Fear on all sides

Bruce Anderson listens to the rhetoric.

In answer to almost any question about the economy, the Prime Minister and his ministers are at pains to tell Canadians how the perilous state of the global economy keeps them up at night. There’s not a lot of hope in their message: They talk about how employment is up since the onset of the recession, but in reality it’s a “let’s ensure we don’t get hurt too badly” theme. This is an unusual thing for incumbents to do – but for the moment anyway, it’s sensible strategy.

The opposition parties are also focused on fear, not surprisingly. There’s a difference of course: They are focused on how much worse things will get if Ottawa doesn’t do something. This would be a stronger political footing if news from the rest of the world didn’t get it its way. Canadian economic troubles are routinely drowned out by far more shocking situations, in so many other places.

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