BTC: Three days


Stephen Harper, Oct. 14. “Our election platform is not full of grandiose, costly promises. It’s a prudent approach. We can afford it. We’ll never go back into deficit. Stéphane Dion has a different approach. His risky carbon tax proposal would make energy more expensive, increasing prices for everything from groceries to gas. It’s never a good time to introduce a new tax like that, but it’s especially risky these days. It’s an experiment Canadians can’t risk. Dion also announced enormous spending promises that we can’t afford. He would put Canada into deficit again.”

Stephen Harper, Oct. 17. “I don’t think we’re in a position yet to know all the information in that regard. It would be premature to speculate on that.”

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BTC: Three days

  1. Don’t blame me, I did not vote for him

  2. How dare you try to paint our Beloved Leader into a factual corner?

    U r teh biast!

  3. In fairness, Harper didn’t rule out a deficit during the campaign.

    We should all be grateful that Canadians massively rejected this pointless tax. And many Canadians who voted Liberal supported the party despite the Green nonsense. I know I felt a sense of relief on Tuesday night.

  4. There is nothing poointless about trying to save the Environment, Jarrid.

    Perhaps Canadians (or at the least the ones that think like you, Jarrid) will realize that if/when Obama is elected and goes through with his economic advisers threat not to buy oil from any country who doesn’t have a credible climate change plan (and who pointedly mentioned the Alberta Tar-sands when he did so).

  5. Bill Clinton endorsed a carbon tax today too I see.. a pity he didnt come out with that a couple of months ago.

  6. We’ll have to agree to disagree Scott. Canadians have bigger fish to fry right now that tilting at the AGW windmill. The Green Shift wouldn’t have made any difference to the problem, even if the said problem exists to begin with.

    I know the Liberal candidate in my riding didn’t even mention it in the candidate’s debate which I thought was a smart move. The Liberal party never really got behind Dion on the Green Shift. Iggy even downplayed it’s implementation in the dying days of the campaign.

  7. We’ll have to agree to disagree Scott. Canadians have bigger fish to fry right now that tilting at the AGW windmill.

    Thank you for telling us what Canadians think, Apparently, the 63% who didn’t vote for Harpie have other ideas, but who are these latte-sipping elitists to argue with a 14-year old boy sitting in his mummy’s basement?

  8. Harper and Layton think people are more important than the planet. Dion and May think the planet is more important than people.

    The Conservatives and the NDP had 56% of the vote. The dynamic duo of Dion-May eked out 33%.

    The math says Canadians rejected a carbon tax. May, Dion, Suzuki and a few others are up in arms. Canadians are more sanguine.

    I wouldn’t put it past Dion to lecture and harangue Canadians on Monday because they didn’t listen to his save the world prescription.

  9. And people live where?

  10. It’s remarkable that with the fall of traditional global socialism, that from its ashes has risen a movement that actually has people believing our world is getting hotter (when empirical evidence is showing the opposite) and that the only way we can can control the temperature of our earth, and hence our certain firey demise, is with

    ……..increased taxes.

  11. Agree to be taxed or live hell on earth.

    It is direct. I’ll give them that.

  12. Don’t feed the trolls. Ignore them until they’re tired of themselves.

  13. Christ Tribe,

    But you are pathetic: “Bill Clinton endorsed a carbon tax today too I see.. a pity he didnt come out with that a couple of months ago.” You want to impress me, propose it in office. Dion tried. Boom, dead in the water.

  14. “In fairness, Harper didn’t rule out a deficit during the campaign.”

    And pigs can fly.

    “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

    Jarrid–Earn a soul.

  15. Goodness. Even in victory, the ConBots are graceless and bilious.

    They must really sense a disturbance in the force…

  16. There are five (5) global mean surface temperature measures. Fact, indisputable.

    All of them have been falling for years, the combination of the oldest three, GISS, HadCRUT3, and NCDC are now all showing a negative trend for the last 8 years. Fact, indisputable.

    The newest two, have been falling for 10 years. Fact, indisputable.

    Please tell me what a carbon tax is going to do, again? It seems fuzzy.

  17. Christ Peter, but you’re pathetic.

  18. My garden tomatoes were puny this year. It didn’t get hot enough. What say you Dr. Suzuki?

    And the Goddard Insitute is coming out with very inconvenient facts for the Global Warming crowd.

  19. Kody:

    You’re a Killer…

    “Ready? Let’s roll onto something new
    Taking its toll and I’m leaving without you
    Ready? Let’s roll onto something new
    But heaven ain’t close in a place like this
    Anything goes but don’t blink you might miss”


    Somebody told me
    You had a boyfriend
    Who looks like a girlfriend
    That I had in February of last year
    It’s not confidential
    [You’ve] got potential
    A rushin’, a rushin’ around”

  20. In the absense of a factual argument Ti-Guy, that is about what I would expect. Here’s a hint: Armwave and invoke the name of David Suzuki. It won’t impress me, but it will placate the innumerate fools you rely on.

  21. its always nice to hear from members of the flat earth society

  22. No, Peter, I’ll just use the word “indisputable” more often.

  23. If Harper won a majority, we would be seeing a Carbon Tax introduced in a couple years.

    I hear there is a deficit coming…

    “The federal government is on track to run budget deficits in each of the next four years – as deep as $10-billion in two of them – unless the re-elected Harper Conservatives move to avert the red ink, a senior Canadian economist projects.”
    – the Globe and Mail

    Harper might want to get Dion, who by then will be back academia, to produce a something like the Manley Panel’s Report. Kody and Jarrid then will praise the wisdom of Dion.


  24. “Arctic sea ice now 28.7% higher than this date last year – still rallying

    10/14/2008 7,064,219 square kilometers

    10/14/2007 5,487,656 square kilometers

    A difference of: 1,576,563 square kilometers, now in fairness, 2008 was a leap year, so to avoid that criticism, the value of 6,857,188 square kilometers can be used which is the 10/13/08 value, for a difference of 1,369,532 sq km. Still not too shabby at 24.9 %. The one day gain between 10/13/08 and 10/14/08 of 3.8% is also quite impressive.”

    Do people still think we needed this nutty carbon tax? And we’ll probably freeze our tushes like we did last winter.

  25. No numbers, Ti-Guy? No Surprise.

  26. sorry for the grammer… the wine is flowing once again.

  27. Blues Clair,

    “If Harper won a majority, we would be seeing a Carbon Tax introduced in a couple years.”

    If Harper so much as says Carbon Tax in anything other than derogatory terms, he’s done.

  28. NASA’s Goddard institute, is one of the major tracking agencies showing not only a drop, but in the past year, the biggest drop since ’32.

    There’s a real concern we’re entering a maunder minimum (little ice age) given the above, and that the sun has appeared to have gone “silent”. A startling reduction in sun spot activity, and in August, an unprecedented zero sunspots.

    Add in the fact that NASA’s aqua satellite has been feeding back results on the “forcing” model, and the results actually show an inverse effect from what AGW theory predicts.

    Add the above up and the AGW is dead. Those in the IPCC know this. The only uncertain thing now is how they attempt to spin the fact that the actual scientific data is completely refuting the decade old theory.

    What’s remarkable is this stuff isn’t even groundbreaking in the scientific community. It’s well known.

    The problem is the media has decided not to pass on this info.

    They will not recover when the truth bubble bursts.

  29. Jarrid says: “In fairness, Harper didn’t rule out a deficit during the campaign.”

    Globe and Mail reports: “Asked on Oct. 7 if he would unequivocally rule out running a deficit if re-elected, Mr. Harper responded “yes, yes”

    Harper lies, but please don’t copy him.

  30. Harper broke is own fixed election law…

    And a couple days ago introduced a 6 point economic plan after ridiculing Dion’s 5 point plan.

    He is a clever fellow.

    He knows his followers will swallow anything he sends their way.

  31. my comment is directed to peter.

  32. No numbers, Ti-Guy? No Surprise.

    These isn’t my thesis defence, Petey. If introducing evidence in these discussions did anything to silence the flat-earthers, I’d have taken up that brilliant strategy long ago.

    All the research you guys use always seems to be funded by Exxon or Focus on the Family, anyway.

    Global Warming Denial is very much like 9/11 conspiracy theories. Only less credible.

  33. Jarrid:

    I guess you’re from the “fundamentals are strong” school of thought.

    Have you ever ventured out of your tomb, Vlad? Do you ever notice the world around you?

    You are imprisoned in a motorcade to doom. Your vehicle is a hearse and your children are corpses before they are born.

    You can oppose abortion and promote mass suicide?

    Dorian Gray–you are Dorian Gray.

  34. “Add in the fact that NASA’s aqua satellite has been feeding back results on the “forcing” model, and the results actually show an inverse effect from what AGW theory predicts.”

    So Kody, you’re the consummate expert, what would you have us do?

    Dig a hole deeper into Alberta until it completely disappears?

    Not a bad idea.

    Then the ROC can resume building a nation.

  35. Oh, so this is the thread with all the partisan attacks. Funny, I wasn’t missing it.

    Harper did so say he wouldn’t run a deficit. He said it during the debate, if you recall, into a glass of water.

    That said, it was ridiculous to think we could go through a recession without going into deficit. I don’t know how he’s going to pull this year’s books into the black, what with that 25 billion to the banks and all. But enough partisan politics–every leader would have done the same.

  36. Oh yeah, and enough on the climate change already. Who cares? Either the environmentalists are right, in which case its already too late to stop it, or they’re wrong and it doesn’t matter. The Green Shift was a good idea because it turns our economy toward alternative energy–which we’re going to need soon when the oil runs out, and we’d better get prepared. Also, it cuts down on pollution. Remember China? We wouldn’t want to live in that soup they call air.

  37. Jenn,

    Harper is a [cheer] leader for a team of precambrian trilobites. Truth, to his followers, is Einstein-ian. Relative in the fullness of time – as it were. Calcification is the curse of stiff bones. Archeologists only ever unearth examples of failed ideas, after all.

  38. Because whom would ever preserve tomorrow?

  39. Peter: “Fact, indisputable.”

    I’ve seen the numbers, and you know what? They’re perfectly disputable. They’re perfectly disputable because the decrease you’re talking about when you work out a line of best fit is so minimal that the potential error outweighs it by several orders of magnitude.

    Translation: it’s meaningless.

  40. Charles H.

    I’m with you. I fail to understand their counter-arguments. It’s like a funded campaign. Pay me and I’ll promote you.

    I will say this, though; Dogs bark and oxen graze.

    Too many dos here.

  41. Too many DOGS here.

  42. and when you pull Campaign Barbie’s string she’ll tell you what you want to hear.

  43. with Dion gone, perhaps the press will now bother to better scrutinize Harper’s obvious lies.

    Wherry and the rest of the Maclean’s blog team being the exception.

  44. Boudica – all parties’ should be scrutinized for what they say, not just one. And when a party makes a mistake it’s not the media’s job to watch their back or denigrate other media who fail to close ranks.

    Here’s what Stephen Maher says about the effect of the Dion interview on Liberal electoral fortunes:

    “Mr. Dion did have the chance — a brief window after his decent performances in the debates — to turn the tables. But a bungled interview with CTV’s Steve Murphy in Halifax, in which he struggled to answer a question about the economy, played into the Conservative narrative.

    “That interview revalidated that,” says pollster Nick Nanos. “That mistake, whether it’s fair or unfair, the broadcasting of his inability to answer that question validated the Conservative attack ads again, and that was it for the election.””

    The outcry by some of the Maclean’s blog team to that interview was strange to say the least. The modus operandi seems to be, scrutinize the Conservatives, don’t you dare scrutinize the Liberals. I can see why you approve Boudica, being a partisan Liberal and all, but don’t expect other than fellow Liberal partisans to nod their heads in agreement to yours.

  45. From Oct 7, 2008: Harper also ruled out running a deficit during any years of a Conservative mandate, a day after appearing to soften his stance on emergency spending. “I think I was asked one question whether I would run a deficit and I said no. That’s my answer,” he told reporters after his speech.

  46. Jarrid: In fairness, Harper didn’t rule out a deficit during the campaign.

    Actually he did, more than once. In fact I’m pretty sure he said the only way to avoid deficits was to vote for him.

    However I’ve watched Harper supporters
    forgive him every single time he has gone back on his word, so it’s no surprise to see it again.

    Patronage, out of control spending, larger government, appointments of the unelected, enticing floor crossers, taxation promises, flouting spending laws, breaking the spirit of laws…so why not his no deficit committment?

    Should another party engage in any of the above, well the negative descriptors are too numerous to count. On the other hand, Harper’s trangressions are swiftly wrapped in transparent swaddling designed to staunch the bleeding and all dissenters are derided for not understanding that inexorable truth does not apply in all matters pertaining to Harper.

  47. Yes, Harper did say only he could be counted on to never run a deficit any time during his term in office.

    (CEP News) Ottawa – Prime Minister Stephen Harper says a Conservative government in Canada will never allow the federal finances to slide into deficit.

    Speaking at a Toronto news conference Tuesday, Harper unequivocally ruled out a deficit at any time during his term in office if he wins the federal election next week.

    That is something that sets him apart from opposition parties, whose promises would push the country into the red, Harper said.

  48. Yep, Harper is talking out of both sides of his mouth and is saying anything to get elected.

    However, his is the only party to be in favor of getting us free from the Canadian Wheat Board (or insert favoured Tory issue here) so…

    If the Liberals and other parties want to actually represent us, come talk to us and figure out what we want. If you want to only represent urban ridings, Ontario, and bureaucrats then you shouldn’t be surprised if that is the only that vote for them. Come talk to us, because we are being taken for granted.

  49. Point taken, Terry. People will vote for the one who says what they want to hear, even when they know they can’t believe it, if they are not hearing what they want elsewhere.

  50. Hmm… dropped a “ones” there. Not being able to edit your comments is rather annoying.

  51. Well knb, the opposition Liberals should oppose his budget and bring the government down at the first opportunity then. Especially with Mr. Not a Leader resigning next Monday, maybe they’ll choose someone with the cojones to actually vote their principles instead of talking tough and then hiding behind the curtains outside of the legislative chamber of the House of Commons.

    But I do recall Mr. Harper treading more softly on the deficit issue at one point in the campaign. Let’s face it, if the economy goes south, the government has to ensure that the social safety continues to operate and that the artists get to continue to travel to Fiji, etc…

  52. jenn,

    except that is what markets are for, not big government.

    Those eeeeeevil pharmas (yuck they’re big business),

    they don’t develop revolutionary drugs that save billions of lives because of taxation policy, they do so because they want to profit.

    Let’s go over this one more time:

    socialistic government controls inhibit innovation.

    The free market is the life blood of innovation.

    It’s not spin. It’s not ideology.

    It’s simple fact, based on math, logic, reason, and historical examples.

  53. Actually, all parties were saying they wouldn’t run a deficit. Certainly Dion was saying that.

    Harper was the only one who was tempering his comments on the issue. I’m certain that at one point his tempering resulted in a Toronto Star headline that the Conservatives would run deficits.

    I must say that it sure was poetic justice to see Dion cut down to size in that ATV interview after having played the demagogue that Harper was doing nothing about the financial market crisis. Asked about the very point in an interview, he bobs and weaves, finally gives an answer mixing up his 30 day “plan” for the economy with his 50 day “plan” for ending child poverty which became an 80 day “plan” during the course of his stream of consciousness answer. That interview clearly showed it was all just words, all just B.S., so much so that the “plans” were interchangeable and literally indistinct.

    Once upon a time, the Liberals used to get a free pass on this stuff, thankfully those days are long gone.

  54. Actually, Dion never made the promise that Harper did. What Dion said was: “A Liberal government will never, never cause a deficit. If the Conservatives plunge us into a deficit after their bad policies, well, we’ll clean up the public finances with the same courage, the same determination, and the same success in 1993.”

    Dion elaborated on this point, that he would have to deal with whatever financial situation Harper left behind, but that he would not cause a deficit. So, we now hear we are heading to a deficit under Harper’s fiscal planning, and the question is how will Harper deal with this when only a couple weeks ago he said he would never run a deficit during his term in office.

  55. Catherine – we’re still paying interest on the debt that accumulated under Pierre Trudeau’s profligate Liberal regime.

  56. “If you want to only represent urban ridings, Ontario, and bureaucrats..”

    Terry, for all this talk about the Liberals representating Ontario, they didn’t actually win that many Ontario seats outside of the Toronto (inc. York, Brampton, Mississauga, etc.) area.

    They won:

    2 of 7 Ottawa seats
    1 of 7 Eastern Ontario seats (Kingston)
    0 of 11 Central Ontario seats
    0 of 10 in Hamilton/Burlington/Niagara
    1 of 11 in Midwestern Ontario (Guelph)
    1 of 10 in Southwesten Ontario (London North Centre)
    1 of 10 in Nothern Ontario (Nipissing)

    That’s 6 of 66 seats in non-Toronto Ontario.

  57. Jarrid, No need to go back 30 years! Harper’s government has had the highest spending of any government in Canadian history and some near records on percentage increases in annual spending. The uncertainty of the US economy was widely discussed more than two years ago, so there was no need for Harper to see this as a big surprise only now. However, he insisted on spending like crazy while making cuts to the GST that are not targeted to helping our economy, all in order to buy votes.

    For all of Harper’s attacks on the Green Shift, he is sitting on his own “Turning the Corner” carbon pricing scheme which even his own government studies show would cost our economy more overall than the Green Shift in the short term and would have less substantial benefits in the long term. Anyone who thinks Harper and Flaherty are good fiscal managers is deluded. Flaherty set the Ontario economy on the wrong course and has not learned from that experience. Ideology and vote buying trumps sound fiscal management every time in the Harper regime.

  58. And, for anyone who thinks Harper won’t actually implement his Turning the Corner carbon pricing scheme just because studies have shown it will cost our economy more and be less efficient than the Green Shift, think again. This just came out from Harper’s government yesterday, in their attempt to work out an agreement with the EU:

    We reaffirm that the creation of a global carbon market is one of the main instruments we have for reducing our emissions at a lower cost and promoting the introduction of low-carbon technologies. In this spirit, we will strengthen our development cooperation and the application of effective regulatory frameworks to stimulate innovation and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

    EU is not going to let Canada get away with not pricing carbon and soon the US will not either. Because of Harper’s foolish politically motivated attacks, he has boxed himself into a corner which excludes the most efficient and lowest cost option which is best for our economy. We will have to settle for a cumbersome, regulation-heavy, subject to gaming by big oil, costly price fluctuation scheme instead, all because of Harper’s politics trumping sound economics. And don’t look for those compensating tax cuts which you would have had under the Green Shift, either. That money will be eaten up with the regulations and gaming and compensation for overall bad economic choices.

  59. Catherine, except the overall pie has been getting much, much bigger. The right way of looking at it is spending as a percentage of GDP.

    Here’s what Larry Brown, National Secretary Treasurer, National Union of Public and General Employees,has to say on the subject:

    “It’s interesting to track Canada’s GDP, and the federal government’s total spending from 2003 to 2007. During that time, of course, the GDP of Canada increased every year, from $1,213,175,000,000 to $1,531,427,000,000. Canada has been getting richer.

    But in that same time period, our federal government’s total spending as a share of GDP fell every single year, from 15.59% in 2003, to 15.28% in 2004, to 15.05% in 2005, to 14.86% in 2006, to 14.6% in 2007. It is a very consistent pattern.”

    You know your on the right spending track when the government unions are outraged.

  60. Notice the biggest two year drop was during the 06-07 period (Harpers reign), dropping a whopping 1.05 % (averaging half a point per year)

    The previous three years combined under the Liberals it was fairly level, dropping only half a point in total.

  61. What are you referring to Kody? The numbers you give only give a 1% drop over FIVE years, with the smallest drop during Harper’s reign (only 0.19% in 2006).

  62. I’m not a believer that stimulus packages actually work myself. The whole thing is predicated on the idea that an economy has a theoretical proper level of functioning and that you can use government spending to keep an economy running at that proper level indefinitely. I think instead that you create an artificial economy that runs at the actual economy’s expense or else you pay for it by deficit.

    Looking at what actually succeeded in spurring the economy through government intervention it wasn’t by simply increasing cash flow in the economy, but by investing in infrastructure. Whether labour (more children or better education), energy (plants, dams and pipelines), transport (highways, rail lines) and other forms of economic infrastructure you see cascading economic benefit for the investment you put in.

    Trying to stimulate the economy by trying to prop up corporations, creating jobs by means of make-work projects, or giving people money to try to keep them in a local economy rather than moving on to more opportunity doesn’t have much economic benefit for what you pay for. It seems to encourage corruption, wasted resources, and social problems instead.

    Now I can certainly see cases where one should run a deficit, if one wants to implement economic plan that would require a heavy initial investment but in the long term would pay for itself. So if Harper wants to run a deficit to solve economic ills he better be building something on the scale and purpose of the Canadian National Railway or the St. Lawrence Seaway.

    Of course, I’m also a heretic according to the dogma of Keynes in that I think recessions are both a natural and necessary part of a strong economy. A period of economic slowdown where you save more, invest cautiously, and limit the ambitions of government policy is also healthy.

    We kept interest rates at rock bottom for almost 20 years now to keep people from saving and encouraging spending and lending. It financed a lot of good times, but it is long overdue to pay the bill for it.

  63. Oops my math is wrong,

    It dropped .55% during 06 and 07 (from end of 05 to 07) Harper’s reign.

    It dropped slightly less under the Libs .54% in the previous two years.

    So Harper’s spending is slightly less as the Libs previous two years.

    So your original point about Harper being a prolific spender is simply,


  64. Notice the biggest two year drop was during the 06-07 period (Harpers reign), dropping a whopping 1.05 % (averaging half a point per year)


  65. Kody: “Let’s go over this one more time:
    socialistic government controls inhibit innovation.
    The free market is the life blood of innovation.
    It’s not spin. It’s not ideology.
    It’s simple fact, based on math, logic, reason, and historical examples.” (extra spaces removed)

    Kody, guy, fella, come out from under the eerie computer screen light and look around at the real world.

    “Socialistic government controls” were what prevented the house-of-cards credit meltdown that any lego playing kid could have predicted. The one we’re in RIGHT NOW because the Bush government decided to do away with these ‘evil’ controls. No need to look at history, look at the daily paper. I cannot understand–really I’d genuinely like an explanation–how this fact can be staring you in the face, and how you people can simply continue thinking your ideology is the correct one. Climate change is incremental and can be caused by a number of sources, so I can understand the denials on that front. But the ‘free markets’ without government “intervention”? It’s a disaster!

    Does your economic model take into consideration that human beings are subject to greed? Does your economic model take into account that power corrupts? Is your economic model designed for the human race–or some mythical creatures from some other dimension?

  66. “I don’t think we’re in a position yet to know all the information in that regard. It would be premature to speculate on that.”

    Maybe Harper said this just to keep reporters focused on the summit instead of speculating what government programs/services will be cut to keep us from going into deficit. I will be amazed if Harper/Flaherty let us go into deficit because once the government goes there, it’s really hard to get back to balanced/surplus budgets.


    I think Kody was talking about Green Shift related policies. If we are concerned about developing new technologies to clean the environment, it is better if people are unencumbered by government rules and regulations and just let them experiment/develop new things.

    If I was Environment Minister and wanted new green technologies, say an alternative to gas, I would offer $500 million to the first person who develops an alternative to gas that works just as well. Tap into people’s greed and curiosity and good things will be produced.

  67. t is better if people are unencumbered by government rules and regulations and just let them experiment/develop new things.

    Like exotic derivatives.

  68. The free market is the life blood of innovation.

    Space exploration and spin offs = government
    computers and Internet = government (via military)
    Nuclear power = government
    Human genome project = government

    Not to mention the amount of government funded research that leads to innovations which later on get filtered down to the consumer.

    Sure, the private sector has taken government funded research to further fuel development at the consumer level, but there is no way anyone can say that innovation is inhibited by government…it has been quite the opposite.

    Unless you are talking about “innovations” in the texture of toilet paper that are driven by the marketplace…


  69. Actually, pretty much all the economic commentators on various networks are in agreement that it wasn’t the deregulation that caused the financial crisis in the US.

    Instead, it is the product of decades of shifting towards a model of investing at arms length through brokers and various funds. Largely people don’t know exactly what they are investing in except through what information is released to them.

    The problem arose when all the bad mortages were looked at closely after they were bought, and people realized they were junk. That caused a panic which dried up the value of the places that controlled those bad mortages leaving them stuck with few resources and a bunch of bad debt.

    Largely, you can’t regulate out the inefficiencies of a corporate economy, investing without proper oversight, or gross incompetence, which is really the problem here. You could perhaps put limits on who can borrow, or the size that investment firms can grow to but they will have the repercussions of limiting investment potential. This is not to say that regulations aren’t important, but they should be both chosen with care and constantly revised to see if they are doing the job they are supposed to be doing.

  70. I consider investing in innovation to be equivalent to investing in infrastructure myself. However, the government needs to have specific goals in mind and costs for failure if government funding is going to be successful.

    The beneficial projects resulting from government funding mentioned by Austin are projects that followed that model.

  71. However, the government needs to have specific goals in mind and costs for failure if government funding is going to be successful.


    At one level, moving a field of research can be achieved by increased research funding. Meanwhile, small innovations that can be driven by the market could be motivated by tax incentives.

    Gee…that sounds familiar…


  72. Austin So

    Is that all you got? Your examples are arguable at best but lets say they are not.

    I can think of a few things private inventors came up with: electricity, transistors, vehicles, engines, gun powder, paper, radios, computers, telephones, television, glass, penicillin, steel, photography.

    That’s just a short list that took me thirty seconds to think of. Government stifles innovation with their focus on rules and regulations. Nothing you list could have been achieved without inventors laying the ground work.

  73. jwl, that’s a false dichotomy. Many things on your list required previous innovations (such as transistors which followed from understanding quantum mechanics) or did not rest on a single innovator (such as computers, much of which was developed in universities with government funding) and you are missing other government funded discoveries which have impacted hugely on the economy (such as giant magnetoresistance and hard drives). Outstanding innovation and discovery follows from people with outstanding minds and time to pursue their interests, not from the source of funding.

  74. “It dropped .55% during 06 and 07 (from end of 05 to 07) Harper’s reign.”

    Actually, it dropped .45% (15.05%-14.6%).

  75. “But in that same time period, our federal government’s total spending as a share of GDP fell every single year, from 15.59% in 2003, to 15.28% in 2004, to 15.05% in 2005, to 14.86% in 2006, to 14.6% in 2007. It is a very consistent pattern.”

    That spending includes interest payments on the debt, which has been reducing as the debt has been shrinking and interest rates were falling. So it’s completely misleading.

    Federal program spending has a percentage of GDP, for the most part, has been rising, not falling since 2000:

    See: http://worthwhile.typepad.com/worthwhile_canadian_initi/2007/03/a_brief_history.html

  76. Secondly, a lot of the government’s spending initiatives have come in the form of “tax credits”, which are spending programs in disguise.

  77. Terry, were these commentators you refer to the American kind? You know, the ones who are handed talking points and are too lazy to even comprehend them before spouting them off as their own idea? If they also included the Canadian kind, my horror over the mainstream media meltdown has just increased.

    I mean, seriously, what lunatic would think that a person with NO MONEY–none, nada, zilch–to put in as a down payment can pay for a mortgage that, today, will cost them so much per month, but if the interest rate rises by even, say, a half percentage point, will be priced out of their league? I mean, we have PROOF these people aren’t good money savers. We know from bitter experience that shit happens (perhaps a temporary job loss or illness), and we also know that interest rates have a way of changing. Perhaps not monumentally, but they do change.

    Then add in the fact that even Presidents of the banks and investment companies had no way of knowing what they were investing in–because that’s the way these brainiacs themselves invented their investments–and it isn’t hard to see that if someone (I know! A Government!) imposed some prudent, mild regulations onto the system, neither of these two causes would have happened.

    Jwl, the problem with innovative private sector inventions is that quite often they cost more at the beginning than what they are designed to replace. Before economies of scale and all that can take effect. The days of plenty of brand spanking new inventions (the steam engine, telephone, computer technologies, etc.) may have come and gone. Now we are mostly inventing “improvements” or technologies that replace previous technologies. And that means that often the improvements have to be at least as cheap as the technology they are designed to replace. Here’s where governments can step in to give a helping hand. They can either tax the older technology (coal derived electricity) or give tax credits to the new technology (solar panels) or do a bit of both. We will get there eventually without government intervention since the supply of coal or other dirty energy sources will dry up and therefore the price will rise on its own. But wouldn’t it be kind of neat to hurry that process along, thereby slowing the ruination of the planet we need to live on? I’m NOT talking climate change (although, I don’t mean to assert that all scientists ascribing to the theory are wrong–I’m just not positive they’re right) I’m talking pollution. We already know that breathing dirty air, drinking dirty water is bad for our health (and that costs us in the end due to higher health care costs).

    So, giving alternative energy a helping hand is an investment. The long-term variety to be sure, but a mild and prudent thing to do.

  78. While we’re talking about the merits of public investments and taxation to enable innnovation and use of non-fossil fuel energies, I think it’s fair to keep in mind that we subsidize the consumption of fossil fuels quite a bit, as things stand.

    We spend a great deal of public monies on roads, as opposed to rail lines, for example. (Think of the generally poor system of bicycle trails and lanes in most Candian towns and cities as another case in point).

    Here in Ontario, we’ve been tossing millions (probably billions) of dollars into the automotive industry for a few generations. It creates and protects jobs, to be sure, but at the same time still serves to prop up broader patterns of consumption that rely on fossil fuels.

    School busses represent an enormous burden upon the education budget of many boards. Because the costs are shared by all, it tends to be a socialized form of assistance for those families who choose to live too far away from schools.

    I’m not really trying to take a position on the merits of government involvement in green technologies and alternative fuels here (I have one!). But I think it’s unfair to consider the status quo as somehow less of an intervention by the state – the few examples I’ve raised suggest that we are already intensely involved in the current complex of fuel use and technology.

  79. Harper speech on Oct 7th:

    So let me be crystal clear.

    A Conservative Government will not be raising taxes.
    We will not impose a carbon tax.
    We will not cancel planned tax reductions for business.
    We will not be running a deficit.
    We will keep our spending within our means.
    It is that simple.The alternative is not a plan. It is just the consequence of complete panic, and this government will not panic at a time of uncertainty.

    * Note the 5th line- We will not be running a deficit.

  80. I expect Harper to:

    Impose a Carbon Tax (2009 or 2010)
    Run a Deficit
    Not Keep spending within our means

  81. thanks, motor.

  82. Your very welcome Geiseric.

    I didn’t want anyone to incorrectly think that Harper didn’t rule out a deficit during the campaign.

  83. Motor…

    Are you suggesting Harper LIED?!! OMG!

  84. Flaherty knows all about selling off assets to try to balance the books. When there is nothing left to sell, then Harris/Harper steps down.

  85. Hey, good points Sean. And Catherine, I’d (well, I didn’t forget he did it, Flaherty’s my most hated political person because of it) not thought about that selling off assets gambit. And see, this is why this staring the results in the face and not equating it with the policy thing drives me up the wall. He probably will do it again.

    And to get back to the concept that all of the politicians truly love the country (Duceppe excepted), maybe they do, but can it be any clearer that they love ‘winning’ or ‘power’ more than if Flaherty starts selling assets?

  86. You reap what you sow. If you elect someone who panders to populism via bad economics and environmental policy, you shouldn’t be surprised when the economy starts running a deficit.

    As Dion said a few days ago, Harper is campaigning on a lie. Actually Harper has spouted several lies in the last couple of years; it’s hard to keep track of them all. But hey, 38% of Canadians elected him PM (with some help from our hopelessly archaic electoral system) so, enjoy the upcoming bumpy ride…

  87. Harper really only had to gull 22% of the electorate anyway, so kudos to Him for successfully recognising that.

    It’s mandate-a-licious, that’s for sure.

  88. Note the 5th line- We will not be running a deficit.

    Is there any significance in the fact that the statement is in the future progressive instead of the simple future?

  89. Wow, David, you are good! That slipped by me. Harper is a master liar, meaning he is a master at purposely saying things to mislead and deceive Canadians, while choosing words in such a way that in his own devious head he manages to think of himself as not a liar.

    On his fixed election date law, he said that it would prevent his own government from falling unless it lost the confidence of the House. Of course, everyone thought of the usual confidence motions and no one thought Harper would simply declare his government to have lost confidence over the objection of the Opposition. Similarly, during the election, Harper said the mission in Afghanistan would end as we know it in 2011 . That simply means the mission after 2011 will be whatever Harper wants it to be, but he wanted everyone in Quebec to think it would actually end.

    From all the newspaper reports, Harper was clearly saying he would never run a deficit during his term in office. That is what he wanted them to think, but you have to go back to his original words and replies. It is possible in Harper’s own head, his words simply mean that sometime in the future he will not have a deficit, but there will be deficits along the way.

    Actually, I find deciphering Harper’s words like this, while possible, is tiresome and it is a good approximation to simply assume everything out of Harper’s mouth is a lie and take it from there. But, still, good catch on your part.

  90. David, do you mean like when Harper said:

    “When Ralph Goodale tried to tax income trusts, don’t forget, don’t forget this, they showed us where they stood. They showed us about their attitudes towards raiding seniors hard earned assets, and a Conservative government will never allow either of these two parties to get away with that”. “A Conservative party will NEVER allow these parties to get away with that in the future”.

    [Page 32 of the Conservatives party’s election platform ( Stand up for Canada ): preserve income trusts by not imposing any new taxes on them.]

  91. Archangel, I would never suggest that Harper is a pathological liar.

  92. “Pathological lying is falsification entirely disproportionate to any discernible end in view, may be extensive and very complicated, and may manifest over a period of years or even a lifetime”

    No, I wouldn’t say Harper is a pathological liar, but I would say he is a liar and will bend, manipulate, or outright break his word if he thinks it is in his best interest.

  93. The notion that educated people believe that the free market is for “small stuff” and that government is best for the important developments,

    is rather frightening.

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go, and put on my government issued apparel, get in my government created vehicle, drive to the airport and take the government invented plane.

    Before leaving I have to make sure my children’s government invented antibiotics don’t need a refill, lest my child dies of her infection. On my way out, I’ll turn out the government invented lights, run by government invented electricity. Oh I better fill up with government gas on the way or I’ll have to call a government taxicab.

    Geez, we would still be living in caves if it wasn’t for government inventions.

  94. Written by Tim Stephens, Astrologer, about Harper:-

    OCTOBER 19 – OCTOBER 25, 2008
    “Harper is a TAURUS with a tenth house Moon. That makes him proud, ambitious, practical, and stubborn – an all-round leadership type. Harper was born with Neptune opposite his Sun – an indicator of prevarication. Harper’s Sun degree is that of the father, or shepherd – he would never desert his children, or his electorate. He probably feels that some of his more draconian actions (e.g., decimating senior’s nest eggs via the income trust betrayal) were necessary “for their own good.” Dion tends to benefit others more than himself. Harper’s Sun degree also demands sacrifice – from others.”


  95. OMG – someone’s been consulting Nancy Reagan’s star reader. Why don’t we pull out the Tarot cards and the ouija board for good measure.

  96. I agree that Harper is not a pathological liar. His lies to Canadians are always towards a specific goal, getting more political power.

  97. Harper Derangement Syndrome

    I see it’s in full bloom.

    I predict that by the next election, Harper’s eeeeeeeevil will perhaps, perhaps, only be proclaimed outdone by Hitler, Pol Pot, and Mugabe (the last one will definitely be close),

    though I suspect the left will skate very close to the line so as to draw the necessary comparisons,

    time and time again.

    Upward and onward with the fever pitch!

  98. Kody, my love: Are you really going to try to tell me – with a straight face, no less – that you can’t find countless examples of similarly demented thinking emanating from the rightward side of the Canadian politosphere? Because that would be just silly. No one party has a monopoly on hyperbole.

  99. Personally, I think the Liberals hit a high note with “Soldiers with guns in Canada. We’re not making this up,” and have spent every year since trying to make up for the fact that they peaked too early.

    Certainly, the Conservatives have had their share of insane hyperbole. But Liberal hyperbole is somehow funnier.

  100. So after reading through the entire thread I find it rather interesting that rather than addressing the question of the PM going back on his word about deficit spending the conservative supporters have posted (mainly) on climate change, gov’t intervention in spurring innovation and how the Carbone Tax would be the worst thing since the plague.
    BUT, say it does come out in a while that we are in the red, what then? What are your thoughts on that specifically? Personally, if it is the case I think Harper probably had no choice (obviously its politically dangerous)and it is hopefully only temporary. Still, can’t you agree that it would be breaking a promise? And on this issue can’t we all agree that it sucks and we can also agree to be a bit pissed about it. We can all go and be partisan later and vote for or against Harper for a thousand of other different issues and reasons. But isn’t there a small bit of middle ground to be unhappy with false claims?

  101. How soon will Harper sell the CBC to private interests in order to fill the government coffers. Even though they bent over backwards to be pro conservative

  102. There’s pretty much no defending Harper on this one. He said no deficit, and now he’s waffling. What I can’t believe is that he blew $100 mil today on global warming after campaigning against the Green Shift.

  103. That’s $100 mil for developing countries — what’s that, about 2 cents a person in those countries?

  104. Six word, RA: “That was then. This is now.” For the record, tying a portion of aid to sustainable development and emissions reductions seems sensible to me, but I’ll admit that I didn’t follow the micropolitics at the Francophonie closely enough to have a strong opinion either way. (What? I can’t follow *everything*, can I?)

  105. What? I can’t follow *everything*, can I?

    Well, the rest of us certainly aren’t. Some us have gaming commitments, you know.

  106. I’m certainly not going to get excited about a deficit that hasn’t even happened yet.

    It’s a bit unfortunate that the word “deficit” has become such a loaded term in our politics. I used to laugh at Kim Campbell’s old quote about elections not being a time to discuss policy, but there is a lot of truth to it.

    The media made a huge deal out of the fact that Canada was in deficit for 2 months.
    Dion also refused to rule out a deficit at one campaign stop. That refusal lasted all of about 3 hours once the media started with the “Dion refuses to rule out deficit” headlines, at which Dion was forced to change his position. I really can’t fault Harper for behaving differently during the campaign, just as I can’t really fault Dion for changing his position. Our political discourse is just not mature enough to be able to talk about even short-term deficits without the media making it into a disaster.

    As to whether a deficit is acceptable? Obviously it’s never ideal, but given the magnitude of the shock to our economy, I would be prepared to accept one year of deficit, though I would prefer a massive cut in government spending to stay out of red ink.

  107. And lest anyone think my tolerance for a deficit is partisan, McGuinty is now suggesting that Ontario will shortly be in deficit.

    And given the magnitude of the economic disaster, particularly in Ontario, I am just as willing to forgive McGuinty for this as I would be Harper; as long as he doesn’t raise taxes to fight it, and cuts spending to eliminate it within a year or two.

  108. I don’t see how Harper can be forgiven for running a deficit. He essentially gave iron-clad assurances that he wouldn’t run deficits ten days ago using the somewhat compelling rationale that there are no small, temporary deficits. That he changed his tune so quickly is nothing short of duplicity.

  109. McGuinty didn’t promise during an election campaign not to run a deficit, Harper did. That’s a big difference

  110. If Harper now decided to spend a billion dollars of hard-earned taxpayer money on “Galas for Everybody!” I’m sure his loyalists would have a dozen reasons to endorse such an act of fiscal prudence.

  111. Come on guys, this really is partisanship for partisan’s sake. Every leader said they wouldn’t run a deficit, and every leader, I’m quite sure, would rethink that when the need arose once in power.

    And the alternative–selling assets, cutting essential programs, or tax hikes–may be even worse. And I fully expect some or all of these measures, to some degree, to happen as well.

  112. curious

    anyone got a link to Dion saying he wouldn’t run a deficit?

  113. Gelseric TL

    “A Liberal government will never put Canada into deficit. Period,” Dion said at a news conference in Ottawa where he was joined by a half dozen high-profile Liberal candidates.
    “We will build a richer Canada by cutting taxes for all Canadian families and businesses, making them more competitive.” Canadian Press, Sept 23


    “A Liberal government would move fast on infrastructure projects to help spur investments and create “well-paid” jobs, Dion told reporters, saying that the private sector “is already in recession.”

    But he stuck by his vow not to run a deficit, saying the money needed for the accelerated spending is already in the pipeline.

    “We do not want to cause a deficit. It’s very clear that a Liberal government will not cause a deficit,” Dion said, adding that the Liberal would restore the $3 billion contingency fund to protect against unexpected expenses.” Tor Star, October 6

  114. thanks

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