May 18

CBJ May 2018

Six weeks of electioneering and campaigning will culminate with an all-important provincial election on June 7 to determine the governmental direction Ontario takes in the coming years. If Premier Kathleen Wynne and the governing Liberals are to remain in power they have a lot of work to do. They’ve managed to dodge bullets before, including the multibillion dollar gas plants fiasco, but now a soaring debt and electricity bills may be too much to overcome.

Hydro One remains a real sore point among many irritants to select from. Current CEO Mayo Schmidt earned a total compensation package of $6.2 million last year. There is no such thing as the perfect cap in which to set an executive’s salary and bonuses, but common sense dictates this is astronomically out of line. As an aside, Schmidt once signed a contract with the NFL’s Miami Dolphins, although he opted to forgo a football career to go straight into business. If Mayo believed he could make more money at Hydro One he was right.

The election and each of three main parties and their platforms is the cover of this month’s edition.

Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz is cautiously optimistic about the country’s economic health as we head towards the middle of 2018. However, the bank kept its benchmark interest rate at 1.2% at the most recent setting, although hikes could be in the offing in the not so distant future. The latest rate decision comes at a time of moderating growth following a strong 2017. Inflation is also running close to its ideal target and wage growth has strengthened with a tightening labour force. The bank is predicting 1.3% growth this year, considerably less than its January projection of 2.5%. For that reason, there’s still a chance rates will remain low as part of an effort to continue to push the economy along.

The feud between Alberta and British Columbia has been ratcheted up a notch after the Alberta government said it would restrict the flow of oil into its provincial neighbour to the west. That in turn caused the B.C. government to respond by saying it will sue Alberta if the restriction results in higher gas prices for consumers. It’s all part of a bitter fight regarding B.C.’s unwillingness to have the $7.5 billion Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline go through its territory. The federal government supports the project.

TD Bank Group is the first Canadian bank to join the Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity, a research centre located at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton. The institute’s cybersecurity graduate students will work with TD technology teams to develop methods of detecting online threats. Cybercrime is rampant in this day and age and the protection of financial assets is crucial. It would come as no surprise to see the other major banks follow suit in this endeavour.

Did you know?… Canadian businesses are losing more than $3 billion a year to cybercrime.

Angus Gillespie

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