“We live on a continent whose three countries possess the assets to make it the strongest, most prosperous and self-sufficient area on Earth … It is no accident that this unmatched potential for progress and prosperity exists in three countries with such long-standing heritages of free government. A developing closeness among Canada, Mexico and the United States – a North American accord – would permit achievement of that potential in each country beyond that which I believe any of them – strong as they are – could accomplish in the absence of such co-operation.”
That was Ronald Reagan, calling for a North American free-trade agreement as he declared his candidacy for the U.S. presidency in November, 1979. When he became prime minister...
The rise in house prices – especially in Toronto and Vancouver – has coincided with a build-up of risks in the mortgage market and homeowners taking on too much debt relative to their income.
In response, the federal Department of Finance has proposed shifting some of the risk of mortgage defaults onto lenders from insurers, through a mortgage insurance deductible that would come out of the lender’s pocket in the case of mortgage default. Good intent. Bad idea.
The hope is that by shifting some of the potential losses from mortgage defaults onto lenders, a deductible would reduce the number of risky mortgage loans originated by lenders. But introducing a mortgage insurance deductible is a blunt and ineffective tool that would do...
So we now know what the U.S. objectives are in the forthcoming North American free-trade agreement renegotiations.
Some of what was sent by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to the Congress on Monday isn’t a big surprise, having been signalled before and in its initial fast-track notice tabled in Congress last May.
There’s a lot about modernizing NAFTA, improving the agreement to add provisions on trade in services, digital commerce, intellectual property and even reference to establishing “strong and enforceable environmental obligations” and other things that, subject to careful reading, could be acceptable as a basis for negotiations.
However, there are at least four major bombshells, signalling an extremely...
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