Influential economist David Rosenberg is brushing off Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s view on Canadian competitiveness.

“Look, if I was a politician in Ottawa, and I was in power, I’d be saying the same thing,” said Rosenberg, chief economist and strategist at Gluskin Sheff + Associates, in an interview with BNN Bloomberg Friday. “Who is ever going to go in front of the cameras and admit failure?”  

“But the data are the data,” Rosenberg added, pointing to stagnant Canadian business productivity growth and capital investment-to-GDP ratios as examples.

Rosenberg was referring to Morneau’s comments on BNN Bloomberg last week, in which he refused to accept the view that Canada is not competitive.

“I will constantly go back to business people and listen to them and say, you need to help me to understand what exactly are the prescriptions to ensure we remain competitive,” Morneau told BNN Bloomberg’s Amanda Lang last Friday. “But what I won’t do is accept the frame that we’re not competitive.”

Rosenberg argues the state of the Canadian dollar is a signal of Canada’s weakening competitiveness. He said the currency is trading about eight cents lower than where it should be, based on current energy prices.

“I guess you can manufacture other data to fit your viewpoint, but let’s just face facts,” Rosenberg said. “If we were truly competitive, we wouldn’t have to be relying on a 70-cent Canadian dollar to act as a competitive crutch, artificially, for domestic industry.”

Rosenberg added that Canada would have a strong currency if it were actually “a competitive powerhouse.”

“The truth is always in the price, and usually in the price of your exchange rate,” he said.