Harperâ€™s Mystery Chart
The first chart in todayâ€™s Third Report on the Economic Action Plan (Chart 1.1, page 8 ) appears to show that Canada is tied with Japan for the largest stimulus package in the G-7. Exactly the same bar graph appeared in the Second Report back in June (Chart 1.2, page 12).
While this seemingly impressive chart has been promoted to a higher position, the text around it has been toned down. The Second Report cited it as evidence that stimulus in Canada â€œwill be as large as or larger than in any other G7 country.â€ Todayâ€™s document is less specific, claiming only that we have â€œan economic stimulus package that ranks among the largest in the world (Chart 1.1).â€
The chart purports to present 2009 and 2010 data from an April IMF report on fiscal measures as percentages of GDP. Summing the IMFâ€™s figures for these two years yields 3.6% for Canada, 4.2% for Japan, 3.8% for the United States, 3.6% for Germany, 1.5% for France, 1.3% for Britain, and 0.3% for Italy. In other words, Canada is around the middle of the pack.
The chart replicates these figures precisely, exceptÂ boosts Canadaâ€™s bar up to 4.2% (just high enough to match Japan). Neither report explains where the extra 0.6% came from.
Of course, it is entirely possible that Canadaâ€™s combined federal-provincial stimulus is now known to be larger than the IMF estimated through â€œpreliminary analysisâ€ of â€œmeasures announced through mid-April.â€
ButÂ is the same not true for any of the other six countries? Clearly, it would not make sense to revise Canadaâ€™s number upward without updating any other nation.
Perhaps I am missing an obvious explanation. If so, please comment below.