Don Martin dug-up a copy of Stephen Harper's masters thesis from when he was an economics student at the University of Calgary. Certainly seems relevant, given how Harper and co. always like to remind us that he's an economist, so he totally knows what he's doing.
Here's a few excerpts:
Excerpts from Stephen Harper's 1991 master's degree thesis
"Minority governments show no particular tendency to fiscally irresponsible behaviour, contrary to some theoretical predictions."
"A general observation would be that, while there is no evidence of a 'chronic deficit' tendency in Canada historically, neither is it clear how such a problem is resolved once it occurs."
"The record indicates that particularly activist Keynesian policy has been rare in the postwar period. The results indicated that it should remain so."
I'd have no problem with him having changed his views over time -- that's perfectly natural and healthy -- except I don't believe he really has changed his views, his actions on the budget were entirely motivated by political survival, with the coalition of opposition parties holding his feet to the fire. I think the fact his heart isn't in it is borne-out by the fact he did such a crappy job of it. I think he still believes what he wrote in his thesis.
No, what I think his thesis and his actions now show is the gulf between the theoretical world of academia and the real world of the actual economy and of government. It's one thing to debate abstract policies in the ivory tower; in the real world, it's not so cut and dry.
Also, the media continue the race to ask anyone who ever met Harper if they're disappointed in him over the budget. As amused as I am, and pleased as a partisan, I can't help but wonder, is it a bit much? Not until they track down his Grade Five music teacher. After that, they should stop.
As an aside, while the reporters reading through everything Michael Ingnatieff ever wrote still have a lot of work ahead of them, I suspect that with Martin getting his masters thesis, those on the Harper beat are now done. At least until he gets that book on hockey written, that is. Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers