The big news: Jim Flaherty’s balancing act

Also: Rob Ford faces off against city council, rower crosses the Atlantic solo


Jason Franson/CP

The story
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty delivered his annual fall economic update. Flaherty’s mission since the government started running deficits in 2009 has been to balance the books. He did confirm the government’s timeline to that end, and also announced he’ll run for reelection in 2015—a surprise to those who thought Flaherty’s health struggles might push him into retirement.

The stat
Flaherty projects a $3.7-billion budget surplus in 2015-16, which just so happens to be an election year.

The quote
“Draining the swamp of big government has worked before. If it works again, voters may have forgotten all about Mike Duffy’s $90,000 cheque by election day.” —John Ivison, writing in the National Post


What’s above the fold

The Globe and Mail The federal government says the Senate isn’t politically independent.
National Post
Conservatives hope for a $3.7-billion budget surplus in 2015-16.
Toronto Star Toronto city councillors are urging Rob Ford to take a leave of absence.
Ottawa Citizen The opposition worries Harper’s government will sell important assets.
CBC News Ford will learn just how many councillors have turned against him.
CTV News POLL: 72 per cent say Ford refusing to step down is “not acceptable.”
National Newswatch Ford says he’s ready to defend himself at city council.


What you might have missed

THE NATIONAL Transatlantic rower. Mylene Paquette, a 35-year-old Montrealer, completed a rowing trip across the North Atlantic in 129 days. On her trip from Halifax to coastal France, Paquette capsized 10 times and confronted waves the size of buildings. She was followed by wildlife for days at a time.
THE GLOBAL Cambodian unrest. Police cracked down on striking garment workers who demanded higher wages, killing one and injuring eight. The protesters, who work for SL Garment Processing (Cambodia) Ltd., hoped to march to the residence of Hun Sen, the Cambodian Prime Minister.


The big news: Jim Flaherty’s balancing act

  1. Flaherty and Harper want to spend $100B on warships.

    Think about that for a moment. Let it sink in.

    If you’re middle-class…struggling to make ends meet to raise kids, put food on the table, pay for education, have any kind of life….WTF is the govt thinking?

    And time-payments for eternity isn’t going to make it any better.

    • So your solution is… what? Do away with the navy altogether? Or buy surplus? We all know how well our sub purchase worked out…

      • Emily’s always hated the military. She thinks that somehow a nation can remain sovereign without any way to defend itself.

        • LOL

        • Canadian sovereignty died along time ago…at what point in the last 60 years could we actually repel an American or Russian invasion? We chose to align with the Americans, set up their radar posts and missile silos in our territory, and are content to pretend our 5000 combat troops are enough to deter an invasion and occupation of the 2nd largest country on Earth, possessing vast oil, mineral, fresh water and renewable (forestry, fisheries, lumber) resources.

    • If you’re middle-class…struggling to make ends meet to raise kids, put food on the table, pay for education, have any kind of life….WTF is the govt thinking?

      Well, they’re probably thinking that we’re a country that borders 3 different oceans, and if want to maintain any kind of sovereignty we’ll have to be able to defend those borders.

      • From who?

        • From idiots like you

          • Great – now I have an image of the Canadian Navy surrounding EmilyOne in a fake lake. I bet she wins.

          • LOL: Em can shelter in the gazebo!

          • We aren’t spending $100B on warships to fight your phantom boogeymen. Pull yourself together.

        • From our enemies Emily. You can’t defend a nation if you wait until it’s under attack before making a defence plan. Are you really so thick as to think that Canada doesn’t have enemies? Russia wouldn’t just walk in and take over our off-shore oil? Your ignorance is astounding.

          • And who are our enemies this week?

            Afghanistan? Iraq? Big navies there eh?

            Russia is bigger than us Ricky….and has lots of oil….and we are in lots of deals with them anyway….they’re friends you doofus…keep up.

            PS….Ships…..planes, tanks etc….can all be hacked. They’re useless.

          • So anything that “can be hacked” is useless? Better throw away your smart phone and computer, you useless hack.

            The point, which I know will be miles over your head, is that you don’t know what the future holds, so you prepare for it as best you can.

            If you study human history, you’ll notice that there are always conflicts, and you never know when you’ll be involved in one.

            Justin Trudeau can’t think more than a sentence ahead of his words when he’s speaking, and you are SOOOO brilliant you know exactly what the future is going to hold. Good luck with that.

          • Yeah Ricky, WWII is over with.

            So take the John Wayne mythology out back somewhere and bury it.

            Because we aren’t spending $100B on warships to fight your phantoms.

          • Right, and WW3 is *never* going to happen, because you said so! Go back to hiding under your bridge, troll.

          • There will be no WWIII Rick….now stop shilling and get back to work.

          • You heard it here first folks! Never again will there be a world war, because EmilyOne said so! Who knew world peace would be so easy?!

          • You might be hearing it first….leaders have said that for years.

            I’ve told you before to keep up.

          • And I’ve told you before to shut up.

          • You’ve said lots of things to me over the years…I still laugh at them.

            So does everyone else.

        • We’d be better off building $100B on a series of naval bases in the arctic, and then allowing the Americans to patrol it for us. If America is Rome, Canada is Romanized Gaul…pretending otherwise is disingenuous.

          • We don’t need naval bases in the Arctic….we need cities and jobs. No point building naval bases if we have no ships anyway.

            Rome is slowly crashing as the USSR has already done.

            Are you aware Russia does observation flights over Canada and the US?

      • @Rick so if CPC is so concerned about sovereignty , they might start by not signing away Canadian rights to foreign gov .look up FACTA..

        As for for ships CPC still cant buy trucks! for our army! look that up

    • What you also conveniently fail to mention is that there will be $2B/year in economic benefits for 30 years. That’s $60B for Canada’s ship building industry right there. Then there are the thousands of jobs that it will create. Then you realize that we’re getting 25 ships for that $100B, paid over 30 years, and you realize we’re paying under $150M per year per ship. And we have the additional benefit actually retaining our sovereignty as a nation.

      For someone who claims to be an economist, you sure do like to quote headline numbers instead of actually researching WTF is going on.

      • Rick honey, nobody believes that stuff anymore. Bargain indeed.


        • Yes, Emily, everything the Conservatives do is the sh*ts. That pretty much sums up your sophisticated, nuanced world view.

          • Go away Bean, you’re just silly.

          • And everything the govt does is hunky dory according to Omen. You seem to have omitted that observation.

          • You don’t even have anything to criticize the government about, you simply attack people who have thoughts that go against your pre-determined world view. Your ignorance is astounding.

          • Some actual “thoughts” as opposed to just tps for the CPC from you, might be a refreshing change.

          • Pointing out that a $3.7B budget surplus is more important than a $90,000 check isn’t a “tip from the CPC”. Unlike your sorry parroting a$$, I can actually think for myself. Sure, it might sound the same as what comes out of the CPC, but that’s because I vote for them, and they represent people like me, you bozo.

            Now, I’m fully aware that the reason you can’t criticize anything in the economic update, is because air head Justin Trudeau and his great-minds are still sitting in a back room somewhere smoking their bongs and trying to think of something original to criticize. And I’ve no doubt you’ll be back here repeating their talking points as soon as the smoke clears.

            Now go back to lighting Justin’s bong.

          • Nice one Ricky. You must have mentioned JT in a negative context at least 3 or 4 times now. There will be extra brownie points for you at the end of the day.

          • I don’t hold back from calling a moron a moron, or an idiot an idiot. And Justin Trudeau is both.

          • Well, your the resident expert. Keep on totting up them brownie points brother. What’s the door prize – a Rob Ford bobble head?

          • …says the Royal Master of the Irrelevant Insult…

          • If you say so.

          • ‘Might sound the same’…

          • I really don’t pay attention to his posts, as a general rule. What would be the point?

          • I don’t remember. Don’t make me go back and look please!

        • Nobody believes what stuff? Simple economics?

          Maybe, as someone who constantly claims to be an economist, you’re confused because people just don’t believe your BS anymore.

          • Troll pulls someone’s pigtails. Watch out someone doesn’t pull yours there Ricky – they’re showing.

          • Are you seriously calling ME a troll? You havent been able to add a single word of substance to this discussion, yet you’ve posted 4 comments on this single article alone.

            Stop projecting, it’s making you look almost as stupid as Justin Trudeau.

          • Just about everyone here knows you’re a troll Ricky. I’m just warming up teasing you. It’s too easy though.

            Take a look at my profile. I defy you to argue you post more substantive arguments to macleans in general then i do.

          • The “substance” you’ve added to this single blog post consists of:

            1) “Some actual “thoughts” as opposed to just tps for the CPC from you, might be a refreshing change.”

            2) “Troll pulls someone’s pigtails. Watch out someone doesn’t pull yours there Ricky – they’re showing.”

            3) “And everything the govt does is hunky dory according to Omen. You seem to have omitted that observation.”

            4) “Leprechuan jokes are vile and racist eh!

            I think this model is malfunctioning conbot central. Best bring him in and get his bolts re-torqued and his sensitivity antenna updated. Better yet scrap this model, save a couple a bucks and replace it with a six inch plank.”

            5) “Mr Page is for hire these days.” (And no, he’s not)

            6) “Ricky tries using his BIG WORDS! It makes no difference at all. Ricky’s facts are still partisan BS.”

            6 completely useless comments, not including the one I’m replying to. And I’m the troll because I post a few facts that inconveniently go against your ideological beliefs?

            Seriously, can you point out anywhere that my math above is wrong, or can you simply disregard it because it’s coming from me? You really do seem to have a very unhealthy obsession with trolling me all the time.

            But, carry on TROLLOLOLOLOL!!!!

          • Sorry, i guess you don’t know what a profile is. Odd cuz you seem to have one. But you’re right. Teasing you gets boring and tedious after the 5th post.

          • If you weren’t referring to the profile that showcases all of your idiotic trolling, then what profile are you referring to? Is there some fictitious profile in your mind that’s void of your clear history of being a lame Liberal party troll who likes to try to defend the stupidity that streams from Justin Trudeau’s mouth?

          • See Tricky Ricky,when i look at my profile i see a reasonable mix of substantive and partisan, even a few critical of JT. His remarks didn’t impress me either.
            Now in your profile i would have to go back to the big bang before i found a criticism of any kind relating to this govt. In my books that alone makes you a troll period.

          • So you don’t know the definition of troll then. Conservative != Troll.

          • No, inability to see any defects in any of your chosen parties policies or ethical lapses…ever!. But uncanny ability to judge all of your opponents actions, views etc.,as bad…always! = partisan troll[ my definition] There are others.

      • I will wait for the AG’s numbers on this, your government’s track record on the cost of procurements has been dicey, at best.

  2. Is anyone going to talk about how the government is planning a fake surplus (using asset sales) in an election year to justify implementing a costly tax expenditure for rich people?

    • Looks like we’ll be in a deeper structural deficit after he cooks up this election action plan, if he gets in again.

    • They are also planning to hold back 4% of all federal civil servants paycheques (=$9 billion per year) to balance the books…to be more in line with the private sector.

      • Federal payroll is $225 billion? I think it’s a lot less than that.

  3. How will they get a surplus? It’s easy. Lots of smoke and mirrors… deception… no details… no transparency… unanswered questions… lies. And when it all goes wrong, find someone to blame. For the Harper gang it is business as usual.

    • It reads like a repeat of the false surpluses in Mike Harris’ Ontario. Same finance minister, same pencil.

      • My thought exactly. I’ll want an independent audit before I believe him on his numbers.

        • Mr Page is for hire these days.

      • “the false surpluses in Mike Harris’ Ontario” were much better than the fabulous budgeting under McWynnety.

        • I think you flunked basic ethics – they’re both wrong.

        • Just because I disliked/distrusted the Harrisites doesn’t mean I’m fond of the current regime. The big problem is, what is the alternative? Hudak strikes me as a flake. Last election I voted NDP for the first time in my life – not because I’m a fan, but because the other choices were too odious (plus the guy running for the NDP in my riding seemed like he’d do a good job – and so far, so good).

        • So? Does McGuinty’s fancy footwork excuse Flaherty’s magic pencil?

          • Flaherty’s magic pencil looks briliant compared with McWynnety’s budgeting

          • Lol. My team, right or wrong, eh? I’m glad I don’t have a team.

      • Thanks for reminding me…I wonder, who will be the Ernie Eves of the Harper meltdown?

    • How will they get a surplus?

      The same way the little leprechaun and his Con cronies planned to hide an inconvenient 6 billion deficit in his last attempt to fiddle the books in Ontario: a fire sale of public assets.

      I predict that CBC, much federal real estate (perhaps including a few national parks), and any other government assets or services they can put in the window will be up for sale or long term lease before 2015.

      These are the same idiots who virtually gave away Highway 407 to an international consortium of highway bandits, who continue to extort outrageous money from GTA drivers on a daily basis.

      • Wow. Making leprechaun jokes now, how utterly vile and racist of you.

        The CBC will never be sold. It loses tonnes of money, so we wouldn’t get anything for it. We’d be better of just burning the money pit to the ground and saving taxpayers the $1B/year it costs to keep throwing good money after bad.

        • A leprechaun reference is racist? So, what are you, a dues-paying member of The Society for the Prevention of Indignities to Leprechauns?

          Did some of your leprechaun friends show you where the pot o’ gold is, or was that just some of your Con cronies sharing the spoils of government?

          BTW, public services aren’t necessarily mandated to “make money”. They are mandated to provide a – wait for this – a public service. Their expenditures are regarded, in some people’s value systems, as non-profit investments.

          • NotRick is an expert on racist jokes. He “joked” that Rob Ford’s smoking crack would get him the “black vote”.
            Hilarious, eh?

          • That wasn’t a joke. And it’s turning out to be true. Who knew black people would vote for a guy who hangs out with black people!

          • Mea culpa, NotRick.

            I didn’t realize that you believe that smoking crack increases a politicians appeal in the black community.

          • So all those racial slurs he hurls are terms of endearment?

        • Leprechuan jokes are vile and racist eh!

          I think this model is
          malfunctioning conbot central. Best bring him in and get his bolts
          re-torqued and his sensitivity antenna updated. Better yet scrap this
          model, save a couple a bucks and replace it with a six inch plank.

  4. Ivison sees an available seat, jumps on the opportunity…

    • Or, you know, might just be pointing out the truth. A $3.7B budget surplus kinda makes anybody look stupid who’s complaining about a $90,000 check.

      Do you have anything of substance to criticize that he had to say, or are you just pissed off he said something you don’t like (but can’t actually find the words to constructively criticize)?

      • The thing about the cheque is the lack of honesty and morality, not the amount. Some day, when you discover ethics, you may understand.

        Given their overall handling of money (e.g. missing $3.1 billion; Flaherty’s inability to read minus signs when ON finance minister) they will need a lot more than just Flaherty’s say-so before I’ll believe any surplus exists.

      • Look around yourself, Ricky. You’re living in a glass house.

        • Really? So you think that Canadian voters are so stupid as to think a $90,000 THAT WAS WRITTEN TO THE GOVERNMENT is a bigger issue than a $3.7B surplus? A surplus the Liberals nor NDP ever would have achieved? All while lower taxes for Canadians?

          I know that taxes don’t matter to Liberals or Dippers, because you’re all living off of the government in one form or another. But to working Canadians, it’s a pretty big deal when the government allows us to keep more of our hard earned money.

          The fact that they can do so without slashing services, as the Liberals did, is a testament to their fiscal strategy over the years.

          • No, I don’t think whatever it is you think I think.

            I was referring to the second paragraph of your comment, suggesting that someone else had “nothing to say of substance”.

            People in glass houses shouldn’t, you know…

          • So you still have nothing of substance to say? You still think Canadians are too stupid to realize that $3.7B > $90k? Keep trolling, or don’t. Whatever.

          • Keep right on missing the point, there, Ricky. Being obtuse is evidently a requisite characteristic of Con true-believers. You fit right in.

          • Ricky tries using his BIG WORDS! It makes no difference at all. Ricky’s facts are still partisan BS.

          • Excellent rebuttal. You’ve made some really great points there. I always forget that anything that doesn’t parrot Justin Trudeau’s latest idiot-gaffe is considered “partisan” among the intellectually vapid Liberals such as yourself.

          • Did they tell you to mention JT and intellectually vapid as many times as you can possibly manage today?

          • No, I’m just pointing out that your idiotic statements are bordering on being as stupid as the stuff that comes out of Trudeau’s mouth. Fortunately you’re less dangerous because you couldn’t be elected dog catcher. Unfortunately, Trudeau’s got a last name that gets a bunch of ignorant people all excited and he’s managed to win an election based on his last name and fabulous hair.

            But please, tell me again how admiring Chinese dictators is a defencible position.

          • Never claimed it was. Course only someone as dense and context illiterate as you thinks that’s what he meant, even if it was what he unfortunately said.

          • You know, even Mr. Greed, Kevin O’Leary, thinks a government budget surplus is actually a sign of mismanagement…in this case, excessive taxation. A balanced budget with a prudent reserve for backup should be the goal.

          • Calm down, Rick – you do realize they haven’t achieved a surplus – merely trying to sell us on the idea that they could do it. With the government’s track record and Flaherty’s history it’s going to take a miracle to pull anything close to this off.

      • Yes: Years of book-cooking in the Harris year. Guess who the Finance minister was? Not that you are interested in facts or history.

    • Mike Duffy’s spot is open

  5. $ 100B on warships – yet no mo for better CPP.
    Bunch of Neo-Con shysters – I never vote again.

    • Lather, Rinse, Repeat.

  6. How did a friend of Rob Ford get to be the minister of finance?

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