Canadas Affluent Bouncing Back After 2008 Recession

One Canadian dollar buys 96.82 U.S. cents. Macklem declined to forecast the exchange rate during a question-and-answer session after the speech, saying policy makers have monitored its appreciation in recent years, which was triggered by a relatively robust economy and by foreign investors buying Canadian securities. Clearly Canada is in a privileged global position — strong fiscal policy, sound monetary framework, we have abundant commodities, he said. We have from time to time seen capital flows and theres no doubt that they also tend to boost the currency, Macklem said. From a monetary policy perspective, we certainly have been taking into account where the exchange rate is, and thats an important reason why monetary conditions in this country have remained highly stimulative. Revised Projections The banks revised projections come after Statistics Canada reported Aug. 30 second-quarter growth at a 1.7 percent annualized pace, above the 1 percent the central bank had forecast. Todays update brings the bank more in line with forecasts by private-sector economists, who are predicting a 2.1 growth rate this quarter, and an average of 2.4 percent over the next six quarters, according to Bloomberg surveys. Macklems speech didnt refer to the economy nearing a tipping point, which was the major theme of a Sept. 18 speech by Poloz in Vancouver . Poloz said the Bank of Canada was projecting a solid pace of export growth that will lead to a broadly based increase in investment and provide incentives for new businesses to form.

Canada Rolls Out a ‘$1 Billion’ Privatized Medical Marijuana Industry

High-net-worth Canadians clearly feel they have bounced back well from the 2008 downturn and are fairly upbeat about what the future has in store for Canadas economy, said Alex Dousmanis-Curtis, senior vice president who heads up BMO Harris. However, were also hearing from many of our clients that they remain somewhat concerned about global market fluctuations and they want to insulate their wealth as best as possible against a downturn, she added. But theyre not shy about spending extra money, with the study showing affluent Canadians returning to their pre-recession spending levels. They are currently spending more than, or the same as, they did prior to September 2008 in several key areas, including entertainment and leisure activities (89 per cent), travel and vacations (86 per cent), club memberships (78 per cent), clothing and accessories (75 per cent) and collections and hobbies (72 per cent). Increased spending shows confidence in the economy and helps spur economic activity. Were delighted to see such a high percentage of high-net worth Canadians opening up their wallets, she said. The survey also revealed that almost half (47 per cent) of wealthy Canadians expect Canadas economy to improve this year, expecting solid gains in stocks and real estate in the next five years. They survey shows affluent Americans are more optimistic about what the future holds for the Canadian economy than their counterparts to the north, with 61 per cent stating that they expect increased prosperity for Canada. Meanwhile, 61 per cent of the well-to-do on this side of the border are optimistic about what the future holds for the U.S. economy. Fifty-five per cent expect to see gains in Asia but just 19 per cent expect the financial situation in Europe to improve in the near future. Interestingly, well-off Ontarians lag the national scene, with just under half (46 per cent) saying they are better off now than they were prior to the recession. They appear to be cautiously optimistic compared to the rest of Canada, though it bodes well for the economy that they too are back to their old spending habits, said Ryan McNally, BMO Harriss regional director and managing director for the GTA, in a release.

But even as the new system privatizes distribution, critics fear regulation under the conservative-led government will make it harder for patients to get access to the drug. In Canada, medical marijuana has been legal but highly regulated for more than a decade. Patients with doctor approval could grow or have someone else grow small quantities or request limited amounts from Health Canada, the national healthcare department. But the conservative-led government voted earlier this year to effectively scrap that system in favor of a privatebut also strictly regulatedsystem, targeting the flow of legal marijuana into the black market and shedding Health Canadas role in marijuana production. Health Canada will phase out the current system, under which it sells registered users marijuana grown by Prairie Plant Systems , by the end of March. Instead, starting Tuesday, medical marijuana users, or aspiring users, can send in an application directly to sanctioned corporate producers , along with a doctors note (or in some cases, a nurses note). If approved, they can place an order, pay the market price (the black market price is about $10 a gram; officials say the medical marijuana price will drop below that within a year), and wait for the secure courier to deliver their weed. (MORE: Majority of Americans Support Legalization of Marijuana ) There are nearly 40,000 people registered to use the drug under the current system in a country with a tenth the population of the U.S., and the government expects that number to balloonup to 450,000 by 2024and fuel what could become a $1.3 billion domestic pot industry. But the government expects that the privatized system, with only heavily-vetted producers (so far there are two licensed distributors, of at least 156 applications), will help ensure a higher level of oversight. Were fairly confident that well have a healthy commercial industry in time, Sophie Galarneau, a senior official with Health Canada, told the Canadian Press. Its a whole other ball game. The new regulations have failed to win over advocates for legalized marijuana, who have faced strong resistance from the conservative government led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper. In November, even as two states in the United States voted to legalize recreational marijuana, the Harper government passed strict minimum penalties for people who grow as few as six marijuana plants. They treat pot like its plutonium, says Blair Longley, head of the single-issue Marijuana Party that fielded five candidates in the 2011 parliamentary elections.