Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Thursday, September 20, 2021

currencies on ice
Seven years of Bushonomics have taken their toll on the ol’ greenback: The U.S. dollar has sunk so low that it’s now on par with the Canadian loonie for the first time in more than 30 years.

There’s much rejoicing north of the border over the dollar-for-dollar equality, all the more so because the Canadian currency is likely to jump ahead in the immediate term. The prospects of which has National Hockey League players wishing for the old days of Canadian contracts:

A hockey player making US$4 million back in the 2001-02 season, for example, would have earned about C$6.5 million that season. That premium has been steadily eroded, leaving what amounts to a de facto pay cut.

“It was great, you’d cash your cheque and you’d be getting 45 or 50 cents on the dollar. It was awesome,” said Phoenix Coyotes captain Shane Doan. “I come home to Canada to live during the summer and it’s a huge difference now.”

Added Toronto Maple Leafs tough guy Wade Belak: “I think I’m going to have to do my next contract in Canadian dollars, like the old days. It’s unbelievable. … Before it was awesome making American dollars. Now it’s going to be a wash and soon we’ll be begging for Canadian contracts again.”

That won’t be possible for the duration of the current CBA, which if the players don’t opt out of after the 2008-09 season, expires following the 2010-11 season - and who knows where the dollar will be by then?

And let’s not forget, the chief reason the NHL’s financial picture has been so rosy post-lockout wasn’t so much the crowd-pleasing salary cap, but rather this evolving dollar parity:

Less than five years ago, the dollar sat at just over 61 cents before soaring to over 90 cents as recently as [summer 2006]. All of which has allowed the Canadian clubs to boost their payrolls in U.S. dollars while adding modestly or not at all to their burdens in Canadian funds.

For example, in 2001-02, the Flames’ payroll was $26.92-million, which cost the team about $43.42-million in Canadian funds, based on a 62-cent dollar. [During the 2005-2006 season], though, the Flames’ payroll had ballooned to $36.59-million but the club’s costs in Canadian funds actually dipped to $40.65-million with the dollar at 90 cents.

“Their payrolls have increased in American dollars but have not increased much in Canadian dollars,” said University of Ottawa economist Marc Lavoie, who specializes in the business of hockey. “That’s a big part of the answer.”

Oh sure, there are non-hockey implications to this international financial maneuvering. But I’ll leave that to others.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 09/20/2007 11:33:45 PM
Category: Political, Hockey, Business | Permalink | Feedback

It says something about the modern-day state of affairs, that not only are several of the world’s indigenous languages dying off from extra-cultural encroachment, but that their demise is paralleled by the growing popularity of wholly invented languages.

In other words (in English only, perhaps regrettably): People would rather learn and spread fabricated tongues than preserve authentic ones. So while Siletz Dee-ni and Amurdag are each down to aged, sole-surviving oral speakers, Klingon and Toki Pona are picking up new adherents every day via the Web.

Both these linguistic trends are sad, albeit in different levels of solemnity.

by Costa Tsiokos, Thu 09/20/2007 06:19:25 PM
Category: Society, Creative, History | Permalink | Feedback