Canadian prime minister denies country is in recession amid election campaign

Economic Indicators Associated Press

Canadian Prime Minister and election candidate Stephen Harper is declining to say the country is in recession despite new data that shows that it is.

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Government agency Statistics Canada reported Tuesday the economy contracted at an annual pace of 0.5 percent in the second quarter and 0.8 percent during the first three months of 2015. Economists deem two conservative negative quarters a recession.

Harper refused to call it that, saying "we've had a few weak months" but the economy is bouncing back. He pointed to growth in June.

Analysts say the Oct. 19 election is a toss-up and Harper's Conservative Party and he faces an uphill battle to form another majority government in Parliament.

Harper has blamed low oil prices for the slumping economy.