Harper’s Mystery Chart

The first chart in today’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 “will be as large as or larger than in any other G7 country.” Today’s document is less specific, claiming only that we have “an economic stimulus package that ranks among the largest in the world (Chart 1.1).”

The chart purports to present 2009 and 2010 data from an April IMF report on fiscal measures as percentages of GDP. Summing the IMF’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, except boosts Canada’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 Canada’s combined federal-provincial stimulus is now known to be larger than the IMF estimated through “preliminary analysis” of “measures announced through mid-April.”

But is the same not true for any of the other six countries? Clearly, it would not make sense to revise Canada’s number upward without updating any other nation.

Perhaps I am missing an obvious explanation. If so, please comment below.


  • the keys to the error is to understand what exactly “flowing” means. And after reading this report, about the only thing flowing from the tories is BS.

    I cannot believe they qualify tax breaks that they announced way ahead of the actual recession as part of their economic plan. And that is if you actually believe tax breaks help those in need. But these are the small potatoes.

    The bigger issue I have is actually believing $9.5 and $11.8 billion in stimulus is actually `flowing` as outlined in table 1.1.

    I am amazed at how far they have went in presenting a whole pile of election type ads in the face of such a desparate time for many families in this country.

    Lots of nerve pretending you have done more than Obama has in the face of the greatest recession since the great depression. THe depths of deception are just astounding. And the process is even worse. It is the best presentation of doing pretty much nothing since the onset of the crisis that one could imagine.

    No wonder the liberals could not make it very far with this group- the level of deception makes one think the tory leadership need some deep therapy! Seriously- I mean they really do need therapy.

    Wow what a waste of money. The opposition needs to go through this report and prove to Canadians that this is but subtrafuge and rather than leading Mr. Harper would rather pretend.

    I still think the NDP are falling deeper and deeper into the abyss keeping this pack in power. EI reform is one thing but putting up with this continued assault on the hearts and minds of voters using tax payer money is another. If we start experiencing the `W`, what then.

    Can the tories keep themselves propped up in the polls and keep the NDP on their lap. Sadly it looks like that- in the end it could hurt the tories as this could finish the NDP off as a party and then this could actually elevate liberals.

    what a conundrum.

  • Apart from the BS is the fact that provincial governments are actually cutting spending. The percentage goes down, rather then up.

  • Paul, the ones that kept the Harper agenda on track – voted for this stim package of BS was the liberals. Liberals have not offered an alternative and with themselves blowing up in Quebec, and Iggy going on about international hood, does not sound like they would do anything different – economically.
    So Layton supports EI, and now you are talking about Harper holding him on his lap – well it must be pretty hot because Iffy and the libs sat there since January.

  • Jan,

    your totally correct, but I take offense at you accusing me of being a liberal supporter! lol.

    I am just calling it like it is. Iffy is seemingly on a slide, and it does make you wonder why they walked away with such re-assurance that an election is what they wanted. Given the decline in the polls I would have thought it was a bit of a gamble to walk away without having some fairly good reassurance that one of the bloc or the ndp would have to prop up the tories.

    It would be interesting to get to the bottom of this. Were the liberals being over confident and thought they would test the fall election waters- or did they have a pretty good sense that the NDP would become the new lapdog.

    It definitely has been some weird moments in political history.

    Harper’s lap is anything but hot (gee I can’t go there)- but is sure seems the place to be. I am hoping if harper keeps hitting the dog with such things as this BS statement that was purely more electioneering- the dog will eventually bite him!! Come on FIDO that EI bone is just way too small- the world is so much bigger.

    With a billion billion stars swirling around in a billion billion galaxies- I wonder how many other planets have a Steve Harper with a Jack Layton sitting on his lap.


  • sorry for getting a little nutty earlier- but here is something quite serious that seems to substantiate some of what Erin is making a point on from the Star today-

    critics have complained that only a fraction of the thousands of infrastructure projects approved by the federal government have actually received a cheque.

    Parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page says the government isn’t sharing infrastructure-spending details he needs to determine whether the almost $16 billion over two years is being spent.

    Page said his office filed a request for specific infrastructure spending at the end of August but was stonewalled.

    “We got a letter back from the deputy minister of transport and infrastructure just last week saying this is a significant data request … and they weren’t prepared to give us this data (at this time),” said Page, who has been a thorn in the Harper government’s side.

    Page has embarrassed the federal government by casting doubt on Ottawa’s price tag for the Afghan mission and accurately predicting the deficit would be far greater than forecast by the Conservatives.

    “We are looking at where the bar has been set in other countries on openness and transparency on stimulus money and … we will keep asking for the information so we can do our own analysis on money going out the door,” he told the Toronto Star.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *