Spending Within Our Means

A little blast from the past — specifically, October 7, 2008.

Of course, the fact of the matter is that the government was already running significant operating deficits at that time and, I could be mistaken on this, but I believe in August the shortfall was $6 billion for that month alone, with a projected cumulative deficit of… does anybody know? As of today, I mean. $50 billion… $75 billion. I know it started at $33.7 billion (I love that point seven — it was a delightful flourish that made it sound so accurately precise) but where the heck is it at now? Maybe the Conservatives’ spanky, heavily-advertised “Action Plan” website should have a real-time debt clock running on it.

Also note the little slogan behind Harper in one of the speeches featured here: “Leadership. Certainty.” Almost too funny for words considering the events of the last year following the needless election he called purposefully attempting to avoid the impending economic crash (that he denied existed up until the reality of its recessionary effects smacked him upside the head).

Advertisements

40 Comments

Filed under 2008 Canadian Election, STEPHEN HARPER Govrnment of Canada

40 responses to “Spending Within Our Means

  1. Cari

    Makes one want to vote half a dozen times, maybe get it right this time, if the media would stop lying.

  2. Lorraine

    The G20 committed to all adding 2% of GDP over their budgets to stimulus spending to combat the recession.

    Should Canada have said No?

  3. Lorraine — No, I don’t think so. But that’s not really the point. The point is that Harper (an “economist” so we’re told) should have sized up the impending recession and been honest with Canadians that significant amounts of deficit spending would be required to float the boat for a while until the economy could stabilize itself and return to a growth position.

    But he didn’t do that. He lied to the public, told them what they wanted to hear, even though it was plainly evident to those in the know what was coming down the pike and how governments would have to respond to it.

  4. Lorraine

    Well – yes, I agree that if the hundreds of private sector economists who advise the governments of the world had better crystal balls the world would have been more prepared.
    During last October’s election not one single political party envisioned the scope of this recession if you review their campaign platforms.
    It was in November when the G20 met and the scope of the world economic crisis became more and more evident.
    That is when the 2% over GDP spending pledges over 2 years were made.
    Then we added an $8 billion loan to the auto industry.
    Should we have said No?

  5. sapphireandsteel

    “During last October’s election not one single political party envisioned the scope of this recession if you review their campaign platforms.”

    Not exactly true Lorraine, all the other parties acknowledged there was an impending recession; Harper either had no clue or was disingenuous with the truth. So he’s either stupid or corrupt. Take your pick.

  6. Let’s approach the question a little differently Lorraine and suggest that Harper should have taken a more nuanced tack to the whether deficits would be run up during his administration. He said unequivocally that no there wouldn’t.

    A better response might have been to acknowledge that there was a storm brewing and sometimes it’s necessary for the government to intervene in the economy for its health and benefit. In other words, to not rule it out altogether and pretend that the Conservatives would never run a deficit. It’s not like they were blindsided by this or didn’t see it coming. Trust me, there were plenty of economy indicators going back more than a couple of years that predicted an impending collapse of major proportions.

    Do you honestly think that Harper called the last election because he felt that parliament wasn’t working? Don’t be so naïve.

    He took a calculated gamble and even broke his own fixed election law to bet that he could grab a majority before the coming economic shit storm hit — and had he won that majority it would have allowed him to enact all sorts of “Shock Therapy” changes to our present structure of government that would fulfill his dream of changing the face of Canada. As it is now, he’s approaching the problem from a different angle, by spending us into a hole that will force his (or whatever government follows) to cut programs down to the bone in order to pay off the debt he’s running up.

  7. Lorraine

    Actually, the most common reason for the last election was proven by Jack Layton that the tri party coalition was in place and the Liberals, NDP and BLOC were planning a non confidence vote and a takeover of the government. Harper pre-empted this by precipitating an election.
    During the election Harper did not project defecit spending – instead he was campaigning on reducing costs by 5% across all ministries and had very few campaign promises aside from staying the course. Contrast with Dion’s Green Shift and National day care to name a few and Jack’s PharmaCare.
    November is when the bottom fell out of the world economy and no economists anywhere got it right.
    2% of GDP over 2 years was committed and written into the 2009-2010 budget with an emergency earloy allo9cation of $4 billion before this fiscal year began in April.
    So far we are weathering the recession pretty good in comparison to other countries- who also were caught. Remember, Obama was not elected until January so the full picture of the US collapse was not as evident last fall. Nobody can accurately predict what will happen and Harper has siad that if more has to be done they will do more.
    Or, should they just let people suffer so they can brag about balanced books?

  8. Lorraine — Your facts are wrong in so many respects, but I don’t have time to correct them all.

    I’m going to go feed the birds and then I’ve got work to do. I’ll leave it to others to point out your numerous errors in detail. Have a nice day. 🙂

  9. JMR

    Harper screamed blue murder over Dion’d green shift saying it was a tax on everything but his support for the HST is a tax on evwrything so now we are getting the “Green Shift” without the enviroment benefit

  10. burpster

    November is when the bottom fell out of the world economy and no economists anywhere got it right.

    That’s such a load of bullshit.

  11. KOL

    November is when the bottom fell out of the world economy and no economists anywhere got it right.

    Irrelevant. The government was already hiding a deficit at that point. Balancing the budget would have been impossible even if there had been no recession, a conclusion supported by economists and the PBO Kevin Page (not to mention common sense).

  12. Ti-Guy

    Your facts are wrong in so many respects, but I don’t have time to correct them all.

    Good move. The insipid wingnut Lorraine is just derailing the discussion, as is usual for Harper-fellators.

  13. Navvy

    “Actually, the most common reason for the last election was proven by Jack Layton that the tri party coalition was in place and the Liberals, NDP and BLOC were planning a non confidence vote and a takeover of the government. Harper pre-empted this by precipitating an election.”

    What complete horseshit. The mind of a harpie is an amazing thing. I can’t begin to figure out the mental gymnastics required to come to this conclusion.

  14. Ti-Guy — I’ve really got neither the time nor patience to waste effort on setting Lorraine straight on the facts the matter or disabusing her of nutty conspiracy theories that are apparently needed to prop up her justification for last year’s pointless, opportunistic election.

  15. Ti-Guy

    I’m going to go feed the birds and then I’ve got work to do. I’ll leave it to others to point out your numerous errors in detail.

    When confronted with a complex of lies and ignorance of the degree Lorraine is favouring us with, the imperative should be to single out the biggest, more egregious one and use that to demonstrate that the person one is dealing with has no credibility whatsoever. I nominate the one Burpster highlighted above.

    If she really believes this, she’s a either retarded or psychotic. Or a Conservative Party staffer, more likely.

  16. Ti-Guy

    I’ve really got neither the time nor patience to waste effort on setting Lorraine straight on the facts the matter or disabusing her of nutty conspiracy theories that are apparently needed to prop up her justification for last year’s pointless, opportunistic election.

    I wonder where she finds the time to assemble it all and write several lengthy comments about it here.

    Getting paid for it, Lorraine?

  17. Desperate housewives, I’m thinking.

  18. Ti-Guy

    If that’s the case, I don’t blame her. I know several stay-at-home moms, suburban ones, who’ve gone stark-raving mad. The working ones aren’t too stable either, come to think of it.

  19. Lorraine

    It is a sign that you are losing a debate when you attack the messenger. Does it really matter my status in life?
    But since you are being so crude about it I am a retired professional, about the same age as Michael Ignatieff. My interest in Federal Politics is because of my passion and love for this country and the future of my children and grandchildren.
    And yes, I detest what past Liberal governments have done to this country. If you had lived through the suicides, business failures, unemployment and devastation Trudeau caused Alberta with the NEP. In comparison this recession is mild. It is just that the East did not suffer then so did not care. We remember.

  20. Ah, well that explains a lot. Another embittered Albertan with a grudge and an axe to grind who cannot let go of the past.

    Hey, guess what Lorraine… I lived in Alberta during that period of time and didn’t blame the government for my problems, but just got on with things and adjusted my career accordingly, adapting to the circumstances.

    And for whatever it’s worth, this isn’t really a “debate” and no one is out to win or lose, necessarily.

  21. Gayle

    Yeah – my father lost everything in the ’80’s and he stopped blaming Trudeau eons ago. That excuse for ignorance is so tiresome and worn out I am surprised even Albertans are still using it.

    In any event, here is where I stopped reading:

    “Actually, the most common reason for the last election was proven by Jack Layton that the tri party coalition was in place and the Liberals, NDP and BLOC were planning a non confidence vote and a takeover of the government. Harper pre-empted this by precipitating an election.”

    What on earth does “most common reason”even mean? And rather than simple parrot paranoid conspiracy theories you read on blogging tory forums, why don’t you try thinking for yourself and consider, for one second, what forms the basis for this widely held conspiracy theory (one that is right up there with the big bad media is so mean to Harper). In fact, there is no basis. There is not one single shred of evidence that demonstrates the three opposition parties were planning a coalition prior to Harper’s economic statement. Layton only outed the NDP and the Bloc.

    For a so-called professional, you don’t seem to be very smart.

  22. Ti-Guy

    And yes, I detest what past Liberal governments have done to this country.

    So it’s revenge, is it? Seems to me someone of your advanced age would have acquired a degree of wisdom and maturity by now.

    Whatever issues you have with the NEP doesn’t give you permission to derail a discussion with sheer nonsense such like this:

    “November is when the bottom fell out of the world economy and no economists anywhere got it right.”

    Now go back to your trough, cart horse.

  23. Cart horse… Heh. I love that term.

    Does Lorraine actually believe all the nonsense she’s spouting? If so, I feel rather sad for her. I mean, I could provide tons of evidence to disprove her assertions, but why waste my time on the exercise? I’ve been down that path so many times that I’m thoroughly disinclined to do so again.

    There were plenty of warnings about an impending recession long before the “meltdown” that imploded in November. The whole sub-prime mess had been brewing since the previous year (if not beyond) and it was almost inevitable to anyone with half a brain that if interest rates are at near zero levels then investors will have to start getting very “creative” in order to make money off money. Duh!

  24. Ti-Guy

    If so, I feel rather sad for her.

    I don’t. The federal government has taken its hands of Alberta’s oil wealth for almost three decades and what did they do with it? They squandered it.

    The Norwegians have an almost half-a-trillion dollar sovereign wealth fund to show for production levels and a population comparable to Alberta’s. And now that things aren’t looking so good again, they’re whining and screeching and attempting to force the rest of us to permit the exploiting dirty fossil fuel reserves that are only profitable at high oil prices, which will mean that rest of us (who don’t get our oil from Alberta) will have to pay high prices while all the benefits accrue to them.

    They must think all Canadians are as stupid as the rednecks they’re surrounded by.

  25. Peter Lougheed (a true conservative in the best sense of the word) started the Heritage Trust Fund and that got plundered and squandered by successive “Conservative” governments, so where was the outrage of people like Lorraine, Hunter, and all the rest of those moronic squawkers from “wild rose country”…?

  26. Ti-Guy

    Cart horse… Heh. I love that term.

    My first experience with the prairie cart horse was in grad school. A couple of big-boned gals who, obviously, had never had the experience of anyone challenging their rude and offensive statements. They’d bray nonsense like “This is just another example of Central Canadian arrogance!” and be completely stunned when someone (man or woman) actually took exception.

    I really don’t know where they learn their manners.

  27. Navvy

    I’ve been there Ti-Guy. I spent most of my university career listening to Albertans loudly proclaim how rude and stupid all us Ontarians were. Unsurprisingly, most of them now occupy senior “communications” positions with the CPC. The other CPC members, Ontario libertarians, all now have public service jobs here in Ottawa.

  28. I don’t really know where this nonsense comes from. I lived there and worked (and not worked) during that time and don’t recall it being that horrible. If anything, we kind of laughed at the situation… playing cards during the afternoons, taking naps on couch in the back office, playing penny stocks on the VSO to kill time. It was just a temporary downturn in the economy, not the huge traumatic, life-scarring deal that some people seem to believe.

  29. Ti-Guy

    I spent most of my university career listening to Albertans loudly proclaim how rude and stupid all us Ontarians were.

    My personal experiences have never been that positive. I’m not used to people venturing confrontational statements unbidden; a in way Albertans seem to believe is just a natural way of communicating.

    The last time I was there, I went to a fundraising event that my cousin was participating in. I donated 50.00 dollars. At the beginning of the event, the host announced loudly that all the money was going to the provincial wing of the pan-Canadian charity and “none of it will be going to Ontario, so don’t worry.” I thought: “Is it always like this here?” I felt like asking for my donation back.

  30. Ti-Guy

    I lived there and worked (and not worked) during that time and don’t recall it being that horrible.

    I was in university in wealthy, exploitative, eeevil Ontario, living on 5,000 dollars a year (most of it loans; all the scholarships I got were deducted from my grant entitlement thanks to the largesse of the Ontario Student Assistance Program), so apart from all the screaming, I don’t remember much at all except the debt that trailed me for the next ten years.

  31. I donated 50.00 dollars. At the beginning of the event, the host announced loudly that all the money was going to the provincial wing of the pan-Canadian charity… I felt like asking for my donation back.

    You’ve mentioned this incident before. I’m quite sure you said that you did ask for your donation back, if memory serves.

    I prefer the initial version of this story. Please don’t tell me you let those assholes keep your cash…

  32. It’s a bit of a mixed bag… and having lived there off an on in both Edmonton and Calgary for 15 yrs., I’m extremely reluctant to bash Alberta or the people that live there. Yes, there are plenty of rednecks and crackpot goofballs like the commenters that pop up on blogs, but also a lot of just plain decent folks and even artsy-fartsy liberals too. We shouldn’t generalize over-much when it comes to this sort of thing.

  33. anna

    @ Ti-Guy – “Now go back to your trough, cart horse.”

    I’ve never heard this expression before, and as a non-conservative hack living on the prairies it’s one that has now made my life a little richer. Thank you.

  34. burpster

    I lived there (Alberta) as well. I recall it vividly since I was an oilwell driller and new homeowner at the time. Remeber the favourite saying at the time: Let the east freeze in the dark.

    I also remember the Alberta gov. paying the oil companies to drill wells. These were wells the oilco’s had already commited to drilling because of lease agreements.

  35. Ti-Guy

    You’ve mentioned this incident before. I’m quite sure you said that you did ask for your donation back, if memory serves.

    I embellished it the last time for the sake of the narrative. I’m really not that petty in real life. Besides, I was surrounded by a bunch of Albertans who thought that comment was hilarious. Do you think I was in any position to fend off a lynching?

    Don’t worry. I spit in the punch bowl later that evening.

  36. The Canadian Debt Clock, the are a few available.
    http://www.debtclock.ca/
    http://www.ndir.com/SI/education/debt.shtml#

    How about a version that shows how much it has grown since no deficit Harper has been running the show some one, please?

    If I’m doing the maths right and you better check I get confused when a large number of zeros are involved in the billions, its not usually an issue I have in balancing my check book, but wouldn’t a $50 billion debt split among 33 million Canadians equal $1515 each

  37. Gayle

    “It was just a temporary downturn in the economy, not the huge traumatic, life-scarring deal that some people seem to believe.”

    For some it was a life scarring deal. It was only when I was an adult that I realized how much my father lost in the recession. I will spare you the details, but he has never fully recovered financially. Even worse was the emotional and physical toll it took.

    It was easy to scapegoat the liberals at the time, adn he certainly did so. When you lose something you lash out because you need to blame someone. That’s human nature. Over time he accepted that it was part of a global recession and that it was not all down to the NEP. Even if it were, he would never allow what happened over 20 years ago continue to invade his psyche like a lot of Albertans.

  38. sapphireandsteel

    “Actually, the most common reason for the last election was proven by Jack Layton that the tri party coalition was in place and the Liberals, NDP and BLOC were planning a non confidence vote and a takeover of the government.”

    That’s not a cited reason anywhere Lorraine. Maybe some prorogation type BS from the Connies but noone else.

    You should really get over that NEP thing. A person your age deserves to be happy at the end Lorraine.

  39. Navvy

    I was shocked to see Sun Media talk a bit of sense here:
    http://www.ottawasun.com/comment/editorial/2009/10/08/11345866.html

    Although I’m curious what the Sun’s headline would read if Ignatieff suggested raising income taxes by 1% on top earners.

  40. Bravo to Kevin Reid and Sun Media, but yes, it would be hypothetically curious to see how it might have been spun had the Liberals suggested this.

    Let’s face it — at the very least the GST (or HST next year) is bumped up by a point and that some kind of increased tax on the wealthiest 5% of earners is implemented. Growth in GDP alone is not going to dig the country out of the hole that’s been created. Even with growth of 2% in the next year (as forecast by some) it has to be remembered that the figure is based on a lower starting point (i.e., post-recession) and not from where the economy was prior to the most current bust.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s