Why so shy, Jim?

The New Democrats and Liberals are unhappy with Jim Flaherty’s decision to deliver the economic update far away from the House of Commons.

NDP House Leader Joe Comartin argued the Conservative tactic “demeans the role of Parliament and parliamentarians.” He said it follows the government’s strategy of disrespecting democracy by bringing in time allocation and closure to shut down routine debate on legislation … “I think it obviously gives the government an advantage of being able to put out whatever their messaging is, even if there are some negative parts, without having to be concerned about an immediate response in the House from the opposition parties.”




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Why so shy, Jim?

  1. In related news Calgarians, Mississaugians, and Victorians are unhappy with the decision by NDP`ers and Liberals  to complain that Ottawa does notget the opportunity to make more government announcements.

    • “Mississaugans”

      • You`re sure ?

        • Yup. 

          I know just from conversation and the way residents of Mississauga are always referred to around here and in the local media (I’m in the T-Dot).  Also, not that this is definitive, but Wikipedia makes the point explicitly: “Residents of the city are called Mississaugans.”

          If the city was called Mississaugi, they’d be Mississaugians, but that’s not the case.  It’s the same with people from Alaska, or Nebraska.  They’re not “Alaskians” or “Nebraskians” they’re “Alaskans” and “Nebraskans” (“Oklahoman” too, for what it’s worth).  

          Precisely why those examples are all different from Canada, which of course also ends in an “a” I’m not sure, but I think there’s a proper linguistic reason.  Residents of Florida are similarly “Floridian” and for whatever reason, while I would have thought that people from Alabama would be “Alabamans”, apparently the preferred demonym is “Alabamian”.  Go figure!  (I thought that the third footnote on that demonym wiki page was pretty funny, and I agree with Vic Gold. Alabamans may prefer “Alabamian”, but while I can’t articulate precisely WHY they’re wrong, I feel quite strongly that they’re wrong!!!  LOL).

          However, all that said, it’s definitely “Mississaugans”.

          • Thanks.
            You obviously know your way around the reference section.

          • LOL, I’d better!

            I don’t know if you made that reference deliberately because you’ve seen me mention this before, but I’m actually a reference librarian in the real world.

          • Actually the phrase ” preferred demonym “  gave you away.
            I was unaware of demonyms, let alone preferred ones.

    • This is not about regional equity, it is about the government avoiding the scrutiny of the opposition and the press.

      • I’m not sure we can really say that this is about avoiding the scrutiny of the opposition, since the opposition is presumably still capable of seeing and hearing what the Minister says, and responding to it (though it is likely partly about avoiding the close scrutiny of the Ottawa Press Corps, i.e. the journalists who most closely follow federal politics) .

        Now, what it might be about is disrespecting and marginalizing the opposition, and diminishing the importance of Parliament, and the respect in which it is held as an institution.

        • Dropping this bomb on short notice, away from Ottawa and on a break week -of course it was attempt to reduce scrutiny.  Flaherty got away with two mini interviews on the networks, avoided Question Period and the Ottawa press gallery. 

          • Fair enough.  I had forgotten when I wrote my reply that not only did he not give the update before the House, but he actually waited to do it until no one was in the House at all.

          • Mind you, it doesn’t seem to have worked, the press seems all over it.  The best laid plans…

    • In other related news, Canadians from coast to coast started wondering if we should bother to continue to send elected representatives to Ottawa, and also, why the only lobbyists in the land who apparently get to host economic updates from the Finance Minister are the lobbyists for private business owners.  There are plenty of lobbying groups around, why not spread the wealth a bit???

      • Sometimes the Minister of Education makes an announcement in front of a group of teachers and administrators, and the Minister of Health makes announcements at a Health Center, and so on……

        If Flaherty made an economic announcement in front of a group of private business owners, then it tells me he understands that in order to have a healthy Canadian economy then these private business owners must create jobs for a skilled workforce so that both employer and employee will have the wealth to pay taxes. Government stimulus spending does not create a healthy economy. Ask Greece or Italy.

        If an NDP Minister of Finance made a economic announcement at a CUPE meeting in front of a group of union members, then that would tell me he knew nothing about how to create a healthy economy. There is no connection between a healthy economy and unions, though many would say there is a direct connection between powerful public sector unions and an unhealthy economy.

        • Surely you don’t believe that Greece and Italy are floundering due to recent short-term stimulus spending.

          • No, more like long-term stimulus spending, or whatever you want to call a government that combines an undisciplined tax structure with an unproductive entitled workforce and a general malaise of corruption.

          • And foreign banks lending them a lot of money.  How prudent was that?

          • Yeah, the money-lenders, they can take their share of the blame.

          • I just heard Newt Gingrich on CNN who claims that during WWII, when the Axis countries occupied Greece, Germany stole their gold.  He asserts that the value of it would be enough to pay off their debt.  If this is true,  no wonder there is so much animosity towards the Germans and their banks.

        • I don’t know.  That last part feels an awful lot like “Lobbyists for business owners good, lobbyists for workers bad” to me.

          Chambers of Commerce and Business Associations aren’t just “groups of business owners” the way one might announce something to a “group of teachers”, or a “group of doctors and nurses”.  These are lobbying groups for said business owners, so to my mind the proper comparison would be to an Education Minister making an announcement on education policy in front of, say, a meeting with the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation, or a Health Minister announcing policy to the CMA (though, I admit, something about that last one sounds less nefarious to me that the Chamber of Commerce or OSSTF examples, but maybe that’s just because doctors have more skilled and subtle lobbyists!).

        • “Government stimulus spending does not create a healthy economy”.

          You’d better tell Jim Flaherty!  I saw him interviewed on Lang and O’Leary today about his update, and wouldn’t you know it, he was standing right in front of a giant blue “Canada’s Economic Action Plan” sign.

          ETA: This picture from today. See those arrows? Those arrows represent government spending under the Tories.

          • I do hope Flaherty understands the difference between this  ” stimulus spending economic action plan ” blather that the spinners think is necessary for public consumption and what is really needed to create a healthy economy.

            I hate this massive government spending as much as any of you, but apparently the alternative to an artificially stimulated economy is disastrous. I did hear someone today compare stimulus spending to getting the flu shot—it won`t improve your health but it might prevent a near-death experience.

  2. Considering what he just announced, I suppose he figured scurrying off to hide out in Calgary to do it would be the better part of valour.

  3. I have a really hard time caring about the physical location where the economic update is delivered.  Thanks to the miracle of communications technology, the Opposition can provide an immediate response wherever they happen to be. 

    • There is even better communications technology in the HOC, right across the aisle from the Opposition.

    • A more credulous man might accept your comment at face value.  But no matter what you or I may think, rest assured our prime minister’s moves and public appearances are extremey claculated, and nothing about this one speaks well of him as the holder of the office.

    • I have a hard time being so sanguine about the fact that the Minister of Finance chooses to table economic updates before gatherings of private businessmen rather than before our duly elected representatives.  This might not be so bad as the “Magna Budget” idiocy of the Eves Tories in Ontario, but it’s only one step removed imho.

      • Oh, for the love of Pete.  Personally, I’m delighted that the finance minister presented the update in Calgary.  Flaherty could have presented it in Nunavut for all that it matters. The important thing is the update itself, not the physical location where it’s presented.

        • I’m less concerned about the city he chooses to give the update in (though it’s a bit of an insult not to do it in front of the people we elected to represent us) so much as that he’s (clearly deliberately) waited to give the update until the House was no longer in session, and that his chosen audience for the fiscal update is a lobbying group.

          • Isn’t Flaherty also presenting the update to the Standing Committee on Finance next week?  

          • Gee, I hope so!  

            I imagine the media coverage of “Flaherty re-presents that stuff he already announced in Calgary last week, when no one was really paying attention, to a standing committee of the House of Commons” will be riveting, and really capture the public’s attention, and put focus on this important backpedalling from campaign trail promises that never should have been made in the first place, and that no one should have taken seriously.

          • @Lord_Kitcheners_Own

            So you figure that the media give the opposition reaction to the budget update less attention, just because the update was presented outside of the House of Commons?  You think it makes a huge difference in terms of media coverage, which is how most Canadians who pay attention to such things receive their information?

            Economist Stephen Gordon said it best: 

            “There must be a reverse Say’s Law for pundity: the demand for vociferous criticism – about anything, really – creates its own supply.  

            I can’t imagine how or why anyone could summon strong feelings about the budget update, unless it really is their job to be outraged at it.”

            https://twitter.com/stephenfgordon

          • @Crit_Reasoning:disqus 

            You figure the media gives the same coverage to an opposition press conference held in an entirely different city than the Finance Minister is in, during everyone’s week away from the Hill, as they would to the opposition asking incredulous questions, in Question Period, right to the Minister’s face, right after he finishes presenting his economic update to the howls and guffaws of the members opposite?

            Sorry, not buying it.

    • While I’m not hugely upset about the choice of location, I do agree with the sentiment that these types of incidents lessen the role of Parliament and parliamentarians.  And that somewhat saddens me.  What would Preston Manning say?

      And I’m not generally a follower of the “slippery slope” school of thought – I tend to be more of a student of “equilibrium” – I do wonder about the purpose of Parliament.  I truly wonder…

  4. Why is this government filled with cowards? What are they hiding?

    • In the Minister’s defence, the last economic update he actually gave in the House of Commons 1) ignored the worldwide economic meltdown that was happening at the time, 2) led to widespread calls for Flaherty’s resignation, and 3) almost resulted in the downfall of the government.

      I’d be a bit gun shy after an episode like that too!  Frankly, he must be somewhat tempted to not even do these things in Canada anymore!

  5. Do you think Jumbo’s fully realized his side has won a majority yet?

    If it makes it any easier for you why not hold the whole of parliament incamera rather then just the committees.

  6. I have a sneaking suspicion that all of the conservative supporters who think it’s just fine for a Tory Finance Minister to deliver an economic update before an audience of private business owners at a gathering of their local lobbying organization would sing a different tune if an NDP Finance Minister delivered his or her economic update to an audience of union members at their local CUPE meeting, or if a Liberal Finance Minister gave an economic update at a gathering of lobbyists for some Liberal-friendly group (I couldn’t think of a good economic interest group parallel for the Liberals, but someone will come up with one for me, I’m sure!). 

    • Maybe the Canadian Bar Association…LOL

      • Yeah, lol, that was actually where my mind went immediately too, but I didn’t use it because it didn’t seem to fit the “economic” tenor of business lobbyists and unions that were the Tory and NDP examples.

    • Heh – see Calvin above, going out of his way to prove your point.

  7. There once was a leprechaun named Jim,
    who promised the deficit to trim.
    No one knows why
    he is being so shy!
    D’you suppose the news might be grim?

    • LOL

      I feel bad about the leprechaun jokes sometimes, but it’s hard not to give a “Like” to a limerick!

      It also makes me nostalgic for the days when certain commenters around here would more often write their comments in the form of haikus, or songs, or epic poems.  There was one commenter in particular who used to write quite epic literary comments on the posts from time to time, but I feel bad that I can’t remember his old handle at the moment!

      • Jack

        • JACK!!!

          So simple. I knew I’d feel bad for forgetting.

          I really miss Jack!

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