Exactly two years after the Canadian economy hit a giant pothole that took awhile to exit, we could be experiencing the same bump in the road.
If that sounds vague, it is, but that’s the problem the golf industry and other businesses face these days with nobody able to supply definitive answers on whether there’s a long, cold winter ahead in terms of economic prosperity.
What we do know is that there are some troubling signs, including news that retail sales slipped slightly in July. There have also been dips in employment, trade, manufacturing, wholesale sales and housing starts, so the possibility of a double-dip recession is there.
Call that media negativity, the popular go-to catchphrase in the last recession, if you like, but these are numbers that have come up in the past few weeks and some banks are pulling back on their growth forecasts for the second half of this year.
They either indicate a stall or a double-dip, but nobody seems to know for sure, which means the media is among the lost sheep looking for guidance in these troubled economic times. The question now is who answers the questions and who leads the flock to greener pastures?
To be fair, much of the economic uncertainty these days stems from other parts of the world and much of it is out of Canada’s control, but our supposed leaders from all parties are more concerned with elections and power struggles than getting anything done.
You’re hearing a lot these days about voting by anger, that being when the electorate is so fed up with the party in power that they will put anybody else in just to send a message. It’s happening at municipal and provincial levels across the country and we’ll see what happens when the next federal election rolls around.
It’s a careless way to vote, but on the other hand, can you blame people for being sick and tired of the way government operates these days? It’s all about preening and power, whether you’re in opposition or part of the government of the day.
The parties that thirst for power spend more time criticizing, while the party that has power is on the defensive and, in the meantime, little gets done when the only cooperation that takes place is the formation of coalitions to topple the government that Canadians voted in.
Is it little wonder that we can’t get answers on the economy, let alone get anything done about it of any consequence?
It may be a naïve thought, but if our elected officials, no matter which party they represent, don’t work together to solve problems instead of creating them, chances are we’re headed back to where we were two years ago.
A big part of Canada’s recovery has been federal government stimulus, but no more of that is expected in the spring budget. Even if they did introduce more stimulus, what would that do to Canada’s deficit?
Also, interest rates are inching up and there is indication that consumers are pulling back due to the implementation of the HST in British Columbia and Ontario. There are a lot of challenges coming, but chaos due to power struggles prevails over dedication to getting this country back into high gear.
In golf, where we rely so much on disposable income, and any other industry for that matter, we need more solid answers about where the economy is headed and, if it’s headed south, we need to know what’s being done about it. We may have been taken in by a false recovery built on government stimulus.
With the last economic downturn, we saw it coming, but we now need to know if there’s turbulence ahead again so we can cushion the plunge. That information is currently lost in a sea of political egos.