Friday, August 07, 2009

Rachel's Bits and Briefs

A few brief notes to take us into the weekend...

Harper Backed by Premiers vs. 'Buy American' Policy

The nation's provincial Premiers have united to back Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s fight against the protectionist trade policies being implemented in the U.S.

The Toronto Star reports that “Buy American” provisions, mandated by President Obama’s stimulus package, are currently being applied by American local and state governments and prevent Canadian companies from bidding on stimulus-funded projects:

Harper is to meet with Obama on Sunday in Mexico, and with the premiers' endorsement in hand, he is expected to tell the president Canada is ready to move ahead in the effort to neutralize the Buy America problem. This will lay the groundwork, sources say, for International Trade Minister Stockwell Day to send a letter to U.S. Trade Representative Ronald Kirk next week indicating that Ottawa is ready to begin bilateral negotiations aimed at solving the issue.

Canadian Job Rates at Stand Still

Statistics Canada recently reported that there has been little change in Canada's employment levels, noted to have declined by 45,000 jobs in July. This included losses in both full and part-time work.

According to the the report, youth employment and male employment are declining quickly, with self-employment apparently the preferred alternative to offset this trend.

Employment in July fell among young people aged 15 to 24 and women aged 25 to 54. Since the peak in October 2008, employment has dropped 414,000, predominantly among youths (-205,000) and men aged 25 to 54 (-201,000). While most of July's employment losses were in Quebec, there were also losses in Saskatchewan, as well as in Newfoundland and Labrador. Employment was little changed in all other provinces.The downward trend among private sector employees persisted in July, with large losses for this group partially offset by continued gains in self-employment.Employment in July fell in accommodation and food services and construction while there were increases in retail and wholesale trade.

Radiohead Tribute to Death of World War I Veteran

The New York Times reported yesterday that the well-known British alternative-rock band, Radiohead, will be releasing a new song as a tribute to Mr. Harry Patch, the last survivor of World War I living in the United Kingdom, who recently died at the age of 111.

Readers can listen to the song and read the lyrics here.

Please note that the song can be downloaded from the Radiohead website and all profits will be donated to the Royal British Legion.

- Rachel Spence, Legal Assistant, Toronto

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