2006 a tangled year

FTLComm - Tisdale - Saturday, December 31, 2005

Predictions in past years




new century





News makers have pointed to natural disasters as the main feature of this year with the Tsunami aftermath taking up the first two months then a serious of truly unfortunate events. Earthquakes, hurricanes and typhoons ravaged this planet and people everywhere pitched in to donate to those victims who survived.

Since the past is always the most accurate predictor of the future we must accept the fact that the cycle of earthquakes and related events will again rattle this little blue planet and the current cycle of tropical storms may have peeked in 2005 but that means there will be at least as many as in 2004 and we have no way of knowing if 2005 was the peek or not.

Last year I indicated here that 2005 was the year China stepped into the forefront of the economic world. Its trade imbalance continues to make the already fragile US economy a problem but China's economic power has not changed the country's political clout and though the power is in their hands, China will continue to show remarkable restraint.
This coming year will take on the fragmented but uncompromising character of the natural world. Though we humans assert our importance we are after all only a mere surface rash of little consequence to the big picture.

Scientist have done their duty, they have pointed out the evidence of global climatic change and politicians have pretended to notice but even had they acted twenty or thirty years ago their initiatives are pitiful and all the chest thumping in 2006 will do little more than raise the world leader's blood pressure temporarily.


The increased revenue from gas and oil prices will continue to cushion Saskatchewan's economy. This spring's budget will see some real changes in financial attitude in this province as the government can now afford to do something about the awful highways, lack of northern development and decay in the rural portions of the province.



and education

The centralization of medical services will continue in 2006 proving once again that increased spending on administration and bureaucracy will have not direct improvement on the system. While failing to learn this lesson the same destructive model will produce no positive improvements in Saskatchewan's education system. Bigger school systems are not better, they are just bigger.




Though the premier shuffles his cabinet early in the new year there is growing unrest inside the cabinet and within the government as they all are feeling the heat to make some accomplishment, actually any accomplishment as these people including the premier feel frustrated with the ponderous nature of change and reversing the constricted governmental environment of the Romaneau years.




In all things crisis seems necessary to bring about real change and 2006 is unfortunately a year filled with potential crisis in Saskatchewan's aboriginal community. Urban issues are now matters that can no longer be ignored. Missing women, is only a sign of the past neglect and the burden of inequality is no longer something that can be contained. The growth of gang violence and organised criminal activity is unreasonably late in developing when you considered that the Saskatoon City police force is really the most serious form of organised crime in the province.




Energy is the issue of 2006, agricultural energy production, the export of energy as a revenue generator and flirting with nuclear power all are topics of not just talk but of active development.


  1. The provincial budget for 2006 will take on a new expansive attitude leaving behind the Romaneau tight money policies as Saskatchewan must grow as the status quo is not an option.
  2. Look for a major overhaul of the funding structure of education and especially medical care. The old formulas were better than the present ones and the the old one's will no longer cover the needs so its time for some major clean up.
  3. At last the Premier's goal of initiating major "mega projects" will be written into the budget. Environmentally friendly power and agricultural based fuel production will be a line entry.
  4. If you are looking for a tax break in 2006 dream on, its not an election year and that will be saved for when it is needed at the ballot box.


Tisdale's private business model of importing workers is something that should be copied all across the province. Rural revitalisation is not nostalgia it is positive non-governmental development in rural centres where the economic benefits make it attractive. Farming as we know it is history, small town Saskatchewan is going global in 2006.


50/50 situation today for status quo in the next parliament but for a profit to hedge is just cowardly so I am telling you that the NDP will pick up a seat or two in BC, Alberta will be unchanged, Saskatchewan will see one additional liberal and perhaps two new NDP elected. Manitoba will have the same numbers but there will be some exchange of seats. In Ontario Harper will be lucky to regain the seats now held and the Liberals will go down by three with NDP gains. In Quebec the landslide predicted for the Bloc will not materialise as the Liberals will gain three seats and hold on to what they got simply because of excellent campaigning by local candidates. Jean Charier's help to Harper will cost him the next provincial election. The Liberal government of Paul Martin will be re-elected with a minority government as they will gain the numbers lost in Quebec and Ontario in the Maritimes and the power of parliament will remain in the hands of Jack Layton for three full years.




Paul Martin will remain as the Liberal leader through 2006 but his failure to fix things up with his party enemies doom him and the liberals will spend much of 2006 planning a leadership contest for the fall of 2007.




Alberta separatist, Stephen Harper is toast, especially if he were somehow to find himself in the job as prime minister. One way or another he is simply not what Canadians want as a leader and the business community especially thinks he is out of step, without them he is doomed and the Conservatives will be looking for a new leader in October.




It bothers Canadians when they are ignored or maligned by the country to the south of us and since the election of George W. Bush the feelings between the two countries are at the same level as they were in 1812. Broken treaties, internal interference and in some cases lack of diplomatic conventions has been the way things have been. That is also the way things will continue to be. Though Canadians want things to be better Prime Minister Martin is certain to take an even more strident stance against the United States because it is good Canadian politics to do so.


Last year I predicted that the Canadian dollar would reach par with the US dollar. It did not, but continues to gradually creep up raising serious issues for Ontario manufacturing industries, all commodity industries and Canadian exporting in general. However, the continued demand for oil and gas with Canada supplying 60% or the US's needs is determining that the Canadian dollar continue to rise. No one is predicting dire conditions for Canada's work force as all industries must find ways of doing business efficiently and maintain their competitiveness despite changing economic conditions.



The trend is in place to see Canada's Department of Defence enhanced with but the Liberal and Conservative leaders advocating more defence spending. However, the real power in Canada is now the NDP and they see the role of the military much different then other political parties. The result is that in 2006 we will have two DART units operational, transport aircraft to handle that role and far more emphasis on watching Americans.
of Finance

Though Ralph Goodale will weather the storm over the apparent leak from his department it would make good sense to clean up the air a bit and move Ralph to another job, most likely External Affairs and make Belinda Stronach the minister of finance. She is perfect for the position and deserves the reward after delivering seats in Ontario to the party.


  1. The Liberal government for almost a full decade have talked big about spending while keeping the money flowing into the Canadian government at a rate that has made our country the only G8 member with a positive budget. Canadians like that and will accept continued present levels of taxes to have a balanced budget.
  2. The recommendations of the Gomery Inquiry will be taken as direct commandments and most Government spending will fall under a new form of oversight that will see the department of finance expanded and simplified with departmental ministers far less involved in their own spending. The Stronach system will be everywhere and it will work.


National Unity became the major election issue and as a result of the Charier/Harper alliance during the election Canadians will accept the reconsideration of some fundamental negotiations to deal with the state of Canadian confederation. Unlike the failed Meach Lake attempt at the same problem Martin is going to approach the issue from the basis from which it should have been dealt with in the first place - the economics of confederation. Language and culture are important but they do not unite or divide a nation, money talks louder and 2006 will see the discussion of what is Canada move to the bank table instead of the emotional ramparts of the past. This move will drastically alter the whole country's view of itself and challenge Alberta, Ontario and the maritimes just as much as the position taken by Quebec.

The world economy
Things have changed in 2006, the EU is no longer a puppet of NATO and will recognise the positive results of establishing closer trade and energy reliance upon Russia. The realisation that hoards of skilled labour is available in Eastern Europe has not been appreciated as the EU has been so busy protecting itself. This simple factor changes in 2006 and both the European economy benefits as does the wealth of Eastern Europe.

The scourge of famine and disease continues at an accelerated pace in Africa in 2006 while India and Southeast Asia enjoy an outstanding year of positive economic and social growth.

Africa's misery is a blot that will not go away. The genocide of southern Sudan will fade in comparison to similar conflicts cropping up in three other sub-tropical countries. The UN will be unable to even identify these trouble spots until the situation is beyond hope. No external cure can assist Africa, it an it alone must address its own problems and the possibility of improvement is considered by most as "Zero".


International affairs


The illegal war in Iraq is now known to have been started under the pretext of a lie, its conduct has involved torture, weapons war crimes and the deliberate undermining of the constitution of the United States. The United States is talking about an early pull out of its troops from the country they totally destroyed. The oil that prompted the former oil company executive President is not being produced and with only a fraction of the country being under US control the situation is unlikely to change. Remarkably only about 500 Americans died their this past year and with about that same number expected to die this coming year most of the talk will be just that, talk.



war on

Something like 80% of the economy of Afghanistan is dependent upon the growing and selling of opium. The country remains in the hands of the drug lords and those who launched the 9-11 attack on the United States are all still free. In 2006 the so-called terrorists have no need to launch any major offensives on the United States, they have won the conflict entirely. Americans have turned over their freedom, their constitution and their dignity to authoritarianism with no gain whatever in security.




Last year this profit predicted the spread of anti-American politics in the region and now Bolivia has joined Venezuela by democratically electing a leftist government. Argentina and Brazil are rapidly leaving the status of under developed nations perhaps even surpassing the tense situation in Mexico where the civil and military powers struggle for control of the country. Canada is playing this part of the world correctly and is gaining respect and cooperation.


It is possible that in the fall of 2006 that Taiwan will discover the positive aspects to being part of China. The influence of the United States is simply no longer what it once was as American is seen more as more as a bad guy in the world and China's clever handling of Hong Kong shows the business people of Taiwan that they stand a much better chance with China than against it.


Damascus can not afford to be destroyed as Iraq was by the Americans and there is good reason to see a major shake up in the government of that country in the spring of 2006. Iran is quite a different story, they have already made a change in government and know full well that the Americans can't afford a conflict with them and they will continue to push their own agenda. In 2006 the unfriendly Iranians will become even more unfriendly.

Israel /

Sharon is do longer in charge of Israel as his time has run out and at the very time when it looked progress was being made. Israel must inevitably come under the control of a leader like Netanyahu or he will regain power, either way the hard line is the only line in Israel as Gaza demonstrates to everyone that Palestine is ungovernable.

It can be done, Ottawa could be home to the Stanley Cup in the spring of 2006 but sadly the Gray Cup will not make its home in Regina for a decade.

We can expect a lot of snow in February and March this year and as yet another "wet year" spring will be later than usual with heavy run off expected.

June and July of 2006 will see a series of rampaging prairie storms smash the great central plains but only cut into the harvest of 2006 marginally. With fertilizer prices up more than 30% wheat yields will be down about that same amount while cattle prices will remain at present levels largely caused by the dramatic increase in the value of Canadian currency.

The Prince Albert pulp mill will close its doors and be out of production until a new buyer is found in late 2007. The province, though willing to get even deeper involved will not do so because there is no possible positive outcome in the foreseeable future.

They ran out of names for hurricanes in 2005 and it looks pretty much the same in 2006. The culprit is the Gulf of Mexico, that water is hot and as a result it is producing wicked storms.

What about Wal-Mart? Already doing more business in China than many countries, this marketing giant is not going to have a good year of it, oh, they will make lots of money but things are going to be tough for them. In Canada they are going to have to learn to deal with trade unions and that is going to be hard for them to swallow but even harder is the realisation that this company is a major front for criminal activity. This is not a specific accusation, but rather a generalisation as the company has established a pattern of cutting the corners where the laws are concerned with illegal workers, child labour, accusations of racketeering and with so much size and bureaucracy the perfect vehicle for all types of organised crime. If you are a Wal-Mart executive, perhaps you should look for something a little less stressful.

Happy New Year


Timothy W. Shire



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Editor : Timothy W. Shire
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