Canada says not swimming naked, emerging stronger

Thu Sep 17, 2009 7:00pm EDT
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By Randall Palmer

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The global recession showed Canada was not swimming naked, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Thursday, arguing that the country entered and is exiting the financial crisis stronger than other countries.

"To paraphrase Warren Buffett, as the tide went out, the crisis exposed those who had been swimming naked. And it turns out that Canada was not only no skinny dipper, she was also the strongest swimmer," Harper told a business audience.

He also said he would tell next week's Group of 20 (G20) summit that while a global recovery was under way, it was fragile and stimulus needed to be maintained for now.

"We must...continue implementing stimulus measures until we see a much stronger rebound in private investment," said Harper, on his return to Canada from a White House visit.

"But at the same time, there must be plans put in place to exit from high levels of government deficits and debt so that capital investment in the private sector is not eventually crowded out."

He said it was important for the G20 to continue its efforts to fix the financial sector, adding that toxic assets still had to be purged from the international system.

"None of us is fully through it (the recession) yet. But the light is there at the end of the tunnel if we are clear on the way forward and stay the course," he said in the prepared text of his remarks.

"This was the message I brought to Washington this week and this will be the message Canada brings to the G20 meeting in Pittsburgh next week."   Continued...

<p>Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper comments on his visit to Capitol Hill in Washington, September 17, 2009. REUTERS/Jim Young</p>