Monday, September 29, 2008

Dire predictions?

As Andrew Steele reports on his blog, latest polls are showing the Conservatives inching toward a majority. Pollsters explain that Canadians are looking for firm direction in this shaky economy and feel the Conservatives are the best to provide that direction, certainly not any flaky left wing nuts like the NDP (note sarcasm). An interesting side note is that the NDP are drawing near even with the Liberals nationwide and now Jack Layton is pushing himself as the only viable alternative to prevent Harper from gaining a majority. Even though Stephane Dion is mind numbingly intelligent, he also has a surprising inability to make you excited about supporting him. How he ever rocketed his way to the Liberal leadership I'll never know. Anywho, I digress. What I really wanted to say is that polls are very often wrong. As Andrew Steele astutely points out, the Conservatives have not nudged outside of their margin of error from the beginning of the campaign while the NDP have gone significantly up and the Liberals, well, significantly in the other direction. I turn to a more reliable source, the Election Prediction Project. This website uses feedback from locals in all of Canada's ridings to make predictions on the electoral result in each riding. In the last 3 federal elections, they have a prediction rate of 90%. That is amazing. That means that if that were to hold true this time around, they would only guess 30 ridings incorrectly of 308. Wowsers. At this point in the game, they have 65 seats considered too close to call, but if patterns hold, the election will end up as such:

Conservatives: 150
Liberals: 91
Bloc Quebecois: 37
NDP: 28
Independent: 2

So the Conservatives are indeed inching closer to a majority. Does this scare me? Yes, in fact, it does. It actually scares the living s&%t out of me. I'm not sure why. I can't actually pinpoint the reason, but I very much hope it does not come to pass. As much as Harper is pushing himself as the only worthy pilot to guide our economy through the current turbulence, I am not convinced.

As many have noted, Harper's handling of the current situation has already been terrible. Mind you, he has had to deal with a minority government, but it has really presented no impediment. Everytime he wanted to push something controversial through, the Liberals just stayed home instead of voting. Let us look at what has happened to the economy while Harper was in office:
  • The ratio of household debt to income has increased by 15%
  • The federal government had a surplus of $13.2 billion when Harper came to office. But the Conservatives have recklessly squandered it by pushing through expensive tax cuts. The surplus is now expected to shrink to $1.3 billion or lower in 2009/10. This would be the worst fiscal balance for the federal government in over a decade.
  • When Harper arrived in office, the economy was growing at a healthy rate of 4.2% a year. Economists expect that Canada’s economy will grow by only 1.1% this year. This will be the slowest rate of national economic growth in 15 years—since the 1992 recession.
  • Harper is the first Canadian Prime Minister in modern history under which economic productivity has actually declined. This demonstrates just how ineffective his tax cuts and privatization policies have been.
If you want to download what looks to be an excellent book on the Harper record from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, click here.

I'm sorry to lay bare my bias, but I just cannot stand the man. I think he is taking our nation in the wrong direction and sincerely hope that Canadians do not give him the "strong" mandate for which he is asking.

1 comment:

Adrienne said...

reminds me of someone south of the border
It's a shame more people do not understand this