Canadian bitumen – the thick, heavy oil that is transformed into crude oil – is exported mainly to the United States. Mr. Harper's ministers noted that both U.S. presidential candidates have promised tougher emissions standards, so a ban might never apply to exports to the United States.
Wait a second, wasn't he just talking the other day about handing more and more of the regulatory regime around resource management over to the provinces?
Then he proceeds to brag about a supposed surplus in the last quarter:
Crowing about new figures that show Ottawa posted a $1.7-billion budget surplus in July, Mr. Harper told reporters that Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion has been irresponsibly trying to drive down confidence in the economy.
Now, there's two problems here - Mr. Harper's magic surplus is more than overshadowed by the currently unfunded, but committed, contracts for military equipment that he has sent various parts of the military scurrying after - from shiny new equipment to extended term leases of "gently used" gear to tide them over in Afghanistan. The costs of those bills alone more than exceeds the $1.7 billion he's blathering about.
As for confidence in the economy, the shakiness has nothing to do with any of the politicians or what they are saying. Voters aren't stupid - we know damn well what's going on right now in the financial sector south of the border will inevitably splash Canada. It can't help but do so.
To this point, Harper's idea of fiscal prudence is nothing more than corporate welfare for the wealthy and no protection whatsoever for middle class Canadians. The Harper approach has placed the government in the perilous position where it may be unable to respond to the shifting economic conditions in a way that benefits Canadians - largely because Harper has increased government spending at a profligate rate while reducing the government's revenues - a model which even the most elementary understanding of finances and economics shows to be deeply problematic. (In essence, Harper's approach to government finances is equivalent to using a sub-prime mortgage to finance the purchase of a new car - it depends entirely upon the overall value of the economy increasing at all times)