Jim Flaherty will hear you now


The Finance Minister, speaking to a crowd of 450 at the Park Royal Shopping Centre in Vancouver.

“These are extraordinary times and extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures. It also calls for extraordinary listening.”

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Jim Flaherty will hear you now

  1. I wasn’t aware that Big Jim could even engage in ordinary listening, let alone extraordinary listening.

    • I doubt if there were any homeless people there.

      • There were however a few income trust investors there. The decision to double tax income trusts will haunt wee Jim to his grave. This move was incredibly unpopular with Canadian small investors.

        “Several people attacked Flaherty for imposing a tax on income trusts, a plan he unveiled in late 2006 and that one man said “destroyed” income trusts.”

        From CP:

        But one point of contention was the Conservative tax on income trusts.

        “What you did when you destroyed the income trusts in your October Halloween budget (in 2006) was terrible,” one man said. “We suffered thousands of dollars in losses.”

        Another man told the finance minister much the same thing.

        “You need to unring the bell on income trusts and restore them,” he said. “They need to be restored because Canadians are suffering huge losses.”

        • Questioning income trusts puts seniors at risk
          Stephen Harper
          National Post
          Wednesday, October 26, 2005

          Many seniors feel the government is putting their retirement at risk and have let Ottawa know. In a letter to the Finance Minister, the Canadian Association of Retired Persons said, “Seniors are actually enraged, frightened and panicked about potentially losing retirement savings that they count on for the essentials of daily living.”

          Income trusts are popular with seniors because they provide regular payments that are used by many to cover the costs of groceries, heating bills and medicine. They also provide tax relief from a government that is addicted to taking too much money from their pockets and spending it without care, and very often without meaningful results.

          So one must ask, why is the government clamping down on the retirement savings of seniors and investors?

          But it gets worse. Instead of immediately moving to assure markets that income trusts are here to stay, the Liberals are justifying their actions in the coldest political terms. As one government member was quoted in the media as saying about income trust investors, “They have no constituency. They don’t count politically.”

          That kind of arrogance cannot go unanswered. There is just no justification for what amounts to a Liberal government attack on investors, and especially on seniors.

          The government continues to overtax Canadians and run multi-billion dollar surpluses, yet their first instinct is to attack an investment vehicle that can make the difference between bare survival and a dignified retirement for millions of Canadians.

          • Stephen Harper Harper on Global TV, December 02, 2005

            “When Ralph Goodale tried to tax Income Trusts … don’t forget, don’t forget this …they showed us where they stood. They showed us about their attitudes towards raiding seniors hard earned assets and a Conservative government will never allow either of these parties to get away with that.”

  2. I think he might be number two on my most-hated politician list. Lots of pols I disagree with or don’t like, but few who warrant such outright disdain.

    • Who is number one?

      • David Miller of course! By a country mile!

    • Really? He’s my number one. Mostly, because even after he tries a little experiment, and it fails, he tries it again the exact same way, and it fails, the same experiment tried by many others fails, and he still thinks the underlying theory is sound! At what point will he ever say to himself, “Hmm, maybe I need to rethink this?” Oh yes, that and the arrogance, and the inability to see things from another viewpoint, and the lack of compassion.

  3. Listening used to be a passive activity.

    But then the management gurus decided there could be “active listening”. You know, nodding your head and asking pertinent questions either to clarify or reinforce the sense that you have, indeed, *heard* your interlocutor.

    Extraordinary listening must be the new evolution in listening. Maybe it involves an iPod and jelly beans. I will be looking forward to the next round of training options to see what’s up.

    • hahaha. Maybe ‘active listening’ is nodding head but ‘extraordinary listening’ is when you tilt your head to the side a bit to show sympathy.

  4. I really hate it when politicans leave Ottawa and go out in the country looking for input from the citizens. I can see why there is such disdain for Flaherty ( is he the Flaherty from SCTV )—-imagine him thinking that there was any ideas worth listening to other then those from the good media folk and creative bureaucrats of Ottawa.

    • I am with you. I am not a big fan of Flaherty but I always applaud any pol who leaves Ottawa and exposes himself to the hoi polloi.

      I just wish Flaherty would come to my town, I would ask him some tough questions but I would also suggest he get a thesaurus and look up extraordinary.

      • I don’t think he really is exposing himself to the hoi polloi. His appearance in his own riding was only publicly announced a day before, so I expect his ‘public’ meeting was stacked with riding association types.

      • I’m afraid the hoi polloi will be traumatized. I say, keep that trenchcoat behaviour where it belongs – in dark cinemas.

        • You folks know that ‘hoi’ means ‘the,’ right?

          • Nope. Full disclosure – I don’t really know what “polloi” is either. I have always just sort of winged its meaning. Does it mean Joe the Plumber?

    • just a hunch william, but i think it may be the execution, not the idea, that people are taking issue with….

  5. To be fair, we all say things that we’d wish we could take back the moment we said them. This is probably one of those times for Jim.

    • Yeah, he probably regrets saying that he is willing to listen.

  6. The key word here is “extraordinary”. Flaherty says it four times in one sentence. So, a budget deficit of 40, 50 billion is okay because — you guessed it, we’re living in extraordinary times.

  7. Extraordinary listening? What is needed is extraordinary judgement guided by extraordinary vision. Extraordinary listening without either of these is meaningless at best, hazardous at worst.

  8. Honestly, people, is this a bad thing? From the article that Wherry linked to:

    Flaherty addressed the audience for a brief 10 minutes before calling on attendees to come forward with their thoughts and questions.
    “I’m not thin skinned. So you can be frank, you can be clear and lucid and direct.”

    and a paragraph down…

    Several people attacked Flaherty for imposing a tax on income trusts, a plan he unveiled in late 2006 and that one man said “destroyed” income trusts.
    The minister took notes throughout the meeting and occasionally asked follow-up questions after a suggestion was made.

    Now, I honestly don’t believe there’s a great deal of value beyond appearances to taking advice from the unwashed masses (honestly, how many average Canadians can’t manage their own finances?) over experts, but Flaherty did listen, took notes, and asked questions.

    • Jonathan, does all that seem “extraordinary” to you? Perhaps to Jim F it is.

    • In all seriousness, thank you for elaborating beyond what was presented to us for merry-making and good on him.

  9. Where has the discussion on tax reform been?
    We hear infrastructure and tax cuts being thrown around in the discussion of what many consider to be the most important budget in Canadian history. Shouldn’t possible reforms of our taxation structure also enter into the debate, while we have this opportunity?