Canada Economic Update Won't Include Economists: Tories Don't Want To 'Worry Canadians'

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CARNEY FLAHERTY
When Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty update the House of Commons finance committee on Canada’s economy Friday, they won’t be joined by prominent economists. | AFP/Getty

When Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty update the House of Commons finance committee on Canada's economy Friday, they won't be joined by prominent economists.

That's because Conservatives on the committee don't want to "worry Canadians."

"It's imperative, in my opinion, that we not do anything that might worry Canadians," Conservative MP Shelly Glover told the Globe and Mail. "I think that hearing from the Minister of Finance and the Bank of Canada will help to reassure them, as they should be, that there is concern, but that we are proceeding, as parliamentarians, in their interests."

Glover was responding to a motion by NDP MP Peggy Nash to have a panel of private-sector economists appear before the committee.

Conservative MP Randy Hoback suggested the private-sector economists would give a more muddled view of the economy than the head of the central bank and the finance minister.

"I want to make sure that we don't have people coming into this meeting and start speculating and start giving their opinions and their impressions which are based on what? A crystal ball?" Hoback said in committee.

"Mr. Hoback may forget that Mr. Flaherty has relied on said crystal balls for years," quipped the Globe's Michael Babad.

Recent economic data suggests that Canada's economy may have slowed considerably since the last time Carney spoke publicy. Statscan reported Tuesday that manufacturing sales posted an unexpected decline in June, hitting their lowest level since November, 2010. Exports fell 1.7 per cent in June, widening Canada's non-U.S. trade deficit from $1 billion to $1.6 billion.

Economists told the Globe they expect Carney to acknowledge the economic turbulence and maybe even echo Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s recent commitment to keeping interest rates low for a prolonged period of time.

"I think [Carney] will reinforce this notion of lower [interest rates] for longer," TD Bank deputy chief economist Derek Burleton told the Globe.

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