Paul Martin was the finance minister who plucked the federal government from the brink of fiscal chaos. It was a tough time for all including the provinces, even the Canadian Forces, but he balanced the budget and paid down $90 billion of our national debt. He kept the bankers in line and when he handed the reins to Harper he bequeathed a full treasury ready to absorb the brunt of the great collapse of 2008.
Put simply, Martin pulled our fat (yours and mine) out of the fire. Which is why he deserves to be heard on the mess we're in yet again and where we're headed.
The public has grown used to the Harper government’s mantra on deficits, but should be startled by what they hear from New Democrats, he said.
“That Tom Mulcair is now a student of Stephen Harper’s economy makes absolutely no sense,” said Martin.
“Where is the conscience of those who belong in the NDP? How can the NDP party — those who’ve worked it for all these years — stand for the fact that the party is now holding hands with the Conservatives and saying that our goal in the next mandate is to do absolutely nothing?”
“The current Conservative government has ground the economy down so far, trapping our most vulnerable of citizens in the process, that the next government has to act and that the NDP doesn’t understand that boggles the mind. Conservative obsession with eliminating the deficit down to the final decimal point is more than short-sighted. It’s yesterday’s war.”
Further evidence of how Mulcair and Harper are on the wrong page with their babble about balancing budgets comes from a new poll that finds Canadians believe their country is in a recession and support the federal government running a deficit to stimulate the economy.
Anyone who reads this blog knows I've been pretty tough on young Trudeau but I will give him credit for his commitment to a major, 3-year infrastructure programme. Sure he'll run a deficit but that's not the point. It's like bad cholesterol and good cholesterol. Harper's "throw a deck on the cottage" stimulus budget of 2009 was bad cholesterol. It was money squandered, gifted away, with no lasting return. Infrastructure spending, of the sort Harper didn't have the vision or courage to implement, is good cholesterol. It's money invested in public assets - highways, bridges, overpasses, power grids - that bolster the economy and reap returns for decades.
Of course, with this latest poll, the bearded chameleon may change his colours as effortlessly as he has on other situations in the past.