Low loonie not all bad

When I was nine or 10, our Canadian dollar was worth $1.02 compared to the U.S. dollar.
Those two pennies were like gold when you exchanged your dollar into U.S. currency.
During the 1962 election between Progressive Conservative John Diefenbaker and Liberal Lester Pearson, the dollar came under pressure and declined to 92.5 cents vis-a-vis the U.S. greenback.
As an election prop, the “Diefendollar” was created and distributed across Canada. The Conservatives subsequently suffered considerable electoral defeats across Canada.
The dollar continued to fluctuate over time. In 1974, the “Fuddle Duddle” dollar—showing a value of 61 cents—appeared on the scene. It made fun of then Liberal leader Pierre Trudeau.
On Monday, the exchange rate was 1.4511 (Cdn.) to buy one U.S. dollar. But I doubt we will see a political dollar anytime soon since the declining loonie will have benefits for the Canadian economy.
The impact of the lower dollar will take time to build sales in the U.S. With Canada’s lower manufacturing costs, products produced in Ontario and across Canada will have a competitive advantage south of the border.
For the last decade, Canada has relied on the export of oil to produce trade surpluses. With the crash of oil down below $30 (U.S.) per barrel, our surpluses no longer exist and manufacturing will have to expand and gain market share.
This decline in the Canadian dollar also should be good for the forest and tourism industries in our area. Frank Dottori, who masterminded the rebirth of Tembec Forest Products, came out of retirement in his late 70s to restart the mill in White River.
Under the banner White River Forest Products, Dottori recently announced a $20-million expansion to ramp up the production of lumber from 150 million board feet to 190 million board feet.
Dottori is enthusiastic about the expansion of the U.S. economy and the growth in housing starts there.
The demand for wood products should be good for the operating sawmills in our district.
And speaking with several tourist operators in the district, they already are seeing increased bookings for the coming fishing and hunting season.
It, too, is a good sign for the district.
Less expensive gas in the U.S. makes it easier to travel from the Midwest to Canada. Locally, retailers saw a major boost in Christmas sales. District residents “shopped local.”
As much as we might groan about the decline of the loonie, it does have upsides.

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