There is no current recession and 'this will pass too.': Jimmy Pattison
Canadian billionaire Jimmy Pattison doesn’t think Canada is in a recession despite ongoing fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is all going to get resolved. People are still going to eat,” the chairman and CEO of Jim Pattison Group, the country’s second-largest private company, told BNN Bloomberg’s Jon Erlichman Thursday.
When asked whether he thinks Canada is in a recession right now, Pattison said “not at all.”
“We have common sense right now that tells us to be very careful with what we do and moving around the country with different people,” he said.
The Canadian billionaire struck an optimistic tone at a time when the rapid spread of COVID-19 has roiled global markets and taken a toll on businesses across the country.
Some of the nation’s biggest lenders, like Royal Bank of Canada, have forecast Canada will fall into a recession later this year as a result of the impact from COVID-19 and low oil prices
The federal government has vowed to do “whatever it takes” to support the country’s economy as it navigates the uncertainty and introduced a $82-billion aid package Wednesday, which Pattison said is a positive step.
When it comes to the Pattison Group, which is made up of a collection of businesses that include advertising, car dealerships, grocery stores and forestry products, Pattison said the virus has had some impact but he remains positive.
“It’s hit us everywhere as you’d expect,” he said. “The question is: how long until we get through it. We’re optimistic.”
Pattison, who through his conglomerate owns chains like B.C.-based Save-on-Foods, said when it comes to the grocery business in particular, the demand is unprecedented.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Pattison said.
“We’re still selling cars every day, not as many as we were before,” he added. “We’re selling everything except in the places we’ve shut down, like Ripley’s Believe It or Not.”
“Overall, we are down. But we’re optimistic this thing will get behind us in a reasonable period.”