Sunday, April 05, 2009

Canadian Election – an event in waiting

The Harper government is hanging in, but their days are numbered. How long? That is the big question with the minor parties not keen to head to the polls and oblivion. Even so some of us are watching carefully for the trigger.

As one put it, quoting former British PM Harold Macmillan when asked his greatest fear: “Events, dear boy, events”. More often than not Harper creates his own events and events almost always favour the opposition. That event will most likely be economic.

‘But Harper is an economist’ I’ve been assured; he is also apparently an ideological conservative. “I’m a conservative. I happen to believe in the long term, we will see long-term economic growth from the private sector,” Harper

From PM Harper

“We all know that we have a massive and growing employment problem. We've seen dramatic drops in output, dramatic rises in unemployment in the last four months... We anticipate more big job losses.”

[Canada] is well poised to emerge quickly and strongly from recession when recovery begins.

From Finance Minister Jim Flaherty

Canada's recession will be relatively mild and that Canadians were not worried about the exact pace of the slowdown.

I think we're certainly looking at negative growth. I don't think Canadians are that concerned if it's ‘2-point-this' or ‘1-point-that'.

Banking on banks

Flaherty claims Canada has the No. 1 financial system in the world in terms of stability. Harper is busy urging banks to become more active in takeovers of US banks. I’m no great fan of the Aussie banks, but would argue they are at least as stable as their Canadian cousins and historically far more aggressive.

This is evidenced by the ease which the Aussie banks have just offered a 12 month holiday for those in danger of defaulting on their mortgage. Sure the banks will still capitalise on those loans, but they have the strength to cover the interregnum and still pursue a steady growth agenda.

The Endgame

In short, the Harper government comes across as economic flakes, dishing out platitudes in place of solutions. Somewhere, I suspect, among Harper’s economic deficits the ‘event’ will emerge. Most likely it will be a panic move to shore up his flagging support, most of his events have targeted shoring up his power.

We don’t yet know Michael Ignatieff’s economic agenda; after all, why would he feed clues to a beleaguered government? What we do know is the Canadian Liberal record for sound economic management and the apparent dynamism of the PM in waiting.

2 comments:

Real Estate in Toronto said...

"The Harper government is hanging in, but their days are numbered. How long?"

Lets hope not too long :). Although I am very proud of Canadian Banks, they handled this crisis surprisingly good and so far there has been literally no bailouts, if we compare that to any other nation in the world, Canadian banks win every time.

Take care, Julie

Cart said...

Julie, I'm not sure I want to get into a pissing competition on banks :) But I believe our respective countries have benefited hugely from our respective finance sector regulation regimes.
Even our John Howard and his acolyte Harper were unable to dismantle those protections.