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Den Tandt: Harper portraying himself as economic safe haven when his whole strategy is in ruins
It’s a considerable testament to Stephen Harper’s political skills that he remains in contention to win a fourth straight election later this year. It’s even more impressive that his party continues to retain virtually sole proprietorship of the economy, as an issue.
Why impressive? Just this: Harper’s resilience, one might call it dogged endurance, comes even as his grand economic strategy, laid out with sweeping ambition in late 2011 and early 2012, has collapsed. The strategy had three pillars. Each is now in ruins.
First pillar: Oil. Setting aside a short-lived dip early in 2012, the price of crude held steady in the $110 range, within $10 above or below, from the end of 2010 onward. With the International Energy Agency seeing nothing but burgeoning demand 30 years out, and 174 billion barrels locked in the earth in northern Alberta, Canada would become a global energy Goliath. The regulatory process would be streamlined and project development accelerated. The resulting boom would yield thousands of well-paying jobs, and spinoffs for the whole country.
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