What recession? Joe Oliver says Canada was not in downturn earlier this year

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TORONTO — Finance Minister Joe Oliver says Canada was not in a recession in the first half of the year despite economic data to the contrary.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Oliver says there was a contraction confined to the energy and resource sector — but he doesn’t believe there was a recession in the first two quarters of 2015.

Oliver, who is running for re-election in the Toronto riding of Eglinton-Lawrence, also says he doesn’t think Canada’s now in a recession, citing robust trade numbers and strong consumer confidence.

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Earlier this month, Statistics Canada reported that real gross domestic product contracted at an annual pace of 0.5 per cent in April to June, preceded by a decline of 0.8 per cent in the first three months of the year.

That meets the federal government’s definition of a recession, which is two consecutive quarters of negative GDP.

But some economists say whether Canada fell into a recession is subject to some debate, as the country did not exhibit some of the classic hallmarks of such an economic decline, citing job growth.

The Associated Press

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