Last week, Social Development Minister Candice Bergen went off on a flight of fancy with false accusations about the economic record of previous Liberal governments. She was wrong about transfer payments, wrong about deficits, wrong about taxes and wrong about services.
I wondered at the time how she could be so fundamentally mistaken about such important things. As it turns out, she must have been getting her cues from Stephen Harper -- as evidenced by his deceitful and erroneous tirade in the House of Commons yesterday.
Perhaps not quite as juvenile as his Resources Minister, Greg Rickford, who was caught on camera sticking out his tongue at Liberal Geoff Regan (for asking Rickford why the Harper government was such a failure at getting pipelines approved and built), Mr. Harper was equally delinquent in failing to account for his pathetically weak performance on job creation.
Here are the indisputable facts that I put before Parliament:
- During the nine years that Mr. Harper has been in office, the economy has generated only half the jobs that were produced in the nine years immediately before he took power.
- The recession (which he blames for everything) lasted less than one year and ended nearly six years ago, but still his jobs record is anemic.
- Last year, Mr. Harper bragged about creating 186,000 new jobs, but when the real figures were published he had to slash that boast by one-third -- barely 120,000 jobs were generated in all of 2014.
- That poor jobs number for 2014 was down from the year before, which was also down from the year before that. The country is drifting in the wrong direction and that's even before the "unambiguously negative" consequences of the slump in the energy sector.
- There are 140,000 MORE jobless Canadians today than before the recession, particularly young people.
- According to a study at York University, low-wage employment in Ontario has jumped by 50 per cent.
- An analysis by the OECD says Canada is among the three worst countries in the world right now for producing low-quality "crappy" jobs.
- This government's own former Employment Minister (Jason Kenney) has loudly asserted that Canadian wage rates are barely keeping pace with inflation.
- More and more Canadians are stuck with part-time work when they really want a full-time position.
- The Bank of Canada says 200,000 young Canadians are now jobless or under-employed and likely "living in the basement."
To these 10 pointed, factual criticisms, Mr. Harper had no reply but bluster and invective. I asked him directly if he thinks this record is good enough for Canada. He wouldn't answer.
Mr. Harper's refusal to respond in any substantive way is an insult to all those hard-working Canadians who are trying their best to make a better living for themselves and their families. He's clearly not there for them. And voters will remember!