Some pertinent facts about Saskatchewan and the current recession from Ralph Goodale...
Thursday, March 12, 2009
Ralph Goodale's Weekly Email Newsletter
SASKATCHEWAN NOT IMMUNE FROM ECONOMIC CRUNCH
It’s encouraging to read news reports about how this province is an island of economic success in the midst of a global recession. We’re holding our own better than other parts of the country and better than the rest of the world.
Saskatchewan struggled for most of its existence as one of the less prosperous “have-not” provinces – until about 2004 when we finally out-grew our chronic dependence on federal equalization payments. The economic momentum from back then, especially in our energy sector, keeps driving us forward.
It was my privilege to be Canada’s Finance Minister at that time when Saskatchewan took its rightful place among the nation’s most thriving provinces. “Next year country” finally arrived and we want to keep it that way!
But we must not take the good times for granted.
The world economy is getting worse. The International Monetary Fund and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development have both issued new forecasts predicting a longer, deeper recession than first hoped. All the markets into which we sell close to 50% of everything we produce are in very rough shape.
Domestically, Canada is generating its worst-ever figures on job losses, bankruptcies, housing starts, trade, retail sales, and the overall shrinking of the economy. Even the Bank of Canada has turned gloomier than ever.
And the alarms are beginning to sound for Saskatchewan. Things were very good here through 2008, but the recession – especially collapsing commodity prices – will catch up with us in 2009. Indeed, the provincial government could fall back into deficit again in this coming year.
For all these reasons, Saskatchewan needs a federal government that is honest and competent in dealing with the economy, and one that doesn’t take Saskatchewan for granted. Stephen Harper’s regime has consistently failed on all these fronts.