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.