Trusting Stephen Harper with the economy

Somehow this myth has developed about the Conservative Party of Canada(CPC) being a good manager of the economy.

Now I’m not an economist but I can read. And I can remember things, occasionally.

This is what I remember…

In 2008 Harper denied there was a recession or an economic crisis. Then when it finally dawned on him that we were in trouble he didn’t have any clue about what to do except ‘stay the course’. It was only because he was in a minority position that he was forced to adopt measures pressed on him by the NDP and Liberals…fiscal stimulus and a willingness to accept a budget deficit.

The latter was not too hard for Harper since, having inherited a nice surplus from the Liberals under Paul Martin, he has not managed to balance a budget until this year … maybe. That was even before the meltdown.

Then, after adopting the opposition’s economic policies he proceeded to rebrand them as his own Economic Action Plan.

In the first couple of years Canada did indeed do better than most OECD countries. Many have attributed this to the tough regulatory regime  governing the banking system in Canada that was put in place by the Liberals…the type of regulations Stephen Harper would oppose.

In the past several years, in spite of Harper’s lies to the contrary, Canada has lagged behind the OECD mean for job growth and  general economic growth.

What has Harper done to reverse the slide in the economy? He has defined an economic strategy based on pandering to his base. Even conservative economists have said that income splitting and raising the Tax Free Savings Account limits will do nothing for economic growth and disproportionately favours the well to do. For a ‘conservative’ he has made the tax system much more complicated by targeted his supporters with tax cuts in piecemeal measures from hockey equipment to child tax credits. Most economists of all ideologies have decried his do-nothing approach to the economy…or rather his crass reduction of the tax base for political benefit.

And what is Harper saying today? Well, first he denies that we are in recession in spite of his own legislation defining a recession as ‘two successive quarters of negative economic growth’, which indeed what has just occurred.

What is Harpers plan for the future? He is saying we need to ‘stay the course’. That would, of course, be the course of denying there is a problem and refusing to do anything about it. He continues to repeat the mantra that Canada is doing better than the rest of the developed world in spite of much evidence to the contrary.

So why do so many Canadians feel Harper is a trusted manager of the economy? I don’t know. But if you know any of these people, please, ask them why they think so. I would really like to know where this comes from.

Now don’t get me started on the ethical issues of a Harper government. Talk about a sense of entitlement.


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