By Erica Alini - Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - 0 Comments
The government released its annual fall assessment of Canada’s economic and fiscal situation today, which updates projections it made in the March budget. If you’ve read a few different press reports about it, you have good reason to feel confused.
Here’s how the Globe and Mail opens on the Fall Economic Update:
This year’s federal deficit is on track to be nearly $7-billion larger than what Ottawa projected in March, as lower prices for commodities, lower economic growth and increased spending on veterans benefits have thrown the Conservative government’s deficit numbers off track over the short term.
And here’s what Bloomberg remarks about the upward revision to this year’s projected budget deficit:
The deficit for the current fiscal year was raised to C$26 billion from C$21.1 billion, little changed from the previous year.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, November 12, 2012 at 5:22 PM - 0 Comments
Jim Flaherty will apparently deliver his fall economic update to a luncheon crowd in Fredericton tomorrow. Last year, he delivered the update in Calgary. Two years ago, he presented it in Mississauga. Three years ago, he presented in it Victoria.
It will now be four years since Mr. Flaherty delivered his fall economic update to the House. You might remember that economic update as the one that nearly brought about the defeat of the Conservative government.
A year ago, Joe Comartin said that presenting the economic update outside the House “demeans the role of Parliament and parliamentarians.”
By Aaron Wherry - Thursday, November 10, 2011 at 8:30 AM - 3 Comments
Scott Clark and Peter DeVries find the Finance Minister’s budget update to be “lacking in transparency, accountability, and a realistic assessment of economic and fiscal prospects and risks.” And they suggest Mr. Flaherty start planning like Paul Martin did.
Mr. Martin’s lesson was simple. Once you have chosen the policy actions you believe are required, and given the economic assumptions, choose “risk adjustments” or “allowance for prudence” that will virtually guarantee you will not miss the target. Such a situation is “win-win” for the government. If the economy turns out better then you get credit. If the economy performs as bad as assumed you also get credit for your “prudent planning” …
Mr. Flaherty wants to now claim that he will eliminate the deficit in 2015-16. This is a mistake because the risks and evidence are stacked against this happening. It is virtually certain that he will have to revise his planning assumptions before or in the 2012 budget. It will be even more embarrassing if he has to revise it immediately after the budget.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 4:27 PM - 47 Comments
NDP House Leader Joe Comartin argued the Conservative tactic “demeans the role of Parliament and parliamentarians.” He said it follows the government’s strategy of disrespecting democracy by bringing in time allocation and closure to shut down routine debate on legislation … “I think it obviously gives the government an advantage of being able to put out whatever their messaging is, even if there are some negative parts, without having to be concerned about an immediate response in the House from the opposition parties.”
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 3:50 PM - 5 Comments
The prepared text of the Finance Minister’s remarks is here.
Countries, just like individuals, do not stumble into prosperity. They set out a plan and stick to it, so that they are fully capable of seizing opportunity when misfortune hits, instead of merely being overwhelmed by it.
That’s not to say, of course, that our Government believes an inflexible approach for every conceivable scenario is anything to admire.
For those of you scoring at home, six references are made to flexibility against ten references to stability.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 3:13 PM - 32 Comments
In March, the Harper government announced that it would return the federal books to balance in the 2015-2016 fiscal year. Seventeen days later, the Conservatives changed their minds and promised instead to return to balance in 2014-2015. Seven months to the day after that, the Harper government has decided it can’t fulfill April’s promise and is going back to March’s projection (at the earliest).
Depending on how you count these things, this is either the third or fifth return-to-balance projection the government has offered in the last three years (first 2013-2014, then 2014-2015, then 2015-2016, then back to 2014-2015 and now back to 2015-2016).
Including Mr. Harper’s vow in 2008 that a government led by him would “never” go into deficit, this is the second time in three years that the Conservatives have made a balanced-budget promise during an election campaign only to abandon it after being reelected.
By Aaron Wherry - Tuesday, November 8, 2011 at 8:30 AM - 16 Comments
If, as variously reported, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty delivers the fall economic and fiscal update to the Calgary Chamber of Commerce today, it will be the third-straight fall he has delivered the update to an audience other than the House of Commons. Last year it was the Mississauga Chinese Business Association who enjoyed Mr. Flaherty’s presence, two years ago it was the Victoria Chamber of Commerce.
Granted, the last time Mr. Flaherty did deliver the update in the House, what he had to say nearly brought about his government’s defeat.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, August 10, 2009 at 10:39 AM - 46 Comments
Jim Flaherty, November 27. We cannot ask Canadians to tighten their belts during tougher times without looking in the mirror. Canadians have a right to look to government as an example. We have a responsibility to show restraint and respect for their money. Canadians’ tax dollars are precious. They must not be spent frivolously or without regard to where they came from. Canadians pay taxes so governments can provide essential services. They trust the people they elect to serve society with that money, not serve themselves … Canadians pay their own bills and for some Canadians that is getting harder to do. Political parties should pay their own bills, too, and not with excessive tax dollars. Even during the best of economic times, parties should count primarily on the financial support of their own members and their own donors. Today our government is eliminating the $1.75 per vote taxpayer subsidy for politicians and their parties effective April 1, 2009. There will be no free ride for political parties. There never was. The freight was being paid by the taxpayers. This is the last stop on the route. There will be no free ride for anyone else in government either.
Stephen Fletcher, August 10. Mr. Fletcher also defended the Ten Percenter program, saying that people might not like the content of the flyers but they contribute to the “public discourse.”