The recession is here. It may be short and it may be shallow. But it underscores a simple message: Stephen Harper's main claim to fame is hogwash. Tom Walkom writes:
Politically, the economy under Harper has experienced yet another recession undercuts his carefully crafted image as an economic manager.
On Tuesday, both Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and New Democratic Party chief Tom Mulcair were quick to make that point. Both cited the recession as proof that the Conservative approach is not working.
Certainly, Canada’s January to July recession does underline the fundamental flaws in Harper’s approach to the economy.
He assumed the Chinese-led resource boom would continue unabated and that the price of oil would never collapse.
He assumed that all government need do is cut taxes, encourage pipelines, sign free trade deals and do its best to keep wages down for business.
He assumed that if troubles arose, the invisible hand of the free market would sort everything out.
Harper claimed that it was his firm grip on the tiller that steered Canada through heavy waters. In fact it was the price of oil.
Harper's policy has been repeated throughout Canadian history. Historian Harold Innis called it the "resource trap."
Unfortunately, Walkom writes, so far neither Tom Mulcair or Justin Trudeau have said much about what they would do differently. Now is the time to think outside the box we've been in for the last twenty years.