Paul Wells thinks it's newsworthy that Harper will include the abolition of public financing as part of his next campaign platform. Given what we saw last campaign, I think it's newsworthy that this means Harper will have a platform next campaign.
Regardless, one answer from Harper caught my eye. I reproduce it here, with my comments added in:
Q: Do you think it’s fair to say that the big-spending liberals of Canada and North America are taking advantage of the political situation to drive through more of their ideological agenda?
A: Well, look, this is a risk. First of all there’s nothing—I should be clear—there’s nothing unconservative about running deficits during a recession.
Well, duh. Let's look. The conservatives in the States have run up a trillion dollar deficit. The Conservatives in Canada will run a 30-40 billion dollar deficit this year - Canada's biggest deficit since...the last time we had Conservatives in power. In fact, Harper's 2006 balanced budget (a product of 13 years of Liberal government) was the first balanced Conservative budget in Canada in 90 years.
No, on this point, Harper and I are in complete agreement. There is nothing unconservative about running deficits.
There’s actually pretty strong economic theory that would indicate that you don’t start raising taxes and reducing government economic activity during a downturn, but what we’ve got to be sure of as we enter a deficit [is] that those spending measures are short-term and that we’re in a position where, as the economy recovers, we move back into surplus.
Huh? Captain GST-cut, who eschewed the carbon tax is suddenly listening to economists?
And obviously the risk the government faces is that this becomes an excuse for permanent long-term spending that is, in fact, not stimulative, it’s just simply big government that becomes a burden on the economy.
True. It would be a shame to spend for the sake of spending in good economic times. Of course, this ignores the fact that Jim Flaherty is the biggest spending finance minister in the history of Canada.
That is a significant risk, which is why I think it’s important to have a Conservative government managing this kind of program.
Again, can someone explain to me why the Conservatives should be considered better economic managers when every shred of evidence in our country's history points to the exact opposite conclusion?