Friday, July 10, 2009

Under the Radar, But I Heard a Ping

In addition to the obvious, coming out of Harper's presser today, I picked up on a couple of casual comments he made about the Parliamentary Budget Officer.

Speaking about Canada's economy, the prime minister tersely dismissed Page's gloomy report this week, which said the government had underestimated the impact of the recession on government finances and the economy.

In addition to predicting higher-than-expected job losses, Page also said the Canadian government is now running a "structural deficit" and, therefore, won't automatically go back to budget surpluses when the economy recovers.

So "significant discretionary actions" will be necessary to get Canada's books back in the black, Page said.

But on Friday, Harper ridiculed the suggestion that the government would need to slash spending or boost taxes to balance its budget when the economy recovers.

"We will not start raising taxes and cutting programs. That's a very dumb policy and, to the extent, frankly, that the parliamentary budget officer suggested it, it's a dumb position," he said.

Dumb? What a statesman our PM is. Slagging the OLO and a respected public servant in less than 10 minutes!

Furthermore, Page is hardly the first to suggest that program cuts and/or tax increases might be necessary. But at this point, Harper isn't really going after Page or other economists, (people that actually earned that title), is he?. No, Harper was in bad actor mode, again, going after Ignatieff and pushing what the lame CPC ads suggest.

Harper's solution to the real questions on deficit? Oh, it'll all take care of itself, come out in the know? The really serious economic statements that people who actually understand the economy guffaw at.

Aside from the PM's boorish comment, it's interesting to note that this is the second time this week that the government has taken a shot at the PBO. Remember that Flaherty had this to say .

"He's taken a more pessimistic outlook than warranted, based on what we are seeing from the IMF and others in terms of the economic recovery taking place in 2010," said Mr. Flaherty, who spoke to reporters via conference call from Brasilia after meeting with Brazil's finance minister and central banker.

It seems pretty clear that the government is dismissing everything this public servant, (that they appointed btw), has to say. All this finger pointing is reminiscent of the Linda Keen incident...except for the 'Liberal appointee' part of course.

Ironically, Harper has been wrong about this recession every single step of the way and has changed his position many times.

Stephen Harper, Oct. 7, 2008. “I know economists will say that we can run a small deficit, but the problem is once you cross that line, as we see in the United States, nothing stops deficits from getting larger and larger and spiralling out of control, and we want to avoid the kind of government, household and trade deficits we see in the United States.”

Jim Flaherty, Jan. 27, 2009. “There will be no long-running or permanent deficit … As the economy recovers, we fully expect to emerge from deficit and return to surplus within five years.”

Stephen Harper, July 10, 2009. “We will allow the deficit to persist if necessary. We will not, in order to meet some timetable, start raising taxes and cutting programs. That’s a very dumb policy … If the recession turns out to be longer than that, for example, or the recovery turns out to be shallower, then that will change the pattern of the recovery from the current deficit.”

h/t - Aaron Wherry

From just a few weeks ago when he said the deficit would be short lived, they were on plan to eliminate it and anyone who suggested otherwise was crazy, to today when he said that he would run a deficit as long as was needed.


Finally, as was noted in a previous post, Harper did have to eat crow and apologise today. Within that apology though were some telling words, imo.

"I attacked Mr. Ignatieff"

Attacked?! That word rolled off his tongue like any other word didn't it? This is the leader of our country, casually commenting on attacking the leader of the opposition on an interantional stage. Not debating, not challenging...attacking. It didn't even occur to him that that word was exposing him for who he was.

In our recent history, I cannot think of a more unsophisticated, cheap and graceless PM. Especially when you consider that those moves are scripted...thought through and editorially choreographed.

We're in a sad place in time.


Anonymous said...

Page is an attention seeking Liberal leaning career civil servant who is intentionally straying beyond the mandate given for his office which would be a good place to save some more money and send him back into the bowels of obscurity.

KNB said...

Ah...the rationale reveals itself. Saving money.

Ha! Considering why he was appointed that's a pretty bizarre reason for getting rid of him.

Liberal leaning? You'd better have something to substantiate that, otherwise you're just making false accusations.

My read of this man is that he'd be just the same pain in the neck to the Liberals as he is to the Con's.

In other words, doing his job.

RuralSandi said...

Hmmm....Page was appointed by Harper.

Hmmm....Page's duties:

Kevin Page was appointed March 25, 2008 as the first Canadian Parliamentary Budget Officer, an independent officer of the Library of Parliament who reports to the Speakers of the Canadian House of Commons and Senate.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer's responsibilities include providing an independent analysis of the state of the economy, the nation's finances and the government's expenditure plan and an analysis of the expenditure estimates of any government department or agency when requested to do so by a Parliamentary committee that's reviewing those estimates. The officer is also mandated to provide an estimate of costs for any proposal that falls within the jurisdiction of the Parliament of Canada.

And, Page is "dumb" Mr. Harper? Ah, he seems to have more qualifications than Harper:

Kevin Page was born in Thunder Bay, Ontario in 1957 to James and Stella Page. A graduate of Fort William Collegiate Institute, he later studied at Lakehead University, Simon Fraser University and took his M.A. in economics from Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario.

You know, if the Cons want a troll to make comments you'd think they would have someone with a brain instead of this Anon 8:50 who spews garbage daily all over the blogosphere. He makes the Cons look really bad.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8:50 Pm; And you know that how? Making things up stuff isn't earning you brownie points or necessarily the truth either. You sound just like your idol blundering dictator Harper. I would suggest you send a link to verify your accusations. Don't accuse anyone of being dumb. That remark merely points back to you.


Cari said...

KEvin Page PC, whom I think may be out now and again, but is realistic, and I am sure more learned about economics than Harper.
Aside from that, what other leader was complaining about this and that about the goings on at home?
I am also sure it may have come as a shock about Harper lying about Ignatieff, to some of the people there.
I does not matter if Michael is a political leader..what matters, is ,he is known by many of those countries, as a writer an intellectual, and probably wondering why he was dissing Michael..what a disgrace to this Country, Harper is.

foottothefire said...

Credibility struggles beset Harper and company but give credit where credit is due...he's up there in the polls, lies, fumbles and devastation notwithstanding. BS baffles brains...

Anonymous said...

lies, fumbles and devastation notwithstanding. BS baffles brains...

That's the LPoC to a T.