What recession? Joe Oliver says Canada was not in downturn earlier this year

Finance Minister Joe Oliver says the country was not in a recession in the first half of the year despite economic data to the contrary.

TORONTO — Finance Minister Joe Oliver says the country was not in a recession in the first half of the year despite economic data to the contrary.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Oliver said there was an economic contraction mainly confined to the energy and resource sector — but he doesn’t believe there was a recession in the first two quarters of 2015.

“We don’t believe that the economy was in fact in a recession,” Oliver told the news agency.

“We’re really talking about a contraction in the energy and resource sector of the economy, which is less than 20 per cent of the economy. Granted there is a spillover but the other 80 per cent was growing.”

Earlier this month, Statistics Canada reported that real gross domestic product contracted at an annual pace of 0.5 per cent in April to June, preceded by a decline of 0.8 per cent in the first three months of the year.

That meets the federal government’s definition of a recession, which is two consecutive quarters of negative GDP.

Oliver’s comments clash with those of his party leader. Stephen Harper has acknowledged that there was a recession, at least in Alberta, saying last week it was brought on by oil prices that have fallen in half.

Some economists say whether Canada fell into a recession is subject to some debate, as the country did not exhibit some of the classic hallmarks of an economic downturn, citing job growth and strong trade figures.

Oliver, who is running for re-election in the Toronto riding of Eglinton-Lawrence, pointed to economic growth of 0.5 per cent in June — the first monthly increase in six months.

“I can tell you this, we don’t believe we’re in a recession at all now,” Oliver said. “The trade numbers are robust. Consumer confidence is good and we returned a budget surplus.”

The Finance Department said last week that Canada had a $1.9-billion surplus in 2014-15. Harper has used that to buffer his image as a sound fiscal manager in his bid to get re-elected on Oct. 19.

The Liberals and NDP have said they believe the country is in a recession now. Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau says Conservative government underspending in areas including veterans and seniors brought on the recession, while Tom Mulcair of the NDP says the recession is a clear indication that Tory economic policies have failed.

Just Posted

Rural transit service rolled out

2A South Regional Transit will link Innisfail and Penhold with Red Deer

Some Red Deer waste collection schedules change due to holiday season

Tuesday collections will be moved for two weeks

Red Deer ‘champion’ helps hospital by sharing ongoing petition

It’s been about three years since many physicians at Red Deer Regional… Continue reading

Red Deer Airport’s prospects are looking up for 2019

Ultra-low-cost passenger service is on the horizon

Funding down for Red Deer Christmas charities

Food hampers and toys for children going out to those in need

Alberta’s Sundial starts shipping to AGLC this week

Sundial’s Rocky View facility has received the green light from Health Canada… Continue reading

Penny Marshall dead at 75, best known as TV’s Laverne and director of ‘Big,’ ‘A League of Their Own’

Bronx-born Penny Marshall, who found ’70s sitcom success on “Laverne and Shirley”… Continue reading

Chabot scores overtime winner to lift Senators over Predators 4-3

OTTAWA — Thomas Chabot saw an opening and he took it. And… Continue reading

Canadian Marielle Thompson earns World Cup ski cross bronze in season opener

AROSA, Switzerland — Canada’s Marielle Thompson captured bronze at the opening World… Continue reading

Canada doesn’t make Oscars short list for best foreign language film

LOS ANGELES — Canada is no longer in the running for best… Continue reading

Warrant issued for arrest of ‘Schwimmer lookalike’ suspect

LONDON — A British judge has issued an arrest warrant for an… Continue reading

Moneywise: Canadian workers unhappy with pay, want pension plans

Many working Canadians are feeling underpaid and are so worried about their… Continue reading

Brazil police say faith healer has turned himself in

RIO DE JANEIRO — A celebrity faith healer accused of sexually abusing… Continue reading

B.C. hockey coach creates ‘gear library’ to remove cost barrier of sport

VANCOUVER — Nicola Froese says she has always loved playing sports, but… Continue reading

Most Read