Keep a good thought for Joe Oliver. He may soon be the answer to the trivia question, “Who was the guy who followed Jim Flaherty as Minister of Finance in Ottawa?” Joe is a very young looking 75, although he appears to have aged more than 12 months in his current job.
He had a very successful career on Bay street, and at this stage he should sitting back enjoying his grandchildren. Instead, he’s out there trying to persuade Canadians that the economy is really in pretty good shape, unlike Greece and China which are basket cases of varying kinds.
Oliver’s version .. ‘Yes, there was no growth in the first two quarters, but that was all because of the impact of dramatically lower oil prices. The rest of the year will be considerably better.’
When Oliver first used those talking points to counter a growing number of economists who were predicting a return to recession, he might have got away with saying things like ‘Over the longer haul, with oil bouncing back, the economy should grow by a respectable amount.’
The problem Joe is that the oil price is going down, not up. By the time the real election campaign is underway after the Labour Day Classic, Canada may well be mired in a recession. It won’t likely be anything like 2008, but it won’t be a rosy picture.
When not attacking Trudeau and Mulcair, Harper and the Conservatives will back on their familiar refrain. ‘ We may not be loved by the tree huggers because we’re not doing what David Suzuki and Jane Fonda want about greenhouses gases. We’re not moving fast enough to address the problems of aboriginal people that were highlighted in the report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. But by golly it’s the Tories Canadians will turn to in sufficient numbers on election day, because we have proven ourselves as the most capable managers of their money’.
May he rest in peace, not even the charming Jim Flaherty would be able to sell that bag of dog food right now.
I’m Roger Currie