Mr Harper has run a long string of deficits. He has spent the last term in office preparing to have a surplus this year. He has been able to decide on spending and he has been free to cook the books. He gets to make up his own definitions.
So exactly why is there any question about whether he really has a deficit or not?
The reason we are talking about whether, in some technical sense, Mr Harper has a surplus is because Mr Harper would rather talk the just-maybe-real surplus than the $160,000,000,000 cumulative deficit that he ran up to buy votes.
Is there really a deficit this year? If there isn’t it is not because of what Harper did. Canada had the strongest economy in the OECD when he took over. Even with the economy limping the way it has under his policies, the deficit took care of itself.
Let me say that again. THE DEFICIT TOOK CARE OF ITSELF. Harper created huge deficits, the economy is wiping them out. Mr Harper is trying to take credit for something as inevitable as the tide coming in.
Canada was in good shape When Mr Harper took over. It is still in pretty good shape. We live in a country with enormous strengths. Whether this last Harper budget shows a technical surplus or a small deficit is not a badge of honour. It just shows how little Mr Harper’s attack on the kind of Canada he hates will matter in the long run.