The “economic fundamentals are strong” says Stephen Harper. Well, maybe. I’ve said as much myself here previously. In terms of its foundations being more stable than others by virtue of our banking system having been prevented by regulatory constraints from venturing too wildly in speculative financial instruments and the vast majority of our exports being rooted in commodities, that’s true, but it overlooks the most obvious fact the matter.
To borrow a quote from Pierre Trudeau: “When the elephant sneezes, everyone catches a cold.”
With the inordinately high proportion of our trade flowing to the USA, one cannot simply ignore this most basic, fundamental reality. To date, we may have been able to easily navigate our way around the relatively minor fluctuations in the US economy that’s been progressively inclined towards a recession (the dread “r-word” that dare not speak its name) over the past two years. Many have taken some gleeful, nationalistic satisfaction in our dollar rising in comparison to the US currency over the past year or so, chalking it up to a variety of mysterious, faith-based factors: the Harper government’s mastery of things economical, for example. Sadly, nothing could be more distant from the truth.
Since taking office, Harper has continued federal government spending programs largely unchanged. Yes, there have been a few minor cuts here and there for entirely political reasons (axing the One-Tonne Challenge” for example), but generally speaking, nothing has changed. In fact, spending is up by almost 10% — a highly disturbing number that never seems to get addressed. Over the past several months the Harper government doled out almost $20 billion in bogus, pork-laden pre-campaign promises — something else that also never seems to be tackled. In addition to that, the Stephen Harper government also wrote off an accumulation of “notional” EI assets valued at $51 billion while you were snoozing…
But never mind that. Let’s clown around following the debate tonight and concentrate on important things like body-language, perceived attitudes and imagined slights.