A white Christmas might be a slim possibility for much of the country this year, but at least one other ho-ho-holiday tradition is sure to be widespread.
Christmas trees are everywhere during the holiday season, as the nordic tradition has taken root and spread across all parts of the globe. But Canada‘s winter makes the country a natural home for the seasonal favourite, whether it’s real or artificial.
The number crunchers at Statistics Canada have come up with some fun facts about one of Canada’s favourite holiday traditions.
1,738,212 — Total number of fresh-cut Christmas trees that Canada exported last year. Almost half of those came from Quebec. By way of contrast, Saskatchewan, Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador did not export a single Christmas tree.
$51.3 million — The total value of all fresh-cut Christmas trees sold in Canada last year. Sales were down in every province except British Columbia. Sales were down nine per cent last year and have declined by 22 per cent since 2006.
$47 million — Value of artificial Christmas trees imported into Canada. More than $46 million of that came from China, with the rest coming from Thailand, the United States, Mexico or Vietnam.
SEVEN foreign companies are bidding for a spot in a three-month course designed to boost start-up success.
Program director Jana Matthews (pictured) says the immaturity of the Australian start-up scene shows up in the lack of returnees – the same people whose experience can smooth the way for new ventures.
“We don’t have the business people, the lawyers or accountants who have taken companies public over and over and over again,” she says. “The whole infrastructure is immature.”
Sydney start-up incubator Pollenizer last month teamed with Deloitte to measure Australia’s start-up ecology and found only 4.8 per cent of new businesses scaled up to sustainable profitable businesses.
The report also found the global capital of start-ups, Silicon Valley, was 6.7 times larger than Sydney, while Australia’s other recognised hubs – Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth – had 65 per cent to 13 per cent of Sydney’s pulling power.
Matthews, who has been closely connected with the US’s second-largest start-up space in Boulder, Colorado, says the Innovyz START program will take its second round in January with a firm eye on global candidates.
But the evening is not about rubbing shoulders with Hollywood celebrities.
Instead, the guest of honour is a car – one that has been designed to capture the mood of the moment.
“Our idea is to combine premium with sustainability,” says Benoit Jacob, head of design for BMW Group‘s new sub-brand “i”.
“We call it ‘next premium’. We believe that for premium in the future, sustainability will be vital.”
“California is committed to sustainable mobility,” agrees Mr Jacob. “And so are we.”
But the Golden State offers golden opportunities well beyond its borders. Consumers here are technology savvy, hungry for constant change, ready to push boundaries and widely seen as trend-setters by consumers across America, perhaps even the world.
Despite a whittling away of consumer debt that has been underway since the recession, many Americans are still entering the holiday season unprepared to cope with the expenses that crop up around this time of year.
Think Finance, a provider of payday loans and other financial services for consumers with limited or no access to banking services, recently surveyed 1,000 Americans across all income levels who use various forms of alternative financial services — including payday loans, prepaid debit cards and direct deposit advances.
Although many of these consumers are on better financial footing and optimistic about their economic future this year, the holidays are still a source of stress and strain on their precarious finances, Think Finance said in the poll.
Some 45 percent of those polled said the holiday season brings so much financial pressure, they would prefer to skip it altogether. Almost half said their level of stress related to holiday expenses is high or extremely high.
That’s probably because nearly the same amount — some 45 percent — say they do not expect to have enough money set aside to cover holiday expenses.
In the halting, measured language we’ve come to expect from his impromptu public remarks, President Obama posed a core dilemma of climate change yesterday at his first post-election press conference. Explaining the possible repercussions of failing to act now, he said, climate change “is going to have an impact and a cost down the road, if we don’t do something about it.”
Whether to pay for an energy transformation now, or take our chances with climate impacts and costs “down the road,” is a key, polarizing economic question within climate change policy. Another way of framing it is this: What’s the future worth to you?
People alive today and people alive 100 years from now have the same moral value it seems to me and different economic value. That sets up all sorts of trickiness. As economist Richard Tol has put it, placing an even greater economic value on the future than economists do “may be morally preferable but is clearly out of line with common practice.”
Money tends to lose value over time. A dollar today is worth much more than in 2112. We tend to believe that the economy will grow, we’ll all be richer later, the value of a dollar will gradually fall — and with it the cost of adapting to a new climate. It’ll be cheaper to adapt to changes in the future than anticipate them and pay for them with more valuable dollars now.
Part of it is also just human psychology. We live in the present, not the future, so why don’t I just take that dollar now, thank you. As J. Wellington Wimpy — yup, Popeye’s friend — expresses the problem, “I’d gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.” When he’s staring at a lightly charred, grease-oozing meat patty wedged into a bun, Tuesday sounds as agreeable as anything because it’s practically synonymous with “never.”