Former PM Paul Martin says Canada is on the wrong track
Paul Martin's tenure as prime minister of Canada was a rocky one. He was one of the country's finest finance ministers from 1993 to 2002 but as PM he seemed to have such a wide range of urgent priorities that Canadians were never convinced that he actually had a complete vision of where he was headed.
Martin is a much more impressive man one on one. He's affable, articulate, curious and extraordinarily insightful when it comes to matters of finance and economics. I like to catch up with Martin at least twice a year to get a fix on where he sees the economy going both here in Canada and globally. You can listen to this morning's conversation in the podcast for today's show or by clicking the audio buttons on this blog.
The former PM says he thinks Canadians have become smug about our purportedly superior economy. He points to how vulnerable we are to a global downturn and how our household debt could turn on us like a grizzly bear in the months or years to come. He calls the Harper Government "ideological" and says many of its cuts are motivated by sheer spite for past governments rather than rising from facts and common sense. He accused the government of cancelling some programs (national day care and the Kelowna Accord) just because the Conservatives don't like to aknoweldge the successes of previous governments. Martin insists that if you want to build a solid economy, you have to fund education, child care and health care in order to provide everyone with the foundation on which they can build a business and a career. And he worries that our system is becoming overly partisan citing the Conservatives' pit bull tactics and what he calls Thomas Mulcair’s "irresponsible" campaign against the Alberta oil sands.
An hour later we talked with Julian Fantino about Toronto's gang problems. Off the end I asked about Martin’s remarks. You can hear the former police chief’s short and sharp rebuke by listening to the interview.