U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence is set to announce “concrete steps” and “clear actions” to address the Venezuela crisis when he meets on Monday with regional leaders in Bogota, Colombia, a senior U.S. administration official said.
The official declined to comment on what the new measures would entail ahead of Pence’s speech, to be delivered to a summit of the Lima Group around 10:30 a.m. ET after he meets with Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido.
Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, who has been instrumental in the formation and progress of the Lima Group, which includes 13 Latin American countries, will attend in Bogota.
“For the past two years, the world has watched with great concern as Venezuela, under Nicolas Maduro’s rule, has descended into chaos,” Freeland said in a statement late ast week. “Throughout all of this, the international community has been vocal in standing up for the rights of Venezuelans.
“Monday’s meeting of the Lima Group will build on the important work that Canada is doing with its partners in the Lima Group to support the people of Venezuela in their fight for freedom and democracy.”
Heading to Bogota, Colombia tomorrow to address the Lima Group to voice solidarity w/ regional leaders for freedom & against Maduro. Meeting with Colombian President <a href=”https://twitter.com/IvanDuque?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@IvanDuque</a> & Venezuela’s only legitimate President – <a href=”https://twitter.com/jguaido?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>@jguaido</a>. It’s time for a free & democratic Venezuela.
As the group met in Ottawa earlier this month, Canada pledged $53 million in humanitarian aid and development support, focused on the needs of Venezuelans who have fled the country.
Over 3 million have fled country
On Friday, UN refugee and migration agencies said some 3.4 million people have now fled Venezuela, up from a November estimate of three million.
The UNCHR and the International Organization for Migration said Colombia hosts the highest number of Venezuela emigrants — more than 1.1 million — followed by Peru with 506,000 and Chile with 288,000. Brazil has taken in 96,000 Venezuelans.
The meeting Monday comes after convoys of aid were blocked at the Venezuelan border by forces and gangs loyal to Maduro. Separate clashes between protesters and Venezuelan troops took place near the country’s border with Colombia and Brazil, with dozens injured and at least four reported killed.
“Canada is deeply concerned by the acts of violence allegedly perpetrated by the Maduro regime, designed to block the entry of relief items from neighbouring countries,” Canada’s Foreign Ministry said Friday. “Canada calls for these unacceptable attacks to be investigated and for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.”
Canada, the United States and most other Western nations no longer recognize Maduro as the country’s leader.
U.S. President Donald Trump and other Western leaders have recognized Guaido, the head of Venezuela’s national assembly, as interim president. The official said Washington wants to find ways to empower him. In recent weeks, Trump has said all options were on the table for supporting Guaido and has declined to rule out the use of military force.
Watch: Freeland speaks to CBC on Feb. 4 about Venezuela crisis
‘I think what history shows is once a leader of an authoritarian regime discovers there are no alternatives, that is when you see democracy restored,’ says Freeland. 14:13
Maduro retains the backing of both Russia and China.
Beijing has lent more than $50 billion to Venezuela through oil-for-loan agreements over the past decade, securing energy supplies for its fast-growing economy.
“We again call on the government and opposition in Venezuela to seek a political resolution under the framework of the constitution and law, and call on the international community to do more that really benefits Venezuela’s stability, economic development and improvement in livelihoods,” China’s Foreign Ministry said on Monday.
China “hopes the international community can provide constructive help to Venezuela under the precondition of respecting Venezuela’s sovereignty,” it added.
Archaeologists expected the land surrounding Province House in downtown Halifax to be fertile ground for finding artifacts, but they never expected to uncover an underground stone vault roughly the size of a living room.
“It was a total surprise to the archaeologists and the construction crew,” said April MacIntyre, principal archaeologist, in recalling the work she supervised over three months last summer and fall.
Crews had already dug a series of trenches to install a new electrical system and run audio and video cables, when a backhoe hit what was assumed to be bedrock near the corner of Prince and Hollis streets.
“When they tried to break up the bedrock, it very quickly fell away,” said MacIntyre.
“What we discovered was an open, dry-stone-laid chamber with a semicircular, vaulted-type roof.”
In MacIntyre’s recently filed report to the government, she described the mysterious chamber as “a subterranean stone-walled feature measuring approximately six metres north-south by four metres east-west and approximately three metres high to the top of the silt that has collected on the floor.”
April MacIntyre stands at Province House in Halifax. She was the principal archaeologist on site during work to remodel the grounds last year. (Jean Laroche/CBC)
That’s an approximation, because it wasn’t deemed safe for crews to enter the chamber to gather precise measurements. They used remote cameras instead to investigate and photograph the chamber.
“The full extend to the top of the feature was not exposed and extended eastward beneath the lawn inside the fence of the property,” the report said.
There’s no record of anything of that nature being here on the property.– April MacIntyre , principal archaeologist
During the 48 hours she had to examine the structure, MacIntyre’s only access was the shoulder-width hole the backhoe had initially made.
Despite its size and prominent location, MacIntyre has been unable to find any information related to the structure, its origin or use.
“There’s no record of anything of that nature being here on the property,” she said. “No indications on maps or any records that we’ve been able to find.”
MacIntyre works on the grounds of Province House last July. She said the chamber discovered underground is ‘a pretty big room and quite deep from what we could tell.’ (Jean Laroche/CBC)
The only clues were artifacts found on the roof which dated to the very later part of the 18th century or early 19th century.
“We’re not entirely certain as to what it is, but it’s similar in construction to some powder magazines that were built around that period,” said MacIntyre, whose report noted a similar underground store was built in the late 1790s at Fort Anne in Annapolis Royal, N.S.
Chamber left mostly undisturbed
The entrance hole has since been covered over with a dark cloth and the area filled with crushed stone to mark the site.
Would MacIntyre have liked a closer look?
“Absolutely,” she said with a chuckle.
She has recommended the government investigate further using ground-penetrating radar.
“Future interpretive endeavours may also be possible and may include further archeological excavation of the feature, though it is believed to be stable at this time and, therefore, essentially mitigated,” said her report.
Lynette MacLeod of the Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage, said the report is still being reviewed, and next steps have not yet been determined.
Overall, the excavation work and subsequent examination by archeologists unearthed a total of 1,534 objects, many of them glass or pottery. Some of the fragments have been pieced together to form half-finished bowls, goblets or basins.
“It’s actually unusual how complete some of the material is,” said MacIntyre, who found most of it in a midden, or local dumping ground, adjacent to where MLAs park their vehicles.
All of it has been identified and catalogued and will be handed over to the province for safekeeping. Some of it may be displayed, but most will be stored.
Much more to discover
Other features uncovered include a well, a coal chute, numerous stone walls, storm drains and drain pipes.
There are plans to, some day, rip out the paving on the parking lot side of the building to change it into a park. MacIntyre said she would love to have access to that land, given what archaeologists uncovered when part of the lot was dug up this past summer.
“There is now buried a portion of a stone enclosure wall which we think may have been related to either the governor’s cottage or the later governor’s mansion,” she said.
Archaeologists try to get a closer look at a well discovered on the grounds of Province House. (Jean Laroche/CBC)
Those structures were among the first and most prominent buildings in Halifax around the time of its founding.
“So the fact that we are still seeing those sorts of resources intact tells us that there may also be remnants of the cottage and the mansion, potentially outbuildings as well.”
The lineup of performers at the 2019 Junos Awards just got a bit more diverse.
The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) announced Monday several more artists set to appear on the Mar. 17 broadcast. They include:
2018 Polaris Prize winner and Indigenous artist Jeremy Dutcher
Francophone singer-songwriter Coeur de pirate
Québec rapper Loud
Country music duo The Reklaws
Quebec rapper Loud, whose real name is Simon Cliche Trudeau, is seen here holding his trophy at the Gala Adisq awards in Montreal in October. (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)
They join electronic dance duo Loud Luxury, singer bülow and Canadian music icon Corey Hart, previously announced as performers for the annual celebration of Canadian music.
The 2019 Juno Awards will be presented at Budweiser Gardens in London, Ont. The broadcast will be hosted by Sarah McLachlan.
Dutcher, a member of the Tobique First Nation in New Brunswick, won the 2018 Polaris Music Prize for his album Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa. The recording is also up for the Juno for Indigenous music album of the year.
Dutcher will be joined onstage by Toronto violinist Blake Pouliot, who is nominated in the classical album of the year category.
Beatrice Martin performs under the stage name Couer de Pirate.
Couer de Pirate, a six-time Juno nominee, will compete with newcomer Loud for francophone album of the year. But the two Quebec artists will also team up for a performance at the show.
The Reklaws are a brother-sister duo from Ontario who are up for country album of the year for their recording Feels Like That.
Siblings Jenna and Stuart Walker, who perform as The Reklaws, are nominated in the country music album of the year category.
The 48th Juno Awards will be broadcast live on Mar. 17 starting at 8 p.m. on CBC Television, CBC Radio One, CBC Music, the free CBC Gem streaming service, and globally at cbcmusic.ca/junos.
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer wants Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to appear as a witness at the justice committee probing the SNC-Lavalin affair.
Scheer is holding a news conference at 10 a.m. ET, and CBCNews.ca is carrying it live.
A motion from the Conservatives says Trudeau should be called to answer questions given his “alleged direct involvement in a sustained effort to influence SNC-Lavalin’s criminal prosecution.” It calls on the prime minister to appear at a two-hour televised committee under oath.
Scheer called it a “textbook case of government corruption” and said there was an unprecedented attempt to alter the course of justice through political interference.
“Politicians don’t get to execute our justice system,” he said.
Later today, the committee will hear from a number of legal experts.
Jody Wilson-Raybould, whose resignation from Trudeau’s cabinet on Feb. 12 after a Feb. 7 story in the Globe and Mail touched off the scandal, is expected to testify this week, but an exact time has not yet been confirmed.
Last week, Canada’s top civil servant Michael Wernick told the justice committee that he warned Wilson-Raybould that there would be economic “consequences” from prosecuting SNC-Lavalin, including big job losses. But he maintained that he, Trudeau and officials in the Prime Minister’s Office did not impose any inappropriate pressure on the minister.
Trudeau said Friday that Wernick is an “extraordinary public servant” who has served Canada with “integrity and brilliance.”
“I would recommend that people pay close heed to the words of the clerk of the Privy Council. His service to this country over decades in the public service leaves him well-positioned to understand what institutions are grounded in, and make sure that we’re doing the right things as a government.”
Witnesses scheduled to appear at the justice committee beginning at 3:30 p.m. ET:
Mary G. Condon, interim dean of Osgoode Hall Law School.
Maxime St-Hilaire, associate professor, Faculty of Law, Université de Sherbrooke.
Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, senior associate counsel at Woodward and Company LLP, and professor Peter Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia.
Kenneth Jull, lawyer and academic, Gardiner Roberts LLP.
An NDP MLA has lost the chance to fight for her seat in the upcoming provincial election, after party members voted in a nomination contest in Edmonton on Sunday.
Insurance broker Jasvir Deol defeated Edmonton-Mill Creek MLA Denise Woollard. Clinical psychologist Chand Gul also ran for the nomination in the new southeast Edmonton riding, called Edmonton-Meadows.
More than 400 members cast a ballot in the contested nomination, which Woollard called a reflection of democracy. So far, most NDP incumbents have stood for nomination without facing opposition.
“What’s really important to remember is that we have a fight on our hands now that the UCP has decided to parachute in an unknown — a manager of a football club of all things — who doesn’t live here, doesn’t know the people,” Woollard said.
Former Edmonton Eskimos president Len Rhodes was appointed the United Conservative Party candidate in Edmonton-Meadows on Thursday. He lives in St. Albert.
Candidates Joel Mullan, Sant Sharma and Arundeep Singh Sandhu had been running for the UCP nomination in the riding since the summer.
UCP Leader Jason Kenney looked on as Len Rhodes, the newly appointed candidate in Edmonton-Meadows, spoke to media on Feb. 21. (John Shypitka/CBC )
“[It] tells us that, I think, the UCP would like to see a victory here. So … we need to work together and we need to work pretty fiercely I think, very strongly to maintain this riding as an NDP riding,” Woollard said.
“The UCP will be throwing money at him and at that campaign. So that makes another bit of an obstacle. There are challenges ahead.”
Deol has lived in the community for 26 years.
“I know the challenges in this community, I know the opportunities,” he said.
“I don’t think [Rhodes is] from this area [or] he understands the demographic of this area. So he has no connection.”
Jasvir Deol (right) was selected as the NDP’s Edmonton-Meadows candidate Sunday afternoon. (Manuel Carrillos/CBC)
Rhodes is well-known in Edmonton, but Deol said voters need to think about what leadership is doing in addition to a candidate’s name.
“I’m glad to be on Rachel’s team and keep fighting for good jobs, healthcare and education,” Deol said in an email after the result was announced.
Premier Rachel Notley has scheduled a throne speech to open the legislature on March 18. The provincial election will be held in mid-April at the earliest.
An epidural stimulation implant would be placed in his back. With the use of a small device like a remote control, the implant sends electrical currents to the spinal cord to stimulate nerves and move his limbs, bypassing traditional pathways.
Straschnitzki, of Airdrie, Alta., right, has been attending physio regularly since the accident. (Jeff McIntosh/Canadian Press)
The implant can be programmed to stimulate certain nerves mapped out by surgeons and therapists.
“It works, and it’s safe and I can’t wait,” Straschnitzki said. “In the end, I think it will be worth it so I can have control over things that I didn’t have control over before and things that are out of my power.
“Just getting some core muscles back would be awesome.”
Straschnitzki was inspired to try the procedure by Dr. Richi Gill, a Calgary surgeon who had the operation last year after he was paralyzed in an accident.
Only a half-dozen people in Canada have had it done abroad and only about 30 worldwide.
The executive director of the Synaptic Spinal Cord Injury and Neuro Rehabilitation Centre in Calgary said Straschnitzki could be in Thailand in April or May. He would stay there between four and six weeks.
“Ryan is certainly a prime candidate for a procedure like this. So once we finish communicating with Thailand, Ryan should be approved to go ahead with the procedure,” Uyen Nguyen said.
“The sooner this could happen the better.”
Nguyen cautioned it isn’t a cure, but it is new therapy that’s growing in popularity. The surgery is relatively straightforward.
“It is a device that goes over the spinal cord and sends messages out to the rest of the body,” she said. “It is the rehab afterwards that is arduous and tedious and that’s where Ryan’s strength and fortitude comes in. You have to commit.”
The surgery can cost up to $100,000 and isn’t covered by health care or insurance. It is also performed in countries such as the United States and Switzerland, but it’s much cheaper in Thailand.
Straschnitzki’s parents say it’s worth it.
“The possibility is he could walk and get out of that wheelchair. That’s the main thing right there,” said Tom Straschnitzki.
Michelle Straschnitzki is a little more cautious.
“I just don’t want to get up any false hopes,” she said. “I think he’s going in with a very strong attitude and, provided everything goes well, I think the sky’s the limit for him.”
Ryan Straschnitzki said he is a bit nervous but will cope with his jitters.
“I mean there’s always going to be nerves with everything you do and I think I just have to overcome that — keeping that positive mind set, pushing myself every day and having the hope that I can walk again.”
Don’t you hate how it takes forever to get results when it comes to SEO?
Everyone says it takes 6 months to a year and even in some cases many years to see results.
Well, I have some bad news and some good news for you.
Let’s start with the bad news…
SEO is a long-term strategy. It’s not about doing it for a few months and forgetting about it. And if you stop focusing on it eventually your competitors will outrank you.
And now let’s get on to the good news.
You can get results in the short run. You may not get all of the results you want right away, and you may not rank for your ideal keywords, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get results within 90, 60, and even potentially 30 days.
So how do you get results within a few months?
Well first, let’s rewire your brain so you think about SEO in the correct way.
SEO isn’t just content and links
If you want to rank number 1 on Google, what do you need?
But here is the thing: SEO isn’t what it used to be. Until 2010, you used to be able to add keywords in your meta tags and you would get rankings within a few months.
And as the web got more crowded, you could then get results by doing the same old thing but you also had to build a few links. That worked really well between 2010 and 2013.
As more businesses popped up, everyone started focusing on content marketing. That was the hot thing. From 2013 to 2017, if you created tons of text-based content, got a few social shares, and picked up a few natural backlinks you could dominate Google.
But even Social Triggers has struggled to keep their traffic over time. It’s nothing to do with Derek, he’s a smart entrepreneur, but he decided to quit and focus on his new venture Truvani, which has been doing well.
In other words, content and links don’t guarantee success.
So, what’s the best way to get rankings these days?
Once you are logged in, click the “performance” link and you’ll see a list of keywords you are currently ranking for.
Then click on the most popular term you rank for. Make sure that keyword isn’t your brand name.
Then click on “pages.” You’ll see the page that is ranking for that keyword.
I want you to then head over to Ubersuggest and type in that keyword. Once the report loads click on “keyword ideas” in the sidebar. You’ll see a report that looks something like this:
You’ll see a long list of keywords that are variations of the main keyword that you already rank for. Most of those terms are pulled from Google Suggest.
If you take the popular phrases that are related to the main term you already rank for and integrate them into that page, you’ll notice within 30 to 60 days your search traffic will shoot up.
But when leveraging this strategy you need to make sure you adjust your content. You can’t just shove in more keywords, you have to rework your content so it makes sense and it flows naturally.
The reason this SEO strategy is my favorite tactic of all time is that content marketing is a hit or miss. Just because you write content and build links, it doesn’t guarantee success. But if you expand the pages that Google already loves, there is a high chance that you’ll get more traffic.
Strategy #4: Expand internationally
In many of my companies, I generate more revenue from outside of the United States than I do within the United States.
What I learned from a Google employee is that they lack content in regions where English isn’t their primary language. So if you focus on these regions, you’ll quickly notice a quick traffic boost and your conversion rate from visitor to customer within those regions should also go up.
Strategy #5: 5-minute brand hack
Google loves brands. It really is the future of SEO. In addition, brands are more defensible.
As the EX-CEO of Google said:
Brands are the solution, not the problem. Brands are how you sort out the cesspool.
In other words, if more people search for your brand name on Google, you’ll notice that your rankings will go up.
As more people typed in “Neil Patel” within Google, my traffic went from 185,980 a month:
to 454,382 visitors a month:
That’s a huge increase considering I saw the increase in a 6-month time frame. And even though I pulled that off back in 2016, it works even better today.
Building a brand isn’t easy and it is a long-term approach. But I am going to give you a head start… one that only takes 5 minutes.
Before I break it down, it follows the rule of 7. Someone needs to see your brand 7 times before they build up loyalty to it. In other words, if you can keep getting people to come back to your site in the short run, you’ll start building a brand and you’ll find your brand queries increase in the long run.
Now here’s a screenshot of my stats so you can see it in the works:
So far, I’ve gotten 42,316 people back to my site 174,281 times. That’s roughly 4 times, which means I have 3 more to go according to the rule of 7.
In which I send out a push notification every time I release a new blog post:
Plus, it allows me to generate 4,000 plus visitors for every push I send. 🙂
Strategy #6: Optimize your click-through-rate
You don’t have to write new content or build links to boost your rankings.
You can do something as simple as optimizing your click-through-rate.
Just think of it this way, if 1,000 people performed a Google search and everyone clicked on the second listing instead of the first listing, what does that tell Google?
It tells Google that the second listing should, in theory, be the first listing. And that’s what Google does… they take the listings people are clicking on and move it up to the top and move down the ones people don’t click on.
If you want step-by-step instructions to increasing your click-through-rate, follow hack #1.
It works really well and fast too. It’s how I boosted my search traffic for one of my main keywords by 1,289 visitors in 30 days.
Strategy 7: Update your old content
SEO and paid ads have something in common, in which if you stop doing it your traffic goes down.
Paid ads are a bit worse in which once you stop paying your traffic goes back down to where it was.
With SEO, once you stop you’ll see a slow decline over time.
Now, this strategy is so effective that I employ a full-time person to help me out with it and this is all they do.
Remember how I talked about there being over a billion blogs on the web now?
Well, I have one full-time person updating my old content to ensure it doesn’t get out of date.
Because Google has so many options to choose from when it comes to ranking sites for any keyword out there, they are going to rank sites that are fresher.
By updating your old content, not only do you ensure that you’ll maintain your traffic, but you’ll also get more traffic.
There isn’t any real strategy to this other than to go through your old pieces of content that get traffic and make sure they are up to date.
Sometimes you won’t have to make any changes, other times you may have to change a few sentences or links, and hopefully, not too often will you have to re-write a whole article.
And every blue moon you’ll need to delete a page or a post because it is irrelevant. For example, I’ve deleted my older blog posts that discuss social networks like MySpace that no one uses.
Yes, SEO does take time if you think about it the same way everyone else does.
But if you think about it from a strategical perspective, you’ll find new opportunities that can provide quick results.
You may not get all of the traffic you want tomorrow but going after the low hanging fruit will give the quickest results.
If you want help finding the low hanging fruit with your SEO campaign, you can always reach out to my ad agency and someone will help out. Or you can leave a comment below.
So, are you going to stop thinking of SEO as just link building and content and start thinking of ways to get quick wins?
The future is solar LED lights. You will see them in the parking lots and other large areas around a city. They are cheap and save a good deal of money on electricity bills. Nowadays, the majority of parking lots feature the conventional lights that get their power from the grid. These products are not efficient and add to the environmental pollution. Let’s take a look at some of the prominent benefits of solar LED lights.
1. Energy Efficiency
Solar LED lights are a bit more expensive than the traditional lights but they offer a lot higher return on investment. According to statistics, they are 500% more efficient and stand the test of time. Since they get their power from the sun, they are a lot more efficient.
If you want to figure out the cost of power consumption, all you need to do is multiply the power of all the units of light with the number of hours the light will operate for. Usually, the cost lies between 10 and 20 dollars for each unit on a monthly basis.
2. Smart Technology
With smart technology, solar operators can configure lighting schedules from a remote area. Moreover, they feature smart gadgets as well. They can serve as powerful anti-theft devices and data collectors for the internet of things or large data banks.
Why do we get lights? It’s simple. We need lights for the purpose of luminosity. Although watts is the measure of power something consumes, luminosity measures the brightness of light that a bulb produces.
Traditionally, watts represent the brightness of a source of light. On the other hand, solar LED lights have a different convection. As far as efficiency is concerned, they are 400% more efficient. With the help of smart technology, it’s possible to get a better control over the lighting systems that is installed outdoors.
Apart from this, you can increase or decrease the amount of brightness easily. It’s possible to provide the right amount of light in the right area.
4. Environmental Advantages
There are a lot of environmental advantages of the solar LED lights. As a matter of fact, traditional ones get their power from the grid. In the grid, power is produced through fossil fuels, which emits a good deal of pollution in the air. And we don’t need to explain how pollution can cause a lot of health issues.
Since solar energy is 100% clean with zero side effects, it is the future. Moreover, fossil fuel will become scarcer over the passage of time. Research in the world of solar power may bring the prices down in the future.
The installation process for solar LED lights is quite simple. The cost is lower and efficiency is higher.
So, these are a few main benefits of installing solar LED lights in the parking lots. The cost of energy is rising. To help solve this problem, we should turn to the renewable sources of power and solar power is one of them.
India is planning to achieve 50 gigawatt (GW) of production from renewable energy by 2028, in order to get to its goal of 40 per cent of electricity generation from non-fossil fuels by 2030, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy secretary, Anand Kumar said at the India-Norway Business Summit 2019 in New Delhi.
Of this 500 GW, 350 GW would come from solar, 140 GW wind, and the remaining generation capacity would come from small hydro and biomass power.
“This figure excludes large hydro. If we take large hydro into account the figure will grow to 560 GW to 575 GW. To reach this figure we have to bid out 30 GW of solar energy and 10 GW of wind energy every year,” Kumar said.
He added that India’s requirement for electricity generation capacity may reach 840 GW by 2030 if the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grows at a rate of 6.5 per cent.
“Out of 840 GW, we plan to install a little more than 500 GW in renewables. We have installed 75 GW renewable energy capacity in the country and another 46 GW is under various stages of installations,” added Kumar.
A slowing Canadian economy will result in consumer spending falling to its lowest level in a decade this year, according to a new report from the National Bank of Canada.
Economists at the bank expect real consumption growth — which is calculated once the impact of inflation is stripped out — to hit 1.3 per cent in 2019, which would be the lowest since 2009 when it fell to 0.2 per cent amid the global financial crisis.
A combination of a softening housing market resulting in Canadians feeling less wealthy, pressure from higher interest rates and a low household savings rate will result in consumers spending less, according to National Bank.
“Part of the loss of momentum can be attributed to a softening housing market, which is not only restraining resales and home prices, but also hurting consumption spending via fading housing wealth effects,” Krishen Rangasamy, senior economist at National Bank, says in the report.
Real retail spending in the fourth quarter “is on track for its worst quarterly performance since 2009,” Rangasamy says.
Higher interest rates are also hurting the ability of households to spend, according to Rangasamy. The Bank of Canada has raised rates five times since mid-2017.
“Note that personal bankruptcies shot up last quarter in all of the country’s four largest provinces,” Rangasamy said. “Considering elevated household debt and a low savings rate, it’s difficult to imagine a scenario other than smaller and smaller contributions to GDP [gross domestic product] growth from consumption spending going forward.”
Overall, National Bank predicts real consumption grew by 2.2 per cent last year, but it will slow to 1.3 per cent this year, and slow further to 1.2 per cent in 2020.
‘Not all bleak’
One of the actions that could interrupt the “concerning trend” in consumer spending, according to Rangasamy, is fiscal stimulus from the federal government to spur activity in the economy.
“Fiscal relief from the federal government, a distinct possibility given that we’re in an election year, could temporarily give a boost to households.”
A strong jobs market could also boost spending even though jobs will be created at a slower pace than last year, according to the bank.
Rangasamy said it’s not all “bleak” for consumers. “The Bank of Canada’s latest Business Outlook Survey, indeed, suggested firms were still willing to expand head count to address shortages in some areas.”
Jobs data on Friday is expected to show the economy added 5,000 jobs in January, according to a Bloomberg poll of economists. About 9,300 jobs were created in December, but that was later revised to 7,800 jobs, according to Statistics Canada.
However, the jobs data is known to be volatile. Economists at Toronto-Dominion Bank are expecting the economy last month will have added 15,000 jobs, while economists at the Bank of Montreal and National Bank forecast a loss of 5,000 jobs.