Finance Minister Colin Hansen isn't concerned about a Central 1 Credit Union report that states there's a "high" chance the government will miss its economic forecasts by a "wide margin" unless a substantial recovery occurs in the second half of 2009. Among the reasons: according to Minister Hansen, the forecasts the credit union's chief economist Helmut Pastrick "has been putting out are significantly more pessimistic than other economists in Canada."
The government's fiscal plan predicts the economy will shrink by 0.9 percent in 2009, resulting in a $495 million deficit in fiscal 2009/10. But, according to Mr. Pastrick, that prediction - which Minister Hansen earlier described as "prudent" - is "no longer conservative." Indeed, according to the credit union, the economy will shrink by 1.5 percent in 2009, resulting in a deficit of between $1 to $1.5 billion in the coming fiscal year.
The following is a recording Minister Hansen's response to that report, which provided fodder for today's question period.