Sunday, May 1, 2011

If Stephen Harper is an Economist, I'm the Duke of Windsor

Some time ago Gerald Caplan wrote: If Stephen Harper's an Economist, I'm the Queen of Sheba.

This campaign the Conservatives are suggesting that they are the best economic stewards, and billing Harper as a 'trained economist'.

Trained where? The only real job he ever held was in the mail room at Esso, a place where his father and uncle worked.

In the coverage of the Kingston rally, local candidate Alicia Gordon had to look at her notes twice to get out one sentence about how Harper saved Canada from sure ruin. Even she wasn't convinced.

John Peters writes in the Toronto Star: Harper and the illusion of economic management

Over the past four weeks, Stephen Harper has repeatedly told Canadians that the Conservatives are the “best economic managers” on offer, and that their “stewardship” is why Canada’s economy bounced back strongly from the global financial crisis.
There are good reasons for Canadians to be skeptical of these claims and even more reasons to be worried about what a continuation of Conservative economic policies will mean for Canada’s future. The Conservatives cannot claim much credit for Canada’s economic success of the past decade. The surge in our natural exports has been due largely to the spike in commodity prices driven by rising natural resource demand and dwindling supplies.

Even before the latest round of corporate tax cuts, Canada’s oil, gas and natural resource exports nearly had doubled in value in recent years, and now more than 25 per cent of Canada’s economy is directly or indirectly tied to the mining and oil and gas industries, even more so in Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador, where oil and gas account for nearly 40 per cent of provincial GDP. It was also because of the Conservatives’ sheer luck — not economic management — that Canada did not suffer a financial crisis and end up like the United States or many countries in Western Europe.
In fact because Harper has our economy tied up in commodities, Goldman Sachs is warning their clients not to invest in Canada.

"Hey, hey. Ho, ho. Stephen Harper has got to go." Sorry, I thought I was still at the protest rally.

I warned the rude police officer standing in front of me that he was never going to get that song out of his head. He almost smiled.

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