Liberals prepared to recall Parliament during summer to ratify new NAFTA deal

OTTAWA — The Liberal government is prepared to recall Parliament this summer to ratify the new North American trade agreement, The Canadian Press has learned. As much as the government wants to move “in tandem” with the United States toward final legal approval of the new agreement it doesn’t want to get too far ahead, says a senior government official who wasn’t authorized to speak for attribution because of the sensitivity of the process. The source says it is not clear obstacles in the U.S. Congress can be overcome before…

Canada supports EU plan to help WTO deal with Trump disruption

OTTAWA — Canada’s trade minister is endorsing a European Union plan to prevent the Trump administration from paralyzing the World Trade Organization’s dispute-settlement body later this year. Jim Carr tells The Canadian Press that the EU’s plan to set up a proxy version of the WTO’s Appellate Body has merit and deserves further examination. The United States is blocking appointments to fill vacancies at the Appellate Body, which acts as an appeal court of sorts for the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Body. President Donald Trump, along with other members of his…

Ottawa racks up $11.8 billion deficit for the year — that’s better than last year and better than forecast

OTTAWA — A preliminary estimate by the Finance Department says the federal government posted a deficit of $11.8 billion for its 2018-19 fiscal year. The shortfall compared with a deficit of $16.7 billion for 2017-18. The Liberals’ spring budget had forecast a deficit of $14.9 billion for the 2018-19 fiscal year which ended on March 31. The shortfall came as the monthly fiscal monitor report said revenue rose $24.7 billion, or 8.1 per cent, due to increases in tax revenues and other revenues. Program expenses gained $18.5 billion, or 6.2…

Canada posts weakest back-to-back quarters of growth since 2015 — but that’s not the whole story

OTTAWA — Canada’s economy expanded at an annualized pace of just 0.4 per cent in the first three months of the year, giving the country its weakest back-to-back quarters of growth since 2015. The real gross domestic product reading for the first quarter followed a revised growth number of just 0.3 per cent in the previous quarter, Statistics Canada said Friday in a new report. It was the slowest two-quarter stretch of growth since Canada’s oil price crisis in 2015 It was the slowest two-quarter stretch of growth since an…

IMF urges Canada to resist pressure, stay course on mortgage stress test

Canada should hold off on changes to make homebuying more affordable but should speed up efforts to reduce trade barriers within its borders, advises the International Monetary Fund. The organization calls for policies that focus on ensuring a sound financial system, enhanced co-operation between federal and provincial governments and structural reforms that target productivity growth in a wide-ranging report by staff following an official visit to Canada. “The Canadian Free Trade Agreement signed in 2017 provides a platform for co-operation in reducing internal trade barriers, but several problematic aspects need…