Eight years of Harper: by the dismal numbers

On the eve of Stephen Harper’s eighth anniversary in office, writer and statistics buff Alex Roberts has a must-read piece in the Ottawa Citizen, cleverly tagged, “Harper’s Economic Index.*” It casts a jaundiced numerical eye at how well he has managed the economy, the thing pundits constantly tell us he’s so good at.

A few samples:

  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper today presented the Public Service of Canada's Outstanding Achievement Award to Susan M. W. Cartwright. The ceremony at Rideau Hall, hosted by His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, honoured Ms. Cartwright for her sustained commitment to excellence, leadership and innovationEstimated amount spent on taxpayer-funded advertisements since 2009 touting the “Economic Action Plan” and the government’s economic record : $113,000,000
  • National unemployment rate in January, 2006: 6.6
  • National unemployment rate in December, 2013: 7.2
  • Number of consecutive annual federal budget deficits: 6
  • Number of consecutive annual federal budget surpluses under the previous Liberal (Chrétien/Martin) governments: 9
  • Number of budget deficit targets hit by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty: 0
  • Amount added to the federal national debt since Conservatives took power in 2006: $123,500,000,000

On the bright side, the dollar’s up, and the TSX rose 16.1% (compared to 55.1% for the Dow).

Seriously, the whole piece is worth a read.

* Not to be confused with the Harpers Index.


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