August 15 Editorial

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Saving Greece – Take 3: The euro zone is readying to negotiate a third bailout for Greece. However, it isn’t coming without jarring words from German Chancellor Angela Merkel who says the alternative to a deal with Athens would result in chaos. For decades the Greeks have spent beyond their limits and now are paying for it – although, technically Germany, France, the IMF and several other entities are paying for it, with the hope that the Mediterranean country will eventually pay them back.

The energy sector continues to go through an extremely difficult period, not only here in Canada but around the world. Weak oil and gas prices have taken their toll with prime examples being Calgary-based companies Imperial Oil and Husky, which recorded 90% and 81% quarterly declines, respectively. It’s expected a barrel of oil will meander back up to about $65 per barrel, but the days of $110 barrels of oil won’t be back anytime soon. Not great for Canada’s economy – but sweet for drivers at the pumps.

The flipside to the lagging energy sector is WestJet Airlines has reported a 19% rise in quarterly profit, helped by lower fuel costs and addition of new air routes. Crude oil prices have nearly halved from June last year, lowering costs for airlines and logistics and shipping companies, among others. WestJet’s fuel costs fell almost 22% to just under $215 million in the second quarter. Fuel is usually an airline’s largest variable cost, accounting for a third or more of operating expenses.

Finally some good news for the auto industry after it was recently announced The federal and provincial governments have teamed up to provide about $100 million to help expand Toyota’s manufacturing operations in Cambridge and Woodstock, Ontario. The money will go towards the automaker’s planned $421-million investment at the two plants. Ottawa’s contribution will be a repayable loan of $59 million — about 14% of the cost of the project — while the Ontario government is kicking in a grant of $42.1 million, or 10%.

Now that the 17th Pan-Am Games has ended, enthusiastic movers and shakers including Canadian Olympic Committee President Marcel Aubut are setting their sights on the 2024 Summer Olympics being held in Toronto. However, based on the 2024 Games will assuredly go to a European city. Never in the history of the Olympics have there been three consecutive Games held outside of Europe. Ergo, North America’s turn would seem to be stronger in 2028.

Did you know? Toronto previously bid to host the Summer Olympics in 1996 and again in 2008. Will the third time be a charm? As of now there are no other North American applicants since Boston dropped out late last month citing too many potential unknown costs to the city’s taxpayers.

Angus Gillespie
@CanBizJournal

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