On economic growth, Liberals rank PMs from first to worst

- February 9th, 2014


It may not be a fair comparison but Justin Trudeau’s tweet is at least accurate.

The country has had two prime ministers from Calgary and each man’s tenure coincided with the two worst economic recessions of the last century.

R.B. Bennett was unlucky enough to have stolen the prime minister’s chair from William Lyon Mackenzie King just in time for The Great Depression. For the years that Bennett was PM — summer of 1930 to the fall of 1935 — Canada’s economy had an average annual growth rate of 0.16 per cent.

Harper cuts the GST

GOOD TIMES: Stephen Harper on the campaign trail in the 2005-06 election — the first he would win — announces the fabled GST cut — “from 7 to 6 to 5 per cent”. When Harper took the reigns of power, Canada’s economy was growing at a steady clip, the federal coffers were overflowing with cash. And then came the greatest recession since Bennett. (DAVID AKIN)

Harper took over, of course, in 2006 and assuming the final numbers for 2013 show that our economy grew at a rate of about 1.6 per cent, Harper is currently working on an average annual growth rate of 1.54 per cent over his eight-year premiership.

A Liberal, one would assume, would blame Harper and not global economic events, for this fact. A Conservative may argue back that, but for the Harper government’s successive Economic Action Plans (the latest of which we will see in Budget 2014 on Tuesday) it would have been a lot worse.

For what it’s worth, as I point out in a column in our newspapers today, if you compare Canada’s annual GDP growth under Harper to its G7 peers, Canada is tops, even better than Germany. Broaden the group and compare Canada’s GDP growth since 2006 against its G20 peers, and Canada is 12th best.

To make sure their leader had the goods on Harper, Trudeau’s staff took a look at the GDP growth rates of prime ministers going back to Bennett  and ranked each PM the average annual GDP growth for the tenure of each PM (Joe Clark, Kim Campbell and John Turner were excluded to the brevity of each one’s reign.). Easy to see that Liberals sure know how to be in the right place at the right time:

  1. Lester Pearson: Average annual GDP growth was 5.97%
  2. William Lyon Mackenzie King: 5.54%
  3. Louis St-Laurent: 5.28%
  4. Pierre Elliott Trudeau: 3.89%
  5. John Diefenbaker: 3.67%
  6. Jean Chrétien: 3.49%
  7. Paul Martin: 3.15%
  8. Brian Mulroney: 2.17%
  9. Stephen Harper: 1.54%
  10. R.B. Bennett: 0.16%

The data for these comparisons comes from a range of sources, including Statistics Canada, the World Bank and the IMF.

Categories: Economy, Politics

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2 comments

  1. Earl Belcourt says:

    People either can’t read or are to stubborn to plead ignorance.

  2. Blake Dunlop says:

    Yet, David, Dictator Harper & the extreme right-wing Reform/Conservatives keep telling us that they are the people that can handle the economy best. I guess these stats of yours prove the lie that they always tell.

    When coupled with your story on the huge national debt (25% of it racked up by Harper’s Tories in just 8 years!), it would be foolish of anyone to vote for this party’s candidates in the next election. However, how much do you want to bet that there are a lot of fools out there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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