Ontario calls on Ottawa to target housing speculation by boosting tax
Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau is being deluged with suggestions and warnings in advance of tomorrow’s federal budget. Watch BNN all day as speculation grows that the Liberal government will opt for tax increases that target the better-off.
Meanwhile, Morneau’s Ontario counterpart, Charles Sousa, is urging Ottawa to curb speculation by hiking the capital taxation on the sale of a home that isn’t a principal residence. Sousa has so far avoided a backlash from the real estate industry by refusing to do anything himself to restrain housing prices.
Phil Soper, CEO of real estate broker network Royal LePage, told us this morning that Ottawa needs to implement what he calls a “cohesive” housing strategy, arguing that consumer confidence was damaged last year by policies brought in by different governments to cool the market. Returning to one of the real estate industry’s favourite themes, he called for measures to increase supply of homes, such as zoning changes.
MARKET CALL TONIGHT HAS MOVED
BNN’s Market Call Tonight broadcast now begins at 5:30 p.m. ET/2:30 p.m. PT.
At 12:30 p.m. ET, we’ll get advice on tax strategies if Morneau makes changes from Silvia Jacinto, a partner at accounting firm Crowe Soberman.
The federal government announced measures last year to tighten up the rules on allowing a tax-free gain on the sale of a principal residence. You can read Jacinto’s comments on those measures here.
The Liberals want to share the cost of infrastructure by recruiting private investors. But Toby Sanger from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives says in a report that “private financing of the proposed Canada Infrastructure Bank could double the cost of infrastructure projects - adding $150 billion or more in additional financing costs.” He joins us at 10:20 a.m. ET.
Of course, we’ll have wall-to-wall coverage of the budget tomorrow, with our own Greg Bonnell reporting from Ottawa. Investors fear that Morneau may also hike the taxation of dividends - look for an advance analysis piece by Greg on BNN.ca.
BOMBARDIER VS METROLINX
Bombardier has its day in court today. The Ontario Superior Court will hear the company's request for an injunction against Metrolinx at 9 a.m. ET. At stake is the future of Bombardier $770-million contract to supply the transit agency with 182 light rail vehicles.
The big question for us: What's more important here, the risk of losing a $770 million contract, or the reputational risk?
FRESHII WANTS SUBWAY'S LAGGING STORES
Matthew Corrin thinks Subway has expanded too far, too fast, and he wants to solve his rival's problem by converting some of those weakling stores to Freshii outlets.
"Let's explore a partnership in which we together convert select Subway stores to Freshii restaurants in a quick, low-cost way," Corrin wrote in his open letter, adding the average conversion cost will be about $75,000.
A few questions: is an open letter the best way to get his point across? Does Freshii risk being tainted by the legacy of Subway's PR debacle a few years ago? How can Freshii avoid the rapid expansion perils that it's now accusing Subway of falling victim to?
RETAIL SALES SURPRISE
“It's a bird, it's a plane, no it's a superheated Q1 economy for Canada,” that was the early reaction from CIBC’s economics desk after Canadian retail sales blew past estimates in January. Purchases surged 2.2 per cent, with big gains in the automotive sector. Sales rose in 10 of 11 subsectors, accounting for 98 per cent of retail trade.
SHORT-SELLING AND M&A
On Commodities, Chris Damas, editor of the BCMI Report, will explain why he’s looking for short-selling opportunities among red-hot cannabis. He tells Commodities producer Mike Attenborough that the federal government has licensed so many growers that the market will be flooded. He even thinks production quotas will be necessary. Yup, that would be supply management - in marijuana.
We’ve got another warning, this time on merchandising, at 10:10 a.m. ET. Mark Cohen, former CEO of Sears Canada Inc (SCC.TO) and now director of retail studies at Columbia University Graduate School of Business in New York, will join us to discuss the prospects for a merger between Hudson's Bay (HBC.TO) and Neiman Marcus. He tells segment producer Rob Graham that the combined company would be a “train wreck” because marrying two troubled operations is a losing proposition.
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.