Home / Mortgage Loans / As oil and loonie spiral, is it lights out for Trudeau’s ‘sunny’ economic ways?

As oil and loonie spiral, is it lights out for Trudeau’s ‘sunny’ economic ways?

Finance Minister BIll Morneau at an event during a tour of the country this past week. The country’s economic fortunes have faded since summer, when the Liberals released their election platform, and even more since Nov. 20, when the finance department released a fiscal update that showed deficit projections were worse than feared.

Canada’s rookie finance minister, Bill Morneau, woke up Monday to a power failure in his Halifax hotel, where he was kicking off cross-country consultations for his first budget. A generator allowed for a single industrial light in his bathroom, but it died too. With Morneau in the shower.

From there it was all downhill. As the week wore on, the bullish script of economic growth and fiscal prudence prepared for Morneau by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was beset by dark clouds as oil fell to near US$30 and the dollar dipped below 70 cents US on its longest losing streak ever.

“Interestingly — I don’t know if this is an omen — the rest of the city is fine. It’s just the Westin hotel,” Morneau recalled the next day, speaking in Montreal. He’d been forced to cancel a breakfast with his Nova Scotia counterpart. “I had a good excuse, I think. I couldn’t find my clothing.”

The Liberal Party catapulted from third to first in the country’s election campaign last fall in large measure on Trudeau’s image as a happy warrior conveying a more hopeful future — what he called the “sunny ways.” The question now is to what extent the drumbeat of negative news will unravel his government’s agenda.

On Morneau’s first day on the road this week the Canadian dollar dropped 0.3 per cent. It fell by the same amount the next day in Montreal, and 0.6 per cent as his tour continued in Toronto on Wednesday. It has tumbled 9.4 per cent since Trudeau’s victory, with oil also down 32 per cent and the benchmark Standard & Poor’s/TSX Composite Index hitting bear territory on the fourth trading day this year.


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