The second-quarter GDP numbers confirm that Canada's continuing "recovery," such as it is, is still balancing very precariously on a knife-edge between expansion and contraction. The various sources of growth vary widely in their current momentum. The overall net balance is barely positive. And coming austerity in the public sector could very much push the balance into negative territory in coming quarters.
A recent investment advice column in the Globe and Mail (by David Milstead, August 3) highlighted some surprising facts about Mexico's economy. The bullish author suggested Mexico will be a global economic powerhouse in future years thanks to pro-business policy shifts (like the new plan to open up the petroleum sector, 65 years after nationalization, to renewed foreign ownership), and he trumpeted the coming rise of a confident new middle class.
Here's some good reading on the economic future of Nova Scotia. The Ivany commission on the "new economy" has written up what it heard on the road in an interim report (at www.onens.ca). In so doing, it has cleared much underbrush and roughed out a path forward, like Dr. John Ross's report did for health care.
In short, we may be getting better at grappling with our problems -- just in the nick of time as the economic prognoses get more ominous and as one-note Harperist forces to the West work to trivialize the Maritimes as a mere welfare case.
The United States has a higher level of human development than Canada. The latest United Nations Human Development Report compiles statistics on life expectancy, education and access to human resources in order to compose the Human Development Index (HDI). The U.S. ranked third in the world in terms of human development while Canada ranked eleventh. This is sad news for Canada because within the 13-year tenure of the previous Liberal government (1993-2006) Canada ranked number 1 in the world for seven consecutive years (1994-2000). Under the Conservative government, reigning from 2006 onwards, Canada has fallen out of the top 10.
If you were stranded on a deserted island -- without online access -- what book would most help you while away the hours? Some would opt for the latest novel by Haruki Murakami whose compelling, enigmatic stories would keep one endlessly entertained. Others might choose the Bible or Keith Richards' autobiography in order to gain spiritual insight. The question is an interesting one because it provides us with an engaging nugget of self-knowledge.