Latest Goodale Commentary - It's a good one...
MR. HARPER’S DEFICITS SYMPTOMATIC OF INCOMPETENCE
The Harper government has finally confirmed it was already “in the red” last year, before any recession hit Canada, and the trouble is getting worse this year.
The Conservatives were in the hole by more than $2 billion in the 2008-09 fiscal year, which ended on March 31st. And now, only 2 months into 2009-10, they’re short at least $50 billion more. That’s 48% worse than the $34 billion deficit they admitted to back in January.
Stephen Harper wants Canadians to forgive him for this, saying it’s because the recession is worse than expected. But he cannot wriggle off the hook of his own incompetence so easily – for four strong reasons:
First, because he hasn’t come clean with Canadians.
Last October, he said he would never run a deficit. In November, he dishonestly projected four more surplus budgets. In January, he deliberately low-balled the arithmetic to hide the growing disaster. In April, he claimed his false estimates were still “on track”. The man simply cannot be trusted.
Secondly, for three years before any recession hit our economy, the Harper Conservatives destroyed Canada’s fiscal security by spending beyond their means, eroding the tax base, and eliminating all previous “prudence factors” that were in the government’s books to protect against nasty surprises.
So their deficit now is about one-third bigger than it would otherwise need to be.
Third, their “stimulus” plan is not working. Their infrastructure program is paralyzed. More than 350,000 jobs have been lost. No new jobs have been created. And thousands of Canadians cannot even get Employment Insurance.Fourth, Mr. Harper has no plan to restore fiscal responsibility. Just wishful thinking. And the net result will be a big debt passed along to our children and grandchildren. This will be the legacy flowing from Stephen Harper’s incompetence.