What changed in the last 17 days?

In October 2008, Stephen Harper promised his government would “never” go into deficit. In November 2008, the Harper government projected budget surpluses through 2013-2014. In January 2009, the Harper government projected deficits through 2012-2013 and a surplus in 2013-2014. In October 2010, the Harper government projected deficits through 2014-2015 and a surplus in 2015-2016.

Two weeks ago, the Harper government projected a $300-million deficit in 2014-2015 and a surplus of $4.2-billion in 2015-2016.

Today, the Harper government projects a $3.7-billion surplus in 2014-2015 and an $8.2-billion surplus in 2015-2016.

Update 2:51pm… A kind of explanation is here.

Update 4:22pm… Jim Flaherty’s previous explanation is here.




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What changed in the last 17 days?

  1. An election campaign happened.

  2. I believe it was the election. Since this unnecessary, dangerous election was called the troubles lapping at our shores have dissipated and the economy has been booming.

  3. They obviously reevaluated how conservative they were with the budget. By adopting a more optimistic forecast it gives them more room in their election platform.

    Either way, it just proves to me that any parties fiscal projections are not worth the paper they are printed on. Its all woo, magic and sleight of hand.

  4. An election campaign happened.

  5. I believe it was the election. Since this unnecessary, dangerous election was called the troubles lapping at our shores have dissipated and the economy has been booming.

    • I feel comforted and frightened.

    • Oh yeah, that whole democracy thing is sooooo dangerous! And unnecessary!

    • Dangerous election? No, dangerous is being in Egypt or Libya right now. This government was found to be in contempt of parliament for the first time in the history of the British parliamentary system. That's dangerous. And the way our system works, when the majority of MPs in the House of Commons loses confidence in the government, it is up to the citizens to take its responsibility seriously and elect a new government. It's called democracy.

  6. They obviously reevaluated how conservative they were with the budget. By adopting a more optimistic forecast it gives them more room in their election platform.

    Either way, it just proves to me that any parties fiscal projections are not worth the paper they are printed on. Its all woo, magic and sleight of hand.

  7. I wonder what the projections will be next week.

    Mine is 5 billion surplus in 2014-2015 and a 25 billion surplus in 2015-2016

    These numbers do not take into account the promises made during this campaign because they are all for 2014 and beyond.

    I’m using the same scientific method that Harper uses.

  8. I wonder what the projections will be next week.
    Mine is 5 billion surplus in 2014-2015 and a 25 billion surplus in 2015-2016
    These numbers do not take into account the promises made during this campaign because they are all for 2014 and beyond.
    I’m using the same scientific method that Harper uses.

    • I don't believe anything the conservatives say,look at the Senate that is a I'll never load the senate promise that turned out to be a LIE

  9. We will have this deficit slayed by election day!!!

  10. We will have this deficit slayed by election day!!!

    • They'll then be the first CONservative government to 'slay' a deficit in Canadian history… In fact, when you factor in that the Harper government spent its first three years whittling down Paul Martin-made surpluses before the economic downturn, you have to travel way back in the wayback machine to Diefenbaker to find a Conservative government that didn't add to the debt.
      Harper's a fraud on economics.

    • The Green already have done it. The NDP says it doesn't matter, they are putting the government spending on a Visa and defaulting. and the Liberals are using a 1B increase in revenue (raise corporate taxes) to fund 10B in spending AND get rid of the deficit.

      Since no one is calling out the other parties on their ridiculous claims Harper decided to stretch the truth as well

  11. somebody handed tricky jim flaherty a bottle of white out?

  12. somebody handed tricky jim flaherty a bottle of white out?

    • Applicable tweet:
      althiaraj Althia Raj RT by tomflem
      Flaherty has never met a deficit target..he has set in the past 5 years, David McGuinty says. #elxn41

    • Not white out, Mike, just the old black marker hiding any pertinent information as usual.

  13. In case Wherry was genuinely curious…

    What changed between Nov 08 and Jan 09: Opposition pressure and a general populous outcry forced Harper to recognize the coming recession and spend on stimulus.

    What changed between Jan 09 and Oct 10: Well, lots of stuff. It's almost freakin' two years. Does anyone really expect that all the numbers forecast in the future will be accurate to the dime? or do we expect that the forecasts show us, in general, where the finances are heading?

    What changed between two weeks ago and today? It's right there in black and white, as Harper is fond of saying. They have proposed to cut government operating costs, "trim the fat" as they say. 1B next year, 2B the year after, and 4B after that. That is what account for the 4 billion dollar change.

    *anticipated critical response* "Oh, but they can't do that! Why didn't they include it in the budget then? Huh? Obviously they wanted an election or obviously they were lying then! You can't trust these guys because they want to destroy Canada and I for one love my country too much to sit by and let that happen!"

    Okay, I would just suggest that they truly want to be seen as the party that is serious about eliminating the deficit, and this is something they have identified and will go after.

  14. In case Wherry was genuinely curious…

    What changed between Nov 08 and Jan 09: Opposition pressure and a general populous outcry forced Harper to recognize the coming recession and spend on stimulus.

    What changed between Jan 09 and Oct 10: Well, lots of stuff. It's almost freakin' two years. Does anyone really expect that all the numbers forecast in the future will be accurate to the dime? or do we expect that the forecasts show us, in general, where the finances are heading?

    What changed between two weeks ago and today? It's right there in black and white, as Harper is fond of saying. They have proposed to cut government operating costs, "trim the fat" as they say. 1B next year, 2B the year after, and 4B after that. That is what account for the 4 billion dollar change.

    *anticipated critical response* "Oh, but they can't do that! Why didn't they include it in the budget then? Huh? Obviously they wanted an election or obviously they were lying then! You can't trust these guys because they want to destroy Canada and I for one love my country too much to sit by and let that happen!"

    Okay, I would just suggest that they truly want to be seen as the party that is serious about eliminating the deficit, and this is something they have identified and will go after.

    • You forget the additional 2.2 billion they're handing over to Quebec.

      How does that trim fat, exactly?

      And are there any ideas of where such fat is to be trimmed? Is he going to finally return to the reform promise of stopping MP's pensions?

      • Have you heard that the Bank of Canada is warning Canadians over the risks of indebtness and rising interest rates? You probably have, I have, but Stephen Harper doesn't. If these rates go up, so does servicing the debt.

        • What kind of comment is this? You really think Harper hasn't heard this?

          I repeat, one of Ignatieff and Harper is talking about the importance of eliminating the debt, and the other is not.

          • Actually both of them are talking about eliminating the deficit, not the debt.

          • hahaha….yes yes, that is obvious, and yet another error by me. Thank you Emily. I believe I have gotten it right in numerous other places, and to most people I think they will know what I mean.

      • 2.2 billion to Quebec? Are you trying to dereal? That's not what's being talked about. The 2.2 billion is in the platform, and included in the numbers that still say deficit elimination. Let me ask you honestly: do you think that Ignatieff, if elected, will just ignore Quebec's 2.2 billion demand?

        Hey, 4 Billion off of government operations sounds VERY drastic to me. But do we not all agree that that would be a good thing?

        • Ah, I see that, you're right that 2.2 billion is in there.
          However, that still leaves open the question of where exactly that "fat" is to be trimmed. And it's not just 4 billion, it's 7 billion dollars total. Where would you say the federal government is going to find an extra 7 billion dollars to be trimmed out, if, as Mr. Harper says, they won't be touching transfer payments?

          • 40 jets and a mini-prison?

          • If misc fat trimming was obvious and easy, why didn't Harper start doing this five years ago.? Wouldn't that be the first thing a fiscal conservative would do?

          • Well, if you listen to alfanerd, he couldn't because he was in a minority.

            If you listen to jt, he couldn't because he was providing stimulus and moving the party to the centre.

            If you listen to reason, he couldn't because it already got trimmed pretty significantly through the Martin financing years and simply isn't there to trim anymore.

          • You're not suggesting Harper is talking out of a part of his body which is not mentioned in polite company, are you?

          • You really think Chretien and Martin had the government trimmed down to ideal efficiency? Really?

            Harper claims this sort of review of government operations hasn't happened in 10-15 years. I can't vouch for it, but that's what he said.

          • But he's had five years and he's just getting around to it now?

          • Political calculations.

          • So now you're going back on your own argument of moving the party to the centre and cozying up to alfanerd's idea that he has a hidden agenda he hasn't been able to implement during minority parliament?

            Harper's claimed a lot of things. Most of them turn out to be untrue. Why do you believe him now?

    • Harper committed himself to 2% stimulus at the G20 before the opposition did anything. Funny, also, how the deficit was substantially larger than the stimulus initiatives. Let's not let the truth spoil a good narrative.

  15. The obvious explanation is that the estimate from 17 days ago was using older data, the newer estimate is using newer or different data.

    In fact, you would think Wherry would have actually looked into this a little…. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/04/08/canada-

    "GROWTH UPGRADE – Stronger-than-expected economic growth means the bank may predict a return to full capacity sooner than the end-2012 date it gave in January"

  16. You forget the additional 2.2 billion they're handing over to Quebec.

    How does that trim fat, exactly?

    And are there any ideas of where such fat is to be trimmed? Is he going to finally return to the reform promise of stopping MP's pensions?

  17. A bottle of something, to be sure.

    Let's be honest (as Coyne would have us be):

    At no point in Harper's 5 years in power have he or his finance minister displayed any capacity to accurately portray current fiscal and economic conditions, let alone offer up projections of any worth. They have missed every projection by margins of hundreds of millions and billions, often within weeks of having made a projection. They are simply not competent in this regard and make numbers up as they go along.

    Innumeracy has been a hallmark of Flaherty's career (provincially and Federally).

    Harper actually said that an additional $2.2 billion newly promised to Quebec in this campaign wouldn't add to the current deficit and wouldn't delay deficit reduction. There's no new revenue and this money wasn't in their current budget, so he was plainly, clearly and unambiguously lying.

    Now we have Larry Smith admitting what has been evident since the stimulus package: Conservatives buy votes and punish non-Conservative ridings:
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/its-

    These people aren't fit to run a Tim Horton's, let alone the Federal Government.

  18. Have you heard that the Bank of Canada is warning Canadians over the risks of indebtness and rising interest rates? You probably have, I have, but Stephen Harper doesn't. If these rates go up, so does servicing the debt.

  19. Harper agreed to the spending stimulus at the G20 meeting in Wash DC that Bush chaired.

    And 'trim the fat' would mean firing all the new public servants he's hired in his time in office.

    Harp isn't serious about 'eliminating the deficit'….he caused it. We had a deficit before the 'recession'.

  20. I suppose by delaying the Harper government's indestructible demand to spend taxpayers money advertising their faux programs (like Canada Action Plan after it ended, and the temporary shut-down of the CON novelty cheque company during the election cycle, taxpayer-funded negative ads outside the election cycle) that probably saved some money…

  21. deficit before recession: I know, that does nothing to deny that the recession and stimulus spending took the deficit to a place it never would have gone without the recession. It's a straw man, that's not what we're talking about.

    firing public servants: Hey, if Harper gets elected, he is going to have to do some firing. I for one would hope that he starts with the size of cabinet. Some of you don't believe a word that comes out of his mouth, and that's fine. I still listen to both party leaders (that I consider voting for) with the expectation that they will attempt to do what they are saying. Right now, only one is talking about eliminating the deficit.

    • Yeah, adding a payment to Quebec, fighterplanes and empty prisons will really help the deficit.

      Ignatieff has addressed the deficit….the one Harper caused.

      • Ignatieff is not going to buy planes? Ignatieff is going to ignore Quebec's HST demand? I know he is ignoring them now, but for how long?

        I have stated elsewhere that I believe in prison reform, so you won't hear a defence from me.

        • I have no idea…maybe, maybe not

          New empty prisons are not prison reform

        • I am curious to know what you mean by prison reform?

          • First, thanks for not deliberately misrepresenting what I said *coughEmilycough*

            I largely agree with Conrad Black's recent articulation of prison reform:
            http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2011/03/12/co

          • So you're totally opposed to Harper's crime and punishment model, right?

          • Pretty much.

          • This is a positive sign.

          • I'm glad you think so. I am quick to defend Harper against those who think he is a dictator out to destroy democracy and the country while he is at it, but of course I don't agree with everything he says or proposes. So I disagree with his crime and punishment model, but I also disagree that he is contemptuous of parliament, while I obviously recognize his government was technically found to be in contempt of parliament.

          • Critical thinking win!

  22. They'll then be the first CONservative government to 'slay' a deficit in Canadian history… In fact, when you factor in that the Harper government spent its first three years whittling down Paul Martin-made surpluses before the economic downturn, you have to travel way back in the wayback machine to Diefenbaker to find a Conservative government that didn't add to the debt.
    Harper's a fraud on economics.

  23. deficit before recession: I know, that does nothing to deny that the recession and stimulus spending took the deficit to a place it never would have gone without the recession. It's a straw man, that's not what we're talking about.

    firing public servants: Hey, if Harper gets elected, he is going to have to do some firing. I for one would hope that he starts with the size of cabinet. Some of you don't believe a word that comes out of his mouth, and that's fine. I still listen to both party leaders (that I consider voting for) with the expectation that they will attempt to do what they are saying. Right now, only one is talking about eliminating the deficit.

  24. Good thing there's no responsibility in his position, if somebody had five years of econcomic predictions like Jim's I can't imagine what financial job they could actually hold down.

  25. Good thing there's no responsibility in his position, if somebody had five years of econcomic predictions like Jim's I can't imagine what financial job they could actually hold down.

  26. What kind of comment is this? You really think Harper hasn't heard this?

    I repeat, one of Ignatieff and Harper is talking about the importance of eliminating the debt, and the other is not.

  27. Harper committed himself to 2% stimulus at the G20 before the opposition did anything. Funny, also, how the deficit was substantially larger than the stimulus initiatives. Let's not let the truth spoil a good narrative.

  28. So using absolute best-possible-outcome scenario for budgeting now. That's conservative, is it?

    • First of all, those are not all scenarios, those are based on events: "Stronger-than-expected economic growth". That's not a scenario, that's an event.

      Secondly, that's not a best-possible-outcome scenario. That was the most recent prediction by the Bank or Canada – not worst case, not best case, just the best overall prediction.

      Thirdly, in the past 17 days, the methods by which government projections have not changed, the data has. They are making projections in the same manner they always have.

      This is not rocket science.

      • Re-read the release.
        Note the word "may"
        Carry-on decieving yourself anyway.

      • This is not rocket science.

        Rocket science is based in facts.

        • Look, the Bank of Canada does things based on facts. They try to do stuff with the best facts available. If there is a falsehood in that article, then go ahead and point it out. Otherwise, your words are just meaningless bluster. The fact of the matter is, tax revenues are relative to economic output, so if economic growth has been better than expected, then the deficit will be smaller.

  29. 2.2 billion to Quebec? Are you trying to dereal? That's not what's being talked about. The 2.2 billion is in the platform, and included in the numbers that still say deficit elimination. Let me ask you honestly: do you think that Ignatieff, if elected, will just ignore Quebec's 2.2 billion demand?

    Hey, 4 Billion off of government operations sounds VERY drastic to me. But do we not all agree that that would be a good thing?

  30. So using absolute best-possible-outcome scenario for budgeting now. That's conservative, is it?

  31. Yeah, that's entirely credible. This is a huge swing in economic assumptions, and one survey doesn't sway the underlying poll of forecasters enough to do this. They're playing with their numbers, and no one should believe their lies.

    • That's not a huge swing. That is a reasonable projection! This is not rocket science.

      Government revenues are about 600 billion. http://www40.statcan.ca/l01/cst01/govt48b-eng.htm

      GDP is about 1.3 trillion. http://www.google.com/publicdata?ds=wb-wdi&me

      Tax revenues are about 33% of GDP http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by

      A 1% change in GDP growth is therefore equivalent to 13 billion of tax revenues, per year.

      Therefore a projected change in revenues of 4 billion 4 years from now is entirely accurate, it is equivalent to a forecast of improved GDP growth corresponding to a third of a percentage point, about 0.33 %, which is easily in line with the improved economic forecast provided by numerous groups, which is higher growth between 1.5% and 2.7%. In fact, the Conservatives' estimates seem rather conservative.

      The bank will most certainly raise its annual and quarterly economic growth projections for 2011. In January, it projected 2.5 percent first-quarter growth, while economists now see the rate at closer to 4 percent, and the OECD pegged it at 5.2 percent.

      All of these facts are easily verifiable by numerous independent sources.

      Are all of you guys too dumb to do a few simple calculations to assess the projections?

      • You are exaggerating the revenue of the Government of Canada. The 600 billion Government Revenues includes provincial and municipal revenue.

        From the 2010 budget, the Government of Canada forcast revenues of $231 billion in 2010-2011 http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/budg

        $231 billion is 18% of GDP (I use the $1.3 trillion figure you quoted).
        A 1% increase in GDP would not mean 13 billion more tax revenues as you stated. 1% of GDP is $13 billion. Using the fact that Government of Canada revenues are approximately 18% of GDP increasing GDP by 1%, 13 billion, will increase revenues by $2.2 billion.

        • Good point. I am not claiming my numbers are exact.

          The Bank of Canada projected growth has risen from 2.5 to 4%, and the OECD projects even higher growth of 5.2 percent growth, an improvement of between 1.5 to 2.7 points from the bank's previous projection, which are increased revenues of 3.3 to 4 billion per year according to your estimates.

          As an aside, I find that a little surprising, that federal tax revenues are 18% of GDP while provincial and municipal are as high as 15%. When you consider the size of government transfers to the provinces, equalization being about 1%, the Canada health transfer being another 2%, that means the federal tax revenues are actually smaller than provincial and municipal.

          • Your numbers are off by a fair bit. A 1% increase in GDP implies a 1% increase in government revenues, assuming revenues:GDP are fixed (doesn't quite work this way). If revenues are $231 billion, that 1% yields $2.3 billion.

            The Ministry of Finance supposedly uses a consensus forecast from several different sources. They don't just pick one latest forecast that they like and gives them the result they want. It's also assuming there aren't any bumps along the way. Remember back in 2007 when we were projecting federal government debt would fall to 25% of GDP by 2012. We're off by a country mile, at 40%. Woops. Assigning a false sense of certainty to these five year projections gets you into trouble.

          • A 1% increase in GDP implies a 1% increase in government revenues

            Exactly, so a 1.5 to 2.7% increase in GDP is a 1.5 to 2.7% increase in revenues. Ergo, 3.3 to 4 billion.

            Yes, well, I'm not assuming a sense of certainty. All I'm saying is that the government projections are reasonable.

          • I want us to run some surpluses for a while after this recession, too. If we just piled on $150 billion in debt, I don't think it's too much to ask to pay back some of that before we gorge ourselves on increased spending and tax cuts. None of our political parties seem to agree.

          • Well, the Conservatives have not proposed tax cuts in their platform, and they are proposing reduced spending (based on today's headlines). As far as I know, no other party is proposing tax cuts either. The Liberal party is proposing increased corporate taxes to match their increased spending.

            I can't agree with you more that I'd like to see the deficit eliminated ASAP.

          • "Well, the Conservatives have not proposed tax cuts in their platform,"

            I believe they have included as part of their platform: income-splitting, doubling contribution room to TFSA, tax credit for volunteer fire fighters, tax credit for children's art programs. Most of their campaign promises so far have revolved around lowering taxes.

          • True. But I prefer tax cuts that are beneficial to all.

            I do agree with you though, that I would trust the Conservatives to lower taxes more than any other party.

            And with respect to Andrew's (not PorC) comments, he was saying that he would like to see the deficit eliminated before new spending or more tax cuts, and in fact the income splitting proposal is something they are proposing after a balanced budget or surplus has been achieved.

          • No, I'm saying I want surpluses. We just racked up a huge amount of debt, in large part due to some fiscal recklessness. I'd like to see a few years of $20 billion surpluses. You don't get there by indulgent tax cuts the minute you're in a balance position.

          • It's not enough to eliminate the deficit. I want surpluses, and no one intends to do it. It's like maxing out your credit card when you go through a rough patch, then making the minimum payments when you're back on your feet, choosing to increase consumption rather than repay debt. The next time you hit a rough patch, you'll need to max out another card. It's shamefully self-indulgent.

          • scf,

            you are dealing with people who would try to argue the Earth is flat if it meant an attack on Harper.

            Don't bother.

    • It's funny how Wherry will go through the math of crowd sizes at party rallies but he won't even do the most basic calculations in this case. I wonder why? Hmmmmm….

  32. Actually both of them are talking about eliminating the deficit, not the debt.

  33. Yeah, that's entirely credible. This is a huge swing in economic assumptions, and one survey doesn't sway the underlying poll of forecasters enough to do this. They're playing with their numbers, and no one should believe their lies.

  34. Sorry sorry, I forgot, and hereby amend my statement. Do you have a chart or something about the stimulus initiatives vs. deficit size?

  35. Yeah, adding a payment to Quebec, fighterplanes and empty prisons will really help the deficit.

    Ignatieff has addressed the deficit….the one Harper caused.

    • Who missed that data? The Bank of Canada includes unemployment data in their measurements.

      • The Bank of Canada that's warning Harper about the state of the economy?

        • No. Apparently you can't read.

          • I keep up with things though.

          • net loss of 1500 jobs. not so bad especially with the increase n full time vs. part time.

          • As in the US, and everywhere else….it's a 'jobless recovery'

  36. hahaha….yes yes, that is obvious, and yet another error by me. Thank you Emily. I believe I have gotten it right in numerous other places, and to most people I think they will know what I mean.

  37. And if I'm elected on May 2nd by uncounted write-in votes, I promise a surplus budget next year, and I'll make hand-held cell phones legal to use from vehicles again.

  38. And if I'm elected on May 2nd by uncounted write-in votes, I promise a surplus budget next year, and I'll make hand-held cell phones legal to use from vehicles again.

    • I'd far rather require that all hand-held cellphones be mandated to contain a GPS tracker and simply don't work if moving at over 30mph.

      Screws over passengers, but I think the money saved in accident prevention would be worth it.

      • Most car on pedestrian and car on cyclist crashes happen at low speeds. The two times I've been "bumped" by a driver in the past year occurred while I was in a crosswalk and the texting driver just started to roll forward.

        If you're in a car that's in gear, just drive. Don't do anything else. You'll fail, eventually.

        • I agree, but I don't know any technical means to have a cell-phone detect when it's in a car and moving, and I don't think it's worth stopping pedestrians from being able to use them while walking. That's a little too far.

      • And the reason I mentioned cell phones in cars is because it's a hot button issue with people. If you talk about it, someone has an opinion. This is what the Conservatives and other big parties do to keep their voters interested, even if policy doesn't make sense or is contradictory. This is where the Greens are falling short, they aren't hitting hot button issues that strike up conversations like this – because talking about unpopular stances is risky and often leads to lying.

  39. Ignatieff is not going to buy planes? Ignatieff is going to ignore Quebec's HST demand? I know he is ignoring them now, but for how long?

    I have stated elsewhere that I believe in prison reform, so you won't hear a defence from me.

  40. First of all, those are not all scenarios, those are based on events: "Stronger-than-expected economic growth". That's not a scenario, that's an event.

    Secondly, that's not a best-possible-outcome scenario. That was the most recent prediction by the Bank or Canada – not worst case, not best case, just the best overall prediction.

    Thirdly, in the past 17 days, the methods by which government projections have not changed, the data has. They are making projections in the same manner they always have.

    This is not rocket science.

  41. Applicable tweet:
    althiaraj Althia Raj RT by tomflem
    Flaherty has never met a deficit target..he has set in the past 5 years, David McGuinty says. #elxn41

  42. LOL good point!

  43. LOL good point!

  44. I'm not sure that the Bank of Canada being a little more hawkish really explains a $3.4 BILLION increase in the government's estimated figures from less than 3 weeks ago. Not if the estimate from 17 days ago was worth anything at all.

    I think it's pretty obvious and transparent that the change in projections happened not because of any change in our economic circumstances that has just been realized in the last two weeks, but because a $3.7 billion surplus in 2014-15 sounds better in an election ad than a $300 million deficit does.

    To my mind, I don't know why they bothered though. How many people are actually taking the Tories seriously any more when they're providing estimates for the future size of the deficit we were never going to need to fight the recession we were never going to have? The Tories can tell me we'll have a $1 trillion deficit in 2014-15 or a $1 trillion surplus, or pretty much any number in between and I wouldn't believe a word of it. These guys are even worse at economic forecasting than the Liberals were, but at least the Liberals always surprised us with surpluses.

  45. I'm not sure that the Bank of Canada being a little more hawkish really explains a $3.4 BILLION increase in the government's estimated figures from less than 3 weeks ago. Not if the estimate from 17 days ago was worth anything at all.

    I think it's pretty obvious and transparent that the change in projections happened not because of any change in our economic circumstances that has just been realized in the last two weeks, but because a $3.7 billion surplus in 2014-15 sounds better in an election ad than a $300 million deficit does.

    To my mind, I don't know why they bothered though. How many people are actually taking the Tories seriously any more when they're providing estimates for the future size of the deficit we were never going to need to fight the recession we were never going to have? The Tories can tell me we'll have a $1 trillion deficit in 2014-15 or a $1 trillion surplus, or pretty much any number in between and I wouldn't believe a word of it. These guys are even worse at economic forecasting than the Liberals were, but at least the Liberals always surprised us with surpluses.

  46. I have no idea…maybe, maybe not

    New empty prisons are not prison reform

  47. Ah, I see that, you're right that 2.2 billion is in there.
    However, that still leaves open the question of where exactly that "fat" is to be trimmed. And it's not just 4 billion, it's 7 billion dollars total. Where would you say the federal government is going to find an extra 7 billion dollars to be trimmed out, if, as Mr. Harper says, they won't be touching transfer payments?

  48. Re-read the release.
    Note the word "may"
    Carry-on decieving yourself anyway.

  49. I'd far rather require that all hand-held cellphones be mandated to contain a GPS tracker and simply don't work if moving at over 30mph.

    Screws over passengers, but I think the money saved in accident prevention would be worth it.

  50. How could we forget this Stephen Harper quote?

    "We're not running a deficit. We have planned a realistic scenario. We've got conservative budget estimates. We've got a modest platform that doesn't even fill the existing fiscal room that we have and we have plenty of flexibility in how we phase it. So that's our policy. We're not going into deficit."

  51. How could we forget this Stephen Harper quote?

    "We're not running a deficit. We have planned a realistic scenario. We've got conservative budget estimates. We've got a modest platform that doesn't even fill the existing fiscal room that we have and we have plenty of flexibility in how we phase it. So that's our policy. We're not going into deficit."

    • Yes, but that was BEFORE the election.

      AFTER the election deficits became "essential" because we were "technically" suddenly in a recession that no one (by which I mean EVERYONE) could possibly have seen coming.

      It may seem like the only thing that changed in between those two positions in 2008-09 was the election being held, but trust me, it's just TOTALLY A COINCIDENCE that the "No deficits ever / if we were going to have a recession we'd have had one by now" arguments from during the election almost immediately became "running a deficit is essential to battling the terrible recession we're in" within weeks of the election ending. The election ending had nothing to do with it though, just like the 2011 election beginning has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with $300 million deficit projections becoming $3.7 billion surplus projections.

      Personally, I think the Tories can be trusted implicitly on this given their remarkable track record of consistency in economic forecasting, and their general stance of openness, accountability, and transparency. After all, this is the party that insisted on creating a Parliamentary Budget Office to provide Canadians with independent, non-partisan economic and spending numbers so that we wouldn't have to rely on the constantly torqued numbers provided by all political parties, particularly incumbent governments. And the Tories, like always, followed through on that important pledge. So, I'm certain that when I check, I'll find that the Tories are simply using Kevin Page's numbers, and that the PBO's numbers have simply changed dramatically since the election was called, and that's all there is to it.

    • Obi-Wan Harper :

      "These jets will cost $75 M each."
      "Do not look at those other jets, those are not the jets we are buying."

      Cons: "Those are not the jets we are buying."

  52. 40 jets and a mini-prison?

  53. If misc fat trimming was obvious and easy, why didn't Harper start doing this five years ago.? Wouldn't that be the first thing a fiscal conservative would do?

  54. The budget 3 weeks ago was a Conservative minority budget designed to attract opposition votes.

    The budget today was a Conservative majority budget focusing more on conservative priorities than opposition priorities.

  55. The budget 3 weeks ago was a Conservative minority budget designed to attract opposition votes.

    The budget today was a Conservative majority budget focusing more on conservative priorities than opposition priorities.

    • Apparently conservatives don't have any priorities for a couple of years yet then.

      • Priority is to eliminate the deficit, as far as I can tell.

        • If it was, you'd think they'd have plans for cutting it beyond relying on growth projections to pay for both it *and* the very few promises that happen in the next couple of years.

        • They're courageously doing nothing to cut the deficit, or nothing they're willing to talk about.

      • Other than giving 2.2 billion to Quebec.

        Never would have thought that was a conservative priority, myself, but hey who am I to argue with wheatseller, here?

  56. This is not rocket science.

    Rocket science is based in facts.

  57. Well, if you listen to alfanerd, he couldn't because he was in a minority.

    If you listen to jt, he couldn't because he was providing stimulus and moving the party to the centre.

    If you listen to reason, he couldn't because it already got trimmed pretty significantly through the Martin financing years and simply isn't there to trim anymore.

  58. Most car on pedestrian and car on cyclist crashes happen at low speeds. The two times I've been "bumped" by a driver in the past year occurred while I was in a crosswalk and the texting driver just started to roll forward.

    If you're in a car that's in gear, just drive. Don't do anything else. You'll fail, eventually.

  59. I am curious to know what you mean by prison reform?

  60. If only some politician, somewhere, at some time (perhaps in response to past Liberal shenanigans), had suggested that we establish some sort of budget office for Parliament that could do independent analysis of budget figures and give Canadians numbers separate from the partisan spin given to us by the various political parties. That's the kind of pledge that would really get me excited about a candidate… even a Tory!

    Then again, whatever government was in power once such an independent office was established would probably just start undermining the office from day one, and pretending that the office's figures were THEMSELVES the partisan spin, and that this time (trust them) Canadians had finally elected a government who's numbers can be relied upon, because THESE GUYS are going to be different.

  61. If only some politician, somewhere, at some time (perhaps in response to past Liberal shenanigans), had suggested that we establish some sort of budget office for Parliament that could do independent analysis of budget figures and give Canadians numbers separate from the partisan spin given to us by the various political parties. That's the kind of pledge that would really get me excited about a candidate… even a Tory!

    Then again, whatever government was in power once such an independent office was established would probably just start undermining the office from day one, and pretending that the office's figures were THEMSELVES the partisan spin, and that this time (trust them) Canadians had finally elected a government who's numbers can be relied upon, because THESE GUYS are going to be different.

    • This is my depressed face. The only promises the Tories seem to follow through on are the ones that drive me crazy. The ones I like are forgotten or ignored.

  62. I agree, but I don't know any technical means to have a cell-phone detect when it's in a car and moving, and I don't think it's worth stopping pedestrians from being able to use them while walking. That's a little too far.

  63. Apparently conservatives don't have any priorities for a couple of years yet then.

  64. Stephen Harper is not credible with his revamped projections. Somebody is on crack… and it ain't me! None of this makes sense. He's again throwing his projections under a bus… leaving a fiscal roadkill that should be D.O.A. at the polls.

  65. Stephen Harper is not credible with his revamped projections. Somebody is on crack… and it ain't me! None of this makes sense. He's again throwing his projections under a bus… leaving a fiscal roadkill that should be D.O.A. at the polls.

  66. Stephen Harper promised during the 2008 election that if we re-elected him as Prime Minister there wouldn't be a recession in Canada. Now all he talks about is the recession and emerging from it.

    I will be unable to vote Conservative this time unless he goes back in time and follows through on that promise.

  67. Stephen Harper promised during the 2008 election that if we re-elected him as Prime Minister there wouldn't be a recession in Canada. Now all he talks about is the recession and emerging from it.

    I will be unable to vote Conservative this time unless he goes back in time and follows through on that promise.

  68. Yes, but that was BEFORE the election.

    AFTER the election deficits became "essential" because we were "technically" suddenly in a recession that no one (by which I mean EVERYONE) could possibly have seen coming.

    It may seem like the only thing that changed in between those two positions in 2008-09 was the election being held, but trust me, it's just TOTALLY A COINCIDENCE that the "No deficits ever / if we were going to have a recession we'd have had one by now" arguments from during the election almost immediately became "running a deficit is essential to battling the terrible recession we're in" within weeks of the election ending. The election ending had nothing to do with it though, just like the 2011 election beginning has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with $300 million deficit projections becoming $3.7 billion surplus projections.

    Personally, I think the Tories can be trusted implicitly on this given their remarkable track record of consistency in economic forecasting, and their general stance of openness, accountability, and transparency. After all, this is the party that insisted on creating a Parliamentary Budget Office to provide Canadians with independent, non-partisan economic and spending numbers so that we wouldn't have to rely on the constantly torqued numbers provided by all political parties, particularly incumbent governments. And the Tories, like always, followed through on that important pledge. So, I'm certain that when I check, I'll find that the Tories are simply using Kevin Page's numbers, and that the PBO's numbers have simply changed dramatically since the election was called, and that's all there is to it.

  69. Okay, so comparing the platforms of Liberals and Conservatives side by side.. the CPC has no balancing income listed out as to how it's going to pay for it's promises. The best it's got is a "strategic operations review", which tells squat, and even that doesn't pay for what they're promising. They're just running under the assumption that the economy will grow, and they'll be able to pay for their promises out of that.

    On the other hand, the Liberals promises are all costed out to come from cutting loopholes and exemptions in the tax system. So if our economy grows on top of that, they'll actually be able to devote all of that growth into deficit reduction.

    So really, it's the Liberals who are being conservative in budgeting for their promises.. they're figuring out where the money is coming from ahead of time, not relying on the unknown like the CPC.

  70. Okay, so comparing the platforms of Liberals and Conservatives side by side.. the CPC has no balancing income listed out as to how it's going to pay for it's promises. The best it's got is a "strategic operations review", which tells squat, and even that doesn't pay for what they're promising. They're just running under the assumption that the economy will grow, and they'll be able to pay for their promises out of that.

    On the other hand, the Liberals promises are all costed out to come from cutting loopholes and exemptions in the tax system. So if our economy grows on top of that, they'll actually be able to devote all of that growth into deficit reduction.

    So really, it's the Liberals who are being conservative in budgeting for their promises.. they're figuring out where the money is coming from ahead of time, not relying on the unknown like the CPC.

    • Sure, but this is how it's been in Canada for basically my entire adult life. The Liberals campaign on spending and programs and when they get in to office they spend conservatively and create surpluses. The Tories campaign on fiscal restraint and spending cuts, and when they get into office they spend like drunken sailors and create deficits.

      What else is new?

      • I keep hoping if it gets pointed out in enough different ways, some folks might choose to discard their blinkers.

  71. The lies and made up numbers are astounding,, I think this new wave of spending and magically found money makes the Greens the most fiscally responsible party by a mile.

  72. I feel comforted and frightened.

  73. The lies and made up numbers are astounding,, I think this new wave of spending and magically found money makes the Greens the most fiscally responsible party by a mile.

  74. Look, the Bank of Canada does things based on facts. They try to do stuff with the best facts available. If there is a falsehood in that article, then go ahead and point it out. Otherwise, your words are just meaningless bluster. The fact of the matter is, tax revenues are relative to economic output, so if economic growth has been better than expected, then the deficit will be smaller.

  75. You're not suggesting Harper is talking out of a part of his body which is not mentioned in polite company, are you?

  76. Far more people have bumped into other people while texting & walking than while texting & driving. Happens in every crowded hallway virtually every hour of the day. Some might argue that texting & walking does little harm. The fact is: there has NOT been a single in-depth medical study of the long term issues associated with walk-text-bumping. There was a time people did not worry about asbestos or tobacco… walk-text-bumping may well be the next medical time-bomb lapping at our shores.

  77. So you're totally opposed to Harper's crime and punishment model, right?

  78. Cite your sources please. :)

    • There are NO sources, which CONFIRMS the CONSPIRACY, and yet even after the CONSPIRACY is CONFIRMED, there is no ( I mean absolutely zilch!) coverage by the msm, proving their COMPLICITY!

  79. Cite your sources please. :)

  80. It just occurred to me that the Tories' 2008 campaign was basically "Vote for us, we're the only party that can keep Canada out of a recession and who won't take us back into deficit!" and their 2011 campaign is basically "Vote for us, we're the only party that can eliminate the deficit we created to get us out of the recession we went into!"

    It's REMARKABLE.

  81. I can't wait for next Friday… by then I'm sure the Harp will be projecting a trillion dollar surplus by 2012, and a tredecillion dollar surplus by 2016. Of course, that's only if you vote Conservative now and in 2015. A vote for the radical socialist separatist Hungarian-loving nonCanadian opposition means you hate kittens and freedom.

  82. It just occurred to me that the Tories' 2008 campaign was basically "Vote for us, we're the only party that can keep Canada out of a recession and who won't take us back into deficit!" and their 2011 campaign is basically "Vote for us, we're the only party that can eliminate the deficit we created to get us out of the recession we went into!"

    It's REMARKABLE.

    • It's like being trapped in one of those revolving doors.

  83. I can't wait for next Friday… by then I'm sure the Harp will be projecting a trillion dollar surplus by 2012, and a tredecillion dollar surplus by 2016. Of course, that's only if you vote Conservative now and in 2015. A vote for the radical socialist separatist Hungarian-loving nonCanadian opposition means you hate kittens and freedom.

  84. That's not a huge swing. That is a reasonable projection! This is not rocket science.

    Government revenues are about 600 billion. http://www40.statcan.ca/l01/cst01/govt48b-eng.htm

    GDP is about 1.3 trillion. http://www.google.com/publicdata?ds=wb-wdi&me

    Tax revenues are about 33% of GDP http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by

    A 1% change in GDP growth is therefore equivalent to 13 billion of tax revenues, per year.

    Therefore a projected change in revenues of 4 billion 4 years from now is entirely accurate, it is equivalent to a forecast of improved GDP growth corresponding to a third of a percentage point, about 0.33 %, which is easily in line with the improved economic forecast provided by numerous groups, which is higher growth between 1.5% and 2.7%. In fact, the Conservatives' estimates seem rather conservative.

    The bank will most certainly raise its annual and quarterly economic growth projections for 2011. In January, it projected 2.5 percent first-quarter growth, while economists now see the rate at closer to 4 percent, and the OECD pegged it at 5.2 percent.

    All of these facts are easily verifiable by numerous independent sources.

    Are all of you guys too dumb to do a few simple calculations to assess the projections?

  85. Harp isn't serious about 'eliminating the deficit'…

    A deficit is very useful, he'll do what he can to maintain it.

    Anyone who thinks Harper is serious about eliminating the deficit needs to consider the long-gun registry and the fact that it still here. Somehow, despite years of determined effort, incredibly and stubbornly, it still persists!

  86. Sure, but this is how it's been in Canada for basically my entire adult life. The Liberals campaign on spending and programs and when they get in to office they spend conservatively and create surpluses. The Tories campaign on fiscal restraint and spending cuts, and when they get into office they spend like drunken sailors and create deficits.

    What else is new?

  87. It's funny how Wherry will go through the math of crowd sizes at party rallies but he won't even do the most basic calculations in this case. I wonder why? Hmmmmm….

  88. Who missed that data? The Bank of Canada includes unemployment data in their measurements.

  89. Obi-Wan Harper :

    "These jets will cost $75 M each."
    "Do not look at those other jets, those are not the jets we are buying."

    Cons: "Those are not the jets we are buying."

  90. Remember how shocked everyone was – this includes PW – when Jack announced he wouldn't support the budget? And how everyone said the budget was, all in all, pretty middle of the road and clearly designed to attract opposition votes? Remember?

    So tell me: which of the opposition parties would support this platform?

    Now I haven't costed the entire platform and compared it to the budget – I suspect none of y'all have either – so it's certainly possible that the Tories have just snapped their fingers and conjured more savings.

    But the more plausible explanation – and really the more obvious one, I'd think – is that the platform accounts for net spending reductions that the opposition parties could not and would not support in a budget. No?

  91. Remember how shocked everyone was – this includes PW – when Jack announced he wouldn't support the budget? And how everyone said the budget was, all in all, pretty middle of the road and clearly designed to attract opposition votes? Remember?

    So tell me: which of the opposition parties would support this platform?

    Now I haven't costed the entire platform and compared it to the budget – I suspect none of y'all have either – so it's certainly possible that the Tories have just snapped their fingers and conjured more savings.

    But the more plausible explanation – and really the more obvious one, I'd think – is that the platform accounts for net spending reductions that the opposition parties could not and would not support in a budget. No?

    • I doubt Draco can succeed to achieve the savings he promises even with severe (and counterproductive) cuts. The man is the Canadian equivalent of Paul Ryan.

    • It's more along the lines of snapped their fingers and conjured more savings. Specifically, they are proposing reducing the operational cost of the government. That's the only difference form 17 days ago.

      • I believe they're proposing to reduce the operational cost of the government by, inter alia, imposing what amounts to a total hiring freeze on the federal public service and taking advantage of the resulting attrition. Will the NDP be supporting that in the next budget?

        I concede that attrition won't save $8 billion. I presume there are other spending cuts in the platform; if I'm wrong, I'm wrong, though I'm afraid I'm going to need something more authoritative than "that's the only difference" to convince me. My point is that the mere fact that spending forecasts differ between the March budget and the Tory platform is no evidence, itself, of deceit or of any other kind of shenanigans.

        • There's nothing in the platform about spending cuts other than the cut to the voting subsidy program, which isn't anywhere near the amount they say they'll be saving.

          • I'm just going by the second to last page of the platform. There it says 2011 budget fiscal track, and then revised fiscal track, taking into account the cuts from operations (the magic ones).

            Also, spending decreases every year.

          • Spending decreases every year *because* of the 2.2 billion in the first two years.

      • The pro-rogues are built in now? :)

      • I should note in fairness that PW does appear to be going through the budget (on twitter); I'm confindent he'll let us know if the savings are simply conjured as you suggest (and, from his tone certainly, he appears to believe).

        • Oh, I'm persuaded they're real cuts. Which is why there is no detail on offer for any of them: because you cannot cut this kind of money and only trim "fat."

          • See that's fair. And I should note, for what it's worth, that the conservative Conservatives I know seem quite pleased with the budget. I sense a "hidden agenda" narrative on the horizon…

          • Their agenda doesn't have to be hidden, does it?

  92. I keep hoping if it gets pointed out in enough different ways, some folks might choose to discard their blinkers.

  93. The Bank of Canada that's warning Harper about the state of the economy?

  94. Good point. He hasn't actually fixed anything he's said he was going to. In 5 years.

    So of course he wants 5 years more.

  95. Good point. He hasn't actually fixed anything he's said he was going to. In 5 years.

    So of course he wants 5 years more.

  96. The 4 Billion dollar difference is actually the result of 4 Billion dollars in proposed cuts from government operations. That's the difference. This is what's new, nothing else.

  97. Priority is to eliminate the deficit, as far as I can tell.

  98. The Green already have done it. The NDP says it doesn't matter, they are putting the government spending on a Visa and defaulting. and the Liberals are using a 1B increase in revenue (raise corporate taxes) to fund 10B in spending AND get rid of the deficit.

    Since no one is calling out the other parties on their ridiculous claims Harper decided to stretch the truth as well

  99. I doubt Draco can succeed to achieve the savings he promises even with severe (and counterproductive) cuts. The man is the Canadian equivalent of Paul Ryan.

  100. If that's true, that's even better, because it's clear Canada's economy is performing very well, best in the G7 so far this year in terms of growth. So it's unquestionable that tax revenues will be higher this year and in years to come based on the improved projections from the available data.

    In fact, the recent reports about Canada have been very good, so I would expect the Conservatives to emphasize the latest economic numbers in their campaigning.

  101. If that's true, that's even better, because it's clear Canada's economy is performing very well, best in the G7 so far this year in terms of growth. So it's unquestionable that tax revenues will be higher this year and in years to come based on the improved projections from the available data.

    In fact, the recent reports about Canada have been very good, so I would expect the Conservatives to emphasize the latest economic numbers in their campaigning.

  102. It's more along the lines of snapped their fingers and conjured more savings. Specifically, they are proposing reducing the operational cost of the government. That's the only difference form 17 days ago.

  103. No. Apparently you can't read.

  104. I believe they're proposing to reduce the operational cost of the government by, inter alia, imposing what amounts to a total hiring freeze on the federal public service and taking advantage of the resulting attrition. Will the NDP be supporting that in the next budget?

    I concede that attrition won't save $8 billion. I presume there are other spending cuts in the platform; if I'm wrong, I'm wrong, though I'm afraid I'm going to need something more authoritative than "that's the only difference" to convince me. My point is that the mere fact that spending forecasts differ between the March budget and the Tory platform is no evidence, itself, of deceit or of any other kind of shenanigans.

  105. Hell, why not just say $17 billion and wipe out the deficit as well?

  106. Hell, why not just say $17 billion and wipe out the deficit as well?

  107. If it was, you'd think they'd have plans for cutting it beyond relying on growth projections to pay for both it *and* the very few promises that happen in the next couple of years.

  108. You are exaggerating the revenue of the Government of Canada. The 600 billion Government Revenues includes provincial and municipal revenue.

    From the 2010 budget, the Government of Canada forcast revenues of $231 billion in 2010-2011 http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/budg

    $231 billion is 18% of GDP (I use the $1.3 trillion figure you quoted).
    A 1% increase in GDP would not mean 13 billion more tax revenues as you stated. 1% of GDP is $13 billion. Using the fact that Government of Canada revenues are approximately 18% of GDP increasing GDP by 1%, 13 billion, will increase revenues by $2.2 billion.

  109. The pro-rogues are built in now? :)

  110. There's nothing in the platform about spending cuts other than the cut to the voting subsidy program, which isn't anywhere near the amount they say they'll be saving.

  111. I should note in fairness that PW does appear to be going through the budget (on twitter); I'm confindent he'll let us know if the savings are simply conjured as you suggest (and, from his tone certainly, he appears to believe).

  112. Other than giving 2.2 billion to Quebec.

    Never would have thought that was a conservative priority, myself, but hey who am I to argue with wheatseller, here?

  113. Not white out, Mike, just the old black marker hiding any pertinent information as usual.

  114. I keep up with things though.

  115. I'm just going by the second to last page of the platform. There it says 2011 budget fiscal track, and then revised fiscal track, taking into account the cuts from operations (the magic ones).

    Also, spending decreases every year.

  116. You really think Chretien and Martin had the government trimmed down to ideal efficiency? Really?

    Harper claims this sort of review of government operations hasn't happened in 10-15 years. I can't vouch for it, but that's what he said.

  117. Good point. I am not claiming my numbers are exact.

    The Bank of Canada projected growth has risen from 2.5 to 4%, and the OECD projects even higher growth of 5.2 percent growth, an improvement of between 1.5 to 2.7 points from the bank's previous projection, which are increased revenues of 3.3 to 4 billion per year according to your estimates.

    As an aside, I find that a little surprising, that federal tax revenues are 18% of GDP while provincial and municipal are as high as 15%. When you consider the size of government transfers to the provinces, equalization being about 1%, the Canada health transfer being another 2%, that means the federal tax revenues are actually smaller than provincial and municipal.

  118. Pretty much.

  119. Oh, I'm persuaded they're real cuts. Which is why there is no detail on offer for any of them: because you cannot cut this kind of money and only trim "fat."

  120. See that's fair. And I should note, for what it's worth, that the conservative Conservatives I know seem quite pleased with the budget. I sense a "hidden agenda" narrative on the horizon…

  121. Harper's original budget plan was to cut $6.8B to balance the budget by 2015. Both Kevin Page of the PBO and the IMF said Harper's plan was bogus: http://bit.ly/f8uAQ6. Harper waved his magic wand and upped the already discredited number of $6.8B by $4B in today's platform: http://bit.ly/gQk425

    These numbers are obviously not reliable. Harper appointed Page to ensure the budget numbers were valid. But Harper decided to take a contempt of Parliament conviction rather than hand over the budget documents to Page.

    We won't know what the real numbers are until there's a new government (whenever that occurs.)

  122. Harper's original budget plan was to cut $6.8B to balance the budget by 2015. Both Kevin Page of the PBO and the IMF said Harper's plan was bogus: http://bit.ly/f8uAQ6. Harper waved his magic wand and upped the already discredited number of $6.8B by $4B in today's platform: http://bit.ly/gQk425

    These numbers are obviously not reliable. Harper appointed Page to ensure the budget numbers were valid. But Harper decided to take a contempt of Parliament conviction rather than hand over the budget documents to Page.

    We won't know what the real numbers are until there's a new government (whenever that occurs.)

    • Page hasn't been entirely accurate acurate either. So far the deficit has come down faster than he ever allowed for.

      • says who? It only came down faster than the TD bank thought, with TD & Finance now being on the same page AS Page for the latest year – $40B for 09/10; and the rest is all smoke and mirrors, with Page saying they'll be overspending by at least $5-B more each year than they claim, unless they make some actual cuts, which they've yet to announce.

        • er, that would be 2010/11 for the latest yr

  123. There are NO sources, which CONFIRMS the CONSPIRACY, and yet even after the CONSPIRACY is CONFIRMED, there is no ( I mean absolutely zilch!) coverage by the msm, proving their COMPLICITY!

  124. Your numbers are off by a fair bit. A 1% increase in GDP implies a 1% increase in government revenues, assuming revenues:GDP are fixed (doesn't quite work this way). If revenues are $231 billion, that 1% yields $2.3 billion.

    The Ministry of Finance supposedly uses a consensus forecast from several different sources. They don't just pick one latest forecast that they like and gives them the result they want. It's also assuming there aren't any bumps along the way. Remember back in 2007 when we were projecting federal government debt would fall to 25% of GDP by 2012. We're off by a country mile, at 40%. Woops. Assigning a false sense of certainty to these five year projections gets you into trouble.

  125. I want us to run some surpluses for a while after this recession, too. If we just piled on $150 billion in debt, I don't think it's too much to ask to pay back some of that before we gorge ourselves on increased spending and tax cuts. None of our political parties seem to agree.

  126. A 1% increase in GDP implies a 1% increase in government revenues

    Exactly, so a 1.5 to 2.7% increase in GDP is a 1.5 to 2.7% increase in revenues. Ergo, 3.3 to 4 billion.

    Yes, well, I'm not assuming a sense of certainty. All I'm saying is that the government projections are reasonable.

  127. As I recall the stimulus in the '09-'10 budget was something like $30 billion. As you'll recall, the deficit ended up being over $50 billion. I don't have time to go digging through the budget, but I'm sure it's all there. You don't seem to be disagreeing with this point, anyway.

  128. As I recall the stimulus in the '09-'10 budget was something like $30 billion. As you'll recall, the deficit ended up being over $50 billion. I don't have time to go digging through the budget, but I'm sure it's all there. You don't seem to be disagreeing with this point, anyway.

    • Well I think the rest of the deficit was to do with reduced income, corporate and personal taxes, as well as increased costs, EI. I can buy that.

      What I find strange is that the stimulus has ended, the jobs are back and the Canadian economy is the envy of the world. But much of the deficit is still there and will be for some time.

  129. Well, the Conservatives have not proposed tax cuts in their platform, and they are proposing reduced spending (based on today's headlines). As far as I know, no other party is proposing tax cuts either. The Liberal party is proposing increased corporate taxes to match their increased spending.

    I can't agree with you more that I'd like to see the deficit eliminated ASAP.

  130. Their agenda doesn't have to be hidden, does it?

  131. But he's had five years and he's just getting around to it now?

  132. This is a positive sign.

  133. It's like being trapped in one of those revolving doors.

  134. I'm glad you think so. I am quick to defend Harper against those who think he is a dictator out to destroy democracy and the country while he is at it, but of course I don't agree with everything he says or proposes. So I disagree with his crime and punishment model, but I also disagree that he is contemptuous of parliament, while I obviously recognize his government was technically found to be in contempt of parliament.

  135. Is Page allowed to comment during an election? Probably not…

  136. Political calculations.

  137. yes, largely due to the minority parliament. You know, the place where the opposition has more votes and can defeat legislation?

    • Yeah, the place where Harper passed a whole bunch of bills he wanted passed by making them matters of confidence? I remember it well.

      There's no rube like a reusable rube.

  138. yes, largely due to the minority parliament. You know, the place where the opposition has more votes and can defeat legislation?

  139. "Well, the Conservatives have not proposed tax cuts in their platform,"

    I believe they have included as part of their platform: income-splitting, doubling contribution room to TFSA, tax credit for volunteer fire fighters, tax credit for children's art programs. Most of their campaign promises so far have revolved around lowering taxes.

  140. Well I think the rest of the deficit was to do with reduced income, corporate and personal taxes, as well as increased costs, EI. I can buy that.

    What I find strange is that the stimulus has ended, the jobs are back and the Canadian economy is the envy of the world. But much of the deficit is still there and will be for some time.

  141. And the reason I mentioned cell phones in cars is because it's a hot button issue with people. If you talk about it, someone has an opinion. This is what the Conservatives and other big parties do to keep their voters interested, even if policy doesn't make sense or is contradictory. This is where the Greens are falling short, they aren't hitting hot button issues that strike up conversations like this – because talking about unpopular stances is risky and often leads to lying.

  142. net loss of 1500 jobs. not so bad especially with the increase n full time vs. part time.

  143. Spending decreases every year *because* of the 2.2 billion in the first two years.

  144. Page hasn't been entirely accurate acurate either. So far the deficit has come down faster than he ever allowed for.

  145. New election means Harper is free to propose a new program. With a majority, he'll be able to get move faster on eliminating the deficit. After all, it was the Liberals and NDP who forced him into deficit in the first place. Give Harper a majority and then judge him. He's earned the chance to govern without the opposition threatening to bring him down every other week.

    • Just get back from the space station Rocketman?

    • After all, it was the Liberals and NDP who forced him into deficit in the first place.

      Don't tell Harper that, he's got signs all over the country taking credit for all of that spending. I don't think he wants it getting out that the only reason we got out of the recession and are doing so well now is that the opposition parties FORCED HIM to deal with the recession.

    • No he has not. Nor has he in any way tried to compromise with opposition parties. He's had 5 years and I'm well nigh sick of him, his lies, and his muzzled caucus.

  146. New election means Harper is free to propose a new program. With a majority, he'll be able to get move faster on eliminating the deficit. After all, it was the Liberals and NDP who forced him into deficit in the first place. Give Harper a majority and then judge him. He's earned the chance to govern without the opposition threatening to bring him down every other week.

  147. True. But I prefer tax cuts that are beneficial to all.

    I do agree with you though, that I would trust the Conservatives to lower taxes more than any other party.

    And with respect to Andrew's (not PorC) comments, he was saying that he would like to see the deficit eliminated before new spending or more tax cuts, and in fact the income splitting proposal is something they are proposing after a balanced budget or surplus has been achieved.

  148. No indeed, and it'll present an interesting test for the Tories over the next few days. Assuming this interests the PPG enough to get them to stop asking questions about Facebook, they'll presumably put it to the Tories that these numbers suggest real cuts beyond fat-trimming; if the opposition parties pick up on it, they'll start harping on a "hidden cuts" agenda. Then it'll be up to the Tories to get particular, or face the same sort of "hidden agenda" innuendo they tried so hard to escape in the early aughts. (A hidden cuts agenda is probably easier to ride out than a hidden social-consevative agenda.)

    Incidentally, while I know our collective respect for the Tories' strategery has declined in recent years, it is worth consideringn whether the Tories are anticipating a "hidden agenda" line of attack, which would after all give them the opportunity to command the narrative for a few days through detailed policy proposals. Of course that would turn the election into a referendum on their policies, rather than a referendum on Ignatieff, which appears to have been their strategy to date.

  149. So, if our projections can change by a couple percentage of budget balance in two weeks, doesn't this make a mockery of the claim they will balance the budget in 2014? It may well be 2017.

    It's more than a little suspicious that we can see such a swing in two weeks. But then, Flaherty's finance ministry has been far from transparent in their assumptions. They've been unwilling to share basic info with PBO.

  150. As in the US, and everywhere else….it's a 'jobless recovery'

  151. It's not enough to eliminate the deficit. I want surpluses, and no one intends to do it. It's like maxing out your credit card when you go through a rough patch, then making the minimum payments when you're back on your feet, choosing to increase consumption rather than repay debt. The next time you hit a rough patch, you'll need to max out another card. It's shamefully self-indulgent.

  152. Just get back from the space station Rocketman?

  153. Oh yeah, that whole democracy thing is sooooo dangerous! And unnecessary!

  154. says who? It only came down faster than the TD bank thought, with TD & Finance now being on the same page AS Page for the latest year – $40B for 09/10; and the rest is all smoke and mirrors, with Page saying they'll be overspending by at least $5-B more each year than they claim, unless they make some actual cuts, which they've yet to announce.

  155. No, I'm saying I want surpluses. We just racked up a huge amount of debt, in large part due to some fiscal recklessness. I'd like to see a few years of $20 billion surpluses. You don't get there by indulgent tax cuts the minute you're in a balance position.

  156. Deficit ^ NOT !!!!!!!!!!

    there that was easy!!

  157. er, that would be 2010/11 for the latest yr

  158. Deficit ^ NOT !!!!!!!!!!

    there that was easy!!

  159. Attrition and hiring/budget freezes is one of the ways they intend to save money without the huge layoffs that happened in the '90's. The target was $4 billion/year but they are still collecting plans from various departments how they will function with less staff/money.

    Beyond the existence of a deficit, there are no strong parallels between Canada's financial circumstances in the 1990s and the situation today. The 1990s marked the end of a long series of deficits that pushed the country's debt-to-GDP ratio to 71%. By contrast, the debt-to-GDP ratio in 2009 was 34%. The state of today's economy is much more robust: Canada has climbed out of the global recession and is creating jobs. However, this recovery contributed in large measure to a $53.8 billion deficit. Among its first steps to address the deficit, the government has proposed freezing departmental operating budgets. Doing so could quite possibly lead to future reductions in the public service.
    http://www2.parl.gc.ca/Content/LOP/ResearchPublic

  160. Attrition and hiring/budget freezes is one of the ways they intend to save money without the huge layoffs that happened in the '90's. The target was $4 billion/year but they are still collecting plans from various departments how they will function with less staff/money.

    Beyond the existence of a deficit, there are no strong parallels between Canada's financial circumstances in the 1990s and the situation today. The 1990s marked the end of a long series of deficits that pushed the country's debt-to-GDP ratio to 71%. By contrast, the debt-to-GDP ratio in 2009 was 34%. The state of today's economy is much more robust: Canada has climbed out of the global recession and is creating jobs. However, this recovery contributed in large measure to a $53.8 billion deficit. Among its first steps to address the deficit, the government has proposed freezing departmental operating budgets. Doing so could quite possibly lead to future reductions in the public service.
    http://www2.parl.gc.ca/Content/LOP/ResearchPublic

  161. After all, it was the Liberals and NDP who forced him into deficit in the first place.

    Don't tell Harper that, he's got signs all over the country taking credit for all of that spending. I don't think he wants it getting out that the only reason we got out of the recession and are doing so well now is that the opposition parties FORCED HIM to deal with the recession.

  162. This is my depressed face. The only promises the Tories seem to follow through on are the ones that drive me crazy. The ones I like are forgotten or ignored.

  163. They're courageously doing nothing to cut the deficit, or nothing they're willing to talk about.

  164. Critical thinking win!

  165. I don't believe anything the conservatives say,look at the Senate that is a I'll never load the senate promise that turned out to be a LIE

  166. - seems quite a useful question to post
    - value re: accountability, transparency and the media doing its job
    - seems to me it strengthens democracy
    - does not seem partisan

  167. - seems quite a useful question to post
    - value re: accountability, transparency and the media doing its job
    - seems to me it strengthens democracy
    - does not seem partisan

  168. Why hasn't anyone put a cost to Iggy's book of fairy tales? I read today that it is well over 10 Billion Dollars. One reason I suppose is that he didn't cost the GST deal that he will put in after he becomes prime minister. Or maybe it will be Jack Layton or Gilles Duceppe if he comes in second. What a sight to see. Prime Minister Gilles Duceppe backed up by Jack Layton. And last but not least, Iggy and Zooozana checking through the Toronto airport back home to the USA.

  169. Why hasn't anyone put a cost to Iggy's book of fairy tales? I read today that it is well over 10 Billion Dollars. One reason I suppose is that he didn't cost the GST deal that he will put in after he becomes prime minister. Or maybe it will be Jack Layton or Gilles Duceppe if he comes in second. What a sight to see. Prime Minister Gilles Duceppe backed up by Jack Layton. And last but not least, Iggy and Zooozana checking through the Toronto airport back home to the USA.

  170. No he has not. Nor has he in any way tried to compromise with opposition parties. He's had 5 years and I'm well nigh sick of him, his lies, and his muzzled caucus.

  171. Something tells me that a majority Conservative government will have the bloated public service experience the recession that we in the private sector have experienced..Smaller government and keep your hands out of my pocket ,now thats change that I can believe in.

  172. Something tells me that a majority Conservative government will have the bloated public service experience the recession that we in the private sector have experienced..Smaller government and keep your hands out of my pocket ,now thats change that I can believe in.

  173. Look, you are being very disingenuous. Quarterly economic numbers come out every QUARTER. The release of the data happened between the time of the budget and the election campaign.

    And it seems as though the conservatives have been working on new policy as well, so if they've decided to change course with their budget plans, what the heck is wrong with that? The budget was defeated so if they want to change direction they can!

  174. Look, you are being very disingenuous. Quarterly economic numbers come out every QUARTER. The release of the data happened between the time of the budget and the election campaign.

    And it seems as though the conservatives have been working on new policy as well, so if they've decided to change course with their budget plans, what the heck is wrong with that? The budget was defeated so if they want to change direction they can!

  175. So, they'll be cutting 5% from military spending, for veterans and public spending? For ministry of Indian and northern affairs? And these won't be cuts in services?

    Right. Dollars to donuts these savings don't materialize. Program cuts are a given.

  176. So, they'll be cutting 5% from military spending, for veterans and public spending? For ministry of Indian and northern affairs? And these won't be cuts in services?

    Right. Dollars to donuts these savings don't materialize. Program cuts are a given.

  177. Yeah, the place where Harper passed a whole bunch of bills he wanted passed by making them matters of confidence? I remember it well.

    There's no rube like a reusable rube.

  178. Why is the TSX, Dow, or Nasdaq not the "same" after 17 days?

    Something's suspicious.

    We all know the economy runs on a completely linear predictable plane.

    When Nortel was a 120 a share, and that exact same company went down to 90 a share within a couple of weeks,

    that must've been some CPC hocus pocus going on there.

  179. Why is the TSX, Dow, or Nasdaq not the "same" after 17 days?

    Something's suspicious.

    We all know the economy runs on a completely linear predictable plane.

    When Nortel was a 120 a share, and that exact same company went down to 90 a share within a couple of weeks,

    that must've been some CPC hocus pocus going on there.

  180. scf,

    you are dealing with people who would try to argue the Earth is flat if it meant an attack on Harper.

    Don't bother.

  181. The only thing that's changed, is the lies Harper is spewing. Time to nix the worst liars from our political system. No more cons.

  182. The only thing that's changed, is the lies Harper is spewing. Time to nix the worst liars from our political system. No more cons.

  183. The Conference Board of Canada says in their annual report that we have sunk to 10th of 17 of western economies. If you don't believe me look it up. Don't know why the press hasn't picked up on this. They seem to be so conservatively biased they don't report things.

  184. The Conference Board of Canada says in their annual report that we have sunk to 10th of 17 of western economies. If you don't believe me look it up. Don't know why the press hasn't picked up on this. They seem to be so conservatively biased they don't report things.

  185. Dangerous election? No, dangerous is being in Egypt or Libya right now. This government was found to be in contempt of parliament for the first time in the history of the British parliamentary system. That's dangerous. And the way our system works, when the majority of MPs in the House of Commons loses confidence in the government, it is up to the citizens to take its responsibility seriously and elect a new government. It's called democracy.

  186. Somebody please tell Canadians the "actual cost" of "governing" our country.

    Bet Harper will never cut that cost.

  187. Somebody please tell Canadians the "actual cost" of "governing" our country.

    Bet Harper will never cut that cost.

  188. So now you're going back on your own argument of moving the party to the centre and cozying up to alfanerd's idea that he has a hidden agenda he hasn't been able to implement during minority parliament?

    Harper's claimed a lot of things. Most of them turn out to be untrue. Why do you believe him now?

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