Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux waits to appear before the Commons Finance committee on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday March 10, 2020. Parliament’s spending watchdog says a series of rail blockades last month will leave a minimal dent in the pace of economic growth. (Adrian Wyld/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Minimal hit to economic growth from rail blockades, PBO says in new report

Parliamentary budget officer says COVID-19 will likely have larger effect than blockades

Parliament’s spending watchdog says a series of rail blockades last month will leave a minimal dent in the pace of economic growth.

The report today estimates the blockades will shave two-tenths of a percentage point off economic growth for the first quarter, with the effects dissipating through the rest of 2020.

The rail blockades sprung up in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in B.C. who oppose a natural-gas pipeline through their traditional territory.

ALSO READ: Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs optimistic ahead of talks

ALSO READ: Caution, with a time limit — How Trudeau’s patience with rail blockades ended

Parliamentary budget officer Yves Giroux says COVID-19 will likely have a larger effect on the economy than the blockades, warning the novel coronavirus has made the short-term economic picture far bleaker than it was just a few weeks ago.

His comments comes as private-sector economists warn that Canada is heading into a recession because of the economic shock of COVID-19, which may only be avoided with hefty stimulus spending from the federal government — as much as $20 billion.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau is expected to address reporters this afternoon, one day after he tried to reassure volatile markets that continued to fall over COVID-19 concerns.

ALSO READ: Bank of Canada cuts rate target to 0.75% in response to COVID-19

The Liberals had promised to deliver a budget on March 30, but that is delayed after the House of Commons agreed not to sit until late April to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus disease.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 13, 2020.

The Canadian Press

CN Rail

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

$30,000 over 30 weeks for local causes

Send us your good stories and you could win money for your favourite cause

Columbia Shuswap Regional District office to begin phased reopening

Office will be open for four-hour days beginning next week

Flooding prompts closure of parks along Shuswap and Mara lakes

Boaters asked to respect No Wake policy protecting properties along water

Back in play: Columbia Shuswap Regional District reopening playgrounds

Signs with reminders about COVID-19 regulations will be posted

RCMP seek to identify person of interest in Salmon Arm arson investigation

Police believe a June 4 residential garage fire was deliberately set

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Kelowna Mountie who punched suspect identified, condemned by sister

‘How did he get away with this? How is this justifiable?’

Vernon protesters take Black Lives Matter movement to park

A handful of demonstrators raised fists, signs in solidarity Friday

Police watchdog investigating Lake Country incident

A man was taken to hospital after the June 3 incident

Community backlash over Black Lives Matter rally in Kelowna

Some members of Kelowna’s black community stated they don’t support Friday’s rally

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park at large

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

Bear strolls into Okangan homeowner’s living room

Conservation officers are searching for the bear, which entered a home in the Foothills area

Most Read