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We want free trade with everyone but Canadians living in other provinces.

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Free Trade with everyone but ourselves.
Canadians have been hearing a lot of talk about the need for and benefits from free trade with the Americans, the Europeans, the Chinese, and the Americans. Yah, let’s get it done.
What about free trade within our own country with other provinces?
Not so much.
We have been fighting amongst ourselves over healthcare, education, labour certification, lumber, minerals, water and a thousand other things. The latest is Alberta and British Columbia over oil and wine.
British Columbia with it’s fragile government put up barriers to the twinning of a pipeline, citing environmental concerns. Alberta countered with a ban on British Columbia’s wine.
There is a connection between oil and air pollution but there is also a connection between wine and alcohol related deaths. So is one government more righteous than the other? No, they both looking after the economic well being of their respective provinces.
British Columbia has great dealings with other governments over their energy resources, especially in the north, so they are not so pure in their stance. Alberta will continue to drink their wine, most notably from other countries.
The Federal government is the missing player in this game. They have the power to solve this situation. They can push the pipeline, which they previously approved, through British Columbia’s legal challenge. Will they?
Alberta has not been a supporter of this federal government and British Columbia has shown more support. This government needs British Columbia seats in the next election and will not gain any seats in Alberta in any case.
If they push the pipeline agenda they will be seen as anti-environment and lose seats in British Columbia and possibly in other areas that are environmentally sensitive areas.
If they do not push the pipeline agenda, they may retain their seats in British Columbia but may lose seats in the more right-wing economic sensitive ridings in other parts of the country.
We, Albertans, have been consistent in denouncing the Liberals for everything they have done or said, oftentimes without justification, in the past. We are reaping what we have sown in the political arena, as we wait for the next shoe to drop.
Mr. Trudeau, will push the pipeline agenda, and there will be people who will still complain, drive cars, fly airplanes, heat their homes and drink wine, drive under the influence, or know someone who will die due in some part to alcohol.
Then we will find another provincial barrier to argue about while we clamour for free trade with everyone else. Right?

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Economy

Toronto, Vancouver named “Impossibly Unaffordable”

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From the Frontier Centre for Public Policy

By Courtney Greenberg

Two Canadian cities — Toronto and Vancouver — have earned the title of “impossibly unaffordable” in a new report.

“There has been a considerable loss of housing affordability in Canada since the mid-2000s, especially in the Vancouver and Toronto markets,” according to the Demographia International Housing Affordability report, which is released annually.

“During the pandemic, the increase in remote work (working at home) fuelled a demand increase as many households were induced to move from more central areas to suburban, exurban and even more remote areas. The result was a demand shock that drove house prices up substantially, as households moved to obtain more space, within houses and in yards or gardens.”

Vancouver was the least affordable market in Canada, and the third least affordable out of all of the 94 markets observed in the report. The West Coast city’s affordability issue has “troublingly” spread to smaller areas like Chilliwack, the Fraser Valley, Kelowna, and markets on Vancouver Island, per the report.

Toronto was named as the second least affordable market in Canada. However, it fared slightly better than Vancouver when it came to the other markets, ranking 84 out of 94 in international affordability.

“As in Vancouver, severely unaffordable housing has spread to smaller, less unaffordable markets in Ontario, such as Kitchener-cambridge-waterloo, Brantford, London, and Guelph, as residents of metro Toronto seek lower costs of living outside the Toronto market,” the report says.

The findings of the report have “grave implications on the prospects for upward mobility,” said Joel Kotkin, the director at the Center for Demographics and Policy at Chapman University, a co-publisher of the report along with Canada’s Frontier Centre for Public Policy.

“As with any problem, the first step towards a resolution should be to understand the basic facts,” he said. “This is what the Demographia study offers.”

The report looked at housing affordability in 94 metropolitan areas in Australia, China, Ireland, New Zealand, Singapore, the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada. The data analyzed was taken from September 2023. The ratings are based on five categories (affordable, moderately unaffordable, seriously unaffordable, severely unaffordable, and impossibly unaffordable) with a points system to classify each area.

The report determined affordability by calculating the median price-to-income ratio (“median multiple”) in each market.

“There is a genuine need to substantially restore housing affordability in many markets throughout the covered nations,” said Frontier Centre for Public Policy president Peter Holle, in a statement. “In Canada, policymakers are scrambling to ‘magic wand’ more housing but continue to mostly ignore the main reason for our dysfunctional costly housing markets — suburban land use restrictions.”

Toronto and Vancouver both received the worst possible rating for affordability, making them stand out as the most expensive Canadian cities in which to buy a home. However, other Canadian markets — like Calgary, Montreal and Ottawa-gatineau — stood out as well. They were considered “severely unaffordable.”

“This is a long time coming,” senior economist with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives David Macdonald told CTV News.

“We haven’t been building enough housing, we certainly haven’t had enough government investment in affordable housing for decades, and the chickens are coming home to roost.”

The most affordable Canadian city in the report was Edmonton, which was given a rating of “moderately unaffordable.” The city in Alberta was “at least twothirds more affordable” than Vancouver.

Overall, Canada ranked third in home ownership compared to the other regions observed in the report. The highest home ownership rate was in Singapore, at 89 per cent, followed by Ireland, at 70 per cent. In Canada, the rate was 67 per cent.

First published in the National Post here, June 17, 2024.

Courtney Greenberg is a Toronto-based freelance journalist writing for the National Post.

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conflict

Europeans Aren’t Concerned About Russian Bear Invading Continent After Ukraine

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From the Daily Caller News Foundation

By MORGAN MURPHY

 

The foreign policy blob in Washington, D.C., would have us believe that Vladimir Putin is Adolf Hitler 2.0 and must be stopped before he rolls over the rest of Europe. It is an intellectually lazy argument.

In the first place, Russia has struggled in its fight with Ukraine—a small nation with one-fourth Russia’s population and far fewer resources. How would Mother Russia fare against the combined firepower of NATO? Likely not so hot: Europe’s economy is six times larger than Russia’s. Likewise, the population advantage of Europe stands three-to-one over Russia.

Aside from Russia’s vast nuclear weapons stockpiles, it is no match for Europe.

Putin knows he would be crushed in a head-to-head with NATO and has repeatedly made clear that he has no interest in going to war with any NATO country, including Poland.

Secondly, if Europe was seriously under threat from the Russian bear, you might think that Europeans themselves would be more alarmed. They don’t seem to be. In fact, across nearly every threat measured by the Munich Security Council, trends show a downward ebb among Europeans. To most, Russia ranks as a threat below radical Islamic terrorism and mass migration. The Germans are more worried about cyber attacks than Putin; to the French, racism is more worrisome.

Aren’t these the very people America is spending $185 billion in Ukraine to protect from Russian expansionism?

Across the European continent, the United States maintains 100,000 troops on 185 major military bases and 78 minor sites (minor being defined as less than 10 acres or $10 million). Taken altogether, American forward operating bases in Europe sprawl over 265,000 acres with an estimated value of $95.5 billion. When one examines the Department of Defense’s annual budget, protecting Europe is America’s largest yearly expenditure—and that’s before Ukraine supplemental funding is added to the tally.

Yet the average resident of Berlin is likely more worried about his email getting hacked than he frets about the Kremlin rolling tanks through Deutschland.

Europe was the world’s center for combat power from roughly 1400 until 1945. No more. Even the larger armies of NATO are struggling to maintain effective combat power. The British Army cannot sustain a complete expeditionary armored brigade. At 23 years old, the Charles de Gaulle, France’s flagship and sole aircraft carrier, is reaching the end of its effective lifespan but sea trials are not expected to begin for its replacement until 2036.

The French have less than 90 heavy artillery pieces—Russia is losing more each month fighting Ukraine. Reporting in October 2022 found that Germany only had enough ammunition for two days of war, far below the NATO 30-day minimum. In 2022 NATO exercises, none of the Bundeswehr’s 18 new Puma infantry fighting vehicles were able to complete the drill.

Ukraine has revealed many of NATO’s weakness. These led a professor of war studies at the University of Warwick, Anthony King, to remark that Europe has “systematically demilitarized itself because it didn’t need to spend the money. They have basically gone to sleep.”

That ambivalence toward defense comes across in another recent survey of Europeans. Sixty percent of Italians, 47% of Germans and 40% of the French are in favor of cutting off arms shipments to Ukraine. Across Europe, 60% think that Ukraine will be an economic burden. Among the French, Spanish and Italians, more than 40% either don’t know or don’t care who wins the war in Ukraine.

Perhaps America’s security blanket for Europe has been too heavy and we have indeed lulled the continent into a stupor. Or maybe Europeans are correct in their assessment of Putin—that his invasion of Ukraine is not a precursor to the reassembly of the U.S.S.R.

In either case, more American taxpayers are questioning the D.C. logic that demands ever-increasing blank checks for a war with no end in sight.

Morgan Murphy is a former DoD press secretary, national security adviser in the U.S. Senate, a veteran of Afghanistan.

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Featured image credit: (Screen Capture/CSPAN)

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