There were few in Ottawa inner circles resisting Paul Martin's deep spending cuts as Finance Minister, but one strong dissenting voice came from Douglas Peters, who died last week at the age of 86.
Election ads notwithstanding, monetary debt is not the real issue of our times. Our growing ecological debt is what politicians -- and everyone -- should be discussing.
Why is our current crop of Canadian political leaders trapped in a rhetorical box of "sound finance" that will merely guarantee our economy will remain stuck in a state of secular stagnation?
It's official: the Canadian economy is in recession. By election day, parties can expect millions of voters to be paying attention to what governments plan to do to create jobs and secure employment.
First it was personal debt. Then public debt too became demonized: balanced budgets and hatred of deficits became items of faith. The development of our deficit hysteria has a long history.
Deficits are left wing and balanced budgets are right-wing austerity, right? Not so fast. "Deficits good vs. deficits bad" discourse misses the whole host of choices that go into budgeting.
Confirmation that federal government finances have fallen back into deficit raises more questions about Harper's image, now more myth than reality, as a sound economic manager.
Austerity -- single-mindedly pursuing short-term debt and deficit reduction -- is politics racing willy-nilly down a blind alley without a long-term vision of how to grow both the economy and society.