American recklessness led world to recession: Canada PM

By Gurmukh Singh, IANS,

Toronto : In the first such attack by any western leader, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has blamed reckless American consumers and investors for leading the world into the current recession and said the marketplace is not the solution to the problems.

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The prime minister of America’s largest trading partner also found fault with President Barack Obama’s stimulus package to kick-start the economy.

Speaking at a fundraising dinner in the capital Ottawa Thursday night, the prime minister said the Americans were reckless in believing that they could borrow without consequences.

The Conservative (party) prime minister said:”We are in a global recession principally – and we have to face this – because a lot of people on Wall Street, because of a lot of people in the private sector more generally – homeowners or consumers – pushed or bought into a very unconservative idea that they could live beyond their means.”

Harper, who was close to former president George Bush, said the Conservative philosophy of big-spending and big government was not to be blamed for the current crisis.

Harper said: “Regulators may have failed to prevent it but, in the end, it was a failure of the private sector to live according to the values we as conservatives know to be true.”

Obliquely criticizing Obama’s stimulus package which raises taxes on those earning more than $250,000, the prime minister said had the opposition party (Canada’s Liberal Party which is close to the Democrats in America) been in power here, it too would have raised taxes.

Canada would also have witnessed what is happening “in the States now,” he said.

Harper said the welfare state was not the solution to all problems. “We didn’t believe it before the recession. We are not about to start believing it now. But neither can conservatives believe today that the marketplace – that which I call Wall Street – is the solution to all problems.”