The Pig and the Bear

Published by under Economics

Almost 20 years ago, I found the following story, as I recall, in one of those kid entertainment booklets at a McDonalds. I have always loved it, but think I have only just begun to understand why.

The Pig and the Bear decided to go into business. “We’ll make lots of money!” they thought.

The Pig baked a bushel of potatoes and the Bear fried a heap of doughnuts.

They went to the market place early in the morning to get the best spots. Nobody was around yet. The morning was clear and chilly. The Bear had a nickel in his coat. After a while, he went over to the Pig’s stand to warm up a little Continue Reading »

Simple Questions For a Complex Situation

Published by under External Affairs

Posted: January 22, 2009 by NP Editor Full Comment.

Irwin Cotler

The Israeli-Hamas conflict, with its evocative images of human suffering, has engaged the hearts and minds of people the world over. Indeed, the death of any innocent — Israeli or Palestinian — is a tragedy, and no one can fail to be moved by the human suffering and the humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Continue Reading »

Free The Markets

Published by under Economics

By Vaclav Klaus, from the Financial Times as printed in the Financial Post, 01/09/09.

It is a common feeling that the Czech Republic is taking over the European Union presidency at a rather complicated moment, even though almost all “moments” can eventually be called “complicated”. We should not panic and must say “No” to people who – by describing the current moment as an historically unique one – want only to manipulate us. Continue Reading »

Dear Employees & Suppliers

Published by under Economics

Congress and the current Administration will soon determine whether to provide immediate support to the domestic auto industry to help it through one of the most difficult economic times in our nation’s history. Your elected officials must hear from all of us now on why this support is critical to our continuing the progress we began prior to the global financial crisis………………….

As an employee or supplier, you have a lot at stake and continue to be one of our most effective and passionate voices. I know GM can count on you to have your voice heard. Thank you for your urgent action and ongoing support.

Troy Clarke President General Motors North America Continue Reading »

E-mail to J. Prentice, Minister of Environment

Published by under Global Warming

January 3, 2009.

We are about 10 years into a 30 to 40 year warming phase, and are about 160 years into ….

a 500 to 700 year “little warm age”, and are about 20,000 years into and near the peak of ….

the latest of the interglacial periods which have been alternating with glacial periods about every 100,000 years within the current ice age which began 40 million years ago. Continue Reading »

The Bureaucrats vs. Bankers’ Tag Team Match

Published by under Economics

Just like on the good old WWE grunt ’n groan Battles Royale of good vs. evil on TV Wrestling, we’ve got a knock down drag out tussle over our Canadian banks’ lending practices, at this time of financial stress and market illiquidity. It seems that the Canadian banks are not following the government’s script of cranking out bank loans to whatever customers come along, creditworthy or otherwise.

In the one corner is the tough guy team of Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney (do I hear a chorus of boos?). And in the other corner is the masked duo of the Rating Agencies (read S&P, Moody’s, DBRS), and the Regulators (read OSFI), both of whom believe in sound lending practices, and the banks’ fiduciary responsibility to its depositors. At stake in this morality play are nothing less than the banks’ independence in assessing risk, and the shareholders’ confidence in the responsible operation of the banks’ day to day lending activities. Continue Reading »

Why Governments Can’t Stop Market Crashes

Published by under Economics

Globe and Mail Update
January 7, 2009 at 6:00 AM EST

Vernon Smith, the American economist who won a Nobel Prize in 2002 for his laboratory scrutiny of abstract economic theory, demonstrated that you can’t end market crashes by imposing more government regulations. Born to a poor Kansas farm family on Jan. 1, 1927, he turned 82 last week. His early life was inextricably shaped by the Great Depression – by hardships that provided an enduring incentive to succeed. (As a child, one of his chores was to keep the woodstove in the kitchen supplied with dried corncobs and dried cow chips.) “Like many of my generation,” he says in his unassuming autobiography, posted on, “I am a product of strange circumstances of survival and of successes built on tragedy.” Continue Reading »

What would you do?

Published by under External Affairs

Lorne Gunter, National Post

Published: Monday, December 29, 2008

Suppose you lived in the Toronto suburb of Don Mills and people from the suburb of Scarborough — about 10 kilometres away — were firing as many as 100 rockets a day into your yard, your kids’ school, the strip mall down the street and your dentist’s office.

A trip to the cleaners to pick up your shirts would be a life-risking act. Going to the grocery store would involve thinking through in your mind the location of all the shelter sites along the way, in case rockets started raining down on the road as you drove by. Continue Reading »

Eight Big Things

Published by under OMNIMISC

By Jonathan Kay: Published in The National Post, December 30, 2008.

In December’s final days, the self-reflective question I ask is this: Laid end to end, would my weekly offerings provide an intelligent synopsis of the year that was?

As in most years, my travails disappoint. Too often, I directed my aim at tiny, annoying targets of opportunity that happened to scurry across my journalistic field of vision — Heather Mallick, anti-Israeli public-service unions, radical student groups — while ignoring the big-game trends rising up against the horizon. Continue Reading »

Howard Roark’s Testimony

Published by under Governance

“Man cannot survive except through his mind. He comes on earth unarmed. His brain is his only weapon. Animals obtain food by force. Man has no claws, no fangs, no horns, no great strength of muscle. He must plant his food or hunt it. To plant, he needs a process of thought. To hunt, he needs weapons, and to make weapons – a process of thought. From this simplest necessity to the highest religious abstraction, from the wheel to the skyscraper, everything we are and everything we have comes from a single attribute – the function of a reasoning mind. Continue Reading »

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