Hey look: the crystal ball in the PM’s head

From the print edition, my column for this week indulges what’s becoming an annual habit: I read transcripts of Stephen Harper’s year-end interviews to try to figure out what’s in his head. He thinks 2012 will be a banner year; so much so that he began his interview with CTV’s Lisa LaFlamme by volunteering his belief that previous majority prime ministers didn’t get a lot done. So I begin by surveying what those guys actually did; Harper plans to do more, which will serve as an excellent benchmark for what he does in 2012.

On that front, we have a sort of breaking news. Yesterday Harper was interviewed by the excellent Calgary radio host Dave Rutherford. On the economy heading into 2012, it’s worth printing the PM’s answer in full. It complements the interviews I was reading when I wrote my column, and it should serve notice that the PM intends to deliver an important budget this spring. I’ll highlight the parts that seem significant:

We will be moving forward this spring, Dave, with an aggressive series of economic measures to create jobs and growth, not just now; to make changes in a wide range of policies of the federal government, to really try and position this country to create jobs and growth over the longer term. I am seriously concerned when I look at, you know, obviously our principal trading partner, the United States, but you know, our traditional trading partners as well in Europe, and I see fairly dim prospects for robust growth going forward. I think this country has… you know, we’ve got a better financial situation, we’ve got a better banking situation, we’ve got a better political situation. I think we have to use that to make the economic changes necessary to position this country for growth over the next generation. I think that’s the responsibility of the government, and we will be moving forward this spring with some fairly aggressive action on a wide range of areas.


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