Harper says 97 per cent of stimulus now doled out
Prime Minister Stephen Harper broke unconventional ground today, travelling half way around the world to unveil the Conservative government's final economic report card in China.
Senior officials handed copies of the fourth report to reporters on the plane en route to China where Harper is making his first official visit.
The fourth and final report outlines how effective the Harper Tories have been in doling out $62 billion of recession-fighting spending.
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty was scheduled to deliver the final report card in Winnipeg later today but the prime minister trumped him by holding a news conference with the travelling Canadian media shortly after landing in Beijing after a 17 hour flight.
Like the other report cards, it was long on praise for the government's efforts to get billions of dollars out the door, claiming this unprecedented spending will create 220,000 jobs.
It says 167,000 Canadians are enrolled in federally-funded working sharing arrangements.
The report to Canadians claims 97 per cent of stimulus dollars have been committed for this fiscal year.
And it states close to $70 per cent of 2009-10 stimulus is already flowing in the economy.
For example it says $25 billion has been committed to 12,000 infrastructure projects across Canada of which about 8,000 have begun.
The report says $400 million of infrastructure money for next year hasn't been committed to yet. It urged the provinces and municipalities to move quickly to finalize any construction projects before the spending taps are turned off.
Due to unprecedented demand for Ottawa's ecoEnergy Retrofit programs, the Tories will take $205 million from the Clean Energy Fund to finance 120,000 additional retrofits for Canadian homeowners.
It notes the popular Home Renovation Tax credit has resulted in a sharp 12.5 and 11.5 per cent increase increases in the second and third quarters for home improvement while residential investment jumped 8.1 percent in the third quarter.
"As a result, in the last six months, Canada has experienced the largest increase in domestic expenditures among G-7 countries," the report said.
The deficit is projected to hit a high of $56 billion this year but will drop in $27.4 billion as stimulus spending winds down.