Monday, August 08, 2011

National Post hearts Liberals today

Just noting the occasion. While some of this is begrudging and framed a little backhandedly, it is relevant to remember that our economic situation today that is standing us in better stead than a lot of nations does indeed trace back to a Liberal government.
It is worth offering thanks to those who helped make Canada what it is today: the strongest, most stable economy in the free world. This editorial board was often critical of the Liberal style of leadership, which frequently played on anti-Americanism, emphasized left-wing social engineering, and engulfed Ottawa in a series of real scandals. But in the economic sphere, every Canadian owes former prime minister Jean Chr├ętien and his long-time finance minister, Paul Martin, their gratitude.

It was under the leadership of those two men that the federal government finally began restoring sanity to Ottawa’s spending habits, which had become punch drunk under Pierre Trudeau and then Brian Mulroney. Alarmed by the decision of several ratings agencies to drop Canada’s federal rating to AA+ — the same as S&P now assigns Washington — the federal Liberals began a series of deep, often painful spending cuts. Little was spared, including provincial transfer payments. Between 1995 and 1998, government spending was chopped by an impressive 14%. While some of the cuts, particularly to defence spending, had lasting negative effects, the overall effort saved the international community’s confidence in Canada as a safe place to invest. The result was that Canada’s federal debt-to-GDP ratio dropped from a whopping 70% (not much lower than where the United States is now) to under 30% in 2008.
They go on to praise Mr. Harper's record post-Liberals but I'll let you read that and make of it what you will. Around here we are not so enamoured with his economic philosophy and priorities.