The Prime Minister spoke to the Brampton and Mississauga boards of trade on Tuesday. The location for Harper’s first major speech on the recession was chosen because of southern Ontario region’s hard hit to the manufacturing sector.
CBC quotes Harper:
“We are responding with unprecedented speed because we are in a global recession, that has arrived with unprecedented speed,” he said.
“We are, as I’ve said, cutting bureaucratic red tape. And we need Parliament to cut its red tape, too. We cannot have the opposition in Parliament replacing bureaucratic red tape with political red tape.”
“Some in the opposition are even suggesting that the government should provide notice or even approval for each individual spending project,” said the prime minister.
“That is not realistic — ever. And certainly not realistic in today’s world.”
The speech differs from what Finance Minister Jim Flaherty told the Senate finance committee earlier in the day. Flaherty said that the economy will likely worsen with a rise in the coming months with unemployment. He urged the Senate to pass the current budget before next week’s vacation.
Canada’s current debt-to-GDP ratio is set as roughly 29 per cent. Estimations point to a rise of 32 per cent over the next three years as the nation will go into deficit to pay for stimulus spending.
While this is not good news it is much better than what other G7 countries could be facing. The average ratio for those nations is to rise above 50 per cent.
Harper had praise for the banking system in Canada. He reinforced that the World Economic Forum considers Canada as having the world’s strongest banking system.
“Ultimately, it is an opportunity to position ourselves so that when the recovery comes, we’re among the first to catch the wave.”
Canada was the last “advanced country” to fall into recession, he said.
“I say to you, as businesspeople, as community-builders, as citizens, if there ever was a time to put away that legendary Canadian modesty, it is now,” he told the audience, which responded with applause.
Harper has been credited with writing the 3,330 word speech himself. He only gave a small bit to the 1.3 million Canadians who are dealing with this crisis without a job. He mentioned improved unemployment benefits very briefly.
The government is due to issue its first quarterly report on its budget plan today.