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Good news report from Canada

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14 January 2009

9 January was the 9th day of the seventh month of the 3rd year of Canadian national consciousness rising to invincibility, as indicated by the following press reports:

9 January 2009

Reuters Canada - PM upbeat about economy (8 January 2009) Prime Minister Harper was less gloomy about the economy in an interview released Thursday, saying Canada was in a strong economic position compared with others and should be able to exit the recession relatively quickly. The comments to Maclean's magazine were noticeably more cheerful than those he made in an interview in mid-December. 'The underlying reality is that Canada enters this recession in a pretty strong position compared to most western industrialized countries,' he told Maclean's. 'We're entering the recession later. All the indications are that it will not be as deep here and we should be able to come out of it sooner,' he said.

The Canadian Press - No longer combative, Harper calls for co-operation in drafting federal budget (9 January 2009) Prime Minister Harper offered his political rivals an olive branch Friday as he dialed down last month's heated parliamentary rhetoric and promised a conciliatory approach to a coming federal budget aimed at helping the economy. 'Now is the time for everybody . . . to try and reach consensus if that's possible, but especially to try and work together—federally, provincially, internationally, across party lines—to deal with the problems that everybody knows are urgent and large,' Harper said. 'Canada has some very real strengths in terms of our national finances, in terms of our labour force, our infrastructure, that are already better than other countries,' he said. 'And although we will have to do extraordinary measures, we should be able to use those measures to mitigate against some of the employment losses we are seeing and to emerge stronger than ever.'

The Globe and Mail - Cheer up: Canada's in good shape (9 January 2009) Job numbers out Friday showed a jump in the national unemployment rate to 6.6 per cent. But the odds are that workers here will come through the downturn of 2009 with far fewer scrapes and bruises than they did during the two previous recessions. The Canadian unemployment rate rocketed to 13 per cent in the 1981-82 recession and almost as high in the 1990-91 contraction. So far, almost no economist expects Canada's jobless rate will surpass 8 per cent during this downturn. Most, by far, predict it will peak below that figure. Even an 8-per-cent jobless rate would have been embraced as practically full employment in the Canada of the '70s or '80s. This country remains an island of relative tranquillity in a raging global economic sea. Our job market, in particular, faces this tempest with storm shutters firmly affixed. Claude Morin, an economic development officer in Quebec's export-dependent Beauce region, agrees, adding that more than a decade of solid growth has left firms with strong balance sheets. Canada's employment rate—the percentage of those over 15 with jobs—remains historically high at 63.1 per cent in December. Monetary and fiscal stimulus are two reasons Royal Bank of Canada is predicting this recession will be shorter than the two previous ones. The bank expects Canada's economy to start growing again in the second quarter of this year.

Canwest News Service on December retail sales up from last year (8 January 2009) A report released Friday by Canada's largest processor of credit- and debit-card transactions indicates people were spending more money this past holiday season than the year before. Moneris Solutions said its data for December sales indicates 'resilience' in consumer spending last month and 'dramatic growth' for certain categories, such as department stores and clothing retailers. Moneris said it processed two per cent more sales in all merchant categories in December compared with a year earlier. But it said sales at department stores were up nine per cent, and sales at apparel outlets were up six per cent. Richard Talbot, president of retail-analysis group Talbot Consultants, said he's not surprised by these numbers. 'I was not a great believer in the doom and gloom for Canada that we were led to believe in the media ahead of time because that wasn't the feedback I was getting from the retailers I deal with,' he said.

The Financial Post - Corporate bond market thawing (9 January 2009) After a difficult close to 2008, during which large chunks of the corporate bond market remained stubbornly frozen, massive new issuance over the past few days suggests the market is finally starting to thaw, according to senior banking officials. 'I think when the market opened on Monday, globally the tone was better and people were ready to get back into the market,' said Colleen Campbell, head of debt origination for Canadian capital markets at Bank of Montreal Financial Group. 'There's definitely a feeling of improved confidence of how corporate bonds will perform,' said Chris Seip, head of debt-capital markets for Royal Bank of Canada Capital Markets, who traces the new attitude back to efforts by governments and central banks globally to unfreeze credit markets. 'The economic outlook is definitely not rosy, but investors are forward-looking and they are optimistic that the right tools are being used for a recovery,' Mr Seip said. Another factor behind the shift in sentiment is the low return on the government bonds that many investors rushed into in 2008. Observers say the market is recognizing the advantage of corporate bonds, with investment-grade issues offering equity-like yields. One domestic bank recently sold bonds with a 10% return, while a leading supermarket company has comparable debt at 7%.

The Financial Post - Institutional money managers cautiously optimistic (8 January 2008) Money managers are optimistic about the year ahead and expect equities to stage a modest recovery and be the most attractive asset class, according to a new survey from consulting firm Mercer. On average, Canadian and global institutional investment fund managers that took part in the 2009 survey expect Canadian and foreign equity markets to return nearly 10%. The annual survey includes views of 48 leading Canadian and global institutional investment managers, whose firms manage more than US$9.7 trillion for Canadian pension funds and other investors globally.

The Globe and Mail - Rebound not far off, CIBC says (9 January 2009) The worst of the carnage may soon be over as fiscal stimulus packages begin to take hold, said Jeff Rubin, CIBC World Markets chief economist. He said the trillions of dollars being pumped into the world's largest economies, coupled with deep interest rate cuts, will likely cause markets to rally in the last half of the year.

Reuters Canada on Canadian companies may benefit from global stimulus spending (8 January 2009) Canadian companies in sectors as diverse as technology and transit are poised to benefit from hundreds of billions of dollars of government economic stimulus spending around the world, analysts say. Global infrastructure spending is expected to be used to tackle such issues as energy independence, the environment, and improvements to public transportation.

The Canadian Economic Press on increase in hourly wages in December (9 January 2009) Statistics Canada's Labour Force Survey released Friday showed that hourly wages continued to climb well above the pace of inflation with a 4.3% increase in compensation in December compared to a year ago.

The Canadian Press - Great Lakes expected to be higher early in 2009 (8 January 2009) The levels of some of the Great Lakes are expected to be higher in the first half of 2009 than they were last year. And that is good news for the boating and shipping industry (and marine life and nearby populations).

The Canadian Press - Fit older women have better brain function: Study (8 January 2009) In a small study of women aged 50 to 90, researchers at the University of Calgary found that those who were aerobically fit had improved blood flow to the brain, and that in turn was linked with better cognitive function. The study involved 42 women who were divided into active and sedentary groups based on their fitness levels. In part, fitness levels were determined by questionnaires that asked about leisure, household and volunteer activities, and their frequency. 'They were doing everything from walking to swimming to dancing to cross-country skiing and hiking,' said principal investigator Marc Poulin, a physiologist at the University of Calgary, of those in the physically fit group. To conduct the study, researchers tested the women for oxygen uptake as they exercised on a stationary bike. On another day, the researchers gave participants a battery of cognitive tests that assessed memory, speed of thinking, and the ability to multi-task and problem-solve. They found that compared to women in the sedentary group, the active group had lower (10 per cent) resting and exercising arterial blood pressure, higher (5 per cent) vascular responses in the brain during low-intensity exercise, and higher (10 per cent) cognitive function scores. 'It adds the ability to have a fuller life in terms of cognition and better blood flow and just generally a better sense of well-being,' commented Poulin. Still, regular exercise may mean an increased lifespan for some. Merceda Schmidt certainly believes that's true. At 91, the retired Calgary kindergarten teacher walks about eight kilometres almost daily and still volunteers at a pre-school. 'I think it gives you energy,' she said. She doesn't walk, she runs, said Schmidt, who was part of the study, recently published in the journal Neurobiology of Aging.

These are a few of the news reports reflecting Canada's rising invincibility from the growing Yogic Flying groups across Canada and the Invincible America Assembly at Maharishi University of Management and Maharishi Vedic City, USA.

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