Harper: A Pragmatic and Savvy Prime Minister

By Larry McLennan
Published: Sept 13, 2015

STEPHEN Harper is much better than his alternatives, that is Thomas Mulcair or Justin Trudeau. In my several decades of being politically aware , if not politically absorbed, Harper impresses me as the best Prime Minister Canada has had the experience of being governed by. This is especially true given the serious worldwide economic and geopolitical situations which have arisen in the last 10 years.
Canada is fortunate that after the great economic crash of 2008, a pragmatic and savvy PM was at the helm of the country. Desperate times called for a reasoned and practical reaction by the Federal government and the Conservatives, under Mr. Harper, provided it. The response was for the government to carry out a massive deficit-producing stimulus program (which is against the fiscal preferences of the Conservatives) to dampen the deleterious effects of the recession. Ironically, both the NDP and the Liberals demanded the government go even deeper into deficit despite the fact they now criticize the Conservatives for going into deficit in the first place. Is hypocrisy spelled NDP, Liberal, or both? Subsequent to the stimulus program and deficit, the Conservatives have been working to eliminate the deficit and while they still have a way to go, they seem to be pretty much on schedule.
Regarding taxes, Mr Harper and the Conservatives have  endeavored to put more money into the hands of private citizens rather than in the hands of the government. Just look at the proposed significant tax reductions and incentives his government has proposed. The proposed Split Income provision will benefit most families, especially middle-class ones. This tax allows families with children under 18 years of age to assign up to $50,000 of income from one parent to another in order to lower the tax paid to the government. Both the NDP and the Liberals oppose this apparently because some rich people might benefit more from it. As a tax accountant, I can relate to you that I have had numerous inquiries from clients regarding how soon it would come into effect and not all of them are ‘rich’ in the way NDP or Liberals would like you to believe.

Business taxes have also been reduced or proposed to be reduced by Mr. Harper and the Conservatives. The Small Business tax was reduced to 11 per cent and is proposed to be further reduced to 9 per cent while the corporate tax is to be reduced from roughly 22 per cent to 15 per cent. These tax reductions help to keep businesses profitable and to pay greater dividends to shareholders such as Union Pension funds and middle-class investors. The NDP, however, wants to reverse Corporate taxes back to the pre-Conservative government rates in the mistaken belief it’s going to help the economy and keep jobs in Canada. Well, I think NOT.
As to the pipelines, Harper is for all of them provided they pass the environmental requirements. Here in BC, both Mulcair and Trudeau are against the Northern Gateway pipeline and their union-based middle-class jobs. And I must say Mulcair is a true dogmatic socialist. It would be interesting to compare the successes of NDP-run governments to non-NDP run governments. It probably wouldn’t look good for the NDP and it would look even worse for Canada. As to Justin, well he’s the hare the Liberals have chosen to run this race. Is he the best they could conjure up? That doesn’t bode well for their bench strength in caucus. I have a feeling that if his last name was Smith, he couldn’t get elected as a dog catcher. If Justin is the best they have, it doesn’t appear that the Liberal Party is up to the task. But I guess Justin’s probably a nice hare though.

Larry McLennan is a Professional Accountant (RPA) with RIA/CMA designation


  1. Matt Blackman says:

    In my nearly 4 decades as a voter, I have never witnessed a party that was so out of touch and that demonstrated such visible disdain and contempt for the electorate as the Conservatives under Harper.

    Thanks to Harper’s almost single-minded myopic focus on fossil fuels Canada’s exports and our dollar have plummeted with the price of oil and our dollar is now trading below where it was even during the depths of the last great recession. And talking about recessions, our economy just entered its second on Harper’s watch!

    If our economy is so great under Harper, why has he lied so much about it?

    Here are some examples.

    During the MacLean leader’s debate
    Harper: “Over the past 10 years we have seen since the great global financial crisis Canada has the strongest economic growth, the strongest job creation record and the strongest income growth for the middle class among any of the major developed economies.”

    The facts: In its July 2015 World Economic Outlook, the IMF placed Canada’s year-over-year growth rate for 2015 below that of Germany, the United Kingdom, Japan and the United States. On employment creation, the latest data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) ranks Canada 3rd among G7 countries, and 10th in the OECD club. The Pew Researcher Centre’s Global Middle Class Report, released in July, reveals that the Canadian middle class is shrinking.

    You can read more about his “misrepresentations” on the economy and other issues here.

    The lies Harper told during 2015 election call, first leaders’ debate

    Thanks to his focus on fossil fuels, Harper will be remembered at the prime minister who took the biggest steps to denigrate our environment! He is the only world lead who has ever taken his country out of the pivotal Kyoto Accord which sets goals for greenhouse gas emissions and in which nations acknowledge the part we humans play in climate change.

    And speaking of the environment, his “Bill C-38, the so-called “Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act”, enacted in 2012, the Harper government gutted Canadian’s environmental protections.”

    “According to the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD), every year, the Harper government doles out $1.4 billion in subsidizes to oil and gas companies, some of which are the “richest, dirtiest corporations in the world.”

    And on renewable energy, under Harper Canada is the only G-7 country NOT to be a member of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) which now boasts 143 members with 29 on the list to join.

    I could go on but I think it is clear that on a wide range of issues, the time has come for change and that means let’s elect someone else to lead our nation this time around!

  2. Tom Green says:

    This and so much more. Please STOP Harper NOW. We must all get out to vote and vote responsibly. Learn about the issues and the answer will be obvious. We must STOP Harper NOW.

  3. Matt Blackman says:

    Harper’s biggest emphasis is on his economic record? Are you kidding me?
    Here are 6 charts that expose him as the PM with the worst economic record since World War II and even going back as far as the 1930s.

    The report, authored by Unifor economists Jim Stanford and Jordan Brennan, crunches the numbers on Canada’s nine Prime Ministers between 1946 and today on issues relating to work, production, distribution and debt, and ranks each according to 16 economic indicators. The results? On 13 of the 16 indicators, Harper ranks dead last or second last. In fact, Harper does not rank higher than sixth on any single indicator.

  4. Guy Fawkes says:

    Gagan is usually great at running two pieces close together that tell two opinions contrasting each other. Although this piece is a little too much parroting of political propaganda for my taste. Looking forward to the counterpoint piece for this.