By David MacDonald W hen the Office of the Auditor General released its report on senate expenses during the scandal that plagued the final years of Prime Minister Harper’s time in office, HBO’s John Oliver pounced on it like a loose puck. With reports of Canadian senators using taxpayer money to go on fishing trips and buy hockey tickets, Oliver and his writers are forgiven for taking a few shots from the slot. He joked that “this scandal couldn’t be any more Canadian if public money was used to get Drake to drink maple syrup on Niagara Falls.” Oliver’s round ribbing came to mind recently when TD Bank economist, Brian DePratto spoke with CBC News. DePratto was commenting on a recent Statistics Canada report that detailed the country’s 0.2 percent economic growth in April. While the oil and gas industries – who were still recovering from a fire and shutdown at an Alberta Syncrude facility in mid-March – shrank by 0.8 percent in April and the manu- facturing industry shrank by 0.9 percent, the arts and enter- tainment sector soared which led to the expected overall growth. One of the reasons the growth was expected by

economists despite the doom and gloom in key industries I’m sure will wind up the subject of a few late night jokes: “it is perhaps worth nothing that at least part of the gain can be attributed to five Canadian teams making the NHL playoffs this year, a welcome departure from the 2016 per- formance.” But Canada is laughing last. April’s report was a bit of a landmark for Canucks – well maybe not Canucks but Flames, Oilers, Senators, Leafs, and Canadiens – because it means that Canada’s economy has grown by 3.3 percent since April 2016. That is, according to economist, Doug Porter from the Bank of Montreal, “the fastest growth rate among the major industrialized economies over that stretch.” It remains to be seen how the Bank of Canada’s first interest rate increase in seven years will impact the residual stimulus – and it’s not looking like the Blue Jays will be bringing too many October baseball games to the Rogers Centre. Source: CBC News



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