10/08/2008

Statement by Jim Flaherty, and More on the Economy

From the Conservative website:
"Last night, Mr. Dion was asked why his so-called 30-day plan – the plan he sprung during the French debate – was not in his platform, a document that was released just days earlier. Mr. Dion said: ‘It was difficult for us to write a chapter on a U.S. economic crisis when we were preparing our platform’ (Stéphane Dion, Le téléjournal, October 6, 2008).
This is an extraordinary admission.

No kidding.
Think of it. The issue of the election is the economy. The Liberals have spent the last few days claiming the Harper government is doing nothing, waving their arms about, claiming the economic sky is falling. Meanwhile, they actually have the unmitigated gall to ask the Canadian public to give them thirty days after the election is over to come up with a plan. He wants to get together with a bunch of economists so they can tell him what to do.
Is he serious?
Moreover, how can anyone take this seriously?? Harper has a Masters in economics, and has Jim Flaherty by his side. I understand that many on the left don't like him, but it's impossible to deny that, from a financial perspective, he is a highly competent man.
Quite frankly, the media ought to be all over this, exposing the hypocrisy of the Liberals. So far, I have only seen the National Post throw its support behind the Conservatives, specifically citing Dion's lack of plan and general attitude as their reason.
Continuing on...
The American credit crunch did not start two weeks ago. It started over a year ago and it has been issue number one for every person with any understanding of economics.
Yet, for the past year, Mr. Dion has been totally oblivious to what has been going on. And his carbon tax proves it. At a time of global economic uncertainty, no responsible economic manager would suggest experimenting with risky new tax schemes or massive increases in government spending.
Unlike Mr. Dion, the Harper Government got it. We took action.
We recognized the credit crunch for what it is: a threat to the global economy. In response, the Harper Government implemented a real plan, including keeping the budget balanced, lowering taxes, investing in Canadian jobs and keeping inflation low. We also tightened rules on mortgage lending, and strengthened the Bank of Canada’s powers to deal with a crisis.
We’re not asking Canadians for a mandate to spend 30 days figuring out what to do. We are asking for a mandate to continue with our real plan to protect the Canadian economy and the standard of living for workers and their families."

As I previously mentioned, banks are agreeing with Mr. Harper. We are not in the same economic crisis as the US. Furthermore, as reported at The Star, the Government has already taken action with respect to banking institutions to ensure that the crisis in the US does not greatly impact us. As reported at the Globe, banking institutions are also taking actions of their own.

With respect to Tuesday's vote, people need to stop panicking.
People need to get informed, read up on each party's policies, filter through the media bias and figure it out for themselves. I actually read a poll today that suggested a Liberal minority win was possible.
I can't stress enough how absurd such a win would be.
Imagine for a moment if the Liberals did win. We'd be back to the polls inside of a year!
The truth is that every poll is different, and pollsters report based on their own biases. As mentioned by Reuters:
An Ekos automated telephone poll released on Tuesday night, however, had the Conservative lead growing again to 9 percentage points from the 7 that Ekos had reported a day earlier.
Ekos showed the Conservatives at 34 percent, the Liberals at 25 percent and the NDP at 20 percent, and said voters seemed neither to want to give Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper a majority in Parliament nor to elect Liberal leader Stephane Dion...
"There is limited enthusiasm for a Tory majority, or even a Tory government. But the obvious alternative -- a Dion government -- hardly seems appetizing either for most Canadians."
A Nanos Research poll had the gap up slightly to 4 points from what had been the campaign's smallest margin of 3 points the day before. It had the Conservatives at 33 percent, the Liberals at 29 percent and the NDP at 20.

At the Ottawa Sun, Greg Weston makes a few interesting points on the effects of polls. He comments that:
Overnight polling by Nanos Research reported yesterday that the Conservatives dropped to just three points ahead of the Liberals.
Nanos also tracks how Canadians feel about the four federal leaders, and Harper's score on that front has been sinking like the stock markets in recent days.
All of which must have tempted the Conservatives to roll out the gravy train and buy their way into voters' hearts.
Thankfully, the emotionally challenged PM did not succumb.

I have to agree with Weston.
The easiest thing in the world would be to succumb to opinion polls and try to buy votes with expensive promises that are not intended to be kept. People complain all the time that politicians make promises they don't keep. Now, the Conservatives are actually not making promises, they are releasing a "stingy" platform, making minimal promises. The average voter ought to take this as a good sign. They ought to recognize Harper's honesty in the face of what can best be described as a difficult situation.
I still expect a Conservative minority, although I do agree with the National Post: a majority would offer the country more stability.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very good analysis.

Raging Ranter said...

Yes, you are absolutely correct. Dion and Layton have played this market chaos for all it is worth. Just read any comments sections in any of the media websites. Liberal supporters have been praying for an economic downturn for the past year, and they're very nearly delirious now that they've gotten their wish. With perfect timing no less.

I fear it is simply too late for the Conservatives to change course. The momentum has shifted so strongly against us, and the media chatter about "strategic voting" and "Dion's surge" (he's bounced a few points off the bottom) and "plummeting Conservative support" has become so intense, I doubt anything can be done to right this ship. Once the inevitable last-minute swing from the NDP & Greens to the Liberals occurs (it always does, and Lizzy is again starting to muse about strategic voting tonight) Harper will be lucky to hang onto his minority. A Dion minority would not at all surprise me at this point. In fact, if I were betting, I'd put my money on it.

The Conservatives will lose half or more of their seats in Quebec, all three seats in Newfoundland, a handful in Ontario, and we'll be lucky to hang on to what we have in BC. Only the prairies will hold fast.

Harper's performance has been so sluggish, and so weak, I honestly wonder if he even wants to win. Given the onset of recession, maybe the Conservatives are better off losing this one. I wouldn't want to be PM in the next year or so. Whoever has the job will need to raise taxes, slash programs or run a deficit. And whoever does that will be DOOMED the next time around. Perhaps another stint in Opposition would allow the Conservatives to avoid the brunt of the public's wrath over the coming recession, and also allow us to build a REAL election strategy for next time.

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