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The economy: best news of the day


 

Nearly three years after he became finance minister, Jim Flaherty will now begin seeking advice on economic matters from people who aren‘t freaking idiots.


 

The economy: best news of the day

  1. Jack Mintz is one of the smartest people in the country on taxation issues. It’s not like the senior officials at Finance were unaware of his work before, but to the extent his brilliance on taxation issues is being more formally recognized, all the better.

  2. Who does Flaherty get advice from now? I assumed it was Finance mandarins and senior bank officials. If so, I agree with your ‘idiots’ description.

    Whatever else I think of this new council, I like the fact that they will be working for $1 a year. It brings back memories of when public employees thought of it as service and not as a job with a great pension.

  3. Are you including the town hall meetings in that Paul, because they better hire the elephants now since they will quickly turn into three ring circuses.

  4. Wasn’t this Point #2 on Stephane Dion’s 5-point plan for the economy?

    (http://www.liberal.ca/story_15109_e.aspx)

    Didn’t we all laugh at this back then? I know I did, and I’m pretty sure Paul did too.
    I think they’ve actually hit all 5 points by now, though it took them longer than 30 days.

  5. How about Flaherty resigning? Why can’t we start there?

  6. Jack Mintz? Carole Taylor?

    Maybe they will propose that the federal govenrment commit to hefty corporate tax cuts and personal tax cuts aimed at the lower and middle classes and that the revenue be replaced with a tax on something like … uhm … I don’t know, how about Carbon?

  7. Paul…. Just heard Jungle Jim on National Radio say he is working on Canada’s trouble in our (long pause) “Weak Economy” if I was mad inside I am now dam mad….. Hello? 71,000 jobs lost last month and his dam lies about a small surplus against our educated professionals stating a deficit of around $14 Billion! reports of 500,000 jobs lost in the auto industry, reports from England of 370,000 by 2012 jobs in the City of London alone, our largest trading partner now has over one million lost jobs and three million more waiting in the wings….. “Weak Economy Sir” dam you…. I still hope matter of fact I will pray and lite a candle…. for help from heaven that Santa puts some backbone in our Canadian journalist stockings to demad the truth and print it because the few who are carrying the load do need help…. Thank you MacLeans your professional script has not gone unnoticed ….. Best wishes to all … to be continued………..

  8. Seeking advice…not necessarily taking advice.

  9. What !? No Neil Brooks ? Pshaw !

  10. Very likely most of the people Flaherty was listening to up till now were a mix of competent but not visionary – finance officials – and self-interested and corrupt – lobbyists and party hacks. Now we can be assured that his number one source of input will be a small group of Very Rich People whose first order of business will be saving their own wealth. This is why they’re working for 1$ – they’re not in it to make money via paycheque when there’s So Much More to be made by influencing the policy response to this crisis. This play already has already unfolded south of the border. I don’t expect anything different here.

    People who should be listened to: exclusively, people who foresaw this crisis, particularly foresaw it in Canada, and who provided detailed reasons therefore.

    In contrast, listening to people who are vested in maintaining the status quo, likely at any cost, should not be listened to.

  11. I’m still *stunned* that the Liberal campaign in Whitby-Oshawa did not focus on asking voters whether they wanted a representative who effectively told employers to NOT give them jobs.

  12. Look people, look! A shiny thing.

  13. Ooooooh. Shiny.

  14. Well, you have Paul Desmarais Jr. of Power Corp, and the co-creator of the BlackBerry, so I guess the conspiracy nuts will be happy.

  15. Didn’t we all laugh at this back then? I know I did, and I’m pretty sure Paul did too.
    I think they’ve actually hit all 5 points by now, though it took them longer than 30 days.

    That’s because the CPC had *six* objectives…and that far better plan takes more time you know…

    Austin

  16. Paul,

    As always, you make me smile. Thanks for the levity.

  17. Who is the economist?

    I see they have the Director of the Canadian Coalition of Democracies. “Communist China” better watch out.

  18. It brings back memories of when public employees thought of it as service and not as a job with a great pension.

    How DARE they think of their jobs as… jobs. I call for a volunteer Department of Finance! Let the Girl Guides take over the Food Inspection Agency! There’s no listeria in them cookies!

  19. By the way, here is the dull object, also released today.

    OTTAWA — The federal government is anticipating at least four years of budget deficits – even before Ottawa spends a dime on stimulating the economy.
    According to papers released by the Finance Department, Ottawa foresees annual deficits of $5 billion, $5.5 billion, $4 billion and $1 billion in the next four fiscal years.
    It expects to edge back into the black in the fifth year of the budget horizon.
    The deficits are forecast to occur even if the government proceeds with billions of dollars in asset sales and cost cutting it proposed in the doomed Nov. 27 economic update.
    The documents also suggest Ottawa may slip into the red in the current fiscal year – instead of posting the $2.3-billion surplus predicted in last February’s budget.

  20. The deficits are forecast to occur even if the government proceeds with billions of dollars in asset sales and cost cutting it proposed in the doomed Nov. 27 economic update.
    The documents also suggest Ottawa may slip into the red in the current fiscal year – instead of posting the $2.3-billion surplus predicted in last February’s budget.

    Ahhh….now that is fiscal stewardship! That is preparation and anticipation!

    Onward ho!

    Austin

  21. From CTV story: “Flaherty will not be bound by any recommendations he receives from the council.”

    In other words, Stephen Harper won’t be. So it could still turn out badly.

  22. It’s good to see that the owners and operators of several provinces are invited to the table.

    Mavericky.

  23. Sisyphus: You immediately spotted the Irving as well, I take it?

  24. This whole article and thread would have waaaay more entertaining if “freaking idiots” was linked to something.

  25. “How DARE they think of their jobs as… jobs. I call for a volunteer Department of Finance! Let the Girl Guides take over the Food Inspection Agency! There’s no listeria in them cookies!”

    Haha… nice.

  26. Oh, boy. Paul “Canada is too democratic” Desmarais Jr advising Jim “criminalize poverty” Flaherty.

    I feel much better (that I work in a counter-cyclical industry).

    With a local-affairs journalist-turned MLA, a media CEO, an oil investment expert, a chamber of commerce president, two actual successful businessmen, a former director of a free-market anti-interventionist think-tank, a car dealership owner, an IT outsourcer and a divisional director of a rapidly failing home reno chain that recently misplaced $100,000,000 of inventory (not publically released knowledge, just he said/she said), what could go wrong?

    Um, is that the same James D. Irving as: http://cases.justia.com/us-court-of-appeals/F2/245/354/253746/ ?

  27. It would be too easy to suggest that there was only one ‘freaking idiot’ advising Flaherty until now – the ‘economist’, ‘brilliant strategist’, ‘smartest guy in the room’ guy.

  28. The James D. Irving in question, Shenping , is the serial tax evading heir currently resident ( for tax purposes ) in Bermuda.

    Thereby a shining example of Canadian corporate culture and eminently qualified for the task at hand.

  29. They may not be freaking idiots, but neither are they Keynesians. In fact, I think they could be fairly characterized as the high priests and priestesses of laissez faire, continentalist, corporate capitalism in Canada. They should be more than able to deliver some do-nothing policy options telegraphed to them in advance by Harper without too much wailing and gnashing of teeth. I can’t wait for the townhall meetings where they will meet lots of angry unemployed people, should be too much fun.

    So if I have this right : Carole Taylor, the chair, introduced the carbon tax in B.C. ; Isabelle Hudon is a former political hack and PR/GR flak made good who also, as President and C.E.O. of the Metropolitan Montreal Board of Trade, protested against the culture cuts in Quebec during the last federal election campaign ; James A. Pattison is a trustee of the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation (!) ; Ajit Someshwar is a Director of the Canadian Coalition for Democracies, a pro-Israel, pro-India and very pro-Conservative Party group which has been, let’s just say not very Muslim friendly ; while at the Canada Development Investment Corporation, Annette Verschuren was responsible for privatization of various Crown Corporations and was recently appointed to the North American Competitiveness Council, part of Harper’s pro-continentalist Security & Prosperity Partnership of North America.

    Companies these individuals are or have been connected to : Woodbridge Company Limited, Thomson-Reuters, CTV Globemedia, Royal Bank Financial Group, Power Corp, Suez (!), Tristone Capital Inc., J.D. Irving Limited, Research In Motion, Bell Canada, Brookfield Asset Management, Canfor Corporation, Sun-Rype Products, Telesat, CSI Group, Imasco Ltd.

    What was it that Marx said about the liberal-democratic state being the management committee of the capitalist class ? Too funny.

    In any case, Harper himself will decide in the end what he wants to do or not do. No wonder Jimmy looked so uncomfortable during his press conference today.

  30. Oops ! The Security & Prosperity Partnership of North America was Martin’s baby, not Harper’s, although Harper appointed Verschuren. Mea maxima culpa.

  31. From UPI (US) “Canada appoints team of $1 budget advisers”

  32. The best advisors a loonie can buy, eh?

  33. I just heard this news on the CBC five pm newscast. Like one of the earlier writers, my first thought was , “Wasn’t this the idea that Dion put forward in the campaign”? Sounds like it to me. I’ve tried to take some comfort over the past couple of years watching Harper stay in office by acting like a Liberal (lots of spending, no principles, expediency first), but I’m getting tired of it. Let’s just have some real Liberals running the country. At least I could stop feeling ashamed every time I read an article about what the Harper government is doing to thwart efforts to get some action on climate change.

  34. I wonder if Jack Mintz will recommend tax cuts!

    If only we had some sort of department in the government to craft economic policy, a “department of finance” if you will.

  35. But will these wise folks be working out of the Parliamentary Library? Or will we get to know what they have to say? Oh, wait…

    • They’ll be working out of a Dollar Store.

      • Oh great, so now our economic wisdom is “Made in China,” too.

  36. So the budget of the Budget Officer, Kevin Page, has just been slashed. Well, that was totally predictable.

  37. Hmm, yes, because when I think “handling the economy well” these days, I think of Captains of Industry.

  38. Irving! Come on.

  39. Maybe when Harper was saying, with earnest vitriol, that advocating a Carbon tax would be advocating doomsday, he wished not to be taken seriously. But it is very difficult to know when Harper wishes to be taken seriously.

    Harper won’t listen to this panel. It contains Jack Mintz, a man, if one takes what Harper says seriously, he must little respect for. Carbon taxes are “liberal ideas”, according to the conservatives. I guess in the say way as how the Soviets considered genetics to be a bourgeois western idea. (Sadly, this isn’t hyperbole, they’ve proven that is how they think of ideas they disagree with.)

    http://www.canada.com/topics/news/features/decisioncanada/story.html?id=0d4bef8c-d269-44a9-a4c8-ed3314e8c781
    http://www.canada.com/globaltv/national/story.html?id=7fffc291-66d8-42e3-bee5-985f99cd98f0
    http://www.thestar.com/FederalElection/article/497417

    (etc. Just Google Harper and Carbon Tax.)

  40. Flaherty has to look like he’s doing something so this advisory council is window dressing, nothing more. This economy is a falling piano. You can’t catch it, there’s nothing that will stop it. When it hits the ground we’ll clean up the mess.

    • Flaherty is bloody well doing something. He (and now Carney) are presently starring in perhaps the most important and profound financial and economic drama in this country’s history. The Financial Post part of the National Post has had some good articles, and the Globe & Mail broke Carney’s involvement today — along with an additional datum that brings the total bailout amount for this issue to $4.5 billion, about the same as for the auto industry. We’ve got a few links at our blog.

      What I’m talking about is the climax of the ABCP market / Montreal Accord story; among other things the largest Canadian bankruptcy ever and a tale so tangled and boring that it just about defines the word FNORD.

      If the Jim & Mark show pull off the impossible there is a faint hope that the world will not replay the Panic of 1873 — five or six years worth of complete systemic breakdown, class warfare, and epic religious and social intolerance. The Crisis of 2007 started on Bay Street a year ago August, and unless Canadians find a practical way to restart short-term corporate finance so that they create a template that can be used by the clowns who have been fighting this monster in Washington, The City, etc. we face the immediate prospect of an event that will sear the souls of the next generation, world wide.

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