The damage Stephen Harper has done to his country is everywhere. Three years ago, at the G20 Summit, he touted Canada's economic growth. But now that he has implemented his austerity agenda, things aren't looking so good. The Canadian Press reports that Canada is no longer the fastest growing economy among the G7 countries:
Capital Economics says Canada's economy will only grow by 1.5 per cent this year, and slow further to one per cent in 2014 as the country's over-built housing market comes crashing to earth.
That would mean the U.S., Germany and likely Japan could outperform Canada in growth in one or both years.
Canada generally outperformed the Group of Seven industrialized economies during the 2008-09 recession and in the aftermath, but has seen the actual growth rate slow each year of the recovery period from 3.4 per cent in 2010, to 2.5 per cent in 2012, to 1.7 per cent last year.
We tend to forget that, besides tanking the Canadian economy, Harper has also had a hand in tanking the world economy. Linda McQuaig writes, in The Toronto Star, that the prime minister pushed for austerity at the G20 summit in 2010:
The embrace of austerity at the 2010 Toronto summit was a dramatic reversal of the stimulus spending that the world’s rich nations had quite effectively adopted to counter the devastating 2008 financial crash — in line with the lessons taught by the great 20th century British economist John Maynard Keynes.
Harper played a key role in that lamentable change of direction. At his urging, the G20 nations agreed to commit themselves to halve their deficits by 2013 — a draconian approach that returned the developed world to obsessing about deficits and ignoring unemployment.
(Ironically, the high unemployment produced by austerity reduces tax revenues and increases social spending, making deficit-reduction difficult. Much to its embarrassment, the Harper government has had to revise its deficit estimates upward. So far this year, Canada’s deficit is rising, not falling.)
But the fixation on deficits, which has dominated public discourse for much of the last 30 years, has helped divert attention from the fact that austerity is part of a larger agenda (including tax cuts and privatization) that’s redistributed money toward the top.
We don't consider Harper to be a player on the world stage. As George W. Bush liked to say, we have "misunderestimated" him. He is the king of austerity.