Sunday, September 28, 2008

21 A.D.

Probably the most fascinating aspect of this election campaign, the apparent inability of anyone to put claims into context. Not really a daunting task, I mean one only has to go back THREE weeks ago to demonstrate the patent hypocrisy, the gross mis-characterizations. It's as though the big bang occurred on September 7th, the beginning of time, everything viewed from that moment forward.

Harper is positioning himself as the prudent steward of our fiscal house, recognizing that now is not the time for big spending, anyone offering new initiatives reckless, downright dangerous. The Conservatives have come up with these clever, unsubstantiated calculations, to demonstrate that the Dion agenda will bring us into deficit, undercutting all the sound fiscal management of the government. Simply astounding to listen to a drunken sailor preach sobriety, but in this campaign there appears little accountability, so you can't really blame the Conservatives for recognizing the passivity.

Let's go back in time, I mean way, way back to early September, just prior to the election call. I know it's hard, we've all aged so much since then, the "good ole days" have little revelance to the modern circumstances from which Harper draws his fiscal arguments. However, just indulge me for a moment, because I believe the ancient times deserve some attention.

Remember when the economy was contracting, we saw record job losses in the summer, banks were challenging the government's fiscal projections, inflation became a real concern, the prospect of deficit real? What was the fiscally responsible Harper government doing?:
The Conservative government announced just over $19-billion worth of pledges in the three months before the Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, had Parliament dissolved and launched an election campaign, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation said Wednesday.

The federation updated a list it had released on Friday, which included items that the government announced at the last minute.

From June 2 to Sept. 6, the federation calculated the government made announcements with a $19.2-billion pricetag, or the equivalent of $198-million a day or more than $8-million an hour.

In its 2008 budget, the government projected spending would increase by 3.4% this fiscal year. But recent statistics released by the Department of Finance indicate spending has grown 8.4%

That calculation was released 18 days ago, but my how things have changed since. Now that we're in an election, Harper is suddenly worried about the future, even though the government was recklessly blowing money at an incredible pace all summer, a summer where every one was fully aware of the economic challenges ahead. Apparently, one can act irresponsibly prior to an election, but are then given a blank slate post-writ. You can morph into anything you choose, and nobody seems to notice. You can criticize you opponents for adopting your fiscal approach, and nary a dissenting column or question. It's just too hard for our empty heads to remember the distant times, better left to historians, little revelance to the modern realities. Life was much different in late August...


Anonymous said...

All this, and he's running a SURPLUS anyway... imagine that.

It's okay for Paul Martin to make 26 billion in promises, with new money, not previously announced money, but when Harper makes pledges, most of which was previously announced, he's spending us into deficit.

"Hypocrit's are us", the Liberal party is through the door on the left.

In a nation that never even had an annual deficit until Trudeau came along, much less a national deficit of 190 billion which he cheerfully left in the lap of the Conservatives. Not to mention spending programs which once enacted, Mulroney had no choice but to continue... you know, like the $4.5 billion we spend annually on bilingualism.

Then we have to sit back and watch as Paul Martin and Jean Chretien villify Bad Brian, for paying for their beloved leaders promises, and creating NAFTA, and implementing a GST so that those programs could be paid for, not to mention the national debt.

Only to have Jean Chretien and Martin hack health care to death, take credit for doing what a monkey could do with the GST and coporate tax revenues NAFTA created.

Yet Harper is the man who will destroy us.

Yeesh. Go buy a history book that goes back a little further than your birthday Steve.

Your hero's are created on the backs of Conservatives... they just forgot to mention it to you.

Steve V said...

Nice tirade. Interesting how you just gloss over the lack of fiscal conservatism of your HERO.

Steve V said...

"It's okay for Paul Martin to make 26 billion in promises, with new money, not previously announced money,"

Oh ya, and speaking of HISTORY, why don't you go back and read all the Harper quotes when Martin was doing that, I think you'll find the naked hypocrisy enlightening.

Mark Richard Francis said...

wc macdonell said:

"In a nation that never even had an annual deficit until Trudeau came along,"

This is the sort of thing that the CPC wants to sell as revisionist history in order to try to blame Liberals for everything, despite fixing the disastrous fiscal mismanagement of the Mulroney Conservatives, and running eight consecutive balanced budgets.

We have had a National Debt for many generations, and will continue to do so. Deficits were, thus, common, long before Trudeau.

Trudeau did run up debt, but he did so during of time of huge economic upheaval throughout the Western world (stagflation). When Trudeau finally left office, Canada's debt load was actually at the OECD average.

Mulroney, like Ronald Reagan, actually managed to to build up more debt, despite have a better economy in the mid-80s to work from. BY the time the 90s rolled around, Wall St. was claiming that Canada was turnign into "third-world nation status" due to our inability to control spending.

The Liberals, among much hollering from the left wing, managed to turn our financials right around.

Harper is screwing up. He did the wrong tax cut (GST), and has promised so much spending that we are now known to be hovering around having little surplus left. We may even be falling into a deficit situation.

Compare this to the proven Liberal strategy of maintaining a continual splitting surplus, splitting it between spending and debt reduction.

Of course, this is classically what Conservatives want to do: tax cut us into deficit to ensure there's no more so-called "big government."

Anonymous said...

Canadians have to experience the downsides of a Bush-type adminstration before they kick the Tories out. The Tory policies are not forward-looking which is what we need from our leaders. What people will remember is not Harper's sweaters, but how we lost ground in a world economy and left domestic challenges unmet. The facts are all there, but we choose to ignore them.

Susan said...

Mark has it bang on: "Of course, this is classically what Conservatives want to do: tax cut us into deficit to ensure there's no more so-called "big government."

The second Harper gets elected (if he does) it will be all lean and mean again, slashing everything he hates and making every bill a confidence vote. And if that happens the Liberals should vote against every single confidence bill with no exception.

Anonymous said...

up at nanos cons down.

burlivespipe said...

This will be the first time ever that, should the polls turn true, that a returning gov't will feign shock and say 'Oh, we never thought it was this bad!' and then back away from many of their promises (not that he needed economic troubles to do that from the day he was sworn in!)... Campbell did it here when he was first elected, and McGinty the same in Ontario. But they could blame the previous gov't... Harper is going to have to build a long trail of crumbs to leave the blame at the foot of the 2004-05 Martin gov't. Not that he won't stop trying.

Steve V said...

I'm still not sure what Trudeau has to do with Harper saying something yesterday, but in practice doing the exact opposite a few weeks ago. Oh, the dodge and weave, a solution to every dilemna.

Anonymous said...

Family dinner last night - the argument was "when did dinner become lunch and suppertime become dinnertime?? No one had any clear answers. But we did discuss the coming absence of proper meat inspection as we ate what may well be one of the last, truly well-inspected sirloin tip beef roasts.

In the midst of this somewhat passionate discussion, we are talking about our food supply here and in the middle of farming country, where most incomes are directly related to the producing of food, after all, the subject of the election came up. Traditional progressive voters, known to swing between NDP and Liberal, but very tepid Dion supporters this time around, had this to say: He needs to get angry more often! Yes, he shows his humanity when he does that! Yes, he comes across as more real! After recovering a little from my shock, as I have yet to hear them say anything that is not critical of Dion, I asked what prompted this, and they said it was his retorting that he doesn't need to take lessons from Conservatives on both Canadian Unity and Deficits! I add exclamation points to these statements because both the tone used, the context of past statements made by these voters, the fact that they watch alot of TV and actually saw Dion on TV, as well as their facial expressions, conveyed to me, that Dion's more passionate, outraged, EMOTIONAL, responses to Harper's outrageous attacks on his character and the Liberal record resonated, so please pass this on, this message. Gone were the usual western portrayals of Dion, his accent, can't understand him, too bookish, etc.

- Blackstar

Steve V said...


You may be right, and the polls suggest getting away from the script might be working. We'll see.

Mike said...

Steve, they have been like that the whole time. Andrew Coyne has skewered both conservative budgets because they are high spending ones - more spending that Mulroney, more than Paul Martin and, incredibly, more than Trudeau.

And remember, this is exactly what Flaherty did in Ontario and put us into a $6 billion deficit...don't trust these guys.

Details at my place...

Steve V said...

That is clearly worth a link.

Sadly, Coyne is one of the few to notice.