Since the Canadian economy started suffering, the headlines have been mostly dominated by bailout talk, unemployment numbers, and general bad financial news, that is until Prime Minister Stephen Harper went on CNN to say that he doesn’t thinkNATO can defeat the Taliban. Needless to say, Harper’s received a lot of attentionfor those comments, so it’s no surprise that he’s trying hard to shift the political conversation back to the economy.
On Friday he pushed backagainst criticism that the party wasn’t being transparent enough saying the government’s spending needs have to remain flexible and the opposition parties can’t have it both ways.
“There is no excuse for an opposition that has been saying ‘we need to deliver money more quickly’ to now say ‘we need to delay that money’ or say things like ‘we need to have parliamentary sign-off on every individual project,'” Harper told a crowd in Berwick, N.S.
Now the Liberals have accused Harperfor calling a “phony war” and creating a fight where there isn’t one.
“I think some of the comments by some of the people out of the Prime Minister’s Office has left the impression either deliberately or inadvertently of some enormous confrontation shaping up here,” said Liberal House Leader Ralph Goodale on Friday. “We’ll cross bridges when we come to them. What I’m saying now is that there’s no need for this phony war. Surely to goodness the opposition wants, Canadians want, and the government wants to deal with the recession effectively and to make sure that all the rules about public spending are properly respected. The two objectives are not in conflict. Let’s find a way to have common sense prevail here.”
Whether you like it or not, expect this back and forth, complete with election threats, to continue as the economy worsens.