Out of the woodwork

Jim Flaherty's former cabinet colleagues say the deficit is his own—and he's right for running it

Two of Jim Flaherty’s former colleagues from his days in Mike Harris’s government in Ontario say running deficits is contrary to the finance minister’s “political philosophy.” But both Ernie Eves and and Janet Ecker insist his doing so shouldn’t come as a surprise given the economic climate in Canada. “I know there are those that totally disagree,” Eves says, “but I do think we need an economic stimulus.” In November, Flaherty was still projecting Ottawa would run a surplus. However, It’s since become clear Flaherty will oversee the first federal budget to feature a deficit in over a decade, a reversal which has led to much criticism of the finance minister’s performance. And while there are many who claim the November update was crafted by people outside the finance department, neither Ecker nor Eves believe that’s a likely scenario. “Based on what I know of Jim Flaherty,” Ecker says, “people don’t hand him a piece of paper and say, ‘Read this.'”

The Hill Times