How will Canada feel the effects of the latest U.S. economic crisis?
Published Saturday, March 2, 2013 10:20AM EST
Last Updated Sunday, March 3, 2013 5:28PM EST
As $85 billion in U.S. federal spending cuts begin taking effect, Canadian businesses and politicians are bracing themselves for the impact.
Travellers are being warned of lengthier delays at border crossings as American border patrol officers and air traffic controllers are among the tens of thousands of federal employees who will see their pay and hours reduced as part of the funding cuts.
“This is not a win for anybody, this is a loss for American people,” U.S. President Barack Obama told reporters Friday, fixing the blame for the sequester cuts on the Republicans.
With Canada sending 75 per cent of all its exports to the U.S., its economy relies heavily on the financial health of its southern neighbour.
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said Friday that while he couldn’t put a dollar figure on the impact, he called the cuts an unnecessary strain to the economies.
“It is regrettable though that the U.S. continues to move from crisis to crisis,” he told reporters.
An Ontario-based company that manufactures baseball bats for a number of major league players fears that the border delays may prevent its products from making it to the U.S. in time for spring training.
“If it takes us extra time to get the product in the hands of the best players in the world, then that’s a problem,” Sam Bat President Arlene Anderson told CTV News.
Similar fears are being echoed by the struggling auto manufacturing sector, where officials warned that a slow down at the border could trigger job cuts.
“This could results in layoffs,” Canadian Auto Worker President Ken Lewenza said. “It could result in temporary shut downs and there’s a tremendous amount of workers out there that don’t get paid during three or four hour disruptions.”
The failure to avert the U.S. spending cuts comes alongside news that the Canadian economy has stalled over the last three months.
Flaherty waned Friday of deeper spending cuts in the upcoming federal budget, though he said the Conservative government remains on track to balance the budget by 2015.
With a report from CTV’s Richard Madan