Report on Business magazine: CEO of the Year – All Canadian small business owners

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In March, Yoo was gearing up for yet another busy spring fashion shopping season, but it never happened. At least, not in the way she envisioned. With her store deemed non-essential and ordered to close amid the pandemic lockdown, Yoo spent the next month with her small staff photographing and cataloguing every item to sell over the internet. She’d already taken small steps into the e-commerce world, but now she converted one of the shop’s three rooms into a photo studio to keep pace with surging online sales. Then, when another luxury consignment shop shut its doors, Yoo snapped up $500,000 of its stock to add to her offerings.

“The workload is more now—I work 100 hours a week—but we’re doing similar to or better than before,” she says. “I’m one of those people who looks at the cards I’m given and adapts, and this whole thing has been an exercise in adapting and finding creative ways to survive and reinvent your business.”

Yoo’s journey is a microcosm of the gruelling ordeal thousands of small and medium-size businesses have endured during the pandemic.

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Pivot: Paul Martin is expecting big things from the next generation of leaders 

One of Paul Martin’s hallmark initiatives as prime minister was the Kelowna Accord, a five-year, $5-billion agreement aimed at closing the social and economic gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Canadians. His government’s defeat meant the accord was never implemented, but after leaving politics, he launched the Martin Family Initiative (MFI), a charity aimed at improving education, health and well-being outcomes for Indigenous children and youth in Canada. He spoke with Pivot about his foundation’s evolution, the role of the private sector in tackling social problems and whether we should worry about the explosion in government deficits.

FT: Trudeau’s grand, green spending ambitions come at a cost

Justin Trudeau – Prime Minister of Canada, CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

In the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, as cases and the death toll mounted in Canada, Justin Trudeau and his finance minister, Bill Morneau, sought to assure nervous businesses and households the government had the tools to tackle the crisis.

Now, after racking up a projected C$343bn deficit to stabilise the economy, the acrimonious exit of Mr Morneau from cabinet has spawned a new level of uncertainty at a critical juncture in Canada’s recovery — one that has pitted Mr Trudeau’s ambitious plans for a post-pandemic stimulus barrage against the spectre of unending deficits.

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FT: Chrystia Freeland appointed Canada’s finance minister

Hildenbrand / MSC, CC BY 3.0 DE via Wikimedia Commons

Justin Trudeau has named deputy prime minister Chrystia Freeland as Canada’s new finance minister, putting her in charge of steering the country through its economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Ms Freeland, a former journalist with the Financial Times who won praise for her handling of trade talks with Washington as foreign affairs minister during the Liberal government’s first term, is the first woman to serve as federal finance minister. Bill Morneau abruptly resigned from the post a day earlier.

In the cabinet shuffle to appoint Ms Freeland, she will keep her current job as deputy prime minister while giving up her role as minister for intergovernmental affairs to Dominic LeBlanc.

In her new job Ms Freeland would oversee the rebuilding of Canada’s economy after the Covid-19 crisis blew a hole in the country’s finances and sent the economy into free fall.

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FT: Canada closes borders in attempt to arrest spread of coronavirus

Canada joined a growing number of countries on Monday in closing its borders to most foreigners in an effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

While the federal government stopped short of restricting citizens of the US from entering the country, Justin Trudeau, prime minister, said that measure had not been ruled out, as preliminary provincial data indicate that a growing number of cases in Canada can be traced to the US.

“At this point we are closing our borders to all non-Canadian and non-permanent residents of Canada,” he said.

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Maclean’s: The Dow fell below where it was when President Trump first tweeted about the stock market in 2017

No president in history has hitched the fate of his presidency so closely on the stock market going up. Even amid the rout of the past two weeks, when stock prices briefly rebounded, he couldn’t resist a tweet. “BIGGEST STOCK MARKET RISE IN HISTORY YESTERDAY!,” he wrote in all caps.

That was Friday. On Monday markets erased that meagre rebound, and closed at their lowest level in years. In fact, the Dow Jones Industrial Average index ended Monday below where it stood that morning on Feb. 16, 2017, not including dividends.

Maclean’s: Welcome to the era of woke capitalism

(Photo by Agustin Polanco / Flickr)

In the fall of 2009, as green shoots emerged from the ashes of America’s economy and the panic wrought by the Great Recession turned to outrage over the taxpayer bailouts handed to the very Wall Street banks whose reckless lending and disastrous bets caused the crisis, filmmaker Michael Moore debuted his latest documentary, Capitalism: A Love Story. It was anything but an ode to America’s economy. Moore’s film took angry aim at a laundry list of recent ills he blamed on an “evil” capitalist system: inequality, corrupt politicians, Wall Street’s casino-like mentality and out-of-control corporations.

As with all of Moore’s earlier documentaries, an underlying theme in Capitalism was his criticism of the way corporations concern themselves primarily with turning a buck for shareholders, damn everything, and everyone, else.

Who would have thought that almost exactly one decade later, America’s biggest capitalists would be saying the same thing?

FT: Canadians count the cost of hosting Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

Mark Jones, Flickr

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s decision to give up their positions in the British royal family and spend more time in North America has rattled not just monarchists, but also Canadian taxpayers who fear being left with the bill.

Just weeks after the couple made clear their intent to step back, Buckingham Palace has said that the two will no longer use their royal titles or receive public funds. It remains unclear how their security costs will be covered.

Canadians’ lack of interest in celebrity news may make the country appealing for the privacy-seeking couple. However, with the Liberal government sensitive to any spending scandals, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau needs to handle any long-term move carefully, observers said.

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FT: Canada election fallout leaves Conservatives divided

Photo credit: Conservative Party of Canada

The abrupt resignation of the leader of Canada’s Conservative party, Andrew Scheer, has thrown the party ranks into turmoil and triggered what some supporters believe is a necessary bout of soul-searching as it hunts for his successor.

Mr Scheer initially rebuffed weeks of calls for his resignation after the Conservative party’s poor performance in October’s national elections. He eventually agreed to step down on December 12 as reports surfaced that funds from donations to the party had gone to pay for his children’s private schooling.

The departure has exposed a deeper divide within the Conservatives between party members who supported Mr Scheer and those who believe his social conservatism on issues such as LGBTQ rights and abortion and his fuzzy environmental policies are out of step with Canada’s changing face.

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FT: Bank of Canada deputy governor leads race for top job

Photo credit: Bank of Canada

When Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz promoted Carolyn Wilkins to be his number two in 2014, he praised her as a “jack of all trades”.

Now Ms Wilkins, the bank’s senior deputy governor, has emerged as the frontrunner to replace Mr Poloz when he leaves the top job next year, in an appointment that would signal continuity while emphasising a focus on emerging challenges such as climate change and the digitisation of currency.

“If she wants the job, she will be the candidate to beat,” said Craig Wright, chief economist for Royal Bank of Canada.

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