Liveblogging Flaherty’s economic statement

4:09pm: Persuant to a standing order I do not recall, the Minister of Finance tables his economic statement.

4:10pm: Time of unprecedented economic deterioration. Uh oh, this sounds bad.

4:11pm: IMF projects global growth weakest since ’93. Good thing the IMF puts Canada in the best fiscal position of the G7.

4:13pm: CTV reports that the Liberals will not support the economic statement. This statement is a matter of confidence and if defeated would precipitate an election.

4:14pm: Reformation of global finance will be done with global partners.

4:15pm: Trade will be expanded.

4:15pm: Opposition mocks Flaherty for saying the government planned for the downturn last year.

4:15pm: Taxes have been reduced by $200B. Investments have been made in infrastructure, S&T and training.

4:16pm: Funding for infrastructure projects. Taxes down by equivalent of 2% GDP. Sustainable and permanent tax relief.

4:19pm: Canada will come out of the crisis in a strong position because it went in a strong position.

4:21pm: Will not engineer a surplus just to say we have one.

4:21pm: Budget is balanced for now, but future injection of government stimulus may move Canada into deficit.

4:22pm: Days of chronic structural deficits are behind us.

4:23pm: Tax dollars for political parties and tax credits for donations brought up. Flaherty talking about the $1.75 per vote subsidy. Political parties should pay their own bills without excessive tax dollars.

4:25pm: $1.75 subsidy gone as of April 2009.

4:26pm: Spending growth will follow sustainable track.

4:27pm: Spending review will also look into crown corporations. Government will save $15B over the next five years because of expenditure management system.

4:28pm: re: public sector… New legislation will put in place “annual wage increases for the federal public administration, including senior members of the public service, as well as Members of Parliament, Cabinet Ministers, and Senators, of 2.3 per cent in 2007–08 and 1.5 per cent for the following three years, for groups in the process of bargaining for new agreements.”For groups with collective agreements already covering 2008–09, the 1.5 per cent would apply for the remainder of the three-year period starting at the anniversary date of the collective agreement. In addition, the legislation would suspend the right to strike on wages through 2010–11.” Some honourable socialist members: “oh, oh”.

4:32pm: Largest increase in infrastructure spending. $6B in spending. Aim is to provide new jobs.

4:33pm: Flaherty wants more power to help sustain the banking industry. These powers would include:
– Funding in the unlikely event that there is a draw on the Canadian Lenders Assurance Facility.
– The Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation (CDIC) to establish a bridge bank as a further resolution tool to help preserve banking functions.
– An increase in the borrowing limit of CDIC to $15 billion to reflect the growth of insured deposits since the last increase in 1992.
– The Minister of Finance to provide the CDIC Board of Directors broader scope of action when systemic risk concerns may result from the potential failure of a member institution.
– The power to direct CDIC to undertake resolution measures when necessary to prevent adverse effects on financial stability.
– The provision to CDIC of greater flexibility in the timing of preparatory examinations.
– The Government to inject capital into federal financial institutions to support financial stability, with appropriate provisions to protect taxpayers.

4:37pm: taking action to allow RRIF holders to keep more money in their RRIFs.

4:40pm: increase available credit to the exporting sector. $350 million injection of credit for these businesses.

4:41pm: Inject an additional $350 million of capital to the BDC to help SMEs.

4:44pm: “The greatest histories are written in the toughest times”

4:45pm: Scott Brison to respond for the opposition. Demands a “real action plan”. Brison accuses Conservatives of symbolism over substance. Conservatives have provided gimmicks instead of a game plan. “Nothing for manufacturing, autos”.

4:46pm: Brison: PM wants to change the channel from economy to politics. Canadians are hurting. They want talk on economics rather than politics.

4:48pm: Brison bringing out the personal anecdotes describing real Canadians and real concerns. Liberal are making this statement out to be about that $1.75 vote subsidy cut.

4:50pm: Brison accusing the Conservatives of huge spending and huge cuts at the same time.

4:51pm: Brison: government is selling the house to pay for the groceries.

4:51pm: Brison calls Flaherty “Deficit Daddy”.

4:52pm: NDP will not support economic statement.

4:53pm: CTV reports that the government is digging in their heels on the $1.75 subsidy.

4:55pm: Brison brings up Obama and speaks about his economic team and accuses the Conservatives of schemes.

5:00pm: Brison calls for “a new deal”. Brison’s seat mate earlier called out “FDR”

5:01pm: Gilles Duceppe responds for the Bloc. Duceppe: hat was presented was not an economic statement but an ideological statement.

5:02pm: Duceppe: government blind to urgent need to stimulate the economy. Government is attacking democracy, women’s rights and worker’s rights. Government has attacked Quebec.

5:03pm: Duceppe: government has sparked a democratic crisis.

5:03pm: Duceppe: economic statement runs against Quebec’s interests.

5:04pm: Duceppe: Bloc will not cave in on its principles.

5:06pm: Duceppe: Bloc ready to support the reduction of the size of the state.

5:12pm: Bloc Quebecois will oppose the economic statement.

5:13pm: Layton responds for the NDP. He’s got his wounded face on.

5:14pm: Layton: government has failed to act on the economic crisis. Layton is speaking quietly and slowly to show concern and disappointment.

5:15pm: Here comes the anger. Now Layton is doing some finger pointing.

5:19pm: Layton applauds Duceppe and Brison for “standing up to ideology”.

5:21pm: Layton reiterates NDP’s position that they will vote against the economic statement.

Comments

comments

  • David K

    Would the opposition really be so petty as to bring down the government over this?

  • bec

    An obscene and repugnent display of arrogance from 2 spoiled parties during these difficult economic times. Mr Ignatiaff is on MDL speaking for “all Canadians” …from his 3 city party….good Luck! I am shaking I am so angry at these jokers.

  • http://blog.ederek.net dbo789

    What I'm worried about is that they will, but not cause an election. I've overheard rumors that the opposition parties have been consulting their constitutional lawyers to see if there is a viable oppurtunity that if the government is voted down on a confidence motion, that the GG would ask one of the opposition parties (Liberals) to lead. That would be a sad, sad day for Canada.

  • machiavelli

    What kind of legitimate fiscal conservative would decline to “engineer a surplus” and thereby jeopardize positioning his country with a future of job slaughtering and standard of living carnage due to a series of deficits? Prime Minister Harper must end his ongoing plunge to the far left, and must begin listening to fiscal conservatives rather than making insane, socialistic statements about how “deficits are essential”. .

    Rather than directing us to be “pragmatic”, he should be advocating conservative pragmatism to guarantee that we stay out of a deficit position by cutting much, much more than $15 billion in 3 years. The last position he must take is to contribute to corporate welfare by bailing out the auto, or any other corporation with funny money.

    Finance Minister Flaherty should have told Canadians that the genuine fiscal conservative Conservative government was going to ”engineer a surplus” by:

    eliminating the $1.75-per-vote taxpayer free ride subsidy for politicians and their parties;

    Rather than maintaining “spending growth on a sustainable tract” ,the $200 billion plus program budget will be considerably cut;

    Directing government ministers and deputy ministers from every single department and agency of the Government to cut their spending on travel, hospitality, conferences, exchanges ,professional services, polling, consultants and external legal services by 3% in fiscal year 2008;

    Directing all government departments and crown corporation to cut 10% from their 2009 budget beginning in March 2009;

    Freezing all politicians, public servants wages, freezing al civil service growth and eradicating their right to strike;

    Eliminating any growth in equalization payments to the provinces for the next two years, at least.

    By implementing these relatively easy and harmless steps our Prime Minister would be converted into a genuine fiscal conservative and would turn into a person that Canadians could brag to the rest of the world about.

    Legitimate small-c fiscal, social and judicial conservatives, who already feel abandoned, are adamant that, under no circumstance, should Canada practice deficit spending. As Don Drummond was quoted as saying the other day:” That’s not something Ottawa should take lightly,”

    –machiavelli

  • Kingston

    The only way the entire LPC shows up to vote on Monday, is if they know that their is some other way to grab power then going through another election. The numbers I have heard is they are carrying about 10 M in debt right now, if they vote down the govt, they will need to borrow the full twenty million because I do not believe they will get their refund until EC is finishing vetting the last elections expense,. What bank is going to loan the LPC 20 M hoping the CPC doesn't win and cut off their ability to re-pay and if there is one, wonder what the heck the interest rate is going to be.

  • Phil

    “going through another election would bankrupt the party even more that removing the subsidies is going to.”

    This is true, at least in the short term. The Liberals would lose $7.7 million a year or roughly $23 million over 3 years. Alternatively, if there is an election, it would cost the Liberals about $20 million+ over 6 weeks. That's if they can even get $20 million. Since they don't have the money themselves, they'll have to borrow it from the banks who aren't lending (re: credit crisis). Interesting predicament I'd say.

  • http://www.stephentaylor.ca Stephen Taylor

    Approve
    Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

  • Scott

    I laughed my head off when I heard the proposal to remove the subsidy, because I knew it would hobble the separatists, and destroy the liberals.

    But because of that, I think they'll pretty much have to vote against the update. AND they have to avoid an election. Which means the NDP dream scenario, of a Liberal minority propped up by them and the other left wing parties.

    This could have been a miscalculation.

  • Scott

    Here's another few possibilities. I have to believe that Harper has thought this out, what's the rest of the plan?

    1. Harper joins with the NDP, in a once in confederation attempt to destroy the Liberals forever. The Greens and Bloc are severly hobbled. Maybe trade off PR with the NDP? We end up in a two party state?
    2. Harper adds a stimulus package, but keeps the party funding cuts. Now the opposition line about voting against due to lack of stimulus is gone. See who blinks.
    3. Harper wants the left in this country to be in power for the recession. PM Iggy is in charge for the next two years, Harper gets a majority in 2011.

    Didn't Sun Tzu say you must always leave your enemy an escape route? How can the opposition possibly allow it to pass?

    The only way is to buy off the NDP. They're the only ones that could plausibly survive without the funding.

  • john davis

    If there is an election or the Liberals are asked to form the government…will Dion step down when a new Liberal leader is chosen in April? Not Likely. It came as no surprise when Dion decided to stay on as Liberal leader…he was hoping for this very thing. Buckle your seatbelts it's going to be a very interesting next couple of weeks.

  • Anthony

    I see the campaign funding axe as a red-herring. Flaherty's announcement today was wholly vapid – in comparison to other Western countries are lack of economic stimulus is embarrassing. But he puts in this bit about campaign spending to make the daily debate be 'opposition parties greedy over lost funds' rather than the real headline 'Flaherty completely insane'. Don't be fooled. By talking about the funding cuts we're taking the bait. Let's talk about the stimulus, or lack thereof.

  • Richard Romano

    Did the bailout really work in the US? The markets are way down — it didn't work as well as they thought. Shouldn't we wait until we hear exactly what needs to be done? What about GM? Should we give them billions without them releasing some sort of revised business plan?

    Throwing money at causes is a left-wing concept — when has throwing money at education helped? Do you think our schools are better? The Canadian people elected a Conservative minority, and they expect them to govern in a fiscally responsible manner. Don't like it? Vote Liberal or NDP.

  • Michael

    Yes, this is a political blunder. How stupid could he be. It will not go down well with the public and will feed into the idea Harper is scary. Should have saved that sort of thing for a majority. I think this might be his downfall.

  • Michael

    The vast majority did!

  • Tim

    First of all, Stephen Harper does not have a mandate to do anything. He received less then half the popular vote of the worst turn out of voters in Canadian history.

    The “majority” of who voted do not what a right leaning conservative power. The issue here is there is only 1 right leaning party that merged years ago to gain voting power. The left needs to merge as well. Once that happens, conservatives along with your idea of a “mandate” will disappear completely. Canada is a centre left country, it has no room for the conservatives.

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