Tag Archives: Joe Oliver

As Canada’s economy slides into recession, how safe are the big banks?

Bank of America said it on the 1st of July, and TD said it on the 6th, but I knew that the economy was in a recession as soon as I heard federal Finance Minister Joe Oliver deny it way back in early June.

That would be the same Joe Oliver who “balanced” the budget with a whole host of lies, tricks, creative accounting, and the promise of future union-stomping. That surplus was a total fabrication, a clumsy election-year subterfuge designed to make the Cons look like responsible stewards of the economy.

Also that’s the same Joe Oliver who was forced to delay unveiling of that budget by several months because of “market volatility” (aka the tar sands getting kicked in the shins by the collapse in oil prices). Despite the total lack of improvement in the economy in the interim, Oliver was confident at the time the budget was released that things would get better – soon.

And that’s the same tune he was singing last week when BofA became the first of the big bank to project a recession following the release of stats for April showing the economy contracted for a fourth consecutive month. Oliver angrily denied that we’re in recession territory, and predicted strong, strong growth – right around the corner!

“We don’t have a recession. We don’t believe we will be in a recession,” Oliver said Friday in Toronto. “A recession is technically two consecutive negative quarters and we don’t have results from the second quarter.”

Statistics Canada reported this week that gross domestic product shrank by 0.1 percentin April, on the heels of a 0.6 percent annualized contraction in the first quarter.

However the finance minister sees indications that consumers and manufacturers are more optimistic. “There are, I think it’s fair to say, mixed signals at the moment,” Oliver said. “We’ll and wait and see what the numbers, in fact, will be.”

The federal budget, released in April, forecast annual GDP growth of 2 percent for the country, based on projections from private sector economists. Those projections haven’t been updated, Oliver said.

Of course the projections haven’t been updated – that would make the phony surplus Oliver worked so hard to engineer completely disappear! But in order to make good on those projections, the Canadian economy will have to grow at an annualized rate of roughly 4% in the second half of the year – a pace we haven’t seen in the last fifteen years. Continue Reading

This week in The Canadian Government Does Stupid And Bad Things

Everybody who spends even a little time following federal politics in this country will quickly realize that Stephen Harper is a combative human being. He sees things in terms of sides, and if you’re not on the same side as him, then he will try to crush you, plain and simple.

This week alone was rife with examples demonstrating that disagreement won’t be tolerated. Harper’s mean streak was on full display in the government’s desperate attempts to keep child soldier and torture victim Omar Khadr in prison. He deployed attack dog and Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney, who not only smeared Khadr, but also accused the judge who authorized Khadr’s release of not considering his (alleged) victims.

It’s a sign of how tired and well-worn this fear-and-terror rhetoric is getting that even the Calgary Sun wasn’t buying it.

Opinion columnist and unrepentant bigot Ian Robinson, who describes his attitude towards the War on Terror as “Kill ’em all, let God sort them out”, had this to say: Continue Reading

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