Tag Archives: federal government

3 Short Stories

Instead of putting their product on sale, Pizza 73 is advertising limited edition (Edmonton) Oilers game box pizza. If you’ve ever wanted to collect used greasy pizza boxes, don’t miss this promo!

Twice last week someone asked me when governments will be back to some kind of balanced budgets. Being asked that is very rare – it’s not something that most of us do as individuals. Hands up if you even do some kind of budget… Hands up if you remember any talk about that in the last two elections? There wasn’t anything. But many remember Prime Minister Trudeau’s comment that “budgets balance themselves.” Besides, running deficits allows politicians to buy votes. Getting to balanced budgets costs them votes!

Middle of January I saw a Royal Bank ad promoting investment accounts for RRSP season. The “deal” was that you get 100 free trades until March 31st. If you need more than two or three trades in the first two months, you’re doing something wrong! You’re not a day trader, I hope, because 93% of them lose money. I manage a 7 figure investment account for a relative. It’s with a national portfolio manager in five accounts. Last year they did a total of 16 transactions. That’s three per account in a year! 100 trades should last you more than 30 years…if you’re investing and not churning, guessing, or day trading.

Dear Federal Government: Can We Get On With It, Please?

This picture pretty much encapsulates the state of many businesses. It’s a massive 15,000 sq ft. store in a so-called A mall. Those are newer malls, most with a large anchor tenant, and the malls that will survive. But this store is staffed by one person – guessing at $15 an hour, and sells nothing over $10. In the entire mall (Outlet Mall at the Edmonton Airport) there may have been 20 or 30 shoppers the three times I’ve been in there the last month.

In March, my company made $244 and it’s now month number 13. We’re now the second time around of no church services for Easter, no Grad celebrations, no spring plans, no Canada Day celebrations, no travel this summer, and no end in sight here in Canada.

Canada is currently (stats as of Friday April 2nd) 64th in vaccine procurement.

We’ve vaccinated 15.6 people per 100. In the U.S. it’s 45.9%. That’s more than triple our rate. The US, as of the end of next week, will vaccinate anyone over age 18 that wants it. They’ve had huge tents in mall parking lots across the country for months now.

And we have 1.8% of Canadians fully vaccinated. Less than two percent, while the U.S. is at 17.5% – TEN TIMES AS MUCH. When Ontario premier Ford called the federal efforts “a joke” he was right on the mark as of now.

I have a friend on Vancouver Island that is over age 65, with two pre-existing conditions, and he’s not even close to getting his vaccination. In a relatives’ nursing home in Calgary, there’s another outbreak because health care workers aren’t even vaccinated. Sorry, but I don’t see any of the national media in Ottawa asking any hard questions, or any signs that the federal government is exhibiting any signs of urgency.

California, one of the most cautious and locked-down states, is lifting all business related restrictions as of June 15th. Here in Canada, maybe middle-aged Canadians will get vaccinated starting in September. But that’s just another of many promises. If so, it will take until the end of the year to get most people vaccinated.

According to multiple websites, including ourworldindata.com, many third world countries are ahead of us in vaccinations to get back to some kind of “normal.” Even the most disorganized U.S. now has its act together. They vaccinated around 4 million people a day over the Easter long weekend. If you told me we did zero vaccinations, because it was a holiday weekend, I wouldn’t be surprised at all.

The government has extended the application time for the Canada Emergency Business Account loans, but not the criteria. So that doesn’t help at all. Plus, the original $40,000 loan has to be repaid by December 2022. But by the time we’re sort of back in business, that’ll be less than a year. What business will get back to 100% AND grow so quickly as to have an extra $30,000 net profit made inside of a year in order to re-pay the loan?

PLEASE: I, along with millions of Canadians, and tens of thousands of small businesses can’t go much longer at this rate.

Update: Sure enough, as we discussed, within two hours of talking about it, the U.S. CDC has issued a travel advisory for Canada because of our rising Covid numbers and lack of vaccinations…

The Government Financial Resolutions You Didn’t Get

Prime Minister Trudeau just gave his New Year’s message that us Canadians should focus on “key values” for the New Year. OK, that’s nice and vanilla, but there was nothing on maybe some government resolutions on financial issues. Since it was missing, here’s what I’d want the PM, and probably all governments, to commit to:

If you’re one of the many people who are waiting for the government to fix your life – sorry – we can’t and we won’t. You need to get off the sofa and start fixing your own economy – the government makes a lot of feel-good promises, but we can’t fix it for you.

We’re going to commit to using the rule of doctors: First, do no harm. That means we’re going to fix the punishing new mortgage rules that will make it really hard for the average Canadian to sell their home or to buy one – even with 20% or more down-payments.

From now on, the government will become better stewards of your tax money. You send us a lot of it. Not just off your pay, but in GST, gas taxes, EI, CPP, and places you don’t even know about. We’re going to start treating it as if it were our personal money. No more throwing cheques at small but vocal special interest groups that yell a lot, or who we want to bribe to get their votes again.

We’re also not going to just hand out money as if it were candy anymore. Sorry about giving $10.5 million to a terrorist – tax free. If we need to settle claims, we’ll do it after a court orders us to.

Lastly, we’re going to stop lying or fudging the numbers. Sure we promised we’d “only” be overspending $10 billion and it became $40 billion.

Yes, I promised we’d have a balanced budget before the next election in 2019. Yes, two days before Christmas when nobody noticed, my finance department released a report showing we would be in deficit spending until at least 2055. Yes, the damage we’ve done will last an extra 36 years just to not overspend each year. We’ve seen the light, and our New Year’s resolution is to tell you the truth, and to actually start making the hard choices – just like each and every family has to make, and to live within a budget.

When pigs fly…..