Canadian families have plenty to fear on the economy, despite assurances by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, NDP finance critic Peggy Nash said Monday.

Flaherty has said Canadian families are in a better position than their American counterparts, but Nash said unemployment and debt in this country remain serious problems.

"The jobless rate is still critically high, particularly among youth and new Canadians. We're in danger of seeing an entire generation lose hope of being able to build better future," she said Monday in Ottawa.

The average family owes $1.49 for every dollar it brings in annually, she pointed out, and the government is interfering in labour negotiations, bringing in back-to-work legislation for Canada Post and Air Canada, and referring an Air Canada contract dispute to an industrial relations board on the basis of health and safety issues, delaying a strike.

"Conservatives are out of touch and they have to start acting to the benefit of the many instead of the few," Nash said.

The Occupy Wall Street protesters are expressing just what the NDP has been saying in the House of Commons, she said. Protesters arrived on Parliament Hill Saturday as the movement expanded from New York to other cities around the world.

"In terms of the goals of the occupation movement, we are completely on the same wavelength."

"I think there's a lot of exciting debate right now. I haven't heard a clearly formulated policy prescription. But I think the important thing is people are standing up."

Flaherty and Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney were in Paris over the weekend for meetings with their G20 counterparts about the debt crisis.

Flaherty and Carney have both expressed cautious sympathy for the Occupy Wall Street movement. Before leaving for Paris, Flaherty said he understands the frustration of protesters in the U.S. But he said the Canadian situation is different, because Canada's income tax system is more progressive, the banking regulations more stringent and the unemployment rate lower.