Tom Walkom writes that Stephen Harper doesn't get the new world economy. Like Dr. Frankenstein's monster, the creature he helped create has run amok and is trashing his home. If we have had some good fortune, Harper has had nothing to do with it:
The secret truth of this recession is that Ottawa hasn’t had much to do with Canada’s relatively good fortune. Rather it has been our natural resources that — up to this point — have pulled us through.
As long as countries like China are willing to pay top dollar for petroleum and other commodities, the countries that possess such resources do well. Australia, a resource economy governed by the leftish Labour Party, has survived the Great Recession as handily as Conservative-run Canada.
But when it comes to economic policy, the Harper government has been a failure:
The Harper government’s failure is longer-term. It still operates under the assumption that free trade and free markets will conquer all. This is an old model. It is out of date. True, the Great Depression of the 1930s was aggravated because there were too many barriers to the free movement of labour, goods and capital. But the Great Recession of the 21st century is aggravated by the fact that there are too few.
This is the lesson of the crippled eurozone. It is also the lesson of Japan, which started to do better only after it elected a nationalist (and right-wing) government willing to challenge trade orthodoxy
Canada’s Conservatives, however, remain focused on Quixotic, old-style projects that seem doomed to fail.
The truth is that Stephen Harper isn't stuck in the 20th century. He still hasn't emerged from the 19th century, the last time the world was awash in free trade fever.
You may recall that, in 1914, it all came crashing down.
We're off to Montreal for a couple of days. Enjoy the holiday. I'll be back on Monday.