Of course the big deficit that Ignatieff goes on about is in part a result of the fact that as with Bush in the US Harper jettisoned his free market shibboleths in the light of the financial crisis and spent large sums on a stimulus package and to bail out the system. Elsewhere Ignatieff has suggested that a difference between Liberals and the Conservatives are that the Liberals think taxes can be useful in financing beneficial programs. Yet in this article Ignatieff sounds very Conservative in his rejection of taxes as part of his program. With a ballooning deficit it would be interesting to know how Ignatieff intends to keep the deficit from growing even more.
Much of Ignatieff's plan seems to be to carp on and on about Harper's free market ideology!
Ignatieff unveils economic plan TheStar.com - Canada - Ignatieff unveils economic plan
PAWEL DWULIT/TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff outlines his plans for economic recovery to the Star in Ottawa Sept. 18, 2009.
Liberal leader to use board of trade speech to pitch party vision
September 21, 2009 Susan DelacourtOttawa Bureau
OTTAWA–Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff is in Toronto today to nail down the key planks of his economic platform – growth, green jobs and a role for government in the economy.
He's also expected to talk about what's not in the platform – specifically tax increases, which Ignatieff says run counter to the Liberals' plan for growth as an economic-recovery strategy.
"The only way out of this thing is to get the economy growing and you can't get growth if you increase the burden on Canadians at exactly the moment when they need all the help they can get from government," Ignatieff told the Star ahead of today's speech to the Toronto Board of Trade.
It comes the same week that Prime Minister Stephen Harper will head to the G20 summit in Pittsburgh, showcasing much the same message he delivered last week to a New York business audience – that Canada weathered the recession better than many nations and is strongly placed for recovery.
Ignatieff, on the other hand, will argue today that Canada is poised to flounder in the restructured economy, because Harper's government has racked up a deficit that now stands at $55.9-billion and has no real strategy to lead Canadians into a new economy.
The idea of government as a helping force in the economy is a defining difference between the Conservatives and Liberals, he says.
"Maybe before the world economic disaster you could indulge in the kind of free-market ideology that Mr. Harper grew up on in the 1980s," Ignatieff said.
"(But) there isn't a Canadian who doesn't understand that when the markets tanked, there was only one place to go for safety – and that was to government. Not big government, not tax-and-spend government, but government that protects Canadian savings, Canadian pensions, Canadian mortgages and Canadians."
The policy proposals Ignatieff is expected to advance today include an aggressive effort to find markets in India and China; investments in plant machinery, green-energy solutions, more research-and-development spending and programs to help firms hire new workers.
"How did we get growth in the 1990s through 2006? Because (former prime minister) Jean Chrétien invested in science and technology; poured money into post-secondary education ... The Harper government seems to think that growth happens by itself."
Ignatieff, whose party voted non-confidence in the government Friday, is in the midst of a concerted effort to put himself and his party's positions forward more forcefully.
The uniting theme in his speeches is the accusation of Conservative absence and inaction.
"We've got a government whose ideology was created for a world that has vanished," he said. "We need to offer Canadians a vision of government in which we have a strategy for growth; that protects what we care about, which is health care and pensions and a decent education for our kids."
Ignatieff has not explained how he intends to do so without raising taxes.