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Newsletter. Issue 2008-23. November 08, 2008

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Obama Makes History
U.S. Decisively Elects First Black President
By Robert Barnes and Michael D. Shear
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, November 5, 2008

?A new dawn of American leadership is at hand? ... Barack Obama


Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois was elected the nation's 44th president yesterday, riding a reformist message of change and an inspirational exhortation of hope to become the first African American to ascend to the White House.

Obama, 47, the son of a Kenyan father and a white mother from Kansas, led a tide of Democratic victories across the nation in defeating Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona, a 26-year veteran of Washington who could not overcome his connections to President Bush's increasingly unpopular administration.

Standing before a crowd of more than 125,000 people who had waited for hours at Chicago's Grant Park, Obama acknowledged the accomplishment and the dreams of his supporters.

"If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible, who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time, who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer," he said just before midnight Eastern time.

"The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America, I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you: We as a people will get there."

The historic Election Day brought millions of new and sometimes tearful voters, long lines at polling places nationwide, and celebrations on street corners and in front of the White House. It ushered in a new era of Democratic dominance in Congress, even though the party's quest for the 60 votes needed for a veto-proof majority in the Senate remained in doubt early today. In the House, Democrats made major gains, adding to their already sizable advantage and returning them to a position of power that predates the 1994 Republican revolution.

Democrats will use their new legislative muscle to advance an economic and foreign policy agenda that Bush has largely blocked for eight years. Even when the party seized control of Congress two years ago, its razor-thin margin in the Senate had allowed Republicans to hinder its efforts.

McCain congratulated Obama in a phone call shortly after 11 p.m. and then delivered a gracious concession speech before his supporters in Phoenix. "We have had and argued our differences," he said of his rival, "and he has prevailed."

"This is an historic election, and I recognize the special significance it has for African Americans and the special pride that must be theirs tonight," McCain said.

Obama became the first Democrat since Jimmy Carter in 1976 to receive more than 50 percent of the popular vote, and he made good on his pledge to transform the electoral map. He overpowered McCain in Ohio, Florida, Virginia and Pennsylvania -- four states that the campaign had spent months courting as the keys to victory. He passed the needed 270 electoral votes just after 11 p.m., with victories in California and Washington state.

Photo Caption
Barack Obama's acceptance speech from Grant Park in Chicago, Illinois after election results came in Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008. Photo from Washington Post Video


Ontario Becomes A Have-Not Province
By ANTONELLA ARTUSO, Queen?s Park Bureau Chief
3rd November 2008,

Ontario will be eligible for $347 million in equalization payments next year.

Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty revealed at a meeting with his provincial colleagues that Ontario is expected to become a so-called 'have-not' province in 2009-10. Other provinces who will need national support are P.E.I., Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Manitoba.

It will be the first time that Ontario has received equalization payments, funds that are supposed to ensure that a poorer province can provide services similar to those in all other provinces. Newfoundland and Labrador reached a milestone Monday by becoming a have province for the first time in its history as a Canadian province.

Premier Danny Williams released the news during a press conference saying that figures released Monday by the federal finance department showed for the first time ever the province would not be receiving equalization payments from Ottawa.

"This is a very proud day for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians, I can tell you. We received information today from the federal government at the finance ministers' meeting that as a result of changes in the figures that as of today ? which is a notification ? but effectively this year Newfoundland and Labrador is now a have province. That's a momentous day for the people of this province."


Prime Minister Stephen Harper Appoints New Canadian Citizenship and Immigration Minister
Monday, 3 November 2008

Following his government's successful re-election on October 14, 2008, Prime Minister Harper today appointed a new Cabinet.

Among the changes in Cabinet included the appointment of The Honourable Jason Kenney as Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism replacing the Honourable Diane Finley who has now been appointed as Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development.

Jason Kenney was first elected to the House of Commons in 1997 and re-elected in 2000, 2004, 2006 and 2008. In January 2007, Mr. Kenney was appointed Secretary of State (Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity). He previously served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister. Mr. Kenney was Chair of the Subcommittee on International Human Rights and the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, and a member of the Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics.

Prior to seeking election, Mr. Kenney served as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.


Immigration Canada: Skilled-Trades Sector Shows Steady Jobs Growth
Monday, 3 November 2008

More than one million people worked in skilled trades in 2007, where employment growth has been a steady 2.2 per cent a year on average since the early 1990s, reports Statistics Canada. These skilled trades groups include workers such as plumbers, masons, mechanics and crane operators, where a licence or certificate may be a condition of employment.

Whereas Alberta accounted for nine per cent of all trades employment in 1987, by 2007, this proportion had increased to 15 per cent. Similarly, during the same period, the proportion for British Columbia rose from 11 per cent to 15 per cent.

Average hourly earnings in 2007 were higher in the trades ($22.36) than in other occupations ($21.02) combined, with the highest earners being electricians, crane operators and plumbers, reports StatsCan.

However, the aging of the population has led to general concerns about the replacement of retiring workers, signifying the need for foreign workers in Canada. Specifically, 17 per cent of overall workers in the trades were immigrants, lower than the 21 per cent in the non-trades occupations combined.


Canada Needs More Permanent Immigrants
27/10/2008 by Bryan Palmer

Immigration levels in Canada need a significant boost, according to the findings of a recent study by the Conference Board of Canada. The report recommended that Canada increase its annual permanent residency intake from the current 250,000 to 360,000 by 2025 in order to compete with other countries in attracting skilled workers.

In 2007, Canada took in 475,965 immigrants. However, over 50 percent were temporary workers and foreign students.

Douglas Watt, Associate Director, Organizational Effectiveness and Learning for the Board, agreed that Canada's future economic health depends upon attracting skilled migrants to settle in the country on a permanent basis:

"Canada's permanent and temporary immigration systems are changing to better address the needs of business, provinces and migrants themselves," he said. "These changes are positive steps, but more needs to be done. Canada is competing with other countries for top international talent and a willingness to adjust programs and policies is the hallmark of successful immigration systems."

In 2006 temporary foreign workers, in Canada, outnumbered permanent residents admitted through skilled immigration schemes.

The study concluded that more options for temporary foreign workers to obtain permanent Canadian visas should be introduced if the country's long-term labour market was to thrive.


Resale Housing Market Continues to Reflect Economic Times
Sales decline 35%

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 5, 2008) - The Greater Toronto Area resale housing market reported 5,155 sales in October, Toronto Real Estate Board President Maureen O'Neill announced today.

This represents a 35 per cent decline from the 7,915 sales reported in October 2007 and a 25 per cent decrease from the 6,876 transactions that took place during the same period two years ago.

In the City of Toronto, there were 2,136 sales, with sales activity down 38 per cent from the 3,455 transactions recorded last October. In the 905 Region 3,019 sales were recorded, with sales activity down 32 per cent from a year ago when 4,460 homes changed hands. With 68,570 transactions to date this year, sales are within 16 per cent of the 81,563 transactions noted a year ago. The 2007 market referred to was a record breaking year with each month breaking records for the entire year. Putting into perspective 2008 figures are indicative of a return to a more balanced market.

In the City of Toronto 27,324 sales year-to-date are within 18 per cent of the 33,441 transactions recorded last year at this time. In the 905 Region the 41,246 sales to date are within 14 per cent of the 48,122 homes that changed hands up to this point a year ago.

In the City of Toronto, the current average price of a home is $376,896, down 13 per cent from last October's average of $434,022 and within three per cent of the October 2006 average of $386,807.

In the 905 Region homes are selling for an average price of $336,049, a decline of eight per cent from October 2007's average of $364,142. Prices in this area however, remain one per cent higher than the October 2006 average of $332,822.

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