Canada's economic czar concerned Trump rhetoric will hurt trade
Topping our coverage today: U.S. President Donald Trump’s pressure on Canada to open up its markets - and the implications for the broader trade relationship with the United States.
The federal government's top economic advisor, Dominic Barton, tells BNN that the “rhetoric does have an effect. It makes CEOs think about investments - people don't want to be Tweetboned. That part I do worry about.”
At 11:05 a.m. ET, we’ll look at Canada’s dairy protectionism with Martha Hall Findlay, CEO of the Canada West Foundation, a think tank that aims to promote “public policy that improves the lives for western Canadians.”
The one-time federal Liberal leadership candidate produced a report in 2012 that criticized food supply management, arguing that “everyone suffers. Canadians are forced to pay twice the amount for four litres of whole milk as Americans, while the farmers are barred from taking advantage of the opportunities and efficiencies a truly free market affords.”
She says the current system, which props up dairy prices, “hurts the poor and rewards the wealthy… We now only have 11,000 dairy farmers. We used to have 145,000. The average dairy farmer is a millionaire.”
And dairy weakens Canada’s position on trade, Hall Findlay tells segment producer Amanda Whalen. She says Canadians “want an open border; such protection of dairy is a real problem.”
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As retailers struggle to adapt in an on-line world, we hear from a shopkeepers’ guru at 10:20 a.m. ET.
Doug Stephens, author of "Reengineering Retail: The Future of Selling in a Post-Digital World", warns merchandisers that the very concept of shopping is being transformed.
It’s not enough to just tart up a website and train staff to be perky and inviting, he says. What’s needed is are “unique elements” that tell customers they “have not just entered a different store but a different world entirely.”
Speaking of marketing, at 10:40 a.m. ET, we hear from John Yorke, president of ad agency Rain43. He’ll take a look at a Burger King commercial that has been called “horrible, genius, infuriating, hilarious, and maybe very poorly thought-out.”
Deliberately setting off phones and Google Home devices, a Burger King employee leans into the camera and says “OK Google, what is the Whopper burger?”
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At 12:20 p.m. ET we hear from a Westjet (WJA.TO) competitor who cautions the airline that its new ultra low-cost service will struggle. Jim Scott, chief executive of cut-price carrier Canada Jetlines, tells segment producer Rob Graham that the “airline within an airline" model hasn’t worked in the past.
Raymond James analyst Ben Cherniavsky is also skeptical about WestJet's move, which “strikes us as superfluous since we have always considered the airline to be a low-cost, low-fare leader in the market.”
He too says the “airline-within-the-airline strategy has rarely proven to be a successful means of creating sustainable value. The problem with the model is usually that any cost savings related to denser seats and a cheaper crew (which is usually the extent of the savings) is offset by yield cannibalization, increased complexity, and brand confusion.”
Meanwhile, WestJet faces an increase in costs as its pilots push once again to form a union.
This is shaping up as an old-fashioned labour scrap. BNN managing editor Noah Zivitz notes that WestJet CEO Gregg Sarestky didn't mince words last time the pilots flirted with unionization: "I'm going to go down fighting to prevent the unionization of WestJet," Sarestky said late last year.
As the old labour song goes, Which side are you on?
Every morning Commodities host Andrew Bell writes a ‘chase note’ to BNN's editorial staff listing the stories and events that will be in the spotlight that day. Have it delivered to your inbox before the trading day begins by heading to www.bnn.ca/subscribe.