On a day when the unthinkable inched closer, a lecture hall filled with people born when I was first elected to Parliament.

I was pretty sure the potential bankruptcy of General Motors was not hitting them with the same impact. Maybe it’s a boomer thing. I well remember Conrad Black telling me, when I was a reporter and he was a wannabe big guy, that as a child he bought one share of GM stock. “As it goes,” he repeated the famous mantra to me, “so will go America.”

And so she goes. America is in managed collapse. GM teeters on the abyss. And Black’s in jail for avarice.

The students came of their own volition. In fact, students organized the event. From me they got an hour of economics, trends, forecasts and the bad news: Thanks to the failings of their parents they can look forward to a working career of public debt, higher taxes, reduced opportunity and frugality. But, by the same token, perhaps they can avoid the mistakes now levelling personal finances as well as mighty GM.

About this time came news that almost half of all Americans with subprime mortgages are now in default or foreclosure. Worse, five in 20 US homeowners are in negative equity. Almost five and a half million people are behind on their mortgage payments and the real estate crisis has spread from California and Florida to Texas and New York.

Behind both GM’s crash and the mortgage crisis stands one inescapable reality – unemployment.

Friday morning we will hear the latest in Canada and the US. But we already know the impact. In London, Ontario, where I spoke, the local TV station this week laid off 35% of its staff, and there’s talk the daily paper will fold. Car parts plants in the region are going dark and the brand new billion-dollar Toyota plant down the 401 cut production before it even opened.

It’s hard to polish this turd, so I didn’t. No point. These kids spend their days preparing to enter a workforce which is under more stress than has existed in decades. They’ve a right to know 2009 will only get worse as it goes along, that the recession could last until they have kids in Grade four, and the odds of exceeding their parents’ lifestyle is pretty much screwed.

But I also took time to explain that this is a unique moment for us all. Great companies tumbling. Stock markets crashing. Real estate eroding. Interest rates vanishing. Energy values sliding. Bubbles bursting. Yes, there is human misery and deflation, lost jobs and despair. And, if you happen to have been born twenty years ago, unbridled opportunity.

As I packed to leave, I was slowly surrounded. The questions flowed and the circle grew. Real estate, equities, energy futures.

The room cackled. With excitement.

I walked out into the warm March evening. Suddenly GM looked so, old.


#1 hobbygirl on 03.05.09 at 8:53 pm

Let GM sink and use their facilities to manufacture our own made in Canada car. How many billions do you need to start up a new car company? Probably a lot cheaper than a bailout.

No point in putting a new dress on an old woman, let GM die.

#2 Mitchell Cardno on 03.05.09 at 8:56 pm

Garth, here is what’s happening in Calgary (from http://forum.calgarypuck.com/showthread.php?t=66963&page=41)

Current layoff list, please feel free to add to it. This is what we are seeing in Calgary.

Oil & Gas companies or EPCM companies

Penn West – 70 people another 100 consultants(not verified)
IMV Projects – 3 round of layoffs so far
Suncor – ?
Conoco – ?
Worley Parsons / Colt – up to 1300 people, just announced pay cut
Upside Engineering – ?
Hatch Energy – 80
Hood Engineering – 15
Bantrel – 1300 nov to march, ongoing (Edmonton shop closed doors??)
Jacobs – 1000, and another 500 in next comin weeks
CH2MHill – ? staff in Ft Hills
BP – 80 consultants
SNC Lavalin – 100+
Fluor – 20-50 civil engineers + more?
BDR – ?
Petro Canada – ?
CNRL – ?, some consultants in December
Apache – ?, may be laying people off in Feb
Schlumberger Ltd – 2000, do not know how many people in calgary
Husky – 200 people not verified
Paramount – couple of engineers
BJ Services – ?
Jr. Heavy Oil Producer – 50% of people about 20-25
Peak Energy Services Trust – cut 15% of workforce (salary cut, unpaid days off)
Equinox Engineering – 5-15% pay cut (for the high priced people) not 100% confirmed
Weatherford – at least 6 people
Bronco Energy – not known how many people
Action Energy – 1/3 of staff – not confirmed yet
ConocoPhillips – may be laying off mid March
Midwest Surveys – first round of layoffs underway (some people may not be in YYC)

Estimated number of layoffs at EPC companys approx 5000 in Calgary.

Non O&G Companies
Atco – 400
Nova Chemicals – ?
Flint Energy Services – ?, up in Edmonton but as a result of calgary Suncor
Lockerbie & Hole – ?, up in Edmonton but as a result of calgary Suncor
SunLife – 800 (not sure how many in calgary)
Tenaris Prudential – 400 , this is a temp layoff
Evraz Group SA – 400 people across western canada
Standen – laying off welders in calgary
Grande Cache Coal – 1/3 of staff in calgary let go
Millar Western – 135
Fording Coal – 1/3 of staff in calgary let go
BMO – about 13 up in Edmonton

#3 Slice on 03.05.09 at 9:00 pm

I’m getting tired of all this. I want everything to crash so the new companies can emerge from the wreckage. There are way too many car companies, way too many shopping malls, and way too many burger flippers. As I watched all the malls and small towns grew their retail to mega-size in the last ten years, I often wondered exactly what underlying manufacturing was supposed to support all this stuff.

As a successful miiddle manager earning $80K I was priced out of the T.O housing market. Who the hell was going to buy these shitty starter shacks for $350,000 + ?

Not me. I’ll wait, and if for some reason people still want to bid up the prices, screw it – I’ll rent and then retire to south america.

Rome was a superpower that fell. I guess it’s our turn.

#4 GenXer on 03.05.09 at 9:08 pm

Wonderful post Garth – a glass half full view of a difficult future to come. Thanks for sharing.

It makes me laugh when I think I’m still “in the know”. An echo boomer in a focus group I participated in told me that e-mail is SO made for grandpas. LOL. As we grow wiser, sometimes it’s nice to be reminded that the things we take for granted might just belong to a world that has moved on.

GM is an anachronism – it doesn’t belong in the global age. In time, it will be replaced with a new, more vibrant company that will make better, greener cars – and the kids you talked to today will be the ones building them. They might only have one car, and a smaller house then their parents, but you can bet that life will go on.

#5 Puzzled on 03.05.09 at 9:13 pm

Are You Ready for the World’s Biggest Bankruptcy?

By Tom Dyson
The media have given London a new nickname: Reykjavik-on-Thames.

Britain’s economy revolved around banking. British banks hold about $4.4 trillion in foreign debt. The total size of the UK economy is $2.1 trillion. This year, the British government nationalized major parts of the UK’s banking system. In total, the UK Treasury is on the hook for over $2 trillion in potential liabilities, according to an estimate by the Office of National Statistics.

But Britain is NOT going to be the world’s biggest national bankruptcy. The government debt of the United Kingdom is only around $950 billion… or about $15,000 per capita.

This week, the United States Treasury sunk another $30 billion into AIG… its fourth bailout. It also put another $25 billion into Citigroup. The Treasury is now on the hook for as much as $6 trillion in liabilities. Last week, the White House produced its new budget. President Obama wants to run a deficit of $1.75 trillion in 2009.

The Treasury will pay for these bailouts by borrowing money. The Treasury borrows money by issuing Treasury bonds. Tomorrow, for example, it will auction three-year, 10-year, and 30-year bonds. This auction should raise around $60 billion.

The “debt clock” measures the amount of money the government owes its creditors. Today, the U.S. debt clock reads $11 trillion. To pay off this debt tomorrow, the government would have to collect $36,000 from every American.

But America is NOT about to be the world’s biggest bankruptcy.

Of the major industrial economies in the world, Japan’s government is the most indebted.

Since its recession began 20 years ago, Japan has plowed trillions into its banking system via numerous bailout programs. Japan’s mantra is growth without cost. As a result, the Japanese government has built up the world’s most crippling debt load.

The government of Japan owes $7.8 trillion. That’s $157,000 per capita.

We’ve been using government debt per capita to compare the government debts of Britain, the United States, and Japan. But government debt to GDP is the ratio economists use to compare the indebtedness of countries. The UK has a government debt-to-GDP ratio of 48%. The U.S. has a government debt-to-GDP ratio of 75%. Japan has a government debt-to-GDP ratio of 187%.

If there’s going to be a major sovereign bankruptcy, it’s going to happen in Japan. Its economy is a shambles. For years, Japan has relied on exports… but even that’s drying up now. In January, Japan’s exports plunged 47%, producing a trade deficit. People talk about Japan as a “nation of savers.” But that’s not true anymore. Japan’s personal savings rate has collapsed from 16% in the early 1990s to 2.2% last year.

Japan has an aging population and no immigration. I can’t see where it’s going to find the money to pay off its huge pile of debt.

The way to play the collapse in Japan is by shorting the yen. Right now, the Japanese yen is the world’s most popular currency. Traders perceive it as a safe haven. In 2008, the yen was the world’s best performing currency…. Rising 33% against the Canadian dollar, 40% against the British pound, and 19% against the dollar.

Back in January, I told you a fall in the yen was all but inevitable. The yen is down 12% since that article. But according to

Japan Is About to Devalue Its Currency: Here’s How to Profit
This Year’s Triple-Digit Trade
a Merrill lynch report I saw yesterday, large speculators still have a $3.7 billion long position in yen futures. The analyst described it as “crowded.”

The Japanese yen has been in a 40-year bull market. I think a new long-term bear market has just started… and it will end in the bankruptcy of Japan’s government. FXY is the ETF for the Japanese yen. When then yen falls, this fund falls, too. The easiest way to bet on a fall in yen is to short this fund or buy put options on it.

Good investing,


#6 North Vancouver Citizens Analyst on 03.05.09 at 9:27 pm

I may not be 20 years old, but I see the same opportunities that you describe for the younger generation today.
The world as we know it may be coming to an end, but a new and much better one is about to begin.
One where the real and simple things matter again to people and the money-for-nothing speculation and greed will be history.
I look forward to it.

Don’t drop the soap, Lord Black.

#7 Future Expatriate on 03.05.09 at 9:37 pm

EVERY newspaper that triumphed real estate board fudged figures and lies in order to increase ad revenue deserves to go out of business, and hopefully, will.

The sooner the better.

#8 nearmilton on 03.05.09 at 9:39 pm

Lots of great discussions about the car industry in Ontario – GM, etc. Any comments you have on the nuclear industry in Ontario and the current Ontario bid with Areva, AECL and Westinghouse? Who has the best chance of winning? If AECL does not win Ontario, this will be another blow below the belt line for Ontario.


#9 Toronto C9 Renter on 03.05.09 at 10:01 pm

“Worse, five in 20 US homeowners are in negative equity”

Garth, I read that it was actually 1 in 5 US “mortgage holders” (as distinct from homeowners). Many homeowners have no mortgage, so presumably the ratio of underwater homeowners is less than 1 in 5.

Nevada wins the dubious honour of highest underwater ratio in the Union. According to the LA times: “California’s 30% rate of negative equity places it in a tie for fifth-place with Florida. Arizona (32% underwater) and Michigan (40% upside down) were more distressed, but nowhere near Nevada, where 55% of mortgaged properties are worth less than their loan amounts”

I thought the context was self-evident. There are about 54 million US families with mortgages. — Garth

#10 gold bug on 03.05.09 at 10:02 pm

Future Expatriate writes: “Every newspaper that triumphed real estate board fudged figures and lies in order to increase ad revenue deserves to go out of business, and hopefully, will.”

So you want hundreds of employees at each paper – including those in advertising and editorial not related to real estate, circulation, community relations, paper makeup, compositing and the press to be out of work because you are too much of a half-wit to discern between the spin of a vested interest (RE board stats) and facts?

What a bitter, pathetic, vindictive whiner.

#11 Paul Milton -February numbers - just as expected in this economy on 03.05.09 at 10:13 pm

Central District prices in Toronto are minus 9% lower and sales down a whooping 65% versus February last year.

Feb 2009 Sales : 1,185
Feb 2009 Average Price $463,107

Feb 2008 Sales: 1,952
Feb 2009 Average Price $505,145

The price drop differential will increase in next 3 months, because March, April, May were the peak months on last year, plus prices are sliding every day due to GLOVES-OFF tough LIVE or DIE competition among sellers! Fun game, predicting a 19% to 27% drop April 2008 to April 2009. Hold me on this.

So the average SUCKKKKKKER not only already lost 42000 Dollars, but will LOOSE MOOOORE.
Wow, imagine the pain of the smart ones that bought 600K homes, a 54000 dollars down the drain, and another 59 to 108 thousands dollars to come. Imagine how much stuff you can buy with that! Even a few years of real sunny vacation folks. Let them buy, they do a great great great service to SOCIETY, we needs SUCCKKKKERs, let them live, hold them dear, and don’t wake them up pleeeeeeaaaaaase!



#12 David on 03.05.09 at 10:15 pm

What do companies like AIG and Manulife produce? Try paper and some vague promises to pay. GM for all its faults has something called value added production. Some financial whizz out there might be able to calculate the economic multiplier from the insurance industry vs the car industry.
Better to live without a parasitic insurance industry than a company that actually produces something of value.

#13 JO on 03.05.09 at 10:18 pm

Things are unravelling even faster than I expected. I was at the Home SHow last weekend and you would not believe the nonsense flying around out there. Yes, there were a lot of good, solid displays and good vendors, but there were Royal Lepage banners (huge ones) with the tag line ” You can’t live in an RRSP. Real Estate is your best investment”. We’ll see how that one turns out 24 mts from now.

I have written to McGuinty about the GM debacle. No way that any of that enormous tax money we have confiscated from us by big brother should make it’s way to any company, let alone GM. This bailout era is a fad that will end any day now. The lwas of mathematics and economics assure it. The method of delivery will be a collapse in long bond values, which is more likely to happen as a result of a total loss of government’s ability to pay its debts and of lack of faith in all fiat currencies. Deflation is the market’s way of correcting the inflation mirage before it, and of rewarding those who were frugal and prudent. Deflation is the enemy of large government and a friend of the saver.

GM and the pension need to work out there problems like any other Canadian company and pension. It is outrageous to think the taxpayers should somehow put up any money for either cause. There is NO long term economic benefit from “bailing” out anyone. I, for one, will never buy a GM or Chrysler car ever – even if they end up making the best cars in the World..which would be a true miracle.


#14 Paul on 03.05.09 at 10:23 pm

33% of American home owners are mortgage free. 4% are in trouble according to the stats I heard today.

You heard wrong. — Garth

#15 Too Old Bob$ on 03.05.09 at 10:31 pm

“Thanks to the failings of their parents they can look forward to a working career of public debt, higher taxes, reduced opportunity and frugality.”

Whoa! lets not stop there, I blame the parents of the parents and so on and so on. Obviously they didn’t teach them economics neither. According to my Father and his friends some of the best opportunities were right after the economy rebound from the 1929 crash. Some of these old boys and girls had never lost a job in their entire career. Education wasn’t a priority then, jobs were getting plentiful and people felt good, thus the creation of Baby Boomers. Ya! Boomers have caused some major problems, but that’s what happens when you get greedy and want everything now, for nothing and little input. I know my “carbon MONEY footprint” is small.
Speaking of the next Generation. I just trained a 25 year old single guy to work with me. 4 months of mind boggling transfer of information. Now over 1-2 years of on the job experience. So here he is with a used car, but still newer than mine. He still rents, but wanted to buy a house about a year ago, I talked him out of it and he’s glad I did. Takes 1-2 trips a year, goes to bars for beers, you know the normal thing we all have done, but wait for it… he made $113000.00 last year. Not too shabby, but all he does is complain. He gets 5 weeks vacation ( 1 week less than me ) but wants the same as me. He thinks he should get more money, he is comparing himself to me. He made more money then his Father whose been working for 38 years and is a Foreman. He got half of his knowledge from his Dad. What the hell!, is this what’s coming up from the next Gen. I hope not! if so, we are surely doomed.
OMG! I feel pessimistic. :(

#16 Foreign Investor on 03.05.09 at 10:40 pm

Jo – #13

I think a lot of people agree with you – don’t buy anything from a company that gets a bailout. It’s our tax dollars they are spending.

#17 Kanata Squirrel on 03.05.09 at 10:43 pm

What ever happenned to free markets and competition?

If you screwed up, go out of business. Yes it will hurt but the competition will keep going.

AIG, Citibank and so many other companies got it the derivatives markets and hedging and now they are completely screwed … they should be and shareholders should pay. Companies that hedge along with them should pay too.

Tax payers should not.

Let is all blow up and then the people can rejoice to a new era. Hopefully this time it will be based on supply and demand, good PE ratios and not on a deck of cards.

Countries with resources will survive the long term and companies with nothing will not – Icelanders keep fishing cause that’s all you have (ok hot babes as well).

So is the law of survival. Canada is sitting on resources, water and awesome people and we will survive the hardships to come. Please don’t bail out broken companies that will eventually fail.

Down with GM. It’s a 100 years old failure. Folks being laid off, take this opportunity to be retrained into a more fulfillng career.

As for Garth … keep on writing and riding!!!

#18 CAPOFALBERTA on 03.05.09 at 10:47 pm

Is there anybody in the know in the EDMONTON area—-re:the realestate market.

I have a question—-couple of homes we are looking at range of 333000 and 349000. Both on market 30 days now—-one home they want 315000(I wont pay that)—question is now that spring is around the corner—and more listings to appear and buyers——
should I still wait or try low ball offer—like 20%+ lower

#19 Shane on 03.05.09 at 10:49 pm

The oil & gas industry in Alberta, and especially Calgary, needs a good colonic… There is so much fat in these organizations (such as the infamous $80,000/yr receptionist) that needs to be trimmed it is scary.

Hopefully the oil & gas business culture in Alberta will be brought into the 21st Century… The inefficient backscratching small town suburban cowboy culture is part of what is killing the sector right now, not just energy prices.

As a former Ontarian who has worked in NYC, LA, London, Dubai, etc. I do not find it surprising that the most so-called b*ll-busting of firms such as Imperial Oil are still turning a profit while most energy firms are losing money at the moment. Hopefully the “5 weeks of vacation, 2 weeks of Stampede, 2 weeks off at Christmas, 15 holiday, No working on Saturday” culture also falls to the wayside. The world is too competitive for that type of systematic indulgence anymore. You don’t even see this type of laziness at HQ is Houston.

It would also be nice if the Calgary oil & gas sector reflected the general community a little more and became diverse. It makes my skin crawl how Caucasian the typical downtown Calgary energy company is. Redneck HR hiring practices need to go… The auto industry also committed a lot of these sins (nepotism is famous in auto as well) but at least they hired people into vital roles with some skin pigmentation…

With this shakeup, hopefully many of the folks who could only get hired during a boom will move back home reducing housing prices to tolerable levels.

#20 Jay Currie on 03.05.09 at 10:52 pm

And we can’t even be sure the US Federal Government has the figures right. Ian Campbell notes:

“There is a disconnect – not to be unexpected in my view – between what the Fed is predicting and what everyone else is predicting, and I suspect a difference in the unemployment rate of even 1% would be adjudicated as ‘significant’. The simple average unemployment rate exiting 2009 of the five ‘private’ forecasts is 9.7%, as contrasted with the Fed’s 8.7% mid-point forecast. For 2010 the difference is 10.3% for the three ‘private’ forecasts noted above, while the Fed mid-point forecast is 8.2%. Thus the ‘spread’ between the ‘private’ forecasts and the Fed midpoint forecast is wider in 2010 than it is in 2009. ”

That said, I don’t think you need to be in your twenties to prosper in the new world. Even old guys like me (early 50’s) have a shot if we’re flexible, able to eliminate debt and can live within our means. But we all have to be a combination of frugal and creative.

#21 Wealthy Renter on 03.05.09 at 10:53 pm


Thanks for taking the time to post the February comparables for Toronto. I thought I was losing my mind. My first reaction when I read the TREB press release was bullshit – at least to the claim that inventory only went 11% yoy in the GTA.

We have family in Milton, Oakville and Burlington, and there is a fairly evident increase in homes for sale in all of those areas.

In the little neck of the woods we are looking to buy in , the expensive W8 in west Toronto, inventory of single homes is up 40%, sales are down 22% and the median price is down 9%

Yeah, but the market is picking up – five single houses up for sale within a .5 km radius since March 1.

Up, up and away.

#22 HJD on 03.05.09 at 10:56 pm

Perhaps this is a silly question, but during the current absence of purchasers, why don’t car manufacturers just temporarily close up shop and only resume operations when consumer interest returns? Wouldn’t that be better than throwing away billions in government support or watching the destruction of GM and other auto companies? It would be a lot cheaper and less wasteful to supply temporarily unemployed workers with monthly EI payments.

#23 nonplused on 03.05.09 at 11:25 pm

I’ve had a couple of supervisory roles over the years in a “downtown” type environment, and as such have had the opportunity to work with many “Generation Y” types. (I am Generation X, nearer to the beginning. How in the heck did I get into management? I could do things to integrate the computer into the decision making process that the boomers couldn’t, right when it was really starting to matter. I guess that’s called “Luck”.)

Anyway, my experience with the younger folks has generally left me much more optimistic about their prospects, work ethic, and skills than the media often portrays as well. They are hard working, educated, and energetic.

While it is true that they have unrealistic expectations, this is a learned trait acquired from their boomer parents. They grew up with $25 dollar salon shampoo in the shower, ski vacations every Christmas and warm holidays every spring break. So yes, they think it’s normal. Way to go mom and dad. But other than that I see no problems with them.

Although they can be a bit diabolical. From talking to economic grads who had been steeped in the Enron crisis as part of their education, I was I guess not overly surprised to learn that the major take-away from studying Enron is that if you can get a percentage of the book, you might be fabulously wealthy in just a few years and there are no risks to you of ever being called on it unless you do something overtly illegal. On the other hand, maybe that was the true lesson of Enron. That would explain AIG.

I am sure that is not what the professor meant. But never under-estimate the power of the young to see through the drivel they are being fed and deduce the true story.

#24 Dave99 on 03.05.09 at 11:34 pm

#12 David,

In response to your bizarre question…

Insurance companies produce financial security for families in the face of death of a loved one and breadwinner. They provide various financial products such as annuities, and group health and dental plans, and disability plans. They are among the most regulated companies in the world.

Do not confuse the underregulated world of CDS’s and CDO’s with insurance.

If you need to ask what do Insurance companies produce…well, I can only presume you have led a fortunate life indeed.

#25 Apocalypse Now on 03.06.09 at 12:01 am

I still can’t see how we will come out of these unprecedented times without a breakdown of the social order. It is mighty fanciful for any reasonable person to conclude that all the millions of former middle class half wits who were so used to the SUV / McMansion lifestyle will quietly pack up and relocate to an underpass. Unless millions of jobs are created, even lower paying ones there will be blood in streets as some Harvard insider recently predicted in The Globe.

The one paper that should bite the dust is the National Post to be closely followed by the Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail. The National Inquirer probably has more facts in it than these propaganda keep the sheeple sedated arms of the ruling elite. The CBC can take a hike too as can CTV and any other organization whose very existence is based upon fraud, manipulation, and lies. Take BNN and TSN and …. them all!

#26 kc on 03.06.09 at 12:01 am

4 GenXer

GM is an anachronism – it doesn’t belong in the global age. In time, it will be replaced with a new, more vibrant company that will make better, greener cars – and the kids you talked to today will be the ones building them.

GM had the world be the tail and shot them selves in the nuts when they took back all the EV1’s from lease….
I have ZERO sympathy for these blood sucking maggots who caved in from pressures from BIG OIL and the rest of them. Check out “who killed the electric car” GM [email protected] themselves!!!!!! they had it all.

#27 Brandon on 03.06.09 at 12:01 am

5 in 20 sounds like a fudged number. If it were 5 in 20, you would’ve said 1 in 4…

#28 Mark on 03.06.09 at 12:10 am

@#10 gold bug :

What about all those poor foilk who actually believed what they read in a NEWSPAPER as *shock* truth?

Which does make you wonder what else they’re lying about or are twisting the truth on doesnt it?

#29 nonplused on 03.06.09 at 12:10 am

A couple of more thoughts on those wily Gen Y types, based on my experience:

They seem to know instinctively that government finance and most pension plans are a Ponzi scheme, and that the government has the idea to legislate them into being the Ponzi.

They seem to know how to enjoy life thoroughly owning nothing but their skis and lift ticket.

They are much more physically active than their parents were after years of being doted on by their soccer moms.

They place much more of their personal self esteem in their accomplishments and capabilities than their net worth.

They are very technically savvy. They come out of university better able to run a spreadsheet than their boss is. They know how to set the clock on a VCR even though they have never used one before because “it’s obsolete”. My 12 & 14 year old daughters do much of their homework on a computer and have me “e-mail” them stuff if they forget it. Plus they keep reprogramming my ringtones and all that on my cell phone, because they think it’s funny I have never spent the time to figure out how to fix it.

Texting is part of life. And they think Blackberries are for stiffs. You don’t see any rich kids running around with a Blackberry even if their stay-at-home mom has one. They aren’t cool. They are all business. Technology is meant to be cool and fun to them.

They are very flexible and fluid. After having been raised by the “divorce generation”, they don’t take anything for granted.

They don’t worry about the future nearly as much as their parents. If they can live through a divorce as a child and life goes on, they don’t fear anything after that once the bitterness goes away.

They understand science. They don’t need the origin of the universe explained to them. They don’t have false hopes for abiotic oil to save the day.

They are very environmentally aware. When I bought a couple of solar panels my daughters didn’t think I was weird, they wondered why I didn’t get enough to power the whole house. My boomer parents thought I was weird.

They understand that the world is in an environmentally precarious position. And they know exactly who to blame.

Even the older ones think “Wall-E” (a recent Disney animation) was just stating the obvious. But they watch it anyway because the animation was cool.

They know that the problems Gen X had, that being so many boomers in the queue that job prospects and career advancement were never going to be easy, are a problem that they will never have. They know that Gen X will take over the top jobs, but they also know they will pass right over the GenXer’s who were never able to squeeze their way into the ranks, and that the rotation will come late enough they might be able to bypass underperformers who did.

They were raised in a culture of performance and competition. I coach the next generation (hopefully not Gen Z, too ominous), and I can tell you that the pressure parents place on these kids to “win”, even if mom is too lazy to drive the kid to practice (they can’t drive themselves), is enormous. I see it from the coach’s perspective. The way parents yell at their kids when they aren’t playing well. The way nobody will talk to the coach and the club starts getting complaints about game time and video cameras when the team is loosing. The way players can’t come to practice because “they have to study”. But if the kids win a few games in a row, suddenly the coach is a celebrity and attendance at practice is 100%.

And, contrary to popular belief, they don’t hate Gen X at all, and certainly not like the boomers do. They see them as pioneers, but themselves as up and coming masters.

They are also extremely independent. Having been raised in a day home and having their life scheduled 12 hours a day 5 days a week, they are all business and prepared to get it done themselves.

Long post hope it wasn’t boring.

#30 Gord In Vancouver on 03.06.09 at 12:12 am

GM teeters on the abyss.


By now, a GM bankruptcy filing will trigger a DOW rally – no more loan money demands and other BS to scare the stock markets.

#31 TheComingDepression on 03.06.09 at 12:19 am

It gets much worse. Many have stated this guys average is 14/16———

#32 TheComingDepression on 03.06.09 at 12:22 am

Here;s another scary thing:

#33 Simon on 03.06.09 at 12:27 am

On the auto companies I’m finding it less and less easy to be sympathetic. When I first heard folks complaing about how much more their labour costs were I figured that companies operating for almost a hundred years in North America would obviously have more pensioners than imports operating for 20 years. Sort of a no-brainer and not something to hold against guys on the line. Then I began hearing about the special paid absence “SPA” days, essentially two weeks of extra vacation time, then the job bank thing, now claims that the workers don’t contribute anything to help fund their pension plan. A quick and dirty survey of my friends suggests the norm is that the employee kicks in “x”% and the employer matches it to fund the pension plan.

Now I’m hearing reports that the auto makers are wildly underfunded in the pension plans, the workers are worried about their pensions and governments may have to step in to help cover the shortfall.

My question, I guess, is why the rest of society should step in to fund a pension plan that is almost unheard of, even among those of us lucky enough to have still have a company pension?

#34 Dee on 03.06.09 at 12:43 am

It’s funny how some in China are doom and glooming too.


Here’s the giggle, the Chinese are expecting the Americans to get them out of this slump.

What a freakin’ world we’re living in!

#35 Another Albertan on 03.06.09 at 12:44 am


I’ll hazard that AECL will eventually be sold to SNC-Lavalin. If it doesn’t happen, AECL and the nuclear industry in Canada is 110% toast, save for uranium mining and some milling and fuel processing.

Otherwise, if I had to choose between the other two, it would be AREVA (Framatome/Cogema/Siemens Nuclear) over Westinghouse (which is really Toshiba subsidiary).

If I’m not mistaken, there are no US companies with active nuclear seals that can do heavy casting work, so the big portion of a Westinghouse proposal would have to come from Japan. Both AREVA and Siemens’ T&D divisions do significant work in Canada already. There’s lots of Siemens in the form of spinning turbines too.

Ultimately, the government will likely force some form of partnership between players. It’s the Canadian way, unfortunately.

#36 timbo on 03.06.09 at 12:52 am

Add to the list: well placed rumour info, Air Canada getting close to filing for bankrupcy protection ?

#37 Da HK Kid on 03.06.09 at 12:54 am

I am a USD Bear, but this is any interesting take on the continued strength of the USD vs. other currencies.


Garth, did you ever weigh in on this subject of the dollar?

Further, let’s have a good laugh for change with the latest from Jon Stewart of the Daily Show. Best I’ve seen his take on all we are discussing right now.


#38 dd on 03.06.09 at 1:29 am

#1 hobbygirl

“Let GM sink and use their facilities to manufacture our own made in Canada car.”

Maybe then the new car company will make cars people will buy.

#39 Mike (authentic) on 03.06.09 at 2:57 am

Great philosophical topic Grath!

Life will go on, just differently than it did before. The important thing is we LEARN from this economic disaster and try not to repeat the mistakes in the future. Although, I do believe we need to work on our mistaken values of “money, possessions and keeping up with the jones'”. Hopefully we come more social, active and work less because we buy what we need and our “wants” are less. I could put take care of the planet in there, but it should be instinctive as it’s our only planet.

Maybe we are on a huge transition from a pre-WWII economy to a post-WWII economy where so much is unrecogniseable from just 10 years earlier?

In the current economy jobs will get harder to find, will pay less and you’ll work harder for less. Savers will get penalised, the greedy will get bailed out and funded, the middle class will loose numbers to the lower class, the rich will take care of themselves. Sounds dire, but again, hopefully we realise that a neighbour is a friend, family is forever and a stranger is only a stranger because you don’t yet know their name.


#40 Mike (authentic) on 03.06.09 at 3:04 am

#2 Mitchell Cardno:

You can add this new one as of yesterday:

Canadian Superior Energy Inc

“Canadian Superior Energy Inc. Announces Application for CCAA Protection”

#41 HalifaxFamily on 03.06.09 at 3:37 am

Kid’s up… and I couldn’t help but read.

There’s no point to rescuing a carmaker that is essentially a black hole for taxpayer dollar.

I advocate saving jobs, but not for the sake of making things people don’t use.

They make cars that people don’t find good anymore.

They make multiple similar vehicles of each kind on a chassis and then brand it as three or more distinct vehicles. This is ‘product differentiation’ taken to the extreme.

Go to two – a normal kind and a luxury kind. That’s what the Japanese do.

Honda – Acura (civic = EL; TSX = Accord)

Toyota – Lexus (corolla = IS350, etc…)

The Buick, Oldsmobile, Saturn, GM, and Chevrolet were essentially making the same cars but rebadged.

You could see the crash slowly unfolding. Workers were given jobs that yielded false hope and everyone, including everyone downstream, is now seeing the effects of that false hope.

Whenever the commercials say that they make X cars over 50miles/gallon, you need to divide by two or three because of the overlap.

Sorry. I love my fellow Canadians, but the car companies that employed them gave them false hope and a false sense of security. Unfortunately, this mess may be too big to bail out, and we may see quite the disaster coming up.

I agree, we will see frugality re-emerge. We’ve been frugal and it’s not because we need to be (according to society’s standards), but because we realise that everyone is running their financial treadmill too quickly and too dangerously. One missed step (i.e. job loss, divorce, sickness) and you can find yourself behind, and eventually off. I would rather be closer to financial independence than consume.

…and this is the longest post I’ve ever made. Good luck everyone.

#42 Vancouver_Renter on 03.06.09 at 4:15 am

#3 Slice…

Hallelujah!! My sentiments exactly.

#43 Kash is King on 03.06.09 at 7:33 am

In addition to Garth’s books…. I’d like to give a reco, if I could, to any of the young folk out there.

It’s a book about old skool thrift and savings… pay yourself first. Kind of a foil to what’s happened.

It helped me back when, and maybe it is one of those timeless necessities after all:


#44 vtj on 03.06.09 at 7:40 am

Garth, great post – thanks for sharing your experience.

One of my nephews is thoroughly kicking butt at 24 and puts the vast majority of us to shame. His parents got divorced when he was 2 and he lived a very meagre existence for many years. With a bit of encouragement from his two caring uncles, the kid worked his way through school and university by working I don’t know how many part-time jobs ranging from the overnight shift at McDonald’s to scooping ice cream to stocking auto parts. He’s now a very well respected manager at a large company, in charge of a team of 30. He’s living in a nice apartment in a very nice neighborhood and drives a fully paid for, well-built mid-size vehicle which he purchased second hand (it was 3 years old at the time). He and his fiance have set aside a 6 month emergency cash reserve and are sitting on the sidelines for the time being in regards to any major purchases (ie., a house).

He rightfully complains about the mess boomers have left behind for him and his generation to deal with. Rather than whining about it and sitting on his hands however, the drive to succeed and to make something of himself keeps him forging ahead both at work and in his personal life.

He routinely thanks me for having been an inspiration to him but he is so wrong. It is he who is an inspiration to me – we have much to learn from the younger ones.


#45 somecatchyphrase on 03.06.09 at 7:42 am

Bailouts are all about politics, not economics. Politicians could care less whether or not bailouts are good or bad for the economy.

Bailouts are about the politician’s need to be seen as “doing something” about the crisis. It’s all about the next election.

In the US, Michigan is a key swing state. In Canada, elections typically turn on southern Ontario. This is the real reason for all the bailouts. It has little to do with economics.

Richard Nixon has been quoted to the effect that “nobody ever lost an election by debasing the currency.” (Not his exact words)

#46 TS on 03.06.09 at 8:04 am


A current piece about the impact that the economic downturn is having on the retirement plans of the boomers.

#47 Jon C. Coates on 03.06.09 at 8:13 am

Yesterday I heard a commentator state that the $7-trillion worth of bailout already shovelled out the doors of Congress left ever American man, woman and child with a $30,000 share of the increase in the American national debt. Too bad someone didn’t think to send all Americans a cheque for $30,000 and let the elite scum who have been perpetrating their vast financial scam on the economy sink. With that kind of buying power, ordinary empowered American people could have voted with their pocket books to support or kill off the organizations which deserved to die off. I think it is obscene that IAG is going to survive thanks to an injection of something close to $200-billion from the public trough.
Way back in the olden days when I was a B. Comm. student, we were taught that companies which could not meet their obligations in an orderly and timely fashioned manner were doomed to go bankrupt. Now, the rules seem to have changed and these weasels are now entitled to a bailout.
I think hobbygirl has a great idea. Let’s just buy out the plant and equipment of the failed auto companies and start building and selling a 100% Canadian car company. Then maybe we would get vehicles which were built to withstand the rigors of Canadian winters. With that kind of quality built in, we’d have a product to rival anyone else’s offerings and join the ranks of grown up countries which actually own their own auto industry.
I seem to be feeling a bit radical today. Sorry.

#48 Avalon Shawn on 03.06.09 at 8:22 am

My brother inlaw is Italian, and is a Gen Xer but is cut from the the old cloth. I used to give him a bit of a hard time as he always pulls out a rubber band from his back pocket bound around cash to pay for everything.

Now I emulate him to a certain degree. I only eat what I can hunt. I pay for products mostly with cash, and carry one credit card (pay it off the same day if its used).

I recently purchased a new home, but it is more or less empty. I only purchase furniture with cash after I am paid, and then I only purchase from scratch and dent inventory.

It is time to implement the KISS principles with money now more than ever. It is time to get to know cash again folks I mean forget online debit tranactions and credit purchases, when doing these transaction, you only see digital balances pluses and minuses, you lose track of the value of a buck.

If you want to humble yourself make your next rent or mortgage payment in cash, count out $1000 in $20s it will change your perception.

#49 Calgary37 on 03.06.09 at 8:26 am

Global Solutions

Since the Global Economic and Financial Crises became official, many important persons have been talking about a variety of Global Solutions.

Problem > Reaction > Solution

The next G20 meeting will be held in London on April 2 with PM Gordon Brown as host. Brown has been calling for some type of Global Regulatory System. Others have been calling for some type of Global Governance (NWO?) and some have mentioned a Global Currency and Bank.

What I have read is that Russia, China, the Arab Gulf States and some others have been seriously discussing a Global Currency. As it happens most of these nations have been buying Gold over the past two years. Since many of the oil producer nations seem to be involved in this discussion, I am going to lay out a scenario that I think would be acceptable for most people.

The oil producing nations that own a large quantity of gold and some other nations that own gold will join together to form a Global Bank. They will then implement an electronic form of currency (insert name) that would be used to facilitate world trade transactions. The gold will be revalued to about five times the current value of gold in American dollars or Euros. This gold will provide a minimal amount of backing for this new monetary system.

This new electronic currency will allow the oil producers to set a minimum price for the different categories of oil that they produce and sell into the World marketplace. Some of these producers have publicly mentioned a price of 70 or 75 dollars. Mexico has contracted to sell most of its oil in 2009 at a price of $70.

The American dollar will no longer be classed as a “reserve currency”. The speculators who have been causing problems in the gold, silver and oil trading exchanges should be out of business.

Now we have something to look forward to in April.

Power to the People. Let the Revolution Begin.

#50 kc on 03.06.09 at 8:33 am

Small article from TO Life that writes about 5 hoods in TO that are crashing hard.

Less Is More
Neighbourhoods with the biggest price drops


#51 wjp on 03.06.09 at 8:41 am

John Tory’s defeat in Lindsay may be a comment on how voters are tired of candidates being parachuted into ridings and will not stand any longer for politicians BS…this may be a beginning of power returning to where it belongs…the constituents!

#52 Bottoms_Up on 03.06.09 at 8:50 am

The turning point in GM’s demise, ‘who killed the electric car?’:


#53 vtj on 03.06.09 at 8:59 am

When will the bleeding stop … unemployment rate hits 8.1% in the US:


#54 Patrick on 03.06.09 at 9:02 am

Mr. Turner,

A welcome piece of long-term optimism on a day when is definitely in the air (in Southern Ontario, at least).

Let’s all make sure we keep those schools well funded. We’re going to need sharp-minded people in the future.

#55 Happyplace on 03.06.09 at 9:04 am

Garth, I wish you would stop spreading the generational hate by blaming ‘boomers’ for this mess. Assume by boomers you mean 50+. Seems to me we were brought up with simpler values of saving and not spending beyond our means. We aren’t the ones with the house lust, at least I’m not. And if the next generations are enjoying their lifestyles it is because of the boomer tax base.

#56 Future Expatriate on 03.06.09 at 9:04 am

#10- Sod off. Businesses who lie for a living and people who work for them don’t deserve to make a living. Period.

If you work for a paper, hope you’re the first to go. Apologist for liars. That’s the problem with the world. If we had less tolerance for professional liars we’d be in far better shape.

#57 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 03.06.09 at 9:07 am

Garth and everyone,

I am deadly serious when I say this no humour intended whatsoever. If you want to actually see the progressive lieing that has been going on since 2007 then please take 20 minutes of your time and watch Jon Stewart’s ‘The Daily Show’ online from Wednesday night.

He has put together a record of the progressive decline of the markets qnd exposed the players in the MSM who have purported this continuing LIE of ‘Things will get better!’ The evidence is there for all to witness.

The show can only be viewed on ‘The Comedy Channel’ in Canada.

His guest that night was the NYT Financial Columnist and it was like a Fifth Estate expose of the entire situation.

#58 Jonathan on 03.06.09 at 9:15 am

These kids have the best of all worlds coming to them!

ll these layoffs are going to restructure Canadian business. Profits and economic growth will soar in five years when they come out. Also, real Estate values will be much competitive.

I feel bad for the baby boomers who need to retire soon. I also feel bad for the late 20 and early 30 year olds, who had few options but to buy in at peak real estate, who entered slow economic growth (outside of Ft. McMurray), who have lost half their investments without ever making a capital gain, who currently face serious layoffs now and may lose their homes, and who will be getting taxed to pay for all these bailouts from now until they retire.

That is who I feel bad for.

#59 DG on 03.06.09 at 9:15 am

@25 Apocalypse Now: It was Niall Ferguson, and the headline of the article was there will be blood, but if you actually read it, he wasn’t saying there will be blood in the streets of the US and Canada. Instead he was referring to the extent to which already unstable countries / regimes will be tipped over the edge by the economic crisis.

What we’re discovering is that our economy can’t, in fact, support a McMansion / SUV lifestyle for everyone, but it’s certainly strong enough to survive a different kind of normative lifestyle, without a descent into anarchy.

#60 lgre on 03.06.09 at 9:23 am

“33% of American home owners are mortgage free. 4% are in trouble according to the stats I heard today”

you must of been listening to Mr bow tie on BNN, aka mr cantgetright.. he also said that the economy is in alot better shape then we think..until he was reminded that 2 of the biggest car companys might go under, along with how many others are under bankruptcy protection.

#61 T on 03.06.09 at 9:25 am

Garth i must enlighten you when i tell people something i don’t guess. When i say oil will be in the mid-fifties this April you have my guarantee on that. Like i said oil bottomed out on February the 17th. Oil prices will go up not down.

#62 smwhite on 03.06.09 at 9:26 am

#30 Gord In Vancouver

Gord, you forgot the “n” in “dow”.

Give the bailout money to Toyota and Honda for manufacturing in Canada.

With the amount of government fiddling with demand of overpriced homes and over sized sub-par quality autos, I’m sure this will all end well.

#63 Alex on 03.06.09 at 9:31 am

Hi folks,

while we are discussing the real estate and depression issues, there is something much more important happening south of the border.

According to this Californian newspaper, detention camps are being built capable of accomodating up to 1 million people:


Are they moving towards dictatorship???

#64 vtj on 03.06.09 at 9:50 am

A bit off-topic, but an interesting take on the possibility of trade wars going forward:


#65 Comfortable in a coma on 03.06.09 at 9:54 am

GM has lost $65 billion since 2005. If they can’t make money in boom times, how can they possibly survive a downturn?

#66 Larry on 03.06.09 at 10:04 am

#29 Excellent post, i’m an X and agree entirely. The boomers end is nigh, the generation that had it all and ended up with nothing LOL.

#67 PTDBD on 03.06.09 at 10:11 am

@nonplused – I enjoyed that post, coach. Very optimistic and upbeat. I’m sure that you inspire.

I’ve often wondered why we put kids into GenX, GenY categories? Where did that come from?

#68 Dan on 03.06.09 at 10:24 am

Many auto-workers are hoping and praying they shut down our plant (not Gm) . I pray they shut the plant down so the chance to start over can happen. All i want is to get retrained. You people think working on the line is easy? That couldn’t be further from the truth as we work almost every second of that eight hour shift. The pain and injuries that we line workers suffer is not worth the money. The government SHOULD NOT give ONE PENNY to GM ,Chrysler or Ford. The money would be better spent on retraining the workers for the FUTURE. Manufacturing is a DEAD industry which goes to the lowest bidder (China) . If you think us workers are hoping to keep our lol good jobs think again. Please let them go under.

#69 Eduardo on 03.06.09 at 10:45 am

Shae RE 19 You are way off base on the racial comments you made regarding Calgary.

You are also off-base regarding the lack of hard work. Over the past few years there has been a major labour shortage and most technical people were working 1.5 jobs. Keep in mind that salary staff don’t get paid overtime, so your complaint about flex days is not justified. It’s like time in lieu. I get flex days, although I rarely get a chance to use them in a year. I would give up my flex days for overtime in a heartbeat.

I do agree though that there was lots of fat that was hired as a result of the inability to get quality people over the past three years.

#70 Eduardo on 03.06.09 at 10:48 am

Also Shane, the reason Imperial is still making money is they are an integrated oil company… don’t compare them to junior E&Ps. Also, it’s not just Imperial that’s making money and that the rest is gross mismanagement. That’s a completely ridiculous portrayal.

#71 Canuck on 03.06.09 at 10:58 am

See review of book about Alan Greenspan that tells how the US middle class were gutted and how Boomer’s social security was affected.

Quote from the link: “Reagan set the course to steal Boomers’ Social Security savings”


Conservatives throughout the world adopt similar strategies. Socialize loss, but individualize/corporatize profits.

#72 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 03.06.09 at 11:15 am

#35 Another Albertan on 03.06.09 at 12:44 am

Interesting post. Thank you. Arizona also has large uranium deposits. However, what you say is correct. The heavy manufacturing was outsourced by North America, and now, the Piper plays his mournful tune!

John Ralston Saul was right about Globalization being a Death Knell.

It is, in effect, the AVRO Arrow all over again caused by stupid, arrogant, spinless politicans being Brown Nosed by mega-corp Lobbyists who want everything offshore so they can hide from taxes. BASTARDS ALL!.

Right now we have the most arrogant of them all in John Baird who refuses to allow accountability of $3 billion of OUR money, and he is being directed by the minority PM Harper to do so.

#73 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 03.06.09 at 11:30 am


I see the HoC is looking at regulating the Debit/Credit Card industry?

Probe to aim at credit, debit cards

Liberal MP Anthony Rota convinced the House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology to “undertake an immediate study” of credit-card interchange fees and the debit payment system. The committee plans to hold hearings and produce recommendations that could serve as the basis for future legislation.

Rota said the catalyst for his motion was a controversial proposal to overhaul the debit card industry – an idea critics say will lead to higher fees for businesses and consumers amid the deepening recession.

Well, when I see regulation of the exhorbitant interest rates then I will believe they have a clue. This legislation is all about interbank charges just like Jack Layton was on about a year ago.

I also find it damn strange that a week ago it was all about Visa and Master Card wanting to enter the Canadian Debit transaction market? InterAct is a non-profit company started by the banks according to the earlier article, but now the House Committee is saying they want to go ‘for profit’? Someone has their BS crossed up I think?

Taking a swipe at the debit card competition: Visa and MasterCard interested in offering debit cards in Canada (Feb 21, 2009)

Anyone else believe the HoC is more interested in protecting the Banks profits than we the public?

#74 jess on 03.06.09 at 11:39 am

for dodgebuilt….

A common failure resolution approach around the world is deposit insurance. A World Bank survey on bank supervision in 2007 showed that about 70 percent of high-income countries and half of upper middle-income countries have deposit insurance in place. The number of countries with deposit insurance or policyholder compensation schemes has increased significantly in the past 25 years. In most cases, however, deposit insurance has been adopted as the result of a financial crisis, as part of a broad financial-sector reform, or in conformity with European Union (EU) requirements.

The original driver for deposit insurance was to reduce the risk of bank runs or contagion risk within the financial sector. However, many legislators regard explicit depositor protection as a dominant reason for deposit insurance.

Among their developed country peers, New Zealand and Australia are the only countries that do not have deposit insurance. In recent times, the Australian Council of Financial Regulators has considered the potential implementation of a deposit insurance scheme. This initiative followed from the recent collapse of HIH and the International Monetary Fund’s Financial Sector Assessment Programme in Australia in 2006. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) regularly reviews our policy stances, including on deposit insurance, and will do so in the light of possible reforms in Australia and the lessons from international events such as the Northern Rock experience in the United Kingdom.

Unlike the United States Federal Reserve, the Reserve Bank does not have elements of private ownership; according to its website, “The Reserve Bank does not have shareholders. It is 100% ‘owned’ by the New Zealand Government, with any extra revenue that the Reserve Bank makes going back into the Crown accounts. The National Bank is not a government department, but is a body corporate whose finances are included in the Crown accounts.”

#75 Marlene on 03.06.09 at 11:48 am

Four Canadian provinces to buck recession: report

TORONTO (Reuters) – Only four of Canada’s 10 provinces will record economic growth this year, while a steep slowdown in the United States will hamper overall expansion, the Conference Board of Canada said in its winter economic forecast on Thursday.

The board stressed that no province will spared from the impact of the U.S. economic slowdown, given that Canada and the United States shares the world’s largest trading partnership. However, two western and two eastern provinces will manage to grow this year, though not without difficulty.

In the Prairies, Manitoba and Saskatchewan have economies that are strongly reliant on agriculture, and this is expected to help carry them forward this year. Manitoba is expected to grow 1 percent in 2009, while Saskatchewan may lead all provinces with a 1.6 percent advance.

On the East Coast, New Brunswick is expected to stave off recession with 0.2 percent growth on the back of announced income tax cuts and infrastructure spending, while Prince Edward Island has major capital projects in the works that could push its economy up 0.6 percent, the board said.

“No province is immune to the effects of the global recession,” said Pedro Antunes, the Conference Board’s director of the national and provincial economic forecast.

Canada’s economy has deteriorated sharply since the board’s autumn report. Gross domestic product, one of the most recent pieces of domestic data, showed the economy shrank more in the fourth quarter of 2008 than at any time since 1991.

The deteriorating U.S. economy will have a heavy impact on Canada, which shares a trading link worth more than $1.5 billion a day with its larger neighbor.

Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada’s easternmost province, is set to have the worst performing provincial economy due to the impact of declining offshore oil output. It will shrink by an estimated 2.6 percent, the Conference Board said.

Ontario, the manufacturing center of the country, will struggle because of weakness in the auto sector. The manufacturing woes will likely hurt Quebec’s growth as well.

Alberta’s economy, heavily dependent on the energy industry, is forecast to weaken as oil prices continue to slide and expensive oil sands projects are shelved.

Overall, the Canadian economy will contract 0.9 percent this year, revised from an autumn forecast when the board expected GDP growth to be 2.2 percent in 2009.

The Conference Board expects the Canadian economy will recover in 2010, expanding 3.6 percent. All provinces will also swing to growth as the U.S. economy rebounds.

(Reporting by Ka Yan Ng; editing by Rob Wilson)

#76 refugee on 03.06.09 at 11:55 am

Garth said:

And, if you happen to have been born twenty years ago, unbridled opportunity.

That ‘opportunity’ you talk of , what is it? Stuff for the advantage of the same bullies thieves liars and shills that are running the show now. Garth I don’t think that is what you want – a quick shuffle of the deck and then back to the same old tired game of ‘leaders’ and led . Try advising those kids to start thinking for themselves about what kind of world they want to live in not how they can grab themselves a big slice of ‘opportunity’.

As well you could try telling them that when they see a ‘leader’ to run like hell. Gandhi, I am sure you will agree, did not ‘lead’ he served.

#77 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 03.06.09 at 12:09 pm

Is the Obamamania beginning in Canada? Oh YES! IT IS!

The people are awakening and the Harperites will soon be uttering Admiral Yamamoto’s famous words ‘I FEAR we have awoken the Sleeping Giant!

John Tory to quit in defeat: Source says he’ll resign as Conservative leader after devastating loss in cottage country

Tory could not overcome local grumbling that he was a “parachute” candidate from Toronto among the farmers and other residents in the sprawling rural and cottage country riding which the party believed was a safe seat.”They knew from the first moment that I was not from here,” Tory said, noting that he felt “treated fairly” by the voters.

Apparently his ‘parachute’ was surplus? LOL Now, when will Canadians realize that the CRAP is also, ‘not from here’? Let’s show our Southern neighbors we too can Stand Up for our country and take it back for ourselves! ‘Change We DO Believe In!’

#78 Soylent Green is People on 03.06.09 at 12:35 pm

Why does it sound from the comments that no one here is in debt., drives an SUV or lives in a McMansion?

We all can’t be living in small huts, driving ten year old cars and eating at home, otherwise we wouldn’t be in the world’s big fat mess.

Do you drive an SUV? Own it!


#79 Jelly on 03.06.09 at 12:38 pm

That is pretty much all we can do to give them the middle finger…

#80 Munch on 03.06.09 at 12:48 pm

Munch from South Africa says “Greetings, Canadians”

Munch wonders why Murrikans and Canadians bother to measure the decline of their Empire, when it is obvious to all except themselves that they are heading towards zero.

Munch would like to drw the attention of all Canadians to the two related terms, “Reticular Activation System” and “Selectove Perception”, both of which can be explored further on Wikipedia, or similar

Munch thinks that Murrikans and Canadians are firmly lodged in denial

Munch wishes all the best for his fellow World citizens, and invites all to visit his fine country, South Africa – where hard work is still valued and people still understand the value of giving

#81 Munch on 03.06.09 at 12:53 pm


Munch agrees with the contributor above who bemaons the dire state of Murrikan designed and built motor cars. Munch was in Toronto some 2 years back and was lucky enough to witness, first hand, the bullion stored in the central bank valuts in that city. It was very cold and the people appeared to be very, very obedient and quite devoid of any “soul” – is this a realistic observation, or was Munch just guilty of selective perception himself.

Why do Murrikans hate Candians so?

#82 Carole AB on 03.06.09 at 12:59 pm

#2 Mitchell Cardno

Weatherford in Nisku has layed off 72 in the last few weeks.

#83 Carole AB on 03.06.09 at 1:28 pm

#18 CapofAlberta

We bought our 1st house in Edmonton area in May 2001
$143000 1140 sq ft bilevel. Sold 1/12 yrs later with a $30,000 profit. Paid $243000 in 2003 for new 1700 sq ft 2 story. Tried to sell in 2008 to upgrade to house we had offer on. No buyers. Our same model house 4 doors down reached a peak at $500,000 in 2007. It had been flipped every 3 months in 2006 for a profit of $30,000 each time. So had many homes in the neighborhood.
How do I know? Got all the sale sheets from our realtor for the last 5 years. Get the same from your realtor to see how far down prices have to go from 2000. If you buy while prices are going down you will lose money.
The new home salesman we bought our house from in 2003 also told us a lot of the same flippers would be repossessed.

Now we feel fortunate that we were stopped from being greater fools ie. getting a bigger mortgage. We deleveraged and paid off our mortgage in January instead.

#84 David Bakody on 03.06.09 at 1:35 pm

#5 Puzzled on 03.05.09 at 9:13 pm

Not quite ( http://www.zfacts.com) ……10.96 Trillion Sir/Madmae now add the deficit, 1.5/7 T and Bush’s War on Terror 70-80B/m plus replacement costs for worn out equipment and long term health care, add another 2T plus , another 2T plus funded under the table some where. and damned if I know the total number ….. lets say $16, 000,000,000,000 (Trillion) …..

Here we are going to bail out the GM pension plan …..or put 56,000 plus their spouses on welfare….. So whats the poltical chance of that? It seems like yesterday many angry fishermen took a large poll and broke down the door to government house with John Crosby inside …. Troy Times are hard Times ….. heck even John Tory lost last night …. oh well he may be off to the Senate with our boy Rodney here in NS …… Holly smokes Batman politics is heating up everywhere. Hey Garth you may get the last laugh sooner rather than later, along with all us poor little ode bloggers who have been telling the MSM for months ….. Harper is a looser and couple of other “L” words to boot …. but heck if Mike Duffy can make it y’all can and add Wallin and Kent to boot.

#85 Republic_of_Western_Canada on 03.06.09 at 1:46 pm

#19 ‘Shane’ –

The overheated locales you speak of are only 1/2-way through their gory collapse, judging by today’s unemployment numbers.

Those places – NYC,Dubai,London, ad nauseum sure don’t have anything to show for their overwork and suicidal ‘karoshi’ except social and career destruction now, do they?

In fact Imperials ‘steady-as-she-goes’ longer-term planning horizons precisely reflect an easier-going, maintainable Western approach. That distinguishes itself from rabid concentration on tomorrow’s immediate profit typified by Enron – your favorite company no doubt. The money-grubbing ‘quick-buck’ operators who showed up here in the last half-dozen years are much more likely to be from anywhere but Calgary; most probably from Ontario.

Furthermore, any sort of refined western ‘cowboy’ culture has been forced underground in the last several years. That which remains visible (or audible) has been cheapened down to the level that the presently departing money-grubbing fly-by-night artists want to see it at. That’s all they seem capable of comprehending.

It’s been replaced by the cheap, bankrupt, debt-driven, plastic suburban family ghetto behaviour seen everywhere these days. It seems to be the only thing most new arrivals know. That’s the way you live back in Hogtown and Detroit North, right?

Finally, an efficient, motivated, well-educated, white, homogeneous corporate culture is a great environment to work in. You can actually get things done quickly and well, and feel good about coming in to work in the morning. -Instead of constantly tripping over all sorts of goofy, weird distracting behaviour and communication problems all day. Of course there are a few exceptions to that, and some of the best people I’ve worked with are non-white, locally-raised second-generation employees. But they are rare.

Tolerating so-called ‘diversity’ just for it’s own sake will only cause grief, regardless what your rancid politically-correct desires are. It would be better that you emigrate away from here and set up shop in Calcutta, or the Chinese outback, or the slums of Jo’burg. That way you can have all the diversity you can handle, and everyone will be a lot happier.

Eventually we’ll have one less half-million dollar suburban doghouse sullying the landscape, too.

#86 rory on 03.06.09 at 2:14 pm

Hi all …Garth has stated we are in a deflationary period. Others agree and some do not. If we are in this deflationary period then cash is supposed to be king. Preservation of capital is the goal but we all appear to be floundering a little on where the cash should be parked.

Some of my ideas – none are original. Maybe we should get a FP as they may have a better idea then me or maybe not.

To start:
Safety deposit boxes (SDB)
Safe in your house
Money Mkt
Bank high interest savings account
Gold/silver – hold the metal or stocks or both
Buy RE at a vulture price
Basket of currencies – US $$ or Cdn $$ – ????
Go offshore to a tax haven – legit of course.
Don’t save. Spend it all on Xurbia stuff, food and a trailer in the bush.

An argument for and against every one of them can be made (the list needs to be longer).

For example SDB – gov’t will break into them, not supposed to have cash in them due to money laundry rules, if the bank closes you still cannot get money out, if you do get the money out do you then pick up someone that will follow you home …jeez the list can be endless.

Maybe the answer is just to diversify among them all. Short the YEN …I don’t know.

#87 Makeorbreak on 03.06.09 at 2:29 pm


#88 Mike B formerly just Mike on 03.06.09 at 2:35 pm

This comic is so funny … too bad its real. It is almost as funny though as the rich boys who blamed this deep recession on “the media” from your previous blog.
Imagine that… the media caused the highest unemployment rate in the US in 25 years… how about
here in Canada with the lowest interest rates EVER.. those media people just don’t know when to stop polluting the airwaves and simply play “teletubbies ”
ALL DAY LONG.. bad media bad …

#89 Got A Watch on 03.06.09 at 3:31 pm

I was driving around Toronto yesterday during the afternoon and evening.

I noticed a general reduction in road traffic volumes from what I remember from a few years ago. Much less tractor-trailers moving – many, many parked in jammed yards…always a bad sign. Trucks move the economy.

Rush hour traffic looked like what used to be mid-day levels. Choke points where you used to get held up for 10 or 20 minutes were wide open, I barely slowed down.

Lots of empty/’For Lease’ storefronts. Many ‘For Sale’ real estate signs, a lot tilted over and looking weathered – been sitting there too long.

It looked like an economy that is failing. Not Detroit bad, but the general trend is the same, an overall feeling of ongoing decline. Lines not painted on roads, trash on the streets, etc.

As I drove home to my house in the country, I thought (again), the best thing about Toronto is watching it dwindle in the rear view mirror. Sad, for the city I was born in and pursued several careers in never used to make me feel that way.

#90 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 03.06.09 at 3:58 pm

This Looooooooooooooooooong overdue!

Tiny tax havens singled out for naming and shaming

#91 Rambo on 03.06.09 at 4:14 pm

I don’t undestand one thing. During the time when real estate was booming the media played an important role in creating the Tsunami on spending emothion. Now that things are going down, media is doing the same, making people scared. Why can’t we have honest analysis from these experts. Don’t they have an onus of presenting the complete picture and eduate people.

#92 Dave on 03.06.09 at 5:17 pm

I don’t undestand one thing. During the time when real estate was booming the media played an important role in creating the Tsunami on spending emothion. Now that things are going down, media is doing the same, making people scared. Why can’t we have honest analysis from these experts. Don’t they have an onus of presenting the complete picture and eduate people.

how is the media doing this on the way down? in The Globe yesterday, it reported a sales increase in homes as one of the business headlines. Major media outlets are always report good things from the real estate market and usually try to spin the negative things.

#93 Gord In Vancouver on 03.06.09 at 5:22 pm

#45 smwhite

Give the bailout money to Toyota and Honda for manufacturing in Canada.

Great idea but if you help one, unfortunately, you’ll have to help them all. LOL ! Yes, I’m sure everything will end well.

#94 Another Albertan on 03.06.09 at 5:46 pm


You can thank authors Douglas Coupland and David Foot for emphasizing the post-WWII birth curve that occurred in Canada. “Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture” and “Boom, Bust and Echo” are two of the genesis writings classifying the demographic shifts.

#95 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 03.06.09 at 5:51 pm

#68 Dan on 03.06.09 at 10:24 am

I think the bailout is to protect the wealthy, the governments who collect all those taxes, etc, not the workers. It is like the American Civil War where the real issue was State’s Rights, not Slavery, but , HEY, slavery sold the war. Wag The Dog LIVES!

#96 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 03.06.09 at 5:54 pm

#29 nonplused on 03.06.09 at 12:10 am

WOW! Now that was a well thought through comment. Thanks. I agree with you almost 100%

#97 Jeff Smith on 03.06.09 at 6:40 pm

Hey Too Old Bob. What kind of industry/company pays that kind of money? I mean wow, its not GM right? or is it? That’s good money for a 25yo.
Seriously? what industry is this in?

#15 Too Old Bob$ on 03.05.09 at 10:31 pm

“Thanks to the failings of their parents they can look forward to a working career of public debt, higher taxes, reduced opportunity and frugality.”

Whoa! lets not stop there, I blame the parents of the parents and so on and so on. Obviously they didn’t teach them economics neither. According to my Father and his friends some of the best opportunities were right after the economy rebound from the 1929 crash. Some of these old boys and girls had never lost a job in their entire career. Education wasn’t a priority then, jobs were getting plentiful and people felt good, thus the creation of Baby Boomers. Ya! Boomers have caused some major problems, but that’s what happens when you get greedy and want everything now, for nothing and little input. I know my “carbon MONEY footprint” is small.
Speaking of the next Generation. I just trained a 25 year old single guy to work with me. 4 months of mind boggling transfer of information. Now over 1-2 years of on the job experience. So here he is with a used car, but still newer than mine. He still rents, but wanted to buy a house about a year ago, I talked him out of it and he’s glad I did. Takes 1-2 trips a year, goes to bars for beers, you know the normal thing we all have done, but wait for it… he made $113000.00 last year. Not too shabby, but all he does is complain. He gets 5 weeks vacation ( 1 week less than me ) but wants the same as me. He thinks he should get more money, he is comparing himself to me. He made more money then his Father whose been working for 38 years and is a Foreman. He got half of his knowledge from his Dad. What the hell!, is this what’s coming up from the next Gen. I hope not! if so, we are surely doomed.
OMG! I feel pessimistic. :(

#98 dekethegeek on 03.06.09 at 6:49 pm

#81 – Munch The South African stated…
” 2 years ago I visited Toronto and it was very cold and the people were very obedient and soul less….”

Hmmm, an objective observation if I ever saw one.

#99 wallstreetbailout on 03.06.09 at 6:56 pm


We own a 2003 V6 Nissan pathfinder, 1994 Mazda Protege 4 banger.

We sold our 1brm condo in Oct 06 and decided to rent a 2 brdm appartment due to the arrival of our first daughter.

We purposely chose to rent rather than buy again as I seen this whole mess coming.

We have 45K cash in a GIC, 12K in a RRSP and no debt.

We also own outright an 1/3 of and acre lot with all services at lot line. Lot is an hour east of Osoyoos BC.

Our monthly payments include rent @ 1000.00 per month, daycare $650.00 a month as wife works part time, his/hers bell cell phone (plan to drop one phone in 6 months), bundled phone, internet and TV from telco, electrical bill.

Daycare is our biggest burden. We will be glad once daycare is done and wife goes back to full time.

Just did our taxes and we have an combined income of about 70K before taxes.

We live about 20 miles east of Vancouver.

We hope to weather the coming storm and will consider buying here in the next few years in the suburbs if the numbers make sence.

Until then, we are trying to live within our means month to month and try to add to saving if we can but daycare is a killer.

Anyone else?

#100 Rural Rick on 03.06.09 at 7:07 pm

Its all about control. Governments all around the world understand that in this time of such uncertainty mobs may form. The mob is the only thing a politician fears.
They are moving to allow the military to assist police forces which sounds ok at first, but whoops there goes another freedom.
Which is probably why Harper doesn’t want to explain where the 3 billion is going.

#101 Vancouver_Renter on 03.06.09 at 7:27 pm

#55 HappyPlace wrote…

“And if the next generations are enjoying their lifestyles it is because of the boomer tax base.”

Oh boy. I think you smoked too much weed at your 60s love-ins.

Here is what the baby boom did for me, having been born in 1964:

1. When I entered the workforce, after graduating from university, I encountered the “Great Wall of Boomers” in lower and middle management. It was an impenetrable barrier blocking all of my peers from climbing the corporate ladder. At the time, I thought it was normal. But now, in hindsight, I understand why so many of my talented colleagues never got anywhere in their careers.

2. My older boomer siblings bought new houses priced at low multiples of their incomes, and had federal and provincial grants to help them with the purchase. It was easy for them to buy a house. Thanks to the demand by boomers, when it was time for me to buy a house, the prices had risen 3 times higher yet my income was lower than my siblings (thanks to that little problem of no openings in management or unions for any of us). Oh, and those government grants? Canceled. Sorry, the boomers drained the funds. Those inexpensive houses that boomers bought are the envy of my generation. Most of my friend were able to buy their first house when they were around age 40.

3. By the time my wife and I decided that it would be wonderful to buy a cabin or similar recreational getaway for our kids, it was too late. The boomers got there first and places that were previously easy to afford were suddenly impossibly expensive.

4. And retirement savings? I started early. Thanks to the demand by boomers, the investments I purchased had already seen most of their increases in price. There were no bargains for our generation.

5. One last one that not too many think about… I know many guys, born in the 1960s, who never ended up marrying. Ever wonder why? It’s because the birthrate PLUNGED after 1964. Statistically, men marry women who are 5 years longer than themselves. So when my friends went to dances, there were always 6 girls for every 10 guys! Contrast that with my cousins born at the start of the baby boom… When they went to dances there were 15 girls for every 10 guys because the birth rate was rising!

I could go on and on. The bottom line is that I witnessed that the average baby boomer just had to go with the flow and would, as a consequence, do just fine. In contrast, everyone I know who was born at the tail end of the baby boom or right after it has had to plot, scheme, plan, risk to get ahead. Life has been a much different experience for us.

Looking forward, the boomers have one last surprise in store for our generation… Now that the stock and real estate markets are imploding, I am sure they will bankrupt all social programs, including healthcare and pensions, and my generation will be left with the massive debts and gutted services.

So, no, I’m not thanking the baby boom.

For what it’s worth, I know the challenges of my generation have not been intentionally inflected on us, so I don’t blame the boomers themselves. The baby boom just WAS. My friends and I just lost at the roulette wheel when we were born, due to bad timing. I actually believe it has made our group more down-to-earth in terms of expectations.

#102 Barb the proofreader on 03.06.09 at 7:36 pm

I see good Gen Y’s and bad Gen Y’s but I see no reason to think they will stop contributing to the massive earth problems any better than any other generation, especially since they’ve been particularly spoiled in their upbringing, and quite mis-educated by the greed splashed over them. Modern access to commercial media — taught them selfish consumerism and instant gratification. Expect further deterioration of human rights around the world because these kids will be too busy trying to hold on to some semblance of the comforts they’ve grown accustomed to — third world concerns and human rights will be thrown under the bus more than ever.

Garth, you said it yourself, “And, if you happen to have been born twenty years ago, unbridled opportunity.”

These youngsters eyes will be on the ball of self-opportunity just as much as any other generation. As such, the GREED that creates despair elsewhere and for another day — simply marches on.

#103 prairie gopher on 03.06.09 at 7:36 pm

Okay, I need some quick advice on this one! My daughter and her fiance just signed an offer on a house in hidden valley in Calgary. It was originally listed for $400k, and got it for 25k less. What’s the feeling on the area? My advice was not to buy now, but, they felt it was a good time to buy. Let me know your thoughts regarding the area, etc. Any advice would be helpful, thanks.

#104 Go Green on 03.06.09 at 7:41 pm

With all the depressing news of late, I thought you might enjoy a good laugh. I know I did.

An elderly gentleman…
Had serious hearing problems for a number of years. He went to the doctor and the doctor was able to have him fitted for a set of hearing aids that allowed the gentleman to hear 100%

The elderly gentleman went back in a month to the doctor and the doctor said, ‘Your hearing is perfect. Your family must be really pleased that you can hear again.’

The gentleman replied, ‘Oh, I haven’t told my family yet.
I just sit around and listen to the conversations. I’ve changed my will three times!’

Two elderly gentlemen from a retirement center were sitting on a bench under a tree when one turns to the other and says: ‘Slim, I’m 83 years old now and I’m just full of aches and pains. I know you’re about my age. How do you feel?’

Slim says, ‘ I feel just like a newborn baby.’
‘Really!? Like a newborn baby!?’
‘Yep. No hair, no teeth, and I think I just wet my pants.’

An elderly couple had dinner at another couple’s house, and after eating, the wives left the table and went into the kitchen.

The two gentlemen were talking, and one said, ‘Last night we went out to a new restaurant and it was really great. I would recommend it very highly.’
The other man said, ‘What is the name of the restaurant?’
The first man thought and thought and finally said, ‘What is the name of that flower you give to someone you love?
You know… The one that’s red and has thorns.’
‘Do you mean a rose?’
‘Yes, that’s the one,’ replied the man. He then turned towards the kitchen and yelled, ‘Rose, what’s the name of that restaurant we went to last night?’

Hospital regulations require a wheel chair for patients being discharged. However, while working as a student nurse, I found one elderly gentleman already dressed and sitting on the bed with a suitcase at his feet, who insisted he didn’t need my help to leave the hospital.
After a chat about rules being rules, he reluctantly let me wheel him to the elevator.
On the way down I asked him if his wife was meeting him.
‘ I don’t know,’ he said. ‘She’s still upstairs in the bathroom changing out of her hospital gown.’

Couple in their nineties are both having problems remembering things. During a checkup, the doctor tells them that they’re physically okay, but they might want to start writing things down to help them remember.

Later that night, while watching TV, the old man gets up from his chair. ‘Want anything while I’m in the kitchen?’ he asks.
‘Will you get me a bowl of ice cream?’
‘Don’t you think you should write it down so you can remember it?’ she asks.
‘No, I can remember it.’
‘Well, I’d like some strawberries on top, too. Maybe you should write it down, so’s not to forget it?’
He says, ‘ I can remember that. You want a bowl of ice cream with strawberries.’
‘I’d also like whipped cream. I’m certain you’ll forget that, write it down?’ she asks.
Irritated, he says, ‘ I don’t need to write it down, I can remember it! Ice cream with strawberries and whipped cream – I got it, for goodness sake!’
Then he toddles into the kitchen. After about 20 minutes,
The old man returns from the kitchen and hands his wife a plate of bacon and eggs. She stares at the plate for a moment.
‘Where’s my toast ?’

A senior citizen said to his eighty-year old buddy:
‘So I hear you’re getting married?’
‘Do I know her?’
‘This woman, is she good looking?’
‘Not really.’
‘Is she a good cook?’
‘Naw, she can’t cook too well.’
‘Does she have lots of money?’
‘Nope! Poor as a church mouse.’
‘Well, then, is she good in bed?’
‘ I don’t know.’
‘Why in the world do you want to marry her then ?’
‘Because she can still drive!’

Three old guys are out walking.
First one says, ‘Windy, isn’t it?’
Second one says, ‘No, it’s Thursday!’
Third one says, ‘So am I. Let’s go get a soda.’

A man was telling his neighbour, ‘ I just bought a new hearing aid. It cost me four thousand dollars, but it’s state of the art. It’s perfect.’
‘Really,’ answered the neighbour . ‘What kind is it?’
‘Twelve thirty.’

Morris, an 82 year-old man, went to the doctor to get a physical.
A few days later, the doctor saw Morris walking down the street with a gorgeous young woman on his arm.
A couple of days later, the doctor spoke to Morris and said, ‘You’re really doing great, aren’t you?’
Morris replied, ‘Just doing what you said, Doc: ‘Get a hot mamma and be cheerful.”
The doctor said, ‘ I didn’t say that. I said, ‘You’ve got a heart murmur; be careful.’

One more. . .!

A little old man shuffled slowly into an ice cream parlour and pulled himself slowly, painfully, up onto a stool.. After catching his breath, he ordered a banana split.
The waitress asked kindly, ‘Crushed nuts?’
‘No,’ he replied, ‘Arthritis.’

#105 Barb the proofreader on 03.06.09 at 7:47 pm

#29 nonplused on 03.06.09 at 12:10 am

I think giving those kids credit for being able to run “the technology of the day” misses the point. My brothers, friends, sisters, cousins, we could all work on sewing, fixing toys, clocks, engines, fix things of our day that our parent’s couldn’t. Big deal.

My experience with kids shows a mix bag of attitudes, educations and upbringings, and I hold no false hopes that all will be well.

I’ll meet you in the old folks home and we’ll compare notes, but I hold no false hopes on how well they may or may not treat us when that day comes.

#106 dekethegeek on 03.06.09 at 8:14 pm

#101 Vancouver renter
VERY Good points. Totally agree ( as i was born in ’61 I can totally relate to everything you stated).

#107 rory on 03.06.09 at 8:23 pm

#103 prairie gopher

In sticking to this blogs principle …I cannot recommend buying anything unless you are a vulture and got vulture pricing …prices are going to go to 2005 price levels and probably lower – 1997??? …Of course that is just my unqualified advice …plus Hidden Valley is in the middle of nowhere, the kinda place you should not be in …the LRT is nowhere in site …if they must buy at least get them nearer to a LRT station….location, location, location helps if everything else is equal + they need to read Garth’s book/blog.

#108 dodgedabullit in Alberta on 03.06.09 at 8:26 pm

Greetings: Here are some photos, lead in to the days events, very sobering:

#109 Rural Rick on 03.06.09 at 8:34 pm

Oh jeez! Stop the whining “I was a born in the wrong generation” Like we had a choice. We are all just here dealing with it.
No matter how much you bitch about circumstances screwing you out of your rightful heritage the fact that you are looking at this post means you are way better off than 90% of the people on the planet.
Way better. Count your blessings.

#110 Taxpayer like you on 03.06.09 at 8:34 pm

101 Renter

1) The cream rises to the top. Maybe your skim….

2) Grants for home purchase? Did I miss something? I
paid for my house.

3) Get your older boomer siblings to buy the cottage at the lake. Thats what I did.

4) Guess what happened when all those boomers tried to sell their investments? The bargains you want are almost

5) Marry an older woman! I did that too.

Good recovery at the end of your post though. Just accept it and deal with it. No more whining.

#111 Monty on 03.06.09 at 8:43 pm

@prairie gopher

I hope your daughter and her fiance REALLY like that place and plan on living there for a long time.

Unless they have a huge downpayment, they’re probably going to be in negative equity for at least a decade. So they better be comfortable.

They’d be a lot better off waiting for a couple years if at all possible to get out of their current deal.

#112 Jasson on 03.06.09 at 8:53 pm

Garth, could you please comment on the health of Sunlife Financial in Canada. I have life insurance and stuff through them and their stock price is way down. I am wondering if they are on the verge of going poof into thin air with all the years of premiums I have paid, and if something happened to me while all this is going down, I wonder if my family would receive benefits at all?

#113 Mike on 03.06.09 at 10:48 pm

It would also be nice if the Calgary oil & gas sector reflected the general community a little more and became diverse. It makes my skin crawl how Caucasian the typical downtown Calgary energy company is.


You might want to walk up and down the aisles of the engineering floors of said companies. Plenty of diversity

#114 nonplused on 03.07.09 at 2:11 am

#66 Larry

Thanks. I work with the younger generations at work and on the field, as many, many others do. Based on my experiences with them, they have my respect.

As an old friend of mine who never finished high school but yet always seems a fountain of wisdom once said to me (after I was complaining about the apparent lack of productivity in a boyfriend of my sister, many years ago): “We all have a tough go of it.”


Glad you enjoyed it. I actually felt uncomfortable putting it up, because I wasn’t sure this crowd was up for hearing that the kids were doing the best they could, and well at that.

I also don’t know if I consider it inspirational. But I am impressed with how younger folks have dealt with their own version of adversity, but it’s adversity they’ve had. They have been raised on Vidal Sassoon, and given jobs at McDonalds.

They put the generations into categories based on some loose time interval, roughly 20 years, and significant events that characterized their youth. For example, the “boomers” were a large population explosion after the war, which gave them the name (from baby boom). They later became defined by Woodstock and the 60’s in general, and now by corporate greed and a lack of morality in finance, government, and personally. (Incidentally, if you read about Woodstock, it’s interesting that almost nobody who attended actually paid, they all skipped the fence. The organizers paid the bands anyway to prevent a riot or some other disaster, but they didn’t break even until they got money for the movie rights, many years later. That’s pretty much the boomers ever since. Skip the fence, don’t pay.)

GenX got it’s name because they were so overshadowed by the boomers that nobody bothered to care what changes they were making or what defined them.

GenY for much the same reasons as GenX but they have a couple of derogatory names for them so far that are based on the fact that they watched a lot of TV while their parents were busy ignoring them, that I don’t believe will stick. GenX has defined itself now as the generation that was happy not to be a part of things, but I think GenY will define themselves shortly, probably with a bunch of GenXers “playing up” as they say in sports when you get call up to a higher team that will be short players for a game.

#76 refugee

A good portion of these kids born 20 years ago are plenty willing to commit crimes. But the bulk of them respect “game rules” and will not “cheat” unless the think you are too. But that is one difference in them. They do think if you break the rules and the ref doesn’t call it so can they.

They will create their own opportunities. Watch. It will be like the invention of the automobile or the internet all over again. They don’t need Garth’s opportunities. They will remake the world in their own image, same as every other generation has done. And it will be tech heavy, independence heavy, and green heavy.

#96 Bill-Muskoka (NAM)

Thanks. And I am still looking for a link to the Daily Show you mentioned above. Went to Comedy Central but they didn’t have today up yet. Care to post?

101 Vancouver_Renter

Having been born in 1964, most commentators would actually group you as a baby boomer, but late, tail end of the curve. Some put you in GenX, but very early.

#102 Barb the proofreader

So GenY will have as much impact per capital as you did? Thus they are evil?

But at least they actually want to find a way to change things.

#103 prairie gopher

As we coaches say, “The game itself is the best teacher.” Sometimes you have to let them fail. If they signed it, what are you going to do about it besides nag and say “I told you so!” Not productive.

#105 Barb the proofreader

They can run the “technology of the day” (yesteryear) too. But we can’t run their technology.

Hopefully, when we are in the old age home, they will just ignore us, like we did to them.

#115 canuck on 03.07.09 at 8:01 am

#78 No don’t own a SUV. Bought a 2006 Ford Focus Station Wagon that we happened to see the day it arrived on the Ford’s dealer’s lot. It gets good mileage. The lady who owned it trades her cars either year and she took a 50% depreciation loss. Retail just over $25,000, our cost $14,000–car had just over 6,000 kilometres. We’re retired and built our own house, subcontracting out a total of less than $5,000 and that included my hubby milling his own cherry and walnut flooring and making all the cabinetry including the trim throughout the house. We did everything ourselves with the exception of digging the foundation hole and laying out the filter beds for the septic system. That was our third house we built and we’re now too old to ever build another one. No mortgage, paid cash for the car. We’re living on fixed incomes that aren’t high, receive a modest mortgage payment from the sale of our yacht manufacturing building that we sold in September. Hubby derives extra income working part-time and so do I. Our needs are simple and the things we know how to build, do and repair are extensive.

#116 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 03.07.09 at 8:39 am

For all looking for ‘The Daily Show’, it is only available on The Comedy Network (not the ‘Comedy Channel’ as I erringly stated) in Canada! Sorry about that, My Bad!

BTW, Stewart trounced the Blathering Walrus, Rush (who names their child Rush? Oh,. maybe that explains the Oxycotin addiction, eh?) Limburger and for those who disdain the Hate Mongering Lardass you will find it most entertaining. Watch Jon Stewart’s Thursday night episode for the fun! In fact, Stephen Colbert tore some large strips off the Walrus as well.

#117 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 03.07.09 at 8:40 am

#114 nonplused on 03.07.09 at 2:11 am

The link was per your request! Sorry, first post of the day and only one eye is open. LOL

#118 Too Old Bob$ on 03.07.09 at 2:25 pm

“#97 Jeff Smith on 03.06.09 at 6:40 pm Hey Too Old Bob. What kind of industry/company pays that kind of money? I mean wow, its not GM right? or is it? That’s good money for a 25yo.
Seriously? what industry is this in? ”

Natural Gas Processing Plant.

Power Engineering 3rd Class Certificate. (Canadian )

#119 Barb the proofreader on 03.07.09 at 4:05 pm

#18 nonplused “So GenY will have as much impact per capital as you did? Thus they are evil? But at least they actually want to find a way to change things.”


You’re saying the Baby Boomers didn’t want to find a way to change things????????? Wow, how naive are you?

And it is incredibly INSINCERE and improper of you to put words in someone’s mouth that they did not say. Your patter has been detected before. Don’t bother putting words in my mouth. I said ‘I hold no false hopes that all will be well’ and I said, ‘GREED, that creates despair elsewhere, and for another day — simply marches on’.

And Nonplussed, your statement that about GenY that “They can run the technology of yesteryear too” — is simply not true. My family and generations before worked with our hands, in jobs and chores that these kids wouldn’t have the slightest clue how to perform, farm jobs, rotating crops, gardening for one’s own kitchen and the neighbours, fixing old appliances and cars, fixing the television, flashlights, stove, fridge, radio, old clocks, gramophones, telephones, making old clothing into new clothing, innovating and inventing, and making their own furniture and building their own homes. My family members could do all this just as a matter of daily living. If you liken that kids today accomplish those tasks or have the patience and understanding to do so, then I’d like to introduce you to Peter Pan and the Easter Bunny.

You also said:

“But we can’t run their technology. Hopefully, when we are in the old age home, they will just ignore us, like we did to them.”

Your comments come from your narrow view, not a larger view. Human nature remains the same no matter how you re-write it. The people I know in their mid-50’s CAN OPERATE today’s technology and your suggestion that they can’t is false. Your characterization of BABY BOOMERS is insincere and extremely misleading, and to what end? So you can write a ‘warm and fuzzy’ and ignore the truth about generations? These kids were not “ignored” as you say, their young parents were doing what every generation does. Their young parents acted according to the MESSAGE THEY HEAR AND LEARN about how to raise a family. The message comes from school, church, family, friends, home, media and other sources.

It’s very shallow of you, Non-Plussed, to take such a swing at Baby Boomers. Were they not the product of their parents as well? So why don’t you take a swing at The Greatest Generation? To you, when YOU state that “they will just ignore us, like we did to them” suggests that each generation has not loved their offspring. That is simply an ignorant and not-well-thought-over accusation.

Non-Plussed, you obviously do not understand the basic problem with a Society. But you are certainly contributing to the basic MIS-UNDERSTANDING of Society, and that’s the only reason I address you.

The problem in society comes from The Message (originally transmitted word-of-mouth, now additionally by media). What’s wrong with The Message? First, the media (and people) are far too influenced by GREED. Thank goodness for PUBLIC BROADCASTING AND MEDIA SUCH AS BBC, CBC AND NPR. I’ll say it twice, THANK GOODNESS, because THAT’S where truthful media lives, and in the abundance and variety of books in libraries. And we can only hope that schools become better places to learn basic truths as well.

One thing about the Baby Boomers that YOU need to learn:

Baby Boomers were full of hope.

Baby Boomers fought for Civil Rights, Women’s Rights, Gay Rights, Anti-Nuclear, Human Rights, Peace Not War, Save The Earth, Love and Human Understanding. And what happened? John, Martin and Bobby were assassinated. Our spirit was assaulted and threatened by wrong-thinking politicians and organized groups who decided to interfere, power mongers and liars who deliberately destroyed The Message Of Goodness, and replaced it with their message. Think of the deceit and crimes of Nixon, his false paranoia about the media being left wing, the Rethuglicans desire to stomp on human progress because to them it was the enemy, so they killed universal healthcare and robust public education. Canada has been heavily influenced too, by a lot of big-wig American thugs. The 70’s brought us the destruction of hope through the evil campaigns of the insincere business cults, some who called themselves the Moral Majority. The wealthy elite Corporatists started fake think tanks, influenced groups, and financed the universities to TEACH their insane economics that got us all where we are today.

Do some research on the big biz fellows, the greedy cronyism, the eyebrow raising Texas elite connections, the Military Industrial Complex (even Eisenhower warned the public when he left office) the media conglomerates and the false prophets of organized religion, to name just a few of the abusive MESSAGE RULERS, and take a look at the end results of what happens when you let MISEDUCATED Big banking and Big finance collude with complicated high end fixed GAMBLING they call Wall St or Bay. Human folly and the greed of uncontrolled Capitalism ARE NEVER GOING TO CHANGE ON THEIR OWN.

SOCIETY, old generations or new, are too disorganized to fix the real problems. Society as a whole are disorganized because they DON’T receive the truth or a good education about what to watch out for in leadership, nor do they receive real truth in the messages they receive in society. There are always people out there who try to distort the truth, or generalize too much and add NOTHING to the greater understanding — usually because they have some angle of their own. I suggest you take however many years of life you have under your belt, and add some real research and a broader perspective. Try not to be part of the naive problem. And don’t wear your rose-coloured glasses while you are reading.

The only thing that will fix our problems, is the gradual ‘trial and error’ of each generation learning and re-learning. We all must learn to ignore or stand up against MISLEADERS — but at the same time we MUST SUPPORT AND FIGHT FOR the good things in society that we believe in. The next generations may learn from the former generations’ trials and errors — and step by step further Society — or not.

Hope is good. False hope is bad. And misleading messages is what got us into this mess.

#120 HarryS on 03.07.09 at 6:05 pm

With all this depressing news and all the chaos, turbulence, dissatisfaction …. it must be an opportune time to test the Canadian electorate’s confidence in the Harper Conservative government.

Ignatieff is holding the government’s Stimulus Budget under strict “probation” … and the first report card check will be the end of March. Liberals cannot give the Conservatives any sort of “passing grade”, otherwise it will destroy the Liberal’s credibility.

In anticipation of a no confidence vote by the Liberals, the Conservatives are apparently preparing a slew of attack ads against Ignatieff himself. Surely this must be in preparation for a Spring election..!!!

Ignatieff cannot possibly allow the Harper government to continue under these economic circumstances … election this Spring …!!!!

#121 Shane on 03.07.09 at 7:05 pm

Mike – Just because you have a couple of guys from Poland working in your Engineering firm that doesn’t mean you have a diverse workplace…

My beef with Calgary is that for a city with big city aspirations, and a big city cost of living to match, it certainly is an insular smaller centre that isn’t the most worldly place around.

Either Calgary is going to have to develop a big city corporate culture (goodbye 2 weeks off for Stampede) or the cost of living in Calgary is going to have to come down.

#122 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 03.08.09 at 10:04 am

#119 Barb the proofreader on 03.07.09 at 4:05 pm


Good retort. We Boomers brought in an unbelievable number of changes. We fought for those changes for the benefit of the next generations, and ourselves.

The current ‘electronic toys’, advances in medicine, labour laws, societal equality were primarily the results of the Boomer Generation’s efforts.

Now, I also know we inherited a worn out, myoptic, racist, bigoted set of ideals from our parents and most overcame those personality deficits. Most, but not all.

We were the First Generation to live through the entire Cold War, the constant uncertainty of Nuclear Holocaust fostered by our parent’s WWII mentality bawed on blind FUD. I for one did NOT enjoy the experience. We kept asking ‘Are they MAD?’ We asked that so much that ‘M.A.D.’ became an acronym for ‘Mutually Assured Destruction.’ We were subjugated by a lot of fearful power perverts who WERE the problem.

The Old Guard is finally exiting the scene, but it has been a long, long road to get where we are today. Likewise, the generation immediately following the true Boomers (born 1946-1949) were a distortion to me. They seemed oblivious to reality and forstered a Spoiled Brat type of GREED which is still prevelant today.

The true Boomers were a generation born immediately after the end of WWII. They were literally conceived as a result of our parents having sex in joyful release after going through such a horrid worldwide experience for so long.

The generation born after 1950 were not the same IMHO. They simply did not get the insights and social training we did.

We were absolutely amazed at what we could do and made sure we were free to do it. What we have today is the result of the Boomers saying ‘Yes, We Can!’ and ‘Yes, We MUST!’ We were determined to make a better, saner world. All through this we fought to climb up into the seats of power, but were slapped down by our ‘Elders’. Well, they are rapidly passing from the scene now, and their outdated thinking with them.

Like all things, not all are included, nor should they be, in any discussion regarding ‘Who is to blame!’.

I can only speak from my own personal and very real experience of where my heart was through it all. We wanted R-E-S-P-E-C-T, and have been darn willing to give the same in return.

I, for one, do not believe people deserve respect for achieving power by corruption, nor at the expense of others. I also am one to say ‘Your office may deserve respect, but you have to EARN it!’ Likewise, if some clod disgraces their honourable office I say ‘Throw the Bum Out!’

I must say, I feel quite alone nowadays watching my fellow Canadians support such atrocious jerks merely because of a blind ideology. Party, party, party seems to be the limit of their mental capabilities!

#123 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 03.08.09 at 10:34 am


Also, when we start treating White-Collar Crime as more serious than some shoplifter, and making REAL examples of these greedy miscreants, then White-Collar Crime will drop dramatically.

These criminals laugh at the law and their lawyers are the ones massaging them to take actions the rest of society deems improper. They affect thousands, millions, of people’s lives, and the Good Old Boy’s Club that judges them pass it off as No Big Deal! Enough of the ‘Letter of The Law’ and time for ‘The Spirit of The Law’ to re-emerge as our standard.

We need a R.I.C.O. Statute in Canada that takes all their assets and gives those assets back to their victims. These criminals have had all the benefits of education, opportunity, and trust. They have VIOLATED them. And the same goes for the lawyers, judges, and whore politicans who play in their sandbox of unaccountability.

Arrogant assholes like John Baird do not deserve the title of Honourable, nor ANY respect whatsoever from the public. I have never seen such a blatant arrogance as Baird exhibits over and over again. The people who elected him should be ASHAMED!

Unfortunately, shame is something that is not PC to the Redumblican mindset. I am totally disgusted with them all. The same goes for the Liberal’s Back Room Boy’s, and the myoptic NDP.

What we need is not just ‘Yes, We Can!’ as a bonding mantra for all, but the expression of ‘Yes, YOU Can!’ as a mantra to energize individuals. Then, and only then, will we all be working together for OUR common good.

In short, ‘Time To Grow Up People!’ Time to listen, time to learn, and time to ACT!

#124 Jmack on 03.08.09 at 11:55 am

What’s with the ripping on decent amounts of time off and a liveable income??. I agree that something for nothing doesn’t work, but some people would rather work to live, than live to work. If the company you work for is raking it in, maybe it should trickle down to the people doing to work. You can suck up 2-3 weeks holidays on family commitments and a bad case of flue.

#125 EcoInsurgent on 03.08.09 at 1:40 pm

It’s sad to read about a young couple signing their lives away on a house in Hidden Valley at this point of the house price crash. As a Calgarian I am seeing the spring for sale signs starting to go up in massive numbers and I have seen a few “SOLD” signs as well….the people who buy in the next couple of years will be known as the Greatest Fools.

#126 Barb the proofreader on 03.11.09 at 1:38 pm

#122 Bill Muskoka-Nam “I must say, I feel quite alone nowadays watching my fellow Canadians support such atrocious jerks merely because of a blind ideology. Party, party, party seems to be the limit of their mental capabilities!”

You’re not alone :)