Harper to deliver keynote speech in Davos

PM expected to laud Canadian economy, woo investors

by Alex Ballingall

With his standing among world leaders bolstered by a relatively healthy domestic economy and a stable banking sector that’s the envy of debt-riddled Europe, Prime Minister Stephen Harper will deliver the keynote speech on Thursday at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. World leaders and business moguls are gathered there this week to discuss issues in the global economy, such as the threats presented by the European debt crisis and potential for profit and growth in developing countries.

Harper is expected to touch on those issues in his speech. But he’s also slated to outline key provisions of his government’s upcoming budget, which is expected to include signficant austerity measures, The Globe and Mail reported Thursday morning. Harper will also try to drum up enthusiasm for foreign investment in Canada, which he hopes will drive economic activity as his government pulls back on stimulus spending. British Prime Minister David Cameron notably used his address to support Canada-EU free trade agreement, another expected talking point in Harper’s address.

Harper has long touted Canada as having a strong economic foundation. In a statement released by the PMO on Thursday, the Conservative government claimed that “thanks to Canada’s economic action plan,” the national economy “has recovered from the global recession better than most countries.”

It should be noted that such a cheery tone may not be fully justified. According a report written by Canadian Autoworkers economist Jim Stanford, released Wednesday, Canadian GDP and job growth haven’t recovered to pre-recession levels, at least on a per-capita basis. “The self-congratulatory tone of so many official pronouncements in Canada is clearly unjustified,” Stanford concludes.

The Globe and Mail




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