Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The naked truth

There is no spinning time:
Gross Domestic Product contracted at an annual rate of 3.4 per cent in the fourth quarter, the worst showing since 1991, Statistics Canada reported yesterday.
In the House of Commons, John McCallum, the Liberal finance critic, said the GDP figures showed the government was too slow in coming up with the $40-billion economic stimulus program that Finance Minister Jim Flaherty presented at the end of January.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper responded that Canada is doing much better than other nations, and called on the opposition parties to speed passage of Mr. Flaherty's program.

“Our economy remains in a position of relative strength,” Mr. Harper said. “I would urge the opposition to focus on that and to pass the important measures we have to sustain this economy through these difficult times.”
Yes, for the umpteenth time, hurry up and pass that stimulus package for me that should have been on its way months earlier, I'm begging you...

That stimulus is pretty vital they say:
Mr. Desnoyers said he's optimistic the worst of the U.S. recession is over because of recent indicators that suggest the collapse of the housing market is finding a bottom, which would boost confidence and steady financial markets.

Still, until that happens, it's up to the Canadian government to get the economy going, he said. In the fourth quarter, public spending was the only source of growth, according to Statscan.

With Mr. Flaherty's stimulus program set to pass Parliament by the end of the month, there's much more on the way. The faster it's spent, the better the chances the recession will end quickly.

For the first time in many years,” Mr. Desnoyers said, “we are counting on policy for the recovery.” (emphasis added)
In the meantime, look away! Look away! That's the upshot of Travers this morning, pointing out the distraction strategy that the PMO may be presently engaged in to shift attention away from the disturbing numbers confronting us all and to such pressing challenges as...Russia. Travers also gamefully lays out the recent dismal economic track record of the Conservative gang. A good part:
Predicting prosperity during the fall campaign was wishful thinking; projecting surpluses with the global economy in chaos suggested a dangerous disconnect with reality.

Along with forcing archconservatives to become practising socialists, that holy-smokes miscalculation stripped the emperor's clothes from Harper's economic reputation. Foolish as it is to predict any politician's future, it's hard to see how his fiscal performance will earn a third consecutive mandate.
Reason for hope on a cold morning after all...:)