Technically speaking, he either fibbed or flip-flopped. But the best-case explanation for the most startling about-face of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's career is that he simply failed to see bad times coming, even with hundreds of fiscal gurus on the payroll and Canada's best economists on call.
No really, I think we should stick with that 'fibbing' theory. Except we really should call it for what it is:
THEY WERE LYING!!
Stephen Harper and Jim Flaherty knew full well that the global economy was going to tank at least a year ago. They bought their first election by promising billions in cash and tax cuts they knew would eat up the surplus and put us on the thin edge. They knew that they would have no choice but to rack up a deficit when everything went south.
So they broke their own law, called an early election, and swore from here to Sunday that they would NOT run a deficit, knowing full well that they would. And beat the tar out of Dion for not promising to do the same.
That's not fibbing, Don. That's a cynical, calculated, bald-faced LIE.
But that's not even the worst part. The worst part is that they won the election on that lie. Because people believed them, despite Flaherty's track record - despite the track record of every conservative government over the past quarter century. They bought it, and now they appear to be buying the pleas of "wow, gee guys, we're really sorry but who could possibly have seen all this coming?"
Oh, yes - and they lied about the recession too.
September 15, 2008: "My own belief is if we were going to have some kind of big crash or recession, we probably would have had it by now." — Prime Minister Stephen Harper
November 25, 2008: Canada's economy entering deep recession — OECD
If they were actually that stupid it would almost be a comfort.