Posts Tagged ‘economy’

Are We There Yet?

The TSX is looking a little better these days. Is the optimism too much too soon? I mean we have made quite an improvement here.

I for one wont fret for a marked increase in my financial health but calls for the end of THE END OF THE RECESSION are a bit premature. Hang on to your hats folks, the market is a wild ride.

Blue Chip Finance Board Meets In Toronto

It’s been an interesting week if not due to a record number of Senators appointed (including Fabian Manning – a Conservative MP defeated in the recent election and Michel Rivard – a former Quebec MNA and Parti Quebecois who also ran as Canadian Alliance who wont be thinking too hard about Quebec separation now that he has a salary to age 75), $4 billion worth of public loans for the auto industry, and the Finance Minister naming an advisory council to advise him on an economic plan.

Not that Toronto is much of a stranger to a Board of Directors meeting but federal politics hits close to home again today with Mr. Flaherty’s council members meeting here in the city. The Board members read like a big business all-star team. The problem is this measure gain expert opinion is too little and too late. If these high profile respected business minds were already on speed dial, they were likely already considered respected council and resources.

Sad that Mr. Flaherty refused to listen to prominent economists from the Centre of Policy Alternatives or to the Independent Budget Officer in the first place. Public image was key so PR came before the public’s interest. Considering the passing of the Accountability Act was meant to put “truth in budgeting” and make ruling government’s more accountable for their actions is more than a bit ironic. There have been no federal deficits in over a decade and truth in budgeting has not come more into question than in recent days! Underestimating how well the economy is doing and posting surpluses is far less suspect. Underestimating a crisis, cutting government resources, selling assets off and still failing to break even is way too reminiscent of a Mr. Flaherty at Queen’s Park. The advisory council (scapegoat?) perhaps will abate anger over inaction and the momentum of the proposed coalition.

Anxious to see what the $1 Board accomplishes. The $2 billion plus worth of assets Flaherty has tabled to sell in the future have not been named or segregated out of his forecasts. Very creative accounting. These proceeds will hardly put a dent in a $30 billion deficit so why further cripple a government with limited resources? It hardly makes business sense to sell assets in a severaly depressed market so I would hope the council would push for scratching that plan. As for The Independent Budget Officer? He is getting his budget cut by a third. So Kevin Page has been rewarded for his Parliamentary Budget reports, especially the one that blew the whistle on the Conservative’s policy that would cause a deficit (despite advertising paid for to dispel any of these “rumours”). Happy Holidays, hoping for the best in the New Year.

A Privilege Earned

Let the madness stop. The “privilege to govern must be earned, not taken”. No truer words can be said. The Conservatives are in damage control mode and have sent out an appeal for donations today. This after leaking a “secret deal” between the NDP and the Bloc.

After stopping to listen to the “Conservatives eavesdropping” clips of Jack Layton at an NDP caucus meeting, (Clip 1, Clip 2, Clip 3) I expect delusional paranoia must be taking hold. The scare must be on after Jim Flaherty’s update and the resulting tide of opposition called. From the selected clips, in my opinion, Jack Layton appears to be briefing members on what has transpired to date with respect to coalition negotiations and what it would mean for the NDP going forward. I’m hopeful Mr. Layton will clarify his position and the context of comments made. Talk of any opposition party stealing the house so close to an election are far fetched. If that were the case it would have happened sooner, perhaps right after the election votes were tallied. All parties have been in consultations regarding the economy and have had face to face meetings with the PM since the election. When none of the oppositions recommendations were headed it’s not surprising see the actions of the opposition. Even less surprising is that the NDP may pursue criminal charges with respect to how these audio clips were acquired and distributed. Think of what consequences would be if someone leaked a private corporation’s conference call to the press.

Are memories that short? Harper, as leader of the Opposition, held lengthy discussions with Layton and Duceppe aimed at ousting Paul Martin’s Liberal government in the fall of 2004. The context of any meetings that may or may not have happened between any parties (other than the Conservatives) looks like less of a conspiracy or “backroom scheme” and more like a way of forming consensus in an ineffective parliament. Ignorance and inaction by key Conservatives on the economy were the tipping point to advance these meetings.

To run away from your own battle cries of “confidence motions” and tactics is puzzling. To pout, delay and filibuster is not what Canadians need right now. The crisis is here, ACT!!! The privilege to govern must be earned not taken, for granted.

Leadership Not Dictatorship

As predicted Mr. Flaherty’s financial update and call for the cancellation of polical party funding was the enough to bring war cries from across the bench. The Conservatives are now backtracking from their calls to end of party funding linked to the proportion of federal votes (political parties currently receive a rate of $1.95 per vote in a federal election). Much like the cuts to Arts funding proposed during the election campaign and later retracted these proposed political funding cuts are getting swept away after public outcry.

Has it come to this? In two short years there is now talk of forming a coalition with NDP, Liberals and the Bloc. This is sobering and signals a potential search for a new Conservative leader. A separatist party is so dissatisfied with the current government (most notably with respect to the environment and crime) that they are willing to chum with their arch enemies the Liberals? The NDP who campaigned as an alternative to rule would consider to help form a coalition?

Mr. Flaherty and Mr. Harper have nowhere to run now. Talk of a strong economy, a technical recession, then a crisis “unlike and potentially as dangerous as anything we have faced since 1929”. A lot can change in a matter of weeks and the majority of elected MP’s look as though they will push Mr. Harper out of power based on mismanagement and myopic vision. Perhaps the “new” government will now be forced to bring in a sound budget and policies that will strengthen Canada during this recession. If elected MP’s can serve Canada as a whole, leave their party colours at home and form consensus despite differences we are better off. True blue Conservatives would be wise to join with this consensus. I’m hoping the “dream” of a government that can “meet in the middle” happens whether or not a coalition is formed after this tipping point. A multi-party coalition can’t be any worse than leadership that blatantly dropped the ball on the state of the economy and increased government spending more than 20% (some $40 Billion) putting us into a deficit after years of surpluses.

Voting is HOT!

Yes, voting is hot. Don’t let the opinion polls fool you. Any prospect of another minority government means that every vote could be a tipping point for anyone in the running. The recent turbulence in the financial markets and proposals made by each party should be incentive enough to help shape our government. In my opinion, voting is not just about picking the winner. Whether it’s a spoiled ballot or vote for a particular candidate voting is a reaffirmation of the rights so many have fought for. Get out and vote add your voice lest others speak for you. Of course whomever wins it never hurts to keep them honest by contacting your MP.

Remember you need ID this year to vote (or have you a neighbour with ID make a sworn statement that you are eligible). The Toronto Star has some excellent info today. Get informed and get out and make a difference.

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