Canada will recover before others, says PM

March 11th, 2009 - 11:28 am ICT by IANS  

Toronto, March 11 (IANS) Striking a positive note, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has declared that his country will be the first in the world to emerge from the current economic crisis.
Speaking at a trade board meeting in Indian-dominated Brampton city on Toronto’s outskirts Tuesday, Harper said: “Canada was the last advanced country to fall into this recession. We will make sure its effects here are the least severe and we will come out of this faster than anyone and stronger than ever.”

Touted as the best performing among all G8 economies till the end of 2008, Canada has been dragged into a deep recession because of its dependence on the US for trade.

More than 85 percent of Canadian trade is linked to the US market. The lumber industry, the auto sector and energy resources — the pillar of the Canadian economy — have been the worst hit by the US downturn.

Though a Canadian recovery will not happen till the US crisis is “fully” over, the prime minister said: “Notwithstanding all the trouble around us, Canada has real advantages, real assets, and we should not hesitate to remind investors, partners and leaders around the world of the comparative strengths of our country.”

To stimulate the economy, the Canadian government plans to spend $40 billion over the next two years. A budget implementation bill, pending before the Senate, will allow it to begin this spending from next month.

To stimulate the important auto sector, the government has announced a $4-billion bailout for the Canadian plants of General Motors, Chrysler and Ford.

The Bank of Canada, the central bank, has also cut interest rates to a historic low of 0.5 percent to ease credit squeeze.

The prime minister said: “Our stimulus plan will help us to sustain economic activity and make transitions, but it cannot fix the problem of the global financial system.”

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