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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Poor financial Governance

This is posted, not because I support the Liberals but rather because it speaks to the facts as I know them. The Harper government has been all to quick to blame :the previous government" but never to accept or admit to their own incompetence.

For a government that claims “the economy” as its alleged strength, the Harper regime has an astonishing record of serious economic screw-ups – their Temporary Foreign Workers fiasco is just the latest example. But it’s by no means an isolated incident.

Before taking office, Stephen Harper’s two most prominent economic ideas were disastrous. First, he wanted to make Canadian banks more like their American counterparts (the ones that went down the sewer in the last recession), and then he wanted to abolish the Canada Pension Plan (when 75% of private sector employees don’t have any retirement plan at all).

Once in power in 2006, Mr. Harper immediately overspent by three-times the rate of inflation, eliminated all contingency reserves against fiscal shocks, mangled the tax base, and put the country back into deficit again BEFORE the recession arrived in 2008 – and he did all that, despite clear warnings about a looming housing crisis and bank failures in the United States.

When he could deny no longer that Canada was in recession too, he insisted that austerity was the best policy – a wrong-headed prescription that was quickly and universally ridiculed. Within three months, Mr. Harper had to eat himself whole and embrace stimulus. But his belated plan was so slow and encumbered with partisanship, it didn’t actually get delivered until after the recession was over.
Mr. Harper has the worst record on economic growth of any Prime Minister since the dismal days of R.B. Bennett in the 1930’s. On his watch, the national jobless rate remains stubbornly close to 7%, while youth employment is nearly twice as high and labour market “participation” has dropped – meaning some 200,000 out-of-work Canadians have just given up looking for work altogether.

Flying in the face of the urgent need for more robust job creation, the Harper government increased job-killing Employment Insurance payroll taxes by $3.6-billion, and then froze them at that artificially high level. The Conservatives also hiked tariff-taxes on consumer goods by $333-million every year, while hitting small business owners and credit unions with extra taxes too.

But despite these multi-billion-dollar tax increases, every Canadian family-of-four is now stuck with $20,000 in new federal debt – that’s explicitly Harper debt, created since 2006!

And speaking of failures on big things:

Military procurement is a huge mess, resulting in damning analyses by both the Auditor General and the Parliamentary Budget Officer about this government’s deceit and incompetence. Veterans and returning soldiers are being ill-treated.

A colossal lack of trust has stalled any meaningful progress toward a new system and new investments in Aboriginal education, perpetuating the biggest socio-economic disparity in Canadian society.

On something as fundamental as getting western energy resources to market, Mr. Harper has refused to acknowledge that environmental integrity and credibility are the indispensible “passports” necessary to enable future development. So our resources get stranded and under-valued.

In the same vein, Mr. Harper presided over the design and implementation of a grossly deficient transportation and handling system for western grain with no effective competition, no commercial discipline, no transparency, accountability, oversight or legal recourse. And of course it failed too, imposing costs and losses on the prairie economy of something approaching $8-billion.
Under Mr. Harper, “big things” like these have mostly been botched.

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