Blogs & Comment

Weekend reading: G8 edition

The G8 has come to a close and while it’s hard to know how the countries will turn their promises and declarations into concrete action, at least some pressing issues were discussed.
Canadian Business:Yesterday, I wrote a post about how Stephen Harper wanted the nations to avoid a second stimulus, but in the end no promises were made.

The G8 nations are saying two things. The first is that theyre committed to seeing the first round of stimulus spending through to the end. And the second is that theyll spend more money if they need to.

Globe and Mail:At the end of the summit Harper pressed his cohorts to follow through with their promises. (The article also points out how he slagged Ignatieff in the process.)

‘It’s not just a moral question,’ Mr. Harper said after referencing issues from climate change to African aid. ‘When we as the G8 make commitments and we don’t fulfill them, this undercuts the credibility of our process. And that is a serious problem.’ economy wasn’t the only thing on the G8 agenda; climate change was a hot topic too. On Thursday the countries pledged to cut greenhouse gases over the next 40 years.

Developed countries will take the lead with cuts of “80% or more,” according to the G8 pledge that one environmental group said will put enormous pressure on Canada to develop more aggressive targets.

One non G8 story worth reading comes from the Toronto Star, about how Kevin Page, Canada’s parliamentary watchdog, thinks Harper’s economic projections are wrong. He says the unemployment numbers will be much worse than the Conservatives think and the government will continue to run budget deficits for longer than they had hoped.

He says that in 2013-14, instead of balancing its books, Ottawa will still run a $16.7 billion deficit, according to those who have seen the independent budget officer’s latest findings.
Page’s report says unemployment, currently at 8.4 per cent, will average 8.7 per cent this year, compared with Flaherty’s estimate of 7.5 per cent for 2009. Page sees the jobless rate going as high as 9.4 per cent in 2010.