Well 2016 is only 16 days old but it seems the Canadian economy and likely other parts of the world will continue to be in for a rough ride. World oil prices continue to slide along with the Canadian dollar. Last week, the dollar reached the lowest it has been in decades. Falling briefly below 60 cents against the US dollar. Some are forecasting the price of oil could drop as low as $20 a barrel. Pulling the Canadian dollar even lower.
After a decade of Harper and his government pursuing turning Canada into a so called energy super power, our dollar is tied even more strongly than ever to the price of oil. When the price is up, great for Alberta and Newfoundland. Not so much for the rest of the country. Harper’s main interest was Alberta, Newfoundland got to join the ride.
In 2006 when Harper first started to strut on the world stage trumpeting Canada as an energy super power, the supply of oil was looking like it had reached its peak. Bringing a new source like the oil sands would bring with it a balance of power and supposedly prosperity.
He was so enamored of his pending super powers, he was blind to the other emerging supplies in the US, Mexico, Iran, Iraq etc. Now, the world is awash in oil and the prices have plummeted, along with our dollar.
Where does the Canadian economy go from here?
So, here we are, a government in place barely three months and a country looking for guidance on where we go from here.
In theory a falling dollar should bring on increased manufacturing demand. A lot of our manufacturing infrastructure has been dismantled or fallen into disrepair during our decade of energy super powerness. If, some of that lost manufacturing demand returns, it will take time to retool our capacity.
It’s a changing world. Climate change, generating shifting weather patterns and catastrophic natural disasters along with the constant upheaval caused by unstable governments and radical terrorist threats all contribute to a great deal of uncertainty on how to proceed to move the country forward.
Trudeau was elected to usher in real change in many areas of our life. I don’t expect him to have all the answers in just three brief months of rapidly changing conditions I do expect him to step up with even the smallest of steps to get the economy moving. Every journey has to start somewhere.
Will some of the emerging green technologies create opportunities for the Canadian economy to move away from energy dependency? Will still emerging information age technologies offer us a brighter future? We need to be open to possibilities.