Who was Canada's best fiscal manager? - 2015-03-19
Part II in a two-part series. In Part I: Chrétien, Martin, Harper: Who has the best fiscal record?
Yesterday we posted our analysis of the fiscal performance of Prime Ministers Chretien, Martin and Harper. Using program spending restraint as the measure of fiscal performance, Jean Chretien is the clear winner. Alternatively, using budget surpluses and net debt reduction as the measure of fiscal performance gives the honours to Paul Martin.
But neither of these measures account for the political and economic environments in which the three governments operated. Both Paul Martin and Stephen Harper had to deal with the realities of minority government. Jean Chretien and Stephen Harper operated with majority governments for at least part of their mandates. Further, all three governments dealt with the impacts of economic fluctuations on their revenues and spending. It's to these to issues we now turn our attention.