Technicalities -



Stephen Harper, Nov. 23, 2008. Canada faces the prospect of falling into a “technical recession” and Ottawa might have to take unprecedented actions to stimulate the faltering economy, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Sunday. “The most recent private sector forecasts suggest the strong possibility of a technical recession the end of this year, the beginning of next,” Harper told a news conference at the conclusion of the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation summit in Peru. “Yes, I am surprised at this. I’m also further surprised, more importantly, by deflationary pressure that we’re seeing around the world. This is a worrying development, one of the reasons why it may well be necessary to take unprecedented fiscal stimulus.”

Stephen Harper, Sept. 21, 2009The recession in Canada is only over in a technical sense because the recovery is extremely fragile and there are still problems in the job market, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Monday. “We’ve got (Federal Reserve) Chairman (Ben) Bernanke and others saying the recession is over but I think that’s only in a technical sense,” Mr. Harper told a televised news conference in Guelph, Ont. “As long as we continue to have challenges in the labor market that affect Canadian families on the ground, then I don’t think we can truly say the recession is over. So I think the recovery, while it exists, is extremely fragile.”



  1. By "technical recession", the PM was referring to the standard rule of thumb that economists use to define a recession: two down quarters of GDP.

    In both cases he used the adjective correctly as a way of distinguishing GDP growth from other factors often associated with recessions, like unemployment.

    • "the PM was referring to the standard rule of thumb that economists use to define a recession: two down quarters of GDP."

      And you know the PM was had this in mind, how?

      • The PM opens himself up to political attack on enough issues; this is just not one of them. He is an economist and has made similar comments in the past. There is nothing political here. Rather it appears to be an attempt to clarify his comment.

    • But the first time he was using it to downplay the severity of the recession (“it’s only a technical recession”) and now is using it to exaggerate the recession. In other words, sucking and blowing. Of course, if we were going to have a recession, we would have had it before October 2008, so clearly there was no recession at all.

      • No.. no.. I think he's using it consistently. In both instances he's using it to discount the reality of what he's talking about. As in "Yeah, this is happening, but it's not really important". Of course, this is kind of what you said, but I think it's important to realize that he's not trying to exaggerate the recession, as that would imply some actual awareness of the situation Canadians are in, but rather to downplay the recovery's strength so that people feel unstable and thus think an election would jeapordize any gains they've seen recently.

        Of course, the ironic thing in my view is that I think he's right this time. This recovery is extremely fragile — even ephemeral. But I don't think that an election or no will change the upcoming second dip.

    • Sure he uses the term correctly in both instances, but he also uses it to basically exactly the OPPOSITE rhetorical effect.

      In the first instance, the PM is saying "It's only technically a recession, things aren't really as bad as people will try to tell you", in the second instance he's saying "It's only technically a recovery, things are really still worse than people will try to tell you".

      That he could go from a somewhat deluded optimist to a somewhat deluded pessimist in less than 12 months is impressive though. He's got to be one of the few individual on the planet who was an optimist in Nov. of '08 and is pessimist today!

  2. Which correspondance school did he get his degrees from. Obviously some caribbean diploma mill that did not bother teaching him any economics. If I were Harper I would ask for my money back since they obviously did not teach him anything useful for the money he forked out for tuition.

    • They pay you to clean at Calgary U with night classes as part of the benifit package .

  3. Does anyone know if this Fed chairman understands collateral debt obligations? The last one didn't.

  4. When under pressure, baffle them with BS,

  5. The recession isn't even technically over.

  6. Technically, Stephen Harper is a trained economist. He is also, thanks to the NDP, technically still PM.

    • What the heck is a "trained economist"??

      Harper wrote a Master's thesis on how stimulus for the economy is bad even in hard economic times. He took some classes, read some books and wrote a paper or two.

      He's never had a job as an economist, never published a paper as an economist, was never trained as an economist. He is a career politician and it clearly shows.

    • But is he a paper trained Economist?

      • My dog is paper trained to. Same results. It ensures the crap goes where you want it to. It does not eliminate the crap.

  7. Despite those that dioeth protest too mucheth .. the PM was and is right. case closed and period.

  8. It's over in a technical sense, but in the emotional, hormonal, hairline sense we're all still receding quite badly. I think that's what he means.

    Also we have deflationary pressure, which contributes to bad fuel efficiency. What we need to take is some fiscal stimulus in a hot chai with honey. Then all will be better.

    At least, that's as much sense as I could make of it.

    • "but in the emotional, hormonal, hairline sense we're all still receding quite badly"

      heh… nice zuegma