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Algebra


 

Speaking to reporters after QP, the Transport Minister tries to explain what his government is saying when it says 90%.

Hon. John Baird: I’ll give you an example. We don’t – you know, for example, the equity of the Home Renovation Tax Credit.  Has the money been paid out?  No, but people right across the country are keeping their receipts for tax time.  So while no money has gone out, Canadians have got the green light to go and spend money on infrastructure.  We pay our invoices within 30 days.  On the tax measures, which when we talk about 90 percent done we’re not talking about exclusively infrastructure.  We’re talking about the tax measures.  We’re talking about the credit facilities that the Minister has put in.  We’re not exclusively talking about even the infrastructure stimulus with the provinces and municipalities.  We’re talking about the knowledge infrastructure.  I made an announcement in Kingston with respect to the Lasalle Causeway.  The project’s starting this week.  Obviously is all the money spent on the first day?  No, you spend it as you go along, day by day.  Things are really going like a snowball around the country and they’re happening.

Question: What’s the word when you say hit the rubber?  What does it mean?

Hon. John Baird: When monies begin to be spent.

Question: Money that came out – so you’re saying that 90 percent of the money came out —

Hon. John Baird: No.  If you – I’d encourage you to read the report because the 90 percent number is for the Economic Action Plan, not exclusively stimulus.

Moderator: Last question.

Hon. John Baird: Well, that’s not evident by the question.  Because it’s not – it’s about tax measures, not just infrastructure.

Question: So if we get to stimulus, because this is what the Liberals criticized, I mean they say 12 percent only of the stimulus has flowed so when you – so how do you answer the question about stimulus?  Last week you said 70 percent –

Hon. John Baird: I say, for example, 75 percent of the projects that were slated to begin in 2004 (sic) as of September 1st had begun.  That’s good news.  If you’d look at the totality of the Economic Action Plan it’s even higher, it goes to 90 percent.  The good news is we’re making progress each and every day.  For example, if an election would have been called two weeks ago, we wouldn’t have been able to make more than $700 million of investments in British Columbia so it’s literally September will be our biggest month yet.  Substantially more things have happened in September than two or three months ago. It’s going – we’re – it’s really snowballing.


 

Algebra

  1. So even by his own words, if September is the biggest month and 90% of the Economic Action! Plan is committed and 75% of the stimulus was slated to begin by September 1st, an election called in October or November should be a pretty easy thing for Canada to withstand.

    You know, the same Canada that withstood an election during WWI, two elections during the Great Depression, two elections during WWII.

    One has to wonder what Harper has done to make Canada of 2009 so much weaker and more fragile than Canada of 1917, 1930, 1935, 1940 and 1945.

    • Ted, are you really that eager to bring on an election? Aren't you worried about the possibility of a Harper majority, given his commanding lead in the polls and Ignatieff's lackluster performance thus far?

    • Ted, are you really that eager to bring on an election? Aren't you worried about the possibility of a Harper majority, given his commanding lead in the polls and Ignatieff's lackluster performance?

      • The only ones talking about an election are the Conservatives, telling us over and over and over about how democracy would kill our economy.

        So I ask again, why is Canada under Harper more fragile than Canada in far more trying times?

        • The only ones talking about an election are the Conservatives

          Reality check: the only reason we are even talking about an election (less than a year after the last one) is because Michael Ignatieff announced last month that he would do everything in his power to trigger an election, even though he is trailing in the polls and the electorate itself is clearly unwilling.

          • Why weren't we talking about an election last spring, or during the early summer? Not because of Harper and his magical mysterious tour of hidden conservative values. In fact, it wasn't even because of Jack-o-laughter Layton. Seems to me you're not very quick with the credit, so why don't we just stop playing this game, Crit?

          • I think Ignatieff said he would oppose the government. An election is in the hands of the other opposition parties, who are instead getting cosy in the Conservative-Socialist-Separatist coaltionmabob.

          • Just because the Official Opposition deigns to (gasp!) OPPOSE the government does not in and of itself an election make (despite constant talk to the contrary, Michael Ignatieff is not the only person in Parliament responsible for the continuing functioning of government, it's not actually the opposition's job to ensure that the government continues to maintain the confidence of the majority of members of the House of Commons).

            I'm really sick of this notion that the government's inability to maintain the confidence of the opposition is somehow the opposition's fault. The Prime Minister and his government seem to always get to sit back and do nothing but complain about how the other parties won't work with THEM. About how the OPPOSITION doesn't have clear plans for the future of Canada. Newsflash, being in government means GOVERNING. The PRIME MINISTER is the one we should be focusing our attention on. I'd be pleased as punch if I felt there was HALF as much pressure on the people actually in charge of our government to make government work as there is on the Official Opposition.

          • Hear hear!

    • Nonsense. The last 10% is the difference between paradise and huddling in caves rubbing sticks together.

  2. And the Up-thrusting Action plan logo appears in the upper right comer ad space as if by magic.
    I also saw it on the IMDB site the other night.
    There's your stimulus tax dollars at work!
    So, where's the flu ads?

    • Up-thrusting stimulus… oh my. Is it warm in here?

  3. Somebody should tell Mr. Flaherty that the government doesn't close up shop just because there's an election going on.

    Seriously, what has he done between 2 weeks ago and now that made it possible for 700 million to be invested that wouldn't have been otherwise?

  4. Some algebra for Flaherty:

    $0.10/mbf * x mbf + $1 billion dollars = how much damage Stephen Harper has done to our softwood lumber industry now that Canada has lost yet another challenge under the SLA arranged by Mr. "You don't negotiate when you've won" Harper.

    • So it would have been better to hold out for getting all 5 billion back, not get it, and continue to face tariffs on our softwood lumber to this day? Might that have cost… more than 1 billion?

      • That's a hell of a big assumption when you say "not get it" especially considering the wealth of evidence against that position.

        Until Mr. Harper gave in, Canada had a massive winning streak on the issues regarding softwood lumber. Multiple NAFTA and WTO panels had agreed that we were doing nothing wrong and that the US was in the wrong for charging us duties ranging between 10-18%, to say nothing of what the Byrd Amendment was doing.

        And in fact, it was Harper himself who claimed that we'd won, who claimed that were he Prime Minister, the first thing he'd do on softwood lumber would be to demand that the Americans live up to their agreements. If you want, I can dig up the speech where he promised such.

        So your entire hypothetical is simply spin.

        • Re softwood lumber, Canada may have had a massive winning streak at the WTO and NAFTA. However it did us little good because the US was ignoring those "victories". Sure, we could have continued to fight but the losers would have been our forstry industry. One of teh reasons David Emerson chose to join the Harper ministry was that he understood the lumber issue as well as anyone in government and he wanted to get the best deal possible. Emerson, who was pretty close to being totally apolitical, convinced teh new PM that the position taken by the previous Liberal government, while not attractive politically, was the best it was going to get.

        • Re softwood lumber, Canada may have had a massive winning streak at the WTO and NAFTA. However it did us little good because the US was ignoring those "victories". Sure, we could have continued to fight but the losers would have been our forestry industry. One of the reasons David Emerson chose to join the Harper ministry was that he understood the lumber issue as well as anyone in government and he wanted to get the best deal possible. Emerson, who was pretty close to being totally apolitical, convinced teh new PM that the position taken by the previous Liberal government, while not attractive politically, was the best it was going to get.

          • They were ignoring those victories because we were continuing to play by the rules and had not, at that point, imposed targeted retaliatory tariffs on American products.

            Had we started putting tariffs on auto-parts and given Frank Stronach a leg up, or started targeted American corn production in Bush's red states and I imagine there would have suddenly been a lot more pressure for America to listen up. We weren't at that step quite yet, but had Harper actually stood up to defend Canadians, we would have been, and he wasn't willing to go to bat for the inhabitants of, in his words, "a northern european welfare state in the worst sense of the term, and very proud of it."

        • Re softwood lumber, Canada may have had a massive winning streak at the WTO and NAFTA. However it did us little good because the US was ignoring those "victories". Sure, we could have continued to fight but the losers would have been our forestry industry. One of the reasons David Emerson chose to join the Harper ministry was that he understood the lumber issue as well as anyone in government and he wanted to get the best deal possible. Emerson, who was pretty close to being totally apolitical, convinced the new PM that the position taken by the previous Liberal government, while not attractive politically, was the best it was going to get.

  5. And yet Canadians overwhelminly trust Harper on the economy.

    If only there were some simple solution to all our economic problems. Something easy, to make us feel good, but not too concrete so as to suffer the savage realities of the real world. Like say,

    a high speed rail line off into the future, or softly spoken platitudes from the woods. That'll do the trick.

  6. 2004?

    You cannot count the Canada Line (ALRT) in Vancouver that was opened in September of this year. Okay, you can but it has nothing to do with new stimulus money or the fact that it was built before the recession.

    To me these guys are not spending money. They are hiding behind the fact that they have no intention of spending new money – it's a big scam Ottawa style.

    • My suspicion is they have a lot less money to spend than they're letting on.

      • Check Flaherty's resume, he's got experience with this sort of thing

        • I think its less a resume and more a match book cover: "Can you Draw this $ sign?"

  7. Wow, who'd have thought John Baird was smart enough to attempt the ol' shell game?

    He's not smart enough to pull it off without sounding like a two-bit grifter, but it's an improvement over all that bellowing.

    • Let's face it: two bits doesn't buy what it used to.

  8. Wow, Baird was really off his game. At the end there he almost admitted straight out that every percentage he's ever used he just made up. At least I can believe in "It's going — we're — it's really snowballing."

    • Snowballs in September… so much for global warming.

  9. This is going to be the scandal of the next decade.

    • I have to admit, Baird's "It's really snowballing" line chilled me to the bone as well.

      • Less 'snowballing' and more 'snow-jobbing', I suspect.

  10. Was it just me, or did none of that make even the slightest bit of sense?

  11. Admittedly, the plan to magically grow us out of deficit by whenever will be more easily achieved by spending as little of the promised money as possible.

  12. Does the government have any idea precisely how much Canadians will be claiming on their home renovation tax credits this year?

    I'd like to know what the projected figure is, and what the anticipated loss of tax revenues might be, compared to the potential tax revenue gains from the construction companies or contractors involved. If it's not at least revenue-neutral, I'm concerned.

  13. I think Baird "misspoke" when he said "it's really snowballing." It gives people the image of this really building momentum but I think he meant to say "we're just spitballin'" as in "we're just making this s*#t up."

  14. So he was counting as spent the money that I may or may not get if I go through with doing some renovations next February, just because he had intended to have Parliament vote on it some time soon?

  15. "Snowballing" is the correct term for the spending increases of this government.

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