OTTAWA – After months of avoiding the truth about the Duffy scandal, Stephen Harper continues to deceive Canadians on the state of the economy. Yesterday, in just one hour, Stephen Harper misled Canadians four times.
Deception #1 – Balanced budget
Stephen Harper falsely said: “It’s time to stay the course with our government’s balanced budget.”
The truth is, the Conservatives are not running a balanced budget. They have run eight consecutive deficits, including this year’s budget. In July, the Parliamentary Budget Officer confirmed that Canada is facing a billion-dollar budget deficit this year.
Deception #2 – Bad economic performance is isolated to the oil and gas sector
Yesterday, Stephen Harper said: “We’ve had a contraction that has been focused almost entirely in one particular section of the economy, particularly the energy sector of the economy.”
The truth is, the current economic downturn in Canada is not limited to the oil and gas sector. According to Statistics Canada, ten sectors other than oil and gas are currently in decline:
- Manufacturing – down 3.67%
- Mining and quarrying (except oil and gas) – down 3.04%
- Wholesale trade – down 2.22%
- Transportation and warehousing – down 1.54%
- Content and media sector – down 1.33%
- Management of companies and enterprises – down 1.19%
- Administrative and support, waste management, and remediation services – down 0.76%
- Construction – down 0.54%
- Information and cultural industries – down 0.35%
- Accommodation and food services – down 0.26%
(Source: Statistics Canada)
Deception #3 – Definition of recession
Conservatives now define a recession as a ‘widespread’ downturn in the economy, and not two consecutive quarters of economic decline. (Jason Kenney, August 30, 2015) When asked to clarify this definition, Harper insisted that it was consistent with “…what other analysts have said.”
The truth is, according to the Conservative Party’s ‘balanced budget’ legislation proposed just a few months ago: “‘Recession’ means a period of at least two consecutive quarters of negative growth in real gross domestic product for Canada, as reported by Statistics Canada under the Statistics Act.” (Source: The Federal Balanced Budget Act, contained within Bill C-59)
Deception #4 – Taxes
Yesterday, Stephen Harper said that: “Justin Trudeau and the NDP say they would eliminate income for some families, that means a $2,000 tax hike. Justin also admits he would cancel the Universal Child Care Benefit payments. That’s nearly $2,000 per year.”
Under Justin Trudeau’s Canada Child Benefit, all families with children that have annual household incomes under $150,000 will receive more in tax-free monthly child benefit payments than under Mr. Harper’s system. In fact, nine out of ten families will get more from the Liberal plan.