Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Deficit? "Who Knows? Who Cares?" ~ Norquay

Isn't this the guy who said that we would not go into deficit? Didn't he assure all Canadians, along with hop-a-long Flaherty, that the economy was strong and that Canada would be fine? Didn't he tell you to go out and buy stocks only to see them take a dive the following day?

How, pray tell, did this man and his government get the reputation of being good fiscal managers? It was obvious before the election that they were not as they had spent more than any government in history. It was made more obvious during the election, yet the myth persisted. The media helpfully gave weight to this myth in a myriad of ways, not the least of which was citing that Harper is an economist at every opportunity. Well, news flash people! Not all economists are created equal.

So, in spite of all his bravado during the election, Harper is apparently prepared to go into deficit. He's been slowly changing his tune in recent days. After stating that Dion was panicking by issuing a 5 point plan during the debates, Harper has of course adopted most of it. He's gone on to leave the door open to a deficit, as has Flaherty, by using very precise language such as, 'we do not foresee a deficit this year'.

Of course, everything this man does, he does with an eye to what it means for him politically. Not just in the classic sense. No, he doesn't simply look to minimise reaction to unpopular decisions, he searches for ways to corner the opposition, to make them culpable for his choices. Even our economy is a big political game to him.

"We're going to have a deficit next year," a government official predicted.
"(Harper) will be able to have a deficit and take no criticism for it.

Who's going to criticize him for going into deficit when you get their buy-in first?"

A Conservative MP made it clear what political tack the government would take if forced back into the red. When asked whether he expected a deficit the MP smiled and replied: "Only if the opposition agrees."

Meaning that once again the Conservatives are consumed with setting traps to cover their own bumbling. I dare say that the Liberals have enough financial acumen, let alone political skill on their benches to avoid such stratagem.

Oh and if you think that I'm being unfair in assigning a rather cavalier (and devious) attitude to Harper and his gang, maybe hearing it from one of his top strategists will be more palatable, (go to about 6:10 on the clip).

Yes indeed. Geoff Norquay when asked whether or not the government will go into deficit replies with, "Who knows? Who cares?"

Most of us do Geoff, including, I'm sure, some Canadians who voted for your boss.


ottlib said...

The Conservatives are feeling pretty good about themselves these days because they won another election.

They still believe that this Parliament will be as easy as the last one. The easy days are over and they are going to have to make some decisions. Whatever decisions they make are going to alienate someone. That is the nature of being in power during a recession.

The Liberal strategy should be simple.

Vote against the government and let the other Opposition parties prop up this government.

If they are unwilling to do so then Mr. Harper will have proven that he cannot secure the confidence of The House so either the Liberals should be given a shot or we have another election.

Carri said...

Harper is going to blame the opposition for the deficit. If he decides to cut some service and the opposition does not want him to.... , because there will be a deficit (if he keeps that service)

wilson said...

''Harper is apparently prepared to go into deficit.''

Who says? Oh, an anonymous source.....I'm starting to think these anons are ficticious, a figment of reports imaginations.

What PMSH and Flahrety did say, was a deficit was speculation,
and all the information is not yet in.
So in other words
'how in the hell would anyone know for certain, until the end of the fical year?'
With fuel costs and interest rates down, the economy may do better than the forcasts.
Did you know Saskatchewan went to the Premiers meeting with one majory complaint:
worker shortage...lots of jobs, need workers, now!

PMSH will present a balanced budget to Parliament.
If the opps collectively oppose some of the cuts,
they will negotiate cut reversals, thusly remaking the balanced budget, into a deficit.
The only other alternative is an election, and the Cons will allow the opps deficit budget thru rather than go into an election.

p.s. ottlib, the Libs can't even pay off 2 year old debt, let alone 2008 election campaign debt and run a policy convention and leadership race.
Another election in less than a year? please...

PMSH will not want an election untill the economy shows improvement (so as he can take the credit).

Dippers are in debt too, but mostly will want to flex their new muscle for a couple of years in Parliament.

Duceppe will quit on a good note. And next up is a Quebec provincial election.

No one wants an election, the House will settle down and get to work.

Gayle said...

They sure will Wilson - and if Harper will have to put the economy into deficit, he will be breaking a promise.

See how that works?

He can try to blame the opposition, but it will be caused by his GST cuts, and subsequent overspending that eliminated that 12 billion dollar surplus you BT types were so proud of him for eliminating.

There is no chance he manages to get through this without constant reminders from the opposition that he is the one who blew the surplus -much of it in his failed attempt to woo Quebec voters.

And I see you did not follow ottlib's point - should Harper lose the confidence of the House now, so soon after the last election, the GG will likely turn to the LPC and ask them to form the government.

Anonymous said...

Does anyone remember someone making the statement that balanced budgets (ie. no deficits)are now a part of our liberal DNA? Warren left that part out quite

penlan said...

We can expect deficits. The Cons already had a small deficit in the 1st trimester of this year - & that's when things weren't as bad as they are now. Yes, they somehow recovered it but expect that by early next year there will be a deficit much deeper than the 1st one.

Of course they will try to blame the opposition (meaning Libs) & as carri said Harper will try to blame it on the fact that he wanted to cut some social program(s) but the opposition voted it down thus it's "their" fault we're in deficit.

Oh yes, they are already framing issues so that the public will be brainwashed before it happens just like they brainwashed them with their "Not a Leader" campaign & started as soon as Dion was elected Leader. Plenty of time to get it solidly out there, as you can see.

Nothing changes in the Con agenda of defamation.

Gayle said...

anon - he sure did, and if the LPC had been in government since January 2006, the surplus would have been maintained and the risk of deficit minimal.

But as it stands, the chances are good we will go into deficit, and Harper, the guy who promised otherwise, will be the one to wear it.

Penlan - the powers that be in the LPC have to stop focusing on the leadership race and start commenting to counter the CPC spin. McCallum is not running for leadership so he needs to be front and centre right now.

Susan said...

I'm with ottlib. Dosanj said it right after the election, "let the other parties prop up the cons - they won't be getting any supprot from me" - I just hope some of those gutless senior liberal weanies don't talk everyone into the same strategy as last time - I hope people remember it was not Dion who wanted to prop up the government and look where listening to others go him.

Anonymous said...

Give me a break will you! The Liberals are masters in saying one thing in an election campaign and then doing another once elected.I'll give you one example and I'm not going back to the 90's.During the campaign Mr.Dion called Mr.Harper a quitter,because Mr.Harper let it be known that he might leave politics if he would have lost the election. Well..Well..Well guess what Mr.Dion said this week that he would step down as leader of the party once they find someone to replace him. This from a man who said during the campaign and I'm not talking about election night,that he would want to stay on as leader win or lose! Remember?

Oh yea what about when Mr.Dion was running for leader of his party saying that he was against the carbon tax. He didn't just changed his mind he made it a major issue of his platform during the election,when his own party was advising him not to run on the carbon tax. If Mr.Dion was running on the carbon tax during the leadership convention,is it just possible I mean just possible that he would have not become the Liberal leader? There is a thought hu!

Do you guys only talk about economist's that say that the green shift was a good thing and not mention the same economist's that say that going into a deficit isn't necessarily a bad thing?

My point here wait and see what happens.We have all seen governments of the past say that they don't have $$$ then when it came time we had the extra $$$.If you think that the Liberals would have done everything that they promised during the election then you are really dreaming.But I digress.

Gayle said...


Of course there is nothing wrong with going into a deficit in tough times. The problem is that even knowing economists were saying that, Harper still said the CPC would not go into deficit.

Yes, the LPC said the same thing, but they were not elected, so it is Harper who will have to break his promise. Had the LPC won the election, they would have had to break that promise too, but they could have blamed that on Harper's poor economic management. Harper has no one to blame but himself.

This is why I was happy to see Harper get another minority government. The recession will come, and he will have to wear it.

Anonymous said...

Gayle a Conservative majority government would have been a blessing in disguise for the Liberals. This way the liberals will have to be on an election footing on a daily basis. In which it will cost money that they don't seem to have. The Liberals for what I could see are in worse financial shape than they were before the election started.They can't afford another election anytime soon.

Let us talk about the promise that Mr.Harper made during the 2006 election campaign when he promised not to touch the income trust shall we! How did this play out humm? Let us see Mr.Flaherty our finance minister wins in Ontario and Mr.Harper wins a much stronger minority than he did in 2006. Oh yea the Liberals became much weaker then they were in 2006.Yep I think it effected the Conservatives in a negative way.
Get the picture Gayle?

Omar said...

..a Conservative majority government would have been a blessing in disguise for the Liberals.

I second that emotion..

Gayle said...

Right - if you are seriously comparing the income trust reversal (which affected only a few people) to a recession (which will affect the entire country), then I really have nothing to say. That is quite the leap.

As for a conservative majority, the problem is that even when your guy is facing a weak liberal party, and even when that party gets its lowest voter percentage in history, he still managed to only increase his vote share by 1%. He is not going to get a majority that way.

knb said...

I tend to agree with you ottlib.

Harper will run into problems if he runs the next parliament the way he did the last, imo.
Not only with the opposition, but with the public.

knb said...

That seems to be his plan carrie, but I think we can expose him.

knb said...

wilson I'm starting to think these anons are ficticious, a figment of reports imaginations.

Unless they are Liberal sources I presume.

You claim this is all speculation and how the hell would anyone know what is to come.

Well, we do know that the GST cut,spending by this government and the reversal of maintaining a contingency, put us in a position we didn't have to be in.

Oh, and please spare me the "PMSH". It may be your wasy of abbreviating, but it's obnoxious.

knb said...

anon @ 12:33. Indeed the Lib's said that. Dion also said that he would not know what he might inherit and where that would lead.

I'd say our recent record is pretty good compared to Conservatives.

knb said...

Penlan, plus ça change...

knb said...

susan, I suspect many lessons have been learned.

Anonymous said...

Gayle name me a major institution in this country that is saying we are going into a recession? Not political pundits.From everything that I'm reading and hearing is that we will not be going into a recession not just from the government,but from people in the know.Gayle how do you explain the break threw the Conservatives made in Ontario during the financial crises,the layoffs and who can forget the Listeria case?

As to a majority you're right Gayle the Conservatives dropped the ball in Quebec but you learn from it. Next time! Now you said "As for a conservative majority, the problem is that even when your guy is facing a weak liberal party."
A weak liberal party? Whatever happened to the "TEAM" that the liberals were parading around the country? Going around saying that they had a strong bench the best team etc..etc..etc. The liberal bloggers were all saying how strong the team was behind Mr.Dion. But I digress.

Anonymous said...

To ottlib 9:50 pm

"If they are unwilling to do so then Mr. Harper will have proven that he cannot secure the confidence of The House so either the Liberals should be given a shot or we have another election."

The only way that the liberals can form a government without going into an election would be a coalition with all 3 opposition parties that includes the separatist bloc. The liberals and NDP don't have the numbers. Can you imagine the out cry across this country if the liberals,NDP and Bloc got together to form a government with a separatist party? Never going to happen period.

The second way is for the government to fall and have another election. In which it would cost millions of $$$ for the liberal party. In other words ottlib the liberals are not able financially to go into another election anytime soon whether you like it or not. That is fact.

Gayle said...

Here you go East:

Nothing is certain, but it is clear we risk going into a recession.

If the Bank's predictions are correct, the very last thing Harper will want is an election in the next year.

Anonymous said...

Gayle you just made my point. They are not predicting a recession. This is a quote from the article.

"The sky is not falling. The sky is still there, the sun is still coming up every day and the Canadian economy is still functioning,” he said. “We started from a very strong starting point.”

You said:

"If the Bank's predictions are correct, the very last thing Harper will want is an election in the next year."

Excuse me Gayle but an election in the next year is the last thing the liberals want. They can't afford one they have a huge debt load.

Gayle said...

Read the article Right.

We are in for tough times next year, and the prediction we may not go into a recession is based on such things as the dollar not falling below 85 cents US. Where was it today???

Anonymous said...

Gayle I'M done with this I've read the article,but it seems that we are going in circles. So until the next argument good evening and good night.

Oldschool said...

It seems a little strange to me that since the LPC has been out of power . . . THEY HAVE BEEN RUNNING A DEFICIT !!!!!
Could it be that they no longer are able to steal my tax dollars?

As the world economy goes up in flames . . . caused mostly by marxist radicals in the Democratic Party of the US making sure that everyone that didn't have a job could have a nice house . . .
Communists in Democrat clothing demanded that mortgage loans be approved and executed for people not qualified for home ownership. Spreading the wealth meant a concentrated effort by government to provide housing for minorities and low income people by waiving prudent underwriting rules, regardless of risk.
As it turns out, this latest example of “progressive” insanity cost American taxpayers more than a trillion dollars.
With progressive politicians in charge, prudent underwriting was replaced by idiotic business practices based on the following:
Don’t have money for a down payment? Of course you don’t, because under the Republicans all the wrong people have the money!
However, fret not, your Democrat Nanny will make an exception so that your family can get into that home without making a down payment, or by making a very small one.

Thankfully . . . enough Canucks were bright enough not to go down Dion's carbon path . . . or we would be a bad off as the Euros, whose carbon trading antics have caused huge problems.