Here are five fearless forecasts for 2024, which will be revisited at the end of this year to see how right or wrong they turned out to be. Photo Credit: Getty Images.
As 2024 begins, it’s worth taking a shot at making predictions for the coming year and looking at some of the major stories that are bound to grab headlines in the months ahead. Forecasting seems to be especially challenging for 2024 as so much is going on in Canada and around the world, and much of it is downright scary. Nevertheless, here are five fearless forecasts, which will be revisited at the end of this year to see how right or wrong they turned out to be.
First: As far as the economy goes, Canada will experience a technical recession, which means at least two consecutive quarters of negative economic performance, in late 2023 and the first half of 2024.
The latest economic data available indicates that the third quarter of 2023 saw a 1.1 per cent decline in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and that will continue for at least the next six months. Record high immigration numbers will also continue, which will misleadingly make the GDP numbers look better than they are.
GDP per capita is the better metric when it comes to indicating trends in the standard of living, and that metric here in Canada has been on the decline. For instance, some economists have noted that the 1.1 per cent GDP decline in the third quarter of 2023 would have been a 4.4 per cent decline if the inevitable GDP boost from immigration had been accounted for.
Inflation will remain higher than the Bank of Canada’s two per cent target for most if not all next year. Further tax increases by the Trudeau government, including another carbon tax hike, increases in CPP and EI premiums and higher excise taxes on alcohol will aggravate these economic problems.
Second: The housing crisis will worsen, also because of sky-high immigration and the fact that it takes time to build up the housing stock and there is a large shortage even with current population numbers.
The Bank of Canada will start to reduce interest rates very gradually around the middle of 2024, which will give existing variable rate mortgage holders and those coming up for renewal some relief. However, a reduction in interest rates will encourage people that have been sitting on the sidelines to get back into the housing market, which will increase both housing prices and rent costs. Public services such as health care will decline further because of increased demand and cash-strapped governments. Canadians will seek out different healthcare options because of the declining public system, leading to a two-tier outcome by default.
Third: As a major disappointment to most Canadians, there will not be a federal election in 2024. The shaky Liberal-NDP Coalition will remain together. The Liberals’ poor poll numbers and the state of the economy will deter the Liberals from wanting to trigger an election, and the NDP’s low poll numbers and the abysmal state of the party’s finances will discourage them from pulling the plug on their arrangement with the Liberals.
On the key NDP demand of pharmacare, which was supposed to have been announced by now, the Liberals will put in place a framework for such a system and commit to implementing it after the next election. The NDP will accept this compromise even though it does not meet their original demand for a fully public pharmacare policy. Justin Trudeau will stay on as Liberal leader and remain very unpopular, while the Conservatives may lose a little bit of public support but remain well ahead of the other parties.
Fourth: The U.S. election will dominate North American politics in 2024, and Donald Trump will win the election over Joe Biden with a very slim margin of victory. As it is an election year, US government spending will continue to be excessive and fuel inflation to avoid an economic meltdown, which will affect Canada as well.
The election of Trump will be used by the Canadian Liberals as an opportunity to attempt to paint Pierre Poilievre as the Canadian Trump. The legacy media in Canada will carry on supporting the Trudeau government and their taxpayer subsidies, but those subsidies will not prevent further decline as independent media expands. The Canadian electorate will increase its opposition to the many “woke” policies in the name of climate change, radical teachings in the public education system and internet censorship.
Fifth: Global geopolitics will remain volatile with the situation in the Middle East remaining a tinderbox. Demonstrations in Western countries will therefore continue at less frequent intervals through the first half of 2024, then start to peter out as violence between Hamas and Israel declines and the focus shifts to rebuilding and negotiations.
The election of Trump in the US will lead to a less accommodating foreign policy toward Iran and its sponsorship of terrorism. Trump will seek to extend the Abraham Accords to establish peace treaties between Israel and more Arab states, which should help to cool tensions somewhat and isolate Iran and its various proxies such as Hamas and Hezbollah. The Russian invasion of Ukraine will continue next year with neither side gaining much ground.
Overall, 2024 is looking like a good year to hunker down and just get it over with. Tough times will further influence Canadians to be more pragmatic and focus on the issues that are important such as their financial status and standard of living. Along those lines, concern over climate issues will drop even further and opposition to the most extreme climate policies of the Trudeau government will increase.
Unfortunately, there does not seem to be a great deal to look forward to in 2024 but, as usual, Canada is fortunate in many ways as we are not at the forefront of many of the conflicts and difficulties other countries must face.
That concludes the five fearless predictions for 2024. This is one year that in many respects this author hopes she’ll be wrong.
She has published numerous articles in journals, magazines & other media on issues such as free trade, finance, entrepreneurship & women business owners. Ms. Swift is a past President of the Empire Club of Canada, a former Director of the CD Howe Institute, the Canadian Youth Business Foundation, SOS Children’s Villages, past President of the International Small Business Congress and current Director of the Fraser Institute. She was cited in 2003 & 2012 as one of the most powerful women in Canada by the Women’s Executive Network & is a recipient of the Queen’s Silver & Gold Jubilee medals.