Friday, October 30, 2009

At Issue Panel Needs A Recent History Lesson

The National can be a frustrating newscast to watch. Last night was a prime example. Mansbridge apparently has done an interview with Danielle Smith the new leader of Alberta's Wildrose Alliance. During the at Issue panel, he showed a clip where he asked Smith the somewhat obvious question of "if you hate provincial Tory deficits, how do you feel about federal Tory deficits?" Smith proceeded to walk the Alberta Tory tightrope by claiming that the evil NEP-Liberals forced Saint Harper the Prudent into deficit by opposing last year's economic update. One problem. At the time of last year's economic update, Canada was already in deficit. Even if you don't remember that part, the whole Liberals forced Harper into deficit story doesn't really add up.

The two issues that caused such uproar about the economic update were the plan to a) do nothing about the collapsing economy and b) cut party subsidies. The cynical among us would say mostly the latter. The resulting crisis hurt the Liberals badly and led to a change in leader. By the time of the budget when the party subsidies were off the table, Interim-Leader Ignatieff was clearly in no mood to oppose the budget and made only token showings of any opposition. Stephen Harper had as close to a tabula rasa as a minority government could have had on a crisis-budget. Our current federal fiscal mess, like the one Ms. Smith opposes in Alberta, was created by a Conservative government that cut taxes too fast in good times and was consequently burned when the economy turned sour. The stimulus spending is almost exclusively one-time spending that will only contribute to future deficits via debt payments. The real challenge is overcoming the structural deficits left by previous Tory budgets. Now, Ms. Smith is within her right to spin. The three journalists on the at issue panel, however, have a responsibility to call the BS. They didn't and promoted the Tory talking point of the Liberal opposition somehow being responsible for the federal deficit. Shame! I have to wonder if part of the reason for their sheepishness was Ms. Smith invoking the people of Alberta as her source for information.


CanadianSense said...

Reminds me of the revisionist history of claiming Mulroney did not inherit the debt from Trudeau.

It is a shame the posters and media tend to remember details that reinforce only their narrative.

What was the actual figure did the CPC led government post according the Auditor General before the "technical" recession occur?

Octagonian said...

Tax cuts are designed to accompany spending cuts.

The Harpo Tories made eensy weensy tax cust and then blew the bank spending.

Any tax cut is good -- because it cuts WASTE.

But the Harpo tax cuts, while of net if near microscopic benefit to the Canadian economy, are not the point.

Like all Tories Harpo craves power, and to satisfy said appetite requires growth in government -- especially spending.

Of course Tories always get away with their spending excesses, because they always have an excuse, and they can always get away with more socialism and statism in practise than any Liberal or dipper could.

MacDonald. Bennett. Mulroney. Harpo. All did more to establish Canada as a socialist state than any Liberal did. Trudeau just redecorated.

It may be that Iggy would do less social democratic damage to the country than Harpo.

I just wish the Liberals WERE liberal, instead of playing the lightweight social democrats to the Tory heavyweights.

Realtor in Toronto said...

Umm..I don't see how all tax cuts are good. If you cut taxes in all areas then where will the government get any money for spending? In the time of the crisis we shoudl have seen more taxation in my opinion. It's the best way to get out of a crisis. Not just make money out of thin air and claim that we'll pay for that later.

Take care, Julie

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