Friday, September 18, 2015

The Noisy But Not So Great Globe Economic Debate

OK. Before I write about my impressions of last night's Globe debate.

I feel I need to make some things clear, in the interests of full disclosure.

I've never been very good at numbers, and I'm not much interested in economics. I took a lot of classes at university but I slept through most of them. 

And when my rich uncle tried to lecture me recently in some fancy Bay Street restaurant, about the importance of balancing MY budget and investing wisely, I started nodding off until my head almost hit the table.

Also having injured my knee in a bike accident, I was forced to watch the debate lying on the couch with my foot pointing at the ceiling, which was almost as painful as the show itself.

And when it was over I had a splitting headache.

So I hope you'll forgive me if I give myself a break, and convey some of my impressions with a little help from Buzzfeed.

(1) This is how I felt when I tuned it at eight pm sharply, having gone to extraordinary lengths not to miss a MINUTE.

Only to discover a group of poohbahs from the Globe and Mail blabbing on at length about what they thought the leaders should say...

(2) This was my general impression of the debate, and the part that gave me a headache...
Not just because of all those numbers and all that shouting...

But also because there can hardly be anything more depressing than seeing Stephen Harper attack Tom Mulcair and Justin Trudeau, and have both of them answer him by attacking each other.

And I just knew that some in the MSM would use that to declare Harper the winner. As Jeffrey Simpson does here. 

Mr. Harper, who was badgered by the two opposition leaders, more than held his own. When he was not being interrupted by Mr. Mulcair and Mr. Trudeau, he spoke with precision. His critics, of course, will never accept that positive verdict, but they would never credit him for anything. 

A more objective reckoning would say that, as the target throughout the evening, the Prime Minister looked, well, prime ministerial, and explained yet again his view that low taxes and no deficit is the best formula for future growth.

But while Simpson may be right, television is perception. And as we know Stephen Harper does want to portray himself as the steady hand on the wheel.

What Simpson fails to point out is that throughout the debate Harper tried to cloud and distort the issues...

When he wasn't lying like a thief, or a Con artist.

And even though the hopeless moderator David Walmsley did allow him to get away with it, and to a large degree so did Mulcair and Trudeau because they were too busy fighting themselves.

That should count and it's definitely NOT prime ministerial.

And what on earth was this weirdness?

Does Harper really need to send a dog whistle message to his bigot base at EVERY opportunity?

Oh boy, one only wishes Elizabeth May had been invited to join the debate, instead of dominating it on Twitter.

Because she might have helped set the record straight.

But then in the grand scheme of things it doesn't really matter, because Harper's record speaks for itself. He is not the steady hand on the wheel...

He is the bony hand on the rusty circle of doom whose oily policies have led us to the verge of disaster. His budget surplus is a shell game, for which he should be arrested for fraud. And his economic record couldn't be worse. 

Far from unleashing a business-led boom, Harper has in fact presided over the weakest economic era in Canada’s postwar history. For example, from 2006 through 2014 (not even counting the current downturn), Canada experienced the slowest average economic growth since the Great Depression (measured by the expansion of GDP after inflation and population growth).

Across other indicators, too (including job-creation, productivity, personal incomes, business investment, household debt, and inequality), the Harper government ranked last or second-last among all postwar governments. Its overall ranking was the worst of any prime minister since 1946.

He is indeed no Great Economist Leader...

But since according to this new Nanos poll, his phoney credentials are what is keeping him in the game, and holding back the wave of change. 

The sooner we demolish them, the more easily we will defeat him.

You know, I don't think yesterday's debate will move many votes one way or the other. I'm not sure enough Canadians watched it to make a difference.

But the important thing is that Stephen Harper didn't win, despite all the chances we gave him. And that both Tom Mulcair and Justin Trudeau were still standing when it was over.

But we really can't waste another opportunity. We need to hammer the Cons better than we did last night.

We still have the time, it shouldn't be that hard.

But I'll never stop thinking how much easier that would be if we were united...

Please click here to recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers.


  1. Hi Simon, hope your knee gets better soon. Did you pull ligaments?

    Also hope rich uncle remembers you in his will...

    I didn't watch the debate.

    1. hi I just scrapped it badly, and it swelled up until I couldn't bend it, so I have had to hop around on crutches for the last few days. But it's getting better so hopefully I will soon be able to ride my bike before summer disappears over the horizon. As for my uncle I'll probably die before he does and he's a really sweet guy. He just doesn't understand why I don't want to be rich like him....

  2. Anonymous10:29 AM

    Absolutely depressing to watch Mulcair and Trudeau attack each other with the retro-con watching from the sidelines. Strange no one mentioned the balance of trade deficit that has been accumulating since 2008 and that by cutting federal spending all that we are doing is passing the tax burden on to the provinces who in turn pass as much as they can on to the municipalities. Tax reduction requires coordinated spending and preferably a coordinated growth plan not just cut-cut-cut. We need to get away from the moronic Con idea of selling low value added non renewable natural resources and buying in high value added products manufactured with those resources. Trudeau and Mulcair touched on this but the message got lost in all the bickering and the historical suspicion that all governments end up doing is spending without delivering any tangible benefits in the long run. A very difficult meme to overcome especially with the retro-cons fueling that suspicion at every opportunity and the opposition leaders attacking each other on the same issue.

    Its not too difficult to demonstrate that the Con oily dream is a sure road to no where. We only have to look at Canada's economic performance over the past few years as well as other major oil producers such as Russia, Venezuela, and the Middle East to know that we need to use our resources to add more value in Canada but perhaps its a difficult message to convey without entering a political mine field. The battle to rescue Canada continues but the opposition really needs to get their act together and stop confusing undecided voters by attacking each other. All that promotes is sticking with the status quo or not voting.

    1. hi RT....I understand why the NDP and the Liberals have to compete against each other. But seeing Harper attack them both, and have them both ignore him, and start attacking each other really is depressing. They need to be careful they don't weaken each other, and let Harper profit from that weakness....

  3. Actually the consenus seems to be leaning towards Mulcair winning the debate. Warren Kinsella, John Ivison, ect...

    Mulcair actual nailed Harper good several times, all his eggs in one basket and he drops the basket, on how all the corporate taxes cuts didn't stop jobs from being lost.

    And Trudeau did 90% of the talking over people, this debate would have been better if he'd sat it out.

    Hands down Mulcair was the winner.

    1. Interesting that you name those who are clearly in the anti-Trudeau camp for their own reasons from before the election call starting as your named proof there Gyor. Kinsella clearly has issues with Trudeau and his team of advisors as we both know from reading his blog, and Ivison is one of the most openly CPC leaning journalists on the national beat who has also been routinely dismissive of Trudeau. So that both these gentlemen think Trudeau did poorly and Mulcair did not, well that is consistent with their positions all along. Got some other people who you can name?

      Hands down no one was a clear winner, but in terms of getting out a message on economic policy position, there I would suggest to you that Trudeau was a winner even though his presentation style was not the strongest of the three. Believe it or not presentation style alone does not the winner define, there needs to be substance too, and there Mulcair fell flat from most accounts I've seen coming from across the spectrum. More, Trudeau yet again showed that he was not unfit for the job, he knew what he wanted to sell and did so, AND he showed passion about it, far more so than Mulcair, and that there was a clear difference in economic message between him and both Mulcair and Harper where fundamental economic policy was concerned. Agree with it or not, he got that job done, and he did so credibly, which is what he needed to do, while Mulcair was unable to clearly articulate what made his economic policy so much better than either Harper or Trudeau's.

      Bottom line this is the second debate where Mulcair failed to "mop the floor" with Trudeau after so boastfully declaring such being his ease to do in the past, and this in turn strengthens the argument that Trudeau IS ready to govern contrary to the messaging from both Harper and Mulcair (who curiously enough seem to like using the same attack lines on Trudeau). So from that POV Trudeau gained, not lost, Mulcair either failed or at best held ground, and Harper, Gods only knows.

    2. hi may be right, I'm not saying Mulcair didn't have some good moments. But like other fierce partisans you just might be seeing what you want to see. Because I've read other reports suggesting that Justin Trudeau won. So I'm going to wait and see what the polls suggest before deciding who was the real winner, if there was one. And as you know the only thing I care about at this stage is that Harper loses...

  4. Anonymous11:22 AM

    Perhaps Justin Trudeau and Thomas Mulcair assume theirs are the only podiums of concern and PM Harper was not even in the room - a mere while elephant in Canada?


    If you know of someone to pass this on to, please do:

    One specific detail of importance with Agreement Act activation in conjunction with international law needing serious consideration, is the fact the country of Canada must prove all that could be done independently was at least attempted.

    (For example, if doctors/others merely informed there would be demonstration in protest, but retreated when there was sense of threat and did not actually demonstrate - or another example, and Office said they would arrest, but retreated without attempt: this is not doing all that could be done to protect the country.)

    By expectation of the law relating to the expectations of International Agencies on a country: more must be accomplished than simply retreat from attempt of autonomous care!

    Law Deans and others have been requested to ensure the law is understood; has there been proof anyone has realized expectation?

    This matter is in relation to unresolved UN 2010 Treaty. Please be reminded Offices at Georgetown University have pledged to officiate details between Offices, but more importantly: Canadians must communicate with OHCHR for confirmation on details and regarding expectation!

    Plea for the country, Valerie Fedusiak identified victim in UN 2010 Treaty.

  5. Hello Simon...I have two takes on the debate, and although I`m voting NDP, because my riding is dipper country, I believe Justin Trudeau won, not on style but on forcefulness...We do need infrastructure, for example Beautiful Victoria B.C.(Vancouver Island) dumps 18 million litres of raw sewage in the ocean everyday, BC Liberals(They are Conservatives, Social credit dregs from the past, no relationship to the Federal Liberals) have refused to cough up the money...How can we claim "Beautiful British Columbia" we dumping raw sewage?

    Bridges, roads, green tech, transit, interest rates are low, there never has been a better time to invest in Canada`s future, besides improving our country, a massive rebuild will put Canadians to work, who in return will spend, which will also help the economy..

    Mulcair was too scripted, although he had several good zingers against against his opponents..

    Harper...He continued his lies, and his attacks against provincial governments both past and present..

    Harper can`t help himself, he`s a hater, and a liar....He bashes the BC NDP, and the Rachel Notley government, the BC NDP hasn`t been in power since 2001...When the BC NDP gained power in 2001 our BC debt was $18 billion, when they were voted out in 2001 the BC debt stood at $31 billion....Since then, under the Rightwing quasi Conservatives(BC Liberals)...Our BC Debt has risen to over $70 billion, if we count contractual obligation BC`s debt is now $170 billion....The BC NDP of the 90`s had better growth numbers, higher numbers by capital employed, more people immigrated to BC, ...If ones really looks at the numbers the BC NDP of the 90`s outperformed the present BC Liberals by far....How can anyone except Harper`s premise that Alberta NDP and Rachel Notley are at fault for Alberta`s fiscal woes...How about $40 dollar oil and 44 years of Conservative giveaways that left Alberta`s cupboards bare..A one-trick pony economy that didn`t diversify..

    My second view on last night`s debate....Trudeau showed youthful energy, Mulcair showed the calmness of a statesman and Stephen Harper...

    Harper looked old, tired and staledated, out of ideas, all that Harper has left is division, hatred of all others and those that don`t bow to his self perceived greatness...

    Time for BC NDP leader John Horgan to set the record straight, time for Rachel Notley to tell Harper to shut the hell up...

    Time for Harper to go, he`s out of gas and ideas.

    1. hi may be right. My first impression was that Justin might have turned off Canadians by shouting and interrupting too much. But maybe at a time when progressives are looking for a champion to back in the final stages of this campaign, that aggression worked in his favour. And Justin's energy and youthful appearance does help him embody change, without him having to work on it. I will wait until next week's polls to see if anyone is doing better than they did before, and just hope it isn't Harper...

  6. Anonymous3:58 PM

    "When the BC NDP gained power in 2001 our BC debt was $18 billion, when they were voted out in 2001 the BC debt stood at $31 billion"
    Sorry but I don;t understand your statement. If they were voted out the same year and the debt had almost doubled, how is that better?

    1. Sorry about the typo/editing error...It should read..

      (When the BC NDP gained power in 1991 our BC debt was $18 billion, when they were voted out in 2001 the BC debt stood at $31 billion)

      Hope that clears up your confusion

  7. Why does the MSM let Harper get away with lying?

    One of the latest examples: "Mr. Trudeau proposes permanent deficits."

    1. Harper should dust off his Bible (if he has one) and read Proverbs 12:22 (NIV)

      "The LORD detests lying lips, but he delights in people who are trustworthy."

    2. i David....I don't know why Harper gets away for so much. If there had been a proper moderator he or she would have challenged Harper's outrageous claim that the Liberals and the NDP wanted to bring in hundreds of thousands of refugees. Nobody should be allowed to lie like that and get away with it....
      As for the Bible quote, as you know I don't consider Harper to be a Christian, and wouldn't be surprised if he ever ;picked up a Bible to see it burst into flames...;)

  8. As I said a few months ago, watch for Harper to get Wayne Gretzky involved in the election:

    1. hi David...yes I just finished a post on that, and I suspect that endorsement is going to cost Gretzky a lot of fans. It's the wrong guy at the wrong time...

  9. Anonymous6:21 PM

    Simon, I am always amazed how you manage to be funny and serious at the same time. It is a unique talent, and I can't tell you how much it brightens my day. Thank you.

    1. hi anon....well thanks a lot, that brightens my day. I do try to be funny, even if I fail more times than not. Something that I thought hilarious when I did it, turns out not to be that funny in the cold light of day. ;) But even when I'm fooling about with those photo-shops, I am serious. I try to make politics understandable for those who don't follow the political scene that closely. And sometimes, not always, I find that a picture is worth a thousand words. And since I am lazy, that's very useful... :)

  10. Anonymous10:14 PM

    Harper wears the mask of a sociopath. You won't find any emotions on his face except contempt. And that's all I saw on his face when Mulcair or Trudeau dared confront him on his "facts".

    Harper looked tired, old, and withdrawn. As soon as he used the term "Old Canadian Stock" I thought of the Northern Front association. In Harper's mind there are no equal Canadians.

    1. hi anon...yes he does wear the mask of a psychopath, and they way he stares right into the camera with those cold dead eyes is simply horrifying. And yes I hope somebody in the MSM takes another look at Harper's activities during his days at the Northern Foundation. Because he did hang out with neo-Nazis and other racist riff raff and I think its high time more Canadians were aware of that...

  11. Prime Minister Stephen Harper Moosehead.

  12. Anonymous12:14 AM

    I've been sharing this far and wide. It's easy to digest and shows in a few bullet points just how epic a failure this PM has been.

  13. I thought Trudeau won the debate, although he could have talked a little slower!

    MICHEL DAVID, LE DEVOIR: "Mr. Trudeau truly dominated the debate."
    (Translation, Radio-Canada, September 17, 2015)

    ALAN FREEMAN, IPOLITICS.CA: "Trudeau just proved he’s in this race for a reason… He was loud. He interrupted. He was repetitive and, at times, even out of breath. But in the end, Justin Trudeau was the most effective performer in last night’s leaders’ debate on the economy." (, September 18, 2015)

    CAMPBELL CLARK, GLOBE AND MAIL: "Mr. Trudeau was on offence, a bundle of energy driving home the message: he pushed his way onto the camera with repeated underlining of his interventionist message about stimulus spending - even playing the negative aspect to drive it home." (Globe and Mail, September 18, 2015)

    ROBERT FIFE, CTV: "[Trudeau] was the most combative, and the other leaders were simply not able to knock him off his game. I’d give a slight edge to Trudeau." (CTV National News, September 17, 2015)

  14. Don't believe anything you hear and only half of what you read!

  15. I realize I'm late on this, but after a few minutes of watching the debate I was quite confused as to who.........basically I had trouble following who was going to do what now.. Either have lost IQ over the years, or I never had it. .....can I get your uncle's number? I have a rich uncle too, but he's a gynecologist so I wouldn't ask him about economy, unless .........

  16. Anonymous10:39 PM

    Hi Simon! I am wondering if you have seen this.