Harper government’s economic record worst in Canada’s post-war history, new report shows

By Mary Simpson

As Canada slips into a recession with real gross domestic product falling in May for the fifth consecutive month, a new review of the economic record of Stephen Harper’s Conservative government paints a damning portrait of nearly a decade of economic failure.

Rhetoric and Reality: Evaluating Canada’s Economic Record Under the Harper Government,” authored by Unifor Economists Jim Stanford and Jordan Brennan, tracks the performance of nine federal governments from 1946 through 2014.

“Canada’s economy has never performed worse, since the end of World War II, than under the present Conservative government,” the authors wrote. “The Harper government ranks last among the nine post-ward governments, and by a wide margin – falling well behind the second worst government, which was the Mulroney government of 1984-93.”

The report also shows that the poor economic results of the Stephen Harper Conservative government cannot be blamed on the 2008-09 recession – Canada experienced a total of 10 recessions since 1946, with some Prime Ministers contending with more than one during their tenures. The recovery from the 2008-09 downturn has been the weakest of any recovery since 1946.

Stanford and Brennan compare annual data from Statistics Canada and other publicly available sources regarding 16 key conventionally used indicators of economic progress and well-being. These indicators include:

Work: Job-creation, employment rate, unemployment rate, labour force participation, youth employment, and job quality.

Production: Real GDP growth (absolute and per capita), business investment, exports, and productivity growth.

Distribution and Debt: Real personal incomes, inequality, federal public services, personal debt, and government debt.
For 13 of the 16 indicators, the Stephen Harper Conservative government ranks last or second last among all postwar Prime Ministers. And its average ranking across all 16 indicators is by far the worst.

Even internationally, Canada ranks much more poorly than previously claimed. Canada’s economy falls in the lower half of all OECD countries under the Harper government, according to population-adjusted indicators of job-creation and GDP growth.

“Given the negative growth data recorded so far for 2015, Canada’s standing among industrial countries will slip further this year,” the report concludes. “Prime Minister Harper’s claim that Canada’s economy is ‘the envy of the entire world’ is sharply at odds with the international data.”

6 Responses to Harper government’s economic record worst in Canada’s post-war history, new report shows

  1. Realbertan says:

    More empty rhetoric from the looney left. The only reason we even have an economy is because of the stewardship of Stephen Harper.

    • Gerry Chamberland says:

      I don’t mind an opposing opinion but I do mind one that lacks any credibility whatsoever. Facts tend to confuse Harper Conservatives or should I say Reform/Alliance. Yes we do have an economy but an anemic one that seems destined for depression made by Harper himself. And in spite of what economists and bankers say, you will blindly follow a failed regime.

    • Ad Lib says:

      The only way your comment is true is if you are using Conservative “magic math”.

    • RealityBites says:

      Funny how Conservatives think facts are “empty rhetoric”.
      It’s probably why our economy is in the crapper!

    • Alison says:

      “Stewardship”? Harper tried to remove the banking restrictions that protected us from the implosion in 2008; if he had had a majority then and succeeded, we would have been in the toilet along with the US and the UK. Since then he’s put ALL our development eggs in the tar sands basket, despite the fact that oil revenue is always unstable and ultimately unsustainable. He’s done such a good job of convincing the world that Canada’s economy is tar-sands-dependent that now that oil prices have tanked so has our dollar – despite the fact that the tar sands only accounts for TWO PERCENT of our GDP and is smaller economically than the renewable energy industry in Canada.

      Don’t expect oil prices to be coming back up, either. Ever. Saudi Arabia is not nearly as short-sighted as Harper; they predicted there would be an end to the “oil age” in 1972. My bet is that they’ve flooded the market in order to bring oil prices down enough to make the tar sands, XL and all related activity non-viable, and they chose this time to do it because renewable energy is on the brink of becoming viable on an industrial scale. By preventing the construction of tar sands infrastructure that would make it competitive in the production of petroleum products and plastics, Saudi Arabia guarantees itself the lion’s share of the post oil-for-energy petroleum market – in fact, a near monopoly.

      But you love Harper because he tells you want you want to hear, instead of the truth.

    • Realcheese says:

      Look at the graph you silly silly willfully ignorant fool.

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