Well, according to the Fraser Institute, that would be Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger’s fiscal policy. In a report entitled Measuring the Fiscal Performance of Canada’s Premiers 2012, the right-wing think-tank gave Selinger the lowest grade of any sitting premier with the data available at the time—including the likes of McGuinty, Charest and former Alberta premier Ed Stelmach, who have all since resigned. Sure, it’s partially a matter of partisanship; the Manitoba NDP leader’s policies clearly don’t jive with the conservative institute. But nevertheless, some of the scores awarded to Selinger would leave me somewhat worried if I lived in our neighbouring province.
On Government Spending, where they note that “Premiers who increased spending faster than economic growth and the rate needed to compensate for inflation and population growth performed worse on this component than their counterparts,” Fraser gave Selinger a grade of 0.0 out of 100. He did not fare much better on Tackling Debt and Deficits either, putting up a total of 12.7 points. Of note, Stelmach, the former Progressive Conservative leader, didn’t fare well on spending either, with a score of just 28.6 points. Hmm, is it any wonder he didn’t last in Wild Rose country?
Not surprisingly, the top-scoring provincial leaders were all right-leaning, though it’s worth noting that the podium of Newfoundland’s Kathy Dunderdale (71.4 points), New Brunswick’s David Alward (70.4) and B.C.’s Christy Clark (60.8), who finished fourth, just behind Saskatchewan’s Brad Wall, have all been on the job for less than two years. And yes, the best anyone could do was just less than 72.
Alas, with Charest and McGuinty in the cellar, it seems that familiarity breeds contempt for Fraser, particularly towards Liberals. On that note, it’s probably worth mentioning that Selinger’s been in power since ’09—but he was Manitoba’s Minister of Finance for a full decade beforehand. No word as to whether his experience in that position was a factor, though…