Categorized | Canadian Politics


Posted on 29 July 2015 by admin


 The Hon. Ralph Goodale


One repulsive Conservative attack-ad running on television these days talks about Canada’s 2008 recession.

If you recall, that was just the first recession over which Stephen Harper has presided – we’re now suffering through his second. What a glorious record, as he stumbles from one economic bungle to another!

In this television ad, a paid actor reads through a Conservative script suggesting that no one saw the 2008 recession coming. That is a barefaced lie. Just about everyone in the western world could tell the economy was turning downward – everyone, apparently, except the Conservatives.

Were they that incompetent, or did they deliberately hide the truth?

For several years, officials in Canada’s Finance department had worried about fundamental weaknesses in the US housing market and in the American banking system which posed serious downside risks to global economic stability. They urged successive Finance Ministers (including me) to be particularly prudent in financial management and budget-making. There was a high-risk bubble that was about to burst.

Ignoring all the warnings in that period between when they took power (February, 2006) and when the recession arrived (Fall, 2008), the Harper regime overspent by three-times the rate of inflation. They mangled the federal tax base. They eliminated all the contingency reserves and prudence factors from the budget-making process. And they put Canada back on the cusp of a deficit once again.

In effect, the Conservatives inherited one of the strongest fiscal and economic situations in the western world, and in less than three years, they blew it – BEFORE there was any recession to blame.

The recession made things worse, but it was Mr. Harper all on his own who made Canada vulnerable.

All through his reckless profligacy, Mr. Harper claimed a recession was unlikely. He promised we would all enjoy “good buying opportunities”. He pledged never to run a deficit. In fact he explicitly projected five surplus budgets. And he was completely wrong.

Why? It was all contrived to let him sneak past Election Day in the fall of 2008.

And now, as Yogi Berra might say, it’s “deja-vu all over again”. Mr. Harper is in abject denial about another recession, and about the hard reality that, on his watch, the economy is a “serial disappointment”.

He has the worst growth record of any Prime Minister since R.B. Bennett in the 1930′s. He failed to lead this country to full recovery from that first recession in 2008 before the second one hit in 2015. He has run up $157-billion in new Harper debt – so far. His deficits continue. The federal books are not yet balanced in 2015. This will be the 8th consecutive Harper deficit.

To try to divert attention from their economic incompetence, the Conservatives have hired an actor to tell lies in a television attack-ad. But the real “bad actor” is Mr. Harper himself.


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