Last evening my wife and I watched the Canadian Federal Election returns. We have done that same thing in Canada’s previous Federal Elections for as long as I can remember.
At the onset of the television coverage, which began at 9:30 p.m. ET to accommodate the 3 hour time difference between our provinces of Ontario/Quebec and British Columbia, I said to my wife that I believed it important that the Conservative Party headed by incumbent Prime Minister Stephen Harper gain a majority in the Canadian House of Commons. I like to consider myself largely apolitical, but do lean to the right. I voted for the Conservative candidate in my riding yesterday. My wife leans at a fairly steep angle toward the Liberals, and actually might have voted yesterday for the NDP candidate – I haven’t asked her who she voted for, and don’t want to know.
When I made the declaration I did about what I saw as the importance of a Conservative majority, my wife asked me why I was taking that position. An easy question for me to answer. From my perspective, I believe a majority government in any democratic country with a Parliamentary system is critically important in today’s country-specific and world economic environment. For me, too much time and energy is lost in minority Federal Government posturing and bickering at a time when a number of hard decisions are likely to have to be made in an incisive manner – and will be more easily made with a majority government in place. For some time now, I have been of the view that a Parliamentary political system is a better democratic form of government than is the American ‘Federal Republic’ system. In my view, one only has to look at today’s ‘polarized Washington’ to understand my point. The current U.S. Federal Government Congressmen and Senators in my view simply don’t have the ‘luxury of time’ they seem to think they have to endlessly debate their U.S. cumulative debt problems, and ongoing budget deficits. But that interminable debate process is what almost certainly will happen, and America will be the worse for it.
In Canada our Federal House of Commons has 308 sitting members. Last night I got my wish. Mr. Harper’s Conservative Party won 166 seats in circumstances where 155 seats would have constituted a majority. Perhaps importantly the Bloc Quebecois party, which advocates Province of Quebec Sovereignty, was decimated in yesterday’s election, retaining only 4 seats. That party’s leader, Gilles Duceppe, lost his own seat, and has now resigned as party leader. As a practical matter, I think this means that any continued push for Quebec Sovereignty, at least in the current and prospective economic environment, has been dealt a harsh blow.
Canada now has a stable majority government for at least 5 years (in Canada a majority government must call an election within 5 years of taking office) – which 5 year period I believe will be critical to Canada’s continued well-being. It now remains to be seen whether the Conservatives will act in an even-handed way over the next five years. My bet is that they will, and believe Canada is an even ‘better place to be’ on Tuesday, May 3 than it was on Monday, May 2.
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The End of Al Qaeda – Hardly!
Obviously many more articles and more media coverage than likely need-be have been written, listened to, and seen in the aftermath of Osama bin Laden’s death. One article that may not have gotten on your radar screen is a Foreign Policy Magazine article titled ‘Don’t Get Cocky, America’ – reading time 5 minutes. The article postulates that Bin Laden’s death has far from ended or significantly weakened al Qaeda. Rather, the article focuses on Bin Laden’s philosophic approach to undermining the economies of those countries and ideologies he saw as enemies, and expresses the view that his philosophic approach is well understood by al Qaeda leaders who will continue to invoke it. In its simplest terms, that philosophy (as set out in the article) can be expressed as ‘spending very little’ on terrorism activities, but implementing terrorism activities that will result in one’s enemy(ies) spending ‘large’ in their aftermath. The article cites a plot you may recall – that of placing pentaerythritol tetranitrate bombs inside printer cartridges that were flown on FedEx and UPS planes. The article says that act of terrorism was reported by al Qaeda to have cost U.S.$4,200, while costing America and other Western countries billions in new security measures. Unless you believe that Bin Laden’s death means the end of terrorism, which I think would be naïve in the extreme, I suggest you read this article carefully and think long and hard about what it says.
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Gallop Poll On U.S. Recession
Many of you may be aware of the Gallup Poll results released last Thursday where Americans were asked what they thought about the current state of the American economy. For those of you who don’t know about that Poll, you can read ‘Most Americans say U.S. in recession despite data: poll’ – reading time 2 minutes. In summary the poll of 1,013 U.S. adults, which Gallup says has a 4% margin of error, found that 27% of American’s think the American economy is growing, 16% said it is ‘slowing down’, 26% said it is in recession, and 29% said it is in depression.
It seems to me that whether these findings have any statistical validity or not would have to depend entirely on whether those surveyed represented a balanced cross-section of the American population. Not knowing how those surveyed were selected, and recognizing this to be a time of unusually high unemployment, a high number of people no longer looking for jobs, a large dichotomy of wealth ownership, etc., I am skeptical of the survey results. However, that said, I have just returned to Toronto after spending six weeks with my American friends in North Carolina. These are well-educated people who owned or own their own businesses, professionals, retired senior executives, and generally people who have achieved a degree (and in some cases a large degree) of personal economic success. I don’t know how many of them would have a well-founded opinion to give Gallup if they were included in Gallup’s poll, but suspect not as many as you might think.
What I can tell you is that as I talked with my friends, I assessed them as largely being of a mind that America is going in a bad economic direction, and that irrespective of their political leanings they:
- generally were losing respect for U.S. Federal politicians; and,
- were increasingly less optimistic about America’s economic future than they had been six months ago.
I think the outcome of the upcoming Washington debates over the U.S. debt ceiling and the 2012 Federal Budget may have a further impact, and likely a negative one, on the ‘optimism levels’ of successful Americans – time will tell.
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Additions to Stock Research Portal’s ‘Company Universe
No new companies have been added to our Company Universe today.
Yesterday’s Press Release Highlights
The following table summarizes the companies in Stock Research Portal’s Company Universe who yesterday issued Press Releases and whose shares increased in price from last Friday’s close by more than Cdn$0.05, more than 10%, and whose share volumes yesterday exceeded their trailing 3 month average trading volume.
Clicking on the company name in the table will take you to Stock Research Portal. Once logged into the website you will be taken directly to that company’s ‘Company Overview’ page where you can research all company data currently available on our website.
* Yesterday’s data, or latest trading day’s data, as applicable
Yesterday’s Insider Trade Highlights
The following table summarizes the companies in Stock Research Portal’s Company Universe for who our system yesterday reported insiders who filed reports indicating they had acquired shares through ‘purchase’ transactions.
Clicking on the company name in the table will take you to StockResearchPortal. Once logged into the website you will be taken directly to that company’s ‘Company Overview’ page where you can research all company data currently available on our website.
DISCLAIMER: Information is provided ‘AS IS’ and solely for informational purposes, not for trading purposes or advice. Neither Ian Campbell nor Stock Research DD Inc. (hereinafter “We”) will be liable for any damages relating to your use of the information provided herein. The accuracy, adequacy, or completeness of any information is disclaimed. We shall not be liable for any errors, omissions or other defects in, delays or interruptions in such information, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.