Friday, November 20, 2015

The Real Harper Derangement Syndrome - the Conservatives' Mirage Surplus

It smelled from the get to. The economy was wallowing on the cusp of recession. World oil prices had tanked. Yet Shifty Steve Harper went into the last election telling Canadians that after a half-dozen consecutive budget deficits, his government had finally turned a corner and engineered a budget surplus - the first, he assured Tory Gullabillies, of an endless streak of surpluses to come.

Only he was lying his ass off.

The new government has had a look at the federal books - not the cooked set but the raw data - and the crushing weight of reality transforms Harper's surplus into a $3-billion federal deficit.

The last Conservative budget forecasted a $2.3-billion surplus for this year, but Finance Canada now says it's more likely the year will end with a $3-billion deficit — and that's before Liberal campaign promises are costed in.

Finance Canada still predicts the economy will eke out growth in 2015 — but only at an average of 1.2 per cent. The April budget by the Conservatives had predicted two per cent growth for the year.

Ottawa is also now assuming a weaker loonie, too. In April, the budget was forecasting an 83-cent loonie, on average, between now and 2019. Friday's fiscal update downgrades that to 79 cents US.

The loonie is currently trading hands at around 75 cents US.

All in all, it's a fitting fare-thee-well from the most manipulative, secretive and duplicitous government in Canadian history. When one speaks of Harper Derangement Syndrome it was an affliction not of Harper's critics but a corrosive infestation inside the man himself. 


Toby said...

That was and is a problem. Harper and his inner circle are pathological liars. It's in their blood. For some, it's the end justifies the means syndrome. For harper, the world is whatever he says it is. He needs some serious time with a therapist.

"Tory Gullabillies" describes Harper supporters. perfectly. They are presently out there floundering around trying to figure out how to resurrect the fantasy.

Scotian said...

Notice the replacement of HDS with TDS from the NDP, they could not wait to leap at claiming this "proved" the Libs were the same old Libs getting ready to hack and slash tier way through government. Given that we all knew this was coming, at least those of us that live in the reality based world, I found that to be more than a little despicable. But then given that I am watching people bitch about the lack of the plan for refugee settlement being publicly announced already (this despite the government only being sworn in 16 days ago, and with their announcement set for next Tuesday will have been in a position to actually start doing any of this and did so in 21 days) and taking political pot shots already not surprised at all. I mean I know the Libs aren't communicating all that well yet, but given that they do not have all their hiring done yet, given they just got the briefs and power to do anything only 16 days ago now, and given it is clear they are more concerned with getting a working plan together as the first priority instead of playing the PR games the prior government did, I'm actually impressed with what I've been seeing so far versus the way the Harper government operated.

As to the fiscal update, we have the NDP as I noted claiming it proves the Libs are getting ready to abandon all their promises just like the NDP always said they would, and we have the CPC claiming the Libs are misrepresenting their true work in handing them a healthy fiscal situation (unlike in 2006 when the Libs actually did leave the CPC such a thing), yet the truth is if anything this deficit is less serious a one than I think many of us that were convinced this government had cooked the books all along were expecting. It would also be nice if they (media) pointed out/emphasized it isn't a 3 billion but nearly 6 billion dollar swing which leaves a 3 billion dollar deficit that is being talked about. Already I'm hearing that point getting lost in the conversation, and it really annoys me when that sort of thing happens regardless of who it involves.

Even to get to that false point the Harper government not only wildly overestimated the price of oil and the growth rate of the nation's economy they also were selling off assets at a loss all over the place, not least those GM shares. So in real terms our true fiscal health is clearly significantly worse than the CPC tried to make it out to be, yet I seriously doubt the Libs went into the election expecting anything the less. So I do not see this update causing them to seriously change their planned direction, but they are going to make sure the true state of things from the outset and why it is so is out there, and that I believe is not bad way for any government to be operating.

The Mound of Sound said...

Scotian, no good can come of paying any attention to the moans of the Dippers. There'll be nothing but sour grapes from them, something that was preordained. The election was theirs to lose, they lost it in grand style thanks to lame policy and feckless leadership and, hence, they must find someone to be their whipping boy. The good thing is that now having begun their slide into what may become perma-obscurity you are at liberty to treat them as irrelevant. Like the Tories the NDP came out of this election hopelessly divided, unsure of what they are or want to be. Why else would they be so placid about Mulcair soldiering on? He won't even acknowledge his role in scuttling their campaign which suggests he intends to soldier on. After all, if he wanted to change parties again, he'd have to invent a new one in the image of the Angry Beard.

Scotian said...


TBH I am not sure who I should blame more for the NDP multiple failures in the campaign, Mulcair personally or that "winning" team of McGrath and most especially weasel boy aka Brad Levigne. He in particular is someone I have a real hard time handling hearing from. Of all the political operatives out there not already part of the hard core Harper/CPC machine I find him to be the most disgusting, slimy, skeezy etc one out there, and those are his good qualities from where I sit, his negatives are ones I wouldn't write out publicly for fear of possible hate speech charges. Yes, I really, Really, REALLY dislike Brad Levigne, both as a person and as a political operator.

It's funny, really, how deluded he managed to sound on election night that he floored everyone listening to him, yet he is still allowed to show up on CBC's P&P for the NDP and be considered a serious person. Levigne is also one of the nastiest sanctimonious pretentious self righteous a**holes the NDP ever coughed up IMHO, so to see him even after he has so spectacularly revealed himself for what he truly is, a loser failure who lives in the land of delusions or lives in the land of lies (the difference being the former includes him in the deception, the latter he is knowingly lying to all) and has no business being taken seriously by anyone in the media and political world still being so treated truly mystifies and disgusts me. Yet he retains his place within the Mulcair inner circle, which in itself screams volumes about the attack dog politics we can expect from them.

Calling what we will be hearing from the NDP sour grapes does not begin to do justice to the reality of what we are going to get. For Mulcair to "prove" he deserves to stay he is going to have to satisfy the NDP base that he is "holding Trudeau's feet to the fire" the way he did with Harper. The problem of course is that given the choices made in the election campaign that level of hostility will not sit well outside the already shrunken NDP base, and will further alienate. What really sucks though is that it may end up helping the CPC recover their credibility faster as a result, but that is still some time off to tell whether will happen or not.

I mean I know I've been harsh about the NDP since Layton, but I was hoping that this election and what happened in it would be enough to cause the core of the party to re-examine itself and see why it went so wrong in the end, and why the Layton/Mulcair Lib lite approach was never going to work so long as the Libs retained any presence at all. Now that Trudeau has brought them back to majority power they aren't dying off anytime soon, so the NDP needs to figure out who they really are and what they really can offer Canadians. Sour gapes and the grapes of wrath, envy, bitterness, and bile somehow I doubt will be all that marketable, especially against sunny ways and honesty from the Trudeau Libs. What could work against the Harper style of government is almost certain to not only fail but backfire with Trudeau's given what we have seen of his operating style to date. That this appears to be totally missed by NDPers only underscores their disconnect from reality. Hells, the CPC seems to be getting this more than the NDP, and I do not think they are getting it beyond superficialities of tone and appearance and even there not doing it well.

Anonymous said...

One man's constant lying and deception is one thing.
The desire of about a third of our population to believe his nonsense is truly what's most frightening.