The National Post, Financial Post, last Friday on page FP4 buried a headline at the bottom of the page: “Housing bubble not as vulnerable as thought.”
In addition to being cold-oatmeal writing, as a bubble is already a vulnerability in a market, the headline is just plain cowardly. It is the National Post over the past few years that led the Chicken Little spiral charge into the maelstrom of panic, fear, anxiety and hoped-for devastation so they could both profit from a false narrative and say, “I told you so.”
I am not fond of people that say, “I told you so,” but sometimes we in the real media are forced to state the obvious. We told you we did not see evidence for the “housing bubble” in Canada, and those that invested in the doom-and-gloom narrative lost. Canada is better than that.
Now, my colleagues at the Financial Post have no hope of Armageddon, which is likely the end of time for them. The GDP in Canada has been clicking along quite nicely, along with our residential, commercial and institutional building investments. Now, to administer the coup de grace, the American economy has zipped up to 3 percent growth, regained its AAA status (lost under Obama) and is dictating terms, finally, to dictators. The American people love it, and American business loves it.
In the gloomy doomy days of Quantitative Easing and mortgage derivatives by those with no money of their own with which to repay, the “conventional wisdom” said when the U.S. sneezes, Canada gets the flu. I need to check at the Post, but I think the corollary is when America parties, Canada gets knocked up. (I need to start a parenthetical conversation with my spell checker, here. “No. I meant corollary, not coronary. Bastard.”)
This is not to say disaster reporting is bad for business. Quite the opposite. It is just fake disaster reporting that is bad. For everybody.
Currently, our friends and brothers in the southern U.S. are in trouble. The one-two punches of hurricanes have left untold devastation, no matter how well handled by the government. There are some things the government simply cannot control, no matter how hard it tries.
Rebuilding after Hurricanes Harvey and Irma will take years. I suspect a number of forward-thinking Canadian companies are looking into permits to head south and aid in the recovery. This is a great opportunity to both do some good in a horrific situation, and to expand our contacts of friends and associates.
However, the demand from the southern states will not be limited to on-the-spot labour, products and expertise. The drain on existing resources will extend to every flooring company and every cabinet company and every roofing company in the States as they are called upon to supply unlooked-for resources to heal the unlooked-for damages. And that demand will extend globally to every supplier of those products and services. This means that buildings going up in, say, Belleville, Nebr., will have to compete with the South for existing resources, and Belleville companies will have to look globally for supplements. Clearly, Canada has the raw materials, the expertise, the available labour and the delivery system to help every American town.
One further opportunity for Canadian suppliers exists than for the general, global market. That is, while much of the recovery will focus on “good enough and fast,” much more will be based on insurance-based values of replacement, and this will be an opportunity for renovators to shop the market for up-scale replacements for builder-grade losses, and quality and service are areas in which Canada is even more competitive.
Unlike my associates at the Post, we do not profit from blow-by-blow reports of people suffering. We do not get extra readers or watchers by the suffering of others. However, when the call of the Americans goes out for help, Canada has always been here with its wheelbarrow and its shovel, and it’s time to put off the street shoes and pull on the boots. Both countries will be the better for it.