'Irresponsible' for Conservatives to raise recession concerns: Morneau
OTTAWA -- Finance Minister Bill Morneau says the Conservatives are being “irresponsible” in raising concerns about the prospect of a recession.
“I think it's a little bit irresponsible of the Conservatives to be making people more anxious,” Morneau said in an interview on CTV’s Question Period.
On Monday, the Liberal government’s first update on the state of the economy since the federal election showed that the federal deficit is rising, while Canada’s debt-to-GDP ratio remains the lowest in the G7.
The fiscal update also cautions about “fundamental structural shifts” taking place in the global economy leading to lower growth, but offers little on Canada’s specific plans to guard against or prepare for what some economists say could be a coming recession
In response to the update, the Conservatives stated that Canada is facing the prospect of a “made-in-Canada recession,” based on the Liberals’ economic approach.
Asked to comment on Morneau saying their approach is making people more anxious, Conservative finance critic Pierre Poilievre said that the prospect of a recession is real based on several economic indicators.
“Canadians no longer have any financial room. Half of Canadians are $200 away from insolvency. They are facing a slowing economy with a diminishing number of jobs, and a rising cost of living to go along with it. That is the consequence of the Trudeau, Morneau tax-and- spend agenda, which is driving our economy down,” Poilievre said.
“We're on a very dangerous course with this debt financed spending orgy and Canadians are already paying the price,” he said.
In continuing his contradiction of the Conservative economic stance, Morneau said that of the more than a dozen private sector economists and representatives from major banks that the government consulted in the drafting of its fiscal update, “not one of them is projecting anything other than growth this year and growth next year.”
As for the November numbers that showed the economy lost 71,000 jobs -- the biggest monthly job loss since the financial crisis -- Morneau said that while that snapshot is being noted, the overall year in context shows that job growth is up.
“We see that the economy is growing, and we're definitely saying that we need to continue to focus on how we make that continue to happen,” Morneau said. “We need to play our hand cautiously, but I see the economy as strong.”