Editorial: September 17

CBJ Sep 2017

Bricks & Mortar retail stores would seem to have something in common with Mark Twain. While the well-known American author was visiting London in 1897 a rumour had spread that he was gravely ill and may have died. In fact, Twain was quite healthy and the erroneous rumour prompted his now famous response: “The reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated.” That quote is something the retail sector could also use as its rally cry. While online shopping has provided an excellent additional avenue for purchasing goods, the fact is most retail stores are still doing just fine. It’s our cover story this month.

Sign of the times: speaking of digital and its impact on traditional business, it may not be able to overturn traditional b&m retail but it does continue to take a gigantic toll on traditional print journalism. The Globe and Mail recently announced it is ceasing its hard copy edition to the Maritimes due to the prohibitive costs. The move follows a 2013 decision to stop printing in Newfoundland and Labrador. People anywhere can still get the digital version of the newspaper.

Canada’s annual inflation rate moved slightly higher in July as gasoline prices increased 0.2%. The slight uptick could be enough impetus for the Bank of Canada to bump its key interest rate by another quarter point in the fall. If that’s the case, there are going to be a lot of nervous mortgage holders, who are already stretched to the budgeting limits. The annualized inflation rate last month was 1.2%, up from 1% in June, according to figures released by Statistics Canada.

NAFTA will get sorted out. U.S. President Donald Trump likes to huff and puff and complain about how the trade deal works only in favour of Canada and more particularly Mexico. The bottom line is that the trade negotiators at the table are the experts and I’m convinced they’ll hammer out a new agreement that is fair. If not, our federal representatives will have a lot of explaining to do.

Did you know?… The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) came into force on January 1, 1994, replacing the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, signed in 1988.

Angus Gillespie

CBJ Aug 2017