Broken Promise #1

Just a week after having been elected and the Conservatives are already indicating they intend to break this key promise made to potential voters in their campaign platform:

“Through accelerated reductions in government spending, a re-elected Stephen Harper government will eliminate the deficit by 2014-15.”

Of course, the notion that an additional $4 billion a year in savings could be realized via undefined “efficiencies” in government operations was patently ridiculous on its face. Now safely ensconced in a majority government however, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty won’t commit to balancing the books and suddenly declares that he has to “look at all of the data” and consult with economists to draft a clear plan to deliver the extra savings promised in the CPC platform…

Fair enough. But where then did the forecast of a relatively modest $300-million deficit in 2014-15 forecast contained in Flaherty’s upbeat, pre-election budget come from? Oh, right… where all of the Conservative’s economic thinking and financial prognostications originate: from here.


12 Replies to “Broken Promise #1”

  1. I watched Flaherty talking on Bloomberg the other day saying how the key to the Conservatives’ success in weathering the current economic turmoil was their strong position going into the recession. Yeah, right. Who did they owe credit for that to?

    Keep in mind that even had there not been a downturn in the economy, the Harper “Conservatives” would still have managed to take a nosedive into a deficit position, after having burned through the surplus and then slashed revenues through their ridiculous cuts to the GST.

  2. The Right Wing never met a deficit they didn’t like. This is the exact opening the Liberal Party needs to have relevancy. They are the only party that has proven they can balance a budget and be trusted to do so.

  3. I remember the promise being that they will balance the budget a year earlier, something that can’t be measured until that year’s financials come in.

    The fact that it’s not been put into the reintroduced budget doesn’t say it won’t be done unless you have a tricked out Delorean that took you to the future and back.

  4. So long as books are close to balanced is fine with me. I would prefer the Cons continue to lessen their own ability to collect revenue from us so that future nanny-state, social- engineering inititiatives become impossible in the future. Any leftist government will find their hands tied in the future by the lower government revenue at their disposal. I just hope that they retire civil servants and not replace them like they intend.

  5. A promise is a promise is a promise. Flaherty has clearly backed away from this one. As expected. If some economic fairy saves their ass with some magic economic expansion dust, that won’t change (for us anyway) the fact that this was a promise they didn’t believe they could make. Otherwise, Flaherty would not be backing away from that promise.

    The PBO and the IMF, independent bodies both (though the IMF certainly is no enemy of Harper), are both on record saying Flaherty’s projections are way too optimistic.

    Let’s not forget that in late 2008 Flaherty and Harper both claimed we would not enter into a recession. They backed that up with more bogus projections.

    Obviously, they were wrong.

  6. Isn’t it grand that Flaherty is attributing the entire economic resilience to his tenure as Finance Minister? I really think that since they were in a minority parliament combined with their innocuous incompetence that they were actually able to not screw up weathering the recession as much. It would follow then that much of the resilience relied already on existing policy and institutionalized frameworks that were maintained by previous governments. But, we cannot raise that inconvenient point. However, much like the “who gets credit?” game being played down South, I have heard the most surprising assertion as of late: That Mulroney passed the banking laws that contributed to our financially weathering the downturn of 2008.

    I am very curious to see if that is true, though this darling debater was a born and bred neoconservative populist from Alberta, so I am largely skeptical of his assertion.

  7. Grammins: I’m always amused by the notion of “social engineering” as that term is dismissively employed by right-wing Conservatives. Do you think that your party’s policy on crime and punishment isn’t a form of “social engineering”? Aren’t the tax rebates to families for after-school programs, arts education, sports activities, transit passes, etc. all forms of “social engineering”?

  8. “Social engineering” — deciding that we’re all “private” people, and the individual rules is “social engineering.” Left to our own devices, the social structure we seem to enact around us isn’t socialism or libertarian, but tribal.

    To the right wing, “social engineering” means anything but what they want done.

  9. That’s all right, Grammins. When the socialists do take power in this country, there won’t be any of that silly old welfare-state fiddling. We’ll go for the full-out confiscations instead. Property is a tale, and tales can be retold. Cheers!

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