Thursday, January 8, 2009

Harper Upbeat on Economic Crisis

Thu Jan 8, 6:03 AM OTTAWA (Reuters) - Prime Minister Stephen Harper was less gloomy about the economy in an interview released on Thursday, saying Canada was in a strong economic position compared with others and should be able to exit the recession relatively quickly.The comments were made to Maclean's magazine. But in mid-December, he had said he was very worried about the economy and speculated about the possibility of a depression. [end of quote]

This is not what the country needs: a politician who vacillates on critical issues, based purely it would seem, on what will pay him the most political benefit. He seems convinced he must always appear to be right as if he's terrified of making a mistake and rarely will admit to any error in public or caucus. We need honesty, we need openness.

Is the Harper's optimism warranted? Let's take a look a today's economic headlines from the CBC -

Canada's building sector takes double-digit hit in November The number of new building permits fell by almost 12 per cent in November as Canada's residential construction potential hits its lowest level in four years...

Canada's Jobless Rate up to 6.6 Percent in December Canada lost 34,400 jobs in December, a figure that was worse than economists had been expecting, as the economy weakened...

Think back on how Harper played the gloomy economic outlook card with the Governor General when faced with the possibility of upset from a coalition majority. One of the reasons he gave then for taking the almost unprecedented move of suspending parliament to protect his government from a non-confidence vote, was that the economic situation was far too precarious to "allow" a coalition government to usurp his minority control.

Well, hopefully Harper will soon have to face the music - Flaherty, his Finance Minister will be introducing a budget as soon as parliament is re-instated, and then will face the test against a majority opposition. Of course, the whole landscape of the coalition has changed, with the Liberals seizing the opportunity during hiatus to quickly replace Dion with golden boy Michael Ignatieff. Signs are the Liberals under Ignatieff are already waffling on supporting a coalition majority or non-confidence motion to defeat Harper's minority Conservatives. If they prop up Harper, they deserve whatever political fallout that spawns.

Let's hope Jack Layton and the NDP can be the voice of reason and push for the needs of ordinary working Canadians during whatever the worldwide economic crisis throws our way.

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