Stephen Harper seems to say that, because he was re-elected and with a majority, his economic policies have our approval. He says this as he goes from stimulus to retrenchment as his policy.
It could be claimed that he is going against the policies that got him elected.
Government is more complicated than that.
At the instant you mark your ballot, you are approving the suite of statements and promises of one candidate in preference to another. That’s all.
Once elected, the government does not come back to us with a referendum on every little, or large, decision. They just do what their parliamentary position allows them to do.
Promises are just that: promises.
The real question is integrity. If changing direction is correct when circumstances alter, then perhaps promises can be broken for the common good. Doing this too often makes promises look like mere conveniences, to be held to when things work out nicely.
The real question is integrity.
Major economists, at least some of them, seem to think that now is the time for stimulus, not retrenchment.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn made the signal error of hinting that the IMF, by insisting on austerity measures as a precondition for economic aid, did unnecessary damage to the economies it ostensibly was helping. DSK is no longer head of anything.
The history of countries forced into austerity seems to be, well, austerity.
A cynic might think that Canada could be an embarrassment to the USA by not going into austerity measures. A cynic might compare this to our health care system, which is also an embarrassment to the USA, to the extent that it is maligned politically in unjust ways. (see Michael Moore’s DVD Sicko for more on that.) A cynic might note that we are going into an era of US-style sentencing, in order to justify the larger jails we will then need, since our lower crime rate is also an embarrassment to the USA.
It is a question of integrity. Is our economic policy designed for us, is it politically convenient, and are these the same or opposite?