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Bring on Inflation and Other New Truths: Mayers



It’s hard to remember a time when so many long-held economic views have been so unpopular.

It’s a strange new world where we don’t have enough inflation. Governments should not live within their means, balance budgets and reduce debt. While saving was once a virtue, it now seems pointless when returns after inflation are negative. Borrowing to spend becomes a better option.

You know things have changed when former Blue Jays slugger Jose Canseco is paying attention. Canseco tweeted his bewilderment this winter when the Bank of Japan lowered its key lending rate to negative 0.3 per cent. That rate in effect charges bank customers to leave money in their accounts.

The decision “is blowing my mind,” Canseco tweeted. He added that Japanese government bonds should be called “Willie Wonka bonds. You get nothing. You lose!”

The latest example of this topsy-turvy world came as an aside to the U.S. presidential campaign. Hillary Clinton has promised to be prudent if elected and not to spend more than can be raised by taxes. Donald Trump wants tax cuts, which would lead to higher deficits.

Economist Paul Krugman, a Nobel Prize-winner, made the case in a recent article in the New York Times that Clinton is wrong. Under the headline “Debt is Good”, Krugman argued that more government borrowing can pay for useful things, and “we should do more of that when the price is right.” By this he meant upgrading road, rail, airports, water systems and more.

The U.S. is already running a deficit of about $500 billion this year and the Congressional Budget Office predicts these deficits will continue to grow each year for the next 30 years. Even bigger deficits would be better?

Here at home, the Trudeau government’s spring budget pledged $60 billion in infrastructure spending over 10 years. In a sign of the times, groups who applauded loudest are the traditional go-to business deficit bashers.

Here’s what we’re seeing:

Bring on inflation

Economist John Maynard Keynes once said that by stimulating inflation, “government can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens.”

Former U.S. president Ronald Reagan said rising prices are as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hit man.

So why do we want it back?

One thing it does is give the illusion of growth, which encourages spending. It also erodes the value of debt. Since all of Canada’s governments will owe $1.3 trillion this year, according to the Fraser Institute, inflation at the 2-per-cent Bank of Canada target reduces the value by $2.6 billion annually.

Why bother saving

Those who have spent less than they made and saved the rest now find they can’t live on fixed-income investments.

Toronto’s inflation rate in July was 2.1 per cent. The average return this week on a one-year GIC paid monthly is 1.2 per cent.

That puts the after-inflation value of $10,000 in that GIC a year from now at $9,910, or $90 less.

Nobody can live well with that math. That’s why the stock market is booming and pension funds are moving into new areas in search of returns. Toll roads, student housing and airports are higher risk, but they always spin off cash.

The other side of punishing savers is to reward spenders, whether businesses or consumers. But businesses won’t invest without demand and ever-lower rates provide smaller and smaller incentives for us to buy.

The negative-rate evidence in Europe is that people become afraid and spend less. They think something is wrong, which it is.

Rising trade barriers

Rising tariffs in the 1930s were one reason why the Depression became Great. To make sure that never happened again, the push after the Second World War was for closer global economic ties.

That thinking created the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, led to the European Union, the North American Free Trade Agreement and the coming Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

The benefits of these deals are now being questioned. Britain is leaving the EU. Hillary Clinton wants to reassess NAFTA and put the TPP on hold. Donald Trump wants to build trade walls around the United States. Canada needs open markets.

This new economic order speaks to the disillusionment of our day and the admission that what we’re doing isn’t working. Will the new thinking produce better results? You have to hope so.

Correction – August 18, 2016: This article was edited from a previous version that mistakenly said economist John Maynard Keynes was a Canadian.

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Beauty Week is back at Hudson’s Bay in Toronto and it’s time to get glam



Beauty enthusiasts rejoice! Beauty Week at Hudson’s Bay is back in Toronto for another year. It’s time to stock up on all of your fall essentials and, maybe discover some new ones. 

From Friday, August 18 to Sunday, August 27, you can expect a truly elevated beauty experience in-store with incredible special offers, limited-time gifts, and exciting activations. 

If you’re a diehard beauty lover, you’ll already know that Hudson’s Bay is the place to shop thanks to its extensive range of over 195 skin and makeup brands from both luxury labels and masstige brands — including Tata Harper, Estée Lauder, YSL, Nars Cosmetics, Bobbi Brown, and so much more.

Throughout The Bay’s Beauty Week, visitors can take in some at-counter activations and interactive expert-led tutorials, where there will be chances to get makeup touch-ups from top-tier brands, try a spritz of the most alluring fragrances, and sample tons of new products.

This year’s Beauty Week highlight is the ‘Best in Beauty’ tote, a meticulously-curated selection of 30 deluxe samples from an array of top-tier brands like Dr. Barbara Sturm and Shiseido spanning skincare, fragrance, and makeup — all in a super sleek bag.

The tote, which is valued at over $300, is retailing for just $39 and is a fantastic way to explore new products (without breaking the bank). However, there is a limited quantity, so if you want to get your hands on one, you’ll need to be fast.

Wondering exactly what Beauty Week’s free gifts with purchases entail? If you spend over $95 at Lancôme, you will receive a six-piece set valued at $130. Or, you can get an Estée Lauder gift valued at $170 with purchases over $80. (And that’s just to name a few.)

If you’re a Hudson’s Bay Rewards member, you’ll also get $20 in Hudson’s Bay rewards when you spend over $100 on beauty.

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The Canadian Armed Forces are hiring for several non-combat military jobs



The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) have several non-combat jobs, some of which do not require a college degree or past work experience.

Life in the forces has several benefits, such as paid education plans (college, university and graduate-level programs), 20 paid vacation days, health and dental coverage for you and your family, maternity and paternal leave, and pension plans. You can learn more about the benefits in detail here.

And to make it easier to gauge if you qualify, the listings also include related civilian jobs to see if it’s your ideal role.

Financial services administrator

Related civilian jobs: Financial records entry clerk, financial manager, accounting technician, bookkeeper, budget officer, cashier clerk, business planner technician, and verification manager.

Description: You’ll help budget resources for all military activities besides providing financial assistance.

Education: You need to have completed Grade 10.

Duties: As a financial services administrator, you’ll be responsible for bookkeeping and managing budgets. You’ll also provide support in accounts payable and accounts receivable.

Work environment: Those in this role work at CAF bases, on ships or overseas. You might also be expected to help special operation units, recruiting offices, schools, and medical organizations.

Postal clerk

Related civilian jobs: Mail clerk, mail sorter.

Description: You’ll provide postal services to members and their families at bases and establishments.

Education: Grade 10. No previous work experience or related career skills are required.

Duties: As the postal clerk, you’ll handle mail duties.

Work environment: Besides a postal office, you may work on a ship or a mobile postal van. You might be expected to serve with Royal Canadian Navy, the Army, and the Royal Canadian Air Force in Canada and abroad.

Dental technician

Related civilian jobs: Dental assistant, dental hygienist.

Description: You’ll be helping dental officers provide dental services to CAF members, their families, and dependents.

Education: Level II dental assisting diploma from an accredited college or a National Dental Assisting Examining Board (NDAEB) certificate.

Duties: Those in this role will be responsible for various responsibilities, including disinfection and sterilization of dental equipment, applying rubber dams, placing cavity liners, and controlling bleeding. In addition, you’ll assist in laboratory procedures like creating casts, custom trays, and mouthguards.

Work environment: This role will require you to work in a military dental clinic, a Mobile Dental Clinic, an Air Transportable Dental System, or onboard a ship. You might be expected to work on a base in Canada or other operations in other parts of the world.

Human resources administrator

Related civilian jobs: Records administrator, data entry supervisor, receptionist, office manager, executive assistant, payroll clerk, and information management technician.

Description: Provide administrative and general human resources support.

Education: Grade 10. No previous work experience or related career skills are required.

Duties: In addition to human resources administration and services, you’ll be handling pay and allowances, managing automated pay systems, and maintaining personnel records.

Work environment: HR administrators work at all CAF bases in Canada. They also work on ships and overseas to support the Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Navy, or Royal Canadian Air Force operations.

Medical assistant

Related civilian jobs: Emergency medical responder, ambulance and first aid attendant, registered nursing assistant, licensed practical nurse, and hospital orderly.

Description: Successful candidates will help treat the sick and injured in CAF units. You’ll be assisting and supporting nursing and medical officers.

Education: Minimum of Grade 11 biology, Grade 10 physics or chemistry, and Grade 10 math.

Duties: You’ll provide initial care and essential life support treatments in trauma cases. You’ll help with health assessments (hearing and vision tests, perform basic lab procedures, etc.) and initiate and manage medical records and reports. You’ll also be expected to provide support and first aid during training exercises.

Work environment: Medical assistants may serve with the Royal Canadian Navy, the Royal Canadian Air Force or the Canadian Army as part of the Canadian Forces Health Services Group. Those in this role are exposed to the same risks as the forces they support.

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Porter’s new loyalty program promises to match Air Canada’s Aeroplan status



Porter Airlines is once again stirring the pot among Canadian airline rivals, now going after Air Canada’s Aeroplan members by offering to match their loyalty status to an equivalent of their own.

The beloved airline, which recently ranked as having the best cabin service in North America, challenged the competition for the second time this year, after previously deploying a similar tactic against WestJet in the spring. 

Earlier in April, Porter presented customers with a limited-time offer to match the loyalty status of WestJet’s patrons with VIPorter levels.

Now, they’re offering Aeroplan members to seamlessly transition to an equivalent VIPorter Avid Traveller status based on their existing membership tier.

Members can then take advantage of an array of travel perks that come with flying Porter, including seat selection, baggage, and flight changes.

For those currently holding an Aeroplan membership, there are two ways to acquire the Avid Traveller status for the rest of 2023:

Status-Based Match:
  • Aeroplan 25K members = VIPorter Venture
  • Aeroplan 35K members = VIPorter Ascent
  • Aeroplan 50K, 75K, and Super Elite = VIPorter First
Flight Segments-Based Match:
  • 5 flight segments = VIPorter Passport
  • 8 segments = VIPorter Venture
  • 17 segments = VIPorter Ascent
  • 28 or more segments = VIPorter First

Members will have to first submit their applications on Porter’s website. Registration will remain open until September 6, 2023.

In order to maintain their membership level through 2024, customers will have until the end of 2023 to reach the following reduced qualifying spend (QS) targets:

  • Passport = $500 in QS
  • Venture = $750 in QS
  • Ascent = $1500 in QS
  • First = $2500 in QS

Over the past year, Porter has launched an aggressive expansion strategy, including everything from introducing longer flights on newly-purchased jet planes flying out of Toronto Pearson, free WiFi, and a new all-inclusive economy experience.

With Canadians losing both Swoop and Sunwing as WestJet incorporates both into their mainline business, Porter’s direct competition is welcome to keep prices competitive.

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