McDonald's Happy Meal mistake, and Rio's poor Olympic ROI: BUSINESS WEEK WRAP
Plus: Alberta's budget numbers show how expensive the Fort McMurray fire really was
Alberta's financial hole keeps getting wider, and we got some new numbers this week to see just how big it is.
The NDP government laid out their latest quarterly fiscal update on Wednesday, full of red ink. The deficit has ballooned to almost $11 billion as the price of oil persists near record lows, and the wildfire that devastated Fort McMurray added about half a billion dollars of debt on the province's books.
The government is pressing ahead with its spending plans, and insists that things will eventually get better. But in the meantime, the downturn continues to rack up victims.
One of the latest is an iconic country and western store that been in business in Calgary for more than a century. But with crude staying below $50 US, that's hit the customer base of Riley & McCormick.
"The price of oil, it hit us pretty hard," owner Brian Guichon said. "It's been a struggle the last couple years and you get to a point where it just doesn't make any sense anymore."
Olympic-sized price tag
The Rio Games are behind us, and with a solid medal haul, Canadian athletes gave the country lots to cheer about. But that didn't come without a cost — $120 million worth of government funding, to be precise, which works out to something like $5 million per medal.
With Tokyo four years away, it's fair to ask if spending like that has a good return on investment for taxpayers.
University of Toronto professor Peter Donnelly is among those who questions the value of all that spending.
"We can't say this is going to inspire people, when we've watched participation declining, he told CBC in an interview. "Medals are wonderful to win, but their impact on the society doesn't change anybody's lives except the athletes."
Happy meal has a sad
McDonald's got some bad press from a promotion this week, as the company had to recall more than 30 million fitness trackers it had given out as the toy in happy meals.
The ubiquitous burger chain says it's aware of at least 70 incidents in which wearers developed blisters or other skin irritations.
McDonald's only launched the promotion to counter the belief that its products aren't healthy, so it was a big misstep for the company and prompted calls that they should get rid of Happy Meals entirely.
"McDonald's was encouraging children to move, so the underlying intent wasn't really a bad idea," Dalhousie University food professor Sylvain Charlebois said. "But it kind of backfired. It really points to the whole issue of using toys to promote fast food in general."
Those were just some of our top stories this week, but there's lots more on our landing page. And don't forget to follow us on Twitter to always stay up to date. In the meantime, here's a list of some of our most read stories of the past seven days.
- Don Pittis: Now it can be said — the Olympics are a waste of time and money
- U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte loses 4 sponsors after Rio lie
- McDonald's recalls 33 million unsafe activity trackers
- WestJet pays double compensation to passengers by mistake
- ANALYSIS: How you too can make money of Donald Trump's presidential run
- Canadian internet is getting much faster, Ookla says
- Ottawa to name mediator in Canada Post dispute
- TD, CIBC beat expectations with big quarterly profit increases