This week in Vancouver, Prime Minister Harper announced that he would not prepare a stimulus package for the fiscal year. He continues to affirm his government’s commitment to eliminating the deficit in order to release a “balanced” budget later this month. No sir, nothing resembling a stimulus, just a nice, long-promised balance budget. Meanwhile, the Liberals and NDP demand that there be extensive spending on infrastructure, health care, and education, as well as properly funding our military—stuff the Conservatives say they do enough of already.
Last week, the last Prime Minister who dealt regularly with budgetary surpluses, Liberal Paul Martin, chided the Conservatives for their irresponsible snub of much needed stimulus spending.
Harper happens to have become a broken record in terms of the “balanced budget.” His obsession with the budget over the past seven years (remember, he inherited surpluses) may have driven his government around the bend and left them in way over their heads.
From making flustered statements in the House of Commons, the Prime Minister has progressed to uttering confused statements in public! Last week, while announcing his government’s creation of a Pay Center in the riding of Miramichi, New Brunswick, the PM didn’t seem to know where he was. He took time to criticize the NDP’s misrepresentation of the riding at the Federal Level. Meanwhile, at his side stood the Conservative MP for Miramichi!
Yes, the Prime Minister told his audience that the NDP held the riding, when his own party actually did (and has since 2008). Fortunately, the Prime Minister’s error was made in front of around 200 “invitation only” audience members. Furthermore, while the Prime Minister was announcing his government’s commitment to spend $80 million building the pay center, and so “provide” the area with 550 much needed jobs, he didn’t mention that those 550 jobs already existed; people were merely working in temporary locations.
With a majority of 160 seats, it’s gotta be hard to remember which seats you hold and which ones you don’t, particularly when you’re in the riding and your MP is standing right next to you! Harper only messed up one riding in New Brunswick; it’s not like he got the name of a province wrong.
Until his speech in Vancouver this week. The Prime Minister’s Office, as usual, provided press passes for journalists in attendance. Upon receiving those passes, the poor journalists found themselves in the wrong place. They weren’t at the Prime Minister’s Event in British Columbia but instead at a “Prime Minister s Event” in “British Colombia.”
No word on the Colombian Government’s reaction to the Harper Government’s labelling them as “British.” It’d be like Harper agreed to recognize Palestine!
With the trial of disgraced Tory Senator, Mike Duffy, now underway, we are reminded that Harper also doesn’t seem to be able to understand the Constitution. Though the PMO consistently cited Section 24.5 of the Constitution, affirming that, to be a Senator, one had to be a resident of that province, Harper seems to have forgotten to check the residency requirements for the government of PEI. The province stipulates that someone needs to reside in the province for six months plus one day to obtain residency. To maintain residency, they must reside on the Island for 183 consecutive days every year. Living in Ottawa since the 1970’s, Duffy doesn’t meet that requirement and hasn’t asked the Island government for special exemption (which, as a senator, he could technically do). It seems as though Harper forgot to check his facts.
It is quite possible that Harper’s recent blunders and confusion in public could merely be him be playing homage to his predecessor, Stockwell Day, who, thinking himself Moses, tried to reverse the flow of the Niagara River.
There is something wrong and Canadians everywhere are noticing it. A recent study compared the economic records of Harper, Martin, and Chretien. In terms of growing GDP and reducing unemployment, Jean Chretien came in first with an average yearly growth rate of 3.9 % GDP and a drastic decrease in unemployment. Martin, however, was first in terms of wage increases, but came in second for growing the GDP and decreasing the unemployment rate. Harper came in third in all three areas, thoroughly shattering his party’s economic record.
Even the Conservatives have quietly admitted they “might” not be so great with the economy, having removed their record from their proverbial display window in favour of guns and fighting ISIS.
Worse, their base is recognizing it too. For the first time in years, the Conservative’s have dropped below 50% support in Alberta, and are even starting to falter in the Prairie Provinces. If those numbers don’t rise before election day, Harper will be the first Conservative leader since Diefenbaker went down to defeat in 1965 to not win more than 50% of the popular vote in Alberta. Those numbers continue to fall; and of all places there may be some red in the West come the fall!
The Prime Minister may be in way over his head; economics degrees notwithstanding.