‘There’s no other reason why you couldn’t have done both’

The Hill Times talks to Scott Clark, a former deputy minister of finance, about the need to prorogue Parliament before delivering a budget.

Scott Clark, a former Finance deputy minister, however, said that Finance ministers have always engaged in pre-budget consultations and while the March 3 budget will be an important one that requires consultations in order to understand the public mood and “not surprise anybody,” governments are always able to plan their budgets when the House is sitting.

“I don’t think prorogation has anything to do with anything, if you can’t plan a budget with the House sitting, that strikes me as a bit odd. Every budget that I’ve ever worked on, and I worked on a lot, the House wasn’t prorogued. The minister carried on doing his job and we planned a budget and I don’t see why this particular budget requires more consultation than any other budget that this government has done, quite frankly, and there’s no other reason why you couldn’t have done both,” said Mr. Clark.

… Mr. Clark said consultations are “good politics but at the end of the day not much of that actually sees the budget.”




Browse

‘There’s no other reason why you couldn’t have done both’

  1. Cue the Conbots attacking this man's character.

    Glad to have all this on the record. I've felt for a while that the notion of backbench MP's contributing to the budget was the funniest thing about this prorogation business. Only slightly less funny is the notion of Jim Flaherty being too exhausted by QP each day that he cannot plan the budget. You could do a whole stand-up routine consisting only of such CPC talking points.

    • Well, in Flaherty's defense, being wrong is very exhausting

    • I don't think you know how difficult it is to make things up and still sound plausible.

      • Plausible to whom? The real danger here is that CPC backbenchers may be taking the Government's rhetoric seriously.

        Rob Anders, MP: So, Mr. Flaherty, I've been talking to my constituents.
        Flaherty: We told you not to talk to anybody, Rob. Ever.
        Rob Anders, MP: Huh?
        Flaherty: You were saying?
        Rob Anders, MP: Right, talking to the folks, the ordinary Canadians, trying to repreSENT, right?
        Flaherty: Good boy, Rob. Now, the nice men with the van will be —
        Rob Anders, MP: And I'm chock full of ideas about the BUDGET!!
        Flaherty: Kill me now.
        Rob Anders, MP: One guy, I think his name was Bob, he wants to go to war with Russia! So we'll need some nukes.
        Flaherty: Nukes, right. How many?
        Rob Anders, MP: Dozen at least. And some more gin. Old Ronalda Braund out on Sarcee–
        Flaherty: Gin, OK. I'll put "$120M for gin." Brand?
        Rob Anders, MP: Braund.

        • My only quibble with this little play is that Flaherty's actions are entirely unrealistic.. almost sensible, even.

  2. '… Mr. Clark said consultations are “good politics but at the end of the day not much of that actually sees the budget.”'

    Exactly. Complete waste of time.

    • I wouldn't say complete waste of time, but I would say it is a flim-flamsy excuse. Weak….

  3. Just an effort to make it look like the country supports the budget…cuz you know…'everybody wrote it.'

    I'm sure the budget is long since decided, and all it will get from now on are a few last-minute flourishes to make it look like they're paying attention.

    Usually the last couple of weeks before the presentation various groups make a publicity effort to get something, yet the budget is already at the printers.

    • My observation is that budget printing is generally a massive, hectic, expensive, weekend-before-budget-day activity.

      • Takes more than that.

  4. Question: I read a lot about this "public pre-budget consultation process" and these "budget roundtables" put on by the Conservatives. Are they invitation only? Because I've not seen any advertising inviting contributions and I've heard some asking how to attend and getting no answer.

    If Parliament was in session, I know how it would be dealt with, but with prorogation, it seems they can just make up the rules as they go and pretend to be having public consultations.

  5. If the opp. parties were at all interested in making useful contributions to the budget process, then they would have shown that in the House in the fall session. But if you were to check Hansard you would see that less than 10% of the questions from the opp. were concerning the economy. The remaining 90% consisted mostly of queries about a seasonal flu and a wartime incident 4 years ago.

    And don`t even try to tell me things would be different if the House were in session now. You would have replaced the flu questions with some other made-up scandal and there would be a never-ending search to take advantage of incidents involving our participation in Afghanistan.

    Don`t tell me what you would do: Show me what you have done. Prorogation is the result of a reckless irresponsible opposition. Until the opp. realize that their participation in Parliament should be as a constructive critic rather than treat Parliament as a playground for gov`t smearing, then we will continue to have a dysfunctional opposition.

    • Prorogation is the result of a reckless irresponsible opposition. Until the opp. realize that their participation in Parliament should be as a constructive critic rather than treat Parliament as a playground for gov`t smearing, then we will continue to have a dysfunctional opposition.

      AAAAAAhhhhhhahahahahhaha….. we are still on the topic of stand up routines, right? The irony is so thick it could choke a horse.

      Note to opposition parties: dissent will not be tolerated.

      ps I love how you ignore Clark's point. well played.

      • Disent is an important part of our democracy but those hysterical, mudthrowing, floundering antics you guys have been performing in the House is doing your party or democracy no favours.

        I don`t know who this Clark guy is but I do know this: If the Libs want to seem like they are a gov`t in waiting then they better start talking about the economy. Jeez, if Andrew Coyne can offer a rough sketch of upcoming budgets, then there must be somebody in the Liberal Party that has some ideas.

        • "Disent is an important part of our democracy but…"

          In other words, dissent will be tolerated up to a point (that point to be determined by the party in power, of course).

          • I think you may be onto something here concerning disent only being tolerated up to a certain point but it`s not the party in power that determines when that point is reached, but rather the public will know when . I think that is why a party like the NDP never gets much beyond 10% percent of the seats in gov`t. Just when they start to make a little sense, they go off on some tangent with silly antics and protests that turns off most of the public. Sadly it apppears the Liberals are following the same strategy.

          • That's a bit rich. Were the libs to be pulling the same BS Harper would be leading you out on the streets, burining effigies and all.

          • But the Libs did prorogue several times and I don`t recall any burining of effigies of Chretien or Trudeau.

          • Other than the chretien Prorogation, which was unethical, what's your point?

          • given all the oppo parties are up in the polls i take it you think then that we should be doing more to facilitate dissent right now? the people are never wrong right?

        • Whether they do or don't.. maybe it's time for Harper's party to come up with his own ideas for once.

          • March 3, 2010—Budget Day.

    • "Prorogation is the result of a reckless irresponsible opposition".

      That is so asinine it's almost funny.

      • 'That is so asinine it's almost funny"

        It actually makes sense in a weird twisted non linear kind of upside down logic sort of way – especially if you take a slug of overproof rum first.

    • Yes opposition party.. show what you have done.. that is, other than try to hold the government accountable until it prorogues rather than actually demonstrate some accountability. Show what you have done besides forcing Harper to run this horrible budget which many people think put Canada's economy on the road to recovery (an aside, note the caveat.. Carney, not Parliament for the economy.. anyway..). Show what you have done inbetween prorogument after proroguement besides point out repeated abuse of process and house policy.

      Have you set any agendas? No.
      Have you been the PM? No.
      Have you had the Governor General do what you want? No.. why you're almost acting like you're an opposition, not the governme…err.. wait.. I think I lost track in my outrage somewhere there…

      • Don`t feel bad, I lost track too.

        • That much is sadly apparent.

  6. in order to understand the public mood and “not surprise anybody”

    something tells me these words are going to rather prescient.

  7. I think we are about to hear stories about Harper / Flaherty inability to walk and chew gum at the same time…going viral!
    Starting here…

Sign in to comment.