Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

What You Won't Read in The Globe and Mail

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What it a surprise it must be to Canadian voters to suddenly learn the much promised budget surplus won't arrive after all (see The Globe and Mail:"Tories back off pledge to show surplus by 2014-15"). The reality is a surplus won't arrive for at least ten years. Mr. Flaherty hasn't got a budget or economic forecast right since his billion-dollar deficit days in the Ontario legislature or since his most recent pre-recession predictions when he was six months late even noticing the economy was heading south, and then repeatedly got wrong the size of the coming defit as well. I guess all those slick Harper-Land promises to Canadians of income splitting due when a surplus finally appears will just have to wait, though we all should notice the corporations will get their tax cut on time, as promised.

Let’s realistically review a Conservative economic stewardship that:

1) After inheriting a huge Liberal surplus, the Harper Conservatives almost immediately created a deficit prior to the recent recession by awarding a large corporate tax cut as well as cutting the GST (a populist policy driven by ideology rather than sound economics).

2) For the first eight months of the recession the Harper Conservatives repeatedly denied Canada was in a recession, insisting there was no recession, no deficit and that the budget would balance.

3) Suddenly realizing there was, indeed, a recession, Jim Flaherty tried unsuccessful on multiple occasions to accurately estimate the coming deficit, arriving finally after months of incorrect guesses at a final figure of $56 billion.

4) The $56 billion deficit figure is twice what it should have been given the loss of the Liberal surplus, the GST reductions, and the corporate tax cuts.

5) The $56 billion is the largest deficit in Canadian history, second only to a previous record deficit established by the Mulroney Conservatives.

6) The Conservative economic action plan for the $56 Billion wasted much of it disproportionately on Tory riding projects.

In spite of the deficit, the Harper Conservative regime continues to spend:

Further adding to the deficit by having to borrow another $1 billion to fund photo ops, a fake lake and an over-the-top, often illegal and repressive police presence at the G8/G20.

Adding yet more to the deficit by borrowing another $8-10 billion for prisons we don’t need.

Topping up that deficit by another $30 Billion ($16 billion by the voodo math of the Conservatives) for single engine, F35 jets.

Rewarding corporate Canada once again by giving them an additional $6 billion in unfunded corporate tax cuts.

With that kind of economic leadership, the country hasn’t a chance of recovery.

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

Edward Carson

Edward Carson is twice winner of the E. J. Pratt Poetry Award in Canada and is the author of three books of poetry — Scenes, Taking Shape and Birds Flock Fish School.

Go to Edward Carson’s Author Page