Saturday, September 05, 2015

His Record Is Abysmal


We're officially in a recession. And, next month, we may be officially out of it. But that doesn't mean, Jim Stanford writes, that the Canadian economy is in good shape. In three specific areas, the economy has been limping along for years:

Investment: For years Canada relied on energy megaprojects to lead business investment. But that engine is now sputtering badly, for the foreseeable future. Expensive corporate tax cuts didn't produce any measurable uptick in investment. We need new strategies to elicit badly needed capital spending -- both private and public.

Exports: This government's trade strategy consists almost exclusively of signing lots of free trade deals. They've inked six, and are negotiating several more (including the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which might be concluded before Canadians go to the polls). Yet Canada's actual exports hardly grew at all under Conservative rule -- by far the worst record in post-war history. It turns out that producing valuable goods and services that foreigners actually want to buy, is a lot more complicated than signing trade deals and waving them about.

Productivity: Free markets and low taxes are supposed to automatically spur efficiency. But Canada's measured productivity performance has been abysmal: growing less than 1 per cent per year, badly lagging previous governments and most of our trading partners. Upgrading, innovation, and investment are the prerequisites for productivity -- yet we've gone backward in every area.

Mr. Harper's policy prescriptions have done nothing to improve any of these three economic measures. In fact, they have made each measure worse. For nearly ten years, his "steady hand" at the helm have left the economy gasping for air.

Simply put: Mr. Harper's economic record is abysmal.


lungta said...

"Since 2006, Canada has concluded free trade agreements with no less than 39 countries, bringing the total to 44, making up more than half of the global economy and representing nearly one quarter of the world’s countries."
well if inked = concluded then the abyss just got bigger.
that "steady hand" is more of a death grip at the throat of canada
harper has the knack of incremental starvation of all things canadian
but if you can destroy the source of operating expenses....the economy and taxation
then his objective will be so much easier to achieve

Owen Gray said...

That's an interesting phrase, lungta -- "instrumental starvation." And it's devastatingly accurate.

Hugh said...

These trade deals all seem to have ISDS: investor-state dispute settlement.

ISDS allows foreign businesses and investors sue Canada for laws they figure will affect their profits. It applies to laws and policies made at any level of govt in Canada. One example is Eli Lilly suing Canada for $500 million.

It's easy to see how ISDS hinders governments from legislating in the interest of Canadians.

Owen Gray said...

Precisely, Hugh. Harper's patrons are few. But they are wealthy.

Mogs Moglio said...

Hugh and Owen what these '[NOT] Free Trade Deals' do in fact is take-out, take-away, lose, destroy, jail, hand-cuff, leg-iron, strip sovereign from sovereign Nation. Welcome to the New World of complete totalitarian corporate domination of every facet of your life.

Like it? Didn't think so, what happens if we heave steve? We can't quit there we have to be the most active we have ever been to put a fire under the new government's seat to withdraw from these corporate written agreements that lift all restrictions and responsibilities against the hard cold corporate take-over of the affairs of once sovereign nations.

Owen Gray said...

Let's hope the opposition parties have the courage to do just that, Mogs.

Anonymous said...

and sometimes ISDS (investor-state dispute settlement) is not needed as Harperman just gives it away for free.

Case in point:

Earlier this year, I [Michael Geist] wrote about the secret campaign by major record labels and publishers to stop the release of public domain recordings, most notably Beatles records that outsold the offerings from major label records at retail giant Wal-Mart. The campaign included extensive lobbying for an extension in the term of copyright for sound recordings. The government included the extension in the April 2015 budget, with Prime Minister Stephen Harper writing personally to the Graham Henderson of Music Canada to inform him of the change. The reforms were a gift to the recording industry, with the result that Canadian consumers now face higher prices and less choice. - source

Michael Geist is a Professor of Law and Canada Research Chair in Internet and Ecommerce Law at the Faculty of Law, Common Law Section, University of Ottawa

Owen Gray said...

Geist knows his stuff, Anon. He knows who and what are behind the man with the helmet hair and the pinched smile.