In most jurisdictions across the globe, political fortunes are more often than not pegged on economic outcomes. Most governments, whether local or national, are primarily assessed on the basis of economic metrics such as the number of jobs created, the quantity of goods exported, the general level of wages, the per capita income, etc. It is therefore not surprising that come election time, political parties try to outdo each other in presenting what they perceive to be viable solutions to the economic problems of the day. This paper attempts to examine the role played by the economy in political competition and outcomes. For this purpose, the Canadian economy and politics will be used for practical analysis.
One major ‘hot button’ issue in the Canadian federal elections slated for October is public spending in light of economic recession. This has come under particular scrutiny owing to a recent announcement of a budgetary surplus amounting to 1.9 billion dollars (Harris 1) by the current Conservative administration under the stewardship of Prime Minister Stephen Harper. While the government hails this as a remarkable achievement arising from prudent budgetary practices, the Liberals see it as the outcome of political manipulation. Liberals have accused the Conservatives of reducing critical spending on sections of the population that are in dire need of public funds, such as senior citizens, so as to achieve the surplus.
The issue of public spending has also gained traction owing to the fact that Canada is the only member of the G7 group of nations to be in a recession (Harris 1). The alternative solution provided by the Liberals to this problem is the sustenance of minor budget deficits while significantly investing in infrastructural development with a view to boosting economic production. Such measures stand a better chance of securing economic growth in the long term. This is because a mere minimization and re-allocation of government expenditure without bolstering the country’s production capacity might be gainful in the near term but strategically