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Liberals promise to control pandemic, fight climate change and rebuild economy in throne speech – CBC.ca

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The Liberal government is promising to bring the pandemic to an end while building the economy, fighting climate change, rolling out new child care deals with the provinces and pursuing reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples.

Gov. Gen. Mary Simon, Canada’s first Indigenous governor general, unveiled those priorities today in a speech from the throne that pointed to progress in the relationship between the federal government and Indigenous peoples.

“Already, I have seen how Canadians are committed to reconciliation. Indigenous Peoples are reclaiming our history,  stories, culture and language through action,” Simon said In a speech delivered in English, French and Inuktitut.

“Non-Indigenous peoples are coming to understand and accept the true impact of the past and the pain suffered by generations of Indigenous Peoples. Together, they are walking the path toward reconciliation.”

Simon said that, to strengthen that relationship, the federal government will take action on health care and climate change and get to the root of what took place at residential schools across the country.

Since the early spring, several Indigenous communities across the country have reported the discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves at the sites of former residential schools.

Simon thanked MPs and civil servants for their work on fighting the pandemic, acknowledging the losses and hardships of the past 18 months.

“It has touched us all, including those in this chamber who lost a cherished colleague just a few days ago, Sen. Forest-Niesing. To her family and to all of you, my deepest  sympathies,” she said.

“Priority number one remains getting the pandemic under control. The best way to do that is vaccination.”

Simon said that effort will require strengthening the health care system across the country and supports for seniors, veterans and people with disabilities.

“To ensure no one is left behind, support will be extended or added for industries that continue to struggle,” she said.

WATCH: Gov. Gen. Mary May Simon, prime minister enter Senate chamber for throne speech

Usher of Black Rod calls on MPs to attend throne speech

2 hours ago

In keeping with Parliamentary tradition, the Usher of the Black Rod summons members of Parliament to attend the throne speech delivered by Gov.-Gen. Mary May Simon in the Senate. 6:08

Simon said the Liberal government is committing to supporting and promoting the French language, both in and outside of Quebec, by reintroducing the proposed Act for the Substantive Equality of French and English.

Earlier this year, the Liberal government said that because digital technology encourages the use of English over French, it would reinforce the place of French in Canada by using the act to guarantee the right to work in French in federally regulated private businesses with more than 50 employees.

“To support Canadian culture and creative industries, the government will also reintroduce legislation to reform the Broadcasting Act and ensure web giants pay their fair share for the creation and promotion of Canadian content,” Simon said.

The economy and the environment

“There is work to be done. On accessibility. On care in rural communities. On delayed procedures. On mental health and addiction treatment. On long-term care,” she said.

Improving the quality of life for Canadians, she said, means making life more affordable for everyone. 

“While Canada’s economic performance is better than many of our partners, we must keep tackling the rising cost of living,” she said. “To do that, the government’s plan includes two major priorities — housing and child care.”

Strengthening the country’s economic rebound will require the federal government to continue working with provinces to establish a national $10 a day child care program, Simon said.

Watch: Usher of Black Rod calls on MPs to attend throne speech:

O’Toole reacts to throne speech

58 minutes ago

Leader of the Official Opposition Erin O’Toole discusses the contents of the throne speech. 4:00

She said the government also sees immigration as essential to the post-pandemic economic recovery.

“That is why the government will continue increasing immigration levels and reducing wait times, while supporting family reunification and delivering a world leading refugee resettlement program,” Simon said. 

Simon cited the Liberal government’s goal of capping and cutting oil and gas sector emissions while working toward a “net-zero electricity future.”

Guns, floods, conversion therapy

“The government will also strengthen action to prevent and prepare for floods, wildfires, droughts, coastline erosion and other extreme weather worsened by climate change,” Simon said.

The Liberal government is also pledging to continue its gun control efforts by implementing a “mandatory buyback” program for banned assault-style weapons and to work with any province or territory that wants to ban handguns.

Simon said the Liberal government will also ensure the ban on conversion therapy is realized.

After months of debate and some Conservative opposition, the last bill on this topic died on the order paper when the government called the September election.

Watch: Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole reacts to throne speech .:  

Singh reacts to throne speech

47 minutes ago

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh discusses the contents of the throne speech. 2:34

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole criticized the speech, saying the Liberal government spent more on pandemic assistance than the United States and has seen slower economic growth.

O’Toole said the Liberals are ignoring the plight of workers in the energy, auto and steel industries and that his party would provide those workers with a voice.

“We’ve seen a recycled set of promises going back to the first throne speech on reconciliation, other issues like that. The same language, no concrete actions,” O’Toole said after the speech.

“What we’d like to see — a focus on the cost of living crisis, get the country back to work, get expenses under control and work on national unity at the same time.”

Don’t count on us, says NDP, Bloc

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said the speech showed the Liberal government has “run out of ideas and run out of steam.”

“We see a throne speech that does not respond to the urgency of the crisis that we are up against,” he said. 

Singh said he did not see enough emphasis in the speech on affordable housing, measures to fight climate change and adequate funding for health care.

“This is not a speech that demonstrates a willingness to work together or shared values about building a better Canada,” Singh said. “We want to make it clear to the Liberals … Don’t take our support for granted. This is not a speech that looks like they are interested in working together.”

WATCH:  NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh discusses the contents of the throne speech

Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-François Blanchet said the speech had a lot of buzzwords but little to say. 

“There is just an assemblage of 24 pages of completely empty words,” Blanchet said. 

“Even read slowly, the throne speech is short so that prompts me to conclude, unfortunately, that I have absolutely no reason to vote in favour of the throne speech. I have no reason to vote against the throne speech.”

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What's Happening in the World Economy: Virus Fears Return – Bloomberg

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Hello. Today we look at how coronavirus fears are rising again after the discovery of a new variant, the state of China’s economy and concerns about the outlook for trade.

B.1.1.529

Inflation, central bank tapering, supply chain snarls, a looming fiscal cliff — they all dropped a notch on the global economy’s list of concerns Friday as the Coronavirus shot back to the top.

A new variant called B.1.1.529 has been identified in South Africa and has already spread as far as Hong Kong, where it infected two travelers in hotel quarantine. See here for more details.

Stocks, Treasury yields and oil sank while the yen jumped — all hallmarks of investors bracing for uncertain economic times. 

“What was expected to be another quiet day for markets, as U.S. activity is muted, is now likely to be rife with anxiety over the new variant and its implications for economic activity going forward,” Siobhan Redford,  a Johannesburg-based analyst at FirstRand Bank, told clients in a report.

For South Africa’s economy, the news is a particular body blow especially for its already shaky tourism sector, which would have been eager to welcome foreigners chasing winter sun. The European Union, U.K. and Singapore have already curbed travel.

More broadly, there will be fears the new strain could fuel outbreaks in more countries, stretching health systems, potentially evading vaccines and complicating efforts to reopen economies and borders. The concern alone could dampen the confidence of consumers and companies, which had been showing signs of picking up.

Money markets are offloading bets on central bank interest-rate hikes in a hurry, as inflation fears give way to concerns that the variant may spread globally.

If contained, the new as-yet unnamed strain may prove to be just a scare for markets. The coming days and decisions from the World Health Organization will be closely watched for any broader spread.

At a minimum, however, it’s yet another reminder that Covid-19 is going to remain the wild card for the global economy and will continue to shape the recovery and what policy makers do next.

“Each new variant entails the risk of the vaccination progress being undone,” said Ulrich Leuchtmann,  head of currency strategy at Commerzbank. “The thoughts of a world post-Covid suddenly become all confused.”

Malcolm Scott and Simon Kennedy

The Economic Scene

Ticking Over

China’s economy slowly expanding for 6th straight month

Source: Bloomberg Economics

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China’s economy continued to slow in November with car and homes sales dropping again as the housing market crisis dragged on. 

That’s the outlook from Bloomberg’s aggregate index of eight early indicators for this month. While the overall number stayed unchanged, under the surface there was a further deterioration in some of the real-time economic data.

Today’s Must Reads

  • Thanksgiving binge | E-commerce spending by U.S. consumers on Thanksgiving Day will probably climb to a record, even though sales may not be as strong as initially expected.
  • Supply chain worries | There’s limited evidence from U.S. companies that any major shift in inflation expectations is yet underway despite what economists and President Joe Biden are saying. 
  • Spending surge | Australian retailers recorded their best month of sales in nearly a year as consumers splashed out on everything from dining out to clothing, taking advantage of the easing of lockdowns.
  • European stimulus | The future of European Central Bank stimulus is becoming clearer before December’s crunch meeting, with its pandemic bond-buying tool on track to be wound down but stay available
  • Japan stimulus | Prime Minister Fumio Kishida delivered his first extra budget, funding Japan’s biggest-ever fiscal package, as he tries to secure an economic recovery before next year’s elections. 
  • El Salvador crypto | Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said the country’s decision to adopt Bitcoin as its currency was concerning because consumers probably will be caught out by its volatility.

Need-to-Know Research

#lazy-img-381569323:beforepadding-top:49.129593810444874%;relates to Virus Fears Return

“Faintly in the distance: the contours of a big export slump are becoming visible.”

That’s the ominous warning from HSBC’s co-head of Asian economic research Frederic Neumann in a research note. He notes that export volumes have contracted in recent months and new export orders are declining. And that’s set to continue as the shift away from goods demand towards services will knock down shipments from Asia.

“After powering through the pandemic, a trade hangover now looms,” he says.

On #EconTwitter

#lazy-img-381583895:beforepadding-top:96.9335604770017%;relates to Virus Fears Return

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    Ocean Economy: The Next Wave of Sustainable Innovation – Visual Capitalist

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    Exploring the Digital Asset Ecosystem

    The digital asset sector has undergone a rapid expansion over the past couple of years, growing in value and functionality.

    Beyond the price growth of popular cryptocurrencies, digital assets are powering innovative applications that enable value transfer beyond just payments. From tokens that grant dividend-like revenue to holders, to tokens backed by other digital and physical assets, the digital asset ecosystem is redefining asset and financial structures before our very eyes.

    This framework created by Arca explores and defines the state of the digital asset ecosystem, looking at how traditional assets might one day be integrated into this new taxonomy.

    The Functions and Types of Digital Assets

    Digital assets can be broken down into three different types of assets that fulfill three primary functions. The first two functions of digital assets, store of value and medium of exchange, are well established functions of digital and traditional assets.

    However, a third functionality of being able to pass through values to holders has emerged, with benefits like discounted application fees, governance voting rights, and monetary rewards passed onto token holders.

    These functions are fulfilled by three main types of digital assets:

    • Currency: tokens that are a unit of account and medium of exchange
    • Asset-backed tokens: tokens backed by hard assets like equity, debt, or physical assets
    • Pass through tokens: tokens that grant revenues, rewards, and network benefits to holders

    Many know of Bitcoin, the founding cryptocurrency that functions as a digital currency today. Along with this, tokens whose value is backed by other assets like Arca Lab’s ArCoin (Ticker: RCOIN) are also straightforward in nature and functionality.

    Pass through tokens are where digital assets explore innovative concepts and structures unique to the blockchain networks that underpin the assets.

    For example, cryptocurrency exchange FTX issued an exchange token (FTT) at launch, which provides holders with reduced trading fees on the platform. FTT holders can also stake, or lock up, their tokens to receive increased referral rebates, more votes in FTX polls, and more airdrop rewards (tokens exclusively given out to holders or stakers of another token).

    Classifying Governance and Decentralization

    Along with token types and their functionality, it’s important to understand the governing bodies and governance structures behind digital assets.

    The governing body is the entity that issues and controls the function of a digital asset, ultimately defining the purpose and proposed value of a digital asset. These range from centralized governments and organizations, like the government of the Bahamas (issuer of the CBDC, the Bahamian Sand Dollar) to Decentralized Autonomous Organizations and blockchain protocols like Ethereum (ETH) and Solana (SOL).

    Governing Body Governance Structure
    Government Centralized
    Organizations Centralized
    Individuals Centralized
    Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) Decentralized
    Protocols, Platforms, and Dapps Typically decentralized

    Governance structures define the framework and procedures which decide and implement changes for a digital asset. These changes can be about anything, like the digital asset’s tokenomics, pass through values, or future development goals.

    While some governing bodies like governments and organizations have centralized governance structures, centralization and decentralization isn’t all or nothing and can be seen as more of a spectrum.

    Certain DAOs or protocols might have a core team of developers that propose certain features, which are then voted on and ultimately decided by the holders of the digital asset.

    The Future of Traditional Assets in a Digital Framework

    With an established taxonomy of digital assets, we can start to map out how traditional assets fit into this framework.

    From tokenizing real estate and commodities for easier digital exchange and settlement to equity-like tokens issued by companies that provide holders with voting rights or non-financial rewards, digital assets will reshape the traditional asset structures of today.

    By providing unbound and transparent asset structures, digital assets are providing people around the world with more freedom in storing, transferring, and accruing value.

    Go to Ar.ca to learn more about digital assets today.

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    'Miracle on Saint-Laurent Street': Quebec economy sees country's strongest post-pandemic rebound – The Globe and Mail

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    Quebec Finance Minister Eric Girard holds a copy of his financial update at a news conference on Nov. 25 in Quebec City.Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press

    Quebec’s economy is poised to outperform every other Canadian jurisdiction this year in a remarkable rebound from the pandemic that has put the province on track to record its highest annual GDP growth on record.

    The provincial government will spend some of its windfall on cost-of-living bonuses and training programs to help fight the labour shortage and inflation that plagues the province, Finance Minister Eric Girard said during a press conference announcing his fall fiscal update on Thursday.

    But the surprisingly strong revenues will also allow Quebec to continue reducing its deficit and debt burden as it continues to close the persistent wealth gap with Ontario that Premier François Legault has made a fixation.

    After economic activity declined by 5.5 per cent in 2020, it is expected to bounce back by 6.5 per cent this year, leaving the province richer than before the pandemic, according to government projections. That is much faster growth than the 4.2 per cent expected and slashes $5.4-billion from the projected provincial deficit.

    “The economic performance of Quebec in 2021 was exceptional,” Mr. Girard said.

    Analysts largely agree with the Finance Minister’s rosy assessment. In a recent research paper titled Miracle on Saint-Laurent Street, Bank of Nova Scotia economist Marc Desormeaux observed that growth of 6.5 per cent would be an “all-time record” for Quebec. It would also outpace Ontario and Canada as a whole, a rare distinction for a province that has traditionally lagged the rest of the country in GDP growth.

    Quebec’s rocketing fortunes were fuelled in part by the timing of public-health measures, which the Legault government rapidly eased in the summer of 2020 after the pandemic’s first wave that led to a “staggering” 80-per-cent rise in household consumption in the third quarter of that year, Mr. Desormeaux said. Generous federal and provincial aid also injected life into the economy.

    But Quebec’s boom times precede the recent recovery, the bank report points out, with large increases in full-time jobs and wages between 2017 and 2019, along with a household saving rate before the pandemic that was significantly higher than in the rest of Canada. Those strong fundamentals have helped the province emerge from the COVID-19 crisis in good shape, Mr. Desormeaux said.

    “There’s a whole lot of momentum in Quebec’s economy.”

    In his fall update, Mr. Girard acknowledged anxieties about the twin afflictions of inflation and labour shortages facing much of the Canadian economy. To help Quebeckers with a rising cost of living, he announced single lump-sum payments for low- and middle-income households, amounting to $400 for couples and $275 for people who live alone.

    The province will also spend $2.9-billion over five years “to combat the labour shortage” by paying for the training, requalification and recruitment of as many as 170,000 workers, with a focus on the health, education, and engineering and IT sectors.

    Despite new spending, strong economic growth allowed Quebec to revise its deficit and debt projections downward. This year’s budget deficit is now pegged at $6.8-billion, fully $5.4-billion less than expected. The province will also be able to reduce its gross debt level faster than anticipated, from 46.8 per cent of GDP in March of this year to an expected 44.3 per cent next March. The acceleration “can be explained by the strength of the economic recovery,” according to the economic and fiscal summary.

    The raft of good news has allowed Quebec to play catch-up in its quest to close the wealth gap with Ontario, a goal the Legault government has repeatedly emphasized in its three years in power. Between 2017 and this year, the gap shrunk from 16.4 to 12.9 per cent. On Thursday, the government stated its ambition of eliminating Ontario’s wealth advantage altogether by 2036.

    Asked whether that was an excessively long timeline, Mr. Girard pointed out how persistently Quebec has trailed its richer neighbour. “Fifteen years to close a wealth gap that’s been there for almost 100 years, I think that’s realistic,” he said.

    Despite the province’s strong showing, some critics charge that it is misspending its unexpected revenue bump. The Conseil du patronat du Québec, a business group, said the work force measures don’t go far enough and that it was surprised by the lack of immediate help finding employees, calling this the “most serious labour shortage in [Quebec’s] recent history.”

    While praising the government for continuing on its path to cutting the deficit, Maria Lily Shaw, an economist with the conservative Montreal Economic Institute, said she would have preferred the government to balance the budget sooner.

    Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

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