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Fixing Vancouver’s housing Crisis will Take all Three Levels of government



The signs have long been evident that Vancouver’s skyrocketing costs for even basic shelter pose a threat of setting Vancouverites against each other — young families unable to afford a starter home versus older homeowners; and longtime residents versus offshore buyers.

In months to come, civic, B.C. and federal officials will be called upon to guard against resentment and xenophobia, currently a pox on Europe and the U.S.

The facts about the Vancouver market are sufficient to curb any ugliness.

Most of the upward pressure on residential real estate prices is due to local buyers, not investors from abroad. The factors also include a limited housing supply, which the federal government, especially, can rectify by honouring its promise to build the affordable housing that private-sector developers have long shunned in favour of luxury condos. (That applies to the unaffordable Toronto market, as well.)

Yes, there are problematic tax loopholes for offshore buyers that need to be reformed, but so does the mix of inducements and disincentives motivating local developers to shortchange the Lower Mainland of affordable housing.

There’s no time like the present to drain the toxicity from this issue, before it comes to partly define life in one of the world’s great cities.

OPEC cries uncle

OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers meet Friday to formalize production cuts that signal Saudi Arabia’s two-year-long price war with U.S. frackers might be winding down.

That might finally be a piece of good news that Alberta and Hibernia oil producers can take to the bank. Indeed, watch for the global price to climb from its current $50 (U.S.) to $55 by year-end.

That should see some of the 100,000 Albertans laid off during the oil glut called back to work, in both existing production operations and new and expanding ones.

As usual, there’s concern about the usual OPEC-quota cheaters who might not comply with the agreed-upon production cuts. Non-OPEC producer Russia looms large in that category.

But Russia will likely go along; its petro-economy needs the money. In fact, that’s the motivating factor for all the members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, starting with a nervous House of Saud, which launched the market-share war in 2014.

Even as OPEC members were voting to re-embrace profit maximization, OPEC member Qatar’s energy minister was cracking us up with his assertion that the OPEC climb-down is “for the general well-being and (the) health of the world economy.”

If true, that would be a first in OPEC’s 54-year history.

The real motivator is that OPEC members are struggling to balance their books and risk social unrest over no longer affordable subsidies for domestic populations.

Saudi princes and Kuwaiti emirs don’t want to flirt with a second, and more widespread, Arab Spring uprising that could extend this time to Iran, Kuwait and Qatar.

The growing appeal of “Putinism”

Sunday’s referendum on reforming Italian governance aside, its sponsor, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi is under considerable pressure at home and elsewhere in the European Union (EU) to not resign, thus calming global financial markets with “Italexit” jitters.

Renzi remains sufficiently popular to govern, and is a good fit with the new “Putinism” sweeping Europe and the United States. By running against the “elites” in his successful bid for PM, Renzi earned the populist nickname “Il Rottamatore” (“the Demolisher”).

François Fillon, whose centre-right party will try in next spring’s French presidential election to keep the anti-EU Marine le Pen from succeeding in her shockingly viable bid for residence in the Elysee Palace, is another Putinist.

A personal friend of the increasingly autocratic Russian president, Fillon promises to back away from more than a half-century of Western European wariness of Russia.

Donald Trump and Putin also have a mutual admiration affair, and Trump has threatened to ditch U.S. commitments to defend its NATO allies.

Rising intolerance in the U.S. and across Europe is finding a vessel in Putin. The Russian president also exemplifies the autocrat that so many populists now crave, from Manila to Missouri.

“All over Europe, Putinism has emerged as an ideological alternative to globalism, the European Union, etcetera,” Benjamin Haddad, a French analyst at the Washington-based Hudson Institute think tank, recently told the New York Times. Putin is seen as “a bulwark for conservative values — a strongman against gay marriage, immigration, Islam.”

Indeed, a President Fillon would, he vows, severely cut immigration, champion conservative social values and impose “strict administrative control” over Islam. That troublingly last line, vague enough to embrace all manner of civil-rights abuses, could be lifted from a Trump rally.

Remaining pluralistic countries like Canada aside, entry into the 21st century is proving to be a dark passage for progressives.

Earnings reports this week.

Monday: Hudson’s Bay

Tuesday: Bank of Montreal, Transcontinental

Wednesday: Dollarama, Lululemon, Laurentian Bank of Canada, Costco

Thursday: Brick Brewing, Restoration Hardware

Friday: Le Chateau

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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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