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Conservative policies will stunt growth

Dear Editor,

Mr. Shalapata’s response to my letter was his usual fact free group of unsubstantiated charges. However, he inadvertently does open up some comment worthy points.

Debt: The Liberal government prior to Harper reduced the national debt by $81 billion. Harper, aided by Mr. O’Toole, increased the debt by $176 billion.  That is, Harper incurred 24 per cent of the accumulated debt since Confederation in a few short years.  Harper may have reduced some taxes, though not for the people at the lower end, but he made up the shortfall in revenues by borrowing money and by passing the debt to the children of the marginalized.

The consequence of this economic “policy” was the lowest growth rate for generations, an increase in deep poverty and a state of stagnation, with an increase in the personal debt ratio to income from $1.31 to $1.64 for each dollar of income.

Conversely, the current government, at the urging of the International Monetary Fund, borrowed money for stimulation of the economy.  This has led to Canada achieving the highest GDP growth rate among 35 countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development over the past year.  Growth that will be lost with a return to the policies that the Conservatives would like to pursue. That growth lowers the debt ratio and has put Canada on a path, as recently confirmed by the Parliamentary Budget Office, to a deficit and debt free future. One that will happen incrementally. Not with wrenching changes to social programs and the economy.

In terms of NAFTA, standing up for the protection of labour rights and benefits; for the right of Canada to regulate its environmental concerns; for the refusal to allow American corporations to usurp Canadian sovereignty; for the protection of indigenous peoples, is not identity politics. Identity politics is the pressing for the benefit and privilege of certain groups as compared to others – The modern Conservative way.

Carbon pricing needs no response other than to note, once again, that some 100 jurisdictions already have carbon pricing in one of its forms; many, including our competitors, with higher prices; many more are working on plans. It is not taxation and has proved to encourage growth and job creation with the change to renewable sources of energy.

John Peate