How bad is it?


Stephen Harper. “There is a real risk, as this recession continues and if it deepens, that we will have an explosion of global security concerns, threats across the world. That is a big worry … We didn’t cause the global recession. We fundamentally can’t resolve it. That frustrates me. It bothers me when Canadians lose their jobs and you know, I may eventually lose mine.”

Jim Flaherty. “Most people in Canada came from other places, including the United Kingdom. Most of them came on boats. Most of them came with nothing. Many … died because of disease while they were travelling to Canada. We commemorate that in various places in Canada. Relatively speaking, this is a mild economic recession. These are relatively mild challenges for us. We will come out of this strongly.”

On the same note, Dan Gardner skewers Michael Ignatieff.


How bad is it?

  1. It certainly is reassuring that we won’t be reduced to living in log huts, five to a room, two days’ walk from the least hint of civilisation. That would certainly not qualify as a mild recession.

    • No, it would probably qualify as time travel, as opposed to a recession.

      • Time travel would signify significant scientific advancement.

        • I would like to travel back to the days when we were already through this recession.

          • I’ve lived through 3 genuine recessions. “We can’t survive on Six and Five” – good times, I can smell the patchouli of the Peace Campers just writing the phrase.

            None of them consisted of twenty five SUV lineups at the Tim Horton’s drive-thru. To the extent that our economy is tanking, it is only after months and months of flat out falsehoods from the media driving the economy down.

            Using the definitions of “deficit” and “recession” that we have used for decades if not centuries, we are in neither. No two consecutive quarters of declining GDP, and we’re still in surplus through 3 quarters of fiscal 08-09, as Mr. Wells will corroborate. Political science neckbeards can change the definitions of words to suit on the fly; that nonsense doesn’t play in the slightly more intellectually rigorous economic arena.

          • “the slightly more intellectually rigorous economic arena.”

            Now that is what I call a put-down.

          • Certainly doesn’t compare to the day the music died.

  2. Well, after seeing this list of what’s gone wrong of late with Canada’s economy.. as Steve said over there, I’d hate to see what Flaherty classifies as a severe recession, if this one is mild.

    And I’m sure Dan Garnder is going to be pleased to read this, judging from his dismay at Youtube, but Flaherty more or less just wrote Gritgirl’s next Youtube video for her.

    • Geez. A severe recession might be one that includes 30% unemployment and soup kitchens, as opposed to 6.5% unemployment and media hyperbole.

      • I know what, how about we go back to how unemployment was tracked — actually people unemployed as opposed to the current ‘just lost their jobs and still looking’ skew that we’ve employed since the mid-90s? If the US reports unemployment to include all people out of work, their rate skips from 8.5% to 19%! Maybe then you can get a feel more of like ‘the good ol’ days’ of yonder…


        • While you’re at, why not track how many people are under the government’s work sharing initiative. How many people would be on full EI, if not for formal work sharing, where the government kicks in the difference? That masks much of the real seriousness, and it’s only a temporary reprieve.

  3. me thinks that to the degree Flaherty continues to say stuff like this, the odds of SH losing his job increase.

    that said Harper is back in Ottawa next, I am sure that his tone on this will change by then and he might be singing in the Flaherty choir until he flips again.

  4. Mssrs. Flaherty, Gardner , Harper and Ignatieff all uttered (or wrote) statements the truth of which can neither be confirmed absolutely nor denied. All four are guilty of hedging. Isn’t that part of the reason we are in this mess? Where is my pitchfork?

  5. To some, it is not a recession unless they personally lose their jobs. Our Prime Minister seems to be in that category. Whenever Harper is worried about his own job (such as in December) he says the economy is worrisome and when he isn’t worried about his own job, he says the economy is fine.

  6. Me thinks it’s time for new minister of finance AND a new prime minister.

  7. “On the same note, Dan Gardner skewers Michael Ignatieff.”

    Shorter Gardner: “Ignatieff makes a good point, but it might not be 100% true, at least not at this precise moment. Harper hasn’t been much better but now that he’s stopped thrashing, his message on the economy seems pretty good. Liberals should spin the recession to their political advantage.”

    That column was as crisp and sharp as a bowl of oatmeal. Gardner tried and failed to skewer Ignatieff. My god, does the man even have an editor?

  8. Well, as those who went through bad times before us – the saying was and still should be “prepare for the worst and hope for the best”.

    So, Flaherty saying it isn’t bad because we are not pioneers and Harper’s happy talk is pretending – I vote for the prepare for the worst. If it doesn’t happen we don’t lose anything, but if it does and we’re not prepared – look out.

  9. Here’s my take:

    1) There is a lot of rot in the private sector, which has been caused by a couple of decades of idiotic Keynesian/socialist “easy money” policies of the government central banks. By rot, I mean that many companies were lured by the easy availability of government-pumped credit into businesses which are unprofitable in the long run.

    2) It is an absolute requirement that the bad investments of the past few years be liquidated so that money, resources and labor can be redirected toward profitable employment instead of unprofitable “bubble” activities. This means that some kind of recession is inevitable while bad businesses are closed down and good businesses become established.

    3) The inevitable recession would be relative short and mild if entrepreneurs, investors and workers were allowed to sort it out all on their own. Businesspeople are really good at figuring out what people want, and consumers know what they need a lot more than any authoritarian government nanny. Let them sort out which automaker is best and whose bank is the worth saving. (Write this down so you don’t forget it – free markets work. Socialist economies starve and kill.)

    4) People running governments couldn’t care less if it’s a short, long, mild or catastrophic recession. However when push comes to shove they will probably choose long and catastrophic, because this will allow them to grab even more power over the economy and ensure that even more money will go to their friends and supporters. They will therefore try to hamper the liquidation of bad investments by preventing the bankruptcy and restructuring of unprofitable companies. They will do this because keeping bad companies afloat means more dependence, leading to more obedience and more payback to the politicians and bureaucrats. The government will pay people to sit on their asses instead of letting them go out and find or create new jobs. When people get tired of sitting on their asses they will shove them into meaningless make-work “jobs” and fascist youth organizations. They will start wars with other countries instead of letting their citizens trade with the other countries’ citizens in peace. That was the story of 1929-1945 … and it’s shaping up the same way right now.

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