Harper deflects StatsCan recession report

Fresh data showing that Canada’s economy now meets the definition of a recession sent immediate ripples across the federal election campaign trail today.

OTTAWA — Fresh data showing that Canada’s economy now meets the definition of a recession sent immediate ripples across the federal election campaign trail today.

Statistics Canada reported that the economy contracted at an annual pace of 0.5 per cent in the second quarter of 2015. It’s the second straight quarter of contraction, fitting the technical definition of a recession.

But Stephen Harper tried to find a silver lining — the Conservative leader seized on the agency’s finding that the economy began to bounce back in June as GDP grew by 0.5 per cent after shrinking over five straight months.

“Elsewhere there’s growth, and today one of the greatest monthly growths occurred in June, so it’s clear that the Canadian economy is growing,” the prime minister said in Burlington, Ont. where he pledged new support for Canadian manufacturers.

Harper said the Conservative plan of a balanced budget, low taxes and affordable investments was the best course for the country in the face of greater global problems.

“If we change plans, we’ll have a permanent recession like is occurring in many other countries. We’re on the right track,” the prime minister said.

NDP Leader Tom Mulcair said the new numbers mean that Conservative economic policies aren’t working.

“Mr. Harper’s plan has failed. That’s an objective fact,” Mulcair told supporters in Kelowna, B.C.

Earlier in Ottawa, New Democrat candidate Andrew Thomson, a former Saskatchewan finance minister, said StatsCan’s latest release is proof that Harper is presiding over Canada’s second recession in seven years.

“This is not about one day’s statistics,” he added. “Under Stephen Harper, this has been Canada’s lost decade.”

He accused Harper’s government of 10 years of job losses, allowing infrastructure to crumble and for giving tax breaks to the wealthy while the middle class struggles.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said he agreed with a suggestion that the size of the recession might be marginal. But he said the bigger picture is that Canadians are struggling in an economy being hampered by low growth.

Trudeau said Canadians have been living with the reality of a weak economy for months now, and don’t need official numbers to confirm what they already know.

“What they would have needed is that politicians rather than getting hung up on definitions, invest in their future and in their jobs,” Trudeau said in Gatineau, Que.

Trudeau reiterated his platform plank – which distinguishes the Liberals from the Conservatives and the NDP – to run deficits before balancing the budget in 2019 in order to spur growth by investing infrastructure.

“That’s why our plan will invest in real growth and isn’t really dependent on this morning’s announcement.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Black Press File Photo
Valentine’s Day shooting in central Alberta leaves one man in hospital and another in custody

19-year-old Francis Edward Nepoose from Maskwacis has been charged with attempted murder.

Minister Rick Wilson poses with Katie at the Boys and Girls Club of Wetaskiwin, both wearing her Pink Shirt Day design. Facebook/ Boys and Girls Club of Wetaskiwin.
Be kind and wear pink for Pink Shirt Day

Katie with the Boys and Girls Club of Wetaskiwin created this year’s Pink Shirt Day design.

Bookings for COVID-19 vaccines for people age 75 or older start Wednesday. (File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Updated: Delays for seniors booking for vaccine appointments

Phone lines were swamped and the Alberta Health Services website crashed on… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland and Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau as they meet virtually with United States President Joe Biden from his office on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Biden on China’s detention of two Michaels: ‘Human beings are not bartering chips’

But the White House offered no hints about how it might help secure their release

Meteor spotted over Edmonton, Alta., on Feb. 22, 2021 by several, who took to social media to share their surveillance camera captures. (@KixxAxe/Twitter)
VIDEO: Fireball meteor streaks across sky, spotted by early-morning risers in Alberta, B.C.

Videos of the quick streak of light flashing across the sky before 6:30 a.m. MST

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney makes his way to the chamber in Edmonton on Friday, March 20, 2020. Kenney says a recent bump in energy prices in the third quarter of the budget is helping the bottom line as his government prepares to introduce its 2021-22 budget. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Higher oil prices boosting Alberta’s bottom line as budget looms Thursday: Kenney

EDMONTON — Premier Jason Kenney says a recent bump in energy prices… Continue reading

Montreal Canadiens head coach Claude Julien gives instructions during practice in Brossard, Que., Tuesday, July 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
CP NewsAlert: Montreal Canadiens fire head coach Claude Julien

Assistant coach appointed interim head coach

(Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
NFB hiring new execs to lead anti-racist practices, forge ties with Indigenous groups

TORONTO — The National Film Board of Canada is creating two key… Continue reading

The cast of “Schitt’s Creek” pose for a photo after winning the Award for Best Comedy Series at the Canadian Screen Awards in Toronto on March 31, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
‘Schitt’s Creek’ earns third consecutive ensemble win at ACTRA Toronto Awards

Tamara Podemski won outstanding performance by a female on ‘Coroner’

NBA chooses All-Star reserves, with Zion among first-timers

NBA chooses All-Star reserves, with Zion among first-timers

FILE - In this March 9, 2020, file photo, New York Yankees' Clint Frazier runs to the dugout during a spring training baseball game in Clearwater, Fla. Brett Gardner's return to the Yankees won't displace Clint Frazier from taking over as New York's starting left fielder. Manager Aaron Boone said Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021, that the 26-year-old Frazier remained his first choice in left while cautioning developments during a season could alter intentions. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)
Yankees finalize deals for Brett Gardner, Justin Wilson

Yankees finalize deals for Brett Gardner, Justin Wilson

Jon Rahm tees off on the 10th hole in front of cardboard cutout fans during the first round of the Genesis Invitational golf tournament at Riviera Country Club, Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021, in the Pacific Palisades area of Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ryan Kang)
West Coast behind, more fans about to show up on PGA Tour

West Coast behind, more fans about to show up on PGA Tour

Most Read