It seems like every week we get a different set of economic figures from Jim Flaherty. During the election, things were a-okay. No need to worry about this economic downturn because our “fundamentals were sound.”
Then during the fall fiscal update, things were going to be tight – a razor-thin surplus, but balanced budgets for five years thanks to things like the sale of government assets.
But then Scott Brison and John McCallum called bullshit (bolstered by the findings of the Parliamentary Budget Officer), and yesterday, Flaherty’s numbers changed yet again.
What comes as no surprise to those who have been paying attention, we’re in deficit – this before we have even begun with the stimulus spending. In fact, there would be small deficits the next four years if things were status quo. With the stimulus spending, we could be expected to run a $30 billion deficit next year.
“If the government now realises their rosy projections were unrealistic, it’s time for them to recognize their asset sale plan is unrealistic as well,” Brison said after seeing the new, more realistic figures.
So that’s now two retractions from the fiscal update, and a complete retcon of our fiscal numbers. Flaherty’s credibility should be in tattered shreds. If this were any other government – one led by Prime Minister who has a chronic inability to admit that he has ever made a mistake – then he would be getting his walking papers. However, because Harper is never wrong, and never makes mistakes, he’ll keep Flaherty in place long enough for another cabinet shuffle to be necessary, and quietly demote him then. That does seem to be his style.