Harper says global economic slowdown having 'fiscal impact' on Canada

CAMBRIDGE, Ont. – Prime Minister Stephen Harper is lowering expectations when it comes to Canada’s economy, saying a global financial slowdown is affecting the country’s growth.

The prime minister spoke after the Bank of Canada downgraded its economic growth outlook for the country to 1.9 per cent for the year just ended and 2.0 per cent for this year.

The central bank also said it will likely have to keep interest rates at super-low levels for longer than expected in the face of the surprisingly weak economy.

Harper says his government downgraded its own growth forecast in the fall due to changes outside its borders.

“There has been a general slowing of the global economy over the past half-year so it is obviously a concern to us. And…it’s going obviously to have some fiscal impact on us, will have some impact on the pace of job creation.”

But Harper says despite the setback, Canada continues to create jobs and is faring relatively well compared to other countries.

“Families and businesses and ourselves as government should try and look past the fluctations we’ve had over the past several years and are likely to continue to have, and look instead at what we need to do to continue to create jobs, growth and prosperity in the long term for this country.”

Harper spoke after announcing that Toyota will receive nearly $34 million from the federal and Ontario governments as it retools an assembly line at its plant in Cambridge, Ont., for the first Lexus hybrid produced outside of Japan.