Back when the year 2015 was starting, several numerologists promised us a restless year ahead, full of political and financial catastrophes. One can treat such predictions with different degrees of distrust and skepticism, but let’s take a look at what the people of Canada had to come through and what they can expect in the year 2016.
You would hardly meet “average Canadians” that would claim that last year was a success. There’s no joy to be found anywhere, and this mood can be traced back to reports published in the local media, those that are not yet affected by the official Western propaganda.
The National Post notes that the country’s economy has hit a major stall, with no GDP growth whatsoever to be expected in 2016. The decline in oil prices continues affecting the economic activities of all Canadian provinces. After falling by 0.5% in September 2015, the Canadian GDP simply refused to grow in October, despite expectations of many economists.
“This soft GDP report pretty much sums up 2015: The economy quite simply struggled to grow at all this year, and any gains were of the most meagre variety and were well below expectations,” BMO chief economist Douglas Porter told the journal.
When oil prices started dropping rapidly, the absolute majority of Canadian and American politicians were ecstatically anticipating an “imminent” crisis in Russia. Back in the day most people tended to believe that low fuel prices were good for the Western economy. Little did they know. Ever since the last recession, as well as in the US, the energy sector has been pretty much the driver of economic growth that provided many well-payed job opportunities in Canada. But today the oil boom in Alberta is going down in flames, taking more than 63,000 jobs with it. People were getting fired in Alberta all through the first eight months of 2015 according to the Most Important News portal, as a result suicide rates are skyrocketing, there’s bitter poverty and misery everywhere. Yet, the portal argues that the worst is yet to come. It is believed that suicide rates will go up by 30% in 2016, making it one of the grimmest years for Canada in a long while.
The National Post says that many Canadians are having difficulties paying their bills and still having some money left over to buy any kind of food. According to the research of Manulife Bank, 40% of Canadian families are about to hit skid row since they’re just unable to make ends meet. “It does appear there are a lot of people living on the edge,” said Rick Lunny, chief executive of Manulife Bank. According to his assessments, in the near future a growing number of Canadians will be forced to resort to desperate measures in order to physically survive.
Experts are convinced that the growing debt of Canadians is a major financial risk, reports the Canadian version of the Huffington Post. It’s been reported that in the third quarter of 2015 the income/debt ratio increased to 163.7% The total credit debt in the market equals 1.89 trillion dollars, with mortgage debt reaching 1.23 trillion dollars, while consumer loans amount to 572 billion dollars.
The Globe and Mail says that it’s “the ugly truth” that many Canadians are under-eating and have no means to get some form of decent food even for festive celebrations. A total of 4 million Canadians are living in conditions with the total and complete absence of any food security, while 1.15 million of those are minors. Food insecurity has a deep negative physical and mental impact on a human being, since it increases healthcare costs, provokes conflicts and social isolation. It is strange that in such a prosperous country like Canada there are still plenty of hungry people!
The organization “Food Banks Canada,” presented its annual and it actually doesn’t look good. The report highlighted the problem of food security in the country against the background of the desire of federal and local authorities to stop giving people food for free. According to the report, the number of people seeking help at food banks has increased by 852,000 people this year alone.
Every Canadian district is reporting growing child poverty, says the Huffington Post. Currently in Canada, there’s officially 1.3 million children living in poverty, which means that one in five children is facing a dreadful childhood.
Against this background, there’s no surprise that crime is on the rise. A recent report published by a provincial Canadian legislative committee argues that the Ontario region has become a “hub” of human trafficking and sexual slavery in Canada, where local teenage girls and young women are being victimized daily. It is noted that sexual exploitation is the most common form of human trafficking in Ontario and Canada as a whole. According to statistics, 60% of victims of sexual violence in Canada are minors, and a quarter of them are younger that 12 years old.
In these circumstances, Justin Trudeau, the Liberal leader, who won the recent Canadian elections is facing serious trouble in 2016. Yet, these problems can still be solved by a wise use of national resources and by carefully devising policy focused on the social needs of the Canadian people. That would be a step forward from the buffoonery military support that Canada has been providing to Ukraine.
Martin Berger is a Czech-based freelance journalist and analyst, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook.