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Recovery of New Brunswick economy after COVID-19 becoming main election issue – KitchenerToday.com

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FREDERICTON — One week into the first election campaign in Canada since the COVID-19 pandemic, the big issue is how the next New Brunswick government will manage the province’s economy through the crisis and after it.

During past election campaigns, parties fought over polarizing issues that drew public outcry such as fracking or skyrocketing auto insurance rates. But this time, it’s all about rebuilding the COVID-ravaged economy, according to J.P. Lewis, political science professor at the University of New Brunswick.

“We have the pandemic,” Lewis said in an interview Monday. “Especially with the two more competitive parties, there could be two very distinct ways to how they are going to govern the next few years in light of a recession and in light of government revenues down.”

Lewis said Progressive Conservative Leader Blaine Higgs is promising stability and to keep government spending under control. Liberal Leader Kevin Vickers, Lewis said, believes more spending is needed to stimulate the economy.

Lewis described the first week of the campaign as “sleepy” and said he was looking forward to seeing some polling numbers.

On the campaign trail Monday, Vickers said a Liberal government would leverage more money from the federal government to pay for infrastructure projects across the province.

During a stop in Riverview, N.B., he said the infrastructure cutbacks imposed by Higgs’ Tory government could contract the province’s economy.

Vickers said Ottawa in 2018 set aside $673 million over 10 years for projects across New Brunswick, but 78 per cent of those funds remain unallocated.

“My government will not leave hundreds of millions of dollars on the table when they are needed by New Brunswick business people and our citizens,” Vickers said. “We have to invest to get our economy going.”

Vickers would not say how much he planned to spend, but said it would be “sufficient to ensure our economy is growing and the people of New Brunswick have hope and opportunity.”

Higgs responded Monday by saying he wants federal funding, but needs flexibility on how to spend the money.

“I just don’t want federal dollars prescribing to me that I must spend taxpayer dollars on something that we don’t need,” he said.

Higgs said he knows New Brunswick needs improved services and repaired highways. But, he continued, the province also needs a clear, financially sustainable path forward.

On a campaign stop outside St. Joseph’s Hospital in Saint John, Higgs promised to reduce wait times for hip replacement and knee replacement surgeries province-wide if he’s re-elected.

The goal, he said, is to reduce wait times for those surgeries by 50 per cent by March 2021.

“We’re not just saying we’re going to throw money at it,” Higgs told reporters. “We’re going to organize it differently and we’re going to work with people who know how to make it happen, to make it happen.”

Higgs said the health system needs to increase capacity, improve scheduling and leverage technology.

“By March 31, 2022, we’ll ensure that 85 per cent of hip replacement surgeries and 75 per cent of knee replacement surgeries will be done within the 182-day national standard,” he said.

Green leader David Coon said Monday a Green government would redesign senior care in the province.

Speaking at a seniors home in Fredericton, Coon said he would allow residents in nursing and special care homes to name a family caregiver to their care team.

He also called on the chief electoral officer to reserve the first two hours of polling days for seniors and other vulnerable people so they can vote in a safer environment.

“This will help reduce the stress and anxiety they may face having to choose to vote in person in a provincial election during a pandemic,” Coon said.

People’s Alliance leader Kris Austin said Monday his party is pushing for greater use of remote health care.

Austin said in a news release that New Brunswickers have come to count on the medical services provided by doctors through virtual visits via video conferencing services.

“Virtual care is health care reimagined,” he said. “Virtual Care can take mental health and addiction services out of our ERs and put them in our homes, school and work.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 24, 2020.

Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press


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New national poll shows Canadians are most concerned about the economy, want a strong natural gas and oil sector to drive recovery – Canada NewsWire

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CALGARY, AB, Sept. 22, 2020 /CNW/ – The state of our country’s economy is the biggest issue of the day for Canadians, according to a new poll from IPSOS. The poll has 44 per cent of Canadians choosing the economy as the biggest priority for government, even putting it ahead of healthcare (chosen as the top issue by 36 per cent of those surveyed). All other issues fall far down the list of concerns.

When it comes to strategic direction, nearly two-thirds of Canadians (64 per cent) say that natural gas and oil need to be a part of Canada’s recovery and more than half (55 per cent) believe supporting jobs in Canadian natural gas and oil is more important than ever because we need it to kick start our economy.

The new data from IPSOS, which surveyed people across the country, demonstrates Canadians are widely supportive of growth and development for Canada’s natural gas and oil sector.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) is encouraged to see strong support from Canadians and urges the federal government to show the same level of support for the natural gas and oil industry.

CAPP has just published its Vision for Canada’s Recovery report, which highlights the positive potential impact of the industry in creating jobs for Canadians and boosting the country’s economic recovery.

According to Statistics Canada, exports of crude oil, bitumen, natural gas and natural gas liquids generated more than $102 billion in 2019. Add in refined petroleum and the total rises to more than $112 billion — about 19 per cent of the revenue from all of Canada’s exports combined.

The industry supports half a million jobs across the country and a supply chain that reaches from coast to coast and contributes to economic growth and prosperity for thousands of businesses.

As Canadians look toward recovery, the natural gas and oil industry can play a vital role — not only to boost the national economy, but to promote further innovation and develop new technologies which can help the country reach environment and climate goals here and abroad.

Today, Canada is a clear leader in environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance. For example, Canada’s offshore oil production is among the least carbon-intensive in the world, with 30 per cent lower emissions per barrel than the global average.

The country’s leadership in innovation and environmental performance can be a competitive advantage when marketing Canada’s energy sector on the world stage, and a key component of drawing investment back to a responsibly-operated and stable energy industry.

CAPP quotes Tim McMillan, president and CEO:

  • “Government policy must be considered in the context of a strong economic recovery plan. It’s time to signal to the international community that Canada is a good place to do business and market our strengths to attract investment back to our industries.”
  • “Economic recovery is top of mind for Canadians, and we are encouraged to see the support across the country for a strong natural gas and oil industry. A growing industry will create much-needed jobs for Canadians and revenues for governments. Bringing investment back to the industry will also support continued development of new technologies which improve our environmental performance, reduce emissions and further our climate goals.”

Supporting information:

  • The supply chain of oil sands producers alone is associated with close to 10,000 businesses across the country.
  • The offshore oil and natural gas industry makes up one-quarter of Newfoundland and Labrador’s GDP and 41 percent of exports. Approximately 600 supply and service companies in Atlantic Canada rely on work associated with offshore development.
  • Ontario’s participation in the oil sands supply chain was valued at $1.89 billion in the two-year period from 2016-2017.
  • The natural gas and oil industry is Canada’s largest investor in clean technology and environmental protection, spending about $3.5 billion annually.
  • From 2017 to 2019, a period with struggling commodity prices, Canada’s natural gas and oil sector still contributed over $8 billion annually to government revenues across the country.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) represents companies, large and small, that explore for, develop and produce natural gas and oil throughout Canada. CAPP’s member companies produce about 80 per cent of Canada’s natural gas and oil. CAPP’s associate members provide a wide range of services that support the upstream oil and natural gas industry. Together CAPP’s members and associate members are an important part of a national industry with revenues from oil and natural gas production of about $109 billion a year. CAPP’s mission, on behalf of the Canadian upstream oil and natural gas industry, is to advocate for and enable economic competitiveness and safe, environmentally and socially responsible performance.

SOURCE Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers

For further information: Jay Averill, Manager of Media Relations, CAPP, (P) 403-267-1151, (C) 587-225-4534, [email protected]

Related Links

http://www.capp.ca

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AP-NORC poll: Dim view of economy stable as election nears – 570 News

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WASHINGTON — Most Americans view the nation’s economic situation as bleak, but a rising percentage also see signs of stability six weeks before Election Day — if not reasons for optimism.

According to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, 60% of Americans describe the national economy as poor and 40% deem it good. That’s a rebound in confidence from low points in April and May, when just 29% called the economy good as the coronavirus pandemic took hold of the country.

About 4 in 10 Americans — 43% — say they expect the economy to improve in the next year, about the same as in July. But just 28% said they expect things to get even worse, a slight improvement from the 35% who said so in July and a significant improvement from May, when 40% expected things to continue getting worse. This month, 27% expect no change in economic conditions in the next year.

That relative hopefulness may say more about the nation’s politics than the underlying health of the world’s largest economy.

President Donald Trump is seeking reelection against Democrat Joe Biden with stock market gains as a rallying cry. The unemployment rate has improved, but remains high at 8.4%, and lawmakers have failed to agree on additional aid for Americans suffering financially due to the pandemic.

Meanwhile, the continued toll from the virus — including the loss of schooling and revenue shortfalls for state and local governments — threatens the prospect for a wider recovery.

The poll found that 67% of Republicans call the economy good, compared with 16% of Democrats. Republicans are significantly more likely to expect the economy to get better than worse in the next year, 64% to 14%. Among Democrats, 39% expect things to get worse and 28% expect them to get better, while 32% expect no change.

“It’s kind of just in a neutral gear,” said Gary Cameron, 65, a retiree and Trump supporter from Midwest City, Oklahoma. “I do expect after the pandemic is over, it will probably go back to where it was, maybe better.”

But Cameron believes that the world’s largest economy would be hurt by a Biden presidency, saying he does not believe the country suffers from systemic racism and that addressing the demands of civil rights protesters would come at the expense of institutions that drive growth.

“The people the Democratic Party have gotten into bed with do not love America,” Cameron said. “I think it would do damage to the country.”

The poll finds that half of Americans approve of how Trump is handling the economy, which remains his strongest issue. By comparison, 43% approve of how he’s handling his job overall. Eighty-nine per cent of Republicans and 15% of Democrats approve of Trump’s handling of the economy.

About two-thirds of Americans — 65% — say their own personal finances are good. That number has remained largely steady since before the pandemic began. Seventy-eight per cent of Republicans and 58% of Democrats say their personal finances are good. Americans are also more likely to expect their personal finances to get better than worse, 38% to 13%, with 48% expecting no change.

Bob Blanchard, 73, of Augusta, Georgia, lives in a community hurt by the coronavirus and the loss of business locally from a spectator-free Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club. A consulting engineer, Blanchard said local businesses are suffering and he can no longer make money by renting out his house to the crowds who came for the fabled golf tournament.

“My wife and I don’t go out to eat,” Blanchard said. “We avoid retail shopping like the plague. No pun intended.”

Blanchard, who intends to vote for Biden, says the blame for this rests with Trump.

“He just was completely irresponsible and incompetent,” he said. “He knew it was bad, but he didn’t do anything.”

The poll shows 22% of Americans who say they or someone in their household lost a job as a result of the pandemic say the job has returned. Thirty-five per cent expect the job to come back, but 44% expect it won’t.

Overall, 27% of Americans say their household lost a job, 36% that someone was scheduled for fewer hours, 26% took unpaid time off and 27% had wages or salaries reduced. All told, 53% experienced at least one form of household income loss during the pandemic. Income losses have been especially concentrated among Black and Hispanic Americans and those without college degrees.

Ryan Wilson, 37, said that half of the workers at the seafood warehouse where he’s a supervisor were furloughed when the pandemic started — and not all have returned to their jobs. A resident of Altamonte Springs, Florida, he said his concern is that the economic troubles are worsening drug addiction and domestic violence.

“People are really suffering,” he said. “They’re facing levels of depression, anxiety and distress — and not just financially. They turn to something to escape the daily pressures of life and that’s ravaging across American right now.”

___

The AP-NORC poll of 1,108 adults was conducted Sept. 11-14 using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 4.0 percentage points.

___

Online:

AP-NORC Center: http://www.apnorc.org/

Josh Boak And Emily Swanson, The Associated Press

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German economy to shrink by 5.2% this year, grow by 5.1% next year – Ifo – TheChronicleHerald.ca

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BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s Ifo institute on Tuesday said Europe’s largest economy would likely shrink by 5.2% this year, raising its previous estimate for a 6.7% drop, in the latest sign the damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic could be smaller than initially feared.

“The decline in the second quarter and the recovery are currently developing more favourably than we had expected,” Ifo chief economist Timo Wollmershaeuser said.

For 2021, Ifo cut its economic forecast for Germany to 5.1% growth from its previous estimate of 6.4%. It expects the economy to expand by 1.7% in 2022.

The number of people out of work is seen rising to 2.7 million this year from 2.3 million in 2019, before edging down to 2.6 million in 2021 and then to 2.5 million in 2022.

That would translate into a jump in the unemployment rate to 5.9% this year from 5.0% last year. The rate would then drop to 5.7% percent in 2021 and 5.5% in 2022, Ifo said.

The Ifo institute cautioned that there was an unusually high degree of uncertainty attached to the forecasts. It pointed to the rising number of coronavirus infections, the risk of a disorderly Brexit and unresolved trade disputes.

(Reporting by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Michelle Adair)

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