International News Desk – At Home: Loonie trades on par and higher than U.S. dollar – In Foreign News: Unemployed Australian surfers the target of new government schemes

International News Desk – At Home: Loonie trades on par and higher than U.S. dollar – In Foreign News: Unemployed Australian surfers the target of new government schemes

At Home: Loonie trades on par and higher than U.S. dollar

I don’t know how many of you deal in foreign currency, but I often make exchanges from U.S. dollars to my Canadian account and today was one of those days. Usually I enjoy being paid in American dollars; no matter what the original amount is, I know that it will be higher when It’s in my Canadian account.

Today, however, that logic flew out the window. My U.S. money went down in value once transferred to Canadian funds! I had been watching the news and hearing about how the loonie was trading on par with the U.S. dollar, but for some reason I forgot all about it while doing my online banking. Apparently, our dollar has risen again in value, because the latest currency exchange rate is 1 U.S. dollar for 1.00705 Canadian. Pardon me, but holy shit!

Over the last months and years, I’ve been watching the Canadian dollar gain strength against its American counterpart and yet held no real hope that it would reach parity, despite reporting in the June 8 edition of The Voice that after striking a 30-year high it was indeed in a position to do so.

Given the challenges of the U.S. economy these past years, however, such as lowered interest rates, an expensive war, and general unpopularity with foreign investors, it is perhaps no surprise that Canada’s currency has been valued more highly.

But has it made any advances in terms of other currency? I checked the XE.com website for exchange rates and found that in the six months since I have been home from the United Kingdom, Canada’s dollar has in fact been valued more highly in relation to the GBP than it was when I left. Where I had previously been trading £1 for $2.1, now the trade would leave me with only around $2.03.

So, there is no question that Canadian currency is actually rising on the world market, and not only in relation to a continuously failing U.S. dollar.

The question is, what does this mean for us? CTV reporters spoke with two economists, who tried to put currency fluctuations in layman’s terms for the average Canadian; if you are confused by how a currency can gain or lose on another then ?A currency primer for the average Canadian? will make for good reading.

Essentially, the strength of our dollar has to do with the number of foreign investors, who, in order to actually put money into Canadian businesses and enterprises, must first purchase Canadian money with which to do so. Stronger currency means, subsequently, that imported goods will be cheaper and that exported goods will be more expensive. All in all, this is a mixed blessing at best but something that the entire country has been waiting a very long time to see. Whatever the economic outcome, parity is bound to be a source of pride for Canadians nationwide.

In Foreign News: Unemployed Australian surfers the target of new government schemes

Australia has struggled with high unemployment rates for much of its recent history. However, the last 15 years have been cited as a time of economic growth and reduced unemployment. In an effort to keep the economic success running strong, Australia’s government has decided to target those of its citizens whom it feels are simply too lazy to find employment.

Apparently, surveys are showing that the areas with the most persistent cases of unemployment are located in beach neighbourhoods where much of the population receives government money for living costs and then spends the rest of their time surfing and hanging out on the beach.

Every welfare state has its share of hangers-on, those people who make a life based on their welfare cheques and doing their own thing during the day. It’s inevitable. Australia, however, seems to have the sort of laid-back culture and amazing climate and landscapes to actually encourage such behaviour.

Further, Education Minister Andrew Robb has said outright that there is ?a high correlation between high unemployment and coastal areas. We need to put some pressure in some of those areas? (1).

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that government officials have been annoyed to find that so many Australian businesses are struggling to find employees while there are areas of such high and unrelenting unemployment throughout the coastal regions of the country.

Prime Minister John Howard has made his intentions clear to push dole receivers into full-time work sooner than regulations currently require (2).

(1) BBC News, 2007. ?Australia targets jobless surfers.? Retrieved September 25, 2007, from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7008922.stm

(2) Sydney Morning Herald Online, 2007. ?Welfare reform to target dole bludgers.? Retrieved September 25, 2007, from http://www.smh.com.au/news/NATIONAL/Welfare-reform-to-target-dole-bludgers/2007/09/17/1189881377520.html

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