Harper: Economic downturn a symptom of global woes - Macleans.ca

Harper: Economic downturn a symptom of global woes

Prime Minister says global trends are behind Canada’s falling gas and commodity prices

(Salvatore Sacco/The Canadian Press)

(Salvatore Sacco/The Canadian Press)

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the government will react with “strong fiscal discipline” to the “downturn” in the Canadian economy, which he blamed on the recent turmoil in the global economy.

“Let me just state clearly what the situation is, there has been a downturn and the reason for that has been the downturn in the global economy,” Harper said in Pickering, Ont.

“It’s really that simple. Look around the world, we have another crisis downturn in Europe, we have a very significant slowdown and some other related economic problems now in China, we had very negative first quarter growth in the United States.

“So those things have obviously affected this country and in particular through oil prices and some commodity prices.”

Harper added that the federal government will not “spiral ourselves into deficit” and face credit downgrades, create an “investment freeze” by hiking taxes on businesses or take away tax breaks to Canadian families.

“Those are things we don’t do,” he said. “What we are doing, is providing strong fiscal discipline with lower taxes and we will have very large scale investment going into the Canadian economy this month alone through the increased universal childcare benefits.”

Harper said that the outlook for the Canadian economy is favourable for the rest of the year, just days after Finance Minister Joe Oliver said it was too early to tell whether Canada has slumped into a recession.

“Every expert in the world thinks that this country is going to grow as the year goes on and has some of the best growth prospects looking forward,” Harper said.

“As long as we stay on a plan for low taxes, balanced budget and low debt, this country is going to continue growing.”

Concerns that the country has fallen into a recession have grown since Statistics Canada figures released last week showed that the economy contracted in April, marking the fourth straight monthly decline. The next round of GDP figures come out July 31.

“The numbers aren’t out yet,” Oliver said Tuesday in Vancouver. “When the numbers are out we’ll see what they have to say.”

Oliver’s comments marked a shift in his position. He rejected the possibility a week ago Friday when the Bank of America Merrill Lynch suggesting Canada was in a recession.

On Monday, TD Bank added its voice to the growing chorus of economists warning that the country was likely in a recession through the first half of the year, largely because of the continuing fallout of low oil prices.

“Canadian forecasters have consistently underestimated the impact of the sharp decline in oil prices on the Canadian economy,” wrote TD senior economist Randall Bartlett.

That, coupled with Statistics Canada saying Tuesday the country’s trade deficit grew to $3.34 billion in May—worse than the $2.5 billion deficit economists had expected—have painted an economic picture that gets increasingly bleak.

Despite the sluggish economic performance, Oliver said he remains confident that Canada would end the fiscal year with a $1.4 billion surplus as promised in the budget.

Harper’s remarks came Saturday during an announcement where he promised to double the federal government’s initial contribution to the Rouge National Urban Park just east of Toronto.

The government announced its intention to create the park—the first urban national park in Canada—in 2011. Legislation creating the park was passed in the House of Commons this past January and it received royal assent in April.


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Harper: Economic downturn a symptom of global woes

  1. LOL yeah like there’s never been turmoil in the financial world before.

    Harp is delusional….he needs to spend more time with his family.

    • Projecting again Emily.

    • I think it’s past delusion.

      Don’t forget that Harper isn’t the only member of the “Conservative” party.

      It takes more than one man to ruin a Nation.

      If Hitler had acted alone he would not have gotten anywhere.

      Same goes for Harper.

  2. That world wide economic super power strategy, aka eggs in one basket, let manufacturing, green energy economic development, federal research and science wither.
    Great strategy.
    Make enemies around the world and close to home just for the entertainment value.

    • You must be a real Wynner, work for the Ontario government?

      • It was actually McGuinty who put Ontario on the right path for the near and distant future.

        • Deficits are projected to 2016-17, matching the record nine-year run in the 1990s, but with a key difference. In 1990, Ontario’s net debt was $38.4-billion, growing to $114.7-billion by 1998. It has since more than doubled and is projected at $269.2-billion for 2013-14 and $289.3-billion for 2014-15. With the forecast deficits and compound interest, it will approach $300-billion within three years. While one might invoke the severity of the recession as the reason for the poor fiscal performance, Ontario’s net debt was already at $169.6-billion before the recession. Ontario’s debt addiction is a chronic condition.

          • Well with back and forth Conservative Liberal (Con-Lib, Lib-Con) management over provinces and nations for decades now what do you expect?

            Problem with you people is you’re all about the Partisan Politics. And have no vision for a better Canada or the future of our Nation and it’s people.

            What do you want to do with the Homeless and Disabled? Seeing as I believe you are a Con leaning type I can imagine you would want to deal with that in a less than humane way.

            When no leader or party has been able to bring this Country together since Confederation and the Charter what do you expect? People need to eat.

            Though in this country of ours Canada. NO ONE should starve or be homeless or not have a job (unless they are really unable to work). It’s just that simple.

            We are the 2nd Largest Nation on the Planet, have the 3rd largest reserves of petroleum on the Planet, have minerals from basic metals to rare metals and uranium.

            We should be creating value added processes, the Government itself should be the one researching and developing Renewable/Alternative Energy as Industry just won’t do it as the money, shareholders and pure greed stop them from doing so.

            What we need is REAL Leadership.

            Not the BS we are being fed right now.

            We need a National Plan.

            Atleast the Premiers got together and came to some sort of agreement. Though I believe what they’ve agreed to is folly.

            The National Energy Strategy, (if using Petroleum {and only in the case of using the petroleum to transition to a Hydrogen/Hydro/Wind/Solar/Tidal Economy}) Should be to build one pipeline south from the Oil Sands and East and West from there following the Trans Canada Highway. It should have major safety requirements. Such as a large and wide concrete canal that can contain a spill from the pipes. Exorbitant amounts of money should be poured into making them very safe for the environment and people.

            From here EVERY PROVINCE, should have a refinery that refines the gas and sells it to the populace of the Province itself. From here we sell excess Bitumen on the coasts to other Nations.

            However we do it safely with double hulled ships. We only produce 50% more than what we as Canadians consume to refine to gasoline. We stockpile 25% in various forms for cars, trucks, military applications, or even 30%. Then we sell the excess 20-25% of the petroleum and export it on the coasts.

            Now once we have this in place we create Hydrogen Production/Electrical Production plants on the Coast. Mandate and provide free Solar Panels and 1MW wind turbines to every household in the Nation that is within an incorporated city/town.

            During the construction of the pipeline, which should only take 5 years if all Provinces are involved and proper subsidies provided; we also construct a new National Railway, using hanging MagLEV trains built over top or beside the existing Trans Canada Highway, thereby bypassing costs to buy up and develop new land.

            We then ship the hydrogen to infrastructure built to service hydrogen cars on that MagLev train system. Use the excess electricity from all solar, wind, tidal and hydro to power regular electronics we use every day that are connected to the grid.

            This requires GOVERNMENT Research and Development though. I cannot stress this enough.

            Private/Public Industry and Business will NOT embark on this venture, the dollars blind them to the light.

  3. Even the six-year-olds think this is just more Harpo bs and evasion.

  4. The recession is caused by external factors beyond the PM’s control. Yet when things are good, it’s because the CPC and Harper are great planners – NOT because of the world’s economic state. Hypocrite!

    Well, at least for once he’s not trying to blame “the former Liberal government”…

    • Once again you post exactly what I was thinking.

      He took credit for the good economic position Canada was in in 2008, despite the fact we survived that turn down due to the actions taken by Chretien and Martin.

      • And Obama.

  5. Harper perfectly timed the non-budget-breaking stimulus with the big family tax credits going out in the mail within the next two weeks, right to those mostly likely to spend it, families with children, for maximum bang for the buck money multiplier effect.

    The ramp-up in infrastructure spending for the election will also help.

    i.e. The pre-election spending comes at the perfect time, and the budget is still basically balanced.

    The BOC might even cut another quarter point this summer.

    So all that countercyclical fiscal discipline was brilliant, so there pre-election spending splurge will provide stimulus and not break the budget.

    • Here, let me fix that for you:

      “i.e. The pre-election spending comes at the perfect time to buy votes…”

    • Wrong.

      Pre election spending only prolongs the inevitable when it comes to an Administration that has had a decade to do right by Canadians.

      Herr Harper and the Conservatives have not done right by Canadians.

  6. The yawning and stretching kids in the picture capture more succinctly than a 1000 or so words the general mood over the Tories these days — ‘make it end’.

  7. “Let me just state clearly what the situation is”

    If I had a nickel….

    “So those things have obviously affected this country and in particular through oil prices and some commodity prices.”

    Oh is that so “all canadians eggs in one dirty tar basket” Harper?

    Who does this guy think he is?

    Strong Fiscal Management he says! Ha! By what? Selling Canada by the Pound? I think the Brits had a an album for that eh?


    ““What we are doing, is providing strong fiscal discipline with lower taxes and we will have very large scale investment going into the Canadian economy this month alone through the increased universal childcare benefits.”

    How do you run a Nation without taxes?? You DON’T!. How do we maintain and upgrade infrastructure? Taxes. How do we fund Health Care, the Police, the Fire Departments, Paramedics, the Military, Education, Government Services? Taxes.

    What have they done with our taxes so far?

    Action Plan? pffffffffffffft
    Party Brand Advertising! Sure have
    A costly engagement in the Middle East that we have no way of “winning”
    New Prisons with no one to fill them (guess that’s what C-51 was for eh?)

    Now back to this little gem.

    “Let me just state clearly what the situation is, there has been a downturn and the reason for that has been the downturn in the global economy,”

    Ah really? Well shouldn’t a Stout and Strong Fiscal Management have defended and cushioned against such a thing? Pretty sure what the HarpoCons inherited was a buffered Economy for Canadians.

    He squandered and destroyed that buffer. Drove us into debt and favoured the Oil Industry over every other industry in the Nation, has neglected Military Procurement at the very real threat that Canada could eventually be considered a target by other Nations (See Harper’s stick waving at the Russians and getting into bed with Ukrainian Fascists) Now Harper may think the Chinese are his friends and Canada’s friends but they simply aren’t.

    Harper and the Conservatives have put this Nation in very real danger on many fronts, economy, geopolitical conflict and put us on the road domestic totalitarianism/authoritarianism.

    What about the North? Thought Harper cared about it. I could do a better job of running this country and I know that for a fact.

    Anyone who votes for Harper and the Conservatives is a traitor to Canada just as their Dear Leader is. Anyone who votes for the Corrupt Liberals who allowed the corrupt and fascist Conservatives to gain power through their own lack of morality and ethics is a traitor to Canada.

    “Let me be clear” he says.

    Ya, clear as mud bud.

    I’ve got a ticket out of the country for October 20th. If the Conservatives win again I’m gone. If they don’t I guess I get a nice vacation for once and can return full of renewed vigor for what I grew up to believe was my Once Great Nation.

    I certainly hope the Conservative base can wake up before then and realize that they can help bring Canada back to a great nation. The vote is a secret ballot and always has been (though who knows now that the Cons have control) so no one will hold it against you that you may have voted for Herr Harper the last few times around.

    Just grow up and realize your mistakes. For your sake and the sake of us all.