As we look forward
Published on August 9, 2018
As we look forward, it’s always good to remember where we came from

As you read this month’s letter, I will have already made my way over to Ireland for a trip my family has been planning for months. My mother is one of 16 children. My mother, some of her sisters, my siblings, some cousins and me are traveling for the first time as a family to see the house where my mother grew up.

My maternal grandfather was a shoemaker. The family of 18 lived in a modest three-bedroom, one-bathroom house in Dublin until the family emigrated to Canada in 1955. My grandfather was a positive man and a positive influence on his family. His children came to Canada first, settling in the London, Ontario, area. When my grandfather arrived, it was on a frigid January storm. The first word out of my grandfather’s mouth was “Powerful!”

As immigrants, my mother’s family thrived. They came from nothing, yet collectively, my mother and her siblings had 55 children, a large majority of whom are university educated and successful professionals in their respective fields.

Canada is a country of immigrants. The systems that we have in place, the social and economic underpinnings that make Canada so special, allowed my family and millions of others, to thrive. My family’s experience is a living example of why Canada is one of the best countries in the world. I think we forget that sometimes amid the vitriol that we hear in the news about immigrants and asylum seekers. What perceive as a burden on our country today, inevitably leads us toward a stronger, more prosperous country in the future.

Focus on the flowing current good that lies beneath the choppy surface

It’s a lesson we should consider in the face of all the negative news that assaults us on a daily basis. Tariff wars. A looming market correction. Facebook’s record-breaking nose-dive. North Korea’s determined march toward nuclear armament. The Trump administration’s destabilizing impact on global affairs. Saudi Arabia’s nationalist sabre rattling. The list of negative issues feels endless. Yet, it is no different than any other decade.

In my mother’s lifetime, she’s lived through WWII, the IRA bombings, the Cuban Missile Crisis, Vietnam, the FLQ October crisis, runaway inflation, a housing crash, the dot-com boom and bust, 9/11, and the 2008 financial crisis. She has also lived through an incredible period of economic prosperity, the introduction of the Canada Pension Plan and universal healthcare—things we all take for granted today.

It’s important that we focus on the flowing current of good that lies beneath the choppy surface. Canada’s GDP once again beat expectations this quarter. Canada’s rail companies are enjoying record stock prices. And, despite a host of indicators to the contrary, the Toronto Star’s David Olive suggests that Canada’s retail sector is healthier than that of the US. A recent acquisition by the biggest US retail property leasing agent firm suggests that it recognizes the underlying strength of the Canadian economy, and Canadians’ willingness to keep spending, despite record levels of household debt.

Don’t let September get you down

As fall approaches, investors inevitably get nervous. Given that half of the increase on the S&P 500 has risen on the backs of four stocks (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google), a correction is possible.

However, even if these four take a tumble, there are a host of other companies with strong earnings that keep chugging along. Bank stocks are being held back by housing market concerns, yet they remain healthy and profitable. Telecommunications companies continue to excel, as do the aforementioned rail companies.

There may be some ups and downs in the months ahead, but it’s important not to let them get you down. Believe instead that things will sort themselves out. Certainly, that’s what the shoemaker and his 16 children believed. And they did.

We never want to forget the lessons of the past, but there is equal value in remembering all that is possible, especially in Canada.


Stephen Sisokin


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