There is a real good reason why Harper and his Reform-a-tories have thrown everything but the kitchen sink at Ralph in Regina Wascana (including questionable 3rd party ads), and Ralph continues to enjoy the support of an overwhelming majority of his constituents... Part of that is what I just mentioned, and the other parts are: immense talent (highly educated and finishing at the top of the Province in high school board exams, then going on to become a provincial leader, and - at the time - the youngest MP in Trudeau's Commons), and a drive to reach out to constituents (Ralph spends practically every day back in Regina IN THE RIDING knocking doors, talking to constituents, and attending local events.
From one of the most respected names in Western Canadian politics, here is this week's update (Ouch - this one cuts Conservatives deep...):
RALPH GOODALE’S REPORT
A weekly commentary by the Member of Parliament for WascanaFor the week beginning April 20th, 2009
ECONOMIC COMPETENCE IS A LIBERAL ASSET
Here’s a little quiz!
Before Stephen Harper was handed a $13 billion surplus from the previous Liberal administration, when was the last time a federal Conservative government actually balanced its books?
Answer: 1912! After Borden inherited a big surplus from Laurier.
Hard-nosed, right-wing governments have a bad record on economic management.
Whether it was Margaret Thatcher in Britain. Or the two Bushes in the United States. Or Brian Mulroney, Grant Devine or Mike Harris in Canada. They all left legacies of weakened economies and fiscal chaos.
And here we go again with Stephen Harper.
In 2006, he inherited the strongest economy Canadians had enjoyed in several generations. Federal fiscal fundamentals were rock solid with 10 consecutive surplus budgets. Debt and taxes were dropping faster than ever before.
Confidence was high – 3.5 million new jobs had been created. With $100 billion in financial flexibility to work with, the Canadian government was in the best position among all the G-8 group of world-leading countries.
And Mr. Harper blew it!
He cannot blame any global recession. Long before that trouble began looming, he was wildly over-spending in a frenzied attempt to curry favour with antsy voters. Mr. Harper earned the dubious title of biggest spending Prime Minister in Canadian history.
At the same time, he eroded the federal tax base and eliminated all the prudence factors that had protected Canadians from unexpected external shocks. So when the recession hit with full force last fall, there was nothing left to cushion the blow.
Even then, Mr. Harper was in full denial. In September he said a recession was unlikely. In October, he said a collapsing stock market would just create “good buying opportunities”. In November, he claimed he would have four more surplus budgets.