Seriously ? Harper himself was Canada’s bank deregulation booster a decade ago. Had he been PM then, Canada too would have gone into deep debt to avert another Great Depression brought about by his folly. Rather than lecturing the US or Canadians for their debt, Mr Harper could offer to tell us how much our deficit really is, or how much he’s taking from hard pressed Canadians in gas taxes ? Or would he rather point fingers and cover that up too ? | Tomorrow's Gas Price Today
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Seriously ? Harper himself was Canada’s bank deregulation booster a decade ago. Had he been PM then, Canada too would have gone into deep debt to avert another Great Depression brought about by his folly. Rather than lecturing the US or Canadians for their debt, Mr Harper could offer to tell us how much our deficit really is, or how much he’s taking from hard pressed Canadians in gas taxes ? Or would he rather point fingers and cover that up too ?

Stephen Harper warns of fiscal ‘runaway train’ in U.S.

Lee Berthiaume, Postmedia News | Dec 21, 2012 6:48 PM ET | Last Updated: Dec 21, 2012 6:51 PM ET

 

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred ChartrandHarper made the comments in a year-end interview with Global News national anchor Dawna Friesen. The interview is to be aired on Sunday, but a transcript of the discussion was released Friday

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the fiscal debt in the United States has put that country on a “runaway train” that could lead to further economic damage unless American lawmakers finally get control of massive deficits.

Here in Canada, people need to get better control of their personal debt loads and prepare for the possibility that higher interest rates could sideswipe their lives, Harper warns.

Just as important, he says, is that Canadians find ways to start saving for retirement.

Harper made the comments in a year-end interview with Global News national anchor Dawna Friesen. The interview is to be aired on Sunday, but a transcript of the discussion was released Friday.

On international affairs, Harper said that people should take “great caution” when considering military intervention in the Syrian civil war because there are “enormous dangers” in such an action. As well, he said Canada is concerned about whether Syria will ultimately descend into “sectarian warfare and chaos” once the Assad regime ultimately falls.

On the economy, the prime minister said his priority remains managing the issue four years after the recession.

“We continue to be in an economic world that has considerable uncertainty.”

Harper predicted that U.S. President Barack Obama and Republican congressional leaders will find some “partial compromises” on the budgetary fiscal cliff issue to “avert catastrophe” on Jan 1.

“I think their bigger challenge is going to be after January.  The U.S. fiscal situation, if you look at it, is a runaway train.

“You know, they’re running deficits of a trillion dollars plus and that cannot continue. And so over the medium term they’re going to have to have a plan to deal with that.”

Harper was just as blunt in speaking about the financial risks that some Canadians face in their own personal lives.

He said that some people believe they are living within their means and have — thanks to low interest rates — racked up mortgage debts associated with home purchases.

“Many households are well within a comfort level but some have been pushing the envelope and we obviously urge them to be cautious,” said Harper.

“Because eventually, interest rates will go up.  You should be asking yourself, ‘If interest rates were a couple of points higher, can I really afford the debt load I’m taking on now?’ ”

Harper urged Canadians to think of the longer term and remember that there are a variety of ways they can save for retirement and get tax write-offs.

“What I’d say to all Canadians is balance your debt levels, balance your borrowing, and balance your ambitions in terms of house ownership with some savings as well.”

In the interview  Harper spoke on a variety of issues. Among the highlights:

On immigration

Harper said his government is making “profound changes” to the immigration system so it is in sync with Canada’s labour needs.

“We have traditionally just been a country that passively accepts applications.  We are now trying to go out and shape those immigration applications.”

On the temporary foreign worker program

He said it is merely a “band-aid solution” to fill “low-wage occupations” in places like Alberta.

“What we really need are Canadians trained for the jobs and we need an immigration system that’s going to bring people in permanently to take advantage of those opportunities.”

On foreign investment

He said his government allowed the takeover of oil company Nexen by a Chinese state-owned enterprise because it “does not transform an economy.” But he stressed that it is not a trend that will continue.

“We are not going to transform our economy from a market economy into an economy controlled by foreign governments.”

On the school shooting in Newtown

He was profoundly affected by the shooting as a father of two children.

“I guess like most religious people, I pray regularly and ask for strength and for wisdom.”

He said he is always careful not to send the message that he is imposing his theological views on the country.

But he added:  “There are times like this when you know where we’re all reassured by the fact that there is you know a benevolent power ultimately looking over all of us.”

On how he makes important decisions

Harper said he tries to be as well briefed as possible on a range of subjects.

“I encourage my cabinet ministers and my caucus to do the same thing so that we make more decisions right than we do wrong because inevitably we’re not going to get everything right.  We’re not perfect.  We can’t see the future.”

On the NHL lockout

He described it as a “terrible tragedy” — particularly since the players and owners are involved in hockey because of their love of the game.

“It’s a shame to see relationships get so antagonistic and so broken down…. I just hope they’re able to work through it because I do fear that as this is going forward, it is doing real serious damage to the game at the top level.”

mkennedy@postmedia.com

Mark Kennedy & Lee Berthiaume, Postmedia News | Dec 21, 2012 6:48 PM ET | Last Updated: Dec 21, 2012 6:51 PM ET
More from Postmedia News

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred ChartrandHarper made the comments in a year-end interview with Global News national anchor Dawna Friesen. The interview is to be aired on Sunday, but a transcript of the discussion was released Friday

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the fiscal debt in the United States has put that country on a “runaway train” that could lead to further economic damage unless American lawmakers finally get control of massive deficits.

Here in Canada, people need to get better control of their personal debt loads and prepare for the possibility that higher interest rates could sideswipe their lives, Harper warns.

Just as important, he says, is that Canadians find ways to start saving for retirement.

Harper made the comments in a year-end interview with Global News national anchor Dawna Friesen. The interview is to be aired on Sunday, but a transcript of the discussion was released Friday.

On international affairs, Harper said that people should take “great caution” when considering military intervention in the Syrian civil war because there are “enormous dangers” in such an action. As well, he said Canada is concerned about whether Syria will ultimately descend into “sectarian warfare and chaos” once the Assad regime ultimately falls.

On the economy, the prime minister said his priority remains managing the issue four years after the recession.

“We continue to be in an economic world that has considerable uncertainty.”

Harper predicted that U.S. President Barack Obama and Republican congressional leaders will find some “partial compromises” on the budgetary fiscal cliff issue to “avert catastrophe” on Jan 1.

“I think their bigger challenge is going to be after January.  The U.S. fiscal situation, if you look at it, is a runaway train.

“You know, they’re running deficits of a trillion dollars plus and that cannot continue. And so over the medium term they’re going to have to have a plan to deal with that.”

Harper was just as blunt in speaking about the financial risks that some Canadians face in their own personal lives.

He said that some people believe they are living within their means and have — thanks to low interest rates — racked up mortgage debts associated with home purchases.

“Many households are well within a comfort level but some have been pushing the envelope and we obviously urge them to be cautious,” said Harper.

“Because eventually, interest rates will go up.  You should be asking yourself, ‘If interest rates were a couple of points higher, can I really afford the debt load I’m taking on now?’ ”

Harper urged Canadians to think of the longer term and remember that there are a variety of ways they can save for retirement and get tax write-offs.

“What I’d say to all Canadians is balance your debt levels, balance your borrowing, and balance your ambitions in terms of house ownership with some savings as well.”

In the interview  Harper spoke on a variety of issues. Among the highlights:

On immigration

Harper said his government is making “profound changes” to the immigration system so it is in sync with Canada’s labour needs.

“We have traditionally just been a country that passively accepts applications.  We are now trying to go out and shape those immigration applications.”

On the temporary foreign worker program

He said it is merely a “band-aid solution” to fill “low-wage occupations” in places like Alberta.

“What we really need are Canadians trained for the jobs and we need an immigration system that’s going to bring people in permanently to take advantage of those opportunities.”

On foreign investment

He said his government allowed the takeover of oil company Nexen by a Chinese state-owned enterprise because it “does not transform an economy.” But he stressed that it is not a trend that will continue.

“We are not going to transform our economy from a market economy into an economy controlled by foreign governments.”

On the school shooting in Newtown

He was profoundly affected by the shooting as a father of two children.

“I guess like most religious people, I pray regularly and ask for strength and for wisdom.”

He said he is always careful not to send the message that he is imposing his theological views on the country.

But he added:  “There are times like this when you know where we’re all reassured by the fact that there is you know a benevolent power ultimately looking over all of us.”

On how he makes important decisions

Harper said he tries to be as well briefed as possible on a range of subjects.

“I encourage my cabinet ministers and my caucus to do the same thing so that we make more decisions right than we do wrong because inevitably we’re not going to get everything right.  We’re not perfect.  We can’t see the future.”

On the NHL lockout

He described it as a “terrible tragedy” — particularly since the players and owners are involved in hockey because of their love of the game.

“It’s a shame to see relationships get so antagonistic and so broken down…. I just hope they’re able to work through it because I do fear that as this is going forward, it is doing real serious damage to the game at the top level.”

mkennedy@postmedia.com