Parliamentarians of the Year 2012 — Stephen Harper, most knowledgeable

MPs agree it’s reassuring to know a policy wonk is in charge

CP/Adrian Wyld

His speech to the Reform party’s founding convention began with what biographer William Johnson described as “a parade of statistics” and when Stephen Harper was done speaking, Preston Manning apparently knew who should be in charge of the nascent party’s policy platform.

Harper’s reputation as a wonk has not diminished any in the 25 years since then. It has even become a key part of his public profile. Amid the much-noted attack ads, the Conservatives introduced a minute-long ad a few months before last year’s election that presented the Prime Minister poring over paperwork long into the night.

Apparently, at a time of economic chaos, it’s reassuring to know a policy wonk is in charge.




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Parliamentarians of the Year 2012 — Stephen Harper, most knowledgeable

  1. Harper has no clue. Our municipal, industrial, transportation, agriculture and food processing are so bound to oil that every time market prices swings our entire economy suffers for it. He left our entire nation so vulnerable because of this. Imagine as climate change issues mount up where our nation will be dealing with ever increasing prices. Also, all our manufacturing and infrastructure needs have to pay 66% more for steel because they have to compete with tar sands demands for the same resource. Instead of pacing out expansion to allow others to prosper, he hurts the entire nation by inflating prices on the rush to build and it increased the pricing on base commodities we all need to function. Other sectors are tanking as a result. He’s nuts. If you want to build a solid pillar for our economy, you need a solid foundation that works with the whole nation. This guy cripples everyone else to push oil forth. It is shameful. How can people support this logic?

    • you are so right Harper is destroying our Country as we know it, and he should be put in jail!

    • I agree. Going all in on dirty energy in this century is a fool’s bet, especially considering the price of oil needs to remain about $80/barrel for bitumen-sands oil to remain profitable. (The price of oil dropped too low this year and Alberta’s deficit tripled…)

      It’s interesting how Harper wants to protect about 140,000 oil sands jobs, but the overvalued bitumen dollar has killed 500,000 good-paying export-related jobs. It is also putting the squeeze on tourism.

      The best type of economy is innovation based and environmentally responsible. It creates the most wealth and the widest range of job and business opportunities. While the rest of the world works its way up the value-added chain towards prosperity, Harper drags Canada down it.

    • If only we had wind-powered transportation.
      If only we still used oxen to pull the plows on our farms.
      If only our factories were powered with peat and old stumps.
      If only…………….Damn oil !—-Why do we even use it ?
      Every now and then one of the anti-Harper rants from you lefties has one iota of sense———but not yours.
      The fact that anyone would agree with your blather says all you need to know about their thinking.

  2. Harper’s statistics are all bunk. During the leaders debate in the last election Harper said (10 times, no less) that “Canada has the strongest recovery on the planet.” A couple of weeks before, the G&M ran a headline: “We’re No. 10!” showing our economic ranking according to the Conference Board of Canada. Germany and Sweden, for example, had stronger recoveries.

    Harper now claims Canada has the lowest government debt “by a country mile.” This is utter nonsense. Canada has 85% debt/GDP according to the IMF (2011.) This puts us at #3 among G7 countries: Germany 82%, the UK 83%, France 86%.

    Harper also cooks stats on job creation claiming he has created 820,000 jobs. He measures from the recession trough, but economists measure a recovery from before the recession hit. The fact is we have 350,000 more unemployed than before the recession which is why the unemployment rate is 1.3 points higher (6.1% before; 7.4% now.)

    The reality is that our economy is far from #1. Lying to Canadians is no “economic action plan”:

    * OECD productivity (2011): #17
    * OECD productivity growth (2011): #24
    * OECD government debt/GDP (IMF 2011): #25
    * OECD Unemployment rate (2012 Q1): #17
    * OECD GDP growth (2011 CIA): #14
    * OECD trade balance (IMF 2011): #24
    * Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index (2011): #12
    * Conference Board of Canada Economy Rankings (2011): #11
    * WEF Global Competitive Index (2012-2013): #14

  3. Since the 2008 election, Harper has basically been winning by saying that he is doing a better economic job than the Americans. He constantly points out that the American economy is worse. He likes to say that Canada is making the best out of a bad economic situation. The problem for center-left voters is the reelection of Obama in the U.S. Whether you like Obama on the social issues or not, the guy doesn’t have a clue about economics. The U.S. economic situation keeps failing to improve. Their debt keeps soaring. The numbers of Americans on food stamps and government programs are at record levels. This gives Harper a major weapon to use. He is constantly trying to link the Canadian left with the failing US. economic policies. Now, he has another four years to do that. The screwed up joke is that a Romney win probably would have increased the chances that Harper lost in 2015(Harper could be attacked as a Romney-like extremist). Instead, the odds are probably that using the bad economic news together with the 30 new seats added to parliment that Harper will have another majority government. If you thought 9 years of Harper was something how does 13-14 grab you? A Romney election would probably have resulted with Harper out in 2015 followed by Romney having a tough reelection fight with Hillary Clinton in 2016. Now, Harper is almost guaranteed reelection in 2015. Meanwhile, the Republicans will probably win in 2016. With the exception of FDR running for the 3rd term in 1940, Democrats never have held the U.S. presidency for more than 8 years. Meanwhile, Republicans have held the presidency for periods of 24 years(1860-1884), 16 years(1896-1912), 12 years on 2 occassions(1920-1932, 1980-1992), as well as various 8 year periods. The Democrats best shot will be Hillary Clinton but she will be 68 years old(1 year younger than Reagan but with none of the pep) and she will be running against the Democrats 8 year curse. Otherwise, the Democrats don’t have much of a bench to push(most presidents come from the governorships because they are seen as having some executive experience) . Their next strongest people are the governors of New York, Maryland, Massachusetts, all of whom will be attacked as hard-core leftist(and of which only Cuomo of New York has high approval ratings in a state considerably to the left of the American mainstream). Governor Jerry Brown of California will be in his mid-70′s at the time and is aready suffering falling poll numbers. Meanwhile, the Republicans can run several popular governors for the office. Jindal of Louisiana who is Indian-American, Susanna Martinez of New Mexico. Nikki Haley of SC also Indian-American, Mary Fallin of Oklahoma, John Kasick of Ohio, and Scott Walker of Wisconsin to name a few. An Obama 2nd term is politically not helpful to the north american center-left.

    • Ah, I believe over the past 3-4 years the U.S economy has shown some improvement. There is a slow but steady trend towards “onshoring” manufacturing jobs, due to high transportation costs (trans pacific) and rising Chinese wages.

      The second major development is the shale gas / tight oil booms that the U.S is experiencing. The the U.S is well on its way to natural gas independence (with net exports), along with reduced need for imported oil.

      Their economy is still in a relatively vulnerable state, and they need to get their fiscal act together, but to state that their has been no improvement, well that is utter nonsense.

      I can’t voucher for your claim that record numbers of Americans are on food stamps, but it wouldn’t surprise me, seeing how they are recovering from the worst economic crisis in the 70 years. If there is a high need, why wouldn’t the program be utilized?

      Past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Examine demographic trends in the U.S,. you’ll see that the growing influence of the Latino voter will continue to grow into the foreseeable future. That doesn’t bode well for the Republicans (at least in their present form). In fact on newly elected Republican Senator has recently raised concerns, that if current trends persist, the Republicans could lose Texas. If that were to occur, it would be game over for the Grand Old Party.

      BTW you really need to learn about paragraphs.

  4. For a policy wonk, his projections on the budget have all been wrong, and socially hes arse backwards. I had to check and make sure I was not at theonion.com

  5. The numbers favor a Republican presidential victory in 2016. Mitt had no coattails at the U.S. Senate level(assisted by bad candidates in Indiana and Missouri). However, there are some problems for the Democrats. First, the Democrat popular vote victory was about 51%-49% despite a larger base of non-white voters versus a roughly 53%-47% split in 2008. Second, the Republican state election results of 2010 and 2012 show that they are not far off their game. In 2010, the Republicans achieved control of 62 of 99 state legislatures in the 50 states. They gained over 750 seats when the elections of 2009, 2010, 2011, and Democrat state legislator defectors are included. This was the largest total that the Republicans held in the state legislatures since the 1920′s. The Democrat machine got all their guys out and took back about 150 of those seats(mostly in the northeast the most left-wing part of the country). 600 of these new Republican seats stayed in the party. The Republicans continue to hold 58 of 99 state legislatures. The Republicans now hold the state governorship, all other state-wide elected offices, both houses of the state legislature, and at least 1 U.S. Senate seat in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Florida(as well as the majority of U.S. House seats in all these states). All swing states won by Obama. They hold the governorship, all other state-wide offices, and both houses of the state legislature in Virginia and Michigan(both swing states on by Obama). All these state legislative seats were up for election. Yet, the Republicans held their majorities while Obama took the state. I also was reading some gallup polling that shows some interesting numbers. The approval rating of state governments is generally far higher than the approval rating of the federal government. Also, the state governments where Republicans control both the governorship and both legislative houses have approval ratings on average of about 58%(more than 10% higher than state governments run by Democrats). The question is why are the Republicans continuing to have success at the state and local level(but federal level problems) and can it replicated to the federal level? I read up on these governors and its not like they are more centrist than the national party. Of the 30 current Republican governors, virtually all are self defined conservatives. 28 of the 30 are pro-life, virtually all are big gun rights guys, all oppose gay marriage, and support the death penalty. While Scott Walker stands out as one of the best known because of his collective bargaining legislation. They have almost all as a bloc tried to govern as cost cutting fiscal conservatives. Some real standouts on that account seem to be McDonnell of VA, Corbett of PA, and Kasick of OH. All four of these guys are conservative governors with good polling numbers but in states carried by Obama. The point is that while Romney polled poorly(under 30%) with Hispanics and Asians. These other men don’t seem to have that problem. So, I think that its a little too early to say that the Republican Party is headed for extinction. What they have to do is study why these guys are successful and find a candidate who can take this message nationwide.

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