Good news: the loonie is soaring higher. Bad news: it's because the U.S.
is in crisis. Also featured in this week's Maclean's: Is Alberta dooming
Canada; and, This is your future-the technologies we'll be living with in
2017. In the issue hitting newsstands starting today.
TORONTO, Sept. 27 /CNW/ - Since the Bush administration took office in
2000, America's national debt has ballooned by more than 50 per cent. Congress
has already hiked its limit on how much the U.S. can borrow four times in the
last five years. 125,000 jobs have been lost since last February. America's
addiction to cheap and easy money has put the country's economy, not to
mention the world's, on shaky ground. Surveying the threat of a crumbling
housing market and rising unemployment, Peter Schiff, president of Euro
Pacific Capital in Darien, Conn., nicknamed "Dr. Doom" for his dour outlook,
is brutally blunt. "We're screwed," he says. "It's not just going to be a mild
recession. It'll be the worst one we've ever had."
The dire conditions south of the border have caused the U.S. dollar to
plunge against virtually all world currencies, including Canada's. So even as
Canadian crow about finally reaching parity with the greenback, it's bad news
for a country whose economy is inextricably linked to the financial health of
U.S. consumers. Yes, Canada's abundance of minerals, oil and gas provides some
protection against economic turmoil. But any claim that Canada can glide
easily through a major U.S. recession, especially if it spreads to other parts
of the globe, is seriously off base. Analysts are just beginning to come to
grips with what the U.S. reckoning means for us. Read all about it in this
Alberta's oil-sands: bringing Armageddon to Canada?
The riches generated by Alberta's energy sector are astounding, the stuff
of breathless business stories and promises by the likes of Prime Minister
Stephen Harper that the province is on the cusp of becoming an "energy
superpower." Earlier this year, Calgary-based EnCana earned profits of $6.4
billion, a record-breaking sum. The provincial government's last budget showed
a surplus of $8.5 billion. So dynamic is Alberta's energy boom that it's
become, what with Ontario's struggling manufacturing sector, the real power in
the economy. Remove Alberta from the Canadian economy, some say, and the
country would now be in recession.
There is no denying, however, that the wealth comes at a huge
environmental cost. Consider the millions in cubic metres of water that three
oil sands projects--20 more are in the works or pending approval--extract from
the Athabasca River each year. Between two and six barrels of water are
required to produce a single barrel of oil--it's a startling litany of
environmental abuse. "Now Alberta's resource-development surge has put it on a
collision course with central Canada's devotion to Kyoto," writes Maclean's
Calgary correspondent Nicholas Kohler, "and Canada's very national fabric
could be threatened when Alberta's desire to exploit its resources conflicts
with any renewed federal government push to regulate them."
In 2017, robots will care for the elderly, your car will drive itself,
and your house will talk.
Although 2017 may not seem far away, it's more than enough time to shake
up the way we live. And the experts say we're overdue for a major
breakthrough--one that ranks up there with the invention of the microwave or
the Internet. Maclean's associate editor John Intini shines a light on bright
ideas and prototypes springing from the research and development labs with the
potential to reshape your home, your commute, your office, and your downtime.
Consider this a preview of the not-too distant future.
Maclean's is Canada's only national weekly current affairs magazine.
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investigative reporting and exclusive stories from leading journalists in the
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and culture. Visit www.macleans.ca.
For further information:
For further information: Jacqueline Segal,