Who said Harper is an economist?

When Canada’s premiers meet later this week to discuss Canada’s economic problems, they can do it without Stephen Harper. The Prime Minister rejected their invitation. He is letting Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney fill in for him. After all, Harper flies around the world giving economic advice, why should he waste his wisdom on Canada?

And besides, Stephen Harper might have trained as an economist but he has never shown any desire to practice that obscure science. From the time when he travelled west to join with Preston Manning’s Reform Party, Stephen Harper has remained aloof from sharing any expertise on economic matters. Even after leaving Manning to become head of the National Citizen’s Coalition, he has dealt in demagoguery and economics be damned.

What Canadians need to recognize is that all that expensive taxpayer-funded government advertising for an Economic Action Plan has absolutely nothing to do with economics. It is a name for a lame government program that squeezes money out of municipal taxpayers for infrastructure renewal programs. It has left gullible municipal councils across Canada locked into heavy debt with only the local taxpayers to pay off the long-term costs. And if the Bank of Canada ever turns loose the interest rate screws, there will be more than a few bankrupt municipalities wondering what happened.

It appears recently that both Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and Stephen Harper need to get their act together on the financial direction of the Canadian government. It seems their plan to rid Canadians of the deficit of some $26 billion before the next election is not going to work. Hell, it never had a chance. Canada is far too vulnerable to American and world economic problems and ridding Canadians of the deficit by firing thousands of federal civil servants is about as stupid a solution as we can imagine.

What really bugs us on a daily basis is Harper’s friend Premier Dalton McGuinty of Ontario who also wants to wrestle the provincial deficit to the mat. He is doing it by stabbing his former friends, the teachers in the back. He thinks he can pass legislation making them work for less. Maybe somebody told him that would not work and he decided to quit in a fit of pique. At least something good came out of the mess.

But that leaves us with a premiers’ meeting in Halifax later this week with a lame-duck guy from Ontario, an already discredited PQ Premier from Quebec, people nobody knows in the East and pugnacious premiers from the West who have their own battles.

There might be some posturing in Halifax but overall, the meeting is a waste of time. We could easily end up with a couple vitriolic elections in Ontario and Quebec next year but they will hardly be a substitute for the voters getting their teeth into Harper and his crew. We have to blame somebody.

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Copyright 2012 © Peter Lowry

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