Reality check reality check - Macleans.ca
 

Reality check reality check


 

I get this sort of thing in my email almost every day:

From: “Media@liberal.ca” <media@liberal.ca>
Date: Thu, 03 Sep 2009 14:14:26 -0400
Subject: Reality Check: Conservative economic spin

For Immediate Release

September 3, 2009

Reality Check: Separating Conservative spin from economic fact

ISSUE: Today in Niagara Falls, Stephen Harper claimed that “Canada’s economy has been significantly better than elsewhere.”

FACTS: Today, the OECD reported that, under Harper, Canada will have one of the “weakest” economic recoveries of major industrial nations.

To date, Canada’s economy has been one of the hardest hit — shrinking more in the Second Quarter compared to the First Quarter than any of our G7 partners:

Japan: 0.9% Growth
Germany: 0.3% Growth
France: 0.3% Growth
United States: 0.3% Decline
Italy: 0.5 %Decline
Britain: 0.8 %Decline
Canada: 0.9% Decline

(Source: OECD, http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/10/32/43615812.pdf)

-30-

This is a classic example of how coarse and low-brow Canadian political debate has become. They don’t even try to hide the deceptions and half-truths any more.

Start with that sneaky change of tense: Harper claimed that Canada’s economy has been better than elsewhere; the OECD says Canada will have one of the weakest recoveries. There’s no contradiction there, despite the “aha!” tone.

But the boys in the Liberal boiler room weren’t satisfied to leave it at that. They go on: “To date, Canada’s economy has been one of the hardest hit.” Their evidence? It shrank more “in the Second Quarter compared to the First Quarter” than any other G7 country.

That specific statement is true, as the OECD numbers indicate. But notice how very specific it is: in exactly one quarter, Canada’s economy performed worst. How does that square with that phrase “to date”? A common sense reading of “to date” would mean over some extended period of time, as in “from the start of the recession until now.”

How does Canada fare on a more meaningful time frame? We don’t have to look far: the same OECD figures cited in the press release. Here, I’ve put them on a chart for easier reference. In most G7 countries, the recession began in Q2 ’08. So, indexing them all to 100 in Q4 ’07, here are their comparative growth tracks:

Recession in the G7.png

Two things are immediately clear from this chart. One, from the start of the recession through the most recent quarter (“to date”), Canada (the thick red band) did indeed suffer less than other countries. Through Q1 of this year, we were tied with France for the mildest recession, and even after our poor performance in Q2 we were still ahead of every other G7 country.

But two, looking ahead to Q3 and Q4, we seem headed for a more sluggish recovery than other countries. So happy days are hardly here again.

If the Liberals had wanted to be critical, but halfway truthful, they might have said: While Canada’s recession was less severe than other countries, our recovery also looks to be less vigorous. The government should not be complacent, but do x, y, and z…

That’s what you’d say if you wanted to be credible with your audience. In any bar-room argument, there are certain points you know enough not to make, because you know that if you do no one will listen to a word you say after that: you’ll have destroyed your credibility. But that’s not the level at which political debates are carried out in this country. It simply doesn’t matter to the people who pump out this stuff whether their argument holds any water whatever. They don’t care what it does to their credibility. They just throw everything at the wall to see if some of it will stick.

I don’t mean to single out the Liberals. The Tories do exactly the same thing. It’s just unbelievably moronic, and it drags everyone and everything down.


 

Reality check reality check

  1. But was Niagara Falls flowing North or South when he made those comments? Because that's what's truly important.

  2. Thanks, Mr. Coyne. Your 'cut the crap' posts of late have been both enlightening and enjoyable to read.

  3. I don't mean to single out the Liberals. The Tories do exactly the same thing.

    So why not throw both out and give the NDP a try. Granted they may not turn out to be any better, but at least we'll no longer have to speculate if that's the case or not.

    • "So why not throw both out and give the NDP a try."

      Because I'd have to hear Jack Layton talking at me through my television and radio more. And I don't think I could take that. I really don't.

    • Robert are you suggesting the NDP do not cherry pick the facts? Are you suggesting the NDP are examining the facts in a less partisan manner?

      "That's what you'd say if you wanted to be credible with your audience. In any bar-room argument, there are certain points you know enough not to make, because you know that if you do no one will listen to a word you say after that: you'll have destroyed your credibility. But that's not the level at which political debates are carried out in this country. It simply doesn't matter to the people who pump out this stuff whether their argument holds any water whatever. They don't care what it does to their credibility. They just throw everything at the wall to see if some of it will stick."

      You believe the NDP are not attacking either major party in a similar manner?

      Do you really believe that?

    • Maybe because they see through the thin veneer of inclusion and that at the core dippers are racists and anti-Semites?

    • Maybe because they see through the thin veneer of inclusion and that at the core dippers are racists and anti-Semites?

  4. I just finished reading John Ivison's column and I am thinking he received same email from media@liberal.ca and had similar reaction as you, Coyne.

    I assume Libs, and everyone else, do these inane emails because they know perfectly well there are plenty of reporters who don't understand/care about economics and are easily influenced. I also wish more reporters would buy a clue and call the Libs on their doom mongering and point out that Canada has done remarkably well compared to many other countries during this recession.

    • And similarly understand how much or how little this had anything to do with government actions. In the grand scheme of things, government can only help the economy with small nudges. The Bank of Canada did the heavy lifting here.

      • "And similarly understand how much or how little this had anything to do with government actions."

        I agree. I think it's absurd when a variety of Ministers say they are focusing on the economy and other things will just have to wait. Like all the Ministers have secret powers to manipulate people into doing what they want and they can't break their focus for even one moment or else it will all go to hell in handcart.

    • So you'll now join Coyne in pointing out the innanities of Harper soon? Because there on a 10-percenter near you, and that's much more costly (to us taxpayers) than an email blitz. Oh right, you and Coyne only see the side of the red barn, not the field of tory brown cowpatties at your feet. But yes, it was lame attempt at boiling down a tepid report to a scalding talking point by the Grit typer.

  5. The Liberals are just mad that the recession is coming to an end before they had a chance to topple the governement.

    • I think that is part of Iggy's reasoning.

  6. Andrew thanks for spotting the sneaky number distorters. What is your take on Stephen Gordon's graph regarding big government?

    http://worthwhile.typepad.com/worthwhile_canadian

    Taken at face value, I would guess it is a direct contradiction to about 1/3 of your columns.

    • I agree there's no necessary correlation between economic growth and size of government.
      But Gordon also says size of government should be correlated with economic growth– that is, that spending should, as a rule, keep pace with economy; that only if it grows faster than the economy should we say that it has risen; that if it doesn't — if the economy grows 8% and spending "only" rises 7% — it has "fallen." I see no reason to accept this.

    • Well Stewart, you are right in one sense. It is true that many of Coyne's columns paint a misleading picture of a fast-growing government because he often uses absolute numbers, rather than spending as a % of GDP.

      Of course Stephen Gordon's big government graph is also a poor argument for big government, given that the past 15 years have been pretty good times for Canada (and not so good for most other economies).

      • The graph isn't an argument for big government. It shows that we don't have one.

        • Too bad you cannot reply to two at once. Let me see if I have this correct. Coyne would argue that growth should be measured against inflation+pop. growth, you propose GDP.

          If I have that correct, I think you are both absolutely correct.
          Coyne's argument is correct if you are providing the same slate of services. If so, and you are running an "effective government" then spending against in-pop-grow is flat. Any further spending should be justified, and given Coyne's inclination unless you can prove it is essential you should not do it. (and Coyne will never believe you can prove it especially if it is a fast train)

          Your argument is about capacity: As the GDP grows, you can spend more money on more things. Some things are clearly best done by individuals for themselves, some things better done by the country (or province, or town). So a flat spending versus GDP tells us that the ratio of spending by individuals versus public institutions has not changed and while we have not necessarily made the best choices, we can afford them.

          • No, it's not an argument about capacity. It's about the increase in the costs of providing a given set of services.

          • Ok, so I might buy that the government is still providing the same set of services in a coarse sense (Research, Defense, Education, Health) and that the costs of those (per captia) has gone up faster than inflation. However, I do not believe that within those sectors we are getting the same services. As evidence (well I don't have the evidence, but I think you do) one could look at the number of public sector employees.

          • If you want people to provide public services, then you have to pay them wages that are competitive with the private sector. And since real wages increase at (approximately) the rate of real economic growth, that means that public sector wage bill is going to have to increase at the same rate as that of GDP.

          • I get that, but has the ratio of the population working in the public sector increased?

          • I don't understand. The story works even if the share is constant, although if you start to introduce changes skill levels in the private and public sectors, you could get deviations from a constant share of GDP.

          • My sense is that the two of you have somewhat different levels of knowledge about economics.

          • and you raise an interestin point that probably belongs in another discussion…that public sector wages hav caught up with private sector, and in many cases exceed. Then you also need to find measures of productivity to evaluate those increeases against. Services being nortotiously difficult to get those measures out of, not impossible just always a debateable measure, and government services are even more difficult.

            Many economies, including our own acheived quite high levels of growth with much lower levels of government spending. You would have to make an argument that we are in or not in the goldilocks position, the strategic policy argument, before you can dive into the incrementalist argument about marginal rates of growth.

          • Coyne's proposition seems implausible to me. I propose that the income elasticity of government spending is related to how wealthy we are.

            Consider the individual level: if I am very poor, i would likely want to devote all of my income to survival. Give me a little more money, and I may start to want public goods like law and order. When that happens on a grand scale, Coyne's proposition falls flat unless you believe that there is no additional demand for government services beyond whatever was provided (in real terms) at some baseline year.

            I propose the following explanation to Stephen Gordon's chart. From the 1930's till the 1970's, the income elasticity of government spending increased. As people got richer, they wanted more government spending (as part of a general bundle). ie. I have $100 extra dollars, I will spend 25 on public goods, and 75 on a new car.

            However, since the 70's the share of government in that package has declined. If we look at the rise of things like horserace coverage rather than issue coverage in elections, this should make sense. There are fewer new ideas on how to spend tax dollars than there were in the 60's. Now with an extra $100, I might prefer to spend the lot on consumer goods (of which there are a lot more). In other words, past a certain point, is government spending an "inferior good"?

            Any notion of effective government must be conditional upon the means available to that government. A richer country has the ability to provide more government services should it desire, and so it would be a bizarre anomaly if it spent the exact same on government as before.

            I also think that while Stephen Gordon has the right measure, his proposition that we could spend more on government misses the bigger question – why have we spent less and less of new income on government services as we have collectively gotten wealthier?

          • Because we think a widescreen TV beats a pothole-free road?

          • LOL….

            That's gotta be frustrating. So much thought goes into one post, and it gets followed up with THIS.

            Ah, the Internets. Classic.

    • Actually, Andrew commented on an earlier post in which I made that point:

      http://worthwhile.typepad.com/worthwhile_canadian

      I think he's wrong, but I can`t claim that his point is completely without merit.

      (eta: Andrew and I cross-posted)

      (eta2: Gaah! how do we post links?!?)

  7. excellent post Andrew.

    the change of tense affliction, seems to be catchy now as the latest nail in the closing coffin on the quality of our political debate. that is unfortunate.

    on a realted note, this is a quite good piece by Krugman on the US case: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/31/opinion/31krugm

  8. Have another cup of Koolaid Coyne. You are really humping hard for your senate appointment.

    • Stay classy guy. I don't agree with Coyne, but this kind of comment is unwarranted.

      • Agreed.

        Reminds me of "It doesn't actually take all kinds of people, there just are all kinds of people".

    • Yeah, you made Andrew Coyne cry.

  9. Very interesting to share that kind of information with the reading public. Thx.Of course we know that this behind the scene stuff is going on, on all sides no doubt.

    What concerns me more, however, is to read commentators leave out important information or distort information so that, in a subtle way ,the public is being mislead. Such careless commenting is downright dangerous because after a while the reading public will not be able to understand the direction they have been pulled into by this subtleness of commenting.

    Case in point: G&M Simpson has two back to back columns on the workings of minority governments without once referring to actual events of cooperation having taken place to date (does the 143 seat count stand for anything??).

  10. Another case in point:

    Ian MacDonald (NP) accusing Harper of applying rhetoric when having 'labeled' the coalition as a 'seperatist coalition'. Huh, the BQ very publically states that they are a seperatist party. How can repeating it be rhetoric??? Or does Mr.MacDonald believe that the BQ did not sign on the dotted line?

    • So, every time the BQ votes with the government, they're colluding with the seperatists? Official coalition or unofficial voting record, the end result is the same in a minority: Working with the opposition to stay in power.

      • No, it is not the same. An official coalition agreement is what it is: an agreement beforehand. To support a minority government on an issue by issue basis is not locked in as an official agreement would be.

        You miss my point entirely: all the opposition parties need at least one other complete party AND then some to be able to count on the 155 vote. The conservatives are not in that position.

        • Splitting hairs…

  11. A good, cogent analysis of a lame-brained press release, Andrew.

    The Liberal war-room should just stick to the facts about the Conservative's performance over the last three years, since the facts are damning enough.

  12. Intellectual honesty would indeed be nice in politics, as would every other virtue. But virtue went out of fashion some time ago.

    • Will you still be with us when it comes back into fashion?

      • Only if you'd miss me otherwise PhilCP.

      • Only if you'd miss me otherwise, PhilCP.

        • Some days I think I might miss you (like today), other days a little bit less.

          • Ah well, that's good to hear… I think.

  13. That's a very pretty graph.

    So let me see if I get this straight – France, the unreformable dirigiste economy par excellence, is recovering better and more quickly than our economy with The Great Helmsman at the wheel ? Wow. That's shocking.

    • Well, they are protectionists don't ya know.

      • Yeah, I know, the sort of protectionists who are responsible for driving the formation of a free trade zone composed of 27 states, about 500 million people and about a third of the world's economy.

        How is that free trade treaty with the EU coming along, anyway ?

    • There are a few factors helping the French (who, socialists that they are, launched a stimulus half the size of Canada's, and slashed taxes just before the recession).

      Like Canada they didn't suffer major banking problems, but unlike Canada, they are not dependent upon exports to the US. Secondly, the French economy has been dismal for years. Past slow growth (which resulted from bad policies like a combination of high interest rates with generous welfare benefits) means that a country has more opportunities for growth in the future (look at the US slowdown in the 70's and 80's, or the Japanese slowdown in the 90's – the richer you are, the slower you grow, barring major technological breakthroughs like IT). Canada has slightly slower growth, but has a 15% higher level of GDP.

      • Sorry, misfired on the reply to you. Please have a look below.

  14. " … but unlike Canada, they are not dependent upon exports to the US."

    Yes, exactly the rationale for being part of a trading zone which includes 27 states. They are not dependent on the health of a single economy. We are. All the more reason for us to press ahead with as many free trade deals as possible including the European Union. What has Harper done on this ? Virtually nothing. Isn't he supposed to be in favour of free trade ? Perhaps he prefers that we are an economic dependency of the United States through our trade policy.

    Actually, by my calculation and based on the figures quoted in the World Factbook Canada has a 20% higher GDP per capita.

    I'm not sure what you mean when you say "past slow growth … means that a country has more opportunities for growth in the future … " but the point I was making is that France is recovering more quickly from recession, even though it starts from a smaller economic base and despite the fact that about the a quarter of employment comes directly from the state itself, even under Sarkozy. Or should I say, because of it. It may have mediocre growth, but it also does not have the great swings that the United States and Canada have.

    Oh, and we have natural resources, so it's of course expected that we have a higher GDP per capita than France, which has virtually none. The top five countries in the GDP per capita table I pointed you to are Liechtenstein, Qatar, Luxembourg, Bermuda and Kuwait. That's not the question here. The question is how you manage the resources you have, and at that, France appears to be doing a lot better according to the pretty graph that Coyne put up.

    • Your supposed quote comes from nowhere on this page. What on earth are you talking about?

      • Sure it does, see hosertohoosier above. Starts with the above thread "That's a very pretty graph." This comments software may be playing tricks on you, wouldn't be the first time.

        • Yes, sorry, could not find it before, maybe it was the software, who knows.

          • My old IT guy would say "It wasn't a software problem, it was a one DEE ten TEE problem".

            But then my old IT guy was a bit of a dick

    • There was an expectation when all this "crisis" started that France would be hit but not hit "as badly"
      because they had little involvement with the real estate bubble ( unlike Spain ), their banks had a lot of
      wonky loans on their books but not as bad as Iceland or Britain, and because of that much loathed ( in
      North America ) social safety net …. which turns out to be very useful at times.

      The same generally applies to most north European nations.

      • So we should have a better social safety net then (or better 'automatic stabilizers' if you like) to help us get through the recession. Like, say, EI reform, for example.

        • Anybody doing that ?

        • Well, should we also have 25% youth unemployment, 10% overall unemployment, and a GDP per capita 20% lower than our current.

          People are talking seriously about copying the French economic model. Unreal. Now I've seen everything.

          • Nobody said anything about copying the French model. All I pointed out is that they are recovering faster than we are despite the fact that, on the face of it, the French have a number of very serious handicaps due to the disproportionately high involvement of the state in the economy. The question is, why ? Anything to add to this discussion, or are you bound and determined to stay 'confused' ?

        • The problem is that automatic stabilizers raise the NAIRU (non-acellerating inflation rate of unemployment) and slow down growth in the long run. In other words, they make France better off in recessions and worse off the rest of the time). If the sole aim of our economic system was to avoid downturns, we might as well live in caves. The Canadian model accepts higher risks than the French (then again, the supposedly socialist French had a tiny stimulus), in exchange for generally higher returns.

          • In that case, what on earth is Harper doing spending money on 'stimulus' ? By the logic of what you are saying, it's totally pointless.

          • There was not simulus until the opposition forced it. It is exactly what the opposition claims has never happened, it is Harper working with the opposition in a minority government. The original mini-budget had no stimulus, it was the key the opposition used to try to force themselves into power, and in the end Harper decided to acquiesce to their demands.

          • In other words, Harper is did something he believes to be totally wrong, stimulus spending, in order to cling to power.

            Also interesting that all the spending is going into Conservative ridings.

          • Possibly, but I think the totally wrong part might be overstated. Harper is definitely in the camp with Merkel and Sarko about keeping the stimulus packages to their minimums.

            There are definitely legitimate questions to be asked about size, type and timing of any
            stimulus package. The Canadian one is relatively well designed, it has sunsets in it, it is targetted at some specific sectors that yield bang for buck, home renos in particular. And G spending is part of any measure of GDP, so it isnt a complete waste. But as getting something on the books that wasnt already planned is near impossible….this isnt the 30's, we now do significant planning, lots of enviro assessment, community planning, etc etc etc.

            I just returnd from a vacation through parts of the US by car. And the amount of roadpaving going is incredible, so that sector is definitiely a winner. But it probably also means that once construction season is done those UI numbers in the US are going way up, unless private sector construction kicks in.

          • How does that statement balance with 143 ridings are currently held by the government. Are those voters in those ridings less deserving of infrastructure?

            Why did Toronto choose not to follow the rules in the application for funding? Any other city cited?

            143/308=46% can you provide links from a 3rd Party that show 90% is done in only Conservative Riding.

            <a href="http://www.actionplan.gc.ca/eng/index.asp” target=”_blank”>http://www.actionplan.gc.ca/eng/index.asp

            If the spending is done in partnership with provinces and cities are you suggesting the CPC in conjunction with the Public Service have unfairly restricted funding to non-CPC ridings?

            What is your proof?

            When was the Economic Action Plan approved? How long does it take for negotiations of these projects to be approved and executed?

            It is realistic or reasonable to expect the balance of these projects to be completed in a few months? When wil those benefits be reflected in the economy?

            Some are saying the Fall of 2009 and benefits will be realized in 2010. Are those timelines reasonable?

            http://www.taxpayer.com/pdf/Top_100_2008-09.pdf

          • I think there is a reason other than partisanship for the concentration of infrastructure spending in Conservative ridings. The need for infrastructure is not evenly spread out across the population. On a per capita basis, you need more miles of roads to serve geographically bigger ridings than densely populated ridings. The Conservatives won 143/308 ridings, true, but also won the vast majority of Canada's land area. We should expect Liberals, who largely won in urban ridings, to get proportionally less of the spending.

          • You forgot the whining factor, if the opposition don't blame the CPC for evil wrong doing some of the voters may stop believing the horror stories and the imminent destruction of Canada.

          • No. There is a difference between a built-in social safety net that always operates, and cultivates long-term unemployment, and temporary increases in government spending aimed at limiting the impact of a recession.

    • The integration of the French economy into the EU economy is as much a function of geography than of policy. Even if there were no trade barriers between Canada and all EU countries the vast majority of our trade would be with the US.

      Incidentally, Canada HAS grown less export dependent on the US in the past few years (including the Harper years). Ontario, for instance, went from 93% of exports being US-bound to 84%.

      http://www.rbc.com/economics/market/pdf/prov_exports.pdf

      The main reason being a rising dollar.

      • So policy makers, especially those who believe in free trade, shouldn't be trying to diversify our markets by negotiating free trade with other countries ? The first thing that accountants are taught is that having a single customer or at least one which provides the overwhelming majority of an enterprise's business presents a huge financial risk which the enterprise should work to reduce through diversification. What is Harper doing about this ?

          • "The deal will eliminate more than 90 per cent of tariffs on Canadian imports to Panama, which include agricultural goods and high-tech machinery, and represent about $128 million in trade."

            That's not a very convincing example, the amounts are peanuts.

          • your being a little silly here. The US is the richest and biggest market and will be for at least another 15 t 20 years, so we would be silly not to be serving it.

            Secondly, they have been discussing "third options" for 40 years as far as I can remember. All governments have made some progress, but this government has made a concerted effort in South and Central America…..everyone talks China, well Brazil is part of the BRIC. Lynch, the former CPCO mentioned the refocus on South America as being one of his prouder contributions.

            It takes two to get an agreement, and Euope has shown little interest in allowing a North American partner till recently, really recently. I think they would like to cut a deal with America, but a Canadian one will be the test case.

        • the above shows the efforts at free trade within the americas, Wells has gone on numerous times about their efforts with the EU:

          http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/05/06/it%E2%80%99s-f

          Are you being disingenuous, or have you actually missed the reporting coming from this very magazine?

          • I haven't missed a thing. The negotiations have gone nowhere. And are totally on ice since the whole seal hunt thing. You should read more.

          • Ah yes, forgot about the whole Czech visa thing as well.

          • Yes that scuttled the whole deal……honestly, you need some perspective on these things.

        • I have not a single post that supports your assertion Canada should not diversify.

        • I have not read a single post that supports your assertion Canada should not diversify.

  15. Amen.

    The next time anyone gets baffled over low voter turnout or political apathy among youth, they should ask themselves rather why anyone should bother paying attention. This kind of stuff insults us all, and is the root of our collective cynicism.

    • You've got it backwards. It's because there are so many that really have no clue about our economy, and have no clue about current affairs, that moronic lies like the above are effective.

      • You are both right.

    • Although media stories about voter apathy and snarky political cartoons and such are also big factors in people feeling cynical.

  16. Edward Tufte (author of "The Visual Display of Quantitative Information") was correct when he pointed out the deceptiveness of charts not using a zero baseline. So, Andrew, please repost your graph using 0 as the baseline, and we can all say "Recession? What recession?"

    • Any boom or bust is just a matter of a few percentage points.

  17. Andrew, great job debunking the latest attempt at number fudging! I wonder how Canada would fare if the G7 countries were indexed at 100 in Q1 2006. Even better?

    • You can actually investigate this and other questions yourself:
      http://stats.oecd.org/index.aspx?queryid=350

      Lucky for you I decided to look at this myself. From Q1 2006 till Q22009 (note: this is not an annual growth rate, it is the total growth over the period in question. Annual growth would be slow for everybody)…
      France: 1.8%
      Canada: 1.2%
      USA: 1.1%
      Germany: 0.7%
      UK: 0.2%
      Japan: -3%
      Italy: -3.4%
      Avg: .2%

      Actually it looks like Coyne and I experienced some synchronicity, since I made a similar post on my blog (http://hosertohoosier.blogspot.com/). It looks like Canada doesn't do so well when you talk about unemployment, but does much better on the question of our fiscal position and economic growth.

      As with the 2006 comparison, Canada doesn't win, but is probably a contender for silver or bronze, at least among the G7 economies.

      • During the period you looked at oil prices http://oil-price.net/dashboard.php?lang=en went through the roof and remarkably are now almost exactly where they were in 06. At first glance, I thought it would cancel out, but when you look at total growth I am not so sure.

        An enormous amount of wealth came to Canada in 07-08 due to oil, which has clearly had an impact on the numbers above. That may answer the question of why employment did not do so well. Any forecast to the future depends on the extent to which you believe the oil spike was an isolated phenomena or whether the current price is low. Political credit depends on whether Canadian government policy had anything to do with worldwide oil prices or at least our ability to capture wealth from it.

      • I checked out your blog post. You make a good case.

  18. While Coyne-a-Loyne-a-Ding-Dong is parsing Liberal press releases, the Conservatives are setting up a Taliban and His World pavilion in Washington.

    • "And if Stephen said he was going to jump off a bridge, would you want to go do that too?"
      -Mom

      Smart woman.

  19. Have you ever been to McDonald's during Senior's Happy hour and asked about recessions and economic recovery? That's why politicians write that way, regardless of the audience.

  20. What I don't understand is what in the hell is the point of such e-mails?

    Can we make the reasonable assumption that "normal" Canadians are not on the media@liberal.ca mailing list? And that the ones on that list follow all things political very closely, and some nonsense spin by any party sent to such readers probably won't elicit anymore than a "heh, boys will be boys" chuckle before being tossed in the trash and forgotten about, unless it's completely absurd such as this one?

    So again, what's the point? Both parties do it, but why? How does this translate into, you know… votes?

    • Because media needs content….they are just happy suppliers of content and if editors andor columnists use their ideas, facts figures and talking points without any context or analysis then they have a story out there that you and i will read from a "trusted source"

      Thats a very simple explaination of what goes on. Some analyse, some dont, some analyse some parties press releases and not others…..just the way of the world

  21. The Liberals actually miss a great opportunity looking at that data. If you consider that the recession is not hte direct result of government intervention, but the recovry is, and that most recovry stimulus took effect in early 2009, then Canada, along with the UK and Italy are the only 3 countries to not turn things around. Brown and Berlusconi, despite being the world's most interesting man are both looking to be tossed form power for their dismal performance in helping stimulate their economies. The conservatives have been so busy touting our advantages, that they have in turn missed the boat on all the opportunities those advantages could have brought us in a strong recovery.