Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Grownup Politics

Chris Selley recaps an interview given by Britain's opposition leader David Cameron, then adds the following:

“Reticent” isn't a word that comes to mind. What comes to my mind instead is that if either Michael Ignatieff or Stephen Harper had given that interview, Canadian politics-watchers would still be picking themselves up off the floor, and the appropriate war room would be tearing into the other guy like a pack of half-starved wolverines.

No one unfamiliar with politics would find these ideas particularly salacious, of course, and these weren't revelations either. Cameron has for some time been promising a period of general “austerity” under his Prime Ministership, with an eye to getting the books in order and throwing Standard & Poor's much-feared credit-raters off the trail.

Anyone who reads a newspaper knows lean times are coming to Canada too, one way or the other—tax hikes, spending cuts, or some combination of the two.

The difference between Ottawa and London is that in London, they're actually talking about it. Indeed, to hear Cameron talk, he actually thinks he's telling the British people what they want to hear. In Ottawa, all signs suggest we'll follow up our 2008 election, which managed to ignore a recession we all knew was coming, with a 2009 election that will ignore the fiscal measures necessary to recover from it. At least a few journalists have sworn in writing not to let the combatants get away with it this time.

We better hope they meant it.

9 Comments:

  • Wow, I love that total transparency idea a lot. I'd vote this guy for PM any day based on that alone.

    By Anonymous jason Bo Green, at 12:39 AM  

  • My standards are lower. It doesn't need to be total transparency; just putting an end to the childish lies would be a good start.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:29 AM  

  • Don't anyone hold their breath that the Liberals will come forward with any straight talk. They haven't been straight with the electorate on economic matters during the writ period in my lifetime, and I'm middle aged.

    A case in point, the 1980 election where John Crosbie's short term pain budget. The liberals campaigned against an excise tax on gas to get elected, and then implemented it a few months after the election, in installments. Scrap the GST under Chretien etc...promise abandonned.

    Will it be different under Iggy? Like I say, don't hold your breath.

    By Anonymous orchid, at 7:18 AM  

  • Well orchid, we know now that Harper is not the answer and you know dick all about Iggy. Will it be different under iggy you ask? I say why not and it certainly can't be as bad as Harper. Anyone who thinks a little will come to the conclusion that government revenue comes from taxes and to say they are against taxes and won't raise them is very childish and not doable to ever erase the massive deficits Canada will be in for the next few years. What a joke and a laugh Harper was to lower the GST by 2% losing over $12 million dollars in revenue. Yes, we all don't like taxes but we do like health care, education, housing and eating with a roof over our heads so lets get real instead of taking the Reforms words as facts and maybe we need to take our blinders off, use the brain we were born with and quit letting the politions do the thinking for us. It would be a nice change.

    Marie

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:00 PM  

  • "Anyone who thinks a little will come to the conclusion that government revenue comes from taxes and to say they are against taxes and won't raise them is very childish and not doable to ever erase the massive deficits Canada will be in for the next few years."

    Or we could slash spending like Chretien, Harris and Klein did. Three peas in a pod. Good times those were.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:13 PM  

  • Do you think the fact that our deficit will be about 1.5% of GDP, and theirs about 20% of GDP, has anything at all to do with it?

    Naaaah. Can't be.

    /sarcasm

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:35 PM  

  • Do you think the fact that our deficit will be about 1.5% of GDP, and theirs about 20% of GDP, has anything at all to do with it?

    I don't know the exact numbers off-hand, but I can say with confidence that the respective deficits when Chretien/Harris/Klein took over were nowhere close to 20% of GDP.

    Even if they were, I don't see how that's relevant, since it affects both how much they'd have to cut spending and how much they'd have to raise taxes.

    -- Dan

    By Anonymous The Invisible Hand, at 1:54 AM  

  • A 1 year deficit 20% of GDP? That would be insane.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 12:26 PM  

  • The people who should know our federal deficit total, don't, probably as a result of only working for 3 months between Jun/08-Sep/09. If I got paid 11 months for not working it would change my life. If I got paid two weeks of a prorogued Parliament Conservative MP's salary, it would change my life.

    Canada GDP is about 1.2T. Deficit is about $54B. Is about 5% of GDP. We aren't a reserve currency so need to be frugal. We also should be paying down the federal debt and running the opposite as the USA runs up debt. That is, even the we rise and synch in business cycle tandem for the most part, to diversify ourselves from their debt we should run surpluses when they show signs of breaking the bank. Harper is doing the opposite, especially with GST cut that made consumer boom worse and bust deeper (albeit marginally).

    If they mess up without flight-to-quality (lose it now or assuming a future recession) or with a government that won't use cheap interest rates, we will be screwed unless we build a surplus that indexes in size inversely to the size of their debt.

    By Anonymous Phillip Huggan, at 11:12 PM  

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