A deficit is wonderful as a chance to reduce entitlements and government spending as Uncle Miltie Friedman once remarked. Flaherty sees it as a chance to sell off government (our) assets and into a buyer's market no doubt at fire sale prices. Perhaps Flaherty can even sweeten the deal by using some taxpayer funds to facilitate the transfer. Assets such as AECL may be difficult to market without sweeteners such as subsidies since it is run by incompetents and is a loser. At least the Conservatives are floating their agenda. Don't say we weren't warned. Maybe the Conservative party should be put up for auction. I guess not though , it is already owned by the right people.
Federal government considering sale of Crown assets: Flaherty
Last Updated: Thursday, November 13, 2008 6:50 PM ET CBC News
The federal government is considering the sale of some of Crown assets as a way of balancing its budget and avoiding a deficit, Canada's finance minister said Thursday.
Speaking with reporters during the Conservative party's policy convention in Winnipeg, Jim Flaherty wasn't specific about which assets might be put up for grabs.
"Well, that's one way of reducing a deficit, or perhaps having a small surplus. I won't get into some of the things that Canadians own, but they'd be very surprised to know that they own things like the CN Tower," Flaherty said.
"It's a surprise to most Canadians that's an asset of the Government of Canada."
When asked if the CN Tower was for sale, he quipped, "You wanna buy it?" quickly adding, "No, it's not for sale."
Flaherty did rule out an auction of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, which draws $1 billion annually from the federal budget.
Canada is already reviewing some of its assets, including Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, which makes the Candu reactor.
Public Works Minister Christian Paradis, however, cautioned that the review of assets is only in the preliminary stages.
Flaherty said he is consulting with economists regularly, as conditions around the world are likely to get worse before they get better.
While the economic turmoil is taking its toll around the globe, however, Flaherty suggested Canada may yet avoid a deficit. He said the government is taking steps to balance the books, although he noted it wouldn't make moves that could hurt the "real economy" for the sake of having a small surplus.
Keep spending on infrastructure
"So infrastructure spending, for example: we're going to continue all of our spending on infrastructure, because it generates jobs and Canada needs the infrastructure."
Flaherty is expected to deliver an economic update before the end of the month.
The finance minister delivered his grim economic prognosis as the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development issued a forecast predicting that the world's most developed economies are going to continue to contract over the next year.
"The OECD area economy appears to have entered recession," Jorgen Elmeskov, director of the policy studies branch and economics department, said Thursday.
Gross domestic product is likely to decline by 0.3 per cent in 2009 for its 30 member countries, said the Paris-based organization.
It is the first time the organization has seen an aggregate shrinkage in its members' economies since it started keeping records in 1970.With files from the Canadian Press