Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux waits to appear before the Commons Finance committee on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Tuesday March 10, 2020. Parliament’s spending watchdog says a series of rail blockades last month will leave a minimal dent in the pace of economic growth. (Adrian Wyld/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Minimal hit to economic growth from rail blockades, PBO says in new report

Parliamentary budget officer says COVID-19 will likely have larger effect than blockades

Parliament’s spending watchdog says a series of rail blockades last month will leave a minimal dent in the pace of economic growth.

The report today estimates the blockades will shave two-tenths of a percentage point off economic growth for the first quarter, with the effects dissipating through the rest of 2020.

The rail blockades sprung up in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in B.C. who oppose a natural-gas pipeline through their traditional territory.

ALSO READ: Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs optimistic ahead of talks

ALSO READ: Caution, with a time limit — How Trudeau’s patience with rail blockades ended

Parliamentary budget officer Yves Giroux says COVID-19 will likely have a larger effect on the economy than the blockades, warning the novel coronavirus has made the short-term economic picture far bleaker than it was just a few weeks ago.

His comments comes as private-sector economists warn that Canada is heading into a recession because of the economic shock of COVID-19, which may only be avoided with hefty stimulus spending from the federal government — as much as $20 billion.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau is expected to address reporters this afternoon, one day after he tried to reassure volatile markets that continued to fall over COVID-19 concerns.

ALSO READ: Bank of Canada cuts rate target to 0.75% in response to COVID-19

The Liberals had promised to deliver a budget on March 30, but that is delayed after the House of Commons agreed not to sit until late April to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus disease.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 13, 2020.

The Canadian Press

CN Rail

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Summer Stories Around Town program encourages outdoor reading in Elk Valley

With storywalks and clothesline stories in Fernie and Sparwood, everyone can get reading

School District 5 identifies funding needs in yearly budget report

The SD5 board presented three main projects that need increased funding in the coming years

From baseball stars to forest fires: Southeast Fire Centre water bomber has an interesting past

Tanker 489 is stationed in Castlegar this year, but in the 1960s it belonged to the L.A. Dodgers.

Student athletes recognized for outstanding seasons

Fernie Secondary School students got their awards in a drive by ceremony last week

The Elk Valley celebrates Canada Day

Creative socially distant Canada Day festivities were held in both Fernie and Sparwood this week

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

COVID-19 cases identified in Kelowna, after public gatherings

Those who were downtown or at the waterfront from June 25 to July 6 maybe have been exposed to COVID-19.

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Conservationists raise concerns over state of care for grizzly cubs transferred to B.C. zoo

‘Let them be assessed now before their fate is sealed,’ urges B.C. conservationist Barb Murray

B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance minister says

Okanagan a bright spot for in-province visitor economy

National Kitten Day aka the ‘purrfect’ day to foster a new friend

July 10 marks National Kitten Day, a special day to celebrate all things kittens

Lower Mainland YouTubers claim to be Kelowna display toilet ‘poopers’

RCMP can not speak to legitimacy of video, will be investigating

Haida matriarchs occupy ancient villages as fishing lodges reopen to visitors

‘Daughters of the rivers’ say occupation follows two fishing lodges reopening without Haida consent

Most Read