Monday, May 18, 2009

Harper sets the stage for bigger deficits...

No doubt Harper must find it difficult to admit that bigger deficits may be necessary. As the opposition points out he has already tried to downplay the size of the deficit. No doubt also the opposition will criticise the size of the deficit while at the same time demanding more stimulus money!
The more immediate crisis is the employment insurance fund. Will Harper make changes to it sufficient to stop the opposition parties from bringing down the government? Watch for the first Dion move by Ignatieff in which he will imitate Dion by supporting the Harper government.

Harper sets the stage for bigger deficits - Canada -
Harper sets the stage for bigger deficits
Will be `as large as they have to be' to save jobs
May 15, 2009 Allan WoodsBruce CampionSmithOttawa bureau
GATINEAU, Que.–The federal deficit will be as large as is needed to help spark the economy and help Canada get through the recession, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said.
In a speech to Quebec municipal leaders, Harper urged a speedy start to infrastructure projects in line for stimulus funds and hinted more money would be available if that's what it takes to keep companies solvent and save jobs.
"Our deficits will be large, but they will be temporary. In fact, in the short term, they will be as large as they have to be to help us weather this recession," Harper said. "As a country we can afford it but only if ... the spending ends when the recession ends."
Last January's federal budget estimated Canada would run deficits totaling $85 billion by 2013. Federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has left open the possibility of more stimulus funding if the recession deepens or if the efforts of the 2009 budget don't do enough to protect the economy.
The opposition said Harper's comments indicate he's setting the stage for an admission his deficit projections are well off the mark, because of poor estimates and earlier measures that have done little for the economy.
"If you look at the government's plan, whether it's on the social program side or on the infrastructure side, it is like reaching into a barrel of Jello and throwing it against the wall and hoping that something will stick," said Liberal House Leader Ralph Goodale. "It is a helter-skelter approach and it's not having, so far, any appreciable effect in assisting Canadians in need."
Harper also urged his provincial and municipal counterparts not to let bureaucracy and interprovincial squabbling hold up the flow of cash, even as his own government came under fire for the slow delivery of funds for infrastructure projects.
Months after the federal budget was passed, the Conservatives have yet to deliver the money, said Liberal MP Martha Hall Findlay, who accused the government of announcing and re-announcing projects with no concrete results.
Transport and Infrastructure Minister John Baird replied that several projects have begun and promised a more detailed accounting in the government's report card to Parliament in June highlighting progress on the stimulus spending.

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