Monday, October 29, 2007

What's The Hurry?

Out of nowhere, Flaherty is set to deliver his fall economic statement tomorrow. The Conservatives are in such a hurry, they didn't even follow proper protocol:
Flaherty had wanted to present the economic statement in the House of Commons. But changing the House schedule on one day's notice requires the unanimous consent of all parties, and the NDP has refused, calling the late-notice announcement a political stunt.

One possibility, the Conservatives are merely trying to keep the opposition off balance, with a snap announcement. The other, another poison pill scenario for the Liberals, with a real desire to see if the government can force an election.

I lean towards the latter, and see the sudden move as a recognition of the closing window for a fall election. There is nothing else pending in the next few weeks, that could trigger a vote, if the Conservatives want to move, this statement may be their best chance. The timing of Flaherty's desire is curious, on the same day that Dion makes a strong case against a GST cut. I'll be shocked if we don't see particular emphasis on the GST tomorrow, with the intention of baiting the Liberals.

If the government had presented the statement this week, without the 3 hour notices and sense of urgeny, then it would have seemed more natural. The way this whole affair went down today suggests something else is afoot. Could be that decisions were made over the weekend, the Conservative strategists saw fertile ground and this statement was pushed up as a trigger. Should be interesting.


Anonymous said...

"I lean towards the latter, and see the sudden move as a recognition of the closing window for a fall election"

Agree, and .... of course, they don't want to assume responsibility for an election.

Anonymous said...

I will define what is the poison pill and where to draw the line in the sand. In fact, Dion will be smart to goad Harper into it by saying there will be a non-confidence motion.

It is income splitting.

Garth Turner has supported it. However, if Flaherty proposes it without addressing any substantial tax relief for single parent families, then this Parliament session will be declared dead and buried.

burlivespipe said...

Another option, altho I too lean to your theory, is that Harper is eager to distract people from Sheila Fraser's latest report, which apparently will tackle, among other things, the opaque and near-redacted cobblings coming out of Public Works and federal precurements, including defence spending.
If Harper is so eager to break open that cyanide capsule, it is prudent that Liberals, Dion and those with financial credentials, start and continue to pound at the CONs real economic record. With a global recession circling like a vulture, he flushed hundreds of millions of dollars of Canadians' money down the toilet in last year's Halloween frightfest. He opened Canadian businesses for one of the largest waves of takeovers; he flipped and flopped on business interest taxation. And there are multitude of negative to cool reviews by all sorts of economists to their handiwork. Throw in the GsT cut, which will do little to spur the economy or address a growing productivity gap, and that really serves just the wealthy, while robbing the government of funds that could be addressing issues like poverty, homelessness, surgical wait lists, child care etc, and I think there is enuf points to score that many people could come around if the hits were done concisely.
Of course, Jack-O and Harper would be working against that point of attack, but we're in a bind.
As someone who disagreed with the idea of voting down the throne speech, my chosen scenario is something of this and with this kind of timing.

Red Tory said...

Put a new spin on the expression “retail politics” I'd say.

Anonymous said...

Conservative can't take the heat. As I understand no committees have been formed. Hurry - you betcha - the dirt is coming out in Question Period again.

By the way, where is Sheila Graham these days? Is there a report due?

Just wondering.

Gayle said...

On MDL last night they were talking about a potential GST cut, and while the journalists agreed a GST cut was not the best thing for the economy, they also said it would be hard to fight an election opposing a GST cut.

I guess it will depend on what is in there - but if it is ONLY a GST cut then I saw vote against it. If it is also broad based tax relief that is a different question - since that is what Dion says the government should do.

I do believe the conservatives want to force an election. They would much prefer to go to the polls over either crime (which, in my opnion, the opposition has already neutralized by dismissing the omnibus bill as posturing and pointing out this has already largely passed the House in the last session), and the GST cut. The conservatives need their election now, before Afghanistan comes back to the fore (and according to a reporter on MDL last night there will be some interesting revalations coming out about how our aid money is being spent).

The conservatives claim they want to introduce this in the House in part because there is no finance committee, though their party whip had no answer when the other party whips pointed out the only reason there is no committee is because the conservatives are stalling.

Anonymous said...

Funny how 'journalist economists' on TV all oppose a tax cut, especially the GST. These 'experts' call it insignificant etc.

Well, if a family spends $10,000 a year on goods or services - they save a hundred bucks.

That might be 'insignificant' to wealthy 'journalists', but us peasants still appreciate a shiny hundred dollar bill...

ottlib said...


I was thinking the same thing.

Usually these things are preceded by a build up so that you can create a little buzz about all of the good things you are going to do.

This time it seemed to come out of nowhere.

I am puzzled on why they would do it because it is very difficult to put a poison pill in a mini-budget document that will offend the opposition without also offending a large segment of the electorate along with it.

Which has proven to be true. The mini-budget is not a document that would send many politicians to the barricades.

It is puzzling.

Of course, they could be trying to maintain any momentum they had coming into the new Parliamentary session. With the Liberal troubles out of the headlines I imagine their internal polls are showing that they are falling into the same rut they have been in for months.

Steve V said...


The only reason people thought Flaherty would deliver this statement in November, is because Flaherty repeatedly said that. Is there a historical precedent for such a tax package released in a statement, much of it retroactive? Flaherty's own numbers suggest little room for more in a spring budget, so they must have calculated this is what they will run on.