The Bull Meter: Stephen Harper on the risk elections pose to the economy

Should we avoid the polls so long as the economy is fragile?


[mac_quote person=”Stephen Harper” date=”March 26, 2011″]Against this backdrop of growing economic risk, and against our advice, the opposition parties have chosen to force an election the country doesn’t want; an election the economy doesn’t need.[/mac_quote]

[mac_bull score=”4″]

When looking at the Canadian stock market index and the performance of the loonie over the past 20 years, election campaigns appear to have virtually no effect on the Canadian economy. Sure, Canada’s stock market tanked around the time voters last went to the polls in 2008, but we’re pretty sure the collapse of the global economy had a bit more to do with it than the prorogation of Parliament. Data collected by the Bank of Canada shows that the Canadian dollar’s average fluctuation in the 35 days prior to an election was about US$0.03, with the biggest change—US$0.05—occurring during the 2004 election.

Indeed, few economists would defend the the idea that an election is a “risk” to Canada’s stable economy. With all the part-time jobs involved and party spending, an election may even give Canada’s economy a stimulating jolt.

Heard something that doesn’t sound quite right? Send quotes from the campaign trail to macbullmeter@gmail.com and we’ll tell you just how much bull they contain.


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The Bull Meter: Stephen Harper on the risk elections pose to the economy

  1. So this gets the same as Iggy not being clear exactly when his family lost their money before coming to Canada? This meter has yet to impress me.

  2. From the mouth of the man who never saw the risk of a recession and of government deficits*, even in early fall of 2008.

    I would give this one a fifth bull.

    *Unless Canadians would have elected Dion.

  3. There's also the point that Harpers contempt for Canadians was what really forced the election – against the advice of every opposition party, as surely he should have known that the Opposition parties would not let their duty to the constituents slide in order to avoid an election. We have a right to know how much any governments plans are going to cost and he forced the election by denying us that right. He forced the election Canadians dont want – while trying to force our MP's into letting us down.

  4. Seriously.

  5. What DOES Harper have to say to earn the fifth bull anyway?

  6. Do you only plan on giving Conservative quotes/talking points scrutiny with the Bull-Meter…..I'm pretty sure there are some wonderful candidates from the other parties!!

  7. The liberal media tries to keep itself balanced. 5 bulls would be even more obvious of the liberal bias than the current 4.

  8. Harper spreads a lot of bull, but the quote selected seems to be one of his more moderate statements, so I don't get this bull meter at all. Some Canadians don't want an election, some do.

    Is any journalist going to ask Harper what he plans to do if he wins a minority? Harper seems to be getting more and more emphatic in his speeches that he will never govern with a minority again. Is it all a ploy and he actually plans to govern exactly how he always has? Or is there actually something behind this? Does he plan to step down? Does he plan to refuse to govern? Does he plan to govern, but differently, than he has been?

  9. Others. You didn't include Fortier. Income trusts is pretty damned close but one might be able to let him get away with the idea that they didn't actually know how bad it was going to be.. assuming one is comfortable with the idea that the CPC is collectively brain-dead and has the economic foresight of a chia-pet buried in concrete.

  10. I will appoint special envoys to get back every single cent we are owed on softwood lumber rather than sacrifice billions of dollars just to say I got a deal.

  11. I think he'll take his bat and ball and go home if he doesn't get a majority. Then we'll have PM Deanie Del Mastro.

  12. Why has there been no talk about the Fixed Election Date Act during this campaign like there was back in 2008 ?
    I know there is that bit in the Act about non-confidence votes but it seems the Opposition parties were every bit as opportunistic about forcing an election in 2011 as Harper was in 2008.

  13. Speaking of bulls, that Fixed Election Date Act deserves the full 5 out of 5.

  14. Leftist bull meters like these greatly jeopardize the stability of the Canadian economy.

  15. The bill didn't disallow non-confidence votes, nor could it or should it. In fact you couldn't even legally stop the PM from asking the GG for dissolution, a fact harper used to his full advantage.

  16. What about if he is just short of a majority? will he welcome Helena back with open arms if she wins her riding? try to poach opposition MP's? etc?

  17. While I think the point made by the author is generally sound, I can hardly think of two less important measures of Canadian economic performance than the stock market and the exchange rate of the Canadian dollar against the US dollar. If you really wanted to lance this postule of fibbery you should be using real GDP growth, unemployment rates or employment rates or per capita incomes.

  18. He'll declare martial law.

  19. Forget it, Jake, it's Craigslist.

  20. And Harper could have tried for a non-confidence vote in 2008.

    Quite frankly, I think your post is a ruse.

  21. Duly noted. The Bull Meter has not aligned itself with your partisan presuppositions. Don't worry, I'm sure it will come out with some Total Bull rating against the Cons soon, and you can sing it's praises to high heaven, and perhaps, joy of joys, it will say No Bull to some LIb statement shortly after, and you can go downright orgasmic all over these comment boards.

  22. Not so much my suppositions as, y'know, reality.

  23. election campaigns appear to have virtually no effect on the Canadian economy.

    I haven't checked, but I would imagine the dollar/stocks tanked during the 1995 referendum. If we look beyond the past 20 years, I'd bet that the dollar/stocks also tanked when René Lévesque was first elected in 1976.

  24. From a study in the Canadian Journal of Economics: the uncertainty surrounding the 1995 referendum outcome had an impact on stock returns of Quebec firms.

    Now, is a referendum an "election campaign?" It could be argued that it is, but in either case: to dismiss all elections (whether choosing a representative, or a referendum on policy questions) as inconsequential to the economy would be a mistake.

  25. Which media outlets in Canada are biased liberal?
    Be specific.
    I bet you'll find the majority are pro-establishment, pro-business or at least conservative-friendly in their ownership, advertising and editorial departments.

  26. Hmmmm….maybe the economy won't tank but with these daily multiple goodies being promised by the Libs and Dippers, they will have to raise taxes, personal and corporate.

  27. OK, "almost inconsequential". At best. And still a stretch.

    And you can't compare a twice-ever referendum which could break up the country with a routine federal election. And you would have to look at it all across Canada, not just one province – the thing with referendums is that they push business out of Montreal into Toronto.

  28. To name a few, The Star, G&M, Macleans and CBC are the easiest pickings. Sure, they "sprinkle" in a few conservative voices now and then, but truly they are liberal leaning by far.

  29. You answered your own question with the non-confidence reference. There is no issue this time.

    It might be worth a Bull Meter ranking, if Harper is stupid enough to use it as a talking point this time around. The law is still on the books, but iseffectively dead; Harper killed it himself when he ignored it last time around. The time spent on implementing it was a waste of time and taxpayers' money; I'd suggest they repeal it, but that would just waste more time and money.

    If he wins a majority, Harper might pretend to obey it, if doing so serves some arcane purpose; otherwise, it will just be forgotten.

  30. *psst* Leo – all the parties are promising goodies on a daily basis. You might want to read what Stephen Harper's been saying, he's maybe the worst of the lot!

  31. it has one effective part. It sets the date of the next election four years from the last one. Harper tried to tell people that it meant the election would occur then or if there was a vote of non-confidence, but the prime minister can't take away the power to advise the GG by simple legislation. (the text of the act actually says this, but that is neither here nor there since that would not change its effect if it wasn't).

    Then when he decided he wanted an early election, he invented a fake new circumstance to justify what his own law had never actually changed.

    At any rate, barring another non-confidence vote, the act being changed, or the PM deciding he wants to do it differently, the second fed. election from now will fall on May 2, 2015.

  32. in vancouver, the sun and province, national post and all thier small independants shrill heavily for the harper cons. the globe damns the cons with faint praise. definately media concentration is a problem, ctv global get their t.alking points from the pmo as well. cbc does not balance this inequalty by favouring the libs or ndp unfortunately

  33. How does this bull meter work ? Does it mean that Harper's above quote is 80% bullsh!t ?

  34. So, have the authors of this post actually looked at the data (for US data, look at the CRSP) – neither of the "sources" seem to address the issue head-on. It seems plausible that elections result in increased volatility, insofar as political decisions can impact markets. This election may not have the same effect, simply because the likely outcome is the status quo. Additionally, it is probably true that crises occurring in the midst of an election tend not to garner effective responses. In 2008, for instance, McCain and Obama both started making up responses to the financial crisis on the fly.

  35. Harper's prediction about the economy is about as honest as Baird's prediction that granting the UAE additional landing rights would cost 20,000 Canadian jobs. Keep talking Steve. You're sounding more bizarre every day.

  36. KING Harper speaks … aka BOO.


  38. Newspeak Warning: ECONOMY = BOO.

  39. BOO

  40. There is so much Harper BS to choose from though. Not only misinformation but outright lies that he knows are not true.

  41. I recall when I had my first drink .

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