International News Desk. At Home: Loonie poised to reach parity with the buck; In Foreign News: CITES continues to fight the ivory trade; southern Africa fights back

International News Desk. At Home: Loonie poised to reach parity with the buck; In Foreign News: CITES continues to fight the ivory trade; southern Africa fights back

At Home: Loonie poised to reach parity with the buck

Over the past five years, the Canadian dollar has increased by 43.4% (according to CTV News), a strikingly high increase rate that saw it reach a 30-year high of 94.77 cents on the American dollar on June 4.

Several reasons have been cited for the steady increase, and while most economists are happy to say it is the strengthening Canadian economy that is responsible, others point out that this latest rise comes before a pending interest rate hike. Shaun Osborne, the chief currency strategist for TD Securities, has been quoted as saying that the American dollar is ?weak? (1) and that Canada’s currency is not the only one experiencing a rise in the last few years.

Canada’s loonie has risen roughly 10% this past year. However, Doug Porter, BMO Capital Markets senior economist, has said that ?commodity prices did not really budge in the past week [to match the most recent hike in dollar values] and in fact are only up slightly since the start of 2007? (2).

The CBC News article explains that Canadian currency has generally relied on commodity prices to support raises or dictate downturns: as our economy is based largely on production and exportation of goods, the loonie must follow the whims of the commodity and unless prices rise simultaneously we are not in the best shape to reach par with the American dollar by the end of the year, as some hopeful watchers claim.

The reality remains that although the American dollar has sunk in value over the last few years, our loonie has seen increased investment and valuations. For example, in 2001 ? 2002, our dollar was pretty much on par with the Australian dollar. Now, however, while the Canadian dollar sits near 95 cents the Aussie dollar has remained 17 cents lower on conversion. Regardless of a specified time frame, the hope is that our own currency will match American money dollar for dollar and stay there for the duration.

(1) CTV News, 2007. ?Canadian dollar closes at 94.48 cents US.? Retrieved June 5, 2007, from

(2) CBC News, 2007. ?Dollar on the march to 95 cents US.? Retrieved June 5, 2007, from

In Foreign News: CITES continues to fight the ivory trade; southern Africa fights back

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) will be meeting again soon in The Hague, and among discussion over the protection of sawfish, cedars, coral, and Chinese tigers is the always-hot topic of elephant hunting and the ivory trade. The Convention will play host to 175 national delegates over the course of two weeks, as well as various representatives from the United Nations and conservation and animal welfare groups. The debate on the ivory trade is not as close to resolution as CITES delegates, not to mention the world public, might hope, because although nations like Kenya and Mali are pushing for a 20-year ban on elephant hunting, South Africa, Botswana, and Namibia want to increase ivory trade.

According to Afrol News, the southern African states are not facing a degradation of the elephant population. In fact, they claim the situation is quite the opposite and that ?while elephants remain an endangered species in most of Africa and international ivory trade is illegal to prevent poaching, the three Southern African nations sustain large national elephant populations that need to be kept healthy by controlled hunting? (1).

This stance is just one of the worries of CITES activist groups like the International Fund for Animal Welfare, whose spokesperson Peter Pueschel said that ?every time CITES even talks about relaxing the ivory ban, poaching goes up? (2).

Although CITES has agreed that these three countries might be able to legally trade in ivory due to their specific circumstances, the Convention has yet to reach agreeable terms for the trade. Their worry is that if southern African ivory enters the world market, copycat ivory may enter the market simultaneously although the product is being obtained illegally in northern countries. At the moment, Botswana is holding its existing ivory stores in hopes that it will get the green light from CITES soon and be able to sell the ivory for necessary revenue.

Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa are hoping for an agreement to be reached by the end of the two-week Convention, while animal activists remain adamant that ivory should not be sold or obtained under any circumstances.

(1) Afrol News. ?Southern Africa’s ivory sales put on ice.? March 19, 2007. Retrieved June 5, 2007, from

(2) BBC News, 2007. ?Nations meet to protect wildlife?. Retrieved June 5, 2007, from