Stephen Harper claims he’s best at managing the economy, but he’s actually delivered the lowest rate of economic growth of any Prime Minister in the past 60 years.
Stephen Harper claims Canada’s economy is “the envy of the entire world” and tells us that for 2015 and beyond, the forecasts “are very good.” For a decade, he’s touted himself and his party as the best choice to manage Canada’s economy. Many Canadians have believed him, and supported the Conservatives for that reason in three straight elections.
But is that trust warranted? Has Stephen Harper been truthful about Canada’s economic performance under his leadership? Has he delivered on his promise of sound economic stewardship that maintains and improves our standard of living, creates and protects jobs, increases real incomes, promotes productivity, encourages investment, and strengthens exports?
An independent look at the facts says No – the truth is, Stephen Harper has actually delivered the lowest rate of economic growth of any Prime Minister in the past 60 years.
Economists agree that the most telling indicator of a country’s overall economic health is its Gross Domestic Product (GDP), a calculation of the total value of all goods and services produced and generated by people nation-wide. Gross Domestic Product reflects whether people are working, underemployed or unemployed; whether businesses are selling and consumers are buying; and whether the entire economy has strength, momentum and a feeling of confidence, or a mood of weakness, inertia or regression, and a feeling of doubt.
Since 1946, Canada’s 10 Prime Ministers (excluding Joe Clark, John Turner and Kim Campbell, each in office for less than a year) have delivered markedly different rates of average annual real GDP growth, adjusted for inflation.
Take a close look at the facts – the average real rate of growth in Gross Domestic Product per year that our post-war Prime Ministers have delivered for Canada…
The statistical record does not lie: Under Stephen Harper’s Conservative government from 2006 to 2015, Canada’s GDP has grown on average by just 1.6 percent a year. In the early months of 2015, GDP has now started to shrink, not grow. This slow rate of growth is almost completed accounted for not by sound economic management, but by the gradual year-to-year increases in Canada’s population.
On Friday, July 31, Statistics Canada delivered more bad news that puts the lie to Stephen Harper’s purported economic leadership: the GDP growth rate in May 2015 for the fifth consecutive monthly decline. The traditional measure of a recession is six consecutive months of GDP decline.
Stephen Harper claims he’s best at managing the economy, but the truth is he’s actually delivered to Canadians the lowest rate of economic growth of any Prime Minister since World War II. His performance is even worse than Brian Mulroney’s in the turbulent economy of the 1980s. Prime Ministers who led a far less developed Canada in the 1950s and 1960s – Louis St.-Laurent and Lester Pearson – accomplished growth rates three times what Stephen Harper has managed in modern-day Canada.
The facts are clear: Stephen Harper has let Canadians down on the economy, after nearly a decade of telling people to trust him. In 2015, economic indicators tell us the Gross Domestic Product is not growing, but shrinking. The idea that the Harper Conservatives are best on the economy is proving to be not merely a myth, but an outright deception – a lie. The Harper government has performed the worst on economic growth of any government in modern Canadian history.