The Great Canadian Fire Sale

Well, it certainly would have been nice if Harper and the Conservatives had mentioned the possibility of selling off some of the country’s capital assets in order to balance the books back during the recent election when they were confidently boasting that the fundamentals of economy were strong.

Haven’t we been down this road with Jim Flaherty before?

Update: Harper wants us all to stop calling it a “fire sale” for goodness sake. He’s just looking at “privatizing” some holdings, that’s all. There now, don’t you feel reassured by that? We all know how well privatization generally works out.

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20 Comments

Filed under Economy, STEPHEN HARPER Govrnment of Canada

20 responses to “The Great Canadian Fire Sale

  1. Liberal Die Hard

    I wonder when Harper is going to sell the CBC.

    If he does that , all of us die hard Liberals are going to be bed wetting seeing how much we need that org. to preach our message.

    What would we do with just that National Post?

  2. The PCs privatized Nova Scotia Power in 1992. Recently we had some bad weather which lead to multi-day outages. Weather may sound like an excuse (hurricane Juan was legitimate), but it seems suspicious at other times when only NSP is using weather as an excuse… times with no collapsed roofs, bridges, etc. Why would weather single out NSP?

    Maybe there is no profit in more reliable or robust infrastructure, or maybe more in using the cheapest materials regardless of quality. In case of disaster, wouldn’t they expect a bailout? Certainly these losses shouldn’t affect profit.

  3. Sounds like a plan:
    1. Create a deficit (why pay off debt?) – check.
    2. Sell off assets (until we run out) – in process
    3. Cut social programs and downsize (because we have no choice, honest!) – bet on it

  4. As I recall, you are supposed to run a deficit in a recession in order to ameliorate said downturn in the business cycle.

    As well, selling-off assets when demand (and credit) is low typically means that you will not fetch the highest price.

    And YOU think they want to govern like Northeastern Democrats? LMAO

  5. Shows how wrong I can be, doesn’t it?

  6. You would think that Harper, as an economist and as a guy who knows that there are “good deals” out there, he would be BUYING during a recession, not selling.

    Buy low, sell high, right?

  7. Seems like the worst possible time to be selling off assets.

  8. Ah yes, Grasshopper … but that is not the game now is it?

    This is neo-conservatism/neo-liberalism by stealth. As the CPC cannot garner a majority, they will start to delimit the state by a thousand little cuts – all of which will undiscernible to the naked eye and masked by the crisis-of-the-moment.

    Voila! We will then be in a position of “no return” on programmes and assets that are all of sudden: “long gone.”

    If you cannot win a Majority, you still have to move the puck forward (to mix a metaphor)!

    What you folks have to begin to appreciate is how ideologues think and act. I too, was a neo-liberal (although a loyal one) believer between 1980 and 1984. When you accept something as fact (unthinkingly & uncritically) it becomes an article of faith – which means that it has then become a religion. And you cannot argue with a devout believer now can you?

    Critical thinking requires hard effort and represents hard work. For most people, this is too much to demand. You have to read a lot, establish context, and learn to adopt comparative analysis as a permanent & internal model.

    In essence, one has to to accept efficacy withing limits and be willing to think critically about every intellectual challenge.

    For instance, I accept that the market economy is the best way to order the distribution of goods & services where there is sufficient competition. Notice the qualifications inherent in my statement though: it is the “best way” to order the “distribution of goods & services. It is NOT the best way to manage public assets, social programmes, and social intangibles like culture and the arts. Additionally, there must be “sufficient competition” in order for the market to best order the distribution of goods & services.

    To my mind, the market economy has its place within our political culture and society. However, it is NOT paramount to all other aspects of our society. I recognise & accept that the market system has some serious deficiencies, and seek to regulate, legislate and manage those historically-proven deficiencies for the benefit of the commons.

    That is not the case with the neo-liberals. In their hearts & minds they are perfect little materialists who measure the worth of something only by its market tangibility. The intangible, in not having an “objective” worth, is therefore worthless to them. It is worthy only of dismissal and liquidation.

    By their actions Ye shall know them. It’s just in a minority setting, you have to watch for the nuances. And another thing, many of you folks keep hoping that the Liberal Party will expose the CPC for their rightward orientation – without realising of course that the LPC is only a slightly leftward version of the CPC. Both parties generally ascribe to the same basic assumptions about man & society.

    Who cut EI benefits and eligibility and dumped the proceeds into the general ledger in the 1990’s? Looks like we might need the programme again and soon, but wait (!) the Liberals made it damn near impossible to collect. Should be a “fun” recession …

  9. All quite true, I’m afraid.

  10. I wonder if Harper will develop a drinking problem, just like Yeltsin did while he was selling off all of his country’s assets for nothing.

  11. They have pretty similar body types and noses… I’m becoming a bit suspicious…

  12. Northern PoV

    Just before the 1999 election in Ontario, the Harris Tories had a fire sale of assets so they could “balance the budget”.

    They practically gave away the 407 highway – the only major piece of infrastructure built in the Toronto area since the 50s/60s. Today, Toronto would be hopelessly gridlocked w/o this highway.

    Most forget that it was Bob Rae (and his unfairly maligned NDP gov’t) who created the 407!

    While all gov’ts and politicians screw up (Rae admits his errors) – it is usually the right-wing vandals that smash up the good things that progressives build.

  13. The Militant Liberal

    Does anyone think, “Liberal diehard” is actually a Liberal? Nice try Troll.

    As for the fire sale, what a joke. Flaherty is clearly out of ideas.

  14. He’s not even in Canada. 🙂

  15. He sound’s like 4effer and Red ought to delete it…

  16. sharonapple88

    It’s ridiculous for them to do this. Unless the deficit/debt goes completely out of control, there’s no reason for a government to basically hold a fire sale. Was this unavoidable? The Conservatives have been slashing at the surplus — a surplus created during fairly good economic times. What did they think was going to happen when the economy stalled?

    We could have an interesting discussion on budgets, deficits, and surpluses. The right says that you have to keep the books balanced at all costs. This is insane. To argue that cuts are needed just when people are facing economic problems is unpalatable since you’re taking away a safety net when the average citizen may need it. If this doesn’t move you, removing money at this point also contributes to a downward spiral of the economy, and even if the New Deal doesn’t impress you (quite a few historians agree that it accomplished more than the relatively hands-off approach of the Hoover administration), WWII, with massive spending from the government kicked off the boom of the subsequent decades. The ideology on the left is that deficits don’t matter at all, isn’t true either. The more debt you have, the more interest you have to pay, and you can create a spiral where debt payments increase as part of the budget. Don’t pay it off — it’s more difficult to borrow money or face even higher interest rates. Case example — California has the 2nd lowest bond rating in the US (at one point it was rated as junk bonds) and apparently is having trouble finding a loan for their budget shortfall. To cover their shortfall, California has asked the federal government for a $7 billion. Avoiding deficits or running them shouldn’t be a matter of politics or ideology (you have to do X and nothing but X), but a matter of good government (does it make sense; what are the risks and benefits?).

  17. Geez, with the economy doing so badly and corporations worried, who will purchase – the Saudi’s?

  18. I can’t see how they’re going to avoid sliding into deficit in any case. I think I read somewhere that it will be running at about $10 billion for the next two years. But then there are other articles where Flaherty claims he’ll have a small surplus… It’s all quite contradictory and confusing.

  19. sharonapple88

    Also consider the $75 billion bailout for banks that they’re keeping off the books by using Canadian bond sales to cover them.

  20. RuralSandi,

    It will be more like a chop-shop than a fire sale… they’ll cleave of pieces of some assets and department and sell them for next to nothing to their corporate cronies.

    They are already giving GM money for making cars no one wants to buy, we should not be surprised when they do stuff like this.

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