Harper aiming to create 1.3M net new jobs by 2020
Published Tuesday, September 22, 2015 11:39AM EDT Last Updated Tuesday, September 22, 2015 2:15PM EDT
WINNIPEG -- Stephen Harper says he is confident a re-elected Conservative government will be able to speed up the pace of job creation, based largely on his past record, despite his dire warnings about the state of the global economy.
Harper announced a jobs target Tuesday while leaning on what is becoming a familiar refrain for the Conservative leader: that only his party can protect the economy from the "dangerous and unstable" world.
"Examples are on the news every day: Europe has an ongoing debt crisis, economies are slowing, markets crashing in parts of Asia," he said.
"This, friends, is the world we live in. It is difficult, it is dangerous, it is an unstable global economy."
Harper said he would aim to create 1.3 million net new jobs by 2020, matching the number of jobs created in the six years since the depths of the global recession.
"We've consulted experts on whether this is reasonable," Harper said.
"Obviously when we're talking 1.3 million more jobs, look, I would say there's no reason why we can't have a similar record on that than we have now."
The jobs created since the recession are 90 per cent full-time, more than 80 per cent of them are in the private sector and are "by and large" in high-wage industries, Harper said.
"I see no reason why we could not replicate that number going forward," he said.
The Conservatives' commitment to cut payroll taxes by 20 per cent, provide tax relief for the mining sector and establish a permanent home renovation tax credit are some of the measures that would help stimulate employment, Harper said.
Kevin Milligan, an economics professor at the University of British Columbia, was one of the economists the Conservatives consulted before setting their jobs target.
It is achievable, looking at projected population growth, he said. Getting to 1.3 million will involved a mix of external factors and government policies, he said, noting that about half of that growth would occur anyway.
"The other half comes from getting back to a bit of a boom in the economic cycle and you can do that," Milligan said.
Milligan has also been consulted by the Liberals on economic policies and says he is not endorsing any one party platform.
In January, Statistics Canada said the country gained 185,700 net new positions last year.
The unemployment rate was 7.0 per cent in August, up from 6.8 per cent the previous month, but the economy also gained 12,000 jobs last month.
RBC Economics said Tuesday that Canada's real GDP is projected to grow 1.2 per cent this year -- down from its June prediction of 1.8 per cent growth. RBC also predicted 2.2 per cent growth for 2016 -- 0.4 per cent below its earlier predictions.