Flag Carriers: A Burden, or A Blessing? What Should You Chose?

By: Rolf

We all know what it is like to fly with our country’s airline. The thrill of flying to a distant or close place knowing that the flight will benefit the economy. In fact, flag carriers are one of the most comfortable airlines that a country might have to offer. Let’s take Air Canada. It is the official flag bearer of Canada and it is subjected to many vigorous tests. Now, if you have flown on some cost-cutting airlines, you know the difference. Many cost-cutters do not clean their cabins and everything costs more to buy and to check in luggage. But in the new world, many cost-cutting airlines are giving close to the same service as aboard a flag carrier. In fact, many flag carriers are starting to lose A LOT of money as their service has not improved, but has dropped even. In fact, British Airways has lost some $300 million dollars in the past decade to reduced passengers and higher operating costs. Now many people say, “But Flag-Bearers are run by the government, they will never run out of money!”. Yes, that may be true, but the financial risks of running a government airline is high. In the history of Air Canada, its counterparts Canadian Airlines and Air Canada had to be joined together over fears of a financial crash for the airline and in the history of Air Canada, they have declared bankruptcy before. But when the Canadian government took over the airline, profits are up and the staff are happier than ever. In fact, Air Canada now boasts an average of 85%+ full on international flights other than the USA and Mexico. That means more money in the bank for many happy directors of the airline. On a professional note, Air Canada made a net income of $340 million CAN in 2013 according to the Air Canada Annual Report 2013. In addition to that, Air Canada has agreed to a code-share with 3 other airlines and the increase in connections from Toronto Pearson has increased by 3% in 2012. Passengers have also reported that Air Canada is the best carrier in North America and it has been that way for 5 years in a row. This accords for service, availability, and the planes themselves. In 2013, the amount of passengers travelling with our flag carrier increased by 1.9% and net profits are up by over 1%. But there is a negative side to all of this. By expanding the airline with 37 new Boeing 787-8’s, the company has acquired a net debt of 4333 million CAN. This can be a real “shocker” as the airline is doing so well. But this will all pay out as the amount of passengers are supposed to rise by 1.5% every year on most routes and on new developing routes to Europe and Asia, net increases of 4%+ are to be expected. On a side note, if you are looking into stocks as I am, I suggest an interest in Air Canada has in the past year, the stock has increased by $1.20 and possible capital return is magnificent.

“But Rolf, what should I choose? The cheaper airline or the flag carrier?” you may ask, and here is my advice. I see no reason to pay a premium for flights that are under 3 hours. You will get on the plane, and then get off. There is no need to dish out maybe 20% more than you need to. But if you are flying on long-haul flights, I suggest your flag carrier. Flag carriers have higher standards and the quality of the service is still higher. The seats are clean and the airplanes are usually larger and more comfortable than cost-cutters. It is easier to sleep on flag carriers and many offer complimentary meals unlike many cost-cutters. I always fly with flag carriers as they have a better and much friendlier surroundings and I always feel that I am supporting our national airline. But remember, the decision is all yours, cost-cutters are great, but if you want comfort, reliability, and better passenger ratings, fly your national airline.

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America’s Tax Problem: It’s Not The Individuals

By: Rolf Li

Do you know what is worse to the American tax collectors than a simple income tax evasion problem that CAN be solved? No? Well, I can tell you exactly what the problem is. It is the large corporate companies that are ripping the American Tax Collectors off. In fact, the amount of companies that are moving their headquarters from America directly to Canada because of the lower tax rates and the same amount of productivity. The tax rate for large companies and any company in America is close to 38%. That is a ridiculous amount to pay just to have a company in the USA. This is just going against the point of getting the economy back on track. If you have high tax rates, then companies do not want to be a part of the American tax system. No one in his or her right mind would rather pay higher taxes and have educated workers when they can choose less tax and the same amount of education. After the recession, America chose to pump money back into the system and to get the economy rolling again and then they allowed companies to headquarter easier in the USA. But then America got greedy and they though that they could keep companies here even though they had ridiculous tax. In Canada, we want the companies to come to our country so we LOWERED the tax rate to only 25%. That substantial difference goes right into the profit line and into improving the company. With all that money, the company can expand and hire more people. With the headquarters in Canada, we lose nothing. We gain money from corporate tax and we gain jobs when the companies open new stores and hire more people to operate the company. Statistics show that America has lost 700 billion in uncollected taxes from big companies. 700 BILLION! I would laugh at the Americans, but that is not nice, but it has helped our economy so much that I would congratulate the Americans for driving their companies out. For instance, look at what is happening to the big company that has just moved to Canada. Burger Kings has just bought Tim Horton’s for 11 billion dollars. That is very good for Canada because we get money off that deal, Tim Horton’s retains its name and the merger company is moving their headquarters to Canada. That means we get even more money and we pump more jobs into OUR economy. Good job to our taxmen for lowering the tax rates and getting more money into our future. It was a wild run America, but the end was near for all of your companies.

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Markham NHL Team: The Pros and Cons

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By: Zak

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman announced today that by 2017 the NHL will be adding 4 more teams. 1 in Seattle, 1 in Las Vegas, 1 in Quebec City (return of the Nordiques), and another team in Toronto! Let’s shift our view to the 2nd team in Toronto. It will probably be based in Markham where a new 18,000+ seating arena is being built. I’m a man who personally doesn’t like change, I’m a little bit pissed off at this. However the NHL thinks it’s great so they’re giving it a go. Lots of things are going to come out of this. Let’s weigh in the pros and cons.

Pros: 

1.This will give the NHL and hockey and all new look. Markham is home to many new Canadians and ethnic people so the new NHL teams will probably encourage them to become hockey fans. 

2. The Toronto Maple Leafs are already a sellout team. People have been dying to go to a game but because of high prices and lack of seating this hasn’t become possible. Now that there’s two teams, people from the Markham area will probably go to their games (if they’re not leafs fans). People from Toronto will then stay in their area too. Ticket prices will then be reduced (yay!)

3. More revenue will be generated meaning the NHL will become even richer. This will keep Canada’s sport alive for many generations to come. 

Cons:

1. Sales of tickets, merchandise, etc. will drop for the Leafs because of another team. Lots of hockey fans might attend the Markham games than rather making the long voyage to the ACC. This might mean that the annual sales for the NHL’s only 1 billion dollar franchise might go down.

2. More traffic on Hockey Night In Canada days. If you’re a person who hates Toronto and GTA traffic. Tough luck. Both Markham and Downtown Toronto will be clogged on Saturday nights. Toronto and GTA traffic will be even worse now. 

3. Traditions lost. Whenever we’d think about Toronto hockey we would automatically think about the Leafs (and how they lose haha). Now we would have the option to think about the Markham franchise. Most people jump on the Leafs bandwagon. Now they can also jump on the Markham bandwagon.
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The Economy of the Rockies: A Report

By: Rolf Li

Many people, like me, have gone or are going to the Rockies and their National Parks. The view is stunning and the landscape is majestic, but what most of us don’t know is the economy and the life of the people who permanently live in those cities and towns that we stay in overnight and how they depend on the waters and the land to survive in this tough world.

Let me start with Banff, AB. This is a small tourist town that was build specifically to accommodate travellers and tourists. The whole town has about 5-10 thousand permanent residents that go about their daily lives. But what is special about this town that makes it so popular? Well, for starters, you have one of the best views in the entire mountain range in Canada and the wildlife is amazing. Take a break and you could be going to one of the town’s many hot springs and enjoying the underground water. Banff draws in about 2-4 million visitors every year and these attractions are designed to put a hole in your pocket. Visit the gondola of the town to get the better view will cost you $40 and a trip to the springs could cost $50+. Hotels in Banff are also a premium and they can cost about $300 a night and can go up to $600. It is much cheaper to live in neighbouring towns such as Canmore. You can take a walk downtown to a variety of stores, but most importantly, Gem Stores. These stores sell high end jewellery for a high end price. The profit margins of the hotels and store can range up to 70% of the gross amount they make. You may think that the residents are rich, but they are not. The economy of the town and the surrounding area is solely based on tourism, and if the people count is low, then they make no money. The area has little resources to draw on and education is a nightmare. Based purely on revenue, the town is booming and the resident to local GDP value is sky-rocketing. But the area has been in a steady decrease of tourists and that means less money in the bank. There is no commercial value of the goods that the town can produce and it is very dangerous. If people stop going to the town, the people have to move out, and when the people move out, towns die out. Many of the people in the town are beyond working age and there are no people to fill in jobs. It is very obvious that the stores are under-staffed and they need help. This is why tourist towns just won’t work in the future. Young people are moving out and finding jobs in the city, and they are bringing less money into the area and that is terrible for the economy. I would value the yearly GDP of Banff, AB to be around $750 million dollars a year after taxes and loss of jobs. Over all, the economy is moving along at an okay pace but give 15 years and the place will be in trouble.

Jasper National Park houses the famous Athabasca Glacier and the other glaciers of the Columbia Ice-field. The glaciers draw in around 4 million people a year and that could mean more than $65 million dollars in revenue per year at literally no cost. Strategically on the Trans-Canada Highway, the glacier entrance is right on the way to Jasper, AB and anyone can view the magnificent ice-land. This is one of the reasons that tourism is a lucrative industry. People are going to pay $35 to ride the huge glacier trucks and to view the glacier. With 4 million people a year, the owner and his/her investors could be making $120 million in gross and then after paying the staff, taxes, and loans for the trucks, they could be making (as I said) $65 million dollars! It is this that pumps money into the system and that is what gets the local economies rolling. Unfortunately, the glacier is shrinking fast and in a couple of years, it could be very costly to bring people closer to the glacier and one of the most majestic natural things in the world could be lost. But there is a bright side. In the next 20 years, the amount of visitors to visit the area could rise 2-fold as people try to see the last of the ice-age. This is one of the things that pumps money over time and the government is surely enjoying the added cash from foreign countries. When foreigners visit our country, we don’t just spend our money in our country, they are spending theirs. They had to buy Canadian currency and that allows our dollar to rise in value. Next comes the city or “township” of Jasper. This is quite similar to Banff as it houses some of the most expensive hotels in the Rockies. Stay here for about $400 a night and enjoy the run-down buildings and the abandoned houses. Here, the money is clearly not going into the people and the town, but it is going to the government and investors. Like Banff, it has many expensive shops and the attractions are very inflated. The population of this town is lacking and only has about 5,000 permanent residents. There, like Banff, has no youth and the jobs are horrible. Hopefully the economy can go along without the help of the government in the next 5 years. But unlike Banff, the view is not that good and that will damage the economy, maybe even by 10% in the next 5 years every year. Soon, the infrastructure costs and the resource costs will run these small towns into the ground and people will move away to cheaper towns, but thankfully not for a while.

These places are a must see for the Rockies and if you are in the area, I highly suggest you go and visit Banff and Jasper as they are truly amazing places to see.

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Abortion: Crime or Legal Murder?

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By: Boss James

In Canada, abortion is one of the problems on Stephen Harper’s hands. Abortion is a process when an unborn child is killed either medically or surgically. I am completely against it, I don’t care about how they say: “It is the woman’s choice about the baby.” It is completely the Liberals fault that legalized abortion. When a person dies, a baby is born to replace the dead person of the population. I mean right now the abortion rate have decreased each year versus the babies that are born. Even though more babies are being born, it is not enough to replace those who are dead. As a tax payer I am expecting my money to be going for benefits, not for murderer. If I were prime minister, I would make abortion illegal and open up orphanages across the country for babies not needed from their parents. These babies could be the new faces of Canada. This plan would save thousand to millions of babies to replace those who died. Come on, I know that no politician has ever thought of this idea, but get those gears in your head functioning and we can make a better Canada!

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United Kingdom: Pound Sterling or Euro

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I remember when I went to London a few weeks ago. When I arrived I thought to myself, “If United Kingdom is part of the European Union, why do they use Pound Sterling instead of the Euro?” I did some research and it said that if Britain used the Euro it would benefit the economy. The statistics have shown that more than 50% are against the Euro as Britain’s currency. It’s common sense that if Britain is a part of the EU, they should adopt the Euro. 18/28 countries that are part of the EU, are part of the Eurozone (countries that are part of the EU that use the Euro), with Lithuania joining in January 2015. These ten other countries use their own currency and think the Euro is bad, saying that the economy and their country will be screwed big time! Eventually, these countries out of the Eurozone will have to adopt the Euro.

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Check-In Lines: The Wait

By: Rolf

Many people complain about the line at the check-in’s and they should be. Lines at the airport can be stressful and it WILL take a lot of time. People at the check-in’s are slow and VERY unorganized. Let’s put it this way, you cannot bypass this, there is no way. Just this morning, I was on a flight from Toronto to Calgary to visit Banff National Park, and let me tell you, I was waiting to receive my boarding pass for 1 hour at 7 am. How in the world is there a line for a 9 o’clock flight? Let me tell you the worst part. There are people lining up there for a 8 o’clock flight at 7 in the morning! What in the world are they doing at the airport only am HOUR before their flight? Do they not understand that they need to wait for their passes, get their luggage checked in, and then go through security? Do they not understand that they need to get to the gate 15 minutes before the flight to board the plane for domestic, and 30 minutes before to board for international flights? Why are they getting there at 7 am for an 8 o’clock flight? Are the CARZY? And then they think that they get to cut in line because their flight is about to leave! This morning (I am talking about the 16th if this article comes out late) about 60% of the people in the line to get their tickets had flights at 8:00, 8:25, 8:30 and they were getting there at 7 to get their passes. To make matters worse, the people at the desks were as slow as molasses on a winter’s night. Some people were standing at the desk for 5 minutes while the rest of us watched on. There were hundreds of people and we could see staff members just frolicking around doing nothing. At around 7:45, a good staff member told everyone that had their flight leave at 8:00 to stand back and let people from my flight and other 9 o’clock flights to get their passes. Some passengers were angry, but what the heck? They made their choices not to get to the airport 2-hours beforehand and they waiting for the last minute to get their pass. They were idiots to not get their beforehand and I applaud the staff member who made them stand back to not let the rest of us be late. If you do know, airports are a mess and things are very crazy. There are many things you can do to shorten the time you wait. Firstly, do not make the mistake and think you have a lot of time. You don’t. Get there early (2 hours at least) and make your way fast though the airport. Have all your documents in your hand to shorten your time and help out the people around you.

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Nascar Driver Killed On Track: Why Would He Get Out Of His Car?

Nascar driver Kevin Ward Jr. was killed last weekend when he stepped out of his car onto the track where the race was going on at the time. The question I have is that “Why would he step out of his car by the middle of a race?” Well there was probably an altercation during the race. It’s believed that Tony Stewart (the racer that killed Ward) was involved in a series of cut-offs with Ward.

ISIS vs Iraq: And America?

By: Rolf

Well, it’s happened again. U.S. Air Forces dropped 500-pound bombs on ISIS fighters in support of the Iraqi Government. A day after the bombs, the US government declares that it would be sending arms directly to the Kurdish forces fighting against ISIS. Ok, so you are thinking, “what is going on? Why is the USA fighting a group of militants in the middle east that have little or no intention of attacking America?” That is where many people go wrong. Many people think that this is a waste of resources and that many Americans will be killed, and I agree with the population—to some extent. Let’s start from the beginning. For the past 3 years, ISIS was fighting against Syria and Iraq. They gained an arsenal of weapons from capturing Syrian cities and Syrian strongholds. Now, they have turned their attention to Iraq. So why is the government stepping up now? How could the Government allow for a TERRORIST GROUP to gain weapons and gain ground? I am not saying that the USA and other countries should stop supporting the Kurdish forces and back out of the war against terror (although they are VERY behind in the game), I am saying that they should have taken action years ago. Everyone just stood there and watched as a group of militants took over advanced weapons. WHY IS THE GOVERNMENT SPENDING MORE MONEY NOW? Why is the government putting off fighting against militants when they knew that they would have to fight them sooner or later? Why would we spend twice or three times the money fighting more people and more weapons than a few years ago when they had no power and they could not take over more land and weapons? That is how we have no idea how to fight. The government thinks that by just putting a war aside, a problem will fix itself? Now we have to pick up the war at a higher cost than before. We let civilians die and we put our embassies and our weapons in dangerous countries at risk. We have to pick up our game and stop terror once and for all.

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Northern Ontario: Aside From the Trees And Natural Beauty

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Usually when we think about Northern Ontario we fantasize about the Muskokas, the vast forests, and the beautiful lakes. I do this too. I love going to Northern Ontario. You escape the rush and spend time with nature. Manitoulin Island is a great spot for that. I had a nice time going there this summer. I also went to Sudbury, Ontario where my aunt lives. She lives right on the lake so when going to Sudbury my perception that’s my perception. This time around I was more adventurous so we decided to go downtown. When I originally thought about downtown Sudbury I thought it’d be something like the Harbourfront in Toronto. A place where you could shop right on the lake. It wasn’t really what I expected. When we first went into the downtown part of Sudbury, it looked cool to me. There was a subway station (with an LCBO and Time Hortons right outside of it taking away from the building) which meant signs of moving forward. Then we went more into downtown, and things started falling apart in my mind. There were huge old buildings that were just sitting there, with nothing inside of them. A huge abandoned theatre just lying there. For the most part it just looked like slums. When speaking to my aunt, she said that during the mining rush (about 40-50 years ago) Sudbury HAD streetcars. They HAD them even before Toronto did. After the earth there was mined out, people started moving back to their home cities. The population dropped so the streetcars were no longer needed. The residential area of downtown Sudbury was also not that appealing. You could tell that the market wasn’t there because of the old and beaten homes. It actually kinda looked like Detroit. Most houses were in dire need of renovation something that probably cannot be done because of the homeowners’ lack of income or their lack of interest towards their house. What I’m trying to say might insult some and I don’t mean for that. What I’m simply trying to say is that Sudury has to get itself moving. Most youth are moving out because of the lack of jobs. Young adults in Sudbury are moving to Toronto because of the plentiful opportunity. Sudbury! Get your act together!

 

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