Canada’s recession ‘self-inflected’, Unifor says

The Conservative government’s poor economic policies are responsible for Canada slipping into another recession under Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s watch as officially confirmed by Statistics Canada this morning, according to the union Unifor.

“Working people see the weakness in our economy every day in their own struggles to find decent work, in the difficulties their children are having starting a life and the challenges faced by this country’s seniors to live in dignity in retirement.” Unifor National President Jerry Dias said.

Statistics Canada reported this morning that the country’s GDP declined by an annualized 0.5 per cent, putting Canada into a recession, defined by Federal Balanced Budget Act as two straight quarters of GDP decline.

“Canada is in a recession today due to the failed economic policies of the Harper government that left the Canadian economy vulnerable even before oil prices fell,” Unifor Economist Jim Stanford said. “In recent years the economy has shown a longer-run pattern of very weak growth, miserable export and investment performance, and the erosion of many key industries.”

“That has left the entire economy on the edge of recession in the first place, so that bad news in one sector can actually push the whole national economy into negative territory.”

Unifor, Canada’s largest union in the private sector, representing more than 305,000 workers, released a study in August, co-authored by Stanford and fellow Unifor Economist Jordan Brennan, comparing the Harper Government’s economic record to that of previous prime ministers. It found, based on 16 economic indicators, that Harper Government had the worst economic record since the Second World War.

Harper refused to admit that Canada is in recession on the campaign trail today, claiming that the economy outside the energy sector was enjoying strong growth, even though official government statistics show that the economic downturn has impacted all sectors of the Canadian economy.

“Even with June’s growth, this deeper weakness is still very much evident,” Stanford said. “Much of our problem was self-inflicted, in the form of bad policies: needless austerity, and a profound failure to stimulate business investment and exports.”