Tuesday, March 31, 2009

 

GATHER YE IN LONDON

In the USA some media experts believe that President Obama risks being over-exposed. They say that could cause unwanted problems for the high risk expectations of his administration.

It is somewhat unlikely the same thing would happen to our Prime Minister, Stephen Harper. Expectations here are low and the Conservative Government's track record not much better. In half a dozen years and three elections later, Mr. Harper's Conservatives have failed to win majority Parliaments. The polish has worn off on the razzle-dazzle promises of our unshakable economy from last fall's election campaign.

Since Parliament's return in late January, Canada's media in fact complains that the Prime Minister has pretty much avoided facing the scrutiny of the Ottawa Press Gallery. Instead, he has chosen on a couple of occasions to speak with more friendly regional news reporters on both coasts and in southwestern Ontario.

In preparation for this week's Summit of the G-20 gathering in London, Mr. Harper chose to do the rounds of American media outlets; Fox News and CNN, where the general sense is that Canada's economy is faring better than the messy situation in the United-States. Generally the Canadian economy is doing better than that of many other countries wrestling with the demons of of our out-of-control world recession.

Clearly that is the "high road" Mr. Harper wants to convey travelling to Europe this week to join the other 19 world economies at the G-20 Summit. Lest I digress: Canada had a brief moment in the sun as the fourth quarter of 2008 concluded on December 31 last year. Soaring commodity prices helped place our country among a very short, four country world elite list of net-creditor nations: Japan, Germany, China and for a brief 3 or so months late last year: Canada.

IF YOU BLINKED...YOU MISSED IT. But, on December 31, 2008 Canada's international assets were worth $1.493-trillion. Our international liabilities were $1.479.5-trillion. The spiralling deficit of the January 27th Federal Budget which comes into force tomorrow on April fools' day has now however wiped-out our $13.5-billion in net world assets.

Still though it was nice whilst it lasted. It is a positive Mr.Harper can take with confidence and pride to the G-20 Summit. The Chief Economist at TD Bank Financial Group Don Drummond, quoted recently says even if Canada has lost this brief achievement..."we should still celebrate that we're nowhere near the national indebtedness we were in the 1990's."

In the glow of the irony shown under that light; I am thinking political historians may amend the legacy of former Prime-Minister Paul Martin. While political scientists may someday debate a "what-if" scenario. Both, because of Mr. Martin's role As Finance Minister through the budget wrenching exercises of the 1990's...as well as for his foresight in creating the G-20 in the first place.

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