Monday, March 24, 2008

"Growing Chorus"?

Flaherty's press conference today was a joke on so many levels, about all it achieved was to solidify the impression that his crusade is purely political. The best part from my perspective, was watching Flaherty speak of the "growing chorus" amongst economists, who were supporting his position. Speaking of the chorus, I seem to remember another tune, where Flaherty failed to listen to the choir, but let's not split hairs.

I was able to find one economist on the record today, the well respected chief economist for the TD Bank, Don Drummond. Not only did Drummond fail to sing in tune, but he basically excused McGuinty, because of the mess he inherited from Flaherty. Simply delicious:
"It really comes down to money and other priorities. Of course, when the McGuinty government took over they started with a deficit, there had been years of underfunding of education and infastructure, so they have put a substantial amount of their money to that.

But, when Mr. Flaherty says they haven't been responsive on the corporate tax cuts, we have to point out, they are phasing out the capital tax, and I can tell you from the perspective of corporations, that was the most damaging tax. They've also lowered the provincial portion of corporate property tax, so those are important steps, of 3 billion dollars. So, yes they have to deal with the third tax, and get that done, but they have taken important actions that have given substantial corporate tax relief"

Drummond argues that, despite what Flaherty has said, McGuinty has lowered taxes on corporations, taxes which are the "most damaging". Drummond must be a Liberal operative.

Keep talking Jim, or digging, as the case may be :)


Anonymous said...

More here:

Steve V said...


Here is your link. Too rich, that Flaherty mentions Drummond first, in attacking Ontario. Brillant stuff.

As a companion quote, Flaherty's "have not" argument. Don Drummond:

"Just look at the numbers, the federal government takes 20 billion dollars more out of Ontario than it returns in expenditure. That is 4% of Ontario's GDP, that would allow them to do a fair bit of tax relief. 20 billion dollars per year."

Gayle said...

They obviously think they are going to get an advantage by doing this, but I cannot see what that would be.

I suppose they believe this will cushion them from the eventual economic fallout in Ontario. They better hope the media and economists jump on board though.

Anonymous said...

The link didn't work. Try This

Steve V said...

"They obviously think they are going to get an advantage by doing this, but I cannot see what that would be."

Gayle, I'm starting to think that maybe Flaherty is in big trouble moving forward. The last economic forecasts I saw showed growth a full 1% below what Flaherty projected in his budget. If that turns out to be true, than Flaherty will have brought us back into deficit. He is obviously trying to lay blame, but the fact he doesn't stop, despite all the negativity, speaks to a possible desperation.

Gayle said...

Well Steve, if history is any indication, the CPC narrative tends to be picked up eventually, regardless of whether there is any merit to their argument.

How many people bought the whole "liberal dominated senate holding up the crime bills" narrative when in fact it was the CPC doing that.

Now look what is happening to Brenda Martin.

Steve V said...

"the CPC narrative tends to be picked up eventually, regardless of whether there is any merit to their argument."

Maybe, but I must say, the media in Ontario isn't buying Flaherty at all. I'm actually loving every second of this, Flaherty is just a horrible advocate in this province. Flaherty has about as much credibility as Bill Clinton would have lecturing on fidelity.

Monkey Loves to Fight said...

Steve V - I wonder if Flaherty is vying for John Tory's job since that is the only possible explanation for all of this. This is not helping the Tories in Ontario and in fact may even put Flaherty's riding in danger. Off course after the Ontario PCs rejected him twice, it is beyond me why they would want him now and never mind if they do choose him, he stands virtually no chance at being elected. He was probably one of the more incompetent ministers in the Harris/Eves government and one of the most right wing ones. While Witmer and Eves were trying to get Harris to tone down his changes, Flaherty was advocating for Harris to go even further than he did. Besides Flaherty is not exactly well liked in the business community and considering he couldn't balance the budget as finance minister, I really don't trust him much.

Steve V said...

"I wonder if Flaherty is vying for John Tory's job since that is the only possible explanation for all of this."

Flaherty did vote against Tory at the recent leadership, and that angle would explain a lot. My hesitation, if this is Flaherty's motive, it seems strange that Harper would sanction it. I assume this all has Harper's blessing, which makes me think the thought is more than Flaherty's next job.

Steve V said...

Bringing out the big blanks tomorrow I see:

TORONTO – Pierre Poilievre, Conservative Member of Parliament for Nepean-Carlton (Ontario) will be in Toronto to provide federal response to the Ontario Government’s Budget.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Queen’s Park

Toronto, Ontario

Interviews arranged upon request

Such a deep bench.

Anonymous said...

I think Flaherty is trying to get the people of Ontario in believing him, so they blame MacGuinty and vote for the Cons again

Monkey Loves to Fight said...

Steve V - Maybe Harper wants to have Flaherty as Ontario PC leader as he is closer to his ideology, while John Tory is more of a Red Tory. I just cannot see any other strategic gain from this. While bashing Ontario may win points in Western Canada, most of the West is already Tory and the few remaining seats they might pick up would be more than offset by losses in Ontario. It won't help Harper much in Quebec either as Quebec could really care less about Ontario as long as they don't start demanding less federal transfers for Quebec or start stepping on the rights of Francophones.

Pierre Poilievere is also an idiot, unfortunately, unlike Flaherty he won his riding by a large enough margin that he will be next to impossible to knock off.

Steve V said...

"I think Flaherty is trying to get the people of Ontario in believing him, so they blame MacGuinty and vote for the Cons again"

Oh, I agree, it's just failing miserably.


I guess it's a head scratcher, because of the rationale you lay out. Maybe they are willing to sacrifice some in Ontario, too... I mean, that is the reality here, you take damage in Ontario as a given, or at the least blowing any chance of expansion. You can't accept that, because these people know that they can't write off Ontario, so then you are back to one possibility- they actually think this could help them here.

Steve V said...

Graham Richardson made a really good point I thought. In personalizing this fight with McGuinty, going so hard at the provincial Liberals, it will motivate them in a federal election, it will give them more reason to work hard for Dion. Flaherty is creating a "we are under attack" mentality, and I feel pretty confident saying it will blow up in his face.

BTW, as an aside, John Tory looks like an afterthought, reduce to puppeting the feds script. It connects Flaherty and Tory, which again, doesn't help politically.

Gayle said...

"Such a deep bench."

What - you don't think Poilievre is "deep"?

Anonymous said...

Note that McGuinty promised not to raise taxes in the next four years while campaigning for re-election last year.

It is apparent that he may have to break that promise again, given the recession.

Maybe this is Flaherty's gamble. McGuinty's popularity will take a hit once he will have to raise taxes. Then Dion will have to carry Dalton's millstone, along with abstaining from Harper's budgets which would destroy the Grit promise of lower corporate taxes.

RuralSandi said...

Polievre coming out to attack a budget that he hasn't heard yet?

Pierre Polievre:

Pierre Poilievre, MP (born June 3, 1979 in Calgary, Alberta) is a politician in Ontario, Canada. He is currently a member of the Canadian House of Commons, having been re-elected for the riding of Nepean—Carleton in the federal election of 2006. Poilievre is a member of the Conservative Party, and is currently Canada's youngest Member of Parliament.

Poilievre studied International Relations at the University of Calgary, and was a participant in campus debating forums while attending university.[citation needed] He did not graduate

He's not even a "true Ontarionian". He's from Calgary with the Calgary mindset.

Steve V said...

Interesting article, attempting to find the logic in Flaherty's attacks.

Steve V said...

If anyone doubts Flaherty's strategy is an abysmal failure, a quick sampling of today's news items:





Go Jim Go!

burlivespipe said...

It may just be that Harper isn't intending this message for Ontario, but wants the rest of Canada to listen in on this bickerson-ish battle. Framing the rest of Canada's ill on ol' Ontario mismanagement. How will the rural Quebecker take to Flaherty's 'peace in our time' provincial festering? Could a major recession, which wasn't in the cards just months ago from the gang that could shoot straight, is now fueling their ideological goonery. Get out of the way of the capitalists -- no Rooseveltian interventions allowed! Hoover lives!

Steve V said...


That could be, but there was a poll done, which showed Canadians supported McGuinty over Flaherty, outside of Ontario.

RuralSandi said...

Flaherty would be taking his orders from Harper - so I wonder if Harper is applying the Peter principle - put Flaherty in a situation he can't handle then demote him (Jim Prentice waiting behind the corner).

Just a thought....

Anonymous said...


You can't let the major portfolios in this Government be concentrated in Calgary. Harper's Cons are operating like the Calgary mafia anyway. Look who does the PM trust the most?

The only replacements for Flaherty as Finance are either Van Loan or Baird. Maxime and MacKay are the other choices, but seriously do you want thugs or lightweights to manage to nation's finances???

Monkey Loves to Fight said...

Even if I agreed with Flaherty, I still don't like the idea of the federal finance minister sticking his nose in somewhere it does not belong. In the long-run I believe Ontario, should lower its corporate taxes, but not if it risks resulting in a deficit. Besides if Flaherty believed in lower corporate taxes, who could have cut corporate taxes by 2% instead of cutting the GST by 2%. After all what matters to most businesses is the total taxation rate, not which government is doing it, so this would have achieved the same goals. And unlike the provincial government, the federal government could have afforded it before it went on a spending binge to buy off certain voters and with the reckless GST cut. Never mind, Flaherty ran a $5.6 billion deficit, so hardly one who I would listen to. His government was turfed in 2003, so he should get over it. There may be some Ontarioans who want a Harris style government back, but they are in the minority.