January 15 Editorial


Vehicle owners are jumping and pumping – with joy over the price of gasoline dipping below $1 in many parts of Canada. However, there are negative impacts that we should keep in mind if this high-stakes game of chicken continues between the United States and OPEC over a longer term. The oil and gas industry plays an integral role in this country’s economic well being, accounting for a sizeable portion of the gross domestic product. Finance Minister Joe Oliver is already revising federal budget projections and it likely means at least $500 million less money in the coffer from the energy sector than had first been anticipated. Alberta and Newfoundland & Labrador are already feeling the squeeze. Enjoy the lower prices at the pumps, but if they stay long-term, prepare to get dinged with taxes in other areas. Anyone happen to notice the price of food creeping up through all of this?

Cloud computing is an area where the Americans have been noticeably quicker out of the gate than Canadians. What is it about us Canucks and our conservative nature that we are always so apprehensive about trying new things? Why must we always wait and see what the Americans do first? Other than hockey and curling, we always seem content to follow the leader, and for that reason we’re never going to be No.1 if we continue to have that thought process. The Americans, like most other developed countries, have embraced the cloud. It seems Canada is slowly getting on board, but it’s moving at a snail’s pace.Microsoft Canada President & CEO Janet Kennedy addressed this issue, hosting an event for media and business leaders alike. It’s our cover story in this edition.

Interesting that Starbucks will add beer, wine and evening snacks to thousands of its domestic cafes in the U.S., while widening its lunch menu. It’s also making mobile ordering an easier prospect for customers. Starbuck projects it will reap about $1-billion in new sales from the initiative. The Seattle-based company plans to double U.S. food revenue to more than $4-billion by expanding food choices, particularly during lunch hours.No word yet on whether a similar approach is being planned for Canadian-based outlets.

Did you know… that the famous American dairy company Ben & Jerry’s was originally slated to be a bagel shop? Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield met in grade school in Vermont. They remained friends as young adults and decided to go into business together. But when they realized the cost of the equipment needed for bagel making, they quickly switched to ice cream. They opened their first store – what had been an old gas station – in 1978 when they were both just 27. After 22 years in business, they sold Ben & Jerry’s to Unilever in 2000 for $326 million.

Angus Gillespie