Advertisement
ontarionewswatch.com NEWSROOM

The Salon is ONW's weekly gathering place where three of Canada's brightest and most respected political strategists - John Capobianco, Marit Stiles and Bernie Farber- come together to analyze national issues affecting Ontario.





Marit Stiles:

Ahhh, the “surprise surplus”... it's like Stephen Harper got to open all his Christmas presents at once. And just in time for the big “Economy Debate” Thursday when he will want to show off his big “fiscal manager” chops. It's a gosh darn miracle. The sun is shining (in Toronto at least) and there are rainbows and unicorns and gold coins falling from the sky...

Well, it all seems a bit suspect, doesn't it? Here we are in the middle of an election where the Finance Department was projecting a budget with a $2 billion deficit just last April. And voila! it turns out we have a $2 billion surplus. Where did this magic surplus suddenly come from?

Tom Mulcair took the grown-up approach and noted that this is, indeed, good news for Canadians. But the NDP also noted that some of this is due to what the government called "higher than expected lapses in department spending". Explained another way: they've made massive cuts to programs that Canadians need AND bureaucrats are terrified to actually spend what they even have... austerity, my friends. Brought to you by the likes of Paul Martin and Jean Chretien.

Too bad Justin didn't have them handy when he had to respond to the surplus report. Bad day for him. But it will make things even more interesting on Thursday night.


John Capobianco:

I am so glad to see Marit and the NDP finally realizing that when the economy is in sound shape that it is good for Canada — credit goes to Mr. Mulcair for at least acknowledging that. However, did anyone ever expect the NDP or the Liberals for that matter to actually give credit where credit is due — to the Prime Minister? No, of course not. In fact, if the Finance Department came to us today and said that there was a deficit for 2014-2015, what do you think the NDP and Liberals would have mused about then?

It would have been all the PM's fault, it would have been a result of his bad fiscal management and his relentless pursuit of lower taxes for individuals and small to medium businesses.

Well, this is great news for Canada and great news for the PM. Let's look at the numbers. According to the Finance Department, they have said that Canada posted a budget surplus in fiscal 2014-2015 of $1.9 billion, just shy of the Conservative May budget prediction of $2 billion. Also, the federal debt-to-gross domestic product number has fallen to 31% from 32.3%.

As well, the prediction for this fiscal period is looking promising, which of course pains the NDP and the Liberals because their attacks on the PM's fiscal prowess will now need to be reassessed. But this is good for Canada.

 

Bernie Farber:

You can spin the numbers any way you want but in truth Marit is on the right (or should I say left) track. I’m not sure anyone should be totally surprised that there is a small surplus. After all when the surplus comes on the backs of the most vulnerable: First Nations, the poor, veterans. It’s not something I would be shouting to the rooftops.

Justin Trudeau has been forthright on the economy albeit with different positions — sustaining a needed deficit in order to stimulate the economy. False hope is unfair to all Canadians.

 

Marit Stiles:

False hope… yes, that's a good way to put it, Bernie. I think many of Canadians will be wondering how much stock to put in this numbers and this news. We see the job numbers. We know that more people are out of work now than in 2008. We know that Harper has the worst job creation record since the Second World War, and the worst economic growth record since the 1920s. That isn't changed by this surplus.

Canadians are clearly seeing in Mulcair a leader with the kind of chops to run this country and our economy. His experience and his responsible approach, along with the NDP's commitments to boosting the manufacturing sector, providing incentives to small business, creating job opportunities for youth and more, is resonating. With Mulcair presenting a fully-costed platform later this week, the NDP will be I think the first Party to do so.

Well, the other Leaders will try to poke holes in it on Thursday night. But ultimately, Canadians are being given a choice: real change or more of the same old, same old approach to the economy. Liberals running on the left and governing on the right. Cutting and slashing once elected. Or the NDP approach that involves sound investment, tying incentives to job creation, and a responsible approach to governing our economy.

Or the Conservatives. Despite the surplus, it's come at a cost. It's costing us our cherished programs and services, our international reputation, and plain old jobs. Looking forward to Thursday night!

 

John Capobianco:

Bernie! OMG, it was your government under former PM Jean Chretien (who incidentally was more than happy to have been campaigning with Mr. Trudeau) who gutted provincial transfer payments — especially in healthcare — and slashed military spending among other things. I think your leader has a lot of explaining to do... like everything he has announced during this campaign. Suggesting that deficits are the way to go was not only irresponsible but ill-conceived.

You see, the problem here is that Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Mulcair react to the moment and create policies on the fly as they have done when they see a bad jobs report one month or the Syrian refugee issue another. In the case of Mr. Trudeau, suggesting he would put Canada into year over year deficits without knowing all the facts, is not what leadership is about. It is about having a plan and sticking to the plan especially if things may go off track temporarily.

Speaking of having some explaining to do, what does Mr. Mulcair make of his party turning on him in launching this “Manifesto” calling for a complete overhaul of the capitalist economy in Canada? It was only a matter of time until things started to align properly over in the NDP camp. Many didn't think it would take too long before what Mr. Mulcair was saying about tax cuts and balanced budgets caught up with his key supporters.

If you haven't seen or heard of this, the “Manifesto” was launched by key NDP backers according to Canadian Press. It is trouble for Mr. Mulcair and it is something he is going to have to account for especially during this election campaign and particularly since he feels he will be PM. Canadians need — nay, deserve — to know the real NDP.

 

Bernie Farber:

John, you seem to forget that despite the very small surplus carved from the backs of the most vulnerable, we are still officially in a recession thanks to this government. You also seem to forget that even if this is close to a real surplus, it’s the first such surplus in years of budgets from the Tory government. No one should be happy about it.

And Marit, I think it’s more fair to say that Mr. Mulcair is attempting a very complicated dance, speaking from the left but ultimately wanting to govern from the right. And oddly I do agree with John that this latest attempted coup by a certain very left wing flank within the NDP spells trouble for Mr. Mulcair. It will indeed be interesting to see what transpires.

John, you call Justin Trudeau’s economic platforms “irresponsible” but in the end most economists and it seems many Canadians, if the polls are to be believed, are now siding with Justin Trudeau and his economic vision for the future. Indeed Thursday evening’s debate should flush it all out. Stay tuned folks.

Marit Stiles:
Ahhh, the “surprise surplus”... it's like Stephen Harper 
got to open all his Christmas presents at once. And 
just in time for the big “Economy Debate” Thursday 
when he will want to show off his big “fiscal manager” 
chops. It's a gosh darn miracle. The sun is shining (in 
Toronto at least) and there are rainbows and unicorns 
and gold coins falling from the sky...
Well, it all seems a bit suspect, doesn't it? Here we 
are in the middle of an election where the Finance 
Department was projecting a budget with a $2 billion 
deficit just last April. And voila! it turns out we have a 
$2 billion surplus. Where did this magic surplus 
suddenly come from?
Tom Mulcair took the grown-up approach and noted 
that this is, indeed, good news for Canadians. But the 
NDP also noted that some of this is due to what the 
government called "higher than expected lapses in 
department spending". Explained another way: 
they've made massive cuts to programs that 
Canadians need AND bureaucrats are terrified to 
actually spend what they even have... austerity, my 
friends. Brought to you by the likes of Paul Martin and 
Jean Chretien.
Too bad Justin didn't have them handy when he had 
to respond to the surplus report. Bad day for him. But 
it will make things even more interesting on Thursday 
night.
John Capobianco: 
I am so glad to see Marit and the NDP finally realizing 
that when the economy is in sound shape that it is 
good for Canada — credit goes to Mr. Mulcair for at 
least acknowledging that. However, did anyone ever 
expect the NDP or the Liberals for that matter to 
actually give credit where credit is due — to the Prime 
Minister? No, of course not. In fact, if the Finance 
Department came to us today and said that there was 
a deficit for 2014-2015, what do you think the NDP 
and Liberals would have mused about then?
It would have been all the PM's fault, it would have 
been a result of his bad fiscal management and his 
relentless pursuit of lower taxes for individuals and 
small to medium businesses. 
Well, this is great news for Canada and great news 
for the PM. Let's look at the numbers. According to 
the Finance Department, they have said that Canada 
posted a budget surplus in fiscal 2014-2015 of $1.9 
billion, just shy of the Conservative May budget 
prediction of $2 billion. Also, the federal debt-to-gross 
domestic product number has fallen to 31% from 
32.3%.
As well, the prediction for this fiscal period is looking 
promising, which of course pains the NDP and the 
Liberals because their attacks on the PM's fiscal 
prowess will now need to be reassessed. But this is 
good for Canada.
Bernie Farber: 
You can spin the numbers any way you want but in 
truth Marit is on the right (or should I say left) track. 
I’m not sure anyone should be totally surprised that 
there is a small surplus. After all when the surplus 
comes on the backs of the most vulnerable: First 
Nations, the poor, veterans. It’s not something I would 
be shouting to the rooftops.
Justin Trudeau has been forthright on the economy 
albeit with different positions — sustaining a needed 
deficit in order to stimulate the economy. False hope 
is unfair to all Canadians.
Marit Stiles: 
False hope… yes, that's a good way to put it, Bernie. I 
think many of Canadians will be wondering how much 
stock to put in this numbers and this news. We see 
the job numbers. We know that more people are out 
of work now than in 2008. We know that Harper has 
the worst job creation record since the Second World 
War, and the worst economic growth record since the 
1920s. That isn't changed by this surplus.
Canadians are clearly seeing in Mulcair a leader with 
the kind of chops to run this country and our 
economy. His experience and his responsible 
approach, along with the NDP's commitments to 
boosting the manufacturing sector, providing 
incentives to small business, creating job 
opportunities for youth and more, is resonating. With 
Mulcair presenting a fully-costed platform later this 
week, the NDP will be I think the first Party to do so.
Well, the other Leaders will try to poke holes in it on 
Thursday night. But ultimately, Canadians are being 
given a choice: real change or more of the same old, 
same old approach to the economy. Liberals running 
on the left and governing on the right. Cutting and 
slashing once elected. Or the NDP approach that 
involves sound investment, tying incentives to job 
creation, and a responsible approach to governing our 
economy.
Or the Conservatives. Despite the surplus, it's come 
at a cost. It's costing us our cherished programs and 
services, our international reputation, and plain old 
jobs. Looking forward to Thursday night! 
John Capobianco:
Bernie! OMG, it was your government under former 
PM Jean Chretien (who incidentally was more than 
happy to have been campaigning with Mr. Trudeau) 
who gutted provincial transfer payments — especially 
in healthcare — and slashed military spending among 
other things. I think your leader has a lot of explaining 
to do... like everything he has announced during this 
campaign. Suggesting that deficits are the way to go 
was not only irresponsible but ill-conceived.
You see, the problem here is that Mr. Trudeau and 
Mr. Mulcair react to the moment and create policies 
on the fly as they have done when they see a bad 
jobs report one month or the Syrian refugee issue 
another. In the case of Mr. Trudeau, suggesting he 
would put Canada into year over year deficits without 
knowing all the facts, is not what leadership is about. 
It is about having a plan and sticking to the plan 

About The Salon

John Capobianco is a former CPC candidate and long-time party activist in both the federal and Ontario Conservative parties; Marit Stiles is a federal and Ontario NDP strategist; Bernie Farber is a former Ontario Liberal candidate and one of Canada's leading human rights experts.
Posted date : September 16, 2015

View all of The Salon's columns
ontarionewswatch.com NEWSROOM
"There may be trouble in River City" when it comes to the Ontario PCs. Anger inside the party and rumblings of a new movement could affect the leader's election chances.
May 24, 2017
The auditor is suggesting the internal culture of the RCMP is so dysfunctional it requires civilian oversight. Mahoney, Capobianco and Parkin on whether that's a good idea.
May 17, 2017
A Liberal government led by a woman in BC, up for re-election after holding power for more than 15 years. Sound familiar? Randall White on whether there are lessons for Kathleen Wynne.
May 11, 2017
The Liberals are moving left as we near the 2018 election - a reprise of the last provincial and federal campaigns. Will it work a third time? Mahoney, Capobianco and Parkin debate.
May 10, 2017
This past Earth day, the planet surpassed 400 parts per million (ppm) of CO2 in the atmosphere. Terri Chu laments that as long as polluting is cheap, it will continue unabated.
May 08, 2017
The Defence Minister is accused of lying when he described himself as "the architect" of a major offensive during Afghanistan war. Should he step down? Mahoney, Capobianco and Parkin debate.
May 03, 2017
Liberal Premier Kathleen Wynne's approval ratings have plummeted a year ahead of next year's Ontario election. But not so fast, says Peter Shurman - don't count Wynne out yet.
April 28, 2017
Hamilton, Thunder Bay and Lindsay will be the pilot sites for the Basic Income Project for 4,000 lower-income people. Is it a good idea? Mahoney, Capobianco and Parkin on that.
April 27, 2017
If Ontario really does put Canada first, it has to be a big supporter of the new Canadian Free Trade Agreement scheduled to take effect July 1st. Randall White delves into the details.
April 22, 2017
It's been thrown around for everything from fat paycheques (read Bombardier) to tax credits for creating jobs. Brad James thinks it's time to give the old phrase a rest once and for all.
April 21, 2017
Finance Minister Charles Sousa is promising to act in the province's budget being brought down next week. What exactly should it do? Mahoney, Capobianco and Parkin on that.
April 19, 2017
Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must go. But who should be the new leader? Mahoney, Capobianco and Parkin are in the ONW Salon.
April 12, 2017