The journey


Tuesday update: Add Air Canada to the list of the walking dead. A new CEO has been brought in to slash costs and (you read it here first) crash land the carrier into bankruptcy proceedings. This is how deflation works in Montreal, as it does in Chicago, where the venerable Sun-Times newspaper today also enters the realm of the cashless. I hope they’re paying attention in the National Post newsroom.

Today Ford in the US says it will pay up to $700  month for a year to anyone who buys a new car then loses their job. Except if you work at Ford. And the latest GDP numbers show Canada’s economy shrunk in January, which we knew. Fortunately, Barack Obama is on his way to the G20. He’ll fix it all up.

* * *

An acquaintance I had not spoken to in over a decade phoned me. From a suburban motel room, as it turned out. He’d been the CEO of some very prestigious outfits, and a shaker in politics.

In my mind’s eye he was in a pin-striped three-piece suit, polished and connected. It was hard to visualize him now destitute, calling me for money. “What you said was coming,” he softly spoke, “came for me.”

Did you see CBC’s newscast Monday night?

In Detroit, an interview with a guy who shoots racoons and sells the meat in the city. Fifteen each, two for twenty-five. Unemployment there has reached Depression levels, and more than half the people (once two million lived in Detroit) have fled. Houses for a dollar. More vacant land than all of Vancouver.

In Fort Myers, the average house price has dropped by 70%. There are 2,100 foreclosures a month. State finances are crumbling. A subdivision has but one resident left.

The spectre of a collapse in the NA car industry moved a lot closer in the last 24 hours. Stock markets tanked on the news, as you’d expect. Immediate clouds were thrown over the looming G20 summit of world leaders. Unions and workers were distraught.

In what was recently the fastest growing municipality in Canada, the auto parts factories are shutting their doors now routinely. There are more than 1,700 houses for sale in Milton, a GTA community with just 65,000 residents. First-time buyers are now freaked-out sellers, their equity evaporating weekly and the spectre of job loss hanging over every family like those engineered roof trusses. This is how homes become prisons.

Hard to see now how Chrysler will stay in Canada, or GM avoid going wheels-up. And that’s despite billions more taxpayer dollars pumped in to have them live for a few more weeks.  When the end comes, it will be a defining moment on the road we’re all on.

Travellers. Some stopped for the night. Grasping.


For today’s blog, ‘Human fuel,’ click here.


For Garth’s latest podcast, click here.



#1 Bill -watch this video on 03.30.09 at 10:42 pm

Getting Your Family Through the Most Devastating
Financial Crisis Since the Great Depression …
— With Your Money Completely Intact!


DELETED. Go buy an ad somewhere. — Garth

#2 Marina on 03.30.09 at 10:50 pm

Warning –

HYPERINFLATION in North America may start as early as the end of 2009y.

Garth, how would you suggest us to be prepaired for this?
Many debts will disappear in the period of hyperinflation by the way…

Will not happen. Get real. This is a building deflationary crisis. — Garth

#3 Marc on 03.30.09 at 10:51 pm

I got to be the bearer of bad news to all of our employees today. 10% across the board wage reductions. I told them, you can look at it 2 ways. You can see the negative of a 10% rollback, or look at a positive of keeping 90% of your wage. One worker actually got upset, and opted for the lay off and E.I. Not sure who does his math, but E.I. pays only 55% of earnings upto 39K or so. I gladly accepted my 10% rollback, and will be in tomorrow. Our owner has cut his price by 45% and we have not landed work since Aug. He is bidding to take a loss on projects, and so is our compitition. I fail to see how in any way E.I. could be considered lucritive. If it is so lucritive in the eyes of politicians, then let workers opt out of the E.I. tax.

With government revenue down, and unemployment ratcheting up, how long until M.P.s vote for a 10% rollback for themselves? I won’t hold my breath, as it is unlikely to be thought of by them.

#4 Too Old Bob$ on 03.30.09 at 10:55 pm

“In Detroit, an interview with a guy who shoots racoons and sells the meat in the city.”

Sounds like the old days when I use to sell Pigeons for $5.00 to a certain particular restaurant owner.

“Perhaps this is why an investor from Europe flew over to Detroit last week and bought 30 houses, for $150,000.”

Hmm! maybe this is a bad investment?

I have a old friend who lives in Windsor and says, ” bin to Detroit once and will never go back” He was literally scare the whole time there and could hardly wait to get out. Good enough reason for me to never go there, Hockey or not.

#5 Jeremy on 03.30.09 at 11:22 pm

I just finished watching that CBC report like 2 minutes ago, detroit has been in decline for two decades because they can’t build cars there like they can in asia.

while toyota and honda were building small cars, gm was building suv’s and pick up trucks. vehicles that serve no day to day purpose in a urban enviroment.

they need to go under and new companies will come along that are more competitive.

#6 Investx on 03.30.09 at 11:25 pm

Peter Schiff, predictor of the real estate collapse and big economic downturn vindicted on MSNBC in an “I Told You So” segment:

#7 Grantmi on 03.30.09 at 11:37 pm

Hmmmm.. Coon Stew!

Saw the same piece! I was like the reporter in that one home… stunned and silent! Almost like passing by a car crash!!

You know it’s bad when they’re selling homes for a BUCK just to get someone to take over the taxes, and up-keep!

Sad…. very sad!

#8 Papillon on 03.31.09 at 12:12 am

CEO selling pencils? Whatever.

Time to learn a[nother] trade; as everyone should. He could try farming. Or carpentry. And then work in exchange for some stew and a place to sleep.

Gotta start being productive somewhere.

#9 Apocalypse Now on 03.31.09 at 12:25 am

Communism has come to America (O how ironic!) and communism always leads to totalitarianism. But for the grace of God there will be martial law in North America by the summer of 2010 if not sooner because of shortage of food, water, energy and housing (as more and more homeowners become homeless). The the jackbooted paramilitary black shirt SS Gestapo police will be out in force in our streets. Then the sheeple will discover how truly compassionate and caring are their leaders on both sides of the border. Garth please don’t point fingers at the Yankees, we Canucks are in no better shape than they and our politicians are even more corrupt than those South of the border. This crisis has been orchestrated at the highest levels which is why no solution will be found that will work. You can take that to the bank, that is if any of the banks will survive.

#10 Soylent Green is People on 03.31.09 at 12:50 am

I was talking to a guy who was telling me that he knows a financial guy who was telling him all these crazy stories of people in Toronto going to banks to take their cash out. He was so surprised when I admitted I had done the same.

I’m getting pretty s c a r e d ….

Postcards From the Recession

“This time around, there’s no dust, no ash, no acrid smell, no sirens, no jets, and no brave rescuers either. And yet the effect might, sooner or later, be far more apocalyptic, and the lives swallowed up far greater.

This time, the “caves” of the extremists responsible for the devastation were located on Wall Street. They hijacked our economy and did their level best to take down our world. ”,0,7731065.story


#11 Da HK Kid on 03.31.09 at 1:01 am

1 in 20 unemployed was the norm for Hong Kong, now latest report show 1 in 15 soon to be 1 in 10.

This 1 in 10 number is something to note as it is now being pegged as the norm for the global market.

Again, unemployment figures only reflect those still collecting not REAL numbers where right now in the US it’s 8.1% and 14.8% respectively.

Canada is right in the mix whereas the US targets 10-12% by year end and over 20% REAL.

I believe it will be 1 in 5 by end of 2010. And dont forget those with a job will be working 4 days a week and/or earning 15%+ less than current salary.

Worst is the dynamic that will continue to occur in the RE market whereas there will be no bottom for some time to come sucking in Baby Booming Empty Nesters like flies.

There will be only limited taxpayers to pay off deficits and therefore generations will need to foot the bill.

I thoroughly believe revolt like scenarios are in the cards.

Stake out your position now and dont be one of the less fortunate! Start building your USP for barter town.

#12 Da HK Kid on 03.31.09 at 1:06 am

oh yes, forgot, for all of you stage 3 denialers, it is usually 3 legs down after the first drop, leg one upon us.

6000 DOW coming! Stage 5 is Barter Town and not everyone wants to eat Tomatoes and Carrots!

#13 Da HK Kid on 03.31.09 at 1:09 am

Once again, the gaping whole in Geitner’s plan

#14 JoeCalgary on 03.31.09 at 1:15 am

It gets worse. In some parts of US, banks are walking away from foreclosures.

Bank losses in US are about to spread to interest rate derivatives.

And the Economist Intelligence Unit now predicts a 40% chance of depression with a worldwide political instability index that is very high for much of Africa and Eastern Europe.

#15 Vancouver_Renter on 03.31.09 at 1:29 am

The big issue for many of us is where to position our investments in this economic downturn.

Today a concerned relative of mine asked me, “What are YOU investing in, given everything that is going on?”

I replied humbly, “Well… actually… mainly gold miners and bullion.”

He responded with a disappointed smile saying, “Oh, you’re not one of THOSE guys are you?”

No matter who I talk to, I find that am considered to be a oddball for believing in gold. Never mind that gold stocks were the best performing asset class in the five deflationary contractions in the last 300 years, including the Great Depression. Never mind that I’ve done my homework and history is on my side. And never mind that these gold producers are making greater and greater profits as the gold price holds up while their cost fall. Gold gets little mainstream respect these days.

I’ve heard the story that, in 1982, after a couple decades of dismal performance, few wanted to buy into the stock or bond market. Commodities and gold were the hot ticket. Yet it turns out that 1982 was the start of the great bull markets in the stock and bond markets that lasted for a couple decades. And commodities and gold were dud investments. Contrarian investors who went against the herd did very well.

I believe that best opportunities are ones that the general public have yet to believe in. So as long as I have to feel ashamed that I believe in gold and gold stocks, I am confident that I am on the right track. So everyone can keep on giving me those funny looks when I explain that gold stocks are doing very well and worth holding in one’s portfolio.

#16 Mike (authentic) on 03.31.09 at 2:20 am

I wish the Canada government knew what they were doing and stick to a plan. If they felt GM, Chrysler and/or Ford were unsustainable and would eventually go under why did they even give them Taxpayer money? Either buy them or let the market decide what to do with them, but don’t just throw our tax money away for nothing.

New GM CEO said this morning that “Bankruptcy is the best option at this time”.

Looks like GM is willing to throw in the towel rather than waste taxpayer money. Now, what does that say about the Gov’t?


#17 gold bug on 03.31.09 at 2:23 am

The answer is to allow these and other failed companies to go bankrupt. Then, to sell off their assets to corporations that can make productive use of them. Some former auto workers will then be hired back to work for the new bosses.

Will it be at the wages these GM, Ford and Chrysler workers currently enjoy? Maybe not, though any new company trying to pay significantly less than market wages will risk losing skilled workers to the imports and to union drives.

The only thing that is accomplished by St. Obama’s fascism or the socialism some commenters pine for here, is that investment will be misdirected, workers/taxpayers will become increasingly resentful of having their paycheques stolen so parasites can buy votes, and while one group is benefiting at the expense of others, the entire world will fall further down the statist rat-hole.

GM, Ford, Chrysler, Air Canada, et al, have no power over me. That is, I can choose not to buy their crappy products. But they gain power over me by jaw-boning the parasites in Ottawa and at the provincial level to steal from me to fund various corporate bailouts.

All the anger that the naive, misguided Marxists who cruise this board should be directed at the true culprits of this whole mess: the idjits in Ottawa. I don’t mean just the ruling party. I mean every single one, whatever the brand of parasite they represent this week.

Aim the pitchforks at the politicians. They have the power to steal from you. Corporations are impotent and irrelevant without politicians to do their stealing for them.

#18 dd on 03.31.09 at 5:57 am

I was reading an estimate that within the next couple of year only 7 million new cars will be sold in the states per year. 1/2 as many as in 2007.

Wow, this credit bubble sure has a lot of over capacity built into it.

#19 David Bakody on 03.31.09 at 7:02 am

I would like to add the waste of good money being spent on a lost cause “Afghanistan” think? we are paying for 3000 police officers who for the most part are in bed with drug lords as are many (if not all) the politicians (?) and one elected Politician has the guts to speak up (MP George Galloway England) perhaps assisted by insiders who have non tendered contracts with no financial accountability have shoulder arms.

EI is now broken and what is left is once again being funneled into Harper’s PPP in job retraining …. as is a big recruitment drive for fresh troops for Afghanistan … and our CAF has an age restriction to the mid 40’s hello, Harper’s new job training plan?

As mentioned but never by our MSM …. why did Harper call his Fixed Election Date Election …. “Inside Information” that all this hell was breaking out, why the appointed Senators and 148 + 25 political appointments …… save his base …. not the Canadian working class who he knew would be in need. Fine.. that’s politics … but why For the Love of God did he not get to work for Canadians and his dam mind off a majority government? The answer is quite simple. Stephen Harper, his Reformers and selected Conservatives have no idea of what to do and they have closed the doors and their ears to any and all good suggestions to once again plot a majority. Canada’s only hope is that the full length mirror Steve the Wonder boy stands in front of each and every morning shatters.

Now for his latest bad more ….

How dumb can Harper/Kenny be? ….. let me count the ways …. last year I attended evening classes on Freedom of Speech as did many others in universities across Canada ….. think …. George Galloway has now been launched on the World Stage and his speaches will be top rated on U-tube commanding more teleconferences with Harper standing up for Freedom of Speech and Democracy in Afghanistan, with Karzai their leader who is pro drug trade! How sweet it is.

Now that will solve an immediate requirement to enhance EI to UI that provides “ALL” working Canadians with full time benefits with no restrictions coast to coast to coast and be prepared to do so until such time jobs start to re-appear …..wasting money on the Winds of War and paying to rebuild countries only to have them destroy them daily will do nothing to save our children and their families. Karzai keep asking for multi billions and Harper runs to our treasury to send off more while the poppy fields flourish.

What does this have to do with Canada, everything because Steve’s priorities should be the home front! get it Ontario and the West? Canada is your home also.

#20 Tom on 03.31.09 at 7:09 am

If the auto industry fails, will my family, myself and most of us here still be called “Scabs” by the auto industry and our government?

#21 Torquemada on 03.31.09 at 8:50 am


Have you thought about creating a facebook fan page for yourself so we can pledge our undying facebook loyalty to you (and potentially redirect some of our friends here)?

I could never handle the adulation. — Garth

#22 timbo on 03.31.09 at 9:06 am

nothing to see here ….move along……

great time to buy a house when our wonderful economy is starting to nose-dive.I sure wonder how big the debt will be when all the tax revenue disappears from provincial and federal coffers.

Anyone care to guess what pension plan goes next?

#23 pbrasseur on 03.31.09 at 9:10 am

The recession affects most those who are most vulnerable. This goes for individuals as well as communities and countries.

For a person being vulnerable amounts to what you have to offer on the work market (how productive you can be). It doesn’t really matter what you owe IF you are productive enough to match your expenses.

Canada has had productivity problems for a long time, but that fact has been hidden because our economy has been riding high on two bubbles: the real-estate bubble and the commodity bubble. The two have popped and we are now exposed. The damages are becoming more visible every month and I believe Canadian are still quite delusional about the fragility of their situation, I know this is very true in my beloved Quebec.

We look to the US and say – Oh my god – look how bad things are down there. But the truth is that restructuring of the economy is happening much more quickly (albeit brutally) in the US and they will be prepared and capable of bouncing back much sooner.

In Europe where in many places, such as France, they still don’t understand what hit them and because they are already so overstretched they have very little wiggle room to react. The best they can do is take to the streets and blame CEO’s bonuses and the “méchants capitalistes”, none of that is going to bring back the growth necessary to pay for these huge welfare states in time for the massive boomer retirements.

This is what believe, the US and the emerging markets are going to come out of this first and strongest for the simple reason that they are most competitive and more productive.

For Canada and much or Europe it will be a long and painful slog.

#24 Tony on 03.31.09 at 9:13 am

With only the large hedge funds and the United States government manipulating the stock market the past couple of years predicting the stock market for me has been as easy as clockwork. I have made millions daily as these hedge funds show definite day to day patterns. These people that are broke have no excuse. I’m the guy starting to buy in Edmonton, Canada… another one just too easy to see.

#25 pbrasseur on 03.31.09 at 9:21 am

Adding to previous post.

Canada is in better shape that most Euro countries for two reasons:

1) It is near the US economy.

2) It has its own currency, which can (and has) devaluate(d) in times of trouble. Many European countries are currently asphyxiated by the high value of the Euro.

#26 timbo on 03.31.09 at 9:22 am


Calgary, hours reduced and wage roll backs are in the air.

Come visit Calgary Garth, we have no rush hour anymore for some strange reason. It’s like driving around on a Saturday.

Be careful when you visit, so much pent up demand in r/e/ it might overwelm the roads at any minute.

p.s. Don’t take Air Canada, heard they might turn out the lights in mid flight. pilots probably have golden parachutes but the rest of the crew are on thier own.

#27 North Vancouver Citizen Jr. on 03.31.09 at 9:33 am

NYC Real Estate Could Fall Another 47%

Mike says…

That’s interesting… the SF Bay Area isn’t in the top 20 MSA’s poised for decline.

Its probably one of the least affordable places to live yet, time and time again, it seems immune to severe housing downturns. It must truly be different out here.

…It is different in Vancouver/Hongcouver too.

#137 dd says…

Keep repeating anything as much as that … and you will begin to start believing it yourself …

…I think you mean….”and others will start believing it too.”

#28 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 03.31.09 at 9:36 am

LMAO! I sit here reading the Dooms Day Scenarios and laugh. YES LAUGH!

Many, like myself, have actual business experience and know what reality is. What has been purported as a ‘business model’ by the lovers of unregulated ‘free markets’ is nothing akin to real business management.

The Dream Era is OVER for these assholes and the sooner the better. Their love of situation ethics and no constraints have left them destitute. They, and those who have supported them, are a pox upon our decent society.

The Conswervatives (Note: Not Conservatives) have, together with the pie-in-the-sky far left liberals created a world wide mess. Canada has no leadership at all currently so do not expect any solutions from the political parties.

There will be a new political genre called the Centrists, consisting of people who face reality, deal with it for the immediate and long term, and quietly succeed and survive.

The rest of the morons can continue on rushing after their pile of crap ideology and then wonder where everyone has gone?

Have a wonder life!

#29 PTDBD on 03.31.09 at 10:00 am

Canadian taxpayers provided another bailout for the car companies to keep them limping along. What did Canadian car buyers get in return???????

At least American car buyers are getting some consideration in return for their bailout contribution:

elimination of all sales tax
– clunker trade-in allowance
– Most importantly, the warranty will be covered by the government (taxpayers or Fed funny money).
– to make things even sweeter, announcements today of payment protection should you lose your job…this last one is a hoot. The car companies, having garnered warranty insurance from the government, now figure they can use the bailout money to also dabble in unemployment insurance.

But hey, at least they got some benefit. All Canadians got so far was some Carney stimulus spin and an emphasis that these are “loans” ;-) Will Canadian warranties be honoured in case of bankruptcy?

#30 Toronto C9 Renter on 03.31.09 at 10:05 am

#24 Tony said: “I have made millions daily as these hedge funds show definite day to day patterns… I’m the guy starting to buy in Edmonton”

Dream on my friend. First, if you’ve been “making millions daily” in this environment we’ll no doubt be reading about you soon in Fortune and the WSJ.

Second, why on earth would a multi-gazillionaire like yourself buy anything in Edmonton (or even set foot in Edmonton for that matter??) You should really check out Laguna Beach, West Palm Beach etc, I hear there are some great bargains right now for those like you that still have the means

#31 60ish on 03.31.09 at 10:06 am

It is difficult to feel sorry for Air Canada. I fly almost 100K miles per year, and have developed a deep, passionate hatred for that company, after so many years of callous indifferent treatment and lost luggage. There could be textbooks written, examining the Air Canada business plan and management techniques, as a model of how not to run a company. Don’t even get me started, telling horror stories about them…

On the other hand, I always feel great after a WestJet flight – they have the uncanny knack to make the travel process bearable — even pleasant most times. (No, I don’t work for them…)

Even though Air Canada is an order of magnitude larger company than WestJet, I understand that it would cost considerably more to buy WestJet than AC, because they are profitable.

If Air Canada receives government bailouts to protect it from bankruptcy proceedings, it will be a travesty. It would be a reward for being one of the most despised, poorly run companies in Canada, and a kick in the nards to WestJet – a company doing everything right.

#32 Larry on 03.31.09 at 10:32 am

I see France are threatening to walk out of the G20 summit if stricter regulations are not implemented for the financial sector.
Irish economy to shrink 6.6%
Oil rig workers to take a pay cut in Oilberta.
Interesting times we are witnessing, Garth i think the shit has well and truly hit the fan.

#33 Hagbard on 03.31.09 at 10:43 am

This is only the start, the tip of the iceberg. Its going to get a lot worse (perhaps with a few corrections along the way) but we’re heading into an inflationary depression. I bet you a penny. ;)

#34 Bob Bagina on 03.31.09 at 10:44 am

#17 gold bug on 03.31.09 at 2:23 am

You’re hilarious, or it’s hard to tell if you’re actually serious. I’ll agree though that your rant does paint well intonations of a creeping fascism that has perverted our Western “democracies”. I see fascism in a classical German 1930s sense as nefarious relations between the state and big business. Ie; Bechtel, Haliburton, AIG, Goldman Sachs, etc…etc….

#27 North Vancouver Citizen Jr. on 03.31.09 at 9:33

…. referring to Vancouver as Hongcouver stinks of racism and ignorance. this blog does well to avoid most such incidents, and I hope it stays that way.

#35 smwhite on 03.31.09 at 10:46 am

For those fretting about hyper-inflation today, take a look at how fast M3 was growing and how it dropped during this last “cleansing” period.

There is no denying that the M3 money supply has taken a royal beating. This is deflation, plain and simple.

Now look at the grey line shoot to the moon. People need to borrow and spend to pump that M3 money supply bubble back up. But the banks don’t trust us with our own money and the fractional reserve ponzi scheme has stalled.

But don’t worry, we’ll get inflation, maybe it will be hyper, I think best cause is a stagflation period.

A very simplistic view of how stable the system was under the gold standard and the very real potential for catastrophe in the USD from fear mongering Glen Beck.

Lots of pieces of a really big and complicated puzzle to put together, but you can be make an educated bet that deregulation and easy credit most likely fueled this fire, oh those toxic assets, aka derivatives…

Bretton Woods, Reaganomics, Glass Stegall all created that big fat DOW bubble helping America finance their war machine. Time to pay up Yanks.

Which brings me to what I thought was positive news from our own bank governor, Mark Carney, at least acknowledging the problem.

#36 David Bakody on 03.31.09 at 10:58 am

How many people really listened to Tony Clement and Don Newman discuss UAW pension plans? Why is Tony concerned? breaking news (again) that Air Canada pension plan may be in trouble is not good news and couched in all this are the millions of Senior Boomers who will draw on CCP & OAS also those unemployed who are 60 will draw early ( most do now) but many had plans to wait. This is all very complex and is not good news and that light Harper & Co at the end of tunnel is beginning to look like a train and the soon that whistle will blow! Reading the news it appear Mr. Harper is trying to play the part of a Canadian Mountie and save he world. FTLOG what is this man smirking?

#37 North Vancouver Citizen Jr. on 03.31.09 at 11:15 am

Shouldn’t this be happening in Canada?

Costs of California Transportation Projects Collapse

Prices are rapidly falling on construction projects. Please consider Bay Area transportation projects benefit from low bids in poor economy.


This likely confirms the crooked, mind blowing, relationship of Goldman Sachs w/ AIG…

…And we all admit the Pacific Northwest is different.

#38 rory on 03.31.09 at 11:25 am

GM, Chrysler, Air Canada …anyone notice a pattern.

They all appear to be heavily unionized shops. Cannot just be wages that is causing the disruptions. My guess it is the constant state of war between management and unions. Whatever the cause Unions are appearing to be their own worst enemy…IMO.

So we will see if this spills over to gov’t unions eventually. That will be a day, huh!

#39 VooDoo on 03.31.09 at 11:28 am

My experience in trying to apply an Air Canada credit to a recent flight booked on my credit card:

Phone the number on my flight credit; wait ten minutes to talk to someone.

The person I speak with is UNABLE to help me. Supposedly the credit division of Air Canada only deals in faxes and emails.

So I send an email–and get an automatic bounce-back message “Please allow 5-6 weeks for response”.

U-N-B-E-L-I-E-V-A-B-L-E. Talk about excellent customer service and putting the customer first eh?

#40 Vantown on 03.31.09 at 11:29 am

Does anyone else find the term “Hongcouver” offensive?

#41 rory on 03.31.09 at 11:37 am

Garth said “In Detroit, an interview with a guy who shoots racoons and sells the meat in the city”

I had talked in previous posts about the hardship that is coming for our wildlife. We, as humans, will make fewer trips to Timmy’s …they will be decimated.

Also saw on 60 Minutes about the intentional poisoning of lions in Africa … we as a global society suck…. incredibly disappointing how far we have not come.

#42 Munch on 03.31.09 at 11:41 am

Hi Garth

I am starting to really enjoy your daily writings – insightful and I find myself looking forward to reading them.

And I feel less inclined to disrupt the blog with inane utterings from South Africa – my apologies for my past indiscretions – I have no excuses, I was just rude!

So, from now on, I will read and learn from this fine blog and when I think I can add some perspective from the developing world, I will post something of value.

My heart goes out to all those who lost their jobs today – may their Gods smile upon them and their families soon. If and when any of you feel overwhelmed and in a hopeless situation, think of what we went through in our beautiful South Africa, and where we stand now.

Yes, anything is possible!


Munch from Johannesburg

#43 MikeB on 03.31.09 at 11:59 am

DA HK KID 13 This post is tremendous indeed.. Everyone should watch this youtube video. A little long but bang on for sure.. GREAT POST

While we might see some market rallies here and there the optimistic sentiment is so misplaced. You don’t stop all the bad stuff from happening overnight or in a year. Not possible .. Definitely a double standard with the US aiding banking and tossing the automakers a shoe string.

On the real estate side.. had an agent here in Toronto indicate that some sellers might just hold off putting their houses on the market this spring under the advice of the agents. Their take is that things will improve come late summer or fall . Can you believe the manipulation of this market. Prices here are still truly insane. I cannot see this going on forever though.

#44 Dan in Victoria on 03.31.09 at 12:02 pm

For anyone who wants a good down to earth look at the people in Detriot go and read this blog fellow that hunts the racoons is featured a couple of pages in,even gives the recipe for cooking the little critters.Its titled “house of blues”Some of the other posts are just surreal.

#45 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 03.31.09 at 12:03 pm

It is difficult to feel sorry for Air Canada. I fly almost 100K miles per year, and have developed a deep, passionate hatred for that company, after so many years of callous indifferent treatment and lost luggage. There could be textbooks written, examining the Air Canada business plan and management techniques, as a model of how not to run a company. Don’t even get me started, telling horror stories about them…

#31 60ish on 03.31.09 at 10:06 am

Then, please, let me tell one for you! LOL

Flight Attendant pickup up line

A guy sitting at a bar at Heathrow Airport noticed a really beautiful woman sitting next to him.

He thought to himself: “Wow, she’s so gorgeous she must be an off duty flight attendant. But which airline does she work for?”

Hoping to make her acquaintance, he leaned towards her and uttered the Delta slogan: “Love to fly and it shows?”

She gave him a blank, confused stare and he immediately thought to himself: “Damn, she doesn’t work for Delta.”

A moment later, another slogan popped into his head.

He leaned towards her again “Something special in the air?”

She gave him the same confused look.

He mentally kicked himself, and scratched Singapore Airlines off the list.

Next he tried the Thai Airways slogan: “Smooth as Silk.”

This time the woman turned on him, “What the fu*k do you want?”

The man smiled, then slumped back in his chair, and said “Ahhhhha! Air Canada.”

BTW, WestJet is modelled after, and may be partly owned by Southwest Airlines, the best airline in the U.S. Almost always on-time, low fares, happy people, and a great sense of humour from the Top down.

#46 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 03.31.09 at 12:05 pm

#40 Vantown on 03.31.09 at 11:29 am

Not anymore than people who call Toronto ‘The Centre of the Universe.’

Seems reality in psuedo names is earned by the attitude/culture of the locale.

#47 Marc on 03.31.09 at 12:09 pm

#40 Vantown on 03.31.09 at 11:29 am Does anyone else find the term “Hongcouver” offensive?

Yes I find it offensive. If Vancouver must be renamed, Gangcouver would be a better description.

#48 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 03.31.09 at 12:16 pm

#31 60ish on 03.31.09 at 10:06 am

A few other branding connections for you.

U.S. Air formerly Allegheny Airlines, better known as Agony Airlines

Ozark = KRAZO backwards

‘Grab a Stewardess and Fly United’

and finally, a classic sense of humour by paint

#49 Dead Cat Bounce on 03.31.09 at 12:17 pm

40 Vantown on 03.31.09 at 11:29 am Does anyone else find the term “Hongcouver” offensive?

Why would you find this offensive. It is a combination of Hong Kong and Vancouver, it doesn’t even mention any race. This idiot contest of political correctness has gone too far if someone can’t even combine names of places without the PC police coming after them.

Give it a break!

#50 PTDBD on 03.31.09 at 12:23 pm

Bloomberg cites $12.8 Trillion for American financial rescue package. They give a nice summary list of $$$$.
This is approaching their ’08 GDP!

Financial Rescue Approaches GDP

#51 MikeB on 03.31.09 at 12:24 pm

Truly I see absolutely no signs of deflation. Gas is high, food costs are still high, fresh produce is high and getting higher and houses are still expensive. If there is deflation it is very well hidden.

#52 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 03.31.09 at 12:27 pm

#31 60ish on 03.31.09 at 10:06 am

Here are two ‘honest’ airlines you can fly with:

The Good and the Bad

The Best Choice

and finally an airline with a real sense of artistic humour

#53 Vancouver_Renter on 03.31.09 at 12:34 pm

>…. referring to Vancouver as Hongcouver stinks of racism and ignorance. this blog does well to avoid most such incidents, and I hope it stays that way.

I was once responsible for hiring technical staff in a company in which I worked. One day I received a call from some federal government agency. The woman on the phone informed me about a program to “hire visible minorities”. If I exclusively hired visible minorities I would receive a tax credit.

“Wow!” I responded. “So you want me to hire only white men? That’s great! I’ll put up a big sign outside our business!!”

The woman was silent at the other end of the line for a moment and then said, “Uh, no that’s not the way it works. That would be racist.”

I responded with, “Well, our company is here in Burnaby. The majority of residence in this Vancouver suburb are non-whites. The majority of workers in this business are Asian woman. The largest racial population on earth are Asians. So you are asking me to hire only white men, correct?”


Yeah, let’s not be racist. That applies to everyone.

#54 hithway61 on 03.31.09 at 12:41 pm

“… we are compelled to wonder once again, “What possible act of God, event of nature, or twist of fate could possibly prevent a resurgence of inflation here in the United States?”

Whether by intentional conspiracy or unintentional incompetence, the Treasury is tossing hundreds of billions of newly minted dollars into the financial system. The Treasury is, in fact, inflating the supply of dollars. The only question that remains is whether this inflationary act will produce a visible inflationary result? In other words, how long until a Starbucks double latte costs $10…or an ounce of gold costs $2000?”

#55 malbadon on 03.31.09 at 12:50 pm

Vantown on 03.31.09 at 11:29 am

Does anyone else find the term “Hongcouver” offensive?

Not any more than Cowtown for Calgary (most of us aren’t rednecks) or “Center of the Universe” for Toronto (I’m sure at least a few Torontonians think they aren’t more important than everyone else). If this is all it takes for your moral outrage indicator to go off, I shudder to think how ones exists in day to day life.

One could right pages on how the Political Correctness BS machine has robbed Canadians of their once touted sense of humour.

#56 The Coming Depression on 03.31.09 at 1:06 pm

What will happen to Air Canada’s pension plan? Will all these old former employees have to get back to work with WestJet?

#57 The Tallyman on 03.31.09 at 1:07 pm

GM, Chrysler, Ford to leave Canada.
Oh if only there existed a vehicle reliable enough to make the trip.

Dare to Dream…

#58 Darryl on 03.31.09 at 1:23 pm

I see Munch took his meds today. Good Munch , Good.

#59 jess on 03.31.09 at 1:31 pm

they can’t build cars there like they can in asia”

yes they can, but they decided to become banks …

#60 POL-CAN on 03.31.09 at 1:32 pm

Something to ponder….

“Historically, the definition of a free person is a person who owns his own labor. Serfs were not free, because they owed their feudal lords, the government of that time, a maximum of one-third of their labor. Nineteenth century slaves were not free, because their owners could expropriate 50% of their labor.

Today, no American is a free person. The lowest tax rate, not counting state income, property tax and sales tax, is 15% Social Security tax and 15% federal income tax. The “free American” starts off with a 30% tax rate, the position of a medieval serf.

In medieval Europe, when tax rates reached beyond 30%, serfs rebelled and killed their masters.”

#61 Mark on 03.31.09 at 1:38 pm

Sorry to derail (feel free to delete garth if you feel off topic) – I usually stick to topic but i cant help but reply to #34 about him having a go at someone for calling vancouver “hongcouver”.

He didnt say he hated immigrants from a specific country – he merely gave the name based upon a majority of the residents being immigrants from a specific country.

No real different than calling somewhere “british columbia” is it?

I fail to see how that’s racist.

Back on topic – we’re screwed! If this keeps up, i’m immigrating again to somewhere more secure – where’s the most financially stable place in the world to live at the moment? China? Japan? Australia?

#62 dd on 03.31.09 at 1:41 pm

#27 North Vancouver Citizen Jr.

… [SF] its probably one of the least affordable places to live yet, time and time again, it seems immune to severe housing downturns. It must truly be different out here…It is different in Vancouver/Hongcouver too…

POP goes Vancouver *%*

#63 Just a Girl on 03.31.09 at 1:50 pm

On a recent flight with Westjet, they publicly thanked the customers for their business, and for the jobs they truly love.

On a recent flight with Air Canada … horror story excluded, no need to describe.

I agree, the heavily unionized shops have huge problems. I am not a labour expert, but from my humble perspective, isn’t this business model sorely obsolete? Afterall, it’s a new century. We have advanced our labour standards significantly over the past 100 years.

Successfully businesses try to create value, not just for senior execs, not just for shareholders, not just for employees, and not just for individual interests. They also try to fill a need, achieve a vision, create a legacy, make a difference, advance, move forward, adapt, respect and serve a collective purpose. Their employees are stewards of the organization, and the work they create. They are more than their profits or losses.

In other words, successful businesses have a ‘soul.’

Just my penny’s worth.

#64 supersocco on 03.31.09 at 1:51 pm

“Does anyone else find the term “Hongcouver” offensive?”

I find it offensive that North Vancouver Citizen Jr. is still commenting here.
I thought Garth banned that guy.

#65 Grumpydawgs on 03.31.09 at 1:56 pm

CDN GDP falls 3.4% in the 4th Q 08, thats 13.6% annualized. This is much worse than the ‘don’t worry be happy’ crowd has been letting on. The laughable -1% forecast and 3.8% 09 rebound a few weeks ago by the now reviled BOC Governor M. Carny was obviously a trial balloon to get ahead of the real bad news he must have known was coming.

In Vancouver we are being basted in ‘good news’ as if the people are fresh meat on a revolving spit that retailers slice up at thier leisure. The local radio stations have taken it upon themselves to pump thier version of ‘good news’ on heavy rotation . The TV stations are blowing out so much smoke that it’s got to have Edgar Murrow spinning in his grave. I wonder if they want to put THIER money where thier mouth is? Do they wonder who’s going to buy thier rags when a majority of people have been burned by the flaming lies of late? Why the MSM has taken it upon themselves to support this false assertion is insidious and bizarre. Have they been forced to choose sides? Are they being blackmailed by advertisers? Do they actually think they can turn the local markets against the tide of international affairs by doing a cheap pump campaign? Are they just so desperate that they will prostitute thier profession to keep a few meagre ad dollars coming in from the real estate pumpers and auto dealers? They can’t possibly think we’re all getting lulled into a false sense of security.

#66 Keith in Calgary on 03.31.09 at 2:00 pm

I don’t feel sorry for Air Canada one little bit.

As a flyuing consumer I voted with (in this case) my azz, and in the last 6 years have spent $180,000 flying thru out North America and the rest of the world with a different Star Alliance carrier. To go from Calgary to Toronto I’d even fly thru Chicago, rather than suffer the indignity of flying cross country on AC. Being a top tier flier (flying over 100K miles yearly) means nothing to AC…….they just don’t get it. And will reap what they have sown…….

#67 jwk (née jwkimba) on 03.31.09 at 2:06 pm

I find it offensive that people find the term Hongcouver offensive. Do you find Hong Kong offensive? Why? Something against Asia in general. Odd.

As for the gold guy – uhmmm, yeah. 1982 was not a fluke. Gold is not the standard anymore. USD is. But good luck anyway.

Finally, home prices won’t return to ‘historical norms’ until interest rates do …

#68 Got A Watch on 03.31.09 at 2:07 pm

Almost everything ‘North Vancouver Citizen Jr. ‘ posts is offensive, in some way, if you have any common sense. It’s how he gets his jollies, I guess. I get a good laugh reading about the depths of his personal delusions, at least.

The guy links to Market Ticker, where, if he dared to post anything like his absurd belief about how Vancouver is the greatest real estate market on earth, he would be flamed out of the place so fast his head would spin.

I dare him to try it: Market Ticker Real Estate Forum or Market Ticker General Markets Forum. Go there and post a new topic like “…And we all admit the Pacific Northwest is different.” or “Vancouver will be the new …blah, blah, blah”, and see what reaction you get there.

Karl would rightly tell you that you are totally out of your freakin’ mind, in words that cannot be re-printed here, he’s not that polite. As would every other poster. I bet 0 would agree with your premise.

Here is the real story on the Pacific Northwest: Seattle home prices dip 15%

“The average price of a Seattle home dropped 15 percent in January from a year earlier, which is less than the national average decline of 19 percent.

But in a one-month span from December to January, the Seattle home priced dropped 3.6 percent, more than the national average.

The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller index, a monthly index that tracks home prices in 20 major U.S. cities, continued to set record annual declines.”

That is reality. The Pacific NorthWest is playing catch-up, declines will be larger than other areas going forward. It’s a race to the bottom, and that region looks to be in last place.

People in Vancouver like Citizen Jr seem to suffer from a virulent form of mass delusion. Mish calls it ‘FIV’ “Fiscal Insanity Virus’. I predict BC will be hit harder than many other areas by this crisis, they are way behind on the decline curve now by 18-24 months, and is over-burdened by idiotic over-socialism that is not sustainable.

Areas that crashed first are now much closer to the bottom, and thus closer to the end of this sorry episode. Price drops of 50-70% will get some buyers to emerge from hiding. Probably too early yet though.

When the average price of a home in Vancouver sinks to below 4 X average income on it’s way to 3 X or less, I will say the bottom is approaching. At the present 9 X or so, all I can say is look out below, plunging prices ahead.

#69 pjwlk on 03.31.09 at 2:07 pm

My builder buddy from Calgary visited with us for 4 days this past week. 1-1/2 years ago I told him to dump what every he was building asap. He didn’t, and still has the 2 homes he built. “Can’t get rid fo them now” he told me, things are getting really ugly…”

#70 Larry on 03.31.09 at 2:16 pm

#40 Vantown
Hongcouver is no more offensive then Calgary being called Cowtown. The racism ticket is not valid especially coming from someone with a user name Bob “Bagina” LOL

#71 grandeprairie girl on 03.31.09 at 2:42 pm

Dear Mr. Harper,

“Made In Canada Bailout Plan”

Employed workforce in the age group +55 = 2,361,000. give or take.
Allowance for government/public admin employees, minus 25% give or take.
Balance =1,770,000.
Pay them a million severance each to leave their jobs.
1.) They leave their jobs. 1.7 mill job openings.
2.) They buy a new made in Canada Car. 1.7 mill car
3.) They either buy a house or pay off their mortgage.

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha HaHa………………………………

#72 grandeprairie girl on 03.31.09 at 3:28 pm

That bailout should work at $500,000. per head as well.

#73 Too Old Bob$ on 03.31.09 at 3:44 pm

Here’s a little history for the forgotten.
Check out the last comment, it’s hilarious.

Maclean’s April 26, 2004

Will Air Canada Crash and Burn?
Yes. “It’s going to be difficult for them to turn around what has been a deteriorating situation. I believe Air Canada will be back in bankruptcy protection within two years.” – Douglas Reid, strategy professor, Queen’s School of Business

Maybe. “If Air Canada is going to be viable long-term, they are going to have to reduce labour costs more than what has already been agreed to by the unions – and that’s over and above the pension issue.” – Cameron Doerksen, equity analyst, Dlouhy Merchant, Montreal-based investment bank

No. “I’m not a business guy, but even I could make money with it. You’ve got 60 per cent of the domestic market, 90 per cent of the international market. It seems to me there’s a pretty good business model here.” – Buzz Hargrove, president, Canadian Auto Workers


#74 Future Expatriate on 03.31.09 at 3:51 pm

Garth might be right about hyperinflation not happening… what we’ll get might be worse. Stagflation, where the cost of what you need (food, energy, sundries) goes up to price gouging levels, and prices on what you don’t need (electronics, cars, clothing, houses and building supplies) crash.

Hmm. Seems like we’re 90% of the way there already.

#75 UBC Frank on 03.31.09 at 3:52 pm

I did indeed see last nights report from the Motor City and that’s exactly what I imagined a Depression to look like.
Boarded up shops, empty neighborhoods with dilapidated houses, rampant crime – but hey, THE BEAVERS ARE BACK!

I’ve got about $2 worth of change in my pocket right now, should I spend it on:
A) A coffee at Starbucks
B) 1 share of Citigroup
C) 2 houses in Detroit

Or should I keep saving up until I have enough for one of them tasty frozen racoons?


#76 Opportunity on 03.31.09 at 3:53 pm

A condo unit just sold for $385000, only $5000 below the asking price. Interesting point was the purchaser was directed to the seller and the RE agent will be getting a kickback for the sale. No RE commission or fed tax to pay.

How many more agents are doing this?

#77 Kurt on 03.31.09 at 3:58 pm

“Does anyone else find the term “Hongcouver” offensive?”

O lord, I just *have* to reply to this. I’m from Cowtown, Oilberta. For me, Cowtown has the following associations: the Stampede parade, complete with T’su T’ina, Stoney & Blackfoot in their holiday best; an open blue sky over endless fields of grain and canola; feedlots of cattle stinking as feedlots do. Oilberta brings to mind modernist skyscrapers, a mining truck hauling a load of black muck along a road of black muck, and the towers of a gas plant in the distance.

And Hongcouver? Canyons of concrete with rivers of people pouring down them, the overwhelming din of traffic and everything burning with the entrepenuerial energy of commerce with the Pacific Rim. Seems dead-on to me. Unless the context is such as to bring up other less appropriate associations, Hongcouver strikes me as no more offensive than Cowtown.

#78 POL-CAN on 03.31.09 at 4:02 pm

#71 and #72 grandeprairie girl

Your plan would not enrich the top 1%

These bailouts are nothing more then theft from each and every one of us, our kids, and probably their kids as well.

Greed has no limits….

#79 TUT on 03.31.09 at 4:03 pm

#45 Bill Musoka

A beautiful flight attendant from Air Canada?

A new coined oxymoron?

#80 Sondra on 03.31.09 at 4:27 pm

#60 POL-CAN on 03.31.09 at 1:32 pm

“(Serf rebelled )when tax rates reached beyond 30%, serfs rebelled and killed their masters.”

Then after they killed their lords and masters the King had the lead Serfs publicly murdered. Some of the serfs with no where to go went back only to be slaughtered as an example.

We just don’t have the attention span or the knowledge socially to rebel.
I keep paying my 48% income tax.
My accountant figures I pay for at least 2 elderly people and my own civil servant.

Funny, I don’t have any servants.

Aaah, I’m the servant.

Debt and ignorance and religion keeps slavery alive. All the better when slaves think they are free.

As for Hongcover, is the area known as “chinatown” just as offensive?

What about the once popular mall in Langley BC that won’t let anyone lease there unless they are Korean? Anyone who wasn’t Koren did not have their lease renewed.

#81 Rhino on 03.31.09 at 4:44 pm

So, here I sit, a resident of “Queer-bec” land of the never satisfied, thinking about my fellow Canucks, including those in Cherana the bad – the Centre of the Universe, or out in Cowtown or Lotusland, wondering if Hongcouver is a form of racial slur.

Gee… is it better to call it Lotusland?

Would it alienate all the Neufies? Probably not since Maritimers are laid back. I doubt the Frogies or Peppers would give a damn as they are all separatists anyway, if you listen to the redneck cowboys on this site.

I guess what amazes me, is how a total twit who posts bizarre comments about how wonderful “his” city is, reverts to a potentially derogatory name for his beloved town.

Probably spends too much time in the meadows, nibbling those little black mushrooms…

Sarcasm mode “OFF”

Lighten up folks. Pity the poor delusional booby!

#82 Bobby on 03.31.09 at 5:13 pm

Air Canada’s motto; We’re not happy till you’re not happy. When everyone’s unhappy our job is done so we go bankrupt.

#83 Jake on 03.31.09 at 5:52 pm

I was once asked to prom by a girl who did not share the same skin colour as me (I would mention her race, but that would be racist). She was cute, but I had already said yes to someone else so I had to politely turn her down. Her friends referred to me as “the racist” for the rest of high school. Weird thing was that her brother was one of my best friends.
Yep, pretty hard to avoid being a racist with all of the politically correct police out there. The Department of Women’s studies at your local university fills the same role in the war against sexism. Could you imagine if someone had the nerve to open a Department of Men’s Studies, or to sponsor a scholarship only available to men?
It looks like these ideological wars will be as perpetual as the war in Afghanistan/war on terror. Hey, maybe a troop surge is in order….LOL.

#84 john m on 03.31.09 at 5:53 pm

All one has to do is watch our parliament question period just once and it will give a lasting impression of the people we are counting on to remedy our financial crisis.To put it mildly……….were screwed!!

#85 Jake on 03.31.09 at 6:00 pm

Oh yeah, I must mention real estate every 5 or so posts. RE prices have nowhere to go but down. My sincere best wishes to those who are losing jobs. Hopefully we can pull together in our communities to help those who get hit the hardest by all of this.

#86 grandeprairie girl on 03.31.09 at 6:01 pm


I well realize the top 1% or PTB would never come up with something that might benefit the little sheeple.
Some sad humour is all it was meant to be.
On an even more humorous note, Sheila Fraser seems to think it’s still to easy for Canadian Business to hide or stash cash. Not enough is being uncovered during audits it seems. Maybe their computer projections need some adjustments downward.

#87 Herb on 03.31.09 at 6:12 pm

John M,

your #84 beat me to the punch. Watched a bit of QP this PM and was as disgusted as when I used to watch it regularly.

Here the whole damn world is hurting, and our “Honourable Members” in Government and Royal Opportunism [no misspellings] only chuck shit at each other.

Shame! Shame!

#88 . . . fried eggs and spam . . . on 03.31.09 at 6:13 pm

#81 Rhino at 4:44 pm — “. . . a resident of “Queer-bec” land of the never satisfied, thinking about my fellow Canucks, including those in Cherana the bad – the Centre of the Universe, or out in Cowtown or Lotusland, wondering if Hongcouver is a form of racial slur.”

Hey there Rhino — FWIW, wife is Chinese and I am caucasian. Long ago, she said that Chinese refer to themselves as “chinks”, white people as whiteys, etc.

It is simply these dumb-assed, brain-dead dimwitted morons or bimbos (take your pick) who, like sheeple, follow politically correct terminology, and new age yahoos, who like to believe they know everything about everyone.

Obviously, I’m NOT, and NEVER WILL BE one of these — I’m an old fart, enjoy life now as much as when I was growing up and therefore, walk to the beat of my own drummer.

#89 miketheengineer on 03.31.09 at 6:23 pm

Garth et al:

I should have listened to you back in Nov, when I first started reading the posts. I should have sold my house, and immediately moved my family in with my parents. It would have been tight, but we could have done it. Now reading GM goes for bankrupcy and Chrysler goes too, I am losing faith and getting really down. I pray that the Lord will watch out for me and my family. We are now in a depression…there is no other words for it.

Garth et al….you were right, 100% right. I am now truly a greaterfool….Lord watch over me and keep me safe.

#90 POL-CAN on 03.31.09 at 6:54 pm

# 80 Sondra

I hear you but I liked that quote….

It is worse then you think in terms of taxes…. Assuming you spend 100 % of the remaining 52 % of your income the tax rate is actually around 60 % of your gross

We need a revolution….

#91 Just a Girl on 03.31.09 at 7:03 pm

My family and I always refer to Vancouver as ‘Raincouver’ :)

#92 Da HK Kid on 03.31.09 at 7:21 pm

Hey, I live in Kongers and known sometimes to other asian cities as a Hongkie. Hongcouver is bang on just like Bramladesh. Really, get focused on the issue at hand poster!!!!

#93 Sun Yat-sen suit on 03.31.09 at 7:24 pm

Can Obama pull a ‘Nixon in China,’ at the Gone20?

#94 timbo on 03.31.09 at 7:34 pm

wage cuts do not give you inflation people. That contracts the economy.

Calgary’s storm and now it is finally starting to become news as no one can hide it any more.

#95 Rhino on 03.31.09 at 7:41 pm

#53 Vancouver_Renter on 03.31.09 at 12:34 pm
#83 Jake on 03.31.09 at 5:52 pm

Great posts folks.

I often wonder about these politically correct concepts. There are places where I have avoided even applying for a job, as soon as they post the “employment equity” clause.

It is such a disadvantage to be an anglo saxon, white male, who has all his legs and arms working, not aboriginal, or suffering from any form of handicap.

Can anyone say I am NOT being discriminated against by these employment policies?

I thought everyone was supposed to be treated as equals in our great democracy…

#96 Rhino on 03.31.09 at 7:47 pm

#60 POL-CAN on 03.31.09 at 1:32 pm

Very interesting…

Once folks have figured out the SYSTEM has made them slaves to “stuff”, we can start building our Brave New World.

I know so many people who name drop the STUFF they have , the PLACES, they travel to, and the people they “know” in high places, yet do not have time for their families, work every weekend while putting in 60-80 hour weeks, yet they believe they are “better off”. They have stress problems, toys they have no time to enjoy, and are never happy, since something new comes along every week, and they just “gotta have it”.

Economic slavery folks.

“All you need is love”…. peace y’all

#97 David Bakody on 03.31.09 at 8:03 pm

Now Honda is cutting back! Wow what gives? one would think people who once shopped Big 3 would be flocking to Honda. More bad new ….. it is almost daily now …. not good ladies and gentlemen.

#98 Kevin in Winnipeg on 03.31.09 at 8:04 pm

Garth, what is your revised view of Winnipeg real estate? It seems quite resilient and shows no sign of a bubble. Buyers are still willing to pay ridicules prices for new homes. Ikea even thinks Wpg will do very well as the company will be opening one of it’s largest stores in North America right here in 2011.

#99 jwk (nee jwkimba) on 03.31.09 at 8:13 pm

#71 Hey prairiegirl, great plan. Where will you come up with the 1.77Trillion to pay for it?

That’s $1,770,000,000,000…doh!

#100 Republic_of_Western_Canada on 03.31.09 at 8:16 pm

#77 Kurt –

The only thing offensive about ‘Hongcouver’ is attempting to divert and distract the real meaning and origin of the term away from ‘an area overpopulated and unnaturally saturated ad nauseum with chinks, further characterized by extremely dense housing and excessive precipitation.’

The politically-correct horseshit and spin of some individuals is really getting offensive. They should go write for CREA and the Obama/Fed inflation gang instead.

#101 POL-CAN on 03.31.09 at 8:21 pm

A must see via Ilargi at TAE:

Ilargi: An absolute must see video -Don’t miss it!- from France, with -very- outspoken analyst Max Keiser. Good luck in Europe, Obama.

Please take the time to watch this and then we can let the discussion begin

#102 POL-CAN on 03.31.09 at 8:27 pm

#86 grandeprairie girl

They want it all and they want it now because they see the writing on the wall. This system is collapsing at an ever growing pace and the gov now sees that they will not be able to collect what they need. Hence the new taxes and audits etc. This will not work long term as the problem will simply get worse due to their intervention.

Please watch the video I posted above for a very interesting take on this….

#103 Rhino on 03.31.09 at 8:27 pm

#88 . . . fried eggs and spam . . . on 03.31.09 at 6:13 pm


I thought it was fun, when, while living in Van, and playing in a tournament in a fancy rinky-dink badminton club, I got to meet lots of Chinese Canadians; 2nd and 3rd generation. They referred to themselves as “bananas”: “yellow on the outside and white on the inside”. That is a literal quote.

I have also found that many “Afro-Americans” (or whatever term you prefer) have no problem calling each other “nigger”, but do not do so if you are white.

This whole racist thing has been way overplayed. I once suggested the idea of passing a law preventing “same race” marriages. Get whites to marry blacks, reds with yellows, beige with whatever, to the point where it just did not matter anymore. (Then you would have Cuba?)

Soon losing my optimism, I then realised we would find other reasons to fight and hate. You know, things like “you live in Quebec while I live in Alberta”, or “you are Protestant while I am Catholic”, or “you are Gay and I am Straight” etc., etc.

Seems our human nature is to hate first, ask questions later…

Peace folks.

(PS – just entering “Old Fart” territory, I have been working HARD at NOT GROWING UP! Seems we can still learn a lot from children, since adults are so determined to forget. Ever watched children play together with mixed race…???? WAZZAT?)

#104 Bottoms_Up on 03.31.09 at 8:44 pm

‘Chinatown’ is not racist. I am white and have many Asian (also not a racist term) friends who actually use ‘Chinatown’ all the time to refer to China-centric areas of Canadian cities. Given this, I would anticipate that ‘Hongcouver’ is not seen as a racist term. In fact, many Chinese may actually take pride in the fact that they are thriving in major Canadian cities. Go ask them–you’ll be surprised what you hear!

#105 Vancouver_Renter on 03.31.09 at 8:49 pm

#95 “I often wonder about these politically correct concepts…”

I can’t help but add one last comment on this issue.

At the very back corner of the Burnaby Metrotown Sears store, there is a black and white photo of opening day, circa 1955. In the photo, there is a huge mob of customers in the parking lot attending the opening ceremony. I challenge anyone to find an Asian face in the picture. There are none (or quite possibly a tiny percentage if you look really hard).

Today, Burnaby is majority Asian.

So I ask this question… If Canadians (and specifically white Canadians) are sooooo racist, how did our cities transition from majority white to become majority non-white? Wouldn’t racists have closed the door on non-white immigration right from the start?

The reason our cities are full on non-whites is that Canadians are probably the most non-racist, accommodating, giving people in the world. Unlike many other countries like Australia or Switzerland, we’ve opened our doors to people from all over the world and welcomed them.

And what do we regularly get in response? “Thank you for inviting us to your country and sharing your peace and prosperity with us?” Nope. I don’t think I’ve ever heard that. Instead, we’re called racists over every single politically correct technicality. Thanks a lot. It really makes me angry at times.

#106 dekethegeek on 03.31.09 at 8:54 pm

NORTH VANCOUVER CITIZEN JR is of ASIAN descent ! If i have read his statements correctly over the past year. He moved from Cher-onto about 20 years ago to “The Big Sleazy” aka Lotusland aka Hong-couver.
It isnt offensive, its fact. Get over it. I did.
Politically correct milksops.

MUNCH ! keep fighting the good fight buddy ! I look forward to the “Postcards from the Edge of Rhodesia’s crumbling border with “Sowf Effrika”
keep up your rants, your more than often correct with your observations of our collapsing lifestyle(much like the South African economy)
Hows the World Cup Rugby venue construction coming along? Nearly finished or just starting.

#107 Eduardo on 03.31.09 at 9:14 pm

You know what’s funny?

People are pointing to the wage cuts in Alberta as a sign of deflation but I point to the wage cuts as a sign that the industry won’t run itself into the ground like the auto sector.

#108 Irene on 03.31.09 at 9:24 pm

All one has to do is watch our parliament question period just once and it will give a lasting impression of the people we are counting on to remedy our financial crisis. To put it mildly……….were screwed!! Just figured that out? With our non-honorables in Canada’s government, we’ve been screwed big time for the past 3 years. What’s a depression? Canadians are living it right now. Except maybe those selfish Albertans making unheard wages blasting the CAW workers for not giving more concessions. Who boast about their riches and forget that in the 80’s they were begging for help and handouts. And don’t say I am wrong. I had some of them on my doorstep looking for work and a place to stay while they found a job. If they weren’t so ridiculous, even in this recession or depression, it would still be funny. Hell they were travelling from coast to coast to find work. Sent by their premier to the west rather than go on welfare. Remember that anybody?


#109 . . . fried eggs and spam . . . on 03.31.09 at 9:41 pm

Interesting financial take on China vs. US. —

“Suppose that China stops buying US government debt. That would mean that the dollar would plummet in value against the yuan. Chinese imports would suddenly become much more expensive for consumers in the United States, making domestically produced items far more competitive.”

#110 Increasing that 1% on 03.31.09 at 10:07 pm

#95. 7:41 pm
“..It is such a disadvantage to be an anglo saxon, white male, who has all his legs and arms working, not aboriginal, or suffering from any form of handicap.”..
Unless you try in Nursing…in addition you may even move up the ranks faster than most

Off topic: Does anyone know what’s happening with Steven Ledrew (sp?) of The 2 Bald Guys on CFRB?

What does Hogtown refer to?

Garth, is your new book still scheduled to be coming out in April?

April 24. — Garth

#111 Helen on 03.31.09 at 10:40 pm


Sure, Canada is a pretty diverse nation culturally these days, but it wasn’t always like that. Take a look at how visible minorities were treated at the turn of the 20th century and you will see a very different Canada that wasn’t quite so open-minded and accepting. The truth is, even today there are plenty of folks who don’t regard people of colour as simply people; their ethnicity is the first thing that is seen and judged on. Your own comment demonstrates this; in a truly open-minded, accepting, multicultural society, there is no “them” and “us.” There should only be one collective “we.” This prosperous land you so audaciously claim to be yours also did not belong to the Caucasian European first. A cursory understanding of history would prove that many Native Americans inhabited Canada long before the ships set sail.

Another case in point: take a look at small towns in Canada to see that not all of Canada is so open-minded. As an Asian teacher, I was asked to be a guest speaker in my friend’s classroom in a very small rural town in AB; I was giving a talk on Chinese culture. The kids couldn’t stop staring at me from the moment I got out of my car to the time I left the building, because I was one of the first Asian people they had ever met. My discussion with my friend (their teacher) confirmed this; many students had never laid eyes on a Chinese person before, much less spoken with one. During Q & A, one 11-year-old student who had obviously heard some interesting things outside of the classroom, asked me why all of my people looked the same. This happened a mere 2 years ago. So before you make sweeping statements and get all indignant about how wonderfully embracing Canada, YOUR Canada, is, do remember that the real Canada where the rest of us lives is not always so accepting, even now.

And no, I have no issue with the term “Hongcouver.”

#112 CS on 03.31.09 at 10:58 pm

To Miketheengineer:

Feel your pain buddy. We gratefully got out of the Okanagan 2 years ago and went to small town BC and one of the few really good jobs there. Mortgage dropped nearly $100,000 but still we knew we’d never pay it off (only 5 years or so til retirement). Past illness ate up many of the working years, figured we’d pay down what we could as we went along, sell and make a few dollars for retirement. No pensions, no rrsp’s, little savings. We no longer are trying to make large, extra mortgage payments, but are throwing every cent towards being saved. On the plus side, no other debt besides the mortgage. Hubby’s great job caters to ‘wants’ not ‘needs’ and even though he’s a GM, the economy at large has us terrified. Teetering on the edge of ‘do we sell now and get out and kiss everything we’ve put into the house good-bye’ or do we hang on for 5 or 6 years hoping ‘things will pick up by then’. We run excel spread sheets and watch the local real estate relentlessly, but are afraid to pull the trigger. (We did try to sell from last October to last month, not one offer – and we listed well under what the real estate agent wanted us to). Figured we’d just ride it out, but every day seems scarier and we don’t know what to do. I am about ready to see if we can sell and take any offer as long as we can walk – hubby figures that’s crazy, that we have to get something back. I am sick with thinking of retiring with nothing but Canada Pension to rely on. As for your plight, can you not still sell if you are willing to list low enough that you just pay the real estate agent and the legal fees so you can walk away??

#113 Dave on 04.01.09 at 12:07 am

Suppose that China stops buying US government debt. That would mean that the dollar would plummet in value against the yuan. Chinese imports would suddenly become much more expensive for consumers in the United States, making domestically produced items far more competitive.”


the yuan is pegged to the U.S dollar, so it rises and falls with it. Plus, China likes the fat (not phat) ass consuming machine that is the United States.

there’s also dozens of countries waiting in the shadows to supply what the U.S gets from China that are far more competitive than domestically produced products.

I wish what you said would happen. Correct me if I’m wrong anyone..

#114 Grumpydawgs on 04.01.09 at 12:38 am

The term ‘HongCouver’ should be an offense to the beautiful city of Hong Kong. Vancouver is no ‘Fragrant Harbour”. Instead Vancouver spews 800,000,000 million ( yes not a typo) 800 million ++++ liters of raw untreated human fecal laden sewage into the harbour and waterways every day! Fecal matter coats the beaches ( they call it coliform to make it sound differant from shit) it’s visible in the harbour, it slimes against the sea wall surrounding the atheletes village of the Olympic Millemium condo project and all false Creek. It smells real bad in the summer and no one ‘plays’ in the water who is from Vancouver. We know better than that. The beach at Jericho is a foot thick of brown sludge at low tide but at English Bay the COV has crews scoop the beaches every morning at dawn before anyone see’s. It’s disgusting. So when you say HONGCOUVER wish that Vancouver was half as interesting and a quarter as clean.

#115 Winnipeg is No Different on 04.01.09 at 12:55 am

@#98 Kevin in Winnipeg

If you’re a buyer, have patience. Listings are up substantially (40% year-over-year) and sales volumes are down, a perfect recipe for price reductions. In fact, even the WREB, back in February, called Winnipeg’s market “balanced”. I have a feeling they are reluctantly dusting off the “buyer’s market” epitaphs.

Look for March sales volumes to be the lowest in over 10 years. Also look for the WREB to blame the inactivity on poor weather (like it never snows during March in Winnipeg?). If you want a poor weather comparison, go back to March 1997 when Winnipeg experienced “The Storm of the Century” followed by the “The Flood of the Century”. There were 940 MLS sales in March 1997. Look for March 2009 to be much lower (for further context, the boom year of 2007 saw 1140 sales).

#116 GTA001 on 04.01.09 at 1:07 am

To post #110

According to the station manager of CFRB 1010, Mr Ledrew had a contractual conflict with the station and CP24. He was given a choice, stick with the station or pursue a television career. He chose to work with CP24 and according to Michael Corin, the tv station might have offered a lucrative contract. I was very disappointed to see him leave the show. I wish steven Ledrew all the best in his new career.

#117 ally ally oxycontin free on 04.01.09 at 5:32 am

#89 miketheengineer on 03.31.09 at 6:23 pm

In my world, the sky is still blue and nobody abandons or refuses help to anyone else. BTW … It’s my Birf-day t’day!

Maritimers have never forgotten how to herd locusts.

#118 ally ally oxycontin free on 04.01.09 at 5:38 am

#3 Marc on 03.30.09 at 10:51 pm

“With government revenue down, and unemployment ratcheting up, how long until M.P.s vote for a 10% rollback for themselves? I won’t hold my breath, as it is unlikely to be thought of by them.”

Careful now …. Don’t get any of that on the grass !

#119 Eddie on 04.01.09 at 7:38 am

Hey Garth, I think you’re making the assumption that homes for sale in Milton are being bought only by people who live in Milton. Obviously you can see the fallacy in that thinking as many people, including myself, who don’t live in Milton are considering buying homes there. The fact that its well connected to the Go-Train will ensure many T.Dot commuters will still keep this town in their crosshair.

That is not my assumption, of course. Most of the 1,700 sellers now just want to get out before the curtain falls. They’d love to see you and your chequebook. — Garth

#120 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 04.01.09 at 8:49 am

#118 ally ally oxycontin free on 04.01.09 at 5:38 am


#121 ally ally oxycontin free on 04.01.09 at 9:04 am

#120 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 04.01.09 at 8:49 am

Thanks Bill … in the tradition of Rumpole at the Bailey, Martha and I are going to crack a day-old vintage of Chateau de Thames Plonk. Sure wish McKern was still among us!

#122 CalgaryRocks on 04.01.09 at 9:50 am

#108 Irene,

I heard that there are more retirees at GM expecting a lifetime of pension and benefits than people actually working in the plant. Pretty selfish of these old buzzards to expect the new generation, who doesn’t even have the same conditions, to pay for their retirement in Florida.

I think if the CAW wants to do profit sharing it should also learn to share risk and losses.

#123 Martin on 04.01.09 at 10:14 am

1700 houses in Milton. Seems high when I look at I see about 500 but even in that listing a great deal are doubled up in the listing. The number you state has shock value, however I’d question how accurate it is. Granted my boundaries are Appleby-Trafalgar, Britannia – 5th Sideroad. The truth is scary enough without embellishing.

On the max number which will show up in search is 500. Break it into price categories and add them to get an accurate count. Then come back and apologize. — Garth

#124 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 04.01.09 at 11:47 am

You’re most welcome. Bon appetite`

#125 Bob Bagina on 04.01.09 at 3:58 pm

It’s warming to see the dialogue surrounding racism and exclusion. I agree that political correctness has gone overboard, and that in some academic or community circles nothing is ever good enough. The topic, much like the economy or other social issues, have histories and span generations.

I guess it boils down to perception, which, like opinion, varies greatly depending on where you live, how you live, and with whom you associate.

#126 Martin on 04.01.09 at 5:54 pm

sanctimonious must be the word of the day. reminds me of Harper in his interview with Mansbridge when asked if he accepted any blame for the state of affairs as 2008 came to an end.

I’m not arguing that Milton is way over priced I lived in that town 20 yrs ago when Magna arrived. It’s set for a big fall and correction. But I’ll stand by my statement that it’s not 1,700 properties for sale.

The following from a quick look are duplicate listings (which is odd but perhaps realtors in Milton list items on multiple RE Boards)

H3007831 – 2001963
2003037 – W1570472
2003751 – W1584496
W1586140 – 2003864
W1524907 – 2000650
W1566069 – 2002807
2003701 – W1583564
W1588867 – 2003961
W1589082 – 2003957
W1529959 – 2000848
W1549082 – 2001849
2003945 – W1588775
W1557425 – 2002265
W1584383 – 2003742
2003879 – W1587718
H297289 – 1102561
20103902 – 2002374
2003220 – W1574013
W1576855 – 2003938

Data/Information is only as valuable as the accuracy of said data!

And to be clear Milton streaches Southeast to Burnhamthorpe and Nothwest to Hwy 7. It does include Cambellville, but not Acton or Meadowvale, or Georgetown.

Get a calculator and some salt for your crow. — Garth

#127 Irene on 04.01.09 at 6:04 pm

CalgaryRocks on 04.01.09 at 9:50 am
When times were good, companies negotiated the deals that CAW achieved. The companies were making money hand over fist and spent, spent just like the average Joe.When times are poor, they try to re-negotiate again and expect concessions yet they aren’t willing to do the same.good faith. Why should the CAW members except wages that the average Albertan are making and don’t even have a binding contract.

The end result should be this government telling them to honor the contracts they signed because if they don’t, it means no bailout money period so face the consequences and go bankrupt and head south. We don’t need more dictators in this country. No big pensions to head office or retirement packages because they don’t approve of them for their workers so why should they get any.

#128 Martin on 04.01.09 at 6:29 pm

Well before I find a crow and salt do I count 1 house for sale listed twice as 2 listings or 1 listing.

Your assertion is flawed. You’re not in politics anymore so admitting a error is not suicide.

In your calculations did you account for the numerous double listings?

Stop posting and start counting. — Garth

#129 Glenn on 04.01.09 at 6:46 pm

As to the above comment to “face the consequences and go bankrupt and head south” I can only hope you do not mean America.

Over the last 3+ odd years, 35% of Canadians I had lobbied for guidance have simply ignored us, while the other 65% have actively, yet subtly, tried to trip us up.

I found that Canadians, like Eastern European communists, reserve for themselves the right to enjoy the American dollars we bring, while simultaneously flying into a passive-aggressive hissy fit whenever an American goes looking for some peice of mind or reaping foreign benefits.

The one and ONLY Canadian that ever tried to help us was a French Canadian! In light of that, when any American state actually does seceed from the Union (I will immediately move to that state the moment they do, considering that 20 odd states have already joined the 10th Ammendment movement) and I happen to run into a Canadians trying to elbow in, Ill do all I can to they never get a chance.

As with feminists, when you run into an inordinate amount of consistent treachery, you can pretty much assume its something in the blood, and thus not easily washed away.

#130 Mark on 04.01.09 at 7:47 pm

I wont be crying a tear for air canada – not after the way their customer services talk to customers on the phone.

#131 dekethegeek on 04.01.09 at 8:21 pm

Nuke Air Canada first and CBC TV second save the taxpayers 2 billion $ a year MINIMUM

#132 grandeprairie girl on 04.01.09 at 10:26 pm


Watched the video.
I’m liking Max Keiser. Most specifically his reference to “decapitations”. :)

#133 Martin on 04.02.09 at 12:53 am

Well from 0 to $350,000 I found a total of 175 houses for sale. There are 40 Duplicates and one listed 4 times (MLS Listings W1575440, 2003370, 0917198, 0991086)

Details are located here;

The counting has began. I’ll finish it tomorrow
The difficult aspect is that to capture the entire Town of Milton in you need to zoom out to capture its nothern and western borders, but in doing so you capture North Oakville, Meadowvale, Burlington, etc.

Skip the salt on that crow ;)

#134 Cora on 04.02.09 at 1:03 am

More Max Keiser! Loved that! He’s going to steal some of Petey Schiff’s fan base away!