The Conservative Party’s political rivals went on the offensive this morning after Statistics Canada revealed that the country fell into a recession during the first half of 2015.
The NDP was the first party to react after Statistics Canada made their quarterly GDP report public. Andrew Thomson from the NDP said Stephen Harper has presided over a “lost decade, “marked by job losses, less retirement security and higher household debt for average Canadians.
Thomson cited the NDP’s proposals to raise the corporate tax rate implement a $15-an-hour federal minimum wage and reduce the age for retirement eligibility from 67 to 65 as some of the ways it would stimulate the economy.
Canada’s previous recession began in the final quarter of 2008 and lasted into the second quarter of 2009.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said that regardless of any “technical definitions” of a recession, Tuesday’s economic news is “old hat” to Canadians who are already struggling.
In a bid to create jobs and foster economic growth, Trudeau is pitching $60 billion in new infrastructure spending over the next decade. The party is also promising a tax shift: Cuts for the middle class paid for in part by a tax increase for the wealthiest. To do that, the Liberal leader plans to run three straight deficits before balancing the budget in 2019.
Data released by Statistics Canada revealed that the economy contracted at an annualized rate of 0.5 per cent in the second quarter of 2015, the second consecutive quarter of negative growth.
However, Conservative leader Stephen Harper said that despite a retraction in the first half of the year, the positive growth numbers for June are a sign that the economy is rebounding despite global instability.
The Statistics Canada report showed that GDP rose by 0.5 per cent in June after shrinking for five consecutive months.
“This confirms the renewed growth that most had been predicting,” Harper said.
He also repeated his previous assertions that his government’s economic vision is working, despite global economic instability. He promised new support for Canada’s manufacturing sector, an industry that, according to the most recent Statistics Canada figures, has been in decline.
Harper announced that, if he’s elected, Burlington, Ont., will be the centre for a new, non-profit organization that will help develop new products and technologies for the manufacturing industry beginning in 2016-2017, at a cost of $30 million annually for five years.
A Conservative government would also set up a new trade promotion office within the prime minister’s own bureaucracy to help attract new business into Canada and Canadian exporters, paid for by reallocating other government resources.
Both ideas mirror suggestions made by the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters Association in its policy pitch to federal party leaders on how to support the sector.