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PM optimistic about Canada's economic strengths
( Mar 13 2009 )

Ottawa: Canadian Prime Minister on Tuesday touted his country's strengths in the face of the global recession and said he believes Canada will come out of the crisis fastest.     Addressing the Board of Trade in Brampton, Ontario, Harper said his government's "Economic Action Plan" will help sustain the economic activity at a time of "synchronized" global recession, in his first major speech on Canada's economic situation since the global economic crisis started.


Harper said Canada "was the last advanced country to fall into this recession" and the government "will make sure its effects here are the least severe and we will come out of this faster than anyone and stronger than ever."


He listed four of Canada's advantages in countering the recession: Canada has the strongest banking system in the world, the best fiscal position in the G7 in terms of the lowest debt-gdpratio, a long-term structural balance among others, a stellar record of low and stable inflation, and lastly a highly educated, skilled largely mobile modern workforce.


However, Harper warned that Canada can only fix part of the problem, because "the immediate source of this global recession is the ongoing crisis of the financial sector in the United States and other advanced western countries."


"We will not turn the corner on this global recession until the American financial sector is fixed."


"Our stimulus plan will help us to sustain economic activity and make transitions but it cannot fix the problem of the global financial system," he said. The plan, delivered in January and currently before the Senate, will provide help to workers, homeowners, businesses and cities and towns through infrastructure projects, he said. Harper said red tapes have been cut by his government to speed up the funding for the stimulus package, which promises 40 billion Canadian dollars (31.4 billion U.S. dollars) in government spending and tax cuts over the next years.


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