Editorial cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday July 30, 2015
Liz Sandals says talks with Ontario teachers will resume
Education Minister Liz Sandals says talks with Ontario’s teachers’ unions will resume following a meeting last week between Premier Kathleen Wynne, union leaders and public school board representatives.
Sandals calls it a very positive meeting and says the unions “are committed” to getting back to the table in August and reaching new contracts before classes begin Sept. 8.
Representatives from four public teacher unions flew to Toronto from Ottawa for a morning to meeting with Wynne and Sandals. All sides described the meeting as generally positive but it wrapped up in less than an hour with no firm dates set for new bargaining sessions.
“It was a cordial discussion,” said Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario President Sam Hammond. He added that “we need to have confirmed dates,” for new talks and said “we have some issues that we need to have taken off the table.”
Paul Elliott, president of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation, said he “didn’t hear anything that’s changed anyone’s opinion or position,” during Friday’s meeting but agrees it was a positive step to hear from the premier.
Sandals also spoke of a positive tone following the 40-minute meeting.
“This wasn’t about negotiating, it was about how we move forward,” she told reporters. “We need to be getting back to the bargaining table during August.”
No talks are currently scheduled for the three largest teachers unions and English-language school boards.
The government has said there is no new money for teacher compensation. That, along with teachers’ demands for limits on class sizes, are among the major sticking point in negotiations. (Source: CBC News)
…Returning to the drawing board on July 14, 2015
Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday January 30, 2015
Loonie drops below 80 cents US
The Canadian dollar has slipped below 80 cents US for the first time in almost six years.
The loonie closed at 79.87 cents US on Wednesday, down about three-quarters of a cent from Tuesday’s close.
The Canadian dollar’s tumble accelerated just after the U.S. Federal Reserve reiterated it will be patient in raising rates from record lows and noted that the U.S. economy continues to improve.
That statement immediately sent the value of the U.S. dollar up against many major of the world’s currencies, including the Canadian dollar.
“The strong divergence of the Fed having a tightening bias, regardless of how much they end up tightening, is likely to keep the [U.S.] dollar supported versus most currencies,” Robert Tipp, a chief investment strategist at Prudential told Bloomberg.
At official exchange rates, the dropping value of the loonie means it now costs more than $1.25 to buy a U.S. dollar.
The Canadian dollar hasn’t traded below 80 cents US since April 2009.
“The Fed is leaning towards rate hike mode, while the [Bank of Canada] is in a rate cut mode. It is a tale of two worlds,” wrote Rahim Madhavji of Knightsbridge Foreign Exchange in an emailed commentary.
“The trend is the friend for the U.S. dollar. The next few months could get ugly for the loonie.”
Economists have forecast that the Canadian dollar could drop to 75 cents US or even lower, depending on a number of factors, including the length of the current oil price slump. Lower oil prices are considered a negative for the loonie’s value.
Crude oil prices dropped $1.78 to close at $44.45 US a barrel on Wednesday. That was the lowest close for crude futures since March of 2009. The U.S. Energy Department reported earlier in the day that oil inventories had risen to their highest levels ever recorded. (Source: CBC News)
Look for a new cartoon on June 23.