Central banks chained to the Promethean rock

Gun-shy governments have put too much responsibility onto central banks, and they're reaching the end of their strength

If Canada faces a combination of increasing prices and faltering economic growth, the Bank of Canada can’t do much to fix that killer combo. “In that moment you have a tradeoff between a slowing economy (and) rising unemployment, and rising inflation at the same time. Obviously monetary policy can’t buffer both of those,” said Stephen […] Read more

The justification for the total block is that China said it had found a number of fake veterinary health certificates for meat products imported from Canada because of poor supervision, the newspaper said. | File photo

China shows that you can’t count on China – ever

China blocks Canadian pork and beef and proves itself a bad bet for any future relationships

China has now added Canadian pork and beef to its blockade of Canadian agricultural exports, as it continues to bash away at Canada. Canadian farmers will be the biggest losers. It hits them directly. Not only does the physical movement of meat get disrupted, but export prices will be discounted as Canadian product looks to […] Read more

Send Chretien to crack China’s coldness?

It was a nostalgic feeling last week to hear the names “Mulroney” and “Chretien” being batted around in the national news again, connected with each other. The former Prime Ministers weren’t fighting, but rather Brian Mulroney was said to be lobbying present PM Justin Trudeau to dispatch Jean Chretien to China to try to fix […] Read more


if farmers are designing their operations to be multi-decade factories to produce crops and animals for booming Chinese demand, they need to keep in mind that this booming demand might never appear.  |  REUTERS/Aly Song photo

China: Dangerous Assumptions

In the long run, what kind of future will farmers face?

“In the long run we are all dead.” This line by British economist John Maynard Keynes highlights the silliness of looking too far out in the future and concluding that everything’s OK if it works out they way we think it eventually will. People live in the here and now, and accepting terrible conditions today […] Read more

Getting it wrong on China, Canada and trade

If prime ministers were wrong, when were they wrong?

Perhaps Canadian prime ministers, both Liberal and Conservative, have been wrong about China, Canada and trade. But when were they wrong? I’ve criticized both former Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper and present Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for saying critical or provocative things to or about China, and thereby undermining efforts to build a bigger […] Read more


China’s making enemies across Canada’s political spectrum

Instead of convincing Canadians to quake, Chinese trade truculence and abuse of Canadian citizens is hardening attitudes towards it

I was quite surprised to hear Conservative leader Andrew Scheer last night announcing a foreign policy approach that is more anti-China than much I’ve heard in recent years. “We should engage in a way that how our values and our interest are in many respects incompatible with those of the Chinese government,” said Scheer in […] Read more

What’s a farmer to do about China?

Get out and grow the best crop you can grow: that's the farmer's best bet

What’s a farmer to do about China and all the uncertainty it has created for the crop farmers are only now seeding? What can a farmer do? There’s not much any individual farmer can do, obviously. There’s also not much farm organizations can do. There’s not much provincial governments can do. And China’s making it […] Read more

Sick of talking about China?

Me too, but we're going to keep doing it

Put your hand up if you’re sick of talking about China all the time. Yup, as I suspected, there are lots of hands up out there in Readerland. How about this: If you’re sick of talking about China and you know it, clap your hands! Knew it. Lots of clapping out there. Heck, I’m sick […] Read more


A loan is OK for now . . .

But if the China dispute lingers, farmers will deserve cash compensation

It seems obviously a good thing that the federal government today quintupled the interest-free Cash Advance program to $500,000 and ramped-up the prime rate portion to a total of $1 million combined. I say “obviously” because I know from writing about cash advances last year that they are a topic that gets farmers fired up. […] Read more

China’s ban of Canadian canola imports is widely seen as retaliation for Canada’s arrest of Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of the founder of telecom giant Huawei, at the behest of the United States. | Robin Booker photo

BLOG: Canada-China relationship was getting cozy before Meng detention

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is under fire for the deteriorating Canada-China relationship, but his misstep may have been to be too accommodating to the Asian superpower. The Canada-U.S. relationship hit a low when President Donald Trump imposed U.S. tariffs on Canadian steel due to “national security concerns,” forced Canada into impromptu and brutal negotiations for […] Read more