Just last week, a day before the election, Harper said he would never run a deficit. What a difference an election and five days make: on Saturday, in Quebec City, he said that deficits are no longer inevitable. Who could have guessed? What promise will you break next, Steve?
Since the American-induced banking crisis erupted a couple of weeks ago during the election campaign, Harper and Flaherty have been saying that they saw this coming last fall, when they went on their unprecedented spending spree. That, of course, is just another flat-out lie. No one anywhere in the world saw anything like this coming - the most anyone was talking about a year ago was that the housing market in the U.S. was in trouble because of the largely unregulated and unprincipled American banking system.
Harper went on his spending spree as conservatives usually do when they smell an election coming and they need to buy votes. And last fall, Harper thought he could win a majority in an election that was about to be triggered by the opposition. It's only when that didn't happen that he arranged for the House of Commons to become dysfunctional so that he could break his own fixed election date law.
It's obvious that he didn't see the economic crisis coming or he wouldn't have gone on his spending spree and left himself no financial manoeuvering room. He had nothing to say about the economy during the election campaign other than that everything was just hunky dory. CTV, the network shilling for the Tories during the campaign, all the while kept insisting everything was going to be fine because, after all, Harper was an outstanding economist. Well, the truth is, he studied economics at the University of Calgary. That doesn't make him an economist! I have an Honours Degree in Political Science and Economics from McGill University (a real university, by the way), and I wouldn't call myself either a politician or an economist. And I'm far more honest and intelligent than Stephen Harper any day of the week!