Thursday, March 12, 2009

Behind The Curveatives

Harper is turning into a model of consistency. His rhetoric always demonstrates a clear disconnect from reality, as well as a complete inability to demonstrate any foresight. Instead of bracing Canadians, Harper choses to paint a "rosy" picture, that relies on unproven theories to "boast". Yesterday we heard leading economists question Harper's assertions about the Canadian economic rebound, even the argument that Canada could well come out of this recession AFTER the Americans. We also heard from Kevin Page, who argued that, depending on your measure, the Canadian economy is actually performing WORSE than the Americans. Today, two new forecasts for the economy, that completely contradict the Harper rhetoric, and official Conservative calculations, moving forward:
Canada is in for one of the toughest years in decades with massive job losses, plunging corporate profits and a severe contraction in national income, the Toronto-Dominion Bank says.

In one of the gloomiest economic outlooks of any major forecaster, the TD Bank rejects rosy forecasts by the federal government and the Bank of Canada for a painful, but short recession that has Canada bouncing back to health beginning in the second half of this year.

Rather, TD says, the recession will be painful and long.

"There is no doubt that 2009 will go down in the history books as one of the most difficult economic years for Canadians," says Beata Caranci, the bank's director of economic forecasting.

And Canada won't return to a "normal, steady state" for at least five years, says Caranci.

The bank estimates that the recession will result in 583,000 Canadians losing their jobs, more than the 462,000 that were thrown onto the unemployment rolls during the 1990-91 recession.

I suspected Harper's speech earlier this week might become a "mission accomplished" moment. What we are seeing, mere hours after the Harper view presented, that once again this government is entirely behind the economic curve. Real leadership requires honest assessments (we've seen this stateside), because we you misread the situation, you are ill prepared to react quickly, instead forever playing catchup. I'll make my own prediction, Harper's words are going to bite him in the ass.

More tomorrow, when the unemployment numbers come out...


cls said...

Harper strikes me as someone who is deeply cynical about his fellow citizens' intelligence. He repeatedly leaves the impression that if he can 'spin' something long enough he can sell coals to Newcastle. In the short run he may be right, but surely a glance south shows that even master spinners eventually have reality bite them.

Steve V said...

I think it's all predicated on apathy. The strategy assumes nobody is paying close attention, so you can re-invent yourself constantly. It's worked so far, so...

RuralSandi said...

"Stephen [Harper] had difficulty accepting that there might be a few other people (not many, perhaps, but a few) who were as smart as he was with respect to policy and strategy."

- Former Reform Party founder and leader Preston Manning on Stephen Harper in his memoirs.