Fiscal conservative

by Aaron Wherry

The Finance Minister talks to Canadian Business.

OK, you say you’re a fiscal conservative, but I know you’ve heard a lot of criticism from the conservative base. People are starting to say that when the country is running $55-billion deficits, that term “fiscal conservative” has lost its meaning. Does it have any meaning anymore?

It does. I think the key is to have a commitment to a balanced budget and to always be moving in that direction, to have a plan to be there, and to have the discipline to do it. And we will show that discipline. I’ve certainly exercised that kind of discipline before at the provincial level in order to balance budgets, and we’ll do it again federally. But in the past year, we’ve faced the most serious economic crisis globally since the Second World War. The meetings we had in the middle of October last year in Washington were in a time of deep crisis. We weren’t even sure that the markets were going to open on Monday morning. I think there’s a tendency for people to forget very quickly, because we’re out of the time of crisis right now, how deep and dangerous this crisis was for the world economy. And when we made the decision to run large deficits in Canada, we made the decision to save General Motors and Chrysler in Canada at large expense. These decisions were made because of the seriousness of the crisis. That, to me, is being a good conservative economic manager.




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Fiscal conservative

  1. Um, Mr. Flaherty, what about the record shattering spending in two budgets before the recession? What about the deficit you created before the recession?

    There are no fiscal conservatives in government right now. Just your typical "borrow and spend" conservative.

    • Ah but that was then, this is now.

  2. Forget the search for Pierre P's previous co-workers, let's turn the search into a "fiscal conservative" hunt in Harper's government. I think people who throw lavish novelty-cheque launching parties to celebrate their non-fiscal nature (notice who's smiling the biggest in all those photos?!?), find enough money to keep the mail flowing with 10-percenters 24/7, feel no shame in having us subsidize out-of-election partisan attack ads, and all sign off on taxpayer-funded dresser-psychic-piano teacher for the PM, now that's the new definition of 'fiscal conservative.'
    And I thought there should have been a laugh track when he put in those quips about his provincial record, too.

  3. "I think the key is to have a commitment to a balanced budget and to always be moving in that direction, to have a plan to be there, and to have the discipline to do it."

    Ah yes, much like the Liberals did for a decade ;)

    It bears repeating – the more we see of Jim Flaherty the happier the Liberals will be.

    • But he won 'best finance minister' and everything. He must be super-good.

  4. I think the key is to have a commitment to a balanced budget and to always be moving in that direction… Or, if not moving in that direction, to at least face that direction while moving away from it. Yeah, that's Fiscal Conservatism.

  5. LOL.

  6. The thing I love about Jim Flaherty is how he can contradict himself with such a straight face. I know that all politicians can do it to some degree, but Flaherty always looks like he actually enjoys doing it instead of having that, 'I hope they don't call me on this hypocrisy," that other politicians seem to have. For example:

    Paraphrasing his recollection of the fall of 2008: In October 2008 I was in Washington and we were alll so concerned about he economic crisis that we didn't think the markets would open on Monday.

    Paraphrasing his actual fall of 2008 perspective: My economic statement doesn't contain any stimulus, in fact it cuts the size of government and by the way the economic crisis really isn't going to hit Canada, so i'm projecting nothing but surpluses for years to come.

  7. Flaherty's answer reminds me of Bush's quip just before he left office about how he was generally fiscal conservative unless there was a crisis. If there is crisis then Keynes is the way to go, apparently.

    Flaherty might be a 'fiscal conservative' when times are easy and there is lots of money to be spent but in tough times he abandoned everything he knew to be true. I felt inspired to start humming a few bars of The Internationale while reading about collective action last October. Does Flaherty sound conservative at all in the interview?

    • I'm not sure if 'There are no atheists in foxholes' is true, but I'm pretty sure that 'there are no fiscal conservatives in a financial crisis'. At least none in political office.

  8. More Flaherty magical where the idea is that the bigger the lie, the straighter the face and the more likely gullible voters will just leave it at a he said-they said matter.

    [youtube vkk_OR6Dqt8&feature=player_embedded http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vkk_OR6Dqt8&fe... youtube]

  9. And he says I've certainly exercised that kind of discipline before at the provincial level in order to balance budgets even though he left Ontario with a 6 billion dollar deficit after several economic boom years….

  10. I think there's a tendency for people to forget very quickly, because we're out of the time of crisis right now, how deep and dangerous this crisis was for the world economy

    That is just priceless. Is it not possible Mr. Flaherty that people have forgotten how "how deep and dangerous this crisis was" because when the crisis was at it's deepest your government was saying it wasn't that big of a deal? When the crisis was at it's worst, your Prime Minister was still saying we weren't going to go into deficit. EVER. The Prime Minister even said we weren't going to have a recession at all.

    It's hilarious for the same government that insisted that the crisis wasn't a crisis to now chastise us all for forgetting what a huge crisis this was.

    There are times I think the Harper government has been working on an assumption since the last election that every day is opposite day.

    Of course, there's also the little matter of us hitting deficit territory before the recession actually hit, but this government is so crazy that that almost seems like a minor detail.

  11. I know, it's crazy isn't it!?!?

    It's like he thinks no one will remember that he left Ontario with a deficit.

  12. The only thing more dangerous than an incompetent, is an incompetent who really truly believes that he is competent, in the face of all evidence to the contrary. When the facts don't support his worldview, he is left with only one option…change the facts.

  13. Where are all the party faithful to defend Diamond Jim?

  14. There are some places even the most rabid partisans won't or can't go.

  15. But he won an award for best Minister of Finance… from Euromoney… you know, Euromoney? … the same team that awarded Lehman Bros the best bank award last year and… oh, well, nevermind.

  16. In the immortal words of George Costanza:

    just remember, it's not a lie if you believe it.

    In the world of whoppers, George ain't got nothing on ol' Jim

  17. One has difficulty escaping the conclusion that this man is an idiot. Could someone – even a Conservative partisan – please disabuse me of this?

  18. "I've certainly exercised that kind of discipline before at the provincial level in order to balance budgets, and we'll do it again federally. "

    Hey great idea Mr. Flaherty, let's do talk about the kind of discipline you exercised in Ontario.

    • LOL

      Does he think everyone in Ontario has some sort of memory disorder? Or perhaps he thinks no one in the rest of the country knows anyone in Ontario.

  19. Defend stupidity overload?

  20. Almost one hour, and no takers…

  21. Let's see

    $155K/ year, gold plated pension plan, business connections that set your grandchildren up for life

    He's not an idiot, he's an incompetent, bald faced liar – and he's our finance minister

  22. And when we made the decision to run large deficits in Canada, we made the decision to save General Motors and Chrysler in Canada at large expense. These decisions were made because of the seriousness of the crisis. That, to me, is being a good conservative economic manager.

    Minister Flaherty, I like to think of myself as a fiscal conservative. I have now re-read the above passage TWELVE TIMES, and each time I come up empty. All I get now is increasingly angry at you for what you have done to Canadians of the future.

  23. Luckily, in my mind, Canadians of the future will be robots.

    Crippling debt is less worrying when you can shoot laser beams from your eyes.

  24. "Luckily, in my mind, Canadians of the future will be robots."

    That's old school, 1950s type thinking don't you know.

    David Icke knows the truth – "7-foot (2.1 m) tall, blood-drinking, shape-shifting reptilian humanoids from the Alpha Draconis star system are the force behind a worldwide conspiracy directed at humanity. He claims that the reptilians maintain their control through the generation of fear and negative emotion, which is food to these entities, by manufacturing conflicts, primarily wars. He contends that most of the world's leaders are in fact related to these reptilians"

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reptilian_humanoid

    However, I was hoping humans would develop into Mongolian death worms because we would then have ability to spit acid and shoot lightning out of our butts.

  25. "I was hoping humans would develop into Mongolian death worms because we would then have ability to spit acid and shoot lightning out of our butts."

    You obviously haven't been to a Conservative caucus meeting.

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