Monday, January 26, 2009

The Steady Hand for the Economy

For a bunch of reasons I haven’t been able to blog much this month, but I should be back in the swing of it again with Parliament returning this week. With our MPs coming back today one issue will at the top of everyone’s mind: the economy. And is there a single remaining Conservative who can say with a straight face that Stephen Harper and Jim Flaherty's party have been good economic managers?

The entire last election was about them convincing us that they would be “steady hand” to guide the economy through rough waters. Instead, they’ve steadily guided us deeper and deeper into a ditch and it’s still not clear if they’ve taken us to the bottom of it yet.

Can anyone name a single sound economic decision this government made? A single one?

How about their introduction of 40 year mortgages and other reckless lending practices that first triggered the financial crisis south of the border? Was that sound economic management?

How about cutting the GST by two points when ZERO economists recommended it and taking approximately $12 billion a year more out of general revenues? Does anyone really believe that benefited the economy?

How about Stephen Harper’s encouragement to buy into the stock market before it fell another 20%? Does this make you think he should be managing the country’s money?

How about Stephen Harper’s saying in September that “if we were going to have a recession we probably would have already had one by now” before later saying we could face a depression. Does this make you think that this “economist” really understands the economy?

How about pronouncing there would be surpluses in the four years ahead and turning around just a few weeks later to say there would $100 billion in accumulated debt (with $13 billion of that coming BEFORE any stimulus) instead? Does this make you feel confident in their forecasts for the future?

I won’t be surprised if we hear in today’s throne speech about how these guys “saw the storm coming” and are providing “sound economic management”. But that’s nothing more than a massive lie and Stephen Harper and Jim Flaherty know it. You can read here on this blog and many others quotes from news stories predicting “worse than a recession” during the election campaign while Stephen Harper was still out singing from his “don’t worry, be happy” songbook. We’ve grown to expect our Prime Ministers to play politics now and then, but we’ve never seen them be so willfully dishonest. And in my book we don’t reward people who pathologically deceive, while being abysmal at the job everyone expects them to do.

We face the toughest economic crisis in a generation. The next six months of government action will play a major role in determining when Canada will see an economic recovery. The Liberals will face a very tough choice this week and will be under overwhelming pressure to pass whatever Conservative budget is put forward, and while I’m willing to see that budget before pronouncing it should be defeated we still need to ask ourselves, if we truly put the interests of Canada and our economy first, do we have confidence in Stephen Harper to get us out of this economic crisis?

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