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Are you comfortable with change?

After a long while, we’re moving some stuff around here on VCI.

If you visited over the weekend there’s a good chance you found a site in flux with occasional downtime and shifting formats, but we’re pretty close to functional now.

So how does that make you feel?

According to that informal poll to the left, it’s pretty much split at this time, with just over half of you liking the change, almost half hating it and a few that could care less.

But if you DO care, here are a few notes about the new site design:

Here’s the new comment box at the bottom of every article.:

Screenshot 2016-01-24 20.36.41

There are a few new features:

  1. Notify of (new follow up comments) you can set this to get email updates if someone responds to the thread, or set it to email if someone responds to your comment so they don’t get the last word.
  2. There’s been a big shift in comment formatting. You can now reply to comments inline, but this makes it harder to see what’s new.  click ‘Sort by: newest’  at the bottom of the comment box to see the newest comments first.
  3. We’re still trying to figure out how to format comments based on their number of votes. In the meanwhile you can click ‘Sort by: most voted’ to see the highest rated comments at the top of the list.

As always your feedback is welcome.

The best thing about this site has always been the readers that leave commentary (that’s you!), so we’re curious to see how you feel about this new format including things that you like and things that bug you.

Leave your comments below and have an excellent week!

Friday Free-for-all! Spring Cleaning

It’s the end of another work week and you know what that means…

It’s time for some tidying up! Site looks a little different?

And of course it’s also Friday Free-for-all time!

This is our regular end of the week news round up and open topic discussion thread for the weekend.

Here are a few recent links to kick off the chat:

effects of the low dollar
good for boats
bulls right, bears wrong
legalize squatting
free markets

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

Let’s confuse the public.

Frances Bula has some comments about a recent proposal to tax vacant properties, pointing out the bizarre lack of logic in most arguments against:

… Real-estate marketer Bob Rennie said it would kill foreign investment in everything, since it would inevitably lead to a tax on foreign investment in manufacturing or other sectors. (Never heard of that in other jurisdictions with housing taxes.)

The mystery documents from the finance ministry surfaced again, claiming it would kill off $1 billion and 4,000 jobs related to construction. (Puzzling claim, since this surtax wouldn’t affect, say, foreign investors who are putting capital into major construction projects.)

And Premier Christy Clark claimed again that somehow this could end up targeting seniors who spend part of the year in the hospital or vacationers. Yet the proposal clearly stated that people who do or have contributed to the local economy (in other words, people collecting pensions) would be exempt.

Read the full comment here and Bulas’ article in the Globe and Mail here.

Who wants a 50 cent dollar?

With rumors of another rate cut, Rob Carrick points out 8 reasons he thinks that’s a bad idea. The very first reason? The Looney will fall even further against the US dollar.

For eight years, the Bank of Canada has been trying to encourage economic growth by lowering interest rates. It’s so not working.

In fact, lower rates are hurting a lot of people more than they’re helping. We have to at least acknowledge this as speculation of yet another rate cut grows. It could come as soon as Wednesday, which is the date of the next rate announcement from the Bank of Canada.

The central bank considers the entire economy when it sets rates. Now, let’s look at things from the point of view of everyday people. Here are eight reasons why the Bank of Canada shouldn’t cut rates any lower.

1. The dollar will fall even more: The most disruptive force in personal finance right now is the falling dollar. That’s because it’s hitting us all in a vulnerable spot – our grocery bill. Helpful for exporters, a weak loonie is a tax on families and snowbirds who must change Canadian dollars into U.S. currency. Last week, the dollar fell below 70 cents (U.S.) for the first time since 2003. A lower dollar adds downward momentum.

Read the full list over at the Globe and Mail, although a number of them are directly connected to a dropping looney.

The one group that a dropping looney should help are exporters as their products get cheaper for foreign buyers, but Jayson Myers, the head of the countries largest exporters association says don’t bother.

“Interest rates are low already. A little bit of dollar stability would be better.”

As an interesting aside, in 2002 when the CAD was hitting record lows Treasury Board President Scott Brison said it was

“a pay cut to every Canadian, a drop in our standard of living and a reflection of the fact that Canadians are getting poorer as Americans are getting richer under the watch of the government,”

Scott Brison is now a key cabinet minister and top economic aide to Trudeau.

 A hat-tip to southseacompany for the links.

Friday Free-for-all!

It’s that time of the week again, time for another Friday Free-for-all!

This is our regular end of the week news round up and open topic discussion thread for the weekend, here are a few recent links to kick off the chat:

Destroying Vancouver?
How to gloat gracefully
Define ‘bubble’
Zero down again please
CAD down the drain
Housing and oil, that enough?

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