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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 6:37 pm
 


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Conservatives’ reputation as the ‘Nasty Party’ is well-deserved

By Andrew Coyne, Postmedia News May 10, 2013 7:57 PM

A half-dozen national polls now put the Conservatives behind the Liberals, by margins of as much as 13 percentage points. Averaging across them, the website ThreeHundredEight.com puts Conservative support at 29 per cent, the lowest it has been since they first took power in 2006 and a drop of more than 10 points from their share of the popular vote in the election just two years ago.

Well, you say, governments often go through troughs in support at mid-term. The Tories have been behind before — after Michael Ignatieff became Liberal leader in 2009, and again after Thomas Mulcair became NDP leader in 2012 — and soon recaptured the lead.

Yes, but they never fell this far. And that’s a puzzle: looking at a chart of Environics Research polls going back to 1978, I can see two previous cases of a governing party falling below the 30 per cent mark: the Liberals in the early 1980s and the Tories in the early 1990s. Understandably enough: each had the misfortune to be governing in the middle of a crunching recession.

But that’s not true today. While the economy is not quite at the peaks it reached just before the last recession, it remains in remarkably good shape by any historic standard, with unemployment at 7.2 per cent, inflation below two per cent, mortgage rates at record lows and poverty rates the same. You have to go back to the golden years of the 1960s to find a better record.

So it can’t be the economy that accounts for the Tories’ unpopularity. Indeed, they are generally credited with having managed the financial crisis tolerably well. If the odd sourpuss grumped at the plunge into deficit that followed, it would be hard to argue the nation’s finances were in any serious jeopardy today.

Yet 50 per cent of those polled tell EKOS they think the country is “moving in the wrong direction,” up from 30 per cent five years ago and the highest such figure in at least a decade. An even greater proportion, 57 per cent, say the government is moving in the wrong direction, again a recent high.

Perhaps that is the result of some difficult decisions on the government’s part, the kind of drawing down of political capital that governments often do early in their term. (For example, the Mulroney Tories fell briefly below 30 per cent, in 1987, at the height of concern over the free trade negotiations.) Yes? And what would those be? What major new policy initiatives has it undertaken since it won its majority? Raising the age of OAS eligibility by two years, two decades from now? Amending the Navigable Waters Act? That’s about as far-reaching, or as controversial, as it’s got.

By and large, this is not a government that goes in for “harsh but necessary.” It much prefers to deliver populist crowd-pleasers like the GST cuts or the crime bills, when not sticking to the kind of safe, middle-of-the-road strategy the pros advise. Hardly a day goes by without ministers being sent out across the country to announce new tax breaks for this and government grants for that. Tens of millions of public dollars have been spent on upbeat advertising for the government’s Economic Action Plan. So it can hardly be a matter of the Conservatives “failing to get their message out,” either.

Maybe it’s all just a case of Trudeaumania, the inevitable honeymoon phase for a new leader, especially one with a famous name and charisma to burn? Except the Tory slide was well under way long before Justin Trudeau became Liberal leader; neither does it seem to have been arrested by the wave of attack ads the party launched the same day.

And whatever Trudeau’s appeal, it can hardly explain the decline in Stephen Harper’s public approval numbers, to just 28 per cent versus 50 per cent-plus disapproval. Again, this is for a prime minister governing in good times, with a famously incremental agenda, precisely crafted to avoid the sort of ideological excesses that were supposed to have torpedoed the party in the past.

Let me venture to suggest this is not accidental. If today both Harper and the party he leads are actively disliked by more than seven voters in 10, it may be because they have gone out of their way to alienate them in every conceivable way — not by their policies, or even their record, but simply by their style of governing, as over-bearing as it is under-handed, and that on a good day.

When they are not refusing to disclose what they are doing, they are giving out false information; when they allow dissenting opinions to be voiced, they smear them as unpatriotic or worse; when they open their own mouths to speak, it is to read the same moronic talking points over and over, however these may conflict with the facts, common courtesy, or their own most solemn promises.

Secretive, controlling, manipulative, crude, autocratic, vicious, unprincipled, untrustworthy, paranoid … Even by the standards of Canadian politics, it’s quite the performance. We’ve had some thuggish or dishonest governments in the past, even some corrupt ones, but never one quite so determined to arouse the public’s hostility, to so little apparent purpose. Their policy legacy may prove short-lived, but it will be hard to erase the stamp of the Nasty Party.

Perhaps, in their self-delusion, the Tories imagine this is all the fault of the Ottawa media, or the unavoidable cost of governing as Conservatives in a Liberal country. I can assure them it is not. The odium in which they are now held is well-earned, and entirely self-inflicted.

© Copyright (c) Postmedia News


http://www.canada.com/Conservatives+rep ... z2SwZrODvL


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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 7:04 pm
 


Those polls are accurate within +/- 3.446% 98.77 times out of 101, every second leap year when Friday the 13th falls on a Wednesday afternoon. And only if the polls are taken outside a pub at closing time whilst wearing a tee shirt with the words "Lefties go Screw Yourselves".


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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 7:29 pm
 


R=UP

If Liberals can deliver a costed budget proposal with achievable deficit elimination, and convince Canadians that the green shift is not a carbon tax... We're in.


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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 7:45 pm
 


Between the Tories' "nasty" reputation, Justin Trudeau's vacuous platitudes and lack of substantive policy, and Thomas Mulcair's pandering to Quecbecois nationalists (to say nothing of intermittent bozo eruption from a member of his party), it is slim pickings for the voter.


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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 8:15 pm
 


Curtman wrote:
R=UP

If Liberals can deliver a costed budget proposal with achievable deficit elimination, and convince Canadians that the green shift is not a carbon tax... We're in.


It's still a carbon tax and everyone will pay a lot more for everything. It was bad policy under Dion and it's still bad policy. If Trudeau tries to resurrect it the Conservatives will win another majority.

But I'm glad you said convince because it shows that deep down inside YOU know it's a tax. :lol:

Maybe you should have used words like show or PROVE.


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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 8:18 pm
 


Curtman wrote:
R=UP


Thumbs up for bong-flavoured Doritos.


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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 8:19 pm
 


And I would not count on a Trudeau-led Liberal party to deliver a budget with "achievable deficit elimination." They will raise the deficit, if anything.


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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 8:29 pm
 


FieryVulpine wrote:
And I would not count on a Trudeau-led Liberal party to deliver a budget with "achievable deficit elimination." They will raise the deficit, if anything.


Why do you say that, given that Harper has increased the deficit and Chretien/Martin Liberals are the only ones in modern times who have ever consistently run balanced budgets and reduced it?


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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 9:25 pm
 


Family history for one. If people expect JT to be anything like his father, then the deficit is more likely to increase.


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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 9:31 pm
 


That doesn't make sense. First, it's not the 70's and 80's any more. Second, Justin was 13 when his dad retired, it's not like he was his dad's Deputy PM. You think he's just going to tell his staff "just do exactly whatever it was my dad did when he was in office?"

FTR, I'm not a Trudeau lover, I think you hit the nail on the head when you referred to his "vacuous platitudes and lack of substantive policy". I don't take him seriously as a policy maker.


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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 9:34 pm
 


Well, perhaps not so much like his father but I do not feel that Justin's advisers would advise him into reducing spending (though maybe eviscerate the military than I heard Harper is doing now. :P)


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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 9:34 pm
 


FieryVulpine wrote:
Between the Tories' "nasty" reputation, Justin Trudeau's vacuous platitudes and lack of substantive policy, and Thomas Mulcair's pandering to Quecbecois nationalists (to say nothing of intermittent bozo eruption from a member of his party), it is slim pickings for the voter.

Concur. If you want to attempt to measure voter apathy, start by measuring how shitty the candidates are. There's direct mathematical correlation, I'm sure.

BeaverFever wrote:
Why do you say that, given that Harper has increased the deficit and Chretien/Martin Liberals are the only ones in modern times who have ever consistently run balanced budgets and reduced it?

That may be true but don't go crowing too much about it. The fact that the Chretien/Martin Liberals balanced the books was a product of the overall strength of the global economy, not anything in particular that the Liberals did. Even a turkey can fly in a strong enough wind. And given the revenues they had (they were ass-deep, rolling in cash), the Chretien/Martin Liberals' failure to pay down significantly more of the debt than they did makes their budgetary management record a failure, not a success.


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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 9:46 pm
 


Quote:
That may be true but don't go crowing too much about it. The fact that the Chretien/Martin Liberals balanced the books was a product of the overall strength of the global economy, not anything in particular that the Liberals did. Even a turkey can fly in a strong enough wind. And given the revenues they had (they were ass-deep, rolling in cash), the Chretien/Martin Liberals' failure to pay down significantly more of the debt than they did makes their budgetary management record a failure, not a success.


Hey, they made some of the biggest spending cuts in Canadian history, don't forget. And not just 'trim the fat' stuff, major downloading and program spending cuts to everything from UI (which they renamed EI) to the military to pronvical Health transfers.



Quote:

OTTAWA

The lesson from Canada on cutting deficits

LOUISE EGAN, RANDALL PALMER
Published Monday, Nov. 21, 2011 02:32PM EST
Last updated Thursday, Sep. 06, 2012 11:09AM EDT

Finance officials bit their nails and nervously watched the clock. There were 30 minutes left in a bond auction aimed at funding the deficit and there was not a single bid.

Sounds like today’s Italy or Greece?

No, this was Canada in 1994.

Bids eventually came in, but that close call, along with downgrades and The Wall Street Journal calling Canada “an honorary member of the Third World,” helped the nation’s people and politicians understand how scary its budget problem was.

“There would have been a day when we would have been the Greece of today,” recalled then prime minister Jean Chrétien, a Liberal who ended up chopping cherished social programs in one of the most dramatic fiscal turnarounds ever.

“I knew we were in a bind and we had to do something,” Mr. Chrétien, 77, told Reuters in a rare interview.

Canada’s shift from pariah to fiscal darling provides lessons for Washington as lawmakers find few easy answers to the huge U.S. deficit and debt burden, and for European countries staggering under their own massive budget problems.

“Everyone wants to know how we did it,” said political economist Brian Lee Crowley, head of the Ottawa-based think tank, Macdonald-Laurier Institute, who has examined the lessons of the 1990s.

But to win its budget wars, Canada first had to realize how dire its situation was and then dramatically shrink the size of government rather than just limit the pace of spending growth.

It would eventually oversee the biggest reduction in Canadian government spending since demobilization after the Second World War. The big cuts, and relatively small tax increases, brought a budget surplus within four years.

Canadian debt shrank to 29 per cent of gross domestic product in 2008-09 from a peak of 68 per cent in 1995-96, and the budget was in the black for 11 consecutive years until the 2008-09 recession.

For Canada, the vicious debt circle turned into a virtuous cycle that rescued a currency that had been dubbed the “northern peso.” Canada went from having the second worst fiscal position in the Group of Seven industrialized countries, behind only Italy, to easily the best.

It is far from a coincidence that the recent recession was shorter and shallower in Canada than in the United States. Indeed, by January, Canada had recovered all the jobs lost in the downturn, while the U.S. has hardly been able to dent its high unemployment.

“We used to thank God that Italy was there because we were the second worst in the G7,” said Scott Clark, associate deputy finance minister in the 1990s.

Canada’s experience turned on its head the prevailing wisdom that spending promises were the easiest way to win elections. Politicians of all kinds and at all levels of government learned that austerity could win.

‘I WILL DO IT’

The turnaround began with Mr. Chrétien’s arrival as prime minister in November, 1993, when his Liberal Party – in some ways Canada’s equivalent of the Democrats in the U.S. – swept to victory with a strong majority. The new government took one look at the dreadful state of the books and decided to act.

“I said to myself, I will do it. I might be prime minister for only one term, but I will do it,” Mr. Chrétien said..

A shrewd political strategist, he believed Canadians were on board, after they were shocked and embarrassed a year earlier when Standard & Poor’s downgraded Canadian foreign currency debt to double-A plus from triple-A.

He wanted history to remember him as the man who rescued Canada from financial ruin and humiliation.

Mr. Chrétien sat his skeptical cabinet down and laid down the hard truth. He would get rid of the deficit, it would be painful and unpopular and nobody would be spared. There was no choice, no room for negotiation. It had to be done.

The chill in the room was such that newly appointed junior minister for veterans affairs, Lawrence MacAulay, called his wife afterward to say he would soon be out of a job.

“He said, ‘Darling, I will be back home in the next election. I will be defeated, because the prime minister explained to us this morning what he intended to do,’” according to Mr. Chrétien’s recollection.

MacAulay, who represents the Prince Edward Island fishing community of Cardigan, has been re-elected six times and sits in the House of Commons today. He couldn’t be immediately reached for comment to recall the conversation.

RAISING THE ALARM

Canada’s scrape with disaster had been building for a long time.

Over a decade earlier, top Finance Department bureaucrats had begun raising the alarm about the problem of rising debt, a hangover from the big government era of the 1970s.

The period before Mr. Chrétien came to power in Canada is often likened to the situation in the U.S. today. The country was not yet peering over a precipice, but was fast approaching it.

Mr. Clark said he and his colleagues sent memos to their bosses in the 1980s explaining “the arithmetic”: growth was low, interest rates were high and it was only a matter of time before Ottawa would not be able to pay interest on its debt.

But successive governments ignored the warnings and wrote budgets that allowed spending to continue to grow.

“It was hugely frustrating,” Mr. Clark said. “Every year we put out forecasts showing the deficit going away. We just based every budget on ridiculous assumptions.”

The budget deficit more than doubled between 1980 and 1990, rising to 8 per cent of GDP in 1983 and 1984, before shrinking to a still unsustainable 5.6 per cent just before Mr. Chrétien took over, and all the time debt was soaring. The debt-to-GDP ratio shot up to 67 per cent in 1993-94 from 29 per cent in 1980.

The numbers aren’t that different to the U.S. today with its deficit of around 9 per cent for 2011, and debt-to-GDP ratio at 74 per cent, up from 40 per cent at the end of 2008.

Drawing a parallel to Washington, Mr. Clark said Canadian leaders before Mr. Chrétien paid lip service to the debt problem but did nothing.

“There are no lights blinking saying you’re at the edge of the cliff,” he said. “The one lesson others can give the U.S. is that the higher that debt-to-GDP ratio goes, the more difficult it’s going to be.”

Canada already faced a gaping current account deficit, a weakening currency and high interest rates, and more misery was inevitable if the debt crisis wasn’t addressed.

The first kick in the teeth from abroad came from the October, 1992, S&P downgrade.

Even two decades later, Don Drummond, in charge of the budget at the finance ministry at the time, bristles at the memory, saying that the downgrade should have been “completely irrelevant” because so little of Canada’s debt was in foreign currency. But the damage to public opinion was done.

“We were just mobbed by the media. Here’s some foreign institution that says Canada is a basket case. If we had had a Canadian agency downgrade us, probably nobody would have shown up,” Mr. Drummond said.

The politicians had ignored the bureaucrats, but there was no way to sweep international criticism under the rug.

“Fear drives people. It drove us,” Mr. Clark said.

‘THEY DON’T GET IT’

The Liberals thought their first, rushed budget – delivered in February, 1994, three months after taking office, was tough.

It reformed unemployment insurance entitlements, and cut defence and foreign aid, as well as closing some business tax loopholes and ending a $100,000 lifetime capital gains exemption. The savings totalled $10-billion over two years.

The government said it would review all programs and predicted a deficit of 3 per cent of GDP in 1996. But program spending was still budgeted to rise slightly, and the budget was widely seen as a failure.

Pete DeVries, who headed the fiscal policy division, remembers overhearing chatter from economists’ and others as he waited for a flight to Toronto just after the budget.

“The mood was so depressed on that plane that I thought we’re never going to get off the ground and if we did get off the ground we’d crash, because it was just doom and gloom,” he said. “Everywhere you heard the words, ‘They don’t get it. They just don’t get it.’ ”

Voters certainly didn’t get it. People who had cancelled vacations or taken a second job to make ends meet in the recession couldn’t understand why Ottawa thought it could live beyond its means.

The upstart Reform Party, then the main national opposition party, had campaigned on “zero-in-three” – balance the budget in three years. “We were always trying to go faster,” said Reform’s leader at the time, Preston Manning.

Three months later, Moody’s Investors Service lowered its rating on Canada’s foreign currency debt, citing the government’s large and growing debt.

In December, 1994, Mexico suffered a run on its currency and the following month The Wall Street Journal stung with its “Bankrupt Canada” editorial, lumping Canada with Mexico as a country that might need an International Monetary Fund bailout.

STIFFENING SPINES, AVOIDING CLIFFS

The Liberals were stung by the criticism and, at first reluctantly, but then with gusto, they got out the chain saws.

“I think the Moody’s and Wall Street Journal stuff reflected what we knew inside,” said then industry minister John Manley.

Cutting government spending programs went against the Liberal grain. Contrary to the Reform Party, the Liberals saw a more important role for government.

Paul Martin now has a lasting reputation as the finance minister who slayed Canada’s deficit, but the conversion from spender to cutter was painful. His father, also called Paul, had helped create Medicare, Canada’s publicly funded health care system, and suddenly here was Paul Junior contemplating massive cuts.

Mr. Clark remembers riding in a taxi with Mr. Martin after meetings in New York.

“He said, ‘I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to do this.’ And I said to him, ‘You don’t have any choice because if we don’t do it that means you won’t be able to keep the programs you’ve already got. We’re going to go over the cliff and we’ll be cutting like you won’t even believe,’ ” Mr. Clark said.

“We told him you are still a Liberal but you have to be a small ‘c’ fiscal conservative to be a nice good Liberal.”

In the end, Mr. Martin famously vowed to tackle the deficit “come hell or high water.”

Mr. Chrétien and Mr. Martin later parted ways bitterly, but they formed a formidable duo during the budget cutting.

At one 1994 cabinet meeting, Mr. Martin announced a spending freeze. A minister put forward a project that needed funding but Mr. Chrétien cut him off, reminding him of Mr. Martin’s freeze.

A second minister raised his hand to ask for funding, and a testy Mr. Chrétien told the cabinet that the next minister to ask for new money would see his whole budget cut by 20 per cent.

Mr. Chretien’s scrappiness, which was one result of his upbringing in a working-class family in rural Quebec, had already earned him the nickname of “Dr. No” when he was finance minister in the 1970s.

“The prime minister was the man with the steel rod up his spine. He was inflexible,” Mr. Manley said.

For ministers it was brutal. Mr. Manley lost half his budget as industry minister in the 1994 budget and went from 54 programs down to 11.

“Everyone knew they had to face the music, and they did it,” Mr. Chrétien said in the interview in his law offices. “They had no choice. There was no great debate. I had made my view very clear.”

MORE SPENDING CUTS THAN TAX HIKES

The ratio of spending cuts to tax hikes was seven-to-one. Asked why, Mr. Chrétien said simply: “There was more need on one side than the other.”

That contrasts with proposals this year by President Barack Obama and the Democrats to have a much higher proportion of revenue increases in the deficit-tackling mix.

Canadian ministers were told how much they had to cut and then told to come back with a plan on how to do it. Cuts ranged from 5 to 65 per cent of departmental budgets and included controversial cuts in transfers that help provinces pay for health and education, decisions that lengthened medical waiting lists for years to come.

Mr. Chrétien exempted just a few areas from the cuts, including the Department of Indian and Northern Affairs. He also blocked big changes to benefits for the elderly and made sure tax collectors had enough resources.

In the end, program spending (everything except interest payments on the debt) fell by about 12 per cent, or $14 billion, between 1994-95 and 1998-99. The percentage fall was substantially more after adjusting for inflation.

The gloomy Canadian reaction to the 1994 budget changed to applause in 1995. “People came up to me to say, ‘You guys got it,’ ” Mr. DeVries said.

The deficit disappeared by 1997 and the debt-to-GDP ratio began a rapid decline – it is now at about 34 per cent.

“The entire political class decided to stop treating this as a matter of political contention and started treating it as a matter of national interest,” said Mr. Crowley, the political economist.

After wrestling the deficit to the ground, Canada enjoyed what Mr. Crowley calls the payoff decade, outperforming the rest of the G7 on growth, job creation and inward investment. From 1997 to 2007, it averaged 3.3 per cent economic growth. while U.S. growth averaged 2.9 per cent.

SHEER DUMB LUCK

Canadians are the first to admit that a lot of their success was the result of good timing that cannot be replicated today. The rosy global economy then contrasts with today’s turmoil. There was no euro zone crisis to worry about. The United States and China were growing fast, demanding Canadian exports. Nobody else was reining in spending.

Mr. Clark says the U.S. dollar’s role as the world’s reserve currency may be disguising Washington’s problems and means the critical period could be a ways away.

“There’s no market discipline,” Mr. Clark said. “People want to buy U.S. Treasuries and they always know they will get paid.”

The parliamentary political system also helped Mr. Chrétien, since there is no effective division of powers between the executive and legislative branches as in the United States. A prime minister with a majority in the House of Commons can push through whatever he wants.

And politicians were almost all on board. The opposition Reform Party was screaming for even deeper cuts and public opinion was ahead of the politicians in calling for austerity.

SACRED COWS

Some of Canada’s lessons are applicable elsewhere and Britain’s Liberal Democrats and the Conservatives both cited the Canadian model when peddling their austerity plans to voters in their successful 2010 election campaigns.

Mr. Chrétien said he had had no qualms in telling Britain’s coalition government that it was wrong to exempt areas such as the National Health Service, regarded as sacred by many in Britain, from the drastic spending cuts.

“I told them they made a mistake,” Mr. Chrétien said. “I remember talking with a very senior person in health who said to me privately, ‘I’m not very happy that I’m exempt’ ... He needed the same pressure as the others.”

The Canadian mantra was to go big, spreading the pain and sparing no one, to prevent rivalries and resentment.

“You have to take immediate action and it’s got to be primarily on the spending side ... but at the same time everybody has got to come to the market and that really means tax increases as well,” Mr. Martin told Reuters in August.

CANADIAN LESSONS

Members of the deficit-slaying team have since advised countries as far ranging as Bahrain and Bangladesh. Canada has touted its fiscal record to push for co-ordinated deficit reduction in the Group of 20 most powerful economies.

Some veterans of Canada’s successful rebound believe the United States needs a value-added tax similar to the goods and services tax (GST), which Canada’s Conservatives introduced in 1991.

The Liberals say they were pragmatic, not ideological, on taxes. But they could not boost tax revenues much because Canadians’ top marginal income tax rate was already uncompetitive at around 55 per cent and the unpopular GST was already on the books.

Reform Party’s Mr. Manning said the U.S. spending-versus-tax debate does not have to be a question of either/or, but he saw a lesson from the way Ottawa cut its own fat before holding out its hand to taxpayers.

“So you don’t completely rule out tax changes or tax increases in the future, but you make them conditional on achieving a certain degree of financial order now,” he said.

Former bureaucrats also say flat, across-the-board spending cuts are a bad idea, even though it’s more palatable to staff to shave 5 per cent off the top of each program.

Unless whole programs are killed, departments might simply postpone vitally needed capital spending, including such things as maintenance and repair, and have to boost it back to former levels within a few years.

The final lesson is that you can impose painful spending cuts and still win elections. Mr. Chrétien went on to win two more back-to-back to form majority governments, a rare feat. He argued that a responsible Liberal who believes the state has a role in reducing poverty can only do so by ensuring a financially healthy government.

Mr. Drummond, who later moved to the private sector and is now an adviser helping the Ontario provincial government slash its deficit, noted that governments on the right and left in Saskatchewan, Alberta and Ontario won more voter support after their own budget cuts in the 1990s.

“Brutal, brutal fiscal restraint, and all won majority governments right afterward,” he said.

Reuters

© 2013 The Globe and Mail Inc. All Rights Reserved.


http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-o ... /?page=all


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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 9:49 pm
 


BeaverFever wrote:
Hey, they made some of the biggest spending cuts in Canadian history, don't forget. And not just 'trim the fat' stuff, major downloading and program spending cuts to everything from UI (which they renamed EI) to the military to pronvical Health transfers.

I'm not saying they didn't do some things right. I'm saying that they passed on the opportunity (the opportunity of a lifetime, literally) to really get the debt under control.


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PostPosted: Fri May 10, 2013 10:04 pm
 


Lemmy wrote:
BeaverFever wrote:
Hey, they made some of the biggest spending cuts in Canadian history, don't forget. And not just 'trim the fat' stuff, major downloading and program spending cuts to everything from UI (which they renamed EI) to the military to pronvical Health transfers.

I'm not saying they didn't do some things right. I'm saying that they passed on the opportunity (the opportunity of a lifetime, literally) to really get the debt under control.


Like what?


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