The Conservatives put out this document today outlining their accomplishments over the past five years.
Besides outlining the famous “five priorities” upon which the Conservatives ran their successful 2005-2006 campaign, the economy is what they’ve chosen to put in the front window featuring it first. Indeed, the issue will be on the top of mind for Canadians going into the next election (whenever that may be). The economic management of this country under the Harper government has been overall positive, though I’ve disagreed with heaping piles of treasure going towards stimulus programs and the blocking of foreign investment (see potash). However, Canada has weathered the global economic crisis much better than other member nations of the G8, and the job recovery has been strong. Further, the stimulus did not create permanent new spending measures.
On those five priorities, the Conservatives have chosen to highlight their record on bringing in the Federal Accountability Act. The policy was a reactionary one in wake of the Liberal sponsorship scandal and propelled the Conservatives right into office. In running against the Liberals in ’05-’06, the Conservatives did not only criticize but offered a real and tangible solution. As this summary document can also be seen to have present and future purpose as well, “unaccountable lobbyists” are not on the tops of minds of Canadians. Thus, while looking back, the Conservatives have focused this document on other accomplishments to build upon while they focus forward.
On taxes, this government has moved the marker in the right direction though some conservatives will disagree on specific targeted tax relief measures. Canada is on target to have the lowest corporate tax rates in the developed world by the midpoint of this decade and will have half the rate of the United States by that time. The reduction of the GST was politically salable as a anti-tax populist measure, however it did lower the overall tax burden for all Canadians including the poorest.
I think the Tories aren’t emphasizing their accomplishment on free-trade enough in this document. While not currently a ballot box issue for the main street Canadian, this government has established more bilateral trade agreements with other countries than any other in Canadian history. Free trade was why I originally became a conservative and I think that these accomplishments have been understated.
Law and order is another bread and butter issue for Conservatives. Liberal critics will say that the government has used its tough-on-crime agenda as red meat for the base while manipulating the scheduling of legislation for maximal political gain. The government has passed tougher measures on armed crime, identity theft and against sex offenders. Further, the government has moved to refocus on victim’s rights over those of criminals. Looking forward, it’s interesting to see the government take Liberal criticism on spending on new prisons and pivot bragging about the very same. Liberals are looking to make this an issue in the next election suggesting that building prison’s reflect “Stephen Harper’s Canada” (and not yours). Yet, perhaps the Liberals aren’t doing their focus testing properly because it’s fairly clear that building new prisons and tough-on-crime measures are very popular among accessible voters.
Here it the document. Let’s digest the the release in the comments:
[scribd.com — having layout problems… I’ll reupload soon]