The leaders are all discussing the economy. And missing the point.

Evan Solomon and Jack Mintz discuss the real economic issue that’s been missing from the election: how to keep growth going


The shocking truth about the great economic debate in this federal election is that the leaders are completely missing the main issue: how to promote growth. That’s the view of a growing number of leading economists, including the University of Calgary’s public policy guru, Jack Mintz. He believes all the parties are avoiding the fundamental economic challenge facing Canada, and none is providing an overall vision. Maclean’s finds out what he would like to see and what’s really missing.

Related: Who is Jack Mintz? The name on every politician’s lips.


The leaders are all discussing the economy. And missing the point.

  1. It’s the author of this article, and everyone else who’s fallen into Harper’s trap of focusing on the economy, who’s missing the point. As we heard in the most recent debate, listening to the candidates trying to explain the niceties of why MY economic plan is better than YOUR economic plan has all of the emotional resonance of a debate over whether green Jello is better than red Jello.

    Focusing on the economy is choosing to play the election out on a level playing field with Harper, who has all the advantages any incumbent has under such circumstances.

    The only way someone is going to defeat Harper is to take the election to a higher moral ground than the morass of economics. Why is no candidate going for the highest moral ground any candidate could want. In dozens and dozens of ways, Harper has demonstrated that his continuation in office is a direct threat to the beating heart of Canadian democracy.

    Voters have no idea how to tell whether Trudeau’s embrace of deficit spending, or Mulcair’s contrarian embrace of balanced budgets, will make the slightest difference to their economic lives.

    But a candidate who really loved his country ought to be able to help voters understand the dark side of Harper’s regime: the first PM to be held in contempt of Parliament; the death of the long form census, depriving the country of the very statistics we need to make evidence-based policy; the unprecedented protest march by the country’s scientists at Harper’s muzzling of the scientific community; the vandalization of the country’s oceans and fisheries libraries; the assault on civil liberties in bill C-51 that was decried by friends of Canada around the world, and on and on.

    A decent candidate should be able to take any one of these examples and create a short, simple parable that shows the voters how Harper has been systematically destroying the values that Canadians are most proud of. These are stories that will touch peoples’ hearts–not the niggling details of reducing some tax from 11% to 9%. These are the stories that will bloody Harper’s record. In the end, they’re the only stories that are likely to dislodge a well-entrenched incumbent in a first-pass-the-post electoral system.

    Whether any candidate has the guts to fight for the country’s future as a functioning democracy remains to be seen. But if I were debating Harper, I would turn every question to this glaring weakness in Harper’s record.

    • Now that you regurgitated the CBC, and the McLeans for that matter, Koolaide that you been drinking,why don’t you tell us why Harper was the only leader of a G7 county to bring his/her country out of the economic mess, caused by the US in 2008. Typical Harper Derangement Syndrome. Get a life.

      • lmfao! Harper has done NOTHING for us. He hasn’t brought us out of a recession at all. We are no where near where we should be if we had a competent and strong leader.
        Instead Harper came into power with Canada ALREADY set up to rebound from the US/Global economic disaster.
        Instead of investing for the future of Canada and Canadians, Harper started selling off and giving away our resources, investments and trade to foreign entities and corporate pushers and we have lost so much ground, we may never recover.
        As the last comment stated Harper has threatened the very heart of Canadian democracy and our way of life.
        He’s useless and once he loses his seat this Oct, Canada will already be ahead of the game and we can heal and move forward as a nation once again.

    • Ah yes. Another trained seal plaintively repeating the “evidence based, data dependent decision making” mantra. As though government can be boiled down to data and evidence. As though it ever has been anywhere in the world. Gotta love those bureaucratic minds who believe that if only given enough data, they can make a difference in the world.

      I work with data every day, and I can tell you it is a load of $hit. Number crunching monkeys abound, and they are paid well for it, and they produce nothing of value. I’m in France. I can only guess how much worse it is in government. Data, except in purely scientific endeavours, doesn’t tell you nearly as much as you think it does. And even in the hard sciences it has its limits. Nassim Taleb refers to the big data loving academic mindset as the “Soviet-Harvard” model. An excellent description if there ever was one.

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