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Monday, November 24, 2008

Is Harper the New Mr. Dithers?

I am hearing mixed messages from our Prime Minister. He says the land is strong and our fundamentals are fine at election time. He says he will never run a deficit so long as he leads the country and his government is in surplus so don’t worry – vote for his sound economic management abilities.

Now he says private economic analysts say we are going to be in a “technical recession” as if his own government people didn’t know this, or he does not want to tell us he was advised of this reality by his administration. All of this is more Harper misleading machinations and mumblings and more of his patented politically misleading way of saying we are in recession. Who cares if it is technical or not?

He is reported to say he is “ready to open the government’s wallet t respond but not until February when the budget is due. He is now sending mixed messages concurrently in real time rather than saying one thing in an election and changing his tune later when the political gamesmanship is passed. This is because his ideological zeal can no longer manipulate the media by misleading advertising that diverts attention off the real issues and ignores the facts. That is because everyone knows he does that and we are all genuinely worried about what is happening. There is no map for this new economic territory that the Bush government has pushed on the world.

Harper is going to have to be more honest, forthright and frank with Canadians, even though it is so contrary to his political instincts. He is going to be politically hobbled and has to face the challenge of telling the truth this Thursday with his economic update. This is because Kevin Page, the Parliamentary Budget Officer saw to it last week with an announcement about the facts of the pending deficits to be sure they are known. Kevin Page, bless his heart, has pegged the good news next year at a $4B deficit; something Harper has said would not happen on his watch. The bad news, at least bad news for Harper’s ideological certitude, is that Page says the deficit could reach $14B. Ouch! Only question I have about the November 27th political melodrama is will Flaherty’s economic update be inconsequential or will it be nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for fiction?

Now we have our decisive and determined Prime Minister being vague about if there will be an economic stimulus and if it is to happen the timing gets dodgy too. Flaherty says last Friday that he will not deal with the economic issues of an economic stimulus until the February Budget. What gives? Obama is not even President yet and yet he is already announcing economic stimulus activities… already. Is this new dithering and indecisiveness of the Harper government the reason why we had an unnecessary inconclusive, expensive and rushed election? Say it ain’t so Mr. Harper.

Mr. Harper, we all know that you knew this economic crisis was coming, hence the early election notwithstanding your law to the contrary. The crisis started during the campaign but that was not why you lost a majority government. In fact the economic uncertainty was the reason why you did as well as you did. It was not anything you said or did during the campaign that is for sure. You and your party were perceived to be the better choice to manage during the coming uncertain times. You are not only letting us down and disappointing us again, you continue to mislead and play politics with our economic, social and environmental security as individuals and as a nation.

Don’t dither Mr. Prime Minister. It didn’t serve Paul Martin particularly well. We in Canada are in better shape than most but we can quickly decline into despair with your demonstrative indecisiveness. By th eway, our consumer and corporate confidence is at the lowest it has been since 1982. Enough said?