Report card due today

While MPs return to the Commons today, Prime Minister Stephen Harper will deliver his government’s latest economic report card in Saint John, N.B., far from the fractious opposition benches.

OTTAWA — While MPs return to the Commons today, Prime Minister Stephen Harper will deliver his government’s latest economic report card in Saint John, N.B., far from the fractious opposition benches.

The statement on the progress of the government’s stimulus program will draw fire from the Liberals, who say they are ready to topple the government at their first opportunity, perhaps as early as this week.

Liberal finance critic John McCallum said it really doesn’t matter what’s in the economic statement.

“We Liberals have made our decision,” he said. “We’re voting against the government, so in that sense the outcome is foregone.”

This will leave NDP Leader Jack Layton to decide whether he can support the government, as he did earlier this month. All three opposition parties must vote together to defeat the government.

Appearing on CTV’s Question Period on Sunday, Transport Minister John Baird said Harper will provide an upbeat status report.

“He’ll be able to give Canadians a real update on where we are on the economy, where we are on infrastructure spending,” Baird said.

“He’ll be able to tell people what we’re doing to keep our banking system strong and the real success we’ve had working with provinces and municipalities across the country on infrastructure.”

Economist Aron Gampel of Scotia Capital said he expects Harper will say that while the economy appears to be recovering, there are still considerable uncertainties and risks.

“The substantial stimulus injected into the economy from both monetary and fiscal measures is beginning to show more signs that the economy is regaining traction, but the full impact will become more visible in the months ahead,” Gampel said in an email.

The minority government got its economic stimulus plan approved in the Commons last spring by promising to deliver a series of economic report cards. Each of these reports, though, comes with a confidence vote.

Baird would not offer any details of the latest status report.

“We’ve made great progress since June,” he said.

However, Liberal MP Gerard Kennedy told CBC TV that what was promised in June hasn’t been delivered.

“Most of what Mr. Harper left in June promising has not transpired,” he said. “Jobs have not been created, the dollars have not been spent, the effort has not been made

“We cannot support a government that doesn’t do what it said it would do and is not looking after Canadians needs.

Baird said Harper chose to present the update in Saint John rather than the Commons because he wants to speak to ordinary Canadians, not to avoid the opposition and the press gallery.

“He doesn’t want to live in a bubble in Ottawa. He wants to get out of the capital, talk to real people right across the country.”

The Liberals have spent the past week attacking what they are calling “a self-serving and politicized infrastructure stimulus program.”

Just Posted

$15 million central Alberta mansion still on market

One of the most expensive Lacombe County residences is still on the… Continue reading

Two contentious Red Deer land rezonings are moved ahead by city council

Gunn Street and 51 Street land rezonings discussed

Open house on proposed addictions treatment centre to be held at former Red Deer nightclub

Community is invited to learn more about the $2-million project on May 2

Sri Lanka expats wait to reconnect amid social media block

NEW YORK — Viji Devadas hasn’t heard from her nephew in Sri… Continue reading

US expands probe into air bag failures to 12.3M vehicles

DETROIT — U.S. auto safety regulators have expanded an investigation into malfunctioning… Continue reading

Oh, yes! Nurse, Raptors look to finish series with Magic

DENVER — In response to an early call, Toronto coach Nick Nurse… Continue reading

Delay of game calls, goalie interference top worst rules for NHLers: survey

The pace and excitement of 3-on-3 overtime isn’t just a thrill for… Continue reading

Avengers get epic send-off at ‘Endgame’ world premiere

LOS ANGELES — There were more than a few sniffles from the… Continue reading

Writers’ Trust launches program pairing rising writers with established mentors

TORONTO — The Writers’ Trust has launched a program that gives five… Continue reading

Family: A potpourri of Easter egg hunts, music and politics

The election is a thing of the past. Albertans have spoken. They… Continue reading

Sri Lankan-Canadians mourn victims of terrorist attack in their homeland

Sri Lankan-Canadians were gathering Monday to mourn those killed in a massive… Continue reading

Residents along Saint John River told to remain on alert as floodwaters rise

FREDERICTON — People who live along New Brunswick’s Saint John River are… Continue reading

Prince Edward Island voters to cast verdict on new electoral system

CHARLOTTETOWN — Canadians are expected to learn late Tuesday whether the cradle… Continue reading

Most Read