Poor, poor, Stephane Dion. Stephen Harper is picking on him.
The Prime Minister suggested that Dion's attitude about the economy is tantamount to cheering for a recession. Here are a few quotes from Dion after the stock market crisis and some follow up from experts, sometimes in the same article:
But Dion said as badly as the U.S. has performed economically, Canada has done worse and lays the blame for that at the feet of the Prime Minister.
Dion, while in St. John's, Nfld., said that Harper's economic formula is one that will land Canada in a deep recession.
"Their (the U.S.) first six months have been better than ours in terms of economic growth," Dion said.
"(Harper) made bad choices in the way he spends. He spent more than any other government before him," he said. "We've got to stop going in the direction that Mr. Harper is sending us and that is deficit and recession."
Seems to me that Dion is happy to interprets Harper's policies as 'sending us into a recession.'
Harper urged "a more sober analysis" of the global economic woes.
People should not "turn to complete doom and gloom" scenarios, Harper said at a Monday news conference.
The Toronto Star, September 15
"The Canadian market fundamentals are still solid . . . ," (Industry association president Calvin Lindberg) said, echoing the reassurance about the health of the overall economy issued earlier in the day by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.
"The Canadian economy's fundamentals are solid," Harper said, stressing that Canada is in better shape that the U.S. to withstand the current financial turmoil and suggesting that the worst of the crisis has already passed. "Our household sector, our government sector, and our financial institutions have solid economic fundamentals."
However, Liberal opposition leader Stephane Dion charged that were it not for the policies of the minority Conservative government, the economy would have been in better shape to withstand the U.S. slump.
"The difficulties in the United States are something we worry about," Dion said, adding "bad choices" by the government have resulted in economic growth being weaker in Canada this year than in the United States.
While most indicators - especially job growth and housing market sales, prices and construction - have been much stronger in Canada than in the U.S., overall levels of economic growth have been stronger there than here - with Canada's economy barely skirting a technical recession of back-to-back quarterly contractions in total output of goods and services and an actual decline in the first half of the year.
Note that two men who know a little bit about economics say that our economy is holding steady. The voice of dissent comes from Stephane Dion. It could even be argued that the man is almost hopeful of a recession, just to prove his point.
There's Dion, suggesting that Canada's headed for recession and it sounds like it would suit him fine. After all, it fits right into the clever and witty "Harpernomics" line. Is Harper really wrong for suggesting that he's practically drooling, hoping for a downturn on Harper's watch?
As the U.S. economy slipped deeper into financial turmoil Monday, Dion cast the Conservative economic plan as an anchor that has dragged Canadians to the brink of recession.
Dion blamed Harper for doing little to protect Canada from the looming economic downturn.
"Stephen Harper has allowed what was a booming economy to hit a brick wall," Dion said.
"Stephen Harper governs for the next day, the next poll. He wants to buy your vote with gimmicks for the next election."
The Liberals have also targeted the Conservative government's economic record in a new TV ad they dubbed "Harpernomics."
The Toronto Star, September 16
"He spent a lot, he has no direction and we are close to a deficit and close to
a recession," Dion said.
"The federal government has entered the 2008-2009 fiscal year with pretty solid momentum at least in the early stages of the year that momentum has continued," said Derek Burelton, an economist with TD Bank Financial Group.
"I think the numbers coming in so far this year suggest that the surplus is declining but we're not looking into an immediate return into deficit."
The GST cut has robbed the government coffers of around $12 billion a year, a move that has subtracted significantly from excess surpluses, Burelton said.
"We're still in surplus territory. No doubt the GST cut has eaten into that," Burelton said.
However, he said, the federal government is benefiting greatly from greater revenue from taxes in the resource sector despite the fact that commodity prices have fallen.
The Tories are projecting a $2.3-billion surplus this fiscal year and $1.3 billion for the next, down from the $10.2-billion surplus for the 2007-08 fiscal year.
Dale Orr, managing director of Global Insight Canada, believes those are conservative estimates and has predicted a $4 billion to $5 billion surplus for this fiscal year.
"There's not much chance of a deficit this year," Orr said.
Orr said the tax base continues to grow more rapidly than was forecast in the budget, offsetting the softening economy. Also, interest rates are lower than predicted, which provides some relief on debt charges.
As well, the government has not included in its forecast the $44 billion collected in Ottawa's auction of wireless airwaves. Orr said many believe the Conservatives will budget 10 per cent of that revenue to be used for over the next 10 years, meaning an extra $400 million of revenue will be coming for the current fiscal year.
Again, Dion says recession, deficit and two experts say not. Is Harper wrong to think Dion almost seems hopeful that the economy will plunge in order to prove his own hypothesis?
One could almost forgive M. Dion for his fallacious belief that all one had to do to become Prime Minister of Canada was to don the red banner, point at the people in blue and scoff, but his reaction to criticism is to whine. Not very becoming of a man who hopes to lead the nation.
It seems inconceivable to Stephane Dion that anyone would question his policies, his demeanour, his strategy of predicting economic decline in order to boost his own fortunes. Instead of trying to justify any of those things, he becomes shrill and childish and blames those who would challenge his narrow world vision.
The man has a persecution complex. Politics is a blood sport and Dion seems to bruise easily. Maybe he should stick to what he's good at -- maybe fishing or saving the universe.