For the McCain empire, built on potatoes, climate change is serious business

As a closely held company, McCain Foods Ltd. is under no obligation to be chatty. And it isn’t. The world’s biggest seller of frozen french fries has issued only eight press releases this year. When your name is on display in grocery freezers in 160 countries, you don’t need to beg for publicity. This week, the climate crisis prompted one of Canada’s most important companies to get over its shyness. On Sept. 23, McCain announced that it had joined a coalition of food companies that is “determined to take bold…

Want to know who is taking long-term economic growth seriously? (Hint: He doesn’t lead a national party)

Finally someone campaigning to become prime minister has proposed to do something that might actually change the trajectory of the economy. Alas, that someone is Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, who only secured his current job five months ago, and won’t be pursuing the position that every pundit says he really wants until 2024 at the earliest. Whatever his aspirations, Kenney is the only national political figure who has used the federal election campaign to show an interest in doing something about crippling productivity rates. His pledge on the weekend to…

The election may be about the economy, but don’t tell business

New Democratic Party Leader Jagmeet Singh was out of the gate quickly, a good strategic move since his opening salvo will do nothing to separate him from the other parties in the election race. “No more catering to big corporations or the ultra-rich,” Singh tweeted. “We need to put people first.” That pitch might have made the NDP special in the past, but not in 2019. There is no constituency that has been catered to less in recent years than businesses that employ more than a few dozen employees. (As…

Managed trade is back, but don’t mistake its return as proof that free trade doesn’t work

Part of an ongoing series that looks at changes one year after the global trade wars ignited. In the summer of 2017, Jeff Rubin, the former Bay Street economist who predicted oil would one day cost more than $200 per barrel, came up with another doozy. Or at least I thought he had. Rubin, who made his name at CIBC World Markets in the 1990s and early 2000s, published a paper that argued Canada should ditch Mexico and try to return to something resembling the Auto Pact that it signed,…

Bank of Canada offers a reminder of what it really cares about: inflation

It’s been so long since inflation was a story, it’s easy to forget that at the end of the day, prices are all the Bank of Canada is allowed to care about. Policy makers sought to remind us of that this week. When the central bank left interest rates unchanged on Wednesday, it emphasized that inflation was right at its rough target of two per cent. And the first speech by one of the institution’s leaders since early July was based on, you guessed it, the Bank of Canada’s latest…