Harper "optimistic" on economy

Mon Oct 6, 2008 9:57am EDT
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TORONTO (Reuters) - Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Monday he is "fundamentally optimistic" about the economy.

His comment came in response to a reporter's question that made reference to a Bank of Nova Scotia report that forecast a Canadian recession that could last well into 2009.

"Let's be clear the prime minister of Canada is not going to go around the country predicting a recession when we're not in a recession now," said Harper.

"I remain fundamentally optimistic about the Canadian economy, but optimistic as I've said from the beginning, within the framework we're now living in and that is in a period of economic uncertainty."

Harper said his government is focused on putting forward policies that are "appropriate" to the economic environment.

"The contrast is very clear: the opposition parties say they want to do more," he said. "What they want to do more of is, quite simply, spending and taxing."

The prime minister, in an election stop near Ottawa, said the country is in a "relatively good position" compared to some other countries.

(Reporting by Jennifer Kwan; Editing by Frank McGurty)

<p>Prime Minister Stephen Harper looks at his notes after the French leaders' debate in Ottawa, October 1, 2008. REUTERS/Tom Hanson/Pool</p>