Rivers; his 19 predictions for 2019 - personally he plans to hibernate.

Rivers 100x100By Ray Rivers

December 27, 2018



There is no reason to be generally optimistic about the prospects for the upcoming year. Near the end of its business cycle, all major economies will face recession and rising unemployment. However the EU will avoid the worst of the global recession as it invests heavily in its armaments industries and builds up its armed forces. But the UK will be plunged into a major economic decline.

The drums of war will echo around the world as the global order further deteriorates and Russia and China flex their muscles while America continues to turn inward, rejecting its former role as peace maker and global leader on the environment, humanity and human rights issues. The world’s carbon footprint will continue to expand as will the evidence of its related effects and consequences.

Drums of war

The planet proclaimed a new world order once the old Soviet Union collapsed at the end of the 1980’s and for a split second in the entire history of humanity there seemed to be a chance of long lasting peace. Even those in the lowest economic and social status saw some glimmer of hope that things might get better.

That brief moment is over as nationalism and militarism have come to the fore and now are on the rise. Humans are never satisfied when they should be – Russian and Chinese economic booms have led to their determination to get even larger in size, restrict even more the freedom for their people and pick on those around them least able to defend themselves.

I have no crystal ball but given the overall scenario above these are my predictions:

1. Donald Trump will resign the US presidency in return for immunity from prosecution for all federal offence’s committed by him and his family. His wall on Mexico’s border will not be completed. He will declare personal bankruptcy (again) but he will be welcomed as a hero in Moscow. He will move to Moscow to avoid criminal prosecution by New York state authorities and while there will start work on Moscow’s Trump Tower. He will also open another McDonald’s franchise there while housed at Putin’s expense in a condominium next door to exiled former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych.

2. If the courts reject the Canadian federal government’s authority to impose a carbon tax selectively on those provinces which won’t, the federal government will almost immediately announce a new even more aggressive universal national revenue-neutral carbon tax. Rebate cheques will be issued to all Canadians prior to the upcoming federal election. Opposition Conservatives will call this a vote-buying tactic and Quebec will threaten to leave confederation.

transcan pipeline ready togo in

The pipe line we own – may not get completed in2019

3. British  Columbia will lose its court reference over jurisdiction regarding the Trans Mountain pipeline. Consultations will have satisfactorily concluded with the objecting indigenous tribes over the pipeline’s construction allowing shovels in the ground in advance of Alberta’s provincial election. Regardless, Jason Kenny will win the Alberta election and axe the Alberta carbon tax.

4. China will release the Canadians it is holding hostage but only after the courts have rejected extradition of the Huawei executive being held in Canada, freeing her to return to China. Canada will issue a travel advisory for China and will impose selected tariffs on Chinese electronics, including a ban on Huawei. Sanctions will also be applied on all Chinese economic activities including investment by that country in Canada.

5. Ontario’s Premier Ford will eliminate Ontario’s two-tier government, amalgamating regional municipalities into new single tier cities and further reducing the number of locally elected politicians. Ford will also privatize the LCBO and end the requirement and funding for the beer stores to recycle beer and alcohol containers – leaving that task to residents through their municipal blue box programs. Ontario will see a first planned development into what had been Ontario’s Greenbelt.

6. There will be intense forest fire activity around the world including Russia, China and North America. Ontario’s woodlands will be especially hard hit. Rain events and hurricanes and other weather disturbances will continue their destructive trend with increased hurricane activity in tropical zones. The US will be hit a number of times once again.

7. Global agriculture will decline even as the world’s population maintains its upward trend. Brazil will move to further clear its tropical forests to accommodate more housing, industries and agriculture. Canada’s prairie provinces will record lower than average harvests of cereal grains. Grain and other agricultural commodities will become relatively more valuable.

Coal fired in Texas - 2020

Coal fired power plant in Texas -due to close in 2020

8. The International Panel on Climate Change will make even more dire predictions. Regardless Brazil, Russia and Australia will join the USA in withdrawing from the Paris agreement. China and India will assume leadership roles in combatting global warming, promising to ban all new coal fired power plants and to phase our existing ones.

9. Russian and Ukrainian military will face off and Ukraine will regain more of its Russian occupied territory in the east of the country, including possibly the city of Donetsk. Ukraine’s general election will be placed on hold for one year as martial law is reintroduced. Crimea will remain under Russia control but the bridge link to Crimea will be badly damaged and virtually destroyed, halting all traffic. The US and EU will talk about imposing more sanctions on Russia.

10. Britain will end up with a no-deal divorce from the EU. The Tories will win another election as the troubled Labour Party and it’s leader are rejected. The UK will seek to join the TPP as its unemployment rate doubles. Northern Ireland will hold a snap referendum on joining the southern part of the island. Scotland will plan for a second independence referendum.

Nato11. The remaining EU states will strengthen their union, with a commitment for a tough immigration policy and secure borders, universal adoption of the Euro, and a common monetary and fiscal policy. They will move forward with the amalgamation of military forces into a pan-European military, driven in part by Russian aggression and the loss of US interest in NATO. Hungary, Poland and Austria will get in line with the rest of the EU.

12. Turkey will invade and occupy most of the Syrian territory now controlled by the Kurdish people. Israel will assist Kurdish fighters, which will bring it into more conflict with Turkey. Nevertheless the Kurdish population will be decimated by the Turkish armed forces.

13. Russian anti-aircraft missiles will shoot down Israeli war planes over Syria putting the two nations into a near state of war. Israel will undertake a major invasion beyond the Golan Heights occupying more Syrian territory and will conduct a scorched earth campaign against Hezbollah in Lebanon even though that conflict will end in a stalemate.

14. Oil prices will rebound amid global conflicts and the renewed sanctions on Iran by the US. Saudi Arabia will continue its aggression in Yemen and Canada will halt export licenses for light armoured vehicles without actually cancelling the iron-clad contract previously signed by the Harper government.

15. North Korea and America will start to threaten one another again as Mike Pence takes over the presidency and US-China relations further sour. The US will start to withdraw it troops from South Korea as relations between the US and South Korea deteriorate. Japan, in response to the US withdrawal will significantly expand its military forces and amend its constitution to that effect. It will possibly withdraw from the nuclear proliferation treaty and start to develop it’s own nuclear weapons, joining Brazil, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Ukraine in also considering the pursuit of the nuclear option.

16. The global economy will slow down as we pass the turning point in our international business cycle with the US heading for another major recession amid stock markets crashing. The US budgetary deficit will be of particular concern to investors as inflation, thanks to US trade policies, rises to levels unseen since the early nineties. Canada’s growth rate will fall by half and the deficit will once again become a major campaign issue for the opposition parties in advance of the October national vote,

GM site - Oshawa

Hope for the GM site in Oshawa?

17. The federal government, and possibly Bombardier and Magna will come together to jointly buy the GM facility in Oshawa and start producing electric vehicles (EVs) initially for the Canadian market. GM will announce plans to build a new EV facility in Quebec, moving most of its operations out of Ontario, given the provincial government’s cancellation of EV incentives. The federal government will announce plans to drop the HST on EVs, working with provinces to also reduce their sales taxes on EVs as well. Ontario will reject the federal proposal and maintain its PST at existing levels, though it may offer to invest in the former GM plant.

18. There will be a surprising surge in support for the newly formed People’s Party and its leader, Maxime Bernier, among more libertarian conservatives. Andrew Scheer’s Conservatives will move further to the right, including a call to reopen the abortion issue in Canada thus offending many Conservative supporters. Thanks to the split among the right-minded voters Canadians will re-elect Justin Trudeau in the October federal election. Support for the NDP will decline to its lowest in over a generation and the party will call for a leadership review.

Rivers hand to face

After writing dour predictions for 2019 Ray Rivers will hibernate and wish you all A Happy New Year – Bonne année

19. The Burlington Gazette will triple its current readership and expand into the Oakville, Halton Hills and Milton communities, becoming the popular voice of Halton. I will continue to contribute so that readers may engage in this vital component of our democracy – debate.

I just hope that 2020 will be better. Personally I plan to hibernate for most of 2019, only coming out to write this column, vote and grab a glass of single malt. I suggest you do the same.

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8 comments to Rivers; his 19 predictions for 2019 – personally he plans to hibernate.

  • Mike

    Ray, and to all the followers and commentators, I wish you and your families all the very best for 2019. We are blessed to live in a country where we can have these debates.

    A special thanks to Ray for leading the effort in engaging us. I know from writing a few commentaries, the work that it takes to craft a response, so I appreciate the effort Ray puts into his columns.

    Looking forward to many more debates in 2019. I will have 2 (well maybe 3) fingers of good scotch tonight in your honour.

    (Ray, I think a column in mid-year on a follow up to the predictions would be good.)

  • Sorry I’m late. Attending to flooded basement. We are far beyond the record rainfall and in for several more days. Thank you, climate deniers.

    I won’t try to respond to every prediction, but will react to the first. This may seem like something out of the Onion, but it is prescient. No doubt the Trump Crime Syndicate is preparing for asylum in Russia. As the investigations uncover the Russian money to other major Republicans they may also do so. Trump has suddenly handed Syria to the Russians, giving them the warm water ports they have long wanted. The Moscow Trump tower was a non-starter simply because Russian oligarchs can’t hide their money in Russia. But, the Saudi’s can. So, as Trump covers for Prince Bone Saw and the Saudi murder of the journalist, and aids them in their genocide of the Yemenis, he is solidifying their willingness to invest beyond what they have already invested in his other properties. The Trump tower will go ahead, with Melania doing her best imitation of Rapunzel. As Pence takes over the transition to American Fascism will be complete, wrapped in religious fervor.

    We are heading into very dark times. Me, I’m heading back to the basement.

  • joe gaetan

    Very good Ray, you obviously put a lot of thought into this. My take, you hit the nail on the head on #5 and Trudeau will be faced with a minority government (that will drive him crazy), the N.D.P. will choose a new leader and they will then split the vote and Scheer will become Prime Minister and Max, well who knows what he will do?

  • Mike

    Great topic Ray and have a collection of my own to contribute to everyone’s contemplation for next year…..
    – Agree with yours that Ford’s government will axe the 2-tier municipal system (which we no longer need and just adds cost).
    – Jason Kenny will win the Alberta provincial election.
    – Western alienation will rise to the point of the 3 prairie provinces and Ontario banding together to build their own pipeline to bring western oil to Sarnia where refining will be built to accommodate it. They will also challenge the status quo of equalization whereby Quebec continually gets an inordinate amount of support from the rest of Canada which results in a Quebec separatism rising again.
    – The conservatives will win the federal election with a majority. Trudeau will lose interest in federal politics and he and Morneau will move on to work at the U.N. which has always been their dream. The NDP will have a dismal showing in the election, Jagmeet Singh will be turfed and replaced by Rachel Notley.
    – Before the election the feds will use their ‘diplomacy by tweeting’ on the China file and cause China to expel Canadian diplomats from China leaving the Canadians incarcerated their with little consular support. Canada will retaliate expelling China’s ambassador and staff. The U.S. will applaud Canada but do nothing to help but drop the steel and aluminum tariffs as a show of solidarity against China.
    – The UK will pass there Brexit plan but there will still be disarray and Theresa May will resign immediately after under pressure from all sides. Several countries in the EU will start to voice their dissatisfaction with the concessions provided to the UK increasing trade tension and forcing renegotiations to begin especially around the Ireland situation.
    – The conservative government will withdraw Canada from the Paris accord to remove the obligation to pay into the green funds but commit to bringing down Canada’s emissions. They will pass significant new changes to ‘green’ Canada which will phase in over many years, including:
    – an update / upgrade to energy efficiency in the building code which will have elements applied to existing structures (residential, commercial and industrial) phased in over years
    – incentives for electrical systems updates to support EV charging requirements and proper management of wind and solar generation, purchase of EVs, retrofits of existing building for energy efficiency
    – tariffs on applicable products from countries with significant green house contribution as a way to provide some funds for the above
    – The conservative government will audit the Trans Mountain Pipeline purchase showing how much money was wasted in its purchase (project to be about $1 billion) and sell the asset to Canadian pension funds. The twin pipe project will be abandoned as the new eastern bound pipeline will negate the need for it.
    – The conservative government will update Canada’s immigration laws to deal with illegal crossings (immediately deporting people back to the country they came from i.e. the U.S.). They will also stop residency tourism whereby foreigner’s have children in Canada to get them Canadian citizenship and child support payments. They will stop child support to payments to anyone no longer a Canadian resident.
    The conservative government will repeal the Liberals’ further firearm administration regulations and replace these will much stiffer laws and tools (including significant funding) for police officers at all levels to go after gang members and violent offenders using firearms.
    – Bombardier will declare bankruptcy blackmailing governments for more contributions but receive none and finally go out of business.
    – The GM Oshawa plant will be bought out by the employees and the Unifor union with Jerry Dias becoming CEO. They will receive loan guarantees from the federal and provincial government to support the retrofit of the facilities. Hyundai will by an interest in this new venture and obtain seats on the board.
    – significant weather events will continue but there will be a change in attitude towards better prevention of the future impact which includes relocations of populations in risk areas under and international agreement and assistance program
    – Donald Trump will continue as president but be further isolated and the media will finally learn to tune him out. Real leadership will rise from both U.S. parties to shape policy and direction heading into the next presidential election for which Trump will declare he will not run, citing he’s done his job and that he has accomplished more that all the presidents before him. Melania and his family will be relieved that they can go back to their ‘regular’ lives.
    – One of the significant items of progress will be new immigration policy and laws. The wall funding will be approved (at some level) and building will commence. Illegal immigrants in the U.S. will be granted landed status but not citizenship which will be revoked if they are convicted of any serious criminal offenses. Automatic citizenship for anyone born in the U.S. to non-citizens will be revoked.

    • Hans

      Re: “…bring western oil to Sarnia where refining will be built to accommodate it…” – I haven’t checked lately, but there used to be an Interprovincial Pipeline that delivered oil to: Sarnia refineries; Nanticoke (Imperial Oil refinery); Oakville (2 refineries, Shell and Cities Service/BP/Petro-Can, were shutdown); Clarkson (Gulf – shut down); Port Credit (Texaco – shut down); and all the way to Montreal. So unless the pipelines were decommissioned there should not be a need to build more pipelines or refining capacity for Sarnia.
      The outstanding issue seems to be getting Alberta/Saskatchewan crude to the Irving Oil refinery (Canada’s largest) in New Brunswick by pipeline to reduce imports from Saudi Arabia.

  • Susie

    Great 2019 predictions Mr. Rivers, someone has to start the thinking process at some point in time! The world, and our at home affairs, is the path that our electorate have paved thus far, and now 2019 will be the test of time as to whether we move back into another recession/depression, or smarten up and “see the light” going forward. ???
    Do believe the #1 Recommendation for 2019 should be “hibernation”! Thank you, and Happy New Year to All!

  • John Coakley

    Happy New Year, Ray!

  • Fred Pritchard

    Well that is depressing. The only good news is a Trudeau gets re-elected, everything seems negative…. I am hoping the Ontario Con MPP’s and cabinet will get a back bone and some ethics and control their loud mouth leader who has zero plans and no direction for Ontario.