. They failed themselves, and they should have known better. A similar contempt emerged in some circles towards ‘Ford Nation’, the supporters of Toronto’s former Mayor, the late Rob Ford. Michael Bolen shared Williamson’s and French’s contempt when he wrote in the Huffington Post about the supposed bigotry and disdain for the intelligence of Ford’s supporters. Apparently, it’s never occurred to Bolen or anyone else that this kind of contempt is what’s driven so many people to support

Money, Knowledge, & Equipment: The Bane of Bioterror


Last time the media covered any malicious use of biologicals was around the September 11 attacks and it involved several letters that were tainted with the spores of bacterium Bacillus anthracis, aka anthrax. Since then, the bioterror front has remained quiet. The seeming lack of bioterrorism in today’s world boils down to the fact that without heavy state intervention an underground terror cell will find itself lacking heavily in at least one of the three key aspects necessary to execute a successful and worthwhile terrorist plot. Before we delve into the details as to how and why these factors are so critical we need to define bioterrorism. As stated by the CDC, it involves the use of live biological specimens (bacteria,

A Greek Tragedy: How Government Corruption has Fueled Tax Evasion


A commonly used phrase in Greece is “cash only, no credit card payments”. Since 1981, corruption in Greece has become widespread, which has indirectly contributed to high tax evasion in the country. Tax evasion has become such a problem in Greece, where politicians and the general public have called it a ‘national sport’. Due to tax evasion, Greece loses about €30 billion a year in unreported income or 23.3% of its GDP, which is both from the illegal economy (drug trade and prostitution) and legal economy (self-employment). So, why are Greek’s so reluctant to pay taxes? The simple answer is corruption. Apart from the illegal economy, Greek citizens assert that corruption, clientalism, crony capitalism, and a culture of bribery, as a

Venezuela & The Maduro Government: A Familiar Story

Venezuela Drilling Oil

This article was originally published on March 21, 2016.   Black Gold. Oil. Petroleum. No matter what you call it, it has always been, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future, a valuable resource. It has inebriated many nations with the staggering income it generates in times of boom, but equally cripples them in times of bust. Consider the following picture in Venezuela: Civil unrest, commodity price hikes including gasoline and strict economic reforms in order to service foreign debt. To previous generations it may sound like déjà vu. Though this is an accurate representation of events currently unfolding, I was actually making reference to the mid to late 1980s: a period in history when oil prices fell, Venezuela’s economic growth slowed, and

What is the Right Amount of Tax?


Tax time has come and gone again in Canada, which can remind us of politicians’ comments on taxes. Many politicians, especially conservative ones, have talked about tax relief, offering all kinds of tax cuts and rebates for everything from fitness to children’s art programs. Oftentimes, they also guarantee that these tax cuts can be paid for without reducing frontline services or major programs. If anything, they also talk about other kinds of spending, whether taking the fight to ISIS in the Middle East, getting tougher on crime, and upgrading the military’s equipment. In all the talk about taxes, though, nobody seems to ever want to discuss what an acceptable minimum for taxes might be. If conservative politicians think that taxes are

Ontario’s Responsible (?) Ring of Fire

Snow Geese Migrating Hudson Bay Lowlands

In 2007, the first and largest commercial quantities of chromite, among other industrial metals were discovered in Ontario’s Far North. Found in the heart of the James Bay Lowlands, the Ring of Fire is amidst some of Canada’s largest expanses of forest and wetlands.The boundless territories of undisturbed habitat contain a vast biodiversity of bird and animal species, an abundance of fresh water, and a profuse mineral deposit. As part of the Boreal Forest, the trees, wetlands, lakes, and rivers of the James Bay Lowlands make-up one of the largest intact forests in North America. Endangered and rare species, such as the caribou and Canadian lynx, thrive in this natural haven as the biodiversity also serves to stabilize climate change,

CARICOM & Correspondent Banking


The Caribbean: the Greater and Lesser Antilles. Fun, sun, all-inclusive vacations, cheap liquor. No problems, man. Except there are significant problems, few viable solutions, and many who depend on the outcome for their economic stability and survival. Recent events, however, have created a perfect storm of regulation and fear that threatens to overwhelm the already shaky foundations of the Caribbean economic system. The AML/CFT In response to the increase in financial crimes and financing of crimes, new international recommendations known as the anti-money-laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) were created by the IMF in 2015, and their adoption by western countries encouraged to address issues of money laundering and the financing of terrorism. AML/CFT requires that all financial service providers

The 2016 Federal Budget: A First Step Towards Upholding Human Rights for Indigenous Peoples


The 2016 Federal Budget was tabled in the House of Commons by the Honourable William Francis Morneau, PC, MP Minister of Finance on March 22, 2016.  Chapter 3 – “A Better Future for Indigenous Peoples” – contains promises and commitments to Indigenous peoples across Canada, with the main focus on education, child family welfare, and infrastructure. Although the budget of $8.4 billion over five years has widely been considered historic, there has been a mixed reaction from stakeholders regarding whether this promise is enough. The Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde in a press release said, “The budget begins to address decades of underfunding and neglect, which have perpetuated a growing gap in the quality of life between First

Hopeful Signs for Pipelines


At first glance, pipelines to get Alberta’s oil to market seem as stalled as ever. Many people across Canada don’t seem to think the advantages of pipelines are worth the environmental risks they’re worried about. As I’ve pointed out before, Stephen Harper deserves a lot of the blame for opposition to pipelines becoming as strong as it has. Many of his actions created the perception that he didn’t care about peoples’ concerns about pipelines, and that he would force the pipelines on people whether they wanted them or not. That only gave critics more ammunition, and didn’t exactly make people in other provinces more likely to support pipeline construction. There are signs, however, that things are starting to change. Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre