Goodale commentary: Canada’s Economy
Whenever the Harper government is confronted with its economic failings – like repeatedly miscalculating its deficit, or presiding over 25% more poverty among senior citizens, or a massive escalation in household debt – it typically resorts to empty sloganeering.
A favourite is the glib Conservative line that, despite all evidence to the contrary, our economy is “on track”.
“On track” to where, pray tell?
The fact is, this government has missed every financial projection it has ever made. The “track” they’re on has taken Canada from a $13-billion surplus to a $55.6-billion deficit – the worst ever. And it began BEFORE (not because of) the recession.
Mr. Harper’s hand-picked Parliamentary Budget Officer says the current Conservative “track” will lead to more than $200-billion in new federal debt by 2015.
It’s a “track” of mediocre results, lost jobs, dwindling job quality, declining living standards, rising household debt, and indifference to the burdens of ordinary families.
The Conservative “track” is the wrong track.
But not to worry. Mr. Harper has other slogans at the ready, like – “we’re doing better than other countries”.
So what? Those “other countries” are handing in their worst economic performances since the 1930’s. It doesn’t take much to beat them — we’re the “least bad” among a bad lot. And we’re certainly way behind emerging giants like China and India.
Canada needs a coherent, honest economic plan to help lift middle and low-income families out of a quagmire of household debt that’s threatening to swamp them, and a plan that simultaneously builds Canadian competitiveness and productivity.
There is a “track” for that, but Stephen Harper is NOT on it.
It would require investments in education, innovation, secure pensions and family care-giving. None of that matters to Mr. Harper; he’s interested only in extra corporate tax cuts, fighter jets and bigger jails.
A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned to walk forward.