Tumbling oil prices put pressure on finance minister to act

With the price of oil hovering around $30 a barrel and dragging the loonie down with it, Finance Minister Bill Morneau is facing increasing pressure to act.

See Full Article

Conservative Finance Critic Lisa Raitt has urged immediate action, rather than waiting for the release of the budget, for which Morneau has not yet publicly set a date.

“The finance minister should be treating it more as a crisis,” Raitt told CTV’s Power Play.

Raitt said the Liberals ought to be “taking a look at whether or not all those spending promises that were made during the campaign are something that should happen now or be parked for a future time.”

“There’s not a lot of tax revenues that are going to be coming in and digging a huge hole right at the beginning of a mandate that is going to make it very difficult to react should something worse happen,” Raitt added.

Raitt said the Liberals have an opportunity for growth that her government did not enjoy when it faced the economic recession in 2009: a growing U.S. economy.

“As an exporting nation with them as our largest partner, I’d be doubling down to ensure that we’re doing the best we can to get our products into that American market,” Raitt said, adding she would focus on agriculture, forestry and “cutting red tape.”

Earlier in the day, Morneau told reporters in Montreal that he continues to view the Liberal campaign platform as the best way to grow the economy.

“We think by lowering taxes for the middle class, by adding the Canada Child Benefit, by investing significantly in infrastructure, that’s the right thing to do,” he said.

Morneau added that the middle class tax cuts that took effect Jan. 1 are already “putting more money in the pockets” of nine million Canadians, who can spend it, stimulating the economy.

The minister would not say whether the Liberals will go deeper into deficit than the $10-billion promised during the election campaign, adding “I have not yet written the budget.”

NDP Finance Critic Guy Caron, meanwhile, told CTV Power Play that he agrees with the Liberals’ plan to invest in infrastructure and tax cuts to stimulate the economy.

However, Caron said the tax cuts should have gone to lower-income Canadians because the upper middle class might not spend the money.

Both the NDP and Conservatives vowed during last year’s election campaign to balance the budget, while the Liberals said “modest deficits” would allow them to invest in projects that grow the economy.

But as Morneau pointed out in a speech Monday, the price of oil has fallen by half since the election campaign, meaning the government is now projecting a $15 billion per year drop in GDP starting this year, compared to what was projected in the last budget.

Carleton University Professor Ian Lee told CTV News Channel that the oversupplied global energy could force the price of oil even lower, to $20 a barrel, if lower-cost producers like Saudi Arabia keep pumping.

"It's a game of global chicken," he said. "We're really waiting to see who is going to blink first."



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • Asian markets drop as investors look ahead to Trump speech

    Economic CTV News
    BEIJING - Asian stock markets were lower Monday as investors looked ahead to U.S. President Donald Trump's speech to Congress this week for details of promised tax cuts and infrastructure spending. KEEPING SCORE: Tokyo's Nikkei 225 index fell 0.9 per cent to 19,107.47 and the Shanghai Composite Index lost 0.5 per cent to 3,237.14. Source
  • Billionaire industrialist Koch leads fight to deregulate African-style braiding

    Economic CTV News
    PAWTUCKET, R.I. -- The billionaire industrialist Charles Koch and hair braider Jocelyn DoCouto have at least one thing in common. They are both part of a national movement to deregulate the business of African-style braiding. Source
  • What's in your chicken? CBC's Marketplace consumer cheat sheet

    Economic CBC News
    Miss something this week? We've got you. Here's this week's consumer cheat sheet. Get the Marketplace newsletter in your inbox every week. Sign up here. Inflatable mattress (prices) So, that bed you got for a bargain? That deal may be less dreamy than you thought. Source
  • Vatican stakes out copyright to Pope Francis' image

    Economic CTV News
    VATICAN CITY -- God's love may be free, but the Vatican says it has a copyright on the pope. Unnerved by the proliferation of papal-themed T-shirts, snow globes and tea towels around the world, the Vatican has warned it intends to "protect" the image of Pope Francis and "stop situations of illegality that may be discovered. Source
  • Is the Ivanka Trump brand boycott anti-feminist?

    Economic CBC News
    After Nordstrom dropped Ivanka Trump's fashion line this month, a Fox News host blasted women boycotting stores that carry the brand. In an opening rant on her show, Jeanine Pirro called the boycotters "loud, classless women" who were unfairly picking on a fellow female simply because they dislike her dad, U.S. Source
  • Last BlackBerry-designed phone with physical keyboard to hit stores in April

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- Fans of BlackBerry's classic physical keyboard will have reason to celebrate when the last product designed in part by the former smartphone leader becomes available in April. The Waterloo, Ont.-based firm played a role in developing the KEYone, named for the return of the QWERTY keyboard that other smartphone designers have mostly long retired. Source
  • Final cleanup begins at Dakota Access pipeline protest camp

    Economic CTV News
    BISMARCK, N.D. -- The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has moved into the evacuated Dakota Access pipeline protest camp to finish the cleanup started weeks ago by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe. A Florida-based company has been hired to provide trash removal and environmental cleanup in the main Oceti Sakowin camp on the north side of the Cannonball River and the smaller Rosebud camp on the south side. Source
  • Appealing to millennials, Las Vegas gets e-sports arena

    Economic CTV News
    LAS VEGAS -- The arena has all the features that a professional sports venue needs: stands, warm-up areas for teams, massive screens for spectators and a broadcast platform for commentators. But what distinguishes this new Las Vegas arena is its dozens of video game consoles. Source
  • Warren Buffett says don't waste money on investment fees

    Economic CTV News
    OMAHA, Neb. -- Billionaire Warren Buffett wants investors to be wary of the high fees Wall Street routinely charges because of the damage they do to investment returns, and he emphasized his confident outlook in the U.S. Source
  • 'We always find a way': N.L.'s oil-dependent economy is hurting, but there is hope on the horizon

    Economic CBC News
    Dwight Ball, the affable pharmacist who has been Newfoundland and Labrador's premier for the last 15 months, said something remarkable Wednesday while swinging an axe through several hundred government jobs. "We're human, too. This impacts us," said Ball, who clearly has shown no relish for the more brutal parts of dealing with an oil-dependent economy during a collapse in petroleum prices. Source