Friday Free for all!

Hey! You made it to the end of the work week!  Perhaps it’s time to get out of town, relax at home or wait in long security lines.  What you do with your weekend is up to you, but what we do here is our regular end of the week economic news round up and open topic discussion post.  Here are a few recent stories to kick off the conversation:

There is no housing bubble
Property tax deferral plan a debt time bomb?
Scotia Capitol warns Ottawa on popping bubble
Is Canada in a housing bubble?
The cult of home ownership
VREAA: Froogle Scott 4
Five warning signs of a bubble
First Canadian trade deficit in 34 years
Games will give BC short term boost
Mortgage insurance peace of mind – at a price
The doomsday view of the mortgage market
Ottawa weighs stricter mortgage rules

So what are you seeing out there? Post your news links, thoughts and anecdotes here and have an excellent weekend!

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@BeggarCity: Guardian: <a href=" ” target=”_blank”> Entertaining, but one big clanger: It has become the sine qua non of these shindigs that the aboriginal folk who inhabited the land in the days before Starbucks and 24-hour news channels play a major part, which can feel a little patronising, but given Canada's generally benign – although not untainted – race relations record, it felt more appropriate in Vancouver than it did in Sydney, for instance. I have a hunch that his only exposure to Canadian aboriginals was at that ceremony. Or perhaps he visited some of our local reserves, which are about as relevant to Canada as a whole as the Beverly Hillbillies were to Appalachia (the locals are sitting on top of huge RE wealth). Just a short walk down to Hastings and Main would have given a taste of… Read more »


oo, oo, can i sigh up for an 800k condo there right now?


DON'T SNORE — 'THE WALLS ARE AS THIN AS CURTAINS… Disgruntled athletes and coaches staying at the Olympic Village in Vancouver have hit out at what they say is shoddy accommodation and a lack of basic comforts. One of the complaints is that the walls of the rooms are so thin that the athletes are struggling to fall asleep – not a good time to have snorers nearby… Ski jumping trainer Werner Schuster compared the Olympic Village with a boy scout camp. The 41-year-old said: “The living standard is very poor. Five, six people have to share a bathroom and the walls are as thin as curtains.” Such Spartan living, all in the quest to win gold at the Olympics! The size the accommodation has also been criticised. A particularly sore point is that there isn’t enough space for… Read more »


I told you carpet baggers that the olympics would be a national disaster and the opening ceremonies have clearly demonstrated just what I meant. How could you possible fuck up the lighting of the olympic cauldron after 5 years of planning? How much money was spent on olympic security which was apparently non-existent during the "great ones" ride on the back of a pickup truck in the rain to the real cauldron? Which btw what kind of a bumpkin country has the final torch bearer ride on the back of a pickup truck? I won't even talk about the hour long interpretive dance snooze fest.


@Drachen: I agree. It should be scrapped, it would benefit almost all buyers and equilibrium prices would settle at a lower level. However I am afraid politicians would not go for outright abolition: then, it seems reasonable to redirect its objectives and limit its distortionary effects on the housing market.

In summary the CHMC is the single biggest distortion of thr Canadian housing market, with effects particularly dire for Vancouver (where the share of low down-payment buyers is the highest).

Removing the distortions due to the CHMC would result in a more balanced, stable and affordable market.



"He suggested that it would be wise for Ottawa to officially give CMHC a mandate to watch over the health of the housing market."

Abolish the CMHC entirely. Not only do they have a problem "watching over" the health of the housing market they are the cause of most of the problems in the housing market.

When they at least did housing inspections and stopped things like leaky condos from happening (they lost that mandate just before the leaky condo crisis of the '80s) they had a purpose but now they're taking taxpayer money and using it to fund a program that hurts taxpaying Canadians! How ludicrous is that!



"..the Winter Olympics opening ceremony in Vancouver, where four giant penises rose slowly from the floor to stand proudly erect in the arena, presumably intended as symbols of a thrusting young nation… (sorry, but does that not look a bit like four huge todgers?)"


@Chilled: I spent the day today, riding my bicyle downtown and checking out the tourists. I suspect this entire non-event may be the con of the century. I also took a bike ride and probably went to similar places as you. Yeah, the Art Gallery line, was unmentionable. It almost took 10 minutes of standing. What a bunch of cheap a$$es getting in for taking advantage of the free entrance fee instead of paying the normal $18. There's a couple of paintings inside, alright – a few rough sketches too – Original 500 year old sketches from Leonardo Da Vinci from the Queen's collection that we were able to get within millimeters and see the details of his pen stroke, the texture and thickness of the paper, light construction lines, the edges of the paper that's a bit deteriorated. Who… Read more »


149 – patriotz – see, what you did there – actually read the author bio – was far deeper "reporting" than anything I've seen in the press for years. it's really sad – i know some eager young journalism students, socially-active and activist in nature, and I fear they will be simply transformed into midless parrots if they are ever "lucky" enough to get a mainstream media job…


Some links posted on Garth's blog. I like these:


One last post about the David Dodge article. This is what he had to say about the mission of the CHMC!

CMHC's “actual mandate today, which is different from what it was back 20 or 30 years ago, is really just to get people into houses,” Mr. Dodge said. “And that's always been something that bothers me, because it really doesn't have a stability mandate.”

He suggested that it would be wise for Ottawa to officially give CMHC a mandate to watch over the health of the housing market.

This makes a lot of sense! It is exactly what we would need. I wish he was still in a position of influence, instead of these young yuppies who just want to ride the good times and let them roll as long as possible.


Stop the CHMC! David Dodge is a smart (and, above all, honest) guys. This is what he has to say about the CHMC: “……you've got to look at lending standards and the framework for mortgage insurance as very important tools of stabilization,” he said. “The terms and insurance over which mortgage insurance should be given over the next little while probably should be tighter, and probably should have been tighter over the past period.” Mr. Dodge said he has never been comfortable with the idea that people can buy homes with down-payments of as little as five per cent. Whether increasing it to 7.5 per cent or 10 per cent, he would be supportive of raising the minimum payment. He certainly makes A LOT MORE sense than Mark Carney or Jim Flaherty. What are these guys doing? What are they… Read more »


Dodge suggests Feds should cool house market

Canada should be bracing itself for the reality that house prices are more likely to go down than up in the next few years, says former Bank of Canada governor David Dodge.


I spent the day today, riding my bicyle downtown and checking out the tourists. I suspect this entire non-event may be the con of the century. What where those thousands of people milling about actually doing? You could spot the visitors from around the world; Americans walking around with food in at least one hand, Europeans looking bored and pissed off, Asians having difficulty walking in a straight line…….what a laugh. And the DES. The annual native womens gathering at Main & Hastings ??celibrating?? missing women. I dunno, it sure didn't look like a solemn event to me. Crusing through the back alleys, it is blatently obvious that the city has jumped through hoops to tidy the place up and keep the downtrodden corralled around Cordova and Main. This reminds me of that annual visit you are obligated to make… Read more »


@Frank:…..le1467045/ Another reporter who cannot connect the dots. “Our broad objective as a city is to put Vancouver on a global map,” Mr. Robertson says. He hopes foreign companies involved in growth areas such as clean technology and digital media will set up operations in Vancouver. Digital media? You mean like Creo? Well I guess Greg has to talk his best, but why would any tech company set up in Vancouver when it has the least affordable house prices in the Western world – twice those of leading US and Canadian tech centres such as Ottawa and Seattle? And farther down: Vancouver's hot housing market could provide the city with an opportunity to profit when it eventually sells the athlete's village. Yeah right. Who is the author of this incisive reporting? Brenda Bouw is a journalist and author based… Read more »



"Where the hell is No-Lympics when we need him??"

I saw him in the crowd at women's 3000 speed skating, he's probably still fighting traffic to get home.


The sleazy cover up is 'uncovered'. When the mourning phase is over, no doubt lawyers acting on behalf of the luger's family will seek to find out why it was necessary to make alterations if the track had no role to play in his death. It will draw attention to complaints from other competitors about a facility that has stretched the boundaries of safety in what is already a dangerous sport. "We are not crash-test dummies,'' an Australian competitor said on Thursday." There was a big team changing and boarding up the track from the top down and a big bundle of padding put on the posts where the luger had died. Its really scummy of the CDN Olympics guys to have done what they did to ,own the podium'. Winning by stepping on someone elses neck to cross the… Read more »


And in the NY Times !!!

According to the British Olympic Association's chief executive, Andy Hunt, the British skeleton sliders have had just 10% of the practice time on the stretch that the Canadian team has enjoyed. Similar complaints had been voiced by the Americans. "I think it shows a lack of sportsmanship," Ron Rossi, the executive director of USA Luge, told the New York Times


I just checked out that headline ….OUCH !!!! Makes me embarrrassed for all Canucks.

"Winter Olympics athletes blame hosts for death of Nodar Kumaritashvili"


World opinion turns against 'the ugly Canadian'. What the local press has been spinning regarding behaviour of the Canadian olympic movement and what the international press is saying about the ugly behaviour of the 'impolite' Canadian in the now villified 'own the podium' snakepit are two completley different stories. The international olympic movement says Canada has lied and cheated in a sleazy attempt to limit other atheletes access and that is why atheletes have been at risk and one has died. Legal proceedings have already begun against Canadaa , own the podium thugs and the Canadians are rushing to do a massive cover up. read on. "Yet if these are issues for the lawyers somewhere down the line, more immediate questions may be asked by the Canadians of themselves, who, in pursuit of their own Olympic dream – 30 medals… Read more »


#139 S, so getting the bums rush out of BC like a loser refugee and then raviing out of some hovel in Newfie isn't embarrassing enough? You want to stay in touch with us so badly? Why's that, no one wanted to recognize you when you were here? Bwahahahahahahahahahahaha . The busiest time this province has ever seen and you can't get a job scrubbing toilets at McDonalds? How does one say 'opportunities and newfie' in the same sentence without laughing. having a 'blast in newfie' is probably akin to all the 'burn outs and bush bandits' that end up in Spuzzum and Prince George. Hahahahahahahahahahahahah, I'm sure if I came to newfie I'd find you working as the 'piccolo chiquino' in a the can of some dump begging for tips and asking if you could flush the toilet for… Read more »



I have yet to hear a coherent argument for why the film industry should be given massive handouts, but my industry should not.

If the BC economy had not been massively warped by the government-sponsored RE bubble, secondary industry would have had a fighting chance to compete without subsidies.


"It was touching to see the massive crowds come out to see Arnold carrying the torch today.

The same Arnold who declared war on BC’s film industry."

Frankly, I'd gladly cheer on Arnie BECAUSE he declared war on BC's film industry.

There are plenty of us in non-favored industries that don't get massive tax breaks. I have yet to hear a coherent argument for why the film industry should be given massive handouts, but my industry should not.


Is there anything more amusing then tweaking a couple of idiot? People in Newfie? Wow Grampy… I'm pretty sure Newfoundland wasn't a province when you were going to school but you really should bust out an atlas. Did you go to Pangea high? In a way you're right Grampy. There wasn't very much opportunity either in IT or to start a small business in Vangroovy. The taxes were too high and it's really expensive to live in Van. I wasn't at all happy with the quality of life relative to the money I was spending, so I left. By all means you and your boyfriend Supra should keep displaying your appalling ignorance of the country you two lovebirds live in. I'm pretty sure I speak for the entire East Coast of Canada when I saw we'd really prefer you stay… Read more »