Today on Adler Online, guest host Roy Green (true Conservative Blue pundit extraordinaire) tried to nail down ol’ Flim-Flam Flaherty on his stunning failure to accurately predict Canada’s budget deficit as recently as 4 months ago.
Green - But how do you miss the deficit numbers by as much as you did in such a short period of time?
Flaherty - Oh it’s not... But... But it’s not a significant change.
You got that right. Being off the mark by about 50% is “not a significant change”. Flaherty then proceeds to explain, one more time, just how we are in so much better shape than the US, the UK, Japan, never really answering the question (no surprise there).
So Green tries again.
Green - But Minister … that $50 billion still represents a huge change from what you projected in January. So where I’m going with this is how do you now stick with that $30 billion number for next year?
Flaherty - A large part of it Roy is the auto settlements. I have a pretty good idea what the General Motors arrangement is going to cost. It’s significantly more than was anticipated, so this is a one time, one year payment. It’s not a continuing deficit and it accounts for a good part of the increase in the deficit that I referred to yesterday.
Still no answer except that now we know that apparently the GM deal is going to cost way more than anticipated. Nothing to indicate he has clue one about next year’s fiscal situation, so Green tries one last time.
Green - Minister, what do you say to the Liberals and their finance critic John McCallum’s challenges that you’ve lost all credibility? What do you say to Mr. McCallum?
Flaherty - Well I look for credibility and all I see on the other side is hypocrisy quite frankly. We asked them for their ideas for the budget, they had none. Literally none. Not one idea for the budget. And the only idea that they’ve come up with the budget according to Mr. Ignatieff is that he has a plan to raise taxes. That’s their only idea. None of the opposition parties are saying to the government, please spend less. What they are in fact are saying is spend more, but don’t increase the deficit, which is nonsense. And Canadians know nonsense when they hear it. (emphasis mine)
No answer to the question, but finally something honest from Flaherty’s own lips. “Canadians know nonsense when they hear it.” Let us hope that Canadians remember this nonsense when it comes time to vote in the next election and turf this ex-ambulance-chaser-cum-financial-wizard. He is an embarrassment.