OPINION – Is Canada facing its Pearl Harbour?

By Theo van de Kletersteeg

I came to Canada in 1967, a year of momentous importance to Canada which, at the time, celebrated its 100th Anniversary, and welcomed the world through Expo ’67. As a young immigrant from Holland, Canada seemed to be a dream come true. I found a well-paying job one day after arrival in Montreal, and the money I earned was sufficient to pay my rent, buy groceries, and enjoy wonderful evenings and weekends at Expo ’67. Life was good. Eager to learn about Canada, its system of government and its economy, things got even better as I learned that “Canada Inc” was well financed, with very low budget deficits, and negligible debt. Practically speaking, unemployment did not exist, and neither did inflation. In my first few years in Montreal, it was not uncommon for me to receive annual pay increases of 10 per cent or more which, because of stable income taxes and near-zero inflation, amounted to sizeable increases in spending power. Unfortunately, the good times did not last and by the early seventies it became evident that things were becoming more difficult.

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Federal Port Review, 2014-2015

By Theo van de Kletersteeg

Canadian Sailings has recently completed another annual study comparing financial and other performance data related to federally-operated Canadian Port Authorities from 2014 to 2015 (Data for 2016 will not be available until July or August). Port of Toronto was not included in the study because its financial statements include the operations of Toronto Island Airport, and are therefore not comparable to those of other ACPA ports.

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OPINION – Should we be worried about Trump’s intention to renegotiate NAFTA?

By Theo van de Kletersteeg

The short answer is an unequivocal “yes”. NAFTA came into effect early in 1994, and was Canada’s second major trade deal – the first was the “Auto Pact” negotiated with the United States that came into effect in 1965. The Auto Pact was highly beneficial to Canada, resulting in the rebirth of an automotive manufacturing industry in Canada. However, it did not take long for Americans to realize that Canada appeared to have benefitted more from the Pact than the U.S. had, and complaints about it began to emerge in 1970. Similarly, U.S. complaints about its NAFTA deal with Canada surfaced not long after it came into effect.

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Opinion – What more evidence do we need? Green usually follows the money

By Theo van de Kletersteeg

It should come as no surprise to anyone that Canadian National Railways was one of three Canadian enterprises to appear on CDP’s Climate “A” list. For more than a decade CN has been the undisputed leader in North American rail efficiency, proving that when business owners streamline their operations to gain maximum productivity while maintaining safety, the environment gains. No, it’s not the reduction in the use of paper that drives measurable green achievements. In CN’s case, among other factors, it’s the utilization of well-maintained, highly efficient rolling stock, it’s the optimization of train lengths, locomotive pulling power, scheduling of crews, and the constant examination of processes and procedures to leave no stone unturned to identify additional opportunities for productivity improvements.

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OPINION – Are we ready to receive the new “refugees”?

By Theo van de Kletersteeg

At some time after Prime Minister Diefenbaker ordered the destruction of all existing prototypes of Avro Arrow F-105 interceptors in 1959, the Canadian aerospace industry fell into a tailspin from which it never recovered. Thousands of Canadian aerospace engineers that had devoted their lives to the development of an aircraft whose performance was superior to anything else that existed anywhere at that time found themselves out of work, and without a purpose. The Diefenbaker government, bowing to American pressure, purchased Bomarc missiles to be operated by NORAD, as the new defence shield against possible Soviet attacks from the north, and felt it no longer needed a high-performance interceptor. However, it “covered its bets” two years later when it purchased squadrons of McDonnell F-101 interceptors.

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OPINION – Can we really afford delaying dealing with climate change?

By Theo van de Kletersteeg

If you are like me, you may have reacted to the numerous discussions about climate change during the past two decades with degrees of skepticism and a relative lack of interest. After all, with a global population of 7.4 billion people, what can any one person do, particularly when there is very little evidence that big corporations and governments are truly interested in environmental stewardship. Or, what can a relatively small country like Canada, responsible for only 1.6 per cent of global GHG emissions, do to impact the other 98.4 per cent of emissions?

I decided to “check things out”, and share my findings with readers.

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Opinion – Does spending on infrastructure generate the greatest bang for the buck?

By Theo van de Kletersteeg

It is important to note that some of the world’s highly successful economies, such as Switzerland and Japan, have achieved their well-known success despite suffering from present-day low labour productivity growth. An explanation of this apparent contradiction lies in the fact that both countries were and are significant drivers of global innovation.

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Federal Port Review, 2013-2014

By Theo van de Kletersteeg

Canadian Sailings has recently completed a study comparing financial and other performance data related to federally-operated Canadian ports from 2013 to 2014 (Data for 2015 will not be available until July or August). Port of Toronto was not included in the study because its financial statements include the operations of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, and are therefore not comparable to those of other ACPA ports.

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OPINION – Is it time to privatize more Canadian state enterprises? Yes, the sooner, the better !

By Theo van de Kletersteeg

Does the current federal port system serve the national interest as a first priority? In eastern Canada, we have Port Authorities in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, and it’s difficult to see these ports cooperating to serve the national interest as a first priority. Eastern Port Authorities are vying with each other to implement pet projects that do not necessarily result in overall volume growth of the eastern port system. With 13 Port Authorities in eastern Canada (considering Thunder Bay to be a Central Canadian port), there is considerable duplication of physical and human resource assets, resulting in the system being far less competitive than it could be. Consider this: the 13 Eastern Port Authorities employ 13 CEO’s, 13 Boards of Directors and 13 staff complements to handle combined 2014 volumes of 135.6 million tonnes, which is less than the volume handled by one Western Port Authority, namely Port Metro Vancouver (139.6 million tonnes).

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CN celebrates 20th anniversary of privatization

By Theo van de Kletersteeg

Early History

Canadian National will celebrate its 20th birthday on November 17 as a publicly held corporation whose shares are traded on stock exchanges every day. It was on November 17, 1995 that CN’s shares were first traded on the Toronto and New York Stock Exchanges.

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