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20 October 2008

9 October was the 9th day of the fourth month of the 3rd year of Canadian national consciousness rising to invincibility, as indicated by the following press reports:

9 October 2008

The Canadian Economic Press - Canadian banks considered soundest in the world, global study shows (9 October 2008) Canada has the soundest financial system on the globe, according to a new report from the World Economic Forum, which also placed Canada on the top 10 list of the world's most competitive countries. Based on the opinion of executives, the 2008-2009 Global Competitiveness Report ranks 134 countries on a variety of 'pillars', or factors, ranging from institutions and infrastructure to technological readiness and innovation. Within the pillar analyzing financial markets, Canada earned the top grade for its soundness of banks, plus making the top 10 for its strength of investor protection (5th) and financial market sophistication (6th). Banks are ranked from 1.0 (insolvent and possibly requiring government intervention) to 7.0 (healthy with sound balance sheets). Canada's banks received a 6.8 reading, followed closely by Sweden, Luxembourg, Australia, and Denmark, which each scored a 6.7 reading.

In the index as a whole, Canada moved up three places to become the 10th most competitive nation surveyed. Canada's markets were said to be highly efficient; the education system received favourable grades for its quality internet access, and availability of research services; and the overall quality of infrastructure earned cum laude marks from executives. Banking wasn't the only category where Canada had top marks, either. Canada can now call itself the most competitive nation for using personal computers, and having the fewest procedures required to start a business.

The Financial Post - 'Unprecedented' activity drives Canadian banks (8 October 2008) Canada's leading banks are embracing opportunities to finance infrastructure projects. Investing in the nation's infrastructure is increasingly perceived to be a strong and stable market. British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec have established government agencies to facilitate infrastructure development through private-public partnerships. It was only four years ago that such partnerships were virtually unheard of, says Bert Clark, managing director of Scotia Capital's infrastructure and government finance group. 'Ontario has been putting out seven or eight projects per year of significant size. It's really unprecedented,' he said. Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce is also getting involved in major infrastructure projects, including spearheading funding for schools. It developed a prototype structure for funding universities, which 16 have since used, along with a unique pool-funding scheme for schools in Alberta that enables boards to join forces to obtain investment financing, said Cliff Inskip, managing director at CIBC World Markets. 'If a board only needed C$25 million but it teamed up with other boards for collectively C$150 million, that's much more efficient financing,' Mr Inskip noted.

The Canadian Economic Press - Saskatchewan will take the lead in Canadian growth, revised RBC forecast says (8 October 2008) 'Saskatchewan is expected to lead all provinces in growth both this year and next year with overall GDP rising 3.9% and 3.5%, respectively, because the province is enjoying very high prices for most of its key exports . . . ,' RBC says in its revised provincial economic forecasts. Although commodity prices have come off recent highs, they are expected to stay at historically high levels and support business and household spending, RBC says. Manitoba comes in second place in 2008 growth, in part because of growth in capital spending. RBC boosted its 2008 estimate for Manitoba from 2.7% to 3.1%. In New Brunswick, investment spending is expected to propel GDP growth to 2% in 2008, a better showing than the previous year's 1.6% growth rate. Prince Edward Island has shown resilience with a 'relatively bright' jobs picture, tax cuts, and rising retail sales bolstering the economy, RBC says. The bank upped its 2008 prediction for Prince Edward Island's GDP growth rate from 1.2% to 1.9%.

The Toronto Star on lower energy prices benefiting consumers and businesses (9 October 2008) Three months ago, Ontario drivers were filling up their cars with gasoline at C$1.37 a litre. Crude oil was trading at $147 (US) a barrel. The wholesale price of natural gas was trading above C$13.50 per thousand cubic feet. Gasoline prices have since fallen 25 per cent, oil is down 40 per cent and wholesale natural gas prices have plunged nearly 50 per cent. Peter Dungan, a professor of business economics at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, said falling oil prices have put an enormous amount of purchasing power back into the hands of consumers over the past three months. Small businesses are also enjoying a little relief from softening energy prices. 'It's taking some of the edge off people's concerns, because (US$147 oil) was changing the economics of moving products from place to place,' said Ted Mallett, chief economist with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

The Toronto Star - Theme is green: eco-products rule (9 October 2008) Higher energy costs and increased focus on the environment are pushing up sales of eco-friendly renovation materials and green decor. But they're also changing the face of consumer home shows, a shift that's reflected by the fact that it's Peter Love, Ontario's chief energy conservation officer, who will kick off the International Home Show in Toronto on Friday. Consumer interest in green products has been climbing in relation to rising energy prices, says Love, adding that more and more homeowners are willing to make capital investments in energy saving technologies, such as solar heating and lighting. 'Three or four years ago homeowners may have looked at these products and thought that they were neat, but left it at that. Now it's becoming a bigger deal, both in terms of people wanting to save money and to do the right thing,' Love said. The home show gives consumers the perfect opportunity to 'kick the tires' on a new generation of eco-products designed to reduce the carbon footprint of a house and save its owners money, such as solar-operated gates and lawn mowers.

The Canadian Press - New study says fewer young people in Alberta's criminal justice system (9 October 2008) A new study says fewer young people have been involved in Alberta's criminal justice system since the federal Youth Criminal Justice Act came into effect in 2003. The report by the Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family, which is affiliated with the University of Calgary, says the number of Albertans aged 12-17 charged with offences declined by 27 per cent.

From a CBC News report on this: One reason for the drop is that far fewer youths are spending time behind bars thanks to the Youth Criminal Justice Act, Joseph Hornick, the institute's executive director, said. 'This is where they establish their friendships,' he said. Hornick called it the first in-depth study of Alberta's youth crime rates since 2003, when the act emphasizing the rehabilitation and re-entry of a young offender into society came into effect. 'Really what's happening is the crime rate is dropping, the act is working,' said Gordon Sand, who works with young offenders as executive director of the Calgary John Howard Society.

The Canadian Press on McGill University ranked 20th best in the world (8 October 2008) McGill University in Montreal was named as one of the top 25 universities in the world by the prestigious Times Higher Education-QS World University Rankings. Two other Canadian universities—the University of British Columbia (UBC) and the University of Toronto (U of T) —finished in the top 50. McGill placed at 20th, while UBC was ranked 34th and U of T placed 41st. (McGill ranked 10th in life sciences education.) 'It is important to remember that there are nearly 10,000 universities worldwide so even to be included on THE-QS list of 604 is a remarkable achievement,' said Heather Monroe-Blum, McGill's principal.

The Toronto Star on German think-tank visits Toronto school to learn about helping children of all backgrounds (9 October 2008) Officials of a prestigious German think tank visited a Toronto grade school Wednesday to see how schools here work to help children of all backgrounds. Representatives of the Bertelsmann Foundation, which recently awarded Toronto's public school board an international award for helping children of diverse backgrounds, dropped by Rockford Public School. Two-thirds of students at this school were born outside Canada, and 80 per cent have a first language other than English. The officials wanted to observe its free parenting centre and talk to teachers about how to help children of different backgrounds get along.

These are a few of the news reports reflecting Canada's rising invincibility from the growing Yogic Flying groups across Canada and the Invincible America Assembly at Maharishi University of Management and Maharishi Vedic City, USA.

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