Crosscountry: Canada at a glance — January 2018

Canada would lose the least if NAFTA were to be cancelled, while 40% of the food produced annually in the country is wasted.

FREE TRADE

Not such a big deal?

Putting an end to the North American Free Trade Agreement would be relatively painless, reports Montreal’s Le Devoir, and of the three partners, Canada would lose the least.

 

Working from a complex computer model, the C.D. Howe Institute estimates that the total loss for Canada, the US and Mexico would amount to $60 billion a year and 220,000 jobs. Canada would lose about $15 billion, or 0.55%, of its GDP, and an estimated 25,000 to 50,000 jobs. The hardest hit sectors would be IT consulting ($7-billion sales shortfall), chemicals and plastics ($4.3 billion) and car manufacturing ($3.7 billion).

 

The study adds that the damage to Canada’s economy would be almost totally offset if the original 1987 Canada-US free trade deal were brought back.

 

PROPERTY

Underwater dealings

 

Underwater

“Underwater property” usually refers to a home with a mortgage larger than the fair market value of the property. But for 350 homeowners in Quebec’s Laurentian region, reports the Journal de Montréal, it means someone else owns property along their beach front, but under the water level. In other words, those homeowners might have to pay if they want to take a swim.

 

Case in point: in the city of Estérel on Lake Masson, the land registry has been revised. And that has made 350 lakefront owners aware that they have a new neighbour, the Zardev company.

 

It seems Zardev doesn’t plan to remain a silent underwater partner. Although the Estérel golf course uses water from Lake Masson for irrigation, Zardev asked it to stop because the pumping facilities are located on its submerged property. However, the two parties apparently came to an undisclosed agreement allowing the facilities to remain in place.

 

CYBERWARFARE

Twitter threat

Canada should watch out for Russian cyberwarfare, according to NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg.

 

Speaking at the Halifax International Security Forum, Stoltenberg said Russia is leading disinformation campaigns in Latvia, where Canadian soldiers have been sent to resist Russian aggression in the Baltic states, reports The Huffington Post. On social media, Russian-linked accounts have been accusing soldiers of bad behaviour and of sponging off Latvia. The campaigns are aimed at discrediting NATO in the minds of Baltic citizens.

 

Similar attacks could be directed inside Canada’s borders before long, said Stoltenberg. A report last June by Canada’s Communications Security Establishment warned that democratic processes are increasingly being threatened by cyber attacks and that the country risks facing such offensives in the 2019 federal election.

 

WASTE NOT

Food tax credits

According to a Université Laval study, about 40% of all food produced annually in Canada is wasted, reports TVA Nouvelles. That represents a net financial loss of $27 billion. To help reduce the waste, the Quebec government is considering a tax credit for donors, mostly restaurants and institutions, that will contribute to the Tablée des chefs initiative.

 

Launched 10 years ago, the Tablée des chefs helps families in need, processing nearly 200 tonnes of food produced by 90 donor institutions. Under the program, participants are matched with food aid organizations and give their extra food to them. The aim is to make food recovery as automatic as waste recycling has become.