So we now know what the U.S. objectives are in the forthcoming North American free-trade agreement renegotiations.
Some of what was sent by the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to the Congress on Monday isn’t a big surprise, having been signalled before and in its initial fast-track notice tabled in Congress last May.
There’s a lot about modernizing NAFTA, improving the agreement to add provisions on trade in services, digital commerce, intellectual property and even reference to establishing “strong and enforceable environmental obligations” and other things that, subject to careful reading, could be acceptable as a basis for negotiations.
However, there are at least four major bombshells, signalling an extremely...
With much fanfare, Ontario’s 2017 budget announced the introduction of universal drug coverage, starting next January, for those under age 25. True, drugs are an important part of the problem in gaps in publicly funded healthcare. But even with an annual starting cost estimated at $480 million, “OHIP+” looks like a poor approach to closing the pharmacare gap while taking up limited fiscal room to close health gaps elsewhere.
Much of the money for OHIP+ will pay for the drugs of people who didn’t have any access problems in the first place. A more targeted approach could have a much larger effect on addressing the many unmet healthcare needs of Ontarians.
Ontario’s current patchwork of public drug plans covers social assistance...
Canadian monetary policy has just seen one of its most significant U-turns in recent years. On May 24, the Bank of Canada announced that it was holding its overnight rate steady. The tone of the announcement was less dovish than the previous one, but contained nothing to indicate impending rate increases. Shortly after the May announcement, markets were predicting a 5-per-cent chance of a rate increase in July. However, in the days preceding Wednesday’s announcement, that probability surpassed 90 per cent. With the bank increasing rates on Wednesday, how did we get so quickly from there to here?
Let’s start with the case for the rate hike. Unemployment has fallen to 6.5 per cent, GDP growth in the first quarter of 2017 was robust at 3.7...
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