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Good News, Bad News Economic Data Emerges During Campaign For Conservatives

Darpan News Desk The Canadian Press, 15 Sep, 2015 12:14 PM
    OTTAWA — Since Prime Minister Stephen Harper's election call on Aug. 2, the governing Conservatives have been buffeted by good news-bad news economic numbers. Here's a list:
    Aug. 14:
    Good news — Statistics Canada reported June manufacturing sales rose 1.2 per cent to $50.8 billion, the second consecutive monthly gain.
    Bad news — Year-to-date manufacturing sales were down 1.5 per cent from the same period in 2014.
    Aug. 20:
    Bad news — Statistics Canada reported 531,700 people receiving regular Employment Insurance benefits in June, some 20,300 more than in June 2014 and up 5,200 from the previous month.
    Aug. 21:
    Good news — Statistics Canada reported continued low inflation in July, with the Consumer Price Index up 1.3 per cent over the previous 12 months.
    Bad news — Low energy prices tempered inflation, but July food prices were up 3.2 per cent following a 3.4 per cent increase in June.
    Aug. 31:
    Good news — Statistics Canada reported that Canada's current account deficit narrowed by $0.7 billion in the second quarter to $17.4 billion.
    Bad news — The quarterly trade surplus with the U.S. expanded by $2.5 billion, but Canada's trade deficit with all other countries widened by $2.2 billion to reach a record $15.7 billion.
    Sept. 1:
    Good news — Statistics Canada released Gross Domestic Product numbers that showed GDP increased in June by 0.5 per cent. 
    Bad news — The GDP numbers for the second quarter of 2015 showed a second consecutive quarter of shrinking GDP, the technical definition of a recession.
    Sept. 4:
    Good news — Statistics Canada released employment numbers for August which showed an increase of 12,000 jobs.
    Bad news — The August unemployment rate rose to 7.0 per cent from 6.8 per cent due to more people looking for work.
    Sept. 14:
    Good news — Finance Canada released the Annual Financial Report which showed a final budgetary surplus of $1.9 billion for the 2014-15 fiscal year.
    Bad news — The true surplus figures match almost exactly the April 28 surplus projection by the parliamentary budget office, which also forecast a small deficit for the current year.
    OTTAWA — Stephen Harper is riding the surprise surplus wave today, once again touting his financial credentials while openly mocking Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau.
    In British Columbia, the Conservative leader held up Finance Department numbers showing a $1.9-billion surplus for 2014-15 instead of a predicted $2 billion shortfall as evidence his economic plan is working.
    Harper says Trudeau seems to think a $2-billion surplus in Canada provoked a worldwide fall in oil prices and that plunging the country back into deficit would be a good plan.
    Trudeau has criticized the surplus, saying it was the product of underspending on vulnerable Canadians — an accusation the Conservatives deny.
    The Liberal leader took to a contested southwestern Ontario riding to promise $750 million for skilled trades funding, while NDP Leader Tom Mulcair promised to establish a $100-million mental health innovation fund for children and youth.
    Mulcair also confirmed that he would take place in the Munk debate on foreign policy, as did Trudeau — cooling off the latest debate controversy just as the three main leaders prepare for Thursday's tete-a-tete in Calgary over the economy.