Tuesday, April 9, 2013

New Democrats lead in polls before May 14 British Columbia election

he British Columbia election campaign doesn't begin officially until April 16 but parties are already gearing up for the race. The opposition New Democratic Party finished selecting candidates in all 85 ridings.
NDP opposition leader, Adrian Dix, said that his election team senses enthusiasm for change throughout the province. The NDP will launch a series of TV ads on Monday. The official campaign period of 28 days starts on Tuesday. At dissolution the Liberals held 45 seats, the NDP 36 and Independent 2 and 2 vacant.
Although somewhat out of date, projections based on a number of polls up to March 19 give the following vote percentages: NDP 49.9%, Liberals 30.4%, Conservatives 10.4% and Greens 7.5%, Others have 1.8%. The seat projections are 64 for the NDP and 20 for the Liberals and 1 Independent.( NOTE: The polls listed atthis other site, do not seem consistent with other polls I checked. They give the Conservatives far too high a percentage.) The site referenced lists several different polls which were averaged and names the sources and dates. There are other polls referenced at this site. A detailed discussion of some polls is also found in this article. All polls show the NDP considerably ahead of the Liberals led by Christy Clark.
Last year, the BC Liberal party managed to raise $10 million. Half of the amount came from corporations and $3.8 million from individuals with the remainder coming from smaller sources. The NDP raised only $6.9 million with $1.6 million coming from unions, $4 million from individuals, and a final million from corporations. The Conservatives were able only to raise $356,322 with 20 per cent corporate donations and the rest from individuals.
The NDP is already claiming that the ruling Liberals are hiding a deficit. Finance Minister of the Liberal government Mike de Jong said the NDP claim was "political propaganda". He said the NDP would spend more, leading to higher taxes, worsening credit and higher borrowing costs for the province. The NDP has said that it would increase taxes for those earning more than $150,000 a year and boost the corporate tax from 11 to 12 per cent.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Montreal police seize head of protest Panda

On Friday night, April 5, Montreal police seized Anarchopanda's head during a demonstration against a municipal bylaw. Montreal police said that the head was taken because the law forbids the wearing of masks during demonstrations.
Daniel Lacoursiere said the mask was also taken because it "is considered to be an exhibit and could be used in court." The man under the head, Julien Villeneuve, whose head was left intact, is a philosophy professor at Maisonneuve College. He has already received two fines of $637 each as he was caught by police. He was fined both for a wearing a mask and participating in an illegal protest. Back on March 22nd he was only fined for taking part in an illegal protest. The bylaw being protested, P-6, are the guidelines imposed on protesters who demonstrate in Montreal. Protesters object to many of the provisions of the bylaw including the filing of a route itinerary some time before the protest. The bylaw also prohibits the wearing of masks. Anarchopanda's head in police eyes is a mask and that is why it has been seized as an exhibit. In a kettling tactic the Panda was corralled along with 279 others who were each assessed the $637 fine for participating in an illegal assembly.
Anarchopanda has become an icon of the Quebec student protest last spring. His first appearance was on May 8, 2012. The professor under the head, tries to create a buffer between police and students in order to avoid violence at demonstrations. He describes himself as an anarcho-pacifist. In an interview with the Montreal newspaper Le Devoir, Villeneuve said: "If peaceful students deserve to be beat with police batons, pepper sprayed, shot with rubber bullets or flash grenades for demonstrating, so do I."
Villeneuve chose the Panda suit because it was what he thought was the nicest and cheapest costume he could find on eBay China. Before buying the Panda suit, he had tried to use what he calls his "human skin" as a buffer between police and students but he finds that the Panda suit is more practical and less paternalist. There has been no word from the Chinese embassy protesting police brutality in removing the head of a giant panda

Saturday, March 16, 2013

5 year old Vancouver pianist to play at Carnegie Hall

Five-year-old Ryan Wang claims that "Music is in my head". Wang is from Vancouver BC, Canada. Before his mother decided that he should take music lessons last year, Ryan had spent many hours playing on an electric keyboard.
Ryan won a second-place finish at the recent American Protege Piano and Strings International Competition. Ryan is scheduled to play later this month at Carnegie Hall, as part of the 2013 American Protege International Piano and Strings Competition showcasing the winners. Carnegie Hall is in midtown Manhattan in New York City. It was built by Andrew Carnegie in 1891 and designed by architect William Tuthill. The Hall is one of the most prestigious places in the world for both classical and popular performers and performances.
Ryan's mother was hesitant about having him take formal music lessons at first when he was just four. She said to the Vancouver Sun: "I was thinking four years is so young, right? You cannot even read the notes."
However, it was not long before Wang was able to master an 18 page concerto composed for young pianists many times his age. When contemplating his future Wang was able to look quite far ahead for a five year old:"I am going to play piano, I think, for ten years."Ryan does not suffer at all from stage fright. His mother says that she is always more nervous than he is.
Ryan has more appearances. He is scheduled to appear with the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, and the Fazioli Pianoforti concert hall in Italy.
Although Ryan travels to New York this weekend, he will make some time to perform for local audiences later. He will perform at the Meek Theatre in West Vancouver on June 9, and all the proceeds collected will go to the Sarah MacLachlan School of Music.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Last Canadian contingent makes preparations for trip to Afghanistan

Preparations are underway for a final deployment of Canadian troops to Afghanistan both at Canadian Forces Base Shilo Manitoba and also at a base in Edmonton Alberta.
Canada's role in Afghanistan began in late 2001 when Joint Task Force 2 soldiers were sent secretly in October 2001. Regular troops arrived in the first two months of 2002. In 2006 Canadian troops were deployed to Kandahar province. In that year, there were 2,500 Canadian forces in Afghanistan. Canada ended its combat role in 2011 but roughly 950 troops remain as part of ISAF mostly in a training role.
In Shilo soldiers ran an exercise for Operation ATTENTION in Kabul, an operation that focuses on training and mentoring the Afghan National Army. This operation will be the last in Afghanistan after more than ten years in the country.
Lt. Col. Michael Wright said that one soldier had already gone to Afghanistan but 300 more were being prepared to go. The soldiers are being trained to train Afghan soldiers. They will also take weapons training and cultural awareness training as part of their preparations.
Wright said:“It's quite fitting soldiers from Shilo and western Canada are going because they were part of the very first mission to Kandahar in 2002."The troops are to return to Canada in March of 2014.
Soldiers from a base in Edmonton will also be deployed to Afghanistan in the spring. Brigadier General Christian Juneau, at a meeting of the Edmonton Sun editorial board, said that the Canadian Forces had learned a great deal for their role in Afghanistan:“We’re a much better army, in my mind, than we were 10 years ago, just by the fact that we were focused on such a specific environment."While there are only a few Canadian troops in Afghanistan at the moment, as many as 900 troops are expected to deploy by early June.
Juneau said:“As we get closer to the end of our mission, the logistics become more robust as we start bringing stuff back home."
Juneau said that the Canadian troops will provide their Afghan counterparts with the tools needed to provide for their own nation's security.
Juneau thought that the Canadian mission in Kandahar was a success noting that when the Canadians arrived:“You could sense the tension in the city. But when we left, the markets were open, you had people gathering at cafes outside and drinking their tea. Just the fact that the situation didn’t deteriorate (is a success) because in my mind, if Canadians would not have been there at that point in time, the Taliban forces probably would have taken Kandahar.”In 2014 Canadian forces will all withdraw from Afghanistan.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Prominent Canadia doctor Arthur Porter charged with fraud, accepting bribes, and conspiracy

Arthur Porter, former head of the McGill University Health Centre (MUSC) in Montreal and also former chair of the Canadian Security Intelligence Review Committee is charged with fraud against the government, accepting bribes, and conspiracy.
Quebec's anti-corruption squad issued warrants for the arrest of Porter along with four other men on February 27. There have been allegations of fraud concerning the McGill Univesity Health Centre for some time.
Arthur Porter seemed to have connections with Prime Minister Stephen Harper who appointed him to the Security Intelligence Review Committee which reviews complaints against intelligence services. He was appointed in 2008 and served as chair in 2010 but resigned in 2011 after controversy about his business dealings.
In November 2011 the National Post newspaper revealed that Porter had questionable business dealings including with an ex-Israeli international lobbyist and arms dealer, who had been charged in the US for illegally attempting to sell military transports to Iran. Here is an example of a deal he made while he was chair of the Intelligence Review Committee and a member of the Privy Council which gave him access to classified information."One of the deals was signed in June 2010, while Porter was still a member of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Chair of the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC). In this case, through his Sierra Leone based company Africa Infrastructure Group (AIG), Arthur Porter signed a $120-million consultancy agreement prepared by Ari Ben-Menashe and his Montreal-based company Dickens & Madson (Canada) in which he agreed to wire a $200,000 payment to Dickens & Madson for its services as intermediary in a questionable aid-for-infrastructure deals in Africa."
Not only the Prime Minister was impressed by Porter, he received multiple honors and was made CEO of the huge MUSC health care development in Montreal:" Dr. Porter is a Past President of the American Brachytherapy Society; the American College of Oncology Administrators; the American Cancer Society (Great Lakes); and the American College of Radiation Oncology. He has also served as Chairman of the Board of Chancellors of the American College of Radiation Oncology and on the Board of Scientific Counselors of the National Cancer Institute (USA). Between 2006 and 2008, Dr. Porter served on the Governing Council of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), which oversees government funding for health-related research in Canada. "
In November 2012, McGill university filed a lawsuit that sought repayment of $317,154 which Porter owed the university. He replied with a 3 line email and they have not heard from him since. Apparently Porter is in the Bahamas receiving treatment at a Cancer Center he and a business partner established there.
In an emailed response to the issuance of the arrest warrants Porter said:"Whilst I am certain there is no basis in fact, I have yet to see any documentation. Since I left Montreal in 2011, I have been subjected to scurrilous and scandalous allegations in the media."Porter insists that he has never seen any documentation and that he would take appropriate action when he did.
Arrest warrants were also issued for former CEO of engineering giant SNC-Lavalin Pierre Duhaime and former construction chief Riadh Ben Alissa who are also charged with fraud, conspiracy, and bribery. Dr. Porter was of head of MUHC and chief negotiator of a $1.3 billion contract that was granted to SNC-Lavalin to build a huge new hospital for MUHC. Dr. Porter had managed MUHC for seven years.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Brandon University coach sinks basket from mid-court

In Brandon Manitoba, Brandon University basketball coach Gil Cheung sank a basket from half-court winning free tuition for a student.
The video of the Brandon Bobcat's coach sinking the basket has gonve viral on the Internet. Cheung made the incredible shot during a Shoot Out For Tuition contest at Brandon University last Friday, February 15th. The contest is sponsored by a local restaurant.
Cheung told CBC News:"The ball just felt real good. I stood there and as soon as I let it go ... I didn't think it could miss."The last time Cheung landed a three-pointer was in a Canada West conference game just 10 years ago last week.
In the contest, students were selected at random to participate in the contest. They could shoot themselves or name anyone else present to the shot for them. Mason Kaluzniak was the lucky student to name the coach to take the shot for him. Kaluzniak does not have to worry for his tuition for a year. Kaluzniak had attended the game because he simply wanted to see the Bobcats win over the Regina Cougars. He is taking a degree in Bachelor of Physical Education Studies at the university. When asked on CNN why he picked Cheung to make the shot Kaluzniak said:"At BU we have a student body of about 3,000 people, so I know, especially in our phys-ed department we're really tight-knit with our professors and the coaches, so when I went out there the only guy that I really knew was Gil . I really never thought it was gonna happen, so I figured I may as well pick a friend of mine so that when he missed I could bug him."
As of the posting of this article, the video had received over 1.4 million hits. One spoil-sport comment claims that the shot should not count since the coach's foot went over the center line. Locals are calling it the shot seen around the world.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Canada loses jobs in January

During January, the Canadian economy shed 21,900 jobs after two months of increases. The loss was largest in education and manufacturing jobs.
In spite of the loss of jobs, the unemployment rate in Canada has actually fallen even further to 7%. In December. the rate was at 7.1% which was also a decrease from the month before. These seeming contradictory movements are caused by many Canadians simply no longer seeking jobs and leaving the labor market for various reasons.Statistics Canada reports that 57,500 people stopped looking for jobs. This is over twice as many as there were lost jobs allowing the unemployment rate to decline.
Canadian housing starts also declined from 197,118 in December to 160,577 in January. On the employment front, Ontario and British Columbia registered declining employment while Alberta, Saskatchewan and also New Brunswick had increases. The construction industry was improving with 17,000 jobs added during January.
Doug Porter, the chief economist at BMO Capital Markets, said:"Combined with the steep drop in housing starts as well as the still-wide trade deficit, the jobs report rounds out a day of infamy for Canadian economic stats. To some extent, the drop in jobs appears to be a payback for the surprising strength in the second half of last year, and would normally be little cause for concern. However, with housing softening notably, and consumers and governments not in much mood (or ability) to spend, the economy will need a major helping hand from a stronger U.S. performance in the year ahead to help generate renewed job gains."
Many jobs that were lost were in the public sector which lost 27,000 jobs. Compared with January of 2012, the number of private sector employers was 1.9% higher while the number of public sector and self-employed remained relatively the same. Over an entire year, Statistics Canada reports that employment had increased 1.6% or by 286,000 in full time work. The number of hours worked on average also increased by 1.7%.

Festival du Voyageur in Winnipeg Manitoba

The annual winter festival in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the Festival du Voyageur, began on Friday February the 15th with a torchlight walk over the Red River.
The festival runs for a total of ten days with numerous different events. The program can be found here in English and here in French.
More than a hundred artists are set to perform at the Voyageur Park and 10 other sites around the city. There are popular jigging and fiddling workshops. This year will be the 44th year of the Festival. The Festival is a sign that winter will soon be over. However, there is no problem with melting so far this year. The ice on the river was plenty thick for the traditional torchlight walk.
As you can see from the attached videos, snow sculptures are also a big part of the festival. The weather has cooperated for this feature as well.
Other shows include a Louis Riel look-alike contest. Riel was born in 1844. He was the founder of the Province of Manitoba and a spiritual and political leader of the Metis people on the prairies. However, he mounted two rebellions against the Canadian government and was hanged in Regina, Saskatchewan in 1885.
There is also a beard growing contest. The Festival Beard category participants started their beards back on December 13th and will be judged on February 22nd. Many of the beard growers collect donations which will go to the Heart and Stroke Foundation. There are various categories of beards including the Voyageur Beard category that is wild and woolly, and the Novelty category such as a groomed moustache or beard. There is also plenty of French Canadian cuisine at the Festival, especially on February 21 and 22, at the Soiree du Bourgeois that includes entertainment in the Maison du Bourgeois inside historic Fort Gibraltar.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Ontario and Federal Canadian government help Toyota finance new Lexus plant

Both the federal and provincial Ontario governments will contribute to the financing of a new manufacturing plant that will produce Toyota's luxury Lexus model hybrid.
A total of as much as $34 million will be advanced to help Toyota finance the production of the first hybrid car to be built in Canada. The financing will be shared by the Conservative federal government of Stephen Harper and the Liberal provincial government of Ontario.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper said at the Toyota plant in Cambridge, Ontario, that federal funds would come from the Automotive Innovation Fund. The financing is described as as a repayable contribution. Toyota will be expected to repay all or part of the amount, or the government will receive some financial return. Harper said:
"The rebound of Canada's auto sector is one of this country's biggest economic success stories of the past five years.We are here because our government is committed to creating high-quality, well-paying jobs for hard-working Canadians."
The outgoing Premier of Ontario, Dalton McGuinty, said Ontario's portion of the financing will come from the Strategic Jobs and Investment Fund.
Toyota will also invest $125 million in a new assembly line designed to increase production of Lexus luxury cars. New models include a sport utility vehicle with a hybrid gasoline-electric engine. This is expected to be in production next year. Harper said:
"Besides being the first hybrid vehicle assembled in Canada, the RX 450 hybrid has been, up until now, only, and I want to emphasize that, only, built in Japan. But that's changing. In a short time, that fuel-efficient vehicle will be assembled right here."
Toyota is increasing its auto production in Canada and employing more auto workers as a result. Toyota plans to increase production by 30,000 Lexus RX units next year to a total of 104,000 vehicles. This would include 15,000 RX450h sport-utility models. Toyota's productive capacity in Canada will be increased to about half a million vehicles per year. Toyota will hire about 400 new workers.
Harper also announced that the government is committing $250 million more to the Automotive Innovation Fund over the next five years. The fund was established in 2008 to help the Canadian automotive industry during the recession. The fund had already provided funding to four other projects. Ford received $80 million as part of its investment of up to $730 million in an engine assembly and power-train research center in Windsor Ontario. Toyota received $70.8 million to develop more fuel-efficient vehicles. Two parts companies also received financing.
Note everyone, even in the business community, supports the Automotive Innovation Fund. An article in Canadian Business points out that financing has been to huge global corporations such as Toyota and Ford. Harper's own guidelines call for helping small innovative companies to become larger. The article also notes that increasing efficiency often does not create jobs but results in job loss. The program will not result in much job creation and even those created may be expensive:
"More than 170,000 automotive jobs have disappeared in the past five years. New positions do exist in some of the plants funded by the Innovation Fund—Toyota expects to add 400 new jobs this year—but these jobs come an inflated cost. For each position either saved or created, the Institute for Research on Public Policy found, government spent as much as $212,946."

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

NDP may remove references to "socialism" in preamble to party constitution

The New Democratic Party, the main opposition party in the Canadian federal parliament, may rewrite to preamble to the party constitution. The preamble still has a few phrases that make favorable reference to "socialism".
The predecessor of the New Democratic Party(NDP), the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF), had as its party platform a document that would make many present NDP members run for cover. The document was called the Regina Manifesto. The term "manifesto" became a cause of great concern because it was associated in the public mind with the Communist Manifesto. It made no difference that the official party line and the early leaders were all staunchly anti-communist.
The CCF was founded in 1932 and the Regina Manifesto adopted the next year at a convention in Regina. The Manifesto as well as calling for pensions, universal health care, and the nationalisation of major industries also said:
" No C.C.F. Government will rest content until it has eradicated capitalism and put into operation the full programme of socialized planning which will lead to the establishment in Canada of the Cooperative Commonwealth."
The CCF Saskatchewan provincial government was able to introduce the first free hospital care system in North America in 1946.
By 1956, the CCF changed its position to that of a social democratic party that accepted capitalism and a mixed economy. The Winnipeg_Declaration replaces the socialist aim of eradicating capitalism with the following:
"The CCF will not rest content until every person in this land and in all other lands is able to enjoy equality and freedom, a sense of human dignity, and an opportunity to live a rich and meaningful life as a citizen of a free and peaceful world."
The NDP was founded in 1961 and combined the old CCF with the labor movement. The preamble to the constitution of the party makes several references to democratic socialism, the principles of socialism and association with socialist parties around the world. It is this preamble that has caused the difficulties. The preamble is not that long so I will post it so that you can compare it with the revised version that was not voted on at the last convention:
The New Democratic Party believes that the social, economic and political progress of Canada can be assured only by the application of democratic socialist principles to government and the administration of public affairs.
The principles of democratic socialism can be defined briefly as:
That the production and distribution of goods and services shall be directed to meeting the social and individual needs of people within a sustainable environment and economy and not to the making of profit;
To modify and control the operations of the monopolistic productive and distributive organizations through economic and social planning. Towards these ends and where necessary the extension of the principle of social ownership;
The New Democratic Party holds firm to the belief that the dignity and freedom of the individual is a basic right that must be maintained and extended; and
The New Democratic Party is proud to be associated with the democratic socialist parties of the world and to share the struggle for peace, international co-operation and the abolition of poverty.
The 2011 NDP convention was held just weeks are the NDP made huge electoral gains to become the Official Opposition for the first time ever. In order to broaden the appeal of the party, the party brass and others wanted to scrap any references to socialism. The furthest the revision would go is to refer to social democratic principles. Here is the revised preamble:
The New Democratic Party believes that social justice, equality, and environmental sustainability are vital to achieving a strong, united and prosperous Canada for all.
To that end, the New Democratic Party is dedicated to the application of social democratic principles to government.
These principles include an unwavering commitment to economic and social equality, individual freedom and responsibility, and democratic rights of citizens to shape the future of their communities.
New Democrats hold firm to the belief that individual freedom and dignity are basic rights that find the fullest expression in healthy and prosperous communities, where individuals can realize their full potential and contribute to a stronger Canada.
Established in partnership with the Labour movement in 1961, the New Democratic Party is the voice of working people in the Parliament of Canada, advocating and implementing laws that advance their collective and individual interests.
New Democrats are proud to stand in solidarity with its allies around the world working for international peace and justice, ending discrimination and exploitation, eliminating poverty and ensuring that wealth and power are in the hands of the many and not the few.
Any reference to socialism or any suggestion that capitalism might be replaced by socialism is entirely lacking. Most of the document is rhetoric of the sort that most any progressive party might produce, including the Liberal Party of Canada. Note that the reference to production not being for the sake of profit is also eliminated. There was no vote on this amendment at the convention as Brian Topp, who was then Federal Director, moved to send the motion back to the federal council for further consideration.
Amazingly, over the next few months, the preamble actually disappeared from the copy of the constitution that was posted on the NDP website! Without any explanation or acknowledgement that anything had happened it just as mysteriously reappeared.
The current federal director of the NDP Nathan Rotman said that the motion that had been referred to the federal council and there had been a small group of party elders and others who had consulted on the issue. This panel will report it conclusions at the upcoming meeting in February. They will then put forth a motion to be voted upon or they may wait to see if any riding associations put forth amendments to the constitution.
I would expect that some riding associations will suggest amendments in line with what the party brass want and just as certainly there will be strong opposition especially from the Socialist Caucus. Whatever the wording change, the reality is that the NDP has moved rightward for decades. As James Laxer wrote in an e-mail:
“Like other social democratic parties in the West, the NDP has adopted much of the outlook of the neo-liberalism that is the dominant ideological strain in the market-centred era of globalization.The NDP has been able to challenge the Liberals as a less corrupt, more principled and somewhat more progressive party that occupies centre-left ground.”
As I understand it, socialism is the socialization of the major means of production, distribution, and exchange plus production on the basis of need not profit. The New Democratic Party has nothing to do with that. Indeed a former New Democratic Premier of M anitoba, Gary Doer, now serves as the Conservative government's ambassador to the US and the present leader of the NDP, Thomas Mulcair, was a former minister in the Quebec Liberal government. Whatever changes in wording are ultimately made, the NDP will still be called socialist by many in the media while not being socialist at all.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Winnipeg trash collector faces $400,000 in fines

Emterra, the company contracted by the city of Winnipeg to collect residential garbage, is facing fines of $350,000 to $400,000 for poor service during the month of November alone.
Councillor Dan Vandal, chair of the infrastructure and public works committee says he has finally received rough numbers about the fines. Earlier, administrators had come under fire for not providing information to the councillors.
Emterra just began to collect most city waste back in October. Since that time the city has been plagued by thousands of complaints of missed pickups. An appended video shows one such case.
The city had warned Emterra that it would be fined $100 for every home it misses garbage or recycling pickups starting on November 1 last year. Given the estimated range of fines, they must have missed quite a few pickups.
The councillors had been hoping to get exact numbers but that seems not be possible if Emterra does not want the figures revealed. Michael Jack,. the city head of legal services said that Manitoba's Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act prevents city administrators from revealing the figures unless Emterra granted permission. Guess what? Emterra would not grant permission. IMHO the act needs to be amended so that it is not used by companies to prevent authorities from receiving information they should surely be able to have. The councillors pointed out that they needed to know the amounts of fines as the revenue could have an impact on budget decisions. Vandal complained that city administrators needed to be more open about giving councillors information they need.
Councillor Harvey Smith wants to see the city contract with Emterra. He said the contract should be made available to all councillors.
Vandal told reporters:
"If we're not seeing the standards that we had before reached within a reasonable period of time, after the month's grace, then we'll look at other options."
Mayor Sam Katz actually went out and collected uncollected cardboard from a recycling bin after a citizen phoned a radio station to complain. See the featured video. Katz said that city lawyers are looking at options:
"Maybe we should start looking at giving part of that collection to another contractor, so that they would have less part of the city and they can focus on getting that job done in a prompt manner."
Emterra has divisions in three different provinces.
Contracting out rather than in-house operation of trash collection is all the fashion now. It provides entrepreneurs new opportunities to make money in the public sector but often saves little or no money and reduces services. However it does serve the interests of capital.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Canadian and US auto sales increase in 2012

US auto sales for 2012 are predicted to rise by 13% or 14.5 million new vehicles This is the best year since 2007. Canadian sales also rose in 2012.
Many people put off buying cars during the recession and their aging vehicles need to be replaced. As credit is cheap and the economy slowly recovers, sales are increasing. In December this year the big 3 American automakers saw a 5% increase in sales, a bit better than analysts had predicted. Compared with the previous December, GM sales increased by 5%, while Ford sales increased just 2%. The winner was Chrysler with a sales increase of 10%. Toyota increased sales by 8%. For the year, Toyota had a large increase of about 27% compared to just 3.7% for GM, 4.7% for Ford, and 21% for Chrysler. Consulting firm Polk, expects sales to continue increasing in 2013 to 15.3 million vehicles or a nearly 7% increase. Jonathan Browning, who is with Volkswagen in the US, warned however:
"It would have been nice if all the open questions had been resolved in the 'fiscal cliff' discussion over the holiday, but clearly they weren't, and that does extend this period of uncertainty from a consumer point of view."
In Canada, Ford Motor Co. of Canada was the top seller for the third straight year. Chrysler, however, with many fuel-efficient cars was able to become number two, replacing GM. Even though it is number one, Ford sold only 90 more vehicles last year than the year before. In December, sales actually slipped 13 % from 2011. Chrysler reported its sales rose 8% putting it in second place. Reid Bigland, CEO, of Chrysler Canada said:
"Our investment in fuel-efficient new vehicles and power trains has propelled us to be the number two seller.".
For the year, Chrysler car sales rose 33%. The Chrysler group is controlled by Fiat of Italy. Bigland predicted another good year for Chrysler in 2013.