I've been visiting a neighbour this summer: Robert Manuge, a name at the centre of a defining epoch in Nova Scotian economic history. At 89 and ailing, he's anxious to make a point about economic development then and now. Manuge was general manager of Industrial Estates Ltd., the economic development agency set up by premier Robert Stanfield in 1957. He invited me to his home at rural Lake Annis, Yarmouth County, to sift through a dozen thick scrapbooks assembled by IEL staff at the time.
The Harper government portrays itself as standing up for Canada, but it is preparing a major sell-off of Canadian interests that will compromise our cultural sovereignty, national identity and national security.
In last week's federal budget, the Harper government signalled its intent to throw open the doors of foreign ownership in three strategic, previously protected, sectors: telecommunications, satellites and uranium.
The issue here isn't foreign investment, which is allowed. At issue is a move to allow giant multinational conglomerates to come in and take over Canadian companies in these key sectors.
Michael Ignatieff did a well publicized tour of Canadian Universities in January. Judging from the list of 40 speakers he invited to address the upcoming Liberal thinkers conference March 26 to 28 in Montreal, he was not impressed: only one student is invited to speak (water activist Ryan Hreljac), and no younger faculty.
The Liberals went for business leaders: 11 CEOs will own the podium (sorry). In 2010, knowledge seemly increases with salary, and brains are best found in the biggest executive suite. Aside from Ryan Hreljac, education is represented by three University and College presidents, two business school heavies, two political scientists, a health scientist and an economist.
One of the champions of Canada's right-wing corporate elite is finally calling it quits.
Gwyn Morgan, 66, is stepping down in May as Board Chairman of SNC-Lavalin, the troubled, giant engineering and construction firm trying to survive a series of scandals, a lack of public confidence, and fluctuating share values.
Morgan, one of the country's most prolific advocates of extreme neoliberalsm, has been in the hot seat during the greatest series of scandals ever at a Canadian company.
Search-engine giant Google Inc. and rabble.ca have come to an agreement regarding the purchase of the trademarked name "babble" for use on unified messaging platforms. Google revealed their intention last month to name their new cross-platform app "Babble," which would integrate many of the features currently employed across Android, Gmail, Google+ and Chrome web browser.
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Much of Canada is abuzz with news of Research in Motion's launch of the new BlackBerry 10 smartphone. Canadians are understandably both proud of the Waterloo-based RIM, and anxious about its future. Many Canadians are hopeful this new phone succeeds as the company plays an important role in the Canadian economy, including in jobs and high-tech research.
But in all the hype there is one important question that has not been asked: can RIM assure customers that its products are free of conflict minerals? If so, it would be another way to set itself apart from the competition.
Those who follow the business press closely, and listen attentively to corporate economic commentators, are still mainly in the dark about "who is actually getting what" in the business world.
Some very interesting information does turns up. A current New York Times series entitled "The United States of Subsidies," covers business subsidies handed out by U.S. local governments. It cost $80 billion to attract and keep companies in local communities, the NYT estimated.