'Meh' conditions for Canadians quarantined at air base
Finance Minister Bill Morneau warned the spread of the coronavirus is likely to have a “real” impact on Canada’s economy given far-reaching, global knock-on effects.
At a breakfast speech in Calgary, Morneau said the deadly viral outbreak that began in China is expected to have a “significant” impact on global growth that will spillover into Canada as it disrupts tourism and supply chains, and lowers commodity prices. He said oil prices have fallen 15 per cent as a result of reduced demand, for example.
“I do want to acknowledge the virus is undoubtedly going to have an economic impact,” Morneau said in remarks to the Economic Club of Canada. “We know the impact is real.”
The comments are the most extensive Morneau has made on the coronavirus, which has now killed 910 people — more than the 2003 outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS. While the situation is being closely monitored by economists, few have made any major changes to their predictions for Canada as a result, with forecasts for the economy in 2020 still in line with the federal government’s own projections last November.
Even with the risks associated with coronavirus, Morneau said the Canadian economy remains strong and is projected to be the second-fastest-growing in the Group of Seven this year. He also pledged to remain fiscally responsible to keep finances resilient in the face of any challenges.
Separately Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government said a second evacuation flight had landed in Wuhan to bring Canadians home from the virus zone. The chartered airplane arrived in the city at the epicenter of the outbreak from Hong Kong and was beginning to load passengers, a spokeswoman for the foreign ministry said in an email to reporters.
The first government flight carried 176 passengers out of China on Friday. The returning Canadians are being quarantined for two weeks at a military base in Ontario.