January 14 Editorial

With Jan. 1 marking the 20th anniversary of NAFTA, our cover story is based on an exclusive one-on-one interview I had with former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, the architect behind Canada’s historic involvement in the trilateral pact. The in-depth discussion provides an incredible first-hand account of what happened as far back as 26 years ago with the original Canada-U.S. deal. Listening to him reflect so passionately and proudly about that era and what it has accomplished, it’s obvious Mulroney remains as big a supporter of free trade today as he was when leading the nation.

As we all begin
the many trials and tribulations of a new business year, Canadian Chamber of Commerce Chief Economist Tina Kremmidas offers up her thoughts on what we can expect from both the global and Canadian economies in fiscal 2014-15. Working so closely with businesses from coast to coast, The Chamber always has its finger directly on the pulse of our economic well being.

The topic of healthcare is consistently front and centre, regardless of the province or territory. Now that Canadians are living longer, medical professionals and support teams must adapt and provide even greater services under an already financially strained system. Dealing with an aging Ontario is an economic firestorm. A panel of experts, including Ontario Minister of Health and Long-term Care Deb Matthews, debated the matter at The Toronto Region Board of Trade. Dr. Samir Sinha of Mount Sinai hospital was part of the panel and it was he who penned 166 recommendations for the province to consider. It will be interesting to see how many are implemented.

The digital age
has revolutionized the way most of the entire world communicates. It serves as the backbone that drives enterprises such as CBJ, Google, eBay, YouTube, TMZ, etc. But it’s taken a dire toll on many traditional businesses that have been unable to adapt to rapid change. Such is the case with Canada Post, which will phase out urban home mail delivery within five years. Mail volume plummeted another 7.3 per cent from the same quarterly period in 2012. On top of that is a staggering $6.5-billion deficit in its pension plan. About 8,000 staff will be cut, mainly through attrition.

Many are wondering just how much longer the oft-phrased “unholy alliance” between Rogers and BCE can continue. The two entities share equal ownership of MLSE, but with Rogers snagging an exclusive $5.2 billion, 12-year exclusive deal with the NHL, it leaves Bell and its main sports network TSN out in the cold. Don’t bet on this already strained partnership lasting too much longer.

As always, we highlight this country’s most successful and innovative enterprises with our corporate business profiles. It’s those small, medium and large, that give Canada such an excellent reputation internationally.

Point of confusion: Why do we drive on a parkway…and park on a driveway? Shouldn’t it be the other way around?

Happy New Year!
Angus Gillespie