Economic impact of coronavirus 'will be real': finance minister
OTTAWA -- Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the economic impact from the coronavirus "will be real" and felt "across the country."
Tourism, oil and gas, as well as any supply chains that are integrated with Chinese producers or consumers can expect to take a hit, according to Morneau.
Speaking before the Economic Club of Canada in Calgary on Monday, Morneau said oil prices have fallen by 15 per cent since the outbreak started.
"So we know the impact is real, it's going to be felt across the country – but perhaps even more so here in the oil and gas sector," Morneau said.
The Liberal government is already facing pressure to address the economic instability in Alberta and increase the capacity for Alberta crude to reach markets through pipeline construction.
In January, Edmonton's unemployment rate rose to 8.2 per cent – making it the second highest of any Canadian city after Windsor, Ont. Calgary has the sixth highest unemployment rate at 7.2 per cent last month.
The economic situation in the province, which is deeply tied to the oil and gas sector, has led to bubbling tensions between Alberta and the federal government, with some residents calling for the province to increase its independence within the federation.
Any additional pressure on the oil and gas sector could exacerbate the economic strife in Alberta – and with it, escalate tensions between the province and the federal government.
Pollster Nik Nanos echoed Morneau's concerns about the potential economic impact of the coronavirus during an episode of CTV Question Period that aired Sunday.
"What we're not talking about is how this health contagion could be an economic contagion," said Nanos.
"We could be dealing with a potential recession if China slows down as it tries to manage this problem."
The novel coronavirus has killed over 900 people in China and infected 40,000 others. Seven cases have been confirmed in Canada.