Canada is in for one of the toughest years in decades with massive job losses, plunging corporate profits and a severe contraction in national income, the Toronto-Dominion Bank says.
In one of the gloomiest economic outlooks of any major forecaster, the TD Bank rejects rosy forecasts by the federal government and the Bank of Canada for a painful, but short recession that has Canada bouncing back to health beginning in the second half of this year.
Rather, TD says, the recession will be painful and long.
"There is no doubt that 2009 will go down in the history books as one of the most difficult economic years for Canadians," says Beata Caranci, the bank's director of economic forecasting.
And Canada won't return to a "normal, steady state" for at least five years, says Caranci.
The bank estimates that the recession will result in 583,000 Canadians losing their jobs, more than the 462,000 that were thrown onto the unemployment rolls during the 1990-91 recession.
I suspected Harper's speech earlier this week might become a "mission accomplished" moment. What we are seeing, mere hours after the Harper view presented, that once again this government is entirely behind the economic curve. Real leadership requires honest assessments (we've seen this stateside), because we you misread the situation, you are ill prepared to react quickly, instead forever playing catchup. I'll make my own prediction, Harper's words are going to bite him in the ass.
More tomorrow, when the unemployment numbers come out...