The Governor of the Bank of Canada said something yesterday that I fear will end up being rather rash. He declared that the recession was over in Canada. And somehow, even though I’m not an economist, I can’t help but think “Doom. Doooooooom.”
Sure, he couched it in all kinds of caveats, and sure, we all know that these “green shoots” can turn out to be “weeds” and we’ll spiral back down again, but that’s not why I see Doom. No, my concern is that I can already hear the engines of the busses – or Challenger jets as the case may be – revving, ready to take Jim Flaherty on his cross-country “Told’ya so” tour. You know – “I told you we were doing just fine with our modest and affordable stimulus package, but no, you didn’t believe us, and yet here we are, out of the recession.” Because you know it’s coming. And Harper will start trotting out that whole “I’m an economist, you know” line (which is a bit moot since he’s never actually practiced as one). Meanwhile, job losses will continue – as they still do at the end of any recession.
But more than that, it really starts forcing the Liberals’ hand. It’s going to mean an election call as soon as the House gets back – or the first opposition day, guaranteed by the last week of September – because they don’t want to let the economy recover too much, lest they lose their opportunity to make the Conservatives wear it.
In fact, Ignatieff was out at a factory in Gatineau yesterday, slamming the government over the fact that it took them five weeks to get their EI “working group” off the ground when they were ready to go immediately, and hinted that it didn’t get off to a very auspicious beginning. Because that’s exactly the kind of narrative that he wants to put out there – that not only are “Tory times tough times,” but that their intransigence in not wanting to extend EI benefits made the recession worse, and won’t somebody please think of the children?
So, brace yourselves for both sides to start turning their respective rhetoric up to eleven, because Mark Carney just started the clock again – maybe a little slower than it would be if the House was sitting, but if you listen hard enough, you can hear the ticking.
Elsewhere in Ottawa, Abousfian Abdelrazik related the horror and torture he faced in Sudan until he could be returned to Canada, and perhaps most damning was his describing a meeting where Conservative MP – and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs – met with him in Sudan, wouldn’t look at him and basically told him to forget coming home to Canada. Not cool. The NDP’s Paul Dewar is not only demanding a full public inquiry, but one so expansive as to basically turn over every rock at CSIS, but CSIS says they cooperated and even invited oversight in this matter. Nevertheless, patterns are emerging.
And finally, over in Saskatchewan, the Court of Queen’s Bench told the government to go drop on its head – err, that the Human Rights Commission got it right when they slapped down that marriage commissioner who didn’t want to perform a same-sex marriage because of his personal religious beliefs. The government of the province asked the court to weigh in on a proposed law that would allow these marriage commissioners to refuse to marry those icky gays if it offends their religious beliefs. I guess the answer to that one is a resounding no.
Up today: It’s the 475th Anniversary of Jacques Cartier’s arrival in Gaspé –and Her Excellency will be there to mark the occasion. In her statement, she says she recognises that some of the events are open to interpretation but hopes that we can find the truth in order to come to respect and harmony around them. It’s certainly a nice sentiment, but it’s certainly a lot more complicated than that.