The Fallacy of Stephen Harper’s Good Economic Management

I’ve posted on this recently, but it bears repeating – Stephen Harper and his Finance Minister Jim Flaherty took Canada from a surplus position to a deficit even before the recession hit. For ideological reasons, Harper cut taxes so much that the surplus from the Martin government was gone, gone, gone before the Harper Cons been in power long.  And, despite consistently bragging about how Canada’s economy was a global leader, Harper used the excuse of poor economic times to freeze aid to some of the world’s most impoverished countries.

Thanks to Harper’s mismanagement of our economy, Canadians are now saddled with the largest deficit in Canadian history; clearly, Canada can’t afford much more of Harper’s economic brilliance!  Here is Mr. Harper in 2008 saying – repeatedly – “We will <NOT> be running a deficit.”


This graphic comes from Michael at Compelling

More links:

Sachs Slams Harper G8 Maternal Health Care Plan, Criticizes Planned Aid Freeze

Canada Records Biggest Deficit in History

Which Canada Will You Vote For?

An Open Letter To Stephen Harper

Vote For Harper Cause He Doesn’t Care About “So-Called” Greenhouse Gases

Another response to Rick Mercer’s challenge to the youth of Canada to surprise our politicians and vote – beautiful!


We’ve got a shot to start a movement
We’ve got a chance to make the whole world lose it
We can start a moment of change
An opportunity to keep the pride in our name

We need to wake up and watch what were doing
Bush was a bitch and the whole world knew it
But now we’re just as guilty as him
Environmental crime is good if you’re a crooked PM

But we’ve got a shot to start a movement
And we’ve got a chance to make the whole world lose it
We can choose who’s in demand
And we can change fate with the swipe of a pen

Vote for Harper if you don’t want trees
Vote for Harper if you don’t like green
Vote for Harper ’cause he doesn’t really care about
So-called Greenhouse Gases

Vote for Harper if you don’t want lakes
Vote for Harper if you don’t like change
Vote for Harper ’cause he doesn’t know a thing about
So-called Greenhouse Gases

We’ve got a problem, we’re on a slippery slope
So what’s it gonna take to get the youth to the polls
We’ve got a choice to make ’cause we can sway the vote
And if we want a change we have to take control

We can change every single thing that we hate
We can be the boss and take control of our fate
History will be whatever we wanna make
And we’ll still party at the end of the day

All we gotta do is get ourselves out of bed
All we gotta do is write an X with a pen?
All we really want is a planet to live
A cold beer in our hands and a river to swim

More links:

Deserts in Bloom

Find which party’s values match up with yours:  Vote Compass on

Help Regenerate Canadian politics:

Harper Imposes Limit of Five Questions Per Day – Less If He Gets Asked Why

This story initially ran as the headline story in The Star on April 1st. Curiously, it was later pulled and substituted with an article about twittering about the election debates. However, the  comments responding to the original story remain, evidence of The Star’s flip-flop. Luckily, the original story was saved and posted on Politics and its Discontents. I am reposting it here, because anything that gets pulled after speaking the truth about our current anti-democratic Prime Minister and his hermetically sealed campaign, deserves to be widely read. As Gille Duceppe said of Harper today: “That guy would be happy with no opposition and no Parliament.” Apparently, Harper would also prefer to do without those pesky journalists, too.

The cost to travel with Stephen Harper’s campaign? $10,100 a week.

The number of questions Harper takes each day? Five.

Looking like an over-controlling politician? Priceless.

The bright yellow fence that kept reporters penned in far from the Conservative leader Thursday during a campaign event here was an apt metaphor for his first week dealing with the media — controlling and restrictive.

Now Harper is facing questions about his questions. Namely, why he isn’t willing to take more. And he’s refusing to answer. Harper takes only five questions from the media each day — four from the reporters on his tour and one from a local reporter. His political rivals place few restrictions on how many questions they take.

That’s produced tension between the Conservative leader and the journalists following his campaign tour as it criss-crosses the country.

Harper has settled into a routine in his first week — a morning announcement, followed by a media availability. Journalists on the campaign tour get four questions — usually two in English and two in French — and a local reporter is given the chance to lob a question at the Conservative leader, as well. But the situation boiled over Thursday when Harper was asked — using one of the five questions — why he refused to take more than a handful of questions from reporters each day. Harper refused to answer, but when pressed, suggested he would be open to addressing any issues he hadn’t already discussed.
But he never explained his rationale for not fielding more questions.

“In terms of questions, is there any specific issue that I haven’t addressed that you want me to address?” Harper asked.

“If there’s another subject, I’ll answer,” the Conservative leader told journalists behind the fence, more than 10 metres away.

Later, Harper supporter David Cameron, who was at the event, came up to the journalists to express his frustration with their questions.

“You guys reporting the news or making it?” he asked.

Senator Michael MacDonald, a Harper appointee, tweeted: “Lovely day on Halifax waterfront for PM’s trade status. CBC reporters (Terry) Milewski and (Jennifer) Ditchburn were like attack dogs afterward — pathetic!”

In fact, Ditchburn works for The Canadian Press.

MacDonald later wrote that he withdrew the comment.

The New Democrats soon issued a news release noting that MacDonald — who was vice-president of the Conservative Party of Canada before Harper put him in the Senate in 2009 — earned $132,300 last year and rang up expenses totalling $257,142.

Harper spokesman Dimitri Soudas said later the Conservative leader has several media interviews with radio and television stations across the country this week.

More links:

The Star Finally Exposes Truth About Harper’s Press Restrictions

Harper’s ‘Five Questions” Policy Rankles Journalists

Tim Harper: Keep Those Conservative Questions To Yourself

And this article, written by one of the “attack dogs” herself: Stephen Harper Takes Heat Over Conservative Campaign Media Chill

Link to the original Star article: Tensions Rise As Conservative Leader Imposes Daily Cap On Queries From Reporters At Campaign Events (don’t forget to check out the comments section)

And this one, that shows Canadians are waking up: Protestors Hold Anti-Harper Rally on P.E.I

Canadian PM Harper On Elections: “Dangerous and Unnecessary”

Here in Canada, we are heading into a federal election on May 2. Our current Prime Minister proclaimed this election to be a “dangerous and unnecessary exercise”.  Rick Mercer responds to this curious, and revealing, statement of our Prime Minister, who apparently believes democracy is a waste of time and money:


And a response to Rick’s rant from students at the University of Guelph, who throw down the gauntlet to other Canadian university students:


Considering the abysmal record of this government on environmental issues, particularly climate change, the importance of getting young people out to vote can’t be underestimated. They are “Generation Hot” and are the voters that will be most affected by unchecked climate change.  For more on the Harper government’s record on climate change, go to Climate Action Network Canada’s info page.

More links:



Respond to: Point of View: What is the most important election issue for you?

Why Aren’t Canadian Politicians Talking About What’s Real?

Here in Canada, we were plunged into a long-overdue (IMHO) election last week when the Harper Conservative government was found to be in Contempt of Parliament for not providing the elected Members of Parliament with the necessary information on the cost of the purchase of F-35 fighter jets as well as the cost of its proposed crime bills. The Harper government expected MPs to approve spending taxpayer’s money on these Conservative initiatives without having all the facts. It turns out this is against parliamentary law. The Harper Conservatives were also facing an election fraud scandal, and a second contempt motion because of International Cooperation Minister Bev Oda’s “misleading” statements to the House of Parliament about how the cancellation of funding to KAIROS, a Christian aid organization, came about.

What those findings should tell Canadians about our current Prime Minister and his minions MPs is that they flaunt the rules of our parliamentary institutions, fail to disclose the information necessary for our elected representatives to make informed decisions, and (per Minister Oda) play fast and loose with the truth.  They are not team players.  For the last three years, the Conservatives have been allowed to run a minority parliament as if they have a majority.  Less than 40 % of Canadians voted for the Harper Cons, and yet they have made decision after decision without consulting any of the other parties who represent the majority of Canadians.  Why the opposition parties have let them get away with it is another blog posting altogether.

In the meantime, Harper has tried to paint a possible coalition or alliance of Liberals/NDP/Bloc parties as a big scarey bogeyman. However, this strategy might be blowing up in his cold, unfeeling face, as both the NDP and the Bloc Quebecois have reminded Mr. Harper of his courting of them in 2004 to form a coalition as an alternative to Paul Martin’s minority government.

In the meantime, Murray Dobbin, over at The, asks the question that all Canadians should be asking “Why Can’t Politicians Talk About What is Real?”

In trying to anticipate what a federal election campaign will look like — and it seems increasingly likely that we will be unable to avoid one – it is striking that the biggest issues facing humankind are not even on the radar, yet alone being framed as planks in any party’s campaign platform.

This amounts to whistling past the graveyard with potentially fatal consequences. In our conventional political universe we are talking about jet fighters, corporate tax cuts, growing the economy and abolishing the Senate — and if we are lucky some mention of climate change, poverty and the dire financial straits of seniors.

But the other universe is virtually invisible despite the fact that it is very real and well known. That parallel road that no one in authority wants to acknowledge is one which is taking us over a cliff. That universe tells us that we are rapidly reaching the planet’s limits to growth, that we are well past the start of a global fresh water crisis, that we have already reached peak oil, that climate change will have ever-increasing planet-changing impacts and that rapidly rising food prices will lead to mass starvation in the developing world.

Mr. Dobbin concludes that there has been a successful effort by corporations and the political right to frame every political debate around the economy.  The question “is it good for the economy?” trumps any other consideration these days. As Dobbin points out:

Canadian bureaucrats at international meetings no longer refer to Canada and other nations as countries. They refer to them as “economies.” It is a fundamental change in language that has infected our governing institutions and helped justify the now constricted economic role of governments: they just need to get out of the way of business through deregulation, privatization and tax cuts.

Prime Minister Harper showed Canadians how true this is for him by his comment, leading up to the G8/G20 meetings last year, that the economy trumps everything, “all the rest is noise”.  Dobbin, and others, question this slavish devotion to the economy as if it is unconnected to anything else. Lord Nicholas Stern, former Chief Economist at the World Bank and author of a report on climate change and economics for the British government, recently stated that the current view that separates the economy and the environment is a basic analytical and intellectual mistake.”  Dobbin concludes that:

Until we reverse this heightened status of the economy as a separate entity, which can act with impunity against the interests of every other institution, including democracy, that parallel universe of the really critical issues we face will be almost impossible to engage. Climate change, environmental degradation, unfettered and unregulated growth, the obscene gap between rich and poor — these are all now the purview of “the economy.”

Until we take control of it, these issues will remain beyond our grasp to change.

Mr. Harper’s thinking on both the economy and coalition governments is fundamentally flawed.  For more of Harper’s record on climate change, check out Climate Action Network Canada’s summary. And check out this Lead Now video, a tribute to the time when Canadian politicians were willing to cooperate for the good of all Canadians:


Take Action:

Complete Lead Now’s Online Values Survey at

Support Elizabeth May’s right to participate in the leaders’ debate: Demand Democratic Debate

More links:

The Government of Canada’s record on climate change (2006 – present)

What Can’t Politicians Talk About What Is Real?

In Contempt of Parliament and the Harper Government