canada: Is MP Stephen Harper Still A Hayekian?


The government’s sudden embrace of Keynesian economics — the theory that you can spend your way out of a recession — is pretty much the mirror image of everything Harper has fought for over the past two decades. He complained bitterly about big government, high taxes and profligate spending during his time at the Reform Party, NCC, as leader of the Opposition, and even as prime minister, since he was first elected on Feb. 6, 2006 …

Few of Harper’s friends or supporters believe he honestly thinks the massive stimulus spending outlined in his latest budget will rescue Canada’s slowing economy. The measures, they say, are merely an attempt to stave off a non-confidence vote ..  “Stephen Harper didn’t suddenly wake up and become a Keynesian,” says Frank Atkins, an economics professor at the University of Calgary who once taught the prime minister. “This is nothing more than a political budget.”


Returning to the University of Calgary [in the late 1980s] to work on his master’s degree, Harper began reading the works of Austria’s Friedrich Hayek, the influential conservative economist. Hayek vehemently disagreed with the Keynesian notion that government spending could limit economic downturns, and instead warned that intervention in the marketplace would merely prolong suffering and create unintended, and harmful, consequences. Harper’s master’s thesis — entitled The Political Business Cycle and Fiscal Policy in Canada — examined whether political parties manipulated fiscal policy during election years to improve their chances of re-election.

John Gray, “In search of the real Harper“, Canada Business, March 2, 2009.

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One Response to canada: Is MP Stephen Harper Still A Hayekian?

  1. Dat To says:

    Liberals & NDP staging a takeover even though they publicly stated that they had no alliance with each other prior and during the election. After votes are in and Harper is the winner, they wanted to negate who the Canadians voted for with their stimulus/vote of non confidence attack plan. Harper is forced by left wing heart pulling strings- “look at these jobs we will lose.”
    Why do they need thousands of workers for fully automated robotics auto manufacturing? Seriously. How much do workers make per hour? $40? $70? I don’t know, it’s up there. With full benefits? Would the union help reduce worker’s wages so that these companies can actually compete?
    If no one is buying these Canadian manufactured cars, then who cares how many people this industry employs. If it doesn’t work, then how will dumping money into a business that will not be able to change to make it’s products more desirable or affordable? Where’s the stimulus package for small businesses across Canada? It would be better to give tax cuts to families who lose their jobs, then to give it to the people who lost the money/ can’t make enough. It would be better for these companies to go bankrupt and rebuild without the unions or have a Chinese company come here, build and retail cars for $10k less per car.

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