Canada is Emerging from the Global Recession

Published: March 12th 2010

Prime Minister Harper with Finance Minister Jim Flaherty
Pic: Gov of Canada


Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivered his reply to the Speech from the Throne in the House of Commons and — in a first for a Canadian Prime Minister — live streamed on YouTube. The address highlighted Canada’s accomplishments since the last session, including the Olympic Winter Games, the quick response to the disaster in Haiti and the ongoing success of the Government’s Economic Action Plan.  Harper emphasized the Government’s top priority in the new session: jobs and economic growth. 


“There is a widespread understanding among Canadians of the need to return to balanced budgets when the recession is over, to ensure funds are freed for the private sector to create sustainable long-term jobs and growth,” said the Prime Minister.  “This country is going to emerge from this recession in the strongest position of any first-tier country.” 


He emphasized that the recession was felt the world over, including Canada "which doesn’t, by the way, mean our efforts had been for naught".


The main concern was the mortgage industry that was supported by prudent changes to the rules to avoid a real estate bubble.  He mentioned that the housing sector was lightly hit by the recession and is well into recovery. 


“Here, our fiscal fundamentals were sound," he said.


The unemployment rate is still high but not as high as it was during the last 1980s and 1990s recessions, and well below levels in the United States and elsewhere. The main focus is on creating new jobs.


The process of recovery was based on the solid local economy: "Canada entered the recession with the lowest debt level of any country in the G-7, and this level dropped as we were paying down the debt. It allowed us to dramatically and permanently reduce business, personal and consumption taxes during the early phases of the global downturn. And, as a consequence, it delayed the onset of the recession in Canada until after virtually every other developed country. It also enabled us to undertake recovery measures on an extraordinary basis, in lock-step with all our fellow G-20 economies, but without imposing a needless burden on future generations. In fact, it has allowed us to produce one of the largest, most comprehensive and most effective stimulus packages in the world, while keeping our deficit and debt levels in Canada to a fraction of what they are elsewhere."


Harper explained that Canada’s economy is emerging from the global recession due to a domestic demand that is still strong. Regarding the export markets, his words were more hesitant. Exports remain uncertain, and so, the pace of recovery is slow "though with a growing sense of optimism". He finished the speech promising "This country is going to emerge from this recession in the strongest position of any first-tier economy.  That is our purpose.  That is our plan.  And Canada will get it done.”


The Government tries to ensure that it uses new and innovative ways to get in touch with Canadians. The formal publishing is no longer limited to traditional media. You Tube and other forms of social media allow Canadians unfiltered and immediate access to government information — like today’s speech.  The use of You Tube live streaming complements the government’s current use of social media.


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