Harper sees great concern for U.S. system

Fri Sep 19, 2008 12:13pm EDT
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OTTAWA (Reuters) - Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Friday there were great concerns about the stability of the U.S. financial system but he said he did not anticipate any instability in Canada.

"I feel there are great concerns about stability of the American economic system," Harper told reporters. "I think that the measures the Americans are about to take, and have taken, are necessary."

"We will work with other international players because obviously transactions cross international boundaries these days but we don't anticipate any crisis in the Canadian financial system," he said.

The government has emphasized that while the Canadian economy inevitably will feel the effects of any U.S. economic downturn, its financial institutions are not facing the same difficulty as those in the United States.

"The Canadian financial system is very strong. the core banks and insurance companies in this country are, for the most part, in very good financial shape," Harper said.

Asked if Canadian consumers should rein in their spending, he said: "I certainly would not urge consumers to panic. Consumer spending in Canada has been very strong. That's been one of the things that has sheltered Canada from the kind of economic problems we've seen in other countries."

(Reporting by Louise Egan and Randall Palmer; Editing by Peter Galloway)

<p>Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivers his speech during a campaign rally at St. Volodymyr Cultural Centre in Oakville September 16, 2008. REUTERS/Mike Cassese</p>