Economists review the campaign so far

Economists Lindsay Tedds from the University of Victoria, and Livio Di Matteo from Lakehead University, on what they'd like to hear from the candidates during the election campaign.

We're four weeks in to the election campaign, with seven more to go. While we're still waiting for fully costed economic platforms from all the parties, there's enough to get economists talking, sighing, and rolling their eyes.

News coverage of each leader's approach to the economy has focused on two main areas. Tax credits, and deficits.

180 host Jim Brown speaks with two economists, Lindsay Tedds from the University of Victoria, and Livio Di Matteo from Lakehead University, for their take on the campaign so far.

Each leader has pitched targeted and specific tax credits, such as the NDP's Innovation Tax Credit, the CPC's increased adoption expenses tax credit, and the LPC's teaching expenses tax credit.

Lindsay Tedds says, while some tax credits are reasonable and beneficial, many of them just don't make sense.  

The problem that we have started with this boutique tax credit system, where we have now more than 200 of them, is everybody wants their special boutique tax credit. Where's mine? Where am I? It's the slippery slope that has started.- Lindsay Tedds, University of Victoria

To Livio Di Matteo, the campaign so far has been a matter of trust, instead of policy. With regards to global economic uncertainty, ge feels that the debate has been less about specific policies to guide Canada into the future, but rather a competition over who is more competent an economic steward. 

If you listen carefully to the leaders, the way they're dealing with the issue is not saying what government should do, but they're using the "trust" factor. Who do you trust to deal with an uncertain economic world? The next step is to start borrowing lines from Game of Thrones and saying "the economy is dark and full of terrors, and you should trust me to deal with it." - Livio Di Matteo, Lakehead University

Both economists agree that they'd prefer to hear, from all parties, an over-arching goal to their economic policies, not just pieceemeal promises.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.