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Harper not sounding confident about economy

OTTAWA, ON. (NEWS1130) – The Canadian economy is strong, but is it strong enough?  Prime Minister Stephen Harper has made some frank comments in a US TV interview about how Canada would withstand another global recession.

As our economy grinds along we have heard a repeated message from Ottawa that Canada’s fundamentals are strong, stronger than any other western economy as we head into more global economic turmoil.

But Prime Minister Harper has told the US business network CNBC that our export-based economy is very vulnerable to global pressures.

“I’m not trying to fool you.  With all the assets we have and all the things we’ve done right, we are nevertheless a small open trading economy and we are very vulnerable to the trajectory of the global economy.  And as we see it slowing, this is of considerable concern to us,” said Harper.

Earlier in the week, Bloomberg News asked the Prime Minister if Ottawa has done enough to wean the Canadian economy from the slipping US economy.

“Look, we have to diversify our trade, but we are not going to pretend that we are not closely tied to the American economy,” Harper replied, adding that his government has increased the number of Canadian trading partners from four to 14 and is in negotiations with 50 more.

He maintained Ottawa sees the problems and is in much better shape than other economies to weather the storm.

“I always tell people I’m not an analyst.  My job is not to analyze the economy, my job as Prime Minister of Canada and one of the G20 leaders is to advocate and do things that will help the economy move forward.  I believe if these problems are tackled, and obviously there are some pretty serious problems on the horizon, we can continue to move forward.  But I don’t think anybody around the G20 table underestimates the magnitude of the challenges that face our economies, particularly in the advanced, industrialized world.”