Change is in the air

There has been a lot of good news about this country’s economy lately. Things are better. And others are now trying to learn from Canada. Americans want to figure out how to incorporate the policies of Canada’s banking sector, which went through the global economic crisis unscathed. The British government recently announced it would like to copy Ottawa’s previous budget-cutting tactics. Even with increased spending in recent years, those tactics have left Canada with the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio in the G7 group of highly industrialized countries. That means there is a lot of economic confidence in this country, internally and externally. This can be seen in the strength of our dollar and the fact that foreigners bought nearly $30 billion in Canadian bonds in the first four months of 2010, according to Statistics Canada.


 In another positive sign, the Bank of Canada recently increased its key overnight lending rate. It is the first central bank in a highly developed country to do so since the start of the recession. It decided to move to feed a growing economy, which expanded by an annualized rate of 6.1 per cent in 2010’s first quarter. That type of economic growth means the bottom lines of many businesses will soon start to get better, if they haven’t done so already.

So are we out of the woods yet? Probably. Will things go back to the way they were before the crisis? Not entirely, say the general counsel in our cover story, “A changed relationship,” which looks at the annual Canadian Lawyer InHouse/Association of Corporate Counsel roundtable. The recession has transformed things, and as a result, it will likely leave permanent marks in business relationships, like those between companies and the law firms they hire.

One surprising sector that is leading the recovery is the auto industry. I recently attended the Canadian General Counsel Awards dinner in Toronto, where Lorraine Shalhoub of Chrysler Canada Inc. was named general counsel of the year. It’s a fitting time to recognize someone representing an industry that is rising from the ashes, as our staff writer, Robert Todd, reports on page 35 in “Back in business.”

Speaking of change, as regular readers might notice, I’ve recently joined the magazine, and this is my first editorial. I’m a business journalist who has had the chance over the past decade to work for publications across North America. More than two years ago, when I arrived in Toronto from New York, I landed at a job where most of my colleagues were Canadian lawyers. They quickly accepted me in their group, and since then, I find myself in the midst of the Canadian legal community at both professional and personal levels. I am now looking forward to serving this community again through InHouse. I’ll always be open to your ideas and concerns, so please do not hesitate to contact me.

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