Blogs & Comment

Is the stimulus working? CFAs weigh in...

Canada has just racked up its biggest monthly job loss in a generation and the commercial real estate market in the U.S. is slipping closer to meltdown stage as the winter of our economic discontent drags on. And to make themselves look busy on the recession file, it seems Canadian politicians are now making hay out of the recent stimulus budget brought down by the Conservatives. The front page of todays Globe says the Libs are now blaming the Tories for not moving fast enough, or far enough, in terms of stimulus spending. We need more say the Liberals, and soon, or else were going to sink deeper into the mud. Is this a valid criticism, or are the Liberals just playing politics? If a recent poll from the CFA Institute (a trade organization for holders of the Chartered Financial Analyst designation) is to be believed, the political positions on this question are lining up just as you might expect. When Canadian CFAs were polled about the budget and asked whether it went far enough to mend the economy, respondents were split. Almost half of members, forty three percent, said the government should have done more to support the Canada through the crisis, but 44% suggested the Conservatives had done enough. It couldnt be much closer on that question. Where the differences show up is when the results are broken down by region. A higher proportion of CFA holders in Quebec (55%) and Ontario (45%) felt the government could have done more. While just 32% of CFA holders in Alberta and 33% in B.C. felt the government could have done more. The regional split extends to the question of whether or not it was a good decision for the government to purchase $75 billion of insured mortgage pools. On that question, 73% of CFA holders in Ontario said yes, while in Alberta and B.C just 56% said yes. Thats an average of 66%. When asked whether the new measures in the budget will be enough to improve the functioning of capital markets, Albertans were more likely to say yes, Quebecers least so. Canadian regionalism, youve got to love it. Another interesting finding from the poll: a big majority of CFA holders, 78%, think the new TFSAs will do nothing to address the current financial crisis.