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Victorious BC NDP faces uncertain political, economic landscape over next four years – Business in Vancouver

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Thanks to those mailed-in ballots, we will know who are the members of the next U.S. Congress before we know who are the members of the next B.C. Legislative Assembly.

But at least we know who is the premier within our borders before we know who will be the president below the border.

Dr. Bonnie Henry led the province to flatten the pandemic’s curve, which created a nice poll trajectory for John Horgan. He made no other case for this election but his reelection, but there is good reason why the word “opportunist” often comes to mind when describing a politician.

Horgan knew the economy might be way worse this time next year, when his minority governing covenant with the Greens expires. Today’s tendency to blame troubles on the pandemic might next year be a tendency to blame troubles on the government, so he chose to break the pact and launch his latest public offering when the market appeared most willing to pay for it.

The bet was publicly derided but privately admired for its political savvy. It proved safe. The NDP will have more seats than ever in the 87-seat legislature.

Horgan would keep a straight face when he said the province needed political stability, even if there were no signs of unsettledness in the cross-party cooperation in COVID-19. For his poker face, though, he gets dealt a very uncertain hand in the next four years.

The NDP has in recent months figured out how to spend and salve some wounds in the pandemic. Soon it will need to determine how to pay – or how we will. Some of its most ambitious ideas – for child care, for social and below-market housing, for climate change, for transit – have their largest commitments due in the next term. Sooner or later, too, the cryptic financial strait of the Site C hydroelectric project will be clarified.

And, of course, there is the cost of the pandemic on livelihoods and on businesses, along with the challenge of how to reignite what was the country’s leading economy – unchartered territory for the NDP. The campaign gave us no clues on how Horgan will approach the larger questions. He has some figuring to do.

There is no doubt all of this will reach deeper into our pockets. None. It’s only a question of whose, how soon, how often, and how deeply.

We can conveniently forget that the 2017 election was actually won by the BC Liberals. The mailed-in ballot counts in one riding kept them from a majority and set into motion the negotiation that cemented – or Scotch-taped, anyway – the BC-Green deal.

So if the 1a) story Saturday was the rise of the NDP, 1b) was the collapse of the Liberals, their worst showing since they were coalesced by Gordon Campbell two decades ago. Andrew Wilkinson delivered a muted, barely audible speech late Saturday that conceded an NDP government but little else. He encouraged British Columbians to respect all voters and await the final results some two-plus weeks away, once the half-million mailed-in ballots are tallied.

But it is unlikely Wilkinson will have long to address his own political future. Already there are campaigns under way to succeed him, although one possible successor, Jas Johal, appears by the preliminary count to have lost his seat in Richmond-Queensborough. If Wilkinson chooses to stay, he will first have to persuade his party, and that is not a camp in a good mood.

The nightmare scenario for the Liberals was a much smaller caucus tilted heavily into the conservative camp, a result that might have shattered the coalition of centrist and right-of-centre cohorts. Now it will survive to fight another day, as mainly a rural party. But it’s hard to fathom it will fight under the same leader.

Well down from the 1a) and 1b) stories was the sleeper story Saturday of the Green Party. With Andrew Weaver’s departure as leader, but his endorsement of Horgan, there was every possibility the party would recede. But the Greens traded Weaver’s lost seat in Oak Bay for one in West Vancouver to keep three. Few saw that coming months ago.

New leader Sonia Furstenau made nothing but positive campaign impressions – the election timing was miserable for the Greens, just weeks after her ascension – and her opportunity in these next years is to further define the economic vision for the Greens. She backed Horgan down in a campaign he wanted to use to vaporize the Greens, and she has the chance to make him miserable for four years. For the time being, until the Liberals regroup, she is the de facto opposition leader.

Horgan got the benefit of a crisis in reelection. His challenge now is not to create one.

Kirk LaPointe is publisher and editor-in-chief of Business in Vancouver and vice-president, editorial, of Glacier Media.

 

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‘No plan’ for economy will work without more access to COVID-19 tests, vaccines: O’Toole – Global News

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Canada will not see economic stability until there is wide access to rapid tests and vaccines for the novel coronavirus, Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole says.

O’Toole made the remarks during a press conference Sunday morning.

“There is no plan for the economy if we don’t have rapid testing and vaccines as swiftly as possible,” he told reporters.

Read more:
Canada ‘in the top 5’ on list to receive coronavirus vaccines 1st: minister

O’Toole’s comments come as the federal Liberal government prepares to release a fall economic update on Monday.

The government has not tabled a budget for this fiscal year, but in July delivered what it called a “fiscal snapshot” that estimated the deficit was heading for a record of $343.2 billion.

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Ottawa to deliver long-awaited economic update amid pandemic


Ottawa to deliver long-awaited economic update amid pandemic

O’Toole said there can’t be a “full economy, a growing economy, people working, people being productive without the tools to keep that happening in a pandemic.

“Those two tools are rapid tests and a vaccine,” he said.

O’Toole said Canada is “months behind our allies” when it comes to the large-scale rollout and use of rapid COVID-19 tests.

Health Canada has approved more than three dozen different tests for COVID-19, but only six of them are “point-of-care” versions more commonly referred to as rapid tests.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

Millions of rapid tests have been delivered to the provinces, however, health officials have been slow to utilize them as questions about best use and reliability remain unanswered.


Click to play video 'Coronavirus: LeBlanc says Canada is in top five to get COVID-19 vaccine'



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Coronavirus: LeBlanc says Canada is in top five to get COVID-19 vaccine


Coronavirus: LeBlanc says Canada is in top five to get COVID-19 vaccine

O’Toole also said it appears as though Canada will be “months behind our allies on vaccines.”

Story continues below advertisement

“These are critical tools,” he said. “The vaccine is the hope we’re all looking for.”

Canada has signed contracts to secure 400 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine, however, the federal government says only six million of those doses — enough to vaccinate three million people — will be in the country by early January for distribution once approved by Health Canada.

However, both the United States and Britain have said they expect to have millions of vaccine doses by next month and expect to have larger portions of their populations inoculated more quickly.

Read more:
Coronavirus cases are soaring but Trudeau’s approval ratings hold steady: Ipsos

O’Toole said Canadians are going to be “rightly frustrated” when other countries are “rolling out millions of doses” of COVID-19 vaccines before Canada.

“I hate to see us trailing,” O’Toole said. “I don’t compare ourselves to the worst response, I want Canada’s response to be the best, that’s why I want to see a plan and I want to see a plan for the economy — we need to get people working.”


Click to play video 'Canada ‘needs a more ambitious procurement program’: Saskatchewan premier on COVID-19 vaccine'



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Canada ‘needs a more ambitious procurement program’: Saskatchewan premier on COVID-19 vaccine


Canada ‘needs a more ambitious procurement program’: Saskatchewan premier on COVID-19 vaccine

O’Toole is not the only one who appears to be frustrated. In an interview with The West Block’s Mercedes Stephenson, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said it is “troubling” that only a small segment of the Canadian population could be vaccinated immediately.

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Moe said the federal government communicated to the country’s premiers how many doses they would receive, adding that the first round of doses will likely treat about 100,000 people in Saskatchewan.

“We need to receive more and we need to receive it in a much more timely fashion,” he said.

Moe said Canada needs a “more ambitious procurement program for sure.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said Canada’s lack of domestic manufacturing capabilities for the highly sought-after coronavirus vaccines — several of which use brand new mRNA technology — means it will be slightly further back in the queue than countries that produce the vaccines domestically.

Story continues below advertisement

Still, Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc said on The West Block on Sunday that Canada is still positioned to be in the “top five” in the global queue for vaccines.

— With a file from the Canadian Press

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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China says official manufacturing PMI for November is 52.1 — beating expectations – CNBC

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Workers producing dolls in a factory in Lianyungang, China’s Jiangsu province.
Stringer | AFP | Getty Images

China said on Monday that manufacturing activity expanded for the ninth straight month in November as the world’s second-largest economy continues to recover from a slump caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The official manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for November came in at 52.1, according to the National Bureau of Statistics. That’s the highest reading in more than three years, as well as better than the 51.5 forecast by analysts in a Reuters poll and October’s official reading of 51.4.

PMI readings above 50 indicate expansion, while those below that signal contraction. PMI readings are sequential and show month-on-month expansion or contraction.

The November data showed that the recovery in China’s vast manufacturing sector has accelerated, according to CNBC’s translation of the statistics bureau’s Mandarin-language statement.

Four factors drove manufacturing activity in November, according to Zhao Qinghe, the bureau’s senior statistician.

  • Both supply and demand of Chinese manufactured goods have continued to improve;
  • Imports and exports have also steadily recovered;
  • Prices of both raw materials and output have risen;
  • Prospects of manufacturers of all sizes have improved.

China also released PMI data for the services sector, which similarly showed that activity expanded for the ninth straight month. The official non-manufacturing PMI reading for November was 56.4, compared with 56.2 in October, data by the statistics bureau showed.

Overall, China said its composite PMI for this month came in at 55.7 — inching up from October’s 55.3.

‘Steady and stable recovery’

Analysts said the latest set of economic indicators point to a pick up in China’s economic growth.

“When we look at the data front in China, it’s been showing steady and stable recovery,” Jackson Wong, asset management director at Amber Hill Capital, told CNBC’s “Street Signs Asia” on Monday after the release of the official PMI data.

Wong said the Asian economic giant is expected to continue on the same path into next year, and could be the only major economy to register growth this year.

Julian Evans-Pritchard, senior China economist at consultancy Capital Economics, pointed out that the most “significant development” in China recently is a recovery in household spending. That’s likely to continue given a tightening labor market and improving consumer sentiment, he explained.

“That should further support the rebound in services activity. It should also boost manufacturing, which will continue to benefit too from supportive fiscal policy and strong foreign demand,” he wrote in a note following the official PMI data release.

China, where cases of Covid-19 were first detected, is among the few economies expected to continue growing this year — but at a much slow pace. The International Monetary Fund has forecast the Chinese economy to expand by 1.9% in 2020, slowing from the 6.1% last year.

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‘No plan’ for economy will work without more access to COVID-19 tests, vaccines: O’Toole – Global News

Published

 on


Canada will not see economic stability until there is wide access to rapid tests and vaccines for the novel coronavirus, Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole says.

O’Toole made the remarks during a press conference Sunday morning.

“There is no plan for the economy if we don’t have rapid testing and vaccines as swiftly as possible,” he told reporters.

Read more:
Canada ‘in the top 5’ on list to receive coronavirus vaccines 1st: minister

O’Toole’s comments come as the federal Liberal government prepares to release a fall economic update on Monday.

The government has not tabled a budget for this fiscal year, but in July delivered what it called a “fiscal snapshot” that estimated the deficit was heading for a record of $343.2 billion.

Story continues below advertisement


Click to play video 'Ottawa to deliver long-awaited economic update amid pandemic'



2:24
Ottawa to deliver long-awaited economic update amid pandemic


Ottawa to deliver long-awaited economic update amid pandemic

O’Toole said there can’t be a “full economy, a growing economy, people working, people being productive without the tools to keep that happening in a pandemic.

“Those two tools are rapid tests and a vaccine,” he said.

O’Toole said Canada is “months behind our allies” when it comes to the large-scale rollout and use of rapid COVID-19 tests.

Health Canada has approved more than three dozen different tests for COVID-19, but only six of them are “point-of-care” versions more commonly referred to as rapid tests.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

Millions of rapid tests have been delivered to the provinces, however, health officials have been slow to utilize them as questions about best use and reliability remain unanswered.


Click to play video 'Coronavirus: LeBlanc says Canada is in top five to get COVID-19 vaccine'



9:26
Coronavirus: LeBlanc says Canada is in top five to get COVID-19 vaccine


Coronavirus: LeBlanc says Canada is in top five to get COVID-19 vaccine

O’Toole also said it appears as though Canada will be “months behind our allies on vaccines.”

Story continues below advertisement

“These are critical tools,” he said. “The vaccine is the hope we’re all looking for.”

Canada has signed contracts to secure 400 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine, however, the federal government says only six million of those doses — enough to vaccinate three million people — will be in the country by early January for distribution once approved by Health Canada.

However, both the United States and Britain have said they expect to have millions of vaccine doses by next month and expect to have larger portions of their populations inoculated more quickly.

Read more:
Coronavirus cases are soaring but Trudeau’s approval ratings hold steady: Ipsos

O’Toole said Canadians are going to be “rightly frustrated” when other countries are “rolling out millions of doses” of COVID-19 vaccines before Canada.

“I hate to see us trailing,” O’Toole said. “I don’t compare ourselves to the worst response, I want Canada’s response to be the best, that’s why I want to see a plan and I want to see a plan for the economy — we need to get people working.”


Click to play video 'Canada ‘needs a more ambitious procurement program’: Saskatchewan premier on COVID-19 vaccine'



9:25
Canada ‘needs a more ambitious procurement program’: Saskatchewan premier on COVID-19 vaccine


Canada ‘needs a more ambitious procurement program’: Saskatchewan premier on COVID-19 vaccine

O’Toole is not the only one who appears to be frustrated. In an interview with The West Block’s Mercedes Stephenson, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said it is “troubling” that only a small segment of the Canadian population could be vaccinated immediately.

Story continues below advertisement

Moe said the federal government communicated to the country’s premiers how many doses they would receive, adding that the first round of doses will likely treat about 100,000 people in Saskatchewan.

“We need to receive more and we need to receive it in a much more timely fashion,” he said.

Moe said Canada needs a “more ambitious procurement program for sure.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said Canada’s lack of domestic manufacturing capabilities for the highly sought-after coronavirus vaccines — several of which use brand new mRNA technology — means it will be slightly further back in the queue than countries that produce the vaccines domestically.

Story continues below advertisement

Still, Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc said on The West Block on Sunday that Canada is still positioned to be in the “top five” in the global queue for vaccines.

— With a file from the Canadian Press

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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