Monday, April 16, 2012

Bob Rae's Record

Those attack ads, branding Bob Rae a "Failure," are ubiquitous these days. But Tim Armstrong, a former deputy minister of Industry and Trade in Rae's government, sets the record straight in this morning's Toronto Star:

For 18 months I worked closely with Bob Rae on two of his highest priority projects — saving Algoma Steel in Sault Saint Marie and securing Bombardier’s purchase of de Havilland Aircraft in Downsview from Boeing Inc. His dedication and negotiating skills in these two successful endeavours, and several other industrial restructurings, were remarkable.

Then Armstrong gets down to specifics:

 • In the decade before the Rae government’s election, Ontario had lost over 4 per cent of its manufacturing employment, triple the loss in Alberta and double that in Quebec over the same period — a substantial inherited problem.
 • Despite the loss of those jobs, Ontario’s manufacturing sector earnings had gone from the lowest among the Great Lakes jurisdictions in 1987 to the second highest in 1991.
 • Unemployment, at 9.6 per cent, was high, but lower than Quebec and below the Canadian average of 10.3 per cent. In the recent 2008-09 recession, Ontario’s unemployment rate was higher, for three years, than the Canadian average, something that never happened under Rae’s leadership.

Labour was very unhappy about Rae's brand of austerity -- Rae Days. But, as the federal government eliminates jobs and services, it's worth remembering that Rae tried to do just the opposite. In fact, his objective was to maintain government services and the people who provided them.

When Mike Harris arrived, he lambasted Rae for irresponsible fiscal management. The Harris solution resulted in welfare cuts, teacher strikes, the Ipperwash tragedy and the Walkerton debacle. In the end -- with Jim Flaherty as Minister of Finance -- Rae's $9.7 billion deficit was reduced to $5.6 billion.

And, finances aside, there were other initiatives.  Armstrong writes:

Other noteworthy achievements included the Jobs Ontario program; incentives to employers to hire people on welfare; the expanded child-care program; the new Trillium Drug Plan giving affordable access to those in need of therapeutic drugs; renewed emphasis on aboriginal affairs; and a deep commitment to the success of our federal system, leading to an affirmative vote in Ontario on the national referendum on the Charlottetown accord.

Meanwhile, the people behind the attack ads are keeping two sets of books.


Anonymous said...

Harper started out with a $13 billion surplus. He managed to increase spending by 40%.

Harper steals from us to give billions to, banks, mines and gas and oil corporations. He also gives them, huge tax reductions. This was seen on, the House of Commons TV channel.

Harper has wasted billions, on his stupid wars, we didn't even have the right to be in. ICC Chief Prosecutor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo is deciding to summons Harper for, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Harper and his Conservatives expense accounts are outrageous and a disgrace. They went absolutely off their rockers. Now that Harper has wasted billions and billions of our tax dollars...he is now slashing the services, we pay through the nose for.

Bob Rae is a Sunday school teacher, compared to Harper. We are fed up with Harper's, lies, deceit, corruption, thefts, criminals that work for Harper.

We are especially furious, about the election fraud and the robo-calls. The records posted, clearly go right to Harper and his Conservatives. Well over half of Canadians, did not want Harper as P.M...he knew it, so he cheated.

Owen Gray said...

You're right. Compared to Harper, Rae is a Sunday school teacher.

However, Harper likes to blow his own horn -- as he condemns others for their apostasy.

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

I feel badly that we failed to understand what the Rae government was up against and what it tried to do. As this article explains it was a better government than it has been given credit. I have read elsewhere that NDP governments in other provinces have been very good fiscal managers. Ironically, it has been Conservative governments that have most often runup large deficits.

Owen Gray said...

Rae has taken a lot of abuse, Philip. And you're right. NDP governments have, generally speaking, been good fiscal stewards.

Tommy Douglas and Roy Romanow were both very good at balancing the books.

And they both used only one set of books.