Thursday, January 15, 2009

NDP, Flaherty meet for talks ahead of budget.

This is from the Star.

No doubt Flaherty is converted on the issue of stimulus spending. So is George Bush even on his way out of office. The whole motley crew are born again Keynesians. Of course military Keynesianism has been a staple of the US economy and military spending increases are part and parcel of Harper policy.
In spite of Flaherty's conversion as the article mentions Flaherty did not give much in the way of specific information. However, it sounds as if there will be enough to satisfy Ignatieff and send the coalition to the dustbin of history.

NDP, Flaherty meet for talks ahead of budget - Canada - NDP, Flaherty meet for talks ahead of budget
Finance minister claims he's had 'conversion' on rescue spending, opposition critic says
January 14, 2009 Les WhittingtonOTTAWA BUREAU
OTTAWA–Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, who has long opposed government rescue packages, is confirming privately that his Jan. 27 budget will contain major spending to try to bolster the economy, the New Democrats say.
NDP finance critic Thomas Mulcair said Flaherty claimed in a closed-door chat last night to have undergone a "real conversion" on the need for government spending.
But after the 90-minute pre-budget discussion, Mulcair said he is far from convinced the Conservatives will fulfill Prime Minister Stephen Harper's recent promise to pump billions of dollars into the staggering economy.
"Both Mr. Harper and Mr. Flaherty have a long record of being precisely against that," Mulcair (Outremont) told reporters.
The meeting with Flaherty came as federal parties continued to manoeuvre in advance of the budget, which will spell the fate of Harper's Conservative minority government.
In Toronto, NDP Leader Jack Layton met privately with newly installed Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff to talk about the Liberal-NDP alliance that is threatening, with the help of the Bloc Québécois, to topple Harper and take power as a coalition government.
Ignatieff declined to speak about the meeting with Layton.
And an aide to the Liberal leader would only say it was a cordial chat and that nothing that was said changed the pact between the two parties.
In an interview with CTV News, Layton said the "marriage" of the two opposition parties was still intact after the meeting with Ignatieff.
The future of the coalition and the opposition parties' response to the budget have been a matter of intense speculation.
In a press conference before meeting Flaherty, Mulcair said the NDP is almost certain to vote against the budget but he held out a slim possibility that his party could change its mind if the Tories offer a major economic support package.
The NDP's demands for the budget include $32 billion in spending on improved access to employment insurance for laid-off workers, more money for infrastructure projects to boost the economy, increased support for families and job-creation measures.
NDP caucus chair Judy Wasylycia-Leis, who also met with Flaherty, said the finance minister provided no details on possible increased social spending to help hard-hit families.
"Frankly, he's just non-committal" on social spending, Wasylycia-Leis (Winnipeg North Centre) told reporters. "I'm still very worried that ordinary Canadians are not going to see the kind of protection they need ... just to survive."
The Liberals and NDP joined forces to try to oust the Harper government after Flaherty's Nov. 27 economic policy statement failed to meet opposition party demands for an economic stimulus package.
With the support of the Bloc, the Liberals and NDP were prepared to topple Harper in a vote of confidence in Parliament last month. However, Conservatives steered clear of defeat by suspending the House of Commons until Jan. 26.
But the future of the coalition later came into question after Ignatieff took over as interim leader of the Liberals from Stéphane Dion, who negotiated the coalition pact with the NDP.

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