Wednesday, March 04, 2015

History Is His Enemy

Stephen Harper has always made two claims: 1) that he knows how to manage Canada's economy; and 2) that the Liberals would lead Canada on the road to ruin. Lawrence Martin writes:

The Liberals, [Harper] declared, would turn Canada into another debt-drenched Greece. His government had achieved good results “by pursuing sound economic policies, reducing taxes, focused investment, balancing our budget, all of the things the Liberal Party opposes, all of the things the Liberal Party would reverse to give us the kind of result we have in Greece.”

But former finance minister Ralph Goodale begs to differ:

Under the Liberals, there were nine straight surpluses beginning in 1996. Under the Conservatives, a string of seven deficits. On the pertinent matter of national debt (as per any Greek comparisons), it went down significantly under the Liberals but has gone up by more than $160-billion under Mr. Harper. The Liberals posted not a single trade deficit while the Harper Conservatives have had one practically every year. The Conservatives have been more impressive on tax cuts, although the Liberals did bring in one of the largest in history. On employment, it’s no contest – the Liberals in a walk.

It's true that Harper was in office throughout the Great Recession. However, it seems clear that the Recession was the result of the policies Harper advocated -- just as the Greek situation resulted from policies which Harper urged upon that nation after the G20 summit in 2010.

The problem is that Harper -- like Henry Ford -- lacks historical perspective:

Studies show that economic growth has been on average more than 2 per cent higher under Liberal governments than under Conservative ones. On budget balancing, the Tory historical record is one to run from.

Much in the respective records has to do with timing, circumstance and the turn of fortune. Conservative prime minister R.B. Bennett, for example, served during the Great Depression. But even Pierre Trudeau, considered one of the weakest Liberal economic performers, posted GDP numbers more than twice as high as the Harper government.

And that's why Harper has spent so much money on propaganda. He believes it can erase history. And history is his enemy.


Lorne said...

Harper may lack historical perspective, Owen, but too many Canadians do as well. It is an ongoing ignorance he is counting on, I'm sure.

Anonymous said...

Harper is a pathological liar vis a vis:

Canadian banks received a bailout of up to $125,000,000,000.00 yes one hundred and twenty five billion during the period of 2008 to 2010. [depending on who you read]

A conservative figure is $114 Billion yet our lying sneaking hide in the queens closet PM Mr Stephen Joesph Harper assured us all that no such thing happened.

When are they going to put him in a straight jacket and take him away to where he belongs in the loonie bin?

Mogs Moglio

Owen Gray said...

I agree, Lorne. As you may have noticed, today's quote is from George Santayana -- who famously declared that those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Perhaps we're in for more of the same.

Owen Gray said...

We have an opportunity to send him packing, Mogs -- if we take it.

Rural said...

We must continue to remind those who lack "historical perspective" of why our economy, environment, social services, democracy & parliamentary system are all in decline, Guys. But as we have said before, how many are listening?

Owen Gray said...

That's the question the next election will hinge on, Rural.

Hugh said...

According to Statscan, net Canada federal debt was $490 billion in 2008.

According to Federal debt is now $614 billion.

That's a growth of Federal debt of $114 billion in only 7 years.

This article shows massive Canada Federal deficits every year since 2008:

Owen Gray said...

Harper has focused on balancing the budget for one year, Hugh -- election year.

Meanwhile, his management of long term debt is appalling.

Scotian said...

There is a reason why the old saying "Tory times are tough times" used to have such merit (before the Tories were assassinated by MacKay and Harper to create the bastard child CPC) for so many. For all the Libs faults they do have the actual historical track record of being the better governors and managers of the Canadian economy and I would argue the wider society as a whole. Which in turn has been the key to their overall record of electoral success too. I always thought both the PCPC and NDP also brought important aspects to the wider political dynamic of this nation, but the Libs were consistently the most willing to borrow from whichever side appeared to have the better ideas at the time. This of course got them seen by the partisans of these parties as thieves and stand for nothing power hungry unprincipled a**holes, and not without some merit, but it doesn't change the fact that Canada under the Libs overall developed into one of the most progressive and wonderful nations on earth, at least until the rise of Harperism.

One can only hope that when Harperism falls there comes with it a repugnance once it becomes clear to just what extent the Harper CPC were lying and hiding the truth of what they were doing from Canadians. We need to make sure that Harperism is rejected as a political model to follow ever again in this nation. I also hope that this inculcates an awareness that politics and voting really does matter, that there are real world consequences to both voting and not voting, and that the lesser evil while may not be the good one prefers is still a lot better than holding your nose up and letting the greatest evil gain by doing nothing. If we get all of that then at least this lost decade of destruction will have had some positive benefit in my view.

Owen Gray said...

If one looks at Harper's record over the last ten years, it's pretty clear that he has been a disaster masquerading as a smart man, Scotian.

The challenge in the next election is going to be getting voters to look at that record.

Pamela Mac Neil said...

The problem also Owen is that Harper out and out right lies, practically about everything. I find it incredible when I do listen to him.His economic policies have been a disaster for Canada. He is not only highly incompetent in almost everything he touches, but as Prime Minister of Canada he doesn't even come close to matching even the basic requirements of the office.

Anonymous said...

I have proudly never voted for the idiot Harper Owen wink nod know what I mean?

But traditionally more voters show up to eject a bad government than they do to keep a good one in power. So since he has pissed off so many Canadians I do not believe his chances for re-election are good.

Let's visualize my vision to be correct!


Owen Gray said...

One would hope that he's worn out his welcome, Mogs. But his base seems dedicated to voting for him -- regardless.

Owen Gray said...

By any historical standard, Pam, what you say is quite true. But Mr. Harper believes he can make his own history go away.

It's called being delusional.

Hugh said...

A correction, my comment above should read:

"That's a growth of Federal debt of $124 billion in only 7 years."

Owen Gray said...

Your correction merely underscores how bad Harper's record is, Hugh.