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This year is going to be an uphill battle
December 31, 2015
by: Timothy W. Shire
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When we gaze into the future and its possibilities, we are really and truly gazing into the past and reflecting on what conditions have evolved to produce the present that we perceive. The real problem with future predicting, is that even though time appears immutable, what may be coming toward us, is already here and we just don’t know it yet.

In 2016 there will be important and dramatic events just as there are every year, but there is an overwhelming realisation that events from afar, way beyond the control of our society, are now shaping what has happened, what is happening and will surely occurring in this coming year. So, to begin our contemplation of this coming year, we need to sort out what some of those external forces are and what their influence will be.
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Climate change

The debate about the change in climate and how it is occurring because of the actions of the people, or are these changes natural consequences of the forces that affect our little planet, this argument doesn’t matter. Clearly, change is occurring and be it slow or rapid, the incremental affects on humanity are staggering. No doubt, you will have experienced the head shaking, that reducing emissions is worth the bother since the countries most responsible for the pollution are unwilling to make even the most modest changes. Similarly, we know that a single ocean going cargo ship can produce as much pollution as all the cars and trucks in North America. With these arguments, there has been and continues to be a considerable portion of the population who dismiss all efforts to curb CO2 emissions.

In 2016 we have reached the point where those advocating conservation and environment protection measures are in the majority. Carbon taxes will begin to be a part of everyday life in North America within this new calendar year.

It does not require much guess work to realise that the affects of the warm Pacific Ocean will pretty much dominate the weather we will experience, not only in the coming months, but throughout this year. A mild winter, a cool spring, a forest fire season much like last year and a fall, that will once again stretch well into early November.
World Conflict

As with all things, the devil is in the details, but in a general way, our Canadian and North American economy is dependent upon a stable geo-political world. The question is, how unstable are things and when should we be worried?


With Russia in the air and on the ground in Syria, two things are happening. The attempt to oust the Assad regime has been thwarted and the civil war in that land will end with some sort of political negotiated cessation to open warfare. This does not mean the refugees will be able to go home. The four million or so people displaced by that war, must find new lives for themselves and a small number of them will do that here in Canada.


Momentum has been lost and slowly, forces in Iraq will continue to move into areas formerly controlled by ISIS, but this process will be ever so slow and will not fully succeed until 2020.


Russia’s belligerence is far more of a North America creation that it is a reality. There is no evidence to suggest that Russia wants to see anything even close to the Cold War and as long as the present leadership has the support of the people, instability is unlikely. Russian leadership is far more widely based than just the president and that is reason the country can do what it is doing and continuing to keep the support of the population.


Ignore the South China Sea, that is just show business. The real event for the world to be concerned is China’s efforts in Africa. With the vast amount of America trade money in their pockets, China can spend a huge amount in Africa and this activity, will have an over all affect on the dynamics of of the continent.
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Corporate world domination

This is an external/internal force that has shaped the world as we know it and has assumed full control everywhere. Business interests come first and for anyone to think that political power exists beyond the control of business is simply mistaken. The big trade deals of the past, those of the present and future are all for business. They are corporate designed and engineered with politicians doing their job to serve the master.

The governments of all developed countries are directed and controlled by business and business interests, that is the way it is, get used to it.

The Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal is a reality and our government will ratify that agreement as directed to do so.

Now, what can we expect?

Let us begin with politics:

Saskatchewan election in April:

Like all of this coming year it is to be an uphill battle, not just for the opposition, but for the government as well. The
Saskatchewan Party has been in office a long time and they have made some serious errors, carbon capture being one of them, but their sins will be overlooked by the rural voters, as Saskatchewan, more and more become seriously divided politically, between urban and rural populations. Rural will trump urban for one of the last times and the Saskatchewan Party will see its majority reduced but the NDP will make progress, just not enough.

American presidential election in November:

Really people, who cares? The government of United States does not govern and who is in power no longer matters. The United States is no more able to cope with a woman as president, than it has with a black man as president, but alas, that is what will happen. Mrs. Clinton will get the job and be as ineffectual as her predecessor, for exactly the same reason, lack of control of Congress.
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Societal Issues for 2016

Aboriginal affairs:

The Government of Canada is on the right road in trying to improve the lot Canada’s First Nation’s peoples. The most important part of this is the change in attitude. Less confrontational and focused on honouring treaties that have been a sham for more then a hundred years.

  1. Inquiry into missing and murdered women will become a reality and take more than a year, but its findings will point toward some important changes that we Canadians, must come to terms with.
  2. Campaign promises cost money, so many people will be surprised to see the Government making efforts to live up to these promises. It is important to understand, that spending money on those aboriginal campaign promises, is cheaper than not spending the money.
  3. By fall a new framework for getting rid of the Indian Act and moving forward, will have taken shape.

Syrian refugees:

Canadians coast to coast have and will continue, to respond positively to the newcomers, as they will integrate into our country and make their contribution. Because so many of the refugees are children, this is going to take a decade for the full impact of the refugees on our society. Once Canadians see the process, the number of 25,000 will more than double within 2016.


We are at a tipping point where across the country a wholesale change in the delivery of primary care is about to be undertaken. This is a natural evolution, not related to costs and government, but to the fundamental way things are done.


Racism is ugly and came up in our federal election campaign, just as it is one of the main shows in the American campaigns. Europe shares in the problem and the media feeds the fear and heats up the differences. No positive trends are showing and we in Canada, with our multi-cultural society will have to do our damnedest to “be Canadian.”

Police state:

Police acting as judge, jury and executioner is not just an American phenomena and in 2016, Canadians are going to demand action by prosecutors and the courts, progress may be made in this regard, but there is little hope, or possibility of policemen improving their treatment of women and aboriginal people.
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Economic and Financial trends:

Taxes in Canada are going up, not just federally but municipal and provincial governments have to do something about the decades of cost cutting that has eroded our society.
  1. GST to rise 2%
  2. Saskatchewan PST to rise 2%
  3. Though corporate taxes should increase they are unlikely to do so because of who is charge.

Aside from taxes, the federal budget is going to be far simpler than expected. A shift will occur in support of social services and health care is expected, but increases in defence spending will only show modest increases.

In 2008 the idea of stimulating business by having ridiculously low interest rates has been a total failure. Corporations have just pocketed the increases in profits and with no investment in research and development, or business expansion has seen Canada’s industrial sector stagnate. While at the same time, the level of saving by the consumer has flat lined and the country’s wealth has diminished. The interest rates in Canada will sneak along with the minor increases made by the American Federal Reserve, but will not increase to more appropriate levels.

Food prices in Canada are about to skyrocket due to the crippled Canadian dollar. Though some experts are predicting 7% increases, I am no expert and it looks to me closer to 20%.

Oil and commodity prices are all going to continue to decline. Though China will be blamed, it is a complex set of factors that are in play here and we are all spectators.

Manufacturing and trade: Ontario thinks it can keep on making widgets and because of the low dollar somebody will buy them. That isn’t happening and is not going to happen. New products, new services and spending money on research and development by the corporations, would make a difference but that is not going to happen.

As always I am sorry to be so long winded but there is much to cover and I have not fretted with sports and other trivia this year.

There are three hours and fifteen minutes left in 2015, though it was a good year for me and my family it was a difficult year for so many. May you be happy and safe in the coming year, may your worries be few and your life filled with harmony and peace. Happy New Year everyone.
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