Saturday, February 07, 2009

Harper is Back!

Finally Stephen Harper sounds like a Conservative and he is acting like our Prime Minister. After 2 months of being on the defensive, offering the opposition 'coalition' everything they had asked for, Harper was beginning to look like a push over who was going to govern like a Liberal until the real Liberals had raised enough money to force another election. There were some days in the past few years where I didn't like that Stephen Harper was acting like a bully, but I liked him a lot less as the one being bullied.

When Canada's employment report came out yesterday and we found out that 129,000 jobs were lost in January when most analysts only expected 40,000 would be lost, the leaders of the Spend and Spend Coalition went into full panic mode demanding even more stimulus money. This time Harper is holding his ground, the Globe and Mail reports:

Stephen Harper says he will not yield to opposition calls for more economic stimulus measures despite confidence-shaking news that Canada lost 129,000 jobs in January, the sharpest decline ever.

Little more than a week after the federal government introduced a budget that projects a massive deficit and pours $40-billion in stimulus measures into the economy over the next two years, the opposition Liberals have said the worsening economic picture will probably require more.

Mr. Harper said Canadians can expect more job losses in 2009, but that the government has already responded in a big way. "The reason this government has proposed such a massive economic plan and such a massive deficit-spending stimulus is our anticipation of significant economic challenges, including significant job losses in the year to come. That's why we're doing what we're doing," he said at an event in Miramichi, N.B . . .

. . . the Prime Minister directly rebuffed the Liberals' hints they might force the Conservatives into another round of stimulus spending in late spring. "We cannot have in Parliament, quite frankly, instability every week and every month, every time there's a new number, people demanding a different plan…" Mr. Harper said. "We continue to believe this is the action we need, and we're going to need it in the months to come, and we're not going to be blown off track every time there's some bad news."

He's right. There are limits to how much the government actually can do to revive the economy, and there are definite limits to how quickly it can take effect. The government's budget contains a lot of new spending and other measures to breathe life into the economy, opposition calls for more spending before any money flows from this stimulus package are simply ludicrous.

We've already learned the hard way in the 80s and 90s that massive deficits can cripple the economy. I'm hoping the big deficits our government will run in the next few years are only temporary. For the first time in a while Stephen Harper looks like he might be capable of keeping spending in line.

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