John Baird's turn to explain the strategic review - Macleans.ca
 

John Baird’s turn to explain the strategic review

Paul Wells interviews John Baird


 

When I ask cabinet ministers—Jim Flaherty last night, John Baird this morning—to explain the cuts the Harper government made under strategic review, I am not asking them to justify their projections for the future. All parties’ projections should be taken with a grain of salt. But the Conservatives have sought to answer that criticism by saying they will find $1 billion in savings, doubling a year later to $2 billion and again to $4 billion in the next two years, in the same way they have already found savings in the past. The Conservatives are planning more responsible spending. Fair enough: I am asking them to explain Annex 1 of the budget the Harper government brought down 18 days ago, which carries the title “Responsible Spending.”

“This round of strategic reviews, combined with targeted restraint in the growth of National Defence spending, has yielded savings of close to $1.6 billion in 2013–14,” the budget says, “amounting to 4.9 per cent of the review base on an ongoing basis. As a result of these reviews, departments are streamlining operations, realigning their activities and transforming their organizations to deliver better programs and better results to Canadians.”

Sounds great! Tell me more. Especially if this is the basis for all future saving, tell me how you achieved these savings in the past.

And nobody can. Bureaucrats responsible for implementing the cuts were embarrassed to admit to me at the budget lockup that they had no information on what was being cut. Jim Flaherty couldn’t explain any of it last night. So this morning at the weekly Conservative Fear-The-Coalition news conference, I asked John Baird. Here’s how that went.


 

John Baird’s turn to explain the strategic review

  1. I would say of all the Conservatives, it is Baird who has to stickhandle this the most adroitly. Ottawa is, after all, a one-industry town (hastened by the feds not helping Nortel) and the Conservatives are essentially saying that they want to reduce spending on that one industry by 5%. I imagine that the Liberal candidates facing off against Galipeau, Baird, Poilevre and O'Connor are trying very hard to hammer home the message that the Conservatives are very much targeting Ottawa with their cuts.

    Judging from the Ekos small sample polls, the message is getting through (57% support for the Libs in Ottawa against 27% for the Conservatives).

  2. Just like every conservative answer over the last 5 years. I didn't understand any of it.

    Can somebody explain?

  3. It's called pulling it out of your ass.

  4. Will any major media figure ask the Liberals to explain their numbers?

    A single major media figure. Just one?

    Ever?

    While the partisan liberals here are loving the refs trying to throw the game for them, I suspect most average Canadians can see what's going on.

  5. PSAC? Probably pissed.

  6. Maybe the most absurd development in Canadian election history. Either they are making up their numbers now, or their budget was an incompetent mess. The only real question- will they get away with it?

  7. No, and that's just how they like it.

  8. It's magic. Now you see it, now you don't.

  9. Were you paid to make that comment, Chet?

  10. Will Paul Wells now ask the same questions of Brison, and Goodale?

    As per recorded conversation also? I like these recorded conversations. But I would like to hear what Liberals have to record.

    And if Wells can find the time, what about Layton??

  11. You're not interested in comparables? How would Goodale and Brison explain their numbers?

  12. It's magic: now a 2008 coalition agreement was signed, now it isn't.

  13. The message is getting through in almost every western constituency: 60% support for the Conservatives, not so much for the dreamers.

    Oh, I get it: only in Ottawa do real Canadians reside.

  14. A fair question, perhaps, but please answer this: if the Liberal numbers were shown to be complete BS would that, in your mind, justify what the Conservatives have tried to pull with this absurd projection?

    Are you more offended by the Conservatives having to explain their numbers, or the numbers themselves?

  15. I absolutely agree that we need to keep the Liberals' feet to the fire, and get them to better explain savings that they say they can find in the future.

    However, I'm still pretty concerned that no one in the Tory camp (and no one in the federal bureaucracy) can apparently explain the nature of the billions of dollars in savings they Tories have supposedly ALREADY FOUND. It's a little scary to me that Ministers of the Crown are booking and defending billions of dollars in savings that they claim are already achievable through increased efficiencies in their various departments, and yet no one who actually WORKS in those departments has ANY IDEA what the Ministers expect them to be doing differently in the future that will achieve these efficiencies.

  16. That's laughable. Every party can be questioned on their numbers, but they can provide some economist backing, independent verification. For instance, Mintz says the Libs overstate on corporate taxes, but there is school of thought that supports the assumptions, it is not a cut and dry argument. Contrast the Liberal platform with a fairy dust compilation, DONE SOLELY to square futuristic promises with immediate want, and you can see the difference. Well, anybody who isn't a CON hack can. I'll leave you to your delusions, but this is the most ridiculous fiscal development in federal Canadian history, no peer, nothing even close that I can remember. Carry on.

  17. I'm quite confident that if we keep asking Cabinet Ministers about these cuts eventually we're bound to find a Minister who knows who's a$$ they pulled these "savings" out of.

    This latest development also has me realizing just why the Tories were so pleased to be brought down on the contempt motion. They didn't want anyone looking too closely at the budget!!!

  18. You realize for each organization in 2010 which completed a strategic review, for each line item there is probably a report detailing really process-y and specific actions that were taken.

    Wells isn't asking a question that can easily be distilled down in a 5-minute interview. There are probably one report for each vague line description of an action for a department, which means properly answering the question might mean wading through 50 non-trivial reports.

    It looks like there are roughly 50 or so lines items from all the organizations that had a strategic review, so I would expect to answer the question would mean dumping these 50 reports on Well's lap.

    It is sort of a trick question. Ask what appears to be a simple question where to answer the question properly is untrivial. I expect Wells knows this, which is why he asked it the way he did. Instead of asking for the documentation to substantiate what the specific actions taken as a resutl of the Strategic Reviews, Ministers would never know the precise details of those line items. Wells really isn't interested in the 50 reports, I suspect. He is interested in making the Cabinet ministers look silly.

    If they gave him the 50 reports, I doubt Wells would read them.

  19. You miss the point. Wells is asking the Conservatives to explain something in the budget they brought down several weeks ago and that they claim to have already done.

  20. Could you be more tiresome?

  21. If they gave him the 50 reports, I doubt Wells would read them.

    Maybe so, maybe not. But if the reports exist, and support the claims, why wouldn't the minister simply answer the question by saying "It's complex, there are a series of background reports that I'll have sent to you"?

  22. Look, all the easy cuts were made by the Chretien Liberals. And they weren't all that easy.

  23. How could my posts be tiresome? If you don't like my postings, just skip them. My posted picture on the site hasn't changed for years and is easy enough to spot; you spot the frog and skip the post. In order to avoid being tiresome, don't spend the time doing the readings of my posts Seems simple enough to me. I skip many posts. Specially the one-liner posters.

    You have a choice, John.K. We all do.

    I have decided to post my opinions when I see fit. I will never force anyone to read them. Sounds fair enough to me. But you could be of the opinion that if you don't like a certain opinion expressed, they must be tiresome. You are entitled to your opinion. And I am entitled to mine.

  24. And that somehow eluded them for the five years they were already in charge of these departments.

  25. If they gave him the 50 reports, I doubt Wells would read them.

    If there were 50 reports that explained any of this, I doubt the Tories would keep them secret for two days.

  26. Based on Baird's responses to straight-forward questions- I would venture he speaks a language with which I am not familiar… bafflegab!

  27. Honey, there's precious little room for growth in the west, so why would cons govern for the west?

    In fact, this is what I wish westerners would think about (I live in the west too). For years, western people have salivated, waiting for the West to get in.

    Well they're in. I won't speak for Alberta, but in SK, the 13/14 conservative MPs do nothing to represent our needs. They are muzzled minions and may as well be from Timbuktoo for all they do for the west.

  28. So, you don't think we deserve better explanations than meaningless pablum like "Better utilization of existing resources" That explains precisely nothing of what occurred, and if I were cynical, I'd say it was deliberately obfuscatory. Maybe it was all things like buying lower weight office paper and saving on stamps. But they could come out and tell us what it was.

  29. The Conservatives are not stupid. They were burned last time by Duceppe over $45 million in arts and culture cuts. No way this time are they going to be explicit in what specifically they are going to cut. I am sure every journalist in the land is trying to make them say what they'll cut, but the Conservatives appear to have impressive discipline on this point.

  30. I'm offended by the fact that, in context, the conservative numbers are infinitely more reliable that Iggys,

    but that the medai portrays it as precisely the opposite.

    I'm offended by the magnifying glass to the right and a blind eye to the left. Leftist journalists who have corrupted a media, so as not to inform, but to propagandize for.

    I'm offended by:

    the corruption scandal of our generation.

  31. What a long winded way to say "yes".

  32. Uh, chet – the question was to explain actual numbers for a year already gone by, in which the CPC was in charge. They really ought to be able to explain those if they are doing their jobs.

    The Liberals, having been out of power for the past five years, really would have no answer to that question because they weren't running the government in 2010.

    Please try to keep up with the discussion…

  33. This is what I think the east and central Canada will think about (and they will soon enough):

    Once the BQ officially will be given the balance of power over our Canadian Parliament, there will be no going back. Westerners have understood this for a long time.

    Here's a history lesson: In the 1990's when Mulroney had managed to divide this country by being overly outdated in how this country had grown over the years, the rise of the BQ and the rise of the Reform party happened at the very same time.

    Only because the Conservative parties had been divided in two, could the Liberals manage to sneek in with some majority governments. The west has always understood that Canada has changed over the years, and that Quebec is no longer the main driving force as it once was under the old Canadian political system.

    Now that the Conservative party is as one once again,only the BQ has remained as a divisive player within federal elections, and not untill that changes, will our federation be put on the road to future well-being. The west is not waiting for a Messiah like Ignatieff to hand over the balance of power to the BQ. The west is waiting for a Canadian federation to be put to work for all Canadians. And Harper is the only one so far who has not signed anything formal with the BQ, And so the west will keep supporting him on what he has set out to do when the Reform started: namely to let the proper workings of our federation work for our well being in the 21 century, because the 19th century has been part of history for a very long time. And some day, the Quebec people will come to realize that as well.

  34. In what "context" is it a "fact" that the numbers that no Conservative minister can explain are "infinitely more reliable" than the Liberals'? Liberal spending for the next two years is based on the government's projections from corporate tax cuts. The Conservative revenue numbers were somewhere between 2 and 11 billion dollars different 18 days ago.

    But you're right, the leftest media is probably to blame…

  35. Sure, why not, he should ask and ask of the opposition parties. That doesn't change the fact that the government is turgid with BS on this.

  36. I'll say the same thing I said to chet, above:

    the question was to explain actual numbers for a year already gone by, in which the CPC was in charge. They really ought to be able to explain those if they are doing their jobs.

    The Liberals, having been out of power for the past five years, really would have no answer to that question because they weren't running the government in 2010.

  37. Discipline in saying zilch. Lovely.

  38. The same question would be irrelevant, as the Liberals were not in charge in 2010 and thus were not accountable for putting in place the supposed spending reductions nor for keeping track of them. That's the government's job.

    Go back and listen again to the question; you seem to have been confused by Baird's attempt to spin it to be about upcoming years.

  39. Still not tired of my posts! :) Very well then: keep reading them untill you drop down from exhaustion.

    I find it humourous how you manage to contradict yourself so unknowingly.

  40. Flaherty's spin of last night at least mustered a single example of a backoffice spending cut. Baird – to my ear knowing that he had no ability to answer the question – actually tried to deliberately confuse prospective/speculative platform savings with planned budgetary savings. He tried twice before realising that Paul wasn't going to accept the tripe he was serving.

    Fercrissakes, he wasn't even smart enough to immediately ice the puck and promise to get back to him. That's not a demonstration of how dim Baird is, it's confirmation that he is almost always allowed to play these stupid games by the media and so is surprised when a journalist actually pounds on him.

    Folks, that tape is precisely why SH is standing 12 metres from the fenced press and taking 5 questions. That tape is why SH is sitting on sofas interviewing his own (unidentified) campaign volunteers. That tape is why Baird will only scream Coalition and not address issues.

    Again, well done Paul.

  41. Flahery's accounts-keeping was learned in his Harris days. During the election when they were defeated, they were claiming a $3 billion surplus and promising more cuts while balancing the budget; when the Liberals took over, it turned out the province was $3 billion in the hole. They apparently didn't comprehend what the minus sign meant.

    So without an independent audit, I take any of Flaherty's prognostications with more than a few grains of salt.

  42. And Baird said that if Wells wants to have a specific look at any of the numbers, he should ask and Baird said he would look into it.

    Or did you not hear that? Wells just has to ask precisely which number he isn't clear on.

    The ball is now in Well's court to point out which numbers cannot be justified. We will wait untill Wells finds the right questions to answer.

    But some of us are still wondering if Wells will do the same in regards to the Liberal outlook. Afterall, they have had access to the very same numbers as set out in 2010. Do the Liberals have a problem with some of thes numbers savings? If so, which ones??? And if so, why did the Liberals not point that out in 2010??

  43. That's a more reasonable question – but not the one chet asked.

    Yes, it might be worth asking the Liberals if they agree with the cuts made, and if not – why not, and what would they have done differently?

  44. Flaherty and Baird don't seem to understand it is a "trick" question. The purpose of the question is to make them look silly, and they fall for the hook, because they don't understand what Wells is trying to do to them. The answer is to dump the 50 reports on Wells' lap.

    The details are at the lower level and the highest levels never see this. The details get abstracted into vaguer and vaguer bureaucrat-ease at it gets passed up the chain. The line items become "placeholders". At the high-level, the precise details of the Strategic Reviews are probably never discussed.

    Sometimes Paul Wells like to demonstrate that he is the cleverest guy in the room. When Harper p&^$* him off as with R&D, the clever attack pitbull comes out. I wonder if it is anything new, or is it just all that pent-up R&D stuff.

    Ask detail questions that are slightly off the beaten path to a couple of Cabinet ministers who aren't detail guys. Make them look silly. Chalk up a couple of scalps for Wells.

  45. I admit that my immediate reaction after hearing the Flaherty clip was "Good lord – he didn't mention the coalition once. Must be going off message." But now we have John bloody Baird not mentioning the coalition – what's going on?

  46. That wasn't my point at all. I made a very specific comment that an Ottawan should be concerned about a Conservative government from a self-interested point of view. After all, if there are to be layoffs or cuts or lack of hiring, it will be Ottawa principally affected. So an Ottawan, in their own interest, should probably not be voting Conservative.

    Nothing at all to do with being a "real Canadian". Why are Conservatives so paranoid?

  47. That's interesting. You try to tell me that voters actually vote not for the well being of the country, but would vote for the well being of self interest.

    Never thought about it that way. I have been of the opinion always that federal elections are being held for the well being of our federation, in that the well being of the Canadian federation will be able to feed the well being of all of its citizens in the long run.

    But if federal elections are to be about individual self interests, well, then what's the point of calling such elections federal????

  48. "He is interested in making the Cabinet ministers look silly. "

    Did you even listen to the recorded interviews? Flaherty and Baird made themselves look silly. If they were being straightforward, honest and knowledgeable, they would have looked good.

    We have a right to know what is being cut and Harper or his ministers should be able to provide the largest cuts, so we can see how one might get to $1.6B and also what kinds of things they were cutting. That they can't provide this suggests that either they have not actually saved $1.6B or they don't want people to know the kinds of things they are cutting.

  49. The coalition message came from some locked up war room handlers as out of touch as the rest of Harpers mob. It back fired and now they have nothing to go on. The scare mongering back fired as well and it has turned into a tory nightmare. They actually scared Canadians so much that Canadians are tuning in and going to vote them out.

  50. Vote them out into a majority!

    Wait, that didn't make any sense. Which is fitting, really.

  51. The details are at the lower level and the highest levels never see this.

    Wells asked plenty of bureaucrats at the "lower levels" who were all in the budget lock-up to explain where these savings were coming from, and my understanding is that to a person they answered "don't ask us, the people higher up never talked to us about it!".

    Maybe the people in the middle know what's going on?

  52. You're absolutely right. When i vote in my riding i'm going to ph some guy 5000ks away in Chicoutimi to make sure i'm not overriding his districts interests. Most of us can walk and chew gum at the same time.

  53. There should be a report that summarizes the 50 reports – that's what the Privy Council Office is supposed to do. In fact, the PCO report should contain an executive summary, which details in a few pages the different categories and amounts of savings by department. By any standard of good governance, the Harper government should have done this already. Paul is not asking an unreasonable question.

  54. Don't worry, TimesArrow. Chicoutimi is phoning you! They have a call centre there. Currently contracted out to the Harper GovernmentTM

  55. All that might reveal is that the libs missed it. Or didn't ask the right questions. Or worst of all chose to ignore them for political reasons; which is pretty inexcusable really when you're the chief opposition critic. Still, the fact remains, the onus is on the govt to justify those figures.

  56. John Baird is starting to sweat, rightly so. Check out this grass-roots movement. <a href="http://www.silverfoxalliance.com” target=”_blank”>www.silverfoxalliance.com

  57. Silly. Those reports are Cabinet confidences, or national security, or maybe they talked to a lawyer about some of it, or something. Oh, they'll tell you all about having 50 reports all right, you just can't see them. Hundreds of emails, too.

  58. I wouldn't hold your breath waiting for those reports. It's gonna take a while to scribble in all those NOTs to start with.

  59. Well I can help you with some of the cuts he has made to save
    http://www.straightgoods.ca/2011/ViewArticle.cfm?…

    They have long professed the Federal Government is over staffed. I remember Mulroney saying the same thing and they ended up with some of the biggest department increases in history; Auxworthy's Department of Transport comes to mind.

    And, still another point on the Conservative way of distrust and paranoia when it comes to the Federal Bureaucracy; Mulroney put his ADMs in charge of the respective departments and got rid of a library of department heads. I can only assume we can look forward to the same thing with Harper and his crew!

    That said, he is looking to cut the Fed and is counting on health care cuts and pretty much anything that comes across the desk.

    As Alberta's Stelmach said in public debate at the last election "We are Conservatives. We are not like these other guys."

  60. Oh my.

    The media propagandized that the Liberals had this great start to the campaign, while the CPC (and to a lesser extent the NDP) did poorly.

    There appeared to be no objective basis for this other than partisan Liberal media wishful thinking/base campaigning.

    It appears the public agrees:
    http://www.canada.com/Tories+marks+their+national

    Tories and NDP get top marks for the campaign, new poll says…the Liberals? Not so much.

  61. Great, when they do a new poll to find out where the $1.6B cuts are, you'll be on-topic. Meanwhile, happy for you that you are so happy about Harper's campaign style. I too hope Harper keeps it up (or down, as the case may be).

  62. Savings of this magnitude require that you cut out the middleman

  63. Well Wells' question ironically proves the point that there is lots of fat to be liposucked out of the bureaucracy. 5% in 4 years should be easy. Do you know how many levels of unnecessary middle management there must be to turn actual details about what was done into the mushy bureaucratic nonsense in those line items.

  64. I never said he was asking an unreasonable question. Wells was out for scalps. That's why the tape was rolling. How often does Wells have the tape rolling? It was a cleverly tricky reasonable question aimed at two people unsuited to be able to answer it.

    Flaherty is not the type of guy who would be remotely interested in the details. And all Baird knows are his talking points. Wells knew who he was targeting.

    And given the Harper's government disinclination to release information of any kind, it was almost a sure slam dunk takedown.

  65. Do you know how many levels of unnecessary middle management there must be to turn actual details about what was done into the mushy bureaucratic nonsense in those line items.

    No, I have no idea.

    I suspect none of us will know until Mr. Wells can find at least one single person who can tell us the first thing about "what was done". My fear at this point is that there is no middle man, because there was no process of turning actual details into bureaucratic nonsense, because there were no "actual details" to begin with. I still need to be convinced that the reason no one can tell us what was done isn't simply because nothing was done beyond the people at the top making up some numbers that sounded good to a focus group somewhere, and throwing them into the budget with a "we'll figure out how to actually DO this later…".

  66. How could Brison and Goodale be expected to explain the Conservatives' strategic review process?

  67. Occam's razor: they do not appear to be stupid because they're disciplined but because they really are stupid.

  68. That last sentence – that was almost smooth enough not to be totaly ridiculous – almost. They should fire Ryan Sparrow and hire you.

  69. They're actually wisely avoiding giving Iggy something other than what's in the budget and platform, which have enough in them to occupy all of us here. Lots of boutique spends, investments and cuts.

    Martin chopped 45,000 swivel servants, this won't require that many to be chopped. And, as the feds get out of provincial jurisdictions, they won't need the same staffing. That's clear. the key will be offering early retirement, then rationalize the personnel left behind. Cut the red tape, computerize once again and properly this time (no more Y2K-patched COBOL systems with databases that can't converse). The older gov't employee will bail just so they can avoid learning another system.

    As for these clips, can you do transcripts? No speakers on this puppy… I though Macleans was a print project… : )

  70. What a stupid effing premise for a poll. And get this — Layton gets top marks for his campaign, while his poll numbers are swooning, particularly in Ontario. Makes tons of sense, doesn't it?

  71. Thanks for going after this, Paul. A tough conscientious media is going to be needed to do the right thing and bring the Conservatives down. Now get one of your colleagues working on the contempt file.

  72. You're smarter than this.

  73. Why do coalitions draw such ire from the general population? That is how parliamentary governments work… its how democratic republics work. Why is there this belief that because a party has the most seats it must naturally form the government, regardless of whether it has a majority? Politics is not a winner takes all game; If two political parties hold enough seats, and are able to find compromise in order to form a majority, why should this be seen as distasteful?

    Stephen Harper himself suppourted coalitions up until the point where his party stood the chance of being pushed out by one.

    The simple fact is that a coalition government by its very nature represents the greater portion of the voting population. Simply put, more Canadians were against a Conservative government than were for it… so the Conservatives have no natural right to form the government, and their doing so is essentially undemocratic unless they themselves can manage to from a majority through coalition.

    Im not saying this in favour of any particular party either, im saying it in favour of democracy.

  74. The numbers the post is about are the Conservatives' numbers from their recent budget. Given that it seems reasonable to assume that the Conservatives will be the governing party following the election and PMSH says that we should expect the same budget to be put forward post-election, Chet is caught red-handed (ha! RED-handed!) trying to distract. Yet again. I hope he gets paid well.

  75. They should be given equal scrutiny but does that make them of equal importance?

    In my opinion the Conservative numbers most certainly merit greater attention as the promises they are making in this election to the Canadian people all have an asterisk next to them, making them explicitly subject to a balanced budget… If their numbers do not suppourt a balanced budget their promises are empty.

    And don't you think this situation demands attention? In just two weeks the numbers have inflated massively without any explanation… In an instance that implies more than just bad math, but deliberate deception.

  76. Good night,
    If you want , you have to go on Google and you click on : Hotte alias Duceppe Gilles. Why that guy took the artist name of his father to go in politic ? And, if you go and click on Google : Hotte alias Duceppe Jean, you will discover that Jean Hotte, the Gilles Hotte Duceppe father's took the nickname of Duceppe……… John Bull.

  77. The majority of Canadians didn't support any of the minority parliaments we've had over the years. Nor did they in Britain, Australia, etc.

    Parliamentary democracy – the party that wins the most seats gets the opportunity to win the confidence of the House.

    In 2008, when the Liberals DROPPED about 50 seats or so, and the CPC GAINED some, it goes totally against the grain of any and all parliamentary democracies for the Liberal party to govern unless they can cobble together a coalition with other parties.

    What part of the Bloc wanting to destroy Canada don't you get? You really want them to have a seat at the table, whether ministerial or not?

  78. Enter text right here!

  79. Which is pretty much what I heard Baird say he would do.

  80. Yesterday, Flaherty talked about direct deposit for EI cheques. Have you no comprehension of the savings that would create? Less staff for printing/mailing cheques. Less postage (or if no postage is charged to the government, then less cost to Canada Post to deliver). Less staff for reconciling bank accounts. Etc Etc Etc.

    And that money would have been saved by HRSDC, the dept that doesn't deliver cheques anymore.
    If they apply the same principle to pension cheques, similar savings can be expected.

    It's not rocket science, nor is it jiggery pokery either.

  81. Thanks for the link! I'd like to add these as well: leadnow.ca
    catch22campaign.ca
    unseatharper.ca

  82. "Have you no comprehension of the savings that would create?"

    Well, clearly this should save some money. But I'd be very surprised if you could tell me a dollar figure that it should save. More to the point, no one in the cabinet seems to be able to, either.

  83. If Flaherty's not remotely interested in the details, then what's he doing as finance minister?

  84. Im not sure what it is you're trying to argue here.

    The party that wins the most seats has the opportunity to win the confidence of the House, yes. If it fails to do so a coalition is a viable and logical alternative. Because one party gets more votes than any other does not mean that it has the endorsement of the people… it's a minority.

    Government as a whole represents the people of Canada, and there should be an expectation that compromise will take place. Two political parties reaching a compromise in order to form a majority government is democracy in action. It is serving the interests of a greater share of the nation. Canada does not speak with a single voice… compromise is the whole point of Parliamentary democracy.

    Shifts in political momentum has no bearing at all. If the people of Canada want a Party to have no possibility to form a government they will vote accordingly. If they vote them into a position that they can form a coalition, and a government can form which serves a greater portion of the population than that is the democratic process in action.

  85. Well at least Baird didn't tell him to wait for the departmental RPP to come out. Not that the RPP would add much clarity.

    I only really focused on one very specific department when I was in the lockup (and when I looked at the Main Estimates from the week prior), and all of the cost savings–a fairly significant amount–came from sunsetting of short-term programs and reduced demand for statutory programs. I didn't see any significant administrative cut.

  86. The Conservatives, as the strongest party, have the greatest ability to create a coalition government to stabilize Parliament… That they can find little to no common ground amongst the other parties, who together form a majority (thus representing the majority of Canadians) is my greatest issue with them. Unless the other parties themselves can find no common ground as well than what you truly have is the majority subservient to the minority – which is naturally undemocratic.

    As to the Bloc, I wish for them to have as many seats and as great a role in our government as the voters decide, and for them push the agenda of their constituents as far as they are able. Ultimately I desire democracy, even when it is inconvenient.

    You will not sell me on the fear mongering. My whole point is that a minority should not be the one to set the policy or agenda if there is the possibility for a majority. The Bloc has not even the capacity to form a majority and in any coalition would not be able to set or achieve an agenda not acceptable to the other parties.

  87. The problem, Candace, is that they already have direct deposit set up for all government payments. It's called My Service Canada Account. Once set up you can have all payments – GST rebates, Pension, EI, ncome Tax etc., all put directly into your bank account. It's a great service, no doubt a cost saver – but – it's already been done.

  88. Cutting transfer payments to the provinces was easy, but didn't do anything long term to save money. It only shifted who would play for the programs. Making the government more efficient should be every elected persons' goal. I truly hope people in Ontario don't vote for the liberals because they want more spending in the town. That would be sad.

  89. Hide the specifics, Is that not why there is an election right now. Government Must Not Hide the Specifics ever!!!
    Full disclosure….

  90. Cuts to the GST cost us about how much per year? Say about 10 billion…why that's awfully close to 11 billion…my my what a coincidence. Sure could use some of that right about now. I know it went back in to stimulate the economy [ cept that was before they sorta kinda realized the storm was on its way.] I think i spent my share of it for this year at my kids annual ptub ski race today – thanks Steve…i hardly knew i almost had it. Sure could do with some extra Docs and a new road, maybe some help getting off diesel generators up here though.

    Everyone's breathlessly waiting to see where AC is gonna come down on this little accounting error. Let me guess. He's a contrarian so i'd go with he thinks there's lots of room for a hypothetical $11 billion in savings.

  91. There seems to be a misunderstanding. From what I have heard, they have repeatedly stated that they HAVE NOT ALREADY FOUND the billions in savings. They have already found a few hundred million in savings, and that was in the last budget (though the details are apparently scant). They are saying that they are going to go looking for the billions after they get their majority, and that they are confident they will find it. It is at this point that some disagree.

  92. Probably because they couldn't even get around to sending such things to parliament. Never mind a Mainstream Media person.

  93. Paying his friends as speech-writers.

  94. That's actually not a problem, Jan. As more people go on EI (as they have in the past 2 years), more get direct deposit for everything. People who were working and had no reason for direct deposit (no kids, whatever) hadn't set it up.

    Also, online EI is pretty new. At least new to the CPC govt (eg to my knowledge not available under the Lib gov't – technology? upgrades? who knows?) That saves a whack of labour, too.

  95. "Docs and a new road"

    Docs = provincial
    Road = either municipal or provincial

    Call either your MLA or city councillor, and when you are through, may I suggest you read the BNA Act and perhaps the Canadian constitution?

  96. Remember why they voted non confidence on The Harper Government? Wells is asking how the past savings were attained and can't get an answer. The magnifying glass is always on the government in politics because we deal not only with promises but with a verifiable record. Surely, the government should be able to give credible information on what it has done these past five years. Why it refuses to do so is puzzling – heck, it is contemptuous.

  97. NEWS!!! The Chrétien government cut 1 out 6 public service jobs, or nearly 55,000 jobs.

  98. Mr. Wells now has a better understanding of why the government lost the confidence of the House of Commons.

  99. Only because the Conservative parties had been divided in two…

    How did that happen again? Presto?

  100. Ok, having been in Power for over 5 years now, As a conservative government…

    Are you stating that they have known about these 4Billion per year in savings and have continued to waste the money? or are you saying that after 5 years they will return to office and wisk in the changes that they have been secretly working on ?

  101. I'm not sure how long direct deposit has been used for EI – in 2007 there was the snafu where some got extra EI direct deposits they were not supposed to, so it was certainly being used then. On other Human Resource checks, the feds were reporting 85% use of direct deposits in the late 1990's, so it seems that direct deposit is widely used when it is an option. Perhaps the participation rate has some room for further improvement, but this isn't going to add up to much of the $1.6B.

  102. "the media is going to be needed to do the right thing and bring these conservatives down". So says the commenter above.

    And its at a plus six in approval. That's a scary thought. What's also scary is just how many in the media appear to believe that it is "the right thing" and that it is their jobs to do so.

    Rather, than on, you know, providing balanced, contextual and factual coverage of all the parties and letting the populace decide.

    But as many leftists believe our elites, "experts" so to speak, know far better what is good for Canadians than Candians do themselves…I suspect they've convinced themselves that throwing the game for Iggy is doing (to use the highly approved of words of the commenter above)…

    "the right thing".

  103. Well, this is an Ipsos-Reid poll.. so it's not surprising they'd find a result like this.

  104. Even the picture Wells uses clearly screams his bias against anything that isn't on the side of the parasites. No country ever more sorely needed a FoxNewsNorth than Canuckistan.

  105. It doesn't really matter, according to the Conservatives all this magic happens under a majority. They know they are being held to a minority at best, so they can offer free ice cream on your birthday, or a tax credit for it, and not have to follow through.

  106. Macleans is apparently in on the lets take Harper down because we don't like him deal with the countries liberal media.The Conservative party has to bet the libdipbloc coalition and all so the other coalition called the liberal media,when Canadian voters send Harper back with a majority goverment it will be pretty sweet to shut them all up.

  107. Paul is such a Conservative toadie. By sticking to this minor accounting issue like it was an important as the R&D board, he is helping keep the campaign focused on the economy and fiscal competence… THE CONSERVATIVE GAMEPLAN! Moreover, he is providing a direct, unfiltered link between two top-drawer Conservative minds and the electorate. For years, the whining contingent on the right has complained about the media distorting their message and changing the channel to issues that benefit the lefties. Crap, Wells has thrown away the remote, turned up the volume and is now giving the Conservative FREE advertising space on his blog. I hope he is getting some kickback for this underhanded attempt to hand the Conservative's their majority.

  108. The Emperor's new clothes.

  109. Its weird … it reminds me if Gilligan's Island.

    TIME to EXIT the Harper FISH BOWL.

    Yea.

  110. You didn't get the memo?
    Our country is now called Harperstan!

  111. A large number of processes have come online in the last couple of years that are outside the mainstream. I work in HR – getting a Labour Market Opinion (LMO) to support a Temporary Foreign Work Permit used to be all manual. Employers typed (or wrote) the application & supplied back up documentation, then someone at HRSDC reviewed it and contemplated whether or not to issue the LMO. Prior to April 1 of this year, if you can friggin' believe it, NO DATABASE was maintained on employers requesting these. So if someone new starts on the job, how do they know if the company asking for an LMO has any kind of track record of doing what they said they would do (eg. pay market rates, etc).

    So now, only, will such a database be started. How will this save money? Well, LMOs are decided by staff in the region they affect (eg. someone in Vancouver reviews BC apps, someone in Calgary -southern AB, Edmonton – central AB, etc) but previously, if it was the first LMO a company requested in a given area, there might not have been an easy way to see if other LMOs had been granted. There was minimal followup, and diddly for investigation.

    Part 2 to follow

  112. Part 2
    …The gov't spent a year or two following up on complaints and generally checking on compliance and found all sorts of fraudulent behaviour, so have now put some significant controls in place AND started a database. Now, when a company requests an LMO, the gov't will review any LMOs issued in the past 2 years for compliance (did company pay the foreign worker what they said they would, were the working conditions safe, yadda yadda yadda) before issuing a new LMO for another foreign worker.

    As well, "Temporary" Foreign Work Permits used to be renewable ad nauseum under the LMO process. Now, 4 years max, then the foreign worker has to leave the country (or at least not work in it) for 4 years before getting another work permit. Note that nothing stops foreign workers for applying for Permanent Resident status while on a Work Permit, which many (in my experience, anyway) do, so if they like the job & the country, they can stay.

    Part 3 to follow

  113. Part 3. Sorry it's so longwinded.

    While on the outset, this may result in more work on the gov't part, it will also allow them to hand out some significant fines and crack down on a lot of fraudulent practices, so savings (and lets face it, revenue from penalties) will result. The database will reduce time required for processing, since once a company's 2 years' history is in the system it won't be a huge task to determine yay or nay on the LMO.

    I'm sure HRSDC and CIC have calculated the savings, likely quite significant in the 2nd or 3rd year, and they are probably in one of those "50 reports" out there.

  114. May be some quebekers are going to wake up and vote for Mister Michael Ignatieff…..

  115. Not as scary has the media being found guilty of unethical conduct by the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council because Dion speaks the language of the Canadiens.

  116. Bull…

    Au plaisir!

  117. Dictatorship with minority!

    Majority?! LOL! can you imagine the Harper regime with a majority government?! SCARY!.

  118. Harper's been funding the grooming of snowmobile trails – where in the BNA Act is that cited?

  119. Attacking the conservatives on wrong issue is a sign of bias?

    Oh my.

    Not only do the liberals expect favourable coverage, but finely tuned attacks that can only maximize damage to the Conservatives.

    It appears this monster cannot be fed enough. Give it some biased coverage and it only demands more and more.

  120. hahah! good point.

  121. I think you should probably ask Don Savoie what he thinks before you ask any more Ministers, PW.

  122. Exactly – the election is at least partly a review of past performance.

    In that context they are saying the equivalent of I demand a promotion that provides more autonomy for me based on my past performance PLUS my own projected improved perfomance in the future. And I provide actual numbers to show neither my excellent performance to date nor the projection.

    Next review, try the same and back it up with such baffle-gab as so far offered by Baird and Flaherty.

  123. To get to Flaherty's surplus you had to factor in some public assets being sold off, if I remember correctly. Having done so well off the 407.

  124. Mr. Wells is askign a question about the 2009-2010 budget, which was successfully implemented. Given the huge size and complexity of a federal government budget it is unreasonable to expect a quick answer to a question about an $80,000 expenditure back in 2010. That is like asking a person to remember how many kilowats of energy they used last year – without a receipt and checking the books it is impossible to rememebr such numbers offhand. Mr. Baird's response that he will get back to him regarding specifics like that is perfectly reasonable.

  125. computerize once again and properly this time (no more Y2K-patched COBOL systems with databases that can't converse
    Long-term efficiencies no doubt to be gained from such a project but it would require actual increased expenses during the several years it would take to plan, undertake, test and complete. Therefore please find the other offsetting savings that take effect immediately.

  126. I guess you're referring to infrastructure projects of the stimulus persuastion? The ones that municipalities and provinces had to first, agree were relatively shovel ready and then agree to share costs, and then propose to the feds? That would be provinces exercising their right to decide what happens on the ground, would it not, and requesting access to federal funds for a portion?

    That's kinda BNA in a nutshell, isn't it?

  127. It's not the concept of coalitions that most people reject. It's the odious nature of the current coalition arrangement that bothers most Canadians.

    The 2008 Coalition agreement contained a clause establishing a permanent consultation mechanism with the Bloc Quebecois. (see item #3 <a href="http:// ;http://www.cbc.ca/news/pdf/081201_Accord_en.pdf“ target=”_blank”> <a href="http://;http://www.cbc.ca/news/pdf/081201_Accord_en.pdf” target=”_blank”>;http://www.cbc.ca/news/pdf/081201_Accord_en.pdf )

    This coalition accord doesn't expire until June 30, 2011. It's ready to be implemented in case of a Conservative minority. (hence the reason for contriving an early election by the opposition) Also, it seems that if the Liberals win a minority they may be legally beholden to implement this accord or become entangled in legal wrangling with the NDP and the Bloc. Either way, it's a mess for all Canadians.

    It's the giving to the Bloc too much leverage over the public purse that makes this hasty, reckless coalition anathema in the minds of most Canadians. I'm betting that it will be the wedge issue that ultimately serves Stephen Harper a majority government.

  128. So why is TimesArrow out of line then?

  129. I agree with Wayne.

    The specifics for each department are contained within the operational reviews for each department. The government implemented yearly strategic reviews in 2007 for 12 departments. The savings as a result of these reviews are charted in the successive budgets. (e.g. http://www.budget.gc.ca/2011/plan/anx1-eng.html) Information concerning strategic savings has to come from the individual departments.

    Wells is asking about past savings from the 2009-2010 budget and Baird is directing him to the 2010 operational reviews for answers to specific areas. These are available upon request. Wells is just being lazy.

    For info on the HRSDC, see: http://www.hrsdc.gc.ca/eng/publications_resources
    You can't help but get the sense that Wells' line of questioning is purposefully simplistic. He should know that what he is asking isn't reasonable in a media scrum forum. Baird answered his questions in a competent manner.

  130. Here's an excerpt from the 2011 Budget reviewing the 2010 Strategic Reviews;

    "The Government has now completed the first four-year cycle of the strategic review exercise. Together with measures to restrain the growth in National Defence spending, the first cycle of strategic reviews has resulted in $11 billion of savings over seven years and more than $2.8 billion in ongoing savings. As part of the Government's plan to return to balanced budgets over the medium term and in order to restrain the growth in spending, the Government will undertake a one-time Strategic and Operating Review to be conducted across all of government in 2011–12. The Government's careful approach to spending will remain a key feature of its fiscal management strategy."

    The Conservatives are adding proposed savings to their platform above and beyond the recently tabled budget based upon early feedback from these cross-government strategic reviews. In other words, they are being reasonable and truthful to Canadians. When Ignatieff acts like a poor man's Peter O'Toole, rolls his eyes and utters his nonsense it only fortifies the realization that he is insincere, incompetent and clueless.

  131. Because federal funding comes at the request of the province. Cities currently get cash for transit and other infrastructure from (1? or 2?) of the 5% GST collected within their boundaries. For major projects like transit, it's typical to request matching funds from both province & feds.

    Feds only provide funds toward healthcare, and don't fully fund it.

    So, if TimesArrow wants doctors, it's up to the province to hire them, not the feds.
    If he wants new roads, it's up to the city or province or both.

    For major roads, like the ring road around Edmonton, funding is done as P3 (private & public partnership). Consortiums raise $, feds/provinces/municipalities kick some in and the consortium ends up owning the project and leasing it back to the govt. This way, they are responsible for maintenance, not the gov't. They are performance based as the consortium isn't paid until the work is completed, and generally include financial penalties for delays.
    If you're interested, see here: http://www.p3canada.ca/how-do-p3s-work.php

  132. But you're missing the point that Wells is getting at, which is, in terms of actual action, what was done to realize these savings?

    For example, in the HRSDC document you cite, it states they completed a strategic review of the Labour Program, but in terms of specifics, I cannot find a concrete description of what was actually cut. The best it describes such cuts is as follows: (roughly half-way down the page)

    "Savings in three areas were identified: eliminate red tape and streamline service delivery; better align program funding with actual needs; and focus programs on core mandate and high–priority areas."

    What does this mean? Can you elaborate on "eliminate red tape"? What was eliminated? What does "better align program funding with actual needs" mean? Does this mean certain programs were cut? What does "focus programs on core mandate and high-priority areas" mean? What concrete initiatives were taken to achieve these three points?

    THIS is what Wells was getting at.

  133. Why is it that any time anyone in the media criticizes the Harper Government that they are accused of being left-wing LIberal lovers? It's their job to question everyone … and the questions Paul Wells is raising here are important ones …

    I see two main issues: (1) How come the new $11 Billion "strategic review" savings in the CPC Platform weren't included in the 2011 Budget released just 18 days before? and (2) Can the Harper Government show how such savings are achieved – i.e. by examples that have worked in the past, cuts that have already been implemented, etc.?

    As to (1), the only answer is, apparently, "well, it wasn't done yet, so we hadn't booked it in the Budget". 'Kay, but I'm not buying this explanation. If the savings are honest and the government knew they were potentially there, then, I am sure that all the little minions in the Treasury Board and elsewhere could have given us this very good news in time for the Budget. I mean it is $11 Billion, it does kind of matter and, gee, well, if you were going to be able to save that much more, you could have thrown another $400 million at Jack, appeased the NDP, and not bothered us all with this, what do you guys call it? Oh ya, unnecessary election.

    Better view, and much more likely? Buying votes with campaign platform, because Budget 2011 wasn't good enough to run on. Making up magic savings to "pay" for campaign promises (that probably won't be kept anyway, so does it matter?).

    Even if you believed them on (1), then you still have to deal with question (2). Just what exactly is going to be saved and how in these so-called "strategic reviews" are the savings actually being achieved?

    Take just one example, Table A1.3 for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, 2nd line of cuts: "Improve alignment of program funding with actual needs" said to be saving $1.2 million in 2011-12, $3 million in 2012-13, and a whopping $7 million in 2013-14.

    First of all, it is not at all clear what exactly this department does – "create opportunities for economic growth in Atlantic Canada" – Okay but how? What do they spend their money on? But secondly, saying that they are going to improve alignment between the program and actual needs is just meaningless mouth mush. You mean the department had no idea before whether what they were doing had any relation to what was actually needed? So they were basically wasting money? On what? A Harper Government PR exercise – "We care about Atlantic Canada"?

    And now, you have figured out what? That you have been spending money on things that aren't needed? What the actual needs are? Shouldn't you have done that before? And how do you know that the "actual needs" will be such that you will be able to save $7 million in 2013-14? Did the magic economic forecasting crystal ball tell you Atlantic Canada won't need your help by then?

    Leaving all that aside, I'm with Wells on this one – OK. You want to put down a bunch of numbers and some smarmy double-speak describing the savings … Fine. Show me. Show me the program, show me the budgets, show me the spending, and most importantly show me where you got the numbers from: the ACOA concluded it would save 1.2, 3, and 7 million over the next three years because x, y, and z shown here, here and here – would be cut, would be less, would be different …

    Baird (and whomever it was that was piping up in the background) say of course they can, and they will get back to us. I'll believe it when I see it.

  134. ROTF! really ? scary.I think you jest.

  135. Then you won't believe it because you won't see it. It'll all be redacted!

  136. Obviously… OBVIOUSLY… if the Conservatives are looking at ways of trimming the fat, if this party of principle is going to lead by example, they're going to start by eliminating the number of partisan staffers on Parliament Hill. Surely, we need less of those guys…

    Oh, wait… nope… those guys are getting raises and improved severance packages…
    http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/special/federal-

    It's actually starting to get funny. Beyond frustrated now… it's just plain funny.

  137. Um, if he reads the BNA Act, he'll already have read the relevant portions of the Canadian constitution.

  138. How are things in the Conservative war room? Or are you out in the field receiving your talking points on the Blackberry?

  139. Of all of Harper's Parliament Hill-Bullies, Baird is the lead knuckle-dragger. I can still hear him, while Minister of Health in Ontario pretending to cough as a joke during the 2003 SARS crisis. He is a man of little to no integrity, I can't imagine wanting to hear what he has to say.

  140. Interesting how Ignatieff always seems to have a big federal government solution for all Canadian problems. He certainly hasn't any aversion to stomping all over the toes of provincial and municipal governments. Classic belligerent liberalism.

    The Conservatives have the best record for being enablers to provincial and/or municipal governments; as opposed to being dictators.

  141. The reason the $11 billion wasn't in the budget is because the budget is a yearly projection and there was no election happening at the time.

  142. In fairness to John Baird, he did defer Wells' specific example to the MP who fronts the HRSDC file. (Diane Finlay, I believe) He also stated that it's unprecedented to give a long list of review findings and cost cutting during a campaign, which is true. This was a campaign media scrum after all.

    Are the Conservative budget savings exaggerated or outright lies? I don't think so. It's a tricky job to enact operational reviews for cost-cutting measures to department budgets. Governments run the risk of having bureaucrats circle the wagons and obfuscate the process. I've been involved with this kind of thing on a corporate level and have witnessed the vagaries and difficulties involved. The government has to be careful not to alienate department employees in trying to encourage transparency and cost-cutting. I appreciate how that the Conservatives are allowing individual departments to perform their own reviews and focus their own austerity measures without trampling on toes. It fosters more of a cooperative atmosphere.

    However, to be honest, I'm not impressed with the HRSDC business plan language. The ambiguous lip-service may be valid, but it would be nice to see it fleshed out with actual details. It sounds like an aid agreed with John Baird at the end to provide Wells with details, so for all intents and purposes, the jury is still out.

  143. Seriously?

    With all the experience these gentlemen have dodging questions in question period and handling curious reporters, they can't handle a trick question?

    Now you are just being ludicrous.

  144. The Harper regime platform –

    -Prorogue Parliament on multiple occasions at the cost of $millions of taxpayers dollars.

    -$16-30+ Billion on American first strike fighter aircraft.

    -$Billions wasted on G8/G20.

    -$Billions on American style mega prisons.

    -Attacks on low-income seniors.

    -Attack veterans Ombudsman Pat Stogran for doing his job.

    -For the first time in the history on the UN, Canada is in the noose-bleed section & not the main table.

    -A world disgrace from Copenhagen to Cancun with its head up American AXX on climate change.

    -Scrapping of the long-form census in spite of unanimous condemnation.

  145. -$Millions wasted on partisan advertising and Economic Action Plan signage.

    -The biggest spending finance minister in Canadian history.

    -Authoritarian style government Muzzling dissent and stifling free speech.

    -A PM who vowed to "never appoint an unelected senator" who now cant appoint them fast enough.

    -A government who campaigned on accountability & ethics now causing an un-necessary election in 2011 for being found in contempt of Parliament for the first time in CDN history.

    -$Billions to help the Americans control our border & sovereignty.

    -Attack the PBO Kevin Page for doing his job.

    -More $Billions in profits for large corporations, banks & dirty oil. ZERO for health care, day care, pharmacare, retirement, etc.

    -Kill gun control.

    -The largest deficit in CDN history.

    Did I miss anything?, oh that's right its all hidden from both the opposition & the CDN public. get out & VOTE!.

  146. I appreciate when 'the media' go out on a limb and say, file a Freedom of Information request, so they can bring the citizenry information, AKA factual coverage because the PMO has locked that information tighter than [insert your own simile here]. Sadly the media have been continually deflected by the Harper Government much like the parliamentary committee's request for the Afghan detainee documents.

    I don't think you have to be on either end of the political spectrum to appreciate and advocate for ethical decision making that falls within the boundaries of our Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

    If you have a moment take a look at a recent open letter to Canadian journalists by the Assoc. of Canadian Journalists. http://www.caj.ca/?p=692

  147. What is more scary, is a government that bullies, tries to muzzle anyone who is offering another perspective and eliminates the gathering of facts (long-form census) because they do not jive with their narrow ideological views.

    Let's not all pretend that somehow media outlets are more than businesses, trying to sell their product. The key point is that they are free to do whatever the H$%L they want, without that freedom you don't have democracy. I know the Conservatives would love it if they got to approve every piece of information newspapers, websites etc. published.

    They even tried to get the Auditor General to get approval for speaking.

  148. They lost me when they said "As journalists, we fear this will mean more government waste, more misuse of taxpayer dollars, more scandals Canadians won't know about until it's too late."
    First of all, the reporters are hating it because it makes their job more difficult. Period.
    Secondly, I don't recall and Liberal scandals that were stopped at the beginning, because of reporting. Most of these things come to light because of whistle blowing. Also, I don't think that reporting has stopped, in the past, government waste, or the misuse of taxpayer dollars.
    If these reporters want to be believed, they should stick to trying to be more credible first.

  149. As far as liberal vs conservative news coverage – it is pretty obvious in most cases. Look at Wells go after this, but has he ever questioned, and recorded Ignatieff about the 6 billion he will 'raise' by raising the corporate tax rate? No. And even if he did, would he run around asking other Liberals to explain it as well. No.
    If the conservative allowed an ex Judge to continue representing the conservative brand, after said judge made remarks that were 'unacceptable' and 'disgraceful'. Especially if those comments related to the judge making light of certain instances of sexual assault. If Harper were to then 'stand by' the said judge, how do you think it would be reported? Do you think it would be mentioned, and then forgotten overnight? I highly doubt it.

  150. First of all, if it was so 'hidden', how did you find it out? Do you have connections.
    Any single act of any gov't, taken out of context, will look bad to certain segments of our society.
    – biggest spending. . last I checked, it was a minority gov't. Every bill that had to be passed had the support of at least one party. They made sure that they 'got something' for their support. by definition, a minority gov't will spend more than a majority gov't. Also, last I checked, there was a recession, and the opposition were united in demanding that the gov't spend it's way out of it.
    – last I checked, I was still free to say whatever I want.
    – In order for Harper to 'elect' a senator, he would need the support of at least one party. Last I checked, no other party supports elected senators.
    – 'found in contempt . . .' – last I checked, it was found in contempt by a liberal led committee. This is the longest lasting minority gov't in Canadian history. It was bound to happen sooner or later.
    – we pay the Americans to patrol our border – wow – you do have inside information. I had never heard that.
    – billions in profits for ….. – now it is wrong for companies to make profits? Would a liberal gov't ensure that corporations, banks and oil companies (please explain clean oil to me) lost money every year? Wow – where do we sign up?
    – nobody wants to 'kill gun control' – we have always had gun control. The CPC wants to kill a massively expensive, wasteful and useless long gun registry. Please don't try to sway opinion by incorrectly labeling things.
    – The gov't, and the economy, is getting bigger every year. Every 'big' deficit will be the 'largest in CDN history' – they won't get smaller over time. Also, please refer to the part about the opposition demanding that they spend their way out of the recession. All the opposition parties screamed for it, and now the liberal supporters want to blame the CPC for it. Interesting.

  151. Oops – forgot one thing.
    While the CPC was in a minority position, the gov't spent 'ZERO for health care, daycare, pharmacy, retirement, etc'. – HOLY CRAP Here I thought that we had all of that in Canada, but here you tell us (and we can believe you, because you have inside information) that all through the Harper gov't we haven't had any money spent on any of that.
    Kind of odd, you would have thought we would have noticed. . . .

  152. this is easy too answer , if harper gets a majority they will save money by privatizing medicare and doing away with free universal coverage , they will privatize or cripple cpp and cancel old age security, any one unfortunate enoug to be on social assistance will either be cut off or drafted into his new army, or war machine ,there will a lot of union busting and gradual decreases in wages and minamum wages so bussines can have many more employees because of lower wages ,, its all about his secret agenda thats how hell pull it off but if we look too the usa we know that wont work it didnt work for bush junior or senior or regan. actually thats when it started. it didnt work for margerette thatcher either,

  153. Actually cutting transfer payments to provinces is really hard – because it means you have to live with 10 Premiers jawing about how wrong it all is.

  154. Sun News Network went West for its first major distribution deal with a cable or satellite television provider.

    The upstart TV network, set to launch next week, announced that Shaw Communications Inc. will offer the news-and-talk television channel to all of its customers in Western Canada and Ontario for free when the channel debuts on April 18.
    http://www.cbc.ca/news/

  155. If you were following the news you would have noticed that Harper promised to increase Health Spending by 6% per Year.

  156. Getting rid of the Long Gun Registry would save over $100 million annually.

  157. Canada is like cow, Raised in the West but milked in the East.

    If if the Cap And Trade Is brought in by the Liberals then bring on the Republic of Western Canada.

  158. Canada is like cow, Raised in the West but milked in the East.

  159. How about about nearly half $1 billion for the G-8 hosted by Chretien in 2002? You conveniently forgot about tGive me a break. Chretien porogued parliament more often than Harper. McGinty also porogued his legislature. Chretien stopped the Somalia inquiry dead in its tracks (first time in Canadian history that an inquiry or shutdown in the middle of its mandate). No howls of indignation from the left, I wonder why?

    -Jails have been overcrowded for years. What is your solution?-

    Close to $1 billion penalty for canceling the helicopters.

    In 2002, the Liberal government announced a $3.1-billion deal to replace the Sea King helicopter with the Sikorsky CH-148 , an unbuilt model plagued with delays.

    Costs have now reached $5.7-billion for 28 helicopters. The Conservative government has successfully squeezed hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of contract concessions from Sikorsky in compensation for delays with the project. Only testing versions, with incomplete software systems, have been delivered. The Canadian Forces expect to begin receiving final versions of the Cyclone helicopter in June 2012, four years late and nearly 50 years after the Sea King entered service in 1963.

    Meanwhile, the Sea King continues to fly, and is part of Canada's arsenal for the mission in Libya.

    A $2 billion boondoggle wastage by the human resources department which went unexplained.

    Close to $2 billion Gun Registry which was to cost under $20 million and was supposed to pay for itself instead of costing over $100 million annually..

    And how are those multibillion dollar Liberal submarines doing, you know, the ones continuously in dry dock being repaired, so much so that they spend more time above ground than Chretien's Sea King helicopters?

  160. This is too easy!

    -Chrétien and everyone else did the same,They called it informing the public about government programs.

    -biggest spending finance Minister was I believe Chretien (or Turner) under Trudeau (in 70s funds)

    -Muzzling-liberals and NDP did not allow free votes on same sex, gun registry (Harper did), Chretien kicked out liberal members who voted against the GST, the NDP kicked out 2 members who voted against same-sex marriage. The only ones that allowed the free vote on same-sex marriage were "Surprise" the conservatives and some of them voted for the institution.

    -he tried to reform the Senate with the liberals obstructing it in parliament and at a Senate level.

    -have you heard of kangaroo courts? Look at up.

    -healthcare has seen an increase of 6% annually.

    -the liberals and NDP voted down the Long Gun Registration with The Liberals and NDP not allowing free votes.

  161. Hey wells, good work you keep going hard with you liberal cheer leading and get the american in the PM's office and when he comes with his coalition of losers to raid Alberta and we say no sorry been there done that, we'll take our leave now, the Conservative Fear-The-Coalition news conference will sound more like WE TOLD YOU SO.When you need a passprot to get to Banff don't hold your breath waiting,OK.