Toby Sanger CUPE Research

The Harper government frequently emphasizes its economic record, claiming sound economic management, but the reality is very different: our economy is faltering. Austerity, cuts to public spending, tax cuts, suppression of workers’ wages and a narrow focus on the resource sector, the regressive policies they instituted since forming a majority simply don’t work.

And it’s getting worse. Downward revisions to Canada’s gross domestic product by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for this year are worse than any other advanced country. Figures released in September show we’ve entered another recession, with growth far below what the recent budget projected.

 Despite the low dollar, which should help stimulate exports and reduce imports, Canada’s international trade deficit has worsened to record levels. Although interest rates are close to historic lows, private capital investment is expected to fall by seven per cent in 2015.

Job growth in Canada has slowed to a crawl, also the worst since 2009.  Around 1.3 million Canadians remain unemployed, with another 1.3 million underemployed and a growing number of long-term unemployed.

Not everyone has done badly. Corporate profits have increased by 83 per cent since 2009 and CEO compensation is up by 40 per cent, four times the increase in average wages.  While sales of luxury cars have hit new records, little has trickled down to everyday Canadians.

Unfortunately, Conser­vative and Liberal governments have applied these failed trickle-down econo­mic policies for decades that have not only increased inequality, but have also led to meagre and declining economic growth. They’ve also too frequently used the public purse to enrich their wealthy friends instead of being responsible guardians of public finances.

What Canada needs now is a federal government led by Tom Mulcair that will put a priority on workers: creating more and better quality jobs, with decent wages and benefits; developing a more diversified, innovative and sustainable economy in collaboration with all sectors of the economy; strengthening our public services and social protections, and putting in place a fairer tax system.

This isn’t just theory or wishful thinking. NDP governments across Canada have done it before. Over the past 35 years NDP governments have not only had a better fiscal record, but they’ve also had a better economic record with stronger wage growth and lower unemployment rates than either Liberal or Conservative governments at provincial and federal levels.

The bottom line is clear: NDP delivers better economic results—and that’s what should matter to Canadians.