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Wet’suwet’en solidarity blockades had minimal impact on Canadian economy: PBO

Click to play video: 'Proposed agreement reached with chiefs and ministers' Proposed agreement reached with chiefs and ministers
Proposed agreement reached with chiefs and ministers – Mar 2, 2020

OTTAWA – 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.

READ MORE: Trudeau Liberals approval rating spikes amid possible Wet’suwet’en blockade resolution

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.

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.

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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.

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