Hey, remember the early 80s?

by Aaron Wherry

Back to yesterday’s QP. Specifically this answer of the Prime Minister’s.

Mr. Speaker, the record of the Liberal Party is this: Liberals got this country into deficits when borrowing was at record levels, and then when recession came, they were cutting the unemployed and raising taxes right in the middle of a recession, something this party will never do.

For as long as the current Conservative government has been in power, it has found convenient excuse in the various failings of the “previous Liberal government.” But here is an entirely new standard for historical reference.

It would not seem possible for this to be a reference to the governments of either Jean Chretien or Paul Martin. The recession of the early 90s was over when Chretien took power in November 1993. While the United States fell into recession in 2001, Canada appears to have escaped that distinction.

Indeed, to find a case of a Liberal government in power during a recession, you have to go back to the early 1980s, when Pierre Trudeau’s government presided during a downturn that lasted from July 1981 to October 1982. Did Trudeau actually raise taxes during that period? I’m still sorting that out. But, assuming he did, the Prime Minister is referring here to something that happened 27 years, three governments and six prime ministers ago. There is just one current MP who was in office at the time. And Bob Rae was with the NDP then. (There are, on the other hand, four Conservative MPs—Greg Thompson, Rob Nicholson, Jean-Pierre Blackburn and Lee Richardson—who were with the Mulroney government that oversaw the early 90s recession.) 

The onus now, obviously, is on the Liberals to mount a coherent campaign against the policies of the Diefenbaker administration.

Hey, remember the early 80s?

  1. It's not the 1980s he thinks about most Aaron. It is the 1970s.

  2. Its obvious that the CONs expect the opposition to be held to a higher standard than they were during their salad-opp days. While I also agree that it isn't wise to just oppose and do the fire-the-minister stumping that is hot and heavy now; but there was no evidence during Harper's back-seat period of him pro-offering policy and program ideas during the time of Chretien and Martin – that was then the job of an election.

    Now that the Harper CONs seem more than happy to break down the barriers of an election period — apparently its all about the next election, not about governance anymore – it does seem incumbent on the opposition parties to provide more depth to their criticism. Certainly many in the MsM are buying that, too. Unfortunately, no one seems to think the government also should ramp it up.

    I dare say, if you measured the copy done on Liberals-in-opposition and their leadership issues since losing the last election, and all the copy written on Harper and his divided, then united parties during their stint in the wilderness, you'd get two very Flaherty-wild and contrasting piles. Now piles, that is something that the CONs know about.

  3. Blaming Trudeau for everything wrong in the country was intellectually lazy 10 years ago, never mind horribly dishonest in most presentations and applications of the view.

    Perhaps in three decades, the Liberals will be defending their government by attacking the policies of Harper. Such an attack would need an asterisks however, as I'm sure the party will have split again by then.

    Or thy will try governing. I invite our current government to give that a try.

  4. Blaming Trudeau for everything wrong in the country? Not only intellectually lazy, but, I would wager, non-existent.

    Still, I can think of hundreds of billions of things for which to blame him. But you're right. Not everything.

  5. It’s not the 1980s he thinks about most Aaron. It is the 1970s.

  6. Its obvious that the CONs expect the opposition to be held to a higher standard than they were during their salad-opp days. While I also agree that it isn’t wise to just oppose and do the fire-the-minister stumping that is hot and heavy now; but there was no evidence during Harper’s back-seat period of him pro-offering policy and program ideas during the time of Chretien and Martin – that was then the job of an election.
    Now that the Harper CONs seem more than happy to break down the barriers of an election period — apparently its all about the next election, not about governance anymore – it does seem incumbent on the opposition parties to provide more depth to their criticism. Certainly many in the MsM are buying that, too. Unfortunately, no one seems to think the government also should ramp it up.
    I dare say, if you measured the copy done on Liberals-in-opposition and their leadership issues since losing the last election, and all the copy written on Harper and his divided, then united parties during their stint in the wilderness, you’d get two very Flaherty-wild and contrasting piles. Now piles, that is something that the CONs know about.

  7. Blaming Trudeau for everything wrong in the country was intellectually lazy 10 years ago, never mind horribly dishonest in most presentations and applications of the view.

    Perhaps in three decades, the Liberals will be defending their government by attacking the policies of Harper. Such an attack would need an asterisks however, as I’m sure the party will have split again by then.

    Or thy will try governing. I invite our current government to give that a try.

    • Blaming Trudeau for everything wrong in the country? Not only intellectually lazy, but, I would wager, non-existent.

      Still, I can think of hundreds of billions of things for which to blame him. But you’re right. Not everything.

      • Hyperbole versus the Boogie Man.

        Boogie Man wins.

        • The boogey man has been beating on hyperbole since it was knee high to a grass hopper.

  8. How does the Leader of the Opposition explain his party’s decision to invoke closure on the Pipeline debate of 1957 – a veritable assault our democratic principles!? What say you, Iggy? We want answers!!

    • I think Laurier’s handling the Manitoba schools crisis was even worse than Macdonald’s.

      Laurier: Not a leader, who is just visiting.

    • I know at least one Tory who is still bitter about the pipeline debate, and he was born in 1977.

      • I know, isn’t it weird to meet these guys who are personally affronted by things that happened before they were born? Not intellectually or theoretically but personally insulted. Weird.

  9. When will this current so-called government grow up and quit blaming everyone else. They’ve been government for approx 3-1/2 years – taking responsibility is “way past due”.

    Hey, Harper, be a real man, take responsiblity like a real grown up man. Harper, you are a woose.

  10. How does the Leader of the Opposition explain his party’s decision to invoke closure on the Pipeline debate of 1957 – a veritable assault our democratic principles!? What say you, Iggy? We want answers!!

  11. When will this current so-called government grow up and quit blaming everyone else. They’ve been government for approx 3-1/2 years – taking responsibility is “way past due”.

    Hey, Harper, be a real man, take responsiblity like a real grown up man. Harper, you are a woose.

  12. Hyperbole versus the Boogie Man.

    Boogie Man wins.

  13. I think Laurier’s handling the Manitoba schools crisis was even worse than Macdonald’s.

    Laurier: Not a leader, who is just visiting.

  14. I remember being born in the 1980′s.

    Good times.

    But also, I’m sure QP was even better than it is now. Come on, Mulroney vs. the Rat Pack!

    • you’d be wrong : I remember some QP’s that made todays look like a cake walk ….

  15. The boogey man has been beating on hyperbole since it was knee high to a grass hopper.

  16. I remember being born in the 1980′s.

    Good times.

    But also, I’m sure QP was even better than it is now. Come on, Mulroney vs. the Rat Pack!

  17. you’d be wrong : I remember some QP’s that made todays look like a cake walk ….

  18. I take the Conservatives to task for the Pacific Railway Scandal and the canceling of the Avro Arrow.

    Actually, I *am* kinda mad about the Avro Arrow.

  19. I take the Conservatives to task for the Pacific Railway Scandal and the canceling of the Avro Arrow.

    Actually, I *am* kinda mad about the Avro Arrow.

  20. I know at least one Tory who is still bitter about the pipeline debate, and he was born in 1977.

  21. I know, isn’t it weird to meet these guys who are personally affronted by things that happened before they were born? Not intellectually or theoretically but personally insulted. Weird.

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