As goes the housing market…

Ikea, the Swedish retail chain, warned today that the housing downturn is hitting sales of its flat-pack furniture and said it is scaling back some of its expansion plans. The world’s largest furniture retailer has suffered falls in like-for-like sales in some of its major markets, and warned the declines could spill over to othercontinue reading

Immersed in self-referential mythology

Konrad Yakabuski has a great essay on French immersion in Saturday’s Globe and Mail. Yakabuski doesn’t bother detailing the many studies showing that the literacy levels of French immersion graduates are poor in both languages, but takes as an accepted (and easily proven) premise that their grammar is substandard. And as he observes, French immersioncontinue reading

And public sector jobs

Dan Gardner gives the gears to policy development in Canada, describing Canadian public life as “stagnation wrapped in delusion.” And he pleads with pundits to stop using the small perfect country comparators: As I said earlier, we are not Iceland with trees. Iceland has excellent governance and clever policies. We have trees.

Works for me

Canada continues to create jobs… of a sort. But, as TD highlights: …while private-sector employment makes up close to 65% of total employment and the public-sector just under 30% (with the remaining 5% self-employed) public-sector job growth has contributed close to 60% of total job growth in the last 12 months compared to just undercontinue reading

Broken rungs on the property ladder

How bad are things looking in Britain? Well, there’s the “mortgage famine” underway: The Bank of England’s gloomy outlook in its Credit Conditions survey follows a recent rush by banks to pull mortgage offers as they seek to conserve cash in the face of the credit crunch which has curbed their ability to raise wholesalecontinue reading

Chaos the British Way

Next time you’re cursing the abysmal luggage handling at Pearson, this analysis of the opening of Heathrow’s Terminal 5 may help put things into perspective. It began with baggage handling staff turning up late for their shift because they were unable to find parking places, and got worse from there: Once into the baggage sortingcontinue reading

A Paler Shade

Christian Lander, Torontonian co-creator of the eerily accurate site Stuff White People Like (check out the full list, including David Sedaris and standing still at concerts, here), reveals the source of his inspiration to the Globe and Mail: I grew up in Riverdale in Toronto, and Riverdale pretty much captures the entire concept of whatcontinue reading

Same eggs, wrong basket?

There’s no question Ontario needs to move on from the auto sector, and we certainly have the people — more CFAs than any city in the world except New York, i.e., far more than are actually required in the world’s 15th largest financial hub. But is a time of great turmoil in the markets andcontinue reading

Fixing Immigration

The next possible trigger for a federal election, buried in Bill C-50, the budget implementation bill, is legislation to amend the Immigration Act. Anyone with half a brain sees the need for changes to our current points-based system, which with agonizingly slow speed selects the cream of the crop from immigration applicants, leading successful immigrantscontinue reading