Stephen Harper continues to repeat the same mantra -- cutting taxes on corporations and the wealthy creates jobs. But, Mel Hurtig writes, economist Jim Stanford knows that the reality is quite different:
Economist Jim Stanford has made careful comparisons of Harper's claims against his actual performance in articles for the Globe and Mail and others. Stanford says that there are some 400,000 discouraged unemployed workers who do not appear in the official unemployment statistics and that with other forms of hidden unemployment, the true unemployment rate in recent years is above 12 per cent. New job creation in Canada has barely kept pace with its population growth; indeed, in 2013 Canada ranked in the lower half of industrial countries with net job creation lagging 1.4 points behind population growth.
"When Canadian officials boast that the pace of job-creation or GDP growth is relatively high," Stanford states, "they neglect to mention that Canada's economy must generate more growth and jobs just to stand still.... Canada's real GDP growth since the pre-recession peak (in 2007) ranks an uninspiring 17th among the 34 countries of the OECD.... Real per capita GDP remains 1.4 per cent lower than it was at the beginning of 2008. In fact, real per capita GDP is still lower in Canada than it was at the beginning of 2006 (when the Harper Conservative government first took power); during almost six years of Conservative 'stewardship,' therefore, Canadians have experienced no economic progress (by this measure) whatsoever."
Hurtig has been fighting an uphill battle for decades, as the Canadian economy was sold off to foreign interests. Besides corporate assets, Canadian jobs are now being sold as part of the bargain:
Regarding unemployment figures, 19 OECD countries have lower rates of unemployment in a recent three year average.
We lag at 14th position in terms of annual growth in compensation per hours worked. All of these countries have seen higher growth in wage rates: Estonia, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia, Mexico, Korea, Norway, the Czech Republic, Australia, Poland, Great Britain, Luxembourg and Denmark.
Conservatives like to argue that the best job creator is a growing economy. But as Saskatchewan MP Ralph Goodale notes, the Harper government's growth record is the worst since the early 1930s under then prime minister R.B. Bennett.
Strange, isn't it? Another prime minister with roots in the Maritimes, who went to Calgary and became rich. Perhaps when he retires, Harper -- like Bennett -- will take up residence in Britain. Perhaps Stephen Harper is really R.B. Bennett's ghost.