Ever since was elected, Stephen Harper and his Finance Minister Jim Flaherty have been talking about fiscal restraint and cutting spending, while doing the opposite.
At one point, his government announced they were cutting a billion dollars in waste – which consisted almost entirely of cuts to programs and services that didn’t suit Harper’s hardcore, right-wing ideology. In fact, Stephen Harper increased spending, on average, by $10-billion a year, every year, while also cutting corporate taxes and the GST.
Let’s compare this to your own household. Imagine spending more and more every year, even as your take-home income goes down. Eventually you’re going to have to borrow. And that’s just what the Harper government has been doing – even before the economy took a turn for the worse.
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff has made it clear that Canada can’t afford $6 billion in corporate tax breaks right now, because of Stephen Harper’s record $56-billion deficit.
Make no mistake, Liberals believe in competitive corporate tax rates. Liberal governments brought the corporate tax rate down from 28% to 19%, when we were in surplus. Mr. Harper drove Canada into deficit even before the recession, and with a record $56-billion deficit, we can’t afford to borrow billions more for additional tax breaks to Canada’s largest corporations.
The Harper Economic Record
- There are 280,000 more unemployed Canadians today compared to five years ago – 25% higher.
- The Conservatives cancelled the summer Career placement program in 2006. Youth unemployment is now almost twice as high as the national unemployment rate.
- In just five years under Stephen Harper, the Conservatives turned Canada’s $13 billion budgetary surplus into a $56 billion deficit
- Under Harper, annual government program spending increased by $75 billion.
- Conservatives took the country into deficit before the recession began – driving spending up by 18% in their first three budgets.
- High-quality, full time jobs have disappeared under Harper’s government and new jobs tend to be poor quality and part-time.
- Since the recession began in 2008, the economy has lost 76,000 full time jobs, which have been replaced by 121,000 part-time alternatives.
“In 2010 alone, Conservatives wasted $1 billion on a G20 photo-op, announced a $16 billion untendered deal for stealth fighter jets, are spending $6 billion on corporate tax cuts for the largest corporations, and are committed to spending over $10 billion to build U.S.-style megaprisons while crime is on the decline.”
Above: The black line shows how Conservative government spending has outstripped revenue, resulting in massive borrowing.
The Government of Canada will have to borrow $58.5 billion in 2010-2011 to pay its bills.
It’s not simply because the Tories have spent so much on “stimulating” Canada’s economy.
As these charts demonstrate, it’s because the Conservatives have been nothing less than reckless when it comes to our country’s finances.
They increased spending sharply while cutting taxes. Stephen Harper and the Conservatives were already driving Canada into deficit before the global recession really hit in 2009.
Not only do the Conservatives have no credible plan to balance the budget, they are continuing to ramp up spending and promise tax cuts, only increasing the level of public debt.