OTTAWA – The opposition is pouncing on the Conservative government’s insistence that the Canadian economy is still strong despite unexpectedly grim job numbers and rising unemployment in December.
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says the new job numbers serve as a reminder that the economic recovery remains fragile, but he adds the overall trend is positive.
That proclamation is being met with ridicule from Flaherty’s political foes on Parliament Hill.
Liberal finance critic Scott Brison says any suggestion that the economic outlook is rosy shows the Conservatives are out of touch with Canada’s youth and middle-class families.
The jobless rate for Canadians aged 15-24 climbed last month to 14 per cent from 13.4 per cent — nearly twice the rate for the general population, pegged at 7.2 per cent by Statistics Canada for the final month of the year.
Peggy Nash, the NDP’s finance critic, says the numbers prove that Conservative boasts about their strong stewardship of the economy aren’t based in fact.
Nash says the Tories have been bragging about their employment record even though the parliamentary budget officer says the government’s last budget caused more job loss than job creation.