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COMMENTARY

We need a plan to reduce the deficit

From Thursday's Globe and Mail

In the consensus for large-scale deficit spending, the only group left absent has been the voters. ...Read the full article

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  1. Harold Chorney from Montréal, Québec, Canada writes: Scott Reid is probably right about that many Canadians are nervous about financing a stimulus with a deficit of 40 billion dollars.I actually think we need a larger package if we are to succeed in keeping the unemployment rate below 9 %.I would agree that our principal focus should be infrastructure and helping the unemployed. But as the size of the American stimulus under President Obama becomes clear and the bad economic news about falling growth, falling exports , bankruptciesand layoffs in both Canada and the US make the daily headlines I am pretty certain that the public mood is quickly shifting in favour of a stimulus. The shock of such a large stock market crash- the worst so far since the crash of 1929 and widespread layoffs and financial paralysis will mean a deep recession that might last more than a year. But if yoiu want to plan now on deficit reduction in the future then the right way to do so is to gradually withdraw the stimulus say 10 % per year beginning in the year when positive growth in employment resumes. If you keep the bank rate below the rate of GDP growth then the ratio of both the deficit to the GDP and the debt to the GDP will fall significantly year to year.In the end lower unemployment and investment in our economy and the future of our population is more important than a zero deficit in 5 years.
  2. Mike Sharp from Victoria, Canada writes:

    When I hear Scott Reid is going to speak, I listen.
    Intently.

    Scott Reid witnessed the off loading of healthcare costs to the provinces. Canada is now ranked 33rd by the World Health Organization. We're not even close to being half-decent.

    He saw the Liberals spend nothing on the environment, ostensibly as cost-saving.

    He observed military budgets slashed such that Canada's military was ranked 130th out of 160 in 2004.

    Scott Reid knows of what he speaks.
    Scott Reid is a Liberal.
    They have their priorities right.
  3. Western Bear from Canada writes: I hold my breath, whenever someone from Mr. Ignatieff's fold speaks. I worry for my Children. Bar the door 'Katie' the (unregistered) gun, is just inside the door!

    The 'Plan' is already made, the best minds (in the Country), have been consulted. Too late, you had your chance. If you missed this then I am sorry for you. What were you waiting for, Mr. Ignatieff?
  4. keith c from winnipeg-sur-shoreditch, United Kingdom writes: Fascinating to see the Globe decide to print this random article from the Iggy brain trust. Have the Libs pulled off a Harperian trick to screw the master? It looks that way; kick and scream in a minority parliament and make Harper panic into abandoning his budget discipline and alienate fiscal conservatives - then dump your leader, switch your position completely and run at the Tories from the responsible right. It's genius.
  5. R. Carriere from Maritimes, Canada writes:

    For some reason, the release YESTERDAY of the Conference Board of Canada's economic forecast was buried in the G&M business section.

    I mention this because it appears to be less 'the sky is falling' when put in proper perspective.

    The public screams for spend-spend-spend solutions--and the politicians are falling all over themselves trying to figure out how to spend $40 BILLION--adding almost 10% to our swelling debt in one fell swoop.

    While the news is far from good, it is not catastrophic for Canada to date. While many say we have to be ahead of the curve to minimize the problem, few have defined what that curve truly is.

    So what did the report say?(see business section)

    - Canada's economy will stay in a recession for 'three quarters.'
    - jobless rate peaking at 8.1% ( not 10-12-15!)
    - Canada contracting for three quarters - $20-billion deficit in 2009-10

    Perspective please!

    EX: The average price of a resale home is expected to fall nearly 10% in 2009....BUT the average value of a resale home surged nearly 80% in the 6 year boom that ended in 2007.
    .
  6. Mooney Pilot from Constitutional Monarchy, Canada writes: What Martin built over years, Harper destroyed in weeks. Now we will all pay for it...and our children will pay for it. But the friends of the CPC are getting rich!
  7. Comments closed, censored, hidden, deleted, disappeared from Parliament closed land, Canada writes: "We need a plan to reduce the deficit". --- The last thing that clueless lot knows is what a PLAN is: on anything. They first need to be taught what the word "plan" means. That may take a whole arduous session to get them to understand only that much. --- I dare not try and imagine how long it would take them, afterwards, to complete successfully the "PLAN 101" course.
  8. boz dobbs from toronto, Canada writes: Did Scott explain what happen in the 1990,s to Iggy,since he wasn,t around are beloved nation back then for some reason.
  9. Bev Jaremko from Calgary, Canada writes: Well Mr Reid you've reached your own goal of not being too precise. This plan is very vague.
    I am concerned at such vagueness and particularly at your plan to prioritize transfers for education, health and social service last and least.
    Uh, excuse me, you are talking about the wellbeing of Canada's youth here. When education suffers, we all suffer.

    The love affair with bottom line thinking loves paper, hates red ink and is blind to people. What the next budget needs is a caring tax policy that values the work Canadians are already doing, not just paid work but also unpaid gifts to society such as care of the young, sick, handicapped and dying. And to be precise, because hey, I dare to be - that means income splitting, universal birth bonus,universal maternity benefits, universal benefits for care of those who need care that 'flow with' the person needing care. Kids get funds in or out of daycare. Seniors with health challenges get funds in or out of institutional settings. More choice, more democratic options, more dignity and a fairer recognition of what actually makes an economy tick. It's people

    Best wishes from Beverley Smith
    your old nemesis, and I still don't drink beer.
    I do however like popcorn. So do kids.
  10. Mike M from Toronto, Canada writes: I am a bit puzzled to see so many people support the idea of the government spending $40 billion or so of "stimulus". Does anyone seriously believe that this will be spent on anything other than politically motivated, economically useless projects? In my view, it is a virtual guarantee that 80-90% of this money will be completely wasted. Polticians, frankly, are motivated to spend the money on all the wrong things, and that is exactly what they will do.
  11. Joe Gopher from Canada writes: More BS from Mr. Beer and Popcorn. Martin balanced the budget by offloading onto the provinces and looting the EI fund.
  12. Rich F from Canada writes: Oh, well, those projections came from the Conference Board of Canada? They simply MUST be accurate then.
  13. Steve French from Windsor (Flint, North), Canada writes: "The central tenet of Paul Martin's successful fiscal efforts was a simple' THEFT.
    The theft of billions of dollars from the pockets of unemployed and working poor in the EI fund.
    The new theft is same as the old theft, except this time they're stealing billions from workers not yet born (the debt).
    Keyword: THEFT.
    The best thing any government can do is nothing.
  14. wwww bbbbb from Toronto, Canada writes: We are looking forward to getting you guys back in the government seat and I hope you are part of Iggy's team (I miss seeing you on CBC!!) I don't care what ideology says, the Liberals are the stewards of the Canadian economy and social well-being.
  15. Dave the Decider from Winnipeg, Canada writes: Just out of curriosity does anyone on here still believe that the 2008-09 books are balanced or are we still being fed a load of sugar on that one too?
  16. John Legate from Ontario, writes: First to those that cry theft of the EI fund. Do you know it ran substantial deficits and that if accounted for along with the interest on that debt there might be no surplus? As to off loading to the provinces, yes this was done but the were given tax credits at the time. Mike Harris (Flaherty's boss) wasted his on tax cuts rather than social spending he was supposed to do. Again those tax credits exceed the off loading and continue to this day. So enough already.

    Part of our problem is the stupid approach Harper has taken with respect to military spending. Canada had long taken the approach of having contracts bid on with companies providing Canadian purchse offsets if the company wasn't supplying Canadian built product. The Cons have undertaken the largest military spending program in Canadian history without 1 job guarentee or purchse offset. Most gauling is the purchase of 1300 trucks to be built in Texas while the same company shifts production to Mexico and lays off 700 CDN workers. That is a duh moment if there ever was one.
  17. Dominick Blake from Canada writes: What I get from Scott Reid is that we need a plan - a justifiable plan.
    Next, after the first plan has been implemented, we will need a second plan to undo the first plan. And apparently the only one that can institute the second plan that undoes the first plan is Michael Ignatieff and the Liberals.

    Have the Harper government, with support of the Liberals, institute a huge, massive, gigantic deficit.
    Reduce huge deficit through an Ignatieff government. But how?

    Liberal policy-making at its finest.
  18. C L from T O, Canada writes: The more things change, the more they stay the same. Conservatives cut taxes, increase the size of government and run big deficits (usually to the detriment of the general populace, but in their friends' favour), until some point when we the people have had enough and kick the bums out so a more liberal government can make things right again. (This, BTW, is closely echoed by what happens in the States every few years -- massive GOP deficits followed by Dem fix-its.) Until right-leaning folk figure this out, and realize right-wing governments are only in it for themselves and their rich buddies, it will ever be thus.
  19. Fran Irwin from Medicine Hat, Canada writes: The "elephant in the room" is NOT how much Harper is considering in new stimilus (it may or may not be the 2 % of GDP, or roughly $32 Billion) but how much of a defecti is already accrued? No one knows this outside of the Harper Government. He obviously lied through Flaherty just 2 months ago when a "modest surplus" was projected - estimates of economists within and outside of the government have ranged for a CURRENT PRE-BUDGET DEFECIT (i.e. EXISTING) of between $2 and $20 Billion.) How can any of us look at this upcoming budget with any clarity if we do not know the bottom-line before the stimulus? Harper has blown the fiscal cushion - by how much?
  20. B P from Canada writes: The honesty of asking for opinions from business leaders and Canadians from across Canada is good enough for me over an unknown Canadian of convenience, appointed to lead his left wing party, from the right.
    Confused? Me too!
    What you can count on with the Libs/coalition?? is creative book keeping, money flying from your pockets and being told that they know what is best for you. You don't have to think, work or raise your kids. They'll do it all and send you the bill.
  21. Steve French from Windsor (Flint, North), Canada writes: No they do not. I'm tired of this dumb 'righty/lefty' Liberal/Conservative false dichotomy that DOES NOT EXIST.
    They BOTH do the same things. They BOTH contrive new ways to steal taxpayer money, they BOTH grow the deficit, they BOTH dream up new and stupid ways to grow the government parasite.
    Every level of government is currently wondering how they hold their pay increases down, probably gonna have to strike, while the private sector, which pays their wages, is bleeding jobs by the tens of thousands.
    Cash in on a clue...
  22. Fake Name from Canada writes: "Mooney Pilot from Constitutional Monarchy, Canada writes: What Martin built over years, Harper destroyed in weeks under threat of removal by the liberals and their coalition partners."

    There, I fixed it for you.

    At this point, I'm just disgusted beyond measure by all the parties when it comes to the economy.
  23. R. Carriere from Maritimes, Canada writes:

    Liberal Reid writes:" A deficit that reportedly will top $40-billion. A deficit that responds - albeit belatedly - to the urgent need for a recession..And a deficit that the parliamentary budget officer tells us could last as long as 10 years."

    This is the type of panic, spin, and fear mongering none of us need!

    When the actual FINAL budget is voted upon AFTER debate, we will have a better idea.

    "Belatedly? Urgent?" In the eyes of the beholder.

    Next, the fear mongering continues-as if one can predict even 2-3 years out... Reid mentions 10 years, while Kevin Page (one voice) suggests 5---and this tidbit where Reid basing his statement on this: " One of his (Page) staff suggested it might even take Ottawa seven to 10 years."

    Reid writes: "News of a new federal deficit will not be welcomed by the public. Few Canadians are yet aware....." Few Canadians aware? Perhaps those living in the forest with no radio or television.....Disrespect and condescending!

    Reid writes: "Mr. Martin fostered and then relied on a nationwide enthusiasm for his fiscal prescriptions....."

    cntd..
    .
  24. R. Carriere from Maritimes, Canada writes:

    While Reid makes this sweeping statement, he neatly avoids mentioning all of the methods used by Martin that hurt the Provinces concerning Health Care and education that linger today. It would be interesting if Reid can quote how the public was "enthusiastic" concerning massive transfer cuts..

    Reid writes: "Should any future surtaxes or levies be created to help reduce the deficit, they should be set up by law...

    While that is not a bad suggestion, again Mr. Reid avoids a little detail concerning how Chretien Martin and the Cabinet dealt with the EI situation. Recently, the Supreme Courst ruled this:

    Canadian Press OTTAWA - The Supreme Court of Canada says the federal government broke the law in financing the employment insurance system by transforming premiums paid by workers and employers into an unconstitutional tax.... the former Liberal governments of Chretien and Martin collected EI contributions illegally in 2002, 2003 and 2005. In those years, EI rates were set directly by cabinet without proper authorization from Parliament!"

    Premiums were increased,elegibility rules were toughened, and the balooning $54 BILLION was put towards the debt!
  25. Alberta Girl from Canada writes: "The central tenet of Paul Martin's successful fiscal efforts was a simple observation: "

    No, the central tenent of Paul Martin's "successful" fiscal effort was using our EI payments to balance the budget.

    Report the FACTS!!!!!
  26. Jim Q from Halifax, Canada writes: Well now I have to disagree with Scott Reid on this one.

    As I see it, Layton, Duceppe and Dion basically have done Harper's PR work for him, vis-a-vis the deficit, by holding rallies accross the country to DEMAND a deficit, on pain of forcing him from Office.

    They united all opposition on insisting on a major deficit. The only people who might grumble are Harper loyalists. And they're unlikely to drift TOO far to the left.

    No, the Libs, Dippers and Blockers have signed over any right to oppose any deficits. In fact, they've made running a deficit a guarenteed popular move.

    Their only move is to demand more, not less, deficit spending.
  27. Zarny YYC from Canada writes: First I completely disagree that deficit spending is required.

    Keynesian economics has proven itself not to work and wasting billions in stimulus spending is downright insane.

    Sadly this country learned nothing from the mistakes of Trudeau, Mulroney, and Bob Rae let alone the countless other countries that have failed miserably in their attempts to spend their way out of recession.

    However since the opposition parties whined like a bunch of school girls when the Conservatives failed to include gross amounts of wasteful spending in the economic update we're going to get the massive deficits the opposition parties want.

    So yeah a plan to curb all that waste would be nice.
  28. Darcy Meyer from Canada writes: "Should any future surtaxes or levies be created to help reduce the deficit, they should be set up by law to last no longer than the five-year horizon."

    So..Figure out how to increase tax or levies. Did reduced spending or increased efficiency even enter as an option?
  29. Trillian Rand from Canada writes: Mr Reid raises some good points, many of which have been constant complaints against Mr Harper's management philosophy.

    Many 'ordinary' Canadians are probably unaware of the government's intention to run large surpluses of, if they've heard the news, are waiting for the reality before getting excited. Undoubtedly many people will fail to understand how going further into debt will be a 'stimulus' when they look at their own finances and see more debt would be a catastrophe.

    It would be wrong to assume the average Canadian has any concept at all of government spending and how it can affect the economy. Mr Harper and Company should have started educating the public long ago, not with vague policy statements, nebulous financial opinions from Minister Flaherty, or the faint hope that Canadians will get what they are doing. But then this government has a history of doing things the hard way.
  30. Auroran Bear from Montreal, Canada writes: A timeline should be established for reducing the deficit back to zero. Five years is a reasonable horizon.
    ==================================================

    Impossible. It will take a couple of years to fully spend this money. There will be a drag as consumers assess whether the uptick is for real and whether they will spend or pay down debt. In order for things to really kick in, we will need a true global recovery because we are an exporting nation.

    This deficit we are incurring is needed but there is no way it will be paid down in 5....or even 10 years.
  31. A C from west vancouver, Canada writes: Suggest that we Plunder the EI Fund first then after that stop ALL
    Federal Payments to the provinces .sound familiar
    If you have forgot how it was done Mr Martin should be available to
    refresh our memories.
    NO Adscam/ because that was set up for the use of the Liberal party only.

    Scott how much progress have you and Hargrove made re your
    applications to the Liberals for a Senate seat??????
  32. Just Visiting from Canada writes: I do verily believe that Mr. Reid was one of the people who mounted the successful PR campaign to sour Canadians on anything resembling a deficit.

    By demonizing deficits, they made it palatable for the Lib government to cut back on many services and areas that the feds used to provide. As I recall, one of the payoffs was supposed to be that we would be in great shape if a recession hit, what with our books being in such tidy order.

    Well, we now we have the recession, and it turns out that our fiscal prudence and cutbacks didn't shelter us one iota from what would happen if our major trading partner just ignored its deficit, and went happily on, piling debt upon debt.

    So why exactly should any thinking Canadians now believe that it makes any sense for us to have deficits that are of any magnitude less than those of our major trading partner?

    Sure we now have the fear of deficits now built into our bones, but really, what good did fiscal prudence do when we are being hit every bit as hard by this recession as our prolifigate neighbours to the south?

    - JV
  33. Mervin Hollingsworth from Saskatoon, Sk, Canada writes: So now it isn't enought that the Liberal party has forced the government to incur a deficit of untold billions they now want before it is even announced what will be the plan to reduce the deficit. Scott Reid has to be one of the most silly people inhabiting the Liberal party these days. The man of beer and popcorn has no credibility and when he appears on TV to offer his partisan nonsense we push the mute button. If County Iggy was smart he would get rid of this guy as a Liberal mouthpiece. He does more to harm the Libs and their message. He lacks any kind of believability.
  34. Fake Name from Canada writes: re: Mervin

    For all the bad optics of the 'beer and popcorn' remark, he happened to be actually right. Some people really will use government cheques / credits meant for their kids to buy booze - I could name a particularly sleazy example to whom I happen to unfortunately be related.

    Since when were conservatives so keen to defend the entitlements of welfare fraudsters, anyway?
  35. Doug - from Canada writes: "The central tenet of Paul Martin's successful fiscal efforts was a simple observation: Sweeping policy change best succeeds when the consent of the governed has been secured. Mr. Martin fostered and then relied on a nationwide enthusiasm for his fiscal prescriptions."

    I don't remember that. As I recall the liberals won without deficits being a election issue and then went on to fight deficits with reductions to transfers ( let somebody else take the heat), defence ( which had been paid for during the Con tenure) and cutting UI. The economy was doing pretty well too. First will low $ auto sector did well and later oil and mining.

    Don't get me wrong it was a good thing to do. The conservatives couldn't have done it. They could only agree that it had to be done. So there was no pposition to deficit fighting.

    Now the Cons are being forced into deficits and it will never be enough. To get rid of deficits will need liberals to say they will do one thing and do another. Democracy punishes the politician who promises harsh medicine for the long term good. better to say all will be bread and circuses and deliver what is actually required.
  36. Steve French from Windsor (Flint, North), Canada writes: Who cares about welfare fraudsters? These people are small potatoes compared to government and white collar fraudsters, who make organized crime look like amateurs.
    I also see many people call for "REALITY" and then they go on to babble some or other delusional version.
    What is "reality"? Does the "economy" = "reality"? Is the left wing 'liberal' reality more real than the right wing conservative reality?
    Or do both have some elements of 'reality' and many more elements of fantasy?
  37. Auroran Bear from Montreal, Canada writes: Mervin Hollingsworth from Saskatoon, Sk, Canada writes: So now it isn't enought that the Liberal party has forced the government to incur a deficit of untold billions they now want before it is even announced what will be the plan to reduce the deficit.
    =================================================

    Forced? What's the alternative? The PM could have had a vote and get smacked down then go back to the polls.

    Leaders lead, followers follow. Which is the PM going to be?
  38. I'm Michael Ignatieff and You're Not from Canada writes: Just more partisan spinning from the "beer and popcorn" man. Reid lost all credibility when he insisted parents couldn't be trusted to spend child support payments wisely and would spend the money on beer and popcorn. He strongly supported Paul Martin and now Iggy. Watch out!!!
  39. Fake Name from Canada writes: "Doug - from Canada writes: Democracy punishes the politician who promises harsh medicine for the long term good. better to say all will be bread and circuses and deliver what is actually required."

    Too true - this is one of the bigger problems with democracies (although I believe a multi-party system partly blunts the flaw). People would rather be fed sunshine and lollipops than long-term solutions that are going to sting in the present, and the figurative scum rise to the top of the pond by telling people what they want to hear.
  40. kK J from mississauga, Canada writes: I'd like to know how all you people know so much about a budget that has not even been put into the public's place. Budget's are confidential. A government can get into all sorts of trouble if information is known publicly before it is tabled. The speculation is just that.

    Scott Ried (the beer and popcorn guy) and wwws bbbb... are Liberals and should know that the Libs./left slayed the deficit on the back of small business, health care, cutbacks in education, left the military to rust we never knew what kind of money the Feds. were willing to offer. At least with the current Gov. the Provinces know what they can budget with and have guaranteed dollars for health care and education (less stress in these times of global economic slowdown). This Conservative Gov. is mature, focused, respectful and businesslike when running our Country and I love it.

    Please don't forget that the real reason for the opposition to be so mad at the Gov. (tax dollars for votes) Due to the sacrifices that Canadians are going through with job losses etc. the Gov. wanted to show us that our elected candidates are willing to cutback through tough times - so the Gov. wanted to stop giving tax dollars for votes to the Fed. parties. Tax dollars for votes is the real tipping point for all the politicking - it has nothing to do with the opposition's love or concern for their struggling Canadian citizens. The Libs. would be toast if they didn't get their tax money for votes. They don't know how to fundraise. Scary stuff if you think they could run a Country. The Conservatives run a good ship and have tons (millions) of dollars from fundraising. It is too bad that's not written about more (the tipping point that Jack was waiting for) that's the kind of stuff that should be written about by G&M.
  41. Brett Williams from Canada writes: Regarding EI, again please stop being so disingenuous.

    Martin/Chretien didn't steal a penny from EI. There was no separate EI fund. It was eliminated in 1985 by Mulroney on the advice of the AG. Prior to that the fund was in chronic deficit and would have been more than $32 billion in deficit when Chretien took power. Second the SC ruled that they 'illegally' set rates in 3 years, NOT all 13, so the $54 billion figure is eroneous anyway. In those three years EI premia were in excess of payouts by $7.4 billion cumulatively, nowhere near the $54 billion Con hacks like to regurgitate (please dont be one). Moreover the ruling by the SC was nuanced. It stated that Martin/Chretien set the rates illegally, that is without having parliament approve them. The SC did NOT rule that the rates themselves were illegal, nor that how the money was used was illegal, merely that Chretien/Martin set the rates without parliamentray involvement. Period! All EI revenues have been a part of general revenues since 1985 and that included Harper's years as well.
  42. Dave the Decider from Winnipeg, Canada writes: R Carrier seems pretty opposed to other folks spining but isn't above the practice.
    When exactly were EI Premiums increased? They've gone down every year since 1994. Except of course for 2009.
    Maybe Carrier is thinking about CPP rates increasing?
  43. John Fedup from Canada writes: John Legate from Ontario...so what do you want to do in order to save 700 jobs? I guess the Gov't could give Navstar a billion dollars to convert the plant from civil to military trucks then build 1300 trucks. This would take a few months of production. Afterwards, the plant can sit idle and rot. The better solution is to give the 700 worker a pile of cash and retrain them. Limited production of military equipment is too expensive for a Canadian plant. Had we invested billions in the last 30 years creating specific military export businesses of consquence we would not be having this conversation. The offsets would come from actual trade of military goods like the Europeans have done.
  44. A Peon in the golden boy's court from land of living skies, Canada writes: Okay Scott Reid – FYI, you’re not Sam Seaborn from The West Wing.

    The first time I heard of Scott Reid was in an infantile, waste of time article in the G & M about how George W Bush thought Scott Reid had a pretty face. The second time I heard of Scott Reid was when he pooched a debate/discussion on CTV about election issues in the 2004 campaign – the famous “beer & popcorn” debacle.

    Scott Reid is a joke. A BA in History & Political Science from Queen’s – ooooooolaaaa laaa, that’s so impressive, not! Considering how badly Paul Martin messed up the 2004 campaign and the communication of every major issue his minority government pressed, it’s a surprise Scott Reid can proudly sign his name anywhere!! New flash Scott – if you were director of communication & his speechwriter, you’re very much to blame!! LOL!! What a tool and then you think you can impress people with a shoddy opinion piece in the G & M which barely merits being included in an online political forum somewhere? Give me a break.
  45. A Peon in the golden boy's court from land of living skies, Canada writes: Okay Scott Reid – FYI, you’re not Sam Seaborn from The West Wing.

    The first time I heard of Scott Reid was in an infantile, waste of time article in the G & M about how George W Bush thought Scott Reid had a pretty face. The second time I heard of Scott Reid was when he pooched a debate/discussion on CTV about election issues in the 2004 campaign – the famous “b-e-e-r & popcorn” debacle.

    Scott Reid is a joke. A BA in History & Political Science from Queen’s – ooooooolaaaa laaa, that’s so impressive, not! Considering how badly Paul Martin messed up the 2004 campaign and the communication of every major issue his minority government pressed, it’s a surprise Scott Reid can proudly sign his name anywhere!! New flash Scott – if you were director of communication & his speechwriter, you’re very much to blame!! LOL!! What a tool and then you think you can impress people with a shoddy opinion piece in the G & M which barely merits being included in an online political forum somewhere? Give me a break.
  46. R. Carriere from Maritimes, Canada writes:

    Dave the Decider from Winnipeg: Go check your Liberal Party history fiscal 1996 and the shenanigans...then you'll understand. And please, don't call truth ,spin. The LPC was found guilty by the Supreme Court. NO?
    .
  47. Dave the Decider from Winnipeg, Canada writes: R. Carrier. I don't have the Liberal Party fiscal history on hand and don't much care for them or any political party. I was just pointing out that the EI rates have gone down every year since 1994's $3.07 rate. In 1996 it was $2.95.
    Your point about making it more difficult to claim EI seems right to me. Chaning for the weekly qualifying period to an hourly scheme screwed a lot of people out of receiving EI and built up a huge surplus.
    I just always find it ammusing when people complain about spin in their post and then procede to throw out an untrue 'fact' to prove their point.
    As for your last question I believe you are correct. They were found guilty of setting the premium rate illegally for several years in the early to mid 2000s.
  48. liz fox from Canada writes: I dont remember Martin relying on "nationwide enthusiasm"for his fiscal prescriptions. Most people would agree that balancing the books is prudent but its HOW you do it that counts. Cuts to EI, healthcare etc were not universally supported. Whoever says Keynsian economics do not work needs to wake up, doing nothing doesnt work! We could all sit back and wiat for the magic markets to right themselves... and they will but it may take 10- 15-20 years of lost wages, productivity, huge unemployment.. costs that will exceed the costs of a stimulus in the long run. Its cheaper to act. Those advocating tax cuts should think again if we are concerned about long term deficits. Once tax cuts are enacted it becomes almost impossible for future governments to reverse them. And tax cuts dont give much bang for the buck while restricting the ability of governments even further.
  49. Marian Olson from Canada writes: Why is there the panic, and the stampede to spend, spend, and spend some more, when no one has convinced me that a fiscal stimulus has worked in the past or will work again. All we are doing is distracting the masses for a few years until the economy recovers on its own. In the meantime the deficit has skyrocketed, money has been squandered, and we are not only not any further ahead, but we will be overburdened with taxes to pay for the "bridge to nowhere". Instead of trying to prop up losing companies, why not reduce cororate taxes for everyone, and make the cost of doing business more reasonable. Good companies would survive and thrive, which should be what any sensible government, not out obscenely buying votes, would want.
  50. Brian Jones from Vancouver,BC, Canada writes: The very same taxpayers who couldn’t be convinced to pay to upgrade the infrastructure in their own towns and cities are now clamoring to have these very same projects quick started as soon as possible. They are obviously under the illusion that someone else is going to pay for it. In addition the very same politicians whose responsibility is to keep their infrastructure up in their towns and cities are now on the bandwagon after years of neglecting the problem. Could it be that they are off the hook because its now the federal governments problem to pay for it and to take the eventual flack
  51. Fake Name from Canada writes: re: Marian Olson and Brian Jones

    Well, at least this is the cheapest construction labour and materials are likely to be for the next few decades. It's not like cities don't have backlogs of road and water maintenance needing to be done.
  52. Brian Jones from Vancouver,BC, Canada writes: Fake Name from Canada , if that were only true. Witness the cost overruns on the olympic village in Vancouver. Expect more of the same.
  53. hangin right from Van, Canada writes: hmmmm, mymy my!
  54. hangin right from Van, Canada writes: a plan to reduced the deficit.........
    that will require getting rid of the Harper Conservatives ya know!
  55. bill williams from Guelph from Canada writes: -

    Well, I think that he has the big pieces right: The stimulus package will require huge amounts of public spending, and we absolutely DO need a way of doing the thing so that the deficit doesn't become perpetual.

    Yes, most of the answer is to keep the increased spending to one time stuff and STEER VERY CLEAR of increasing programme spending beyond what the declining economy will cause all by itself: increasing payouts for government benefits.

    Bev Jaremko, You state this concern:

    "I am concerned at such vagueness and particularly at your plan to prioritize transfers for education, health and social service last and least."

    The wording was hard to follow, but he was saying that the stimulus package which would require transfers to health, education, and social services, and that in reducing the transfers he would go after these last. In other words these transfers would last the longest.

    Social services spending (and required transfers) will come down as the economy recovers. Spending on health should be one time (as many times as required) for facilities that can be secured by buying material in Canada to make them.

    We need huge spending in education and research. Those establishments (for example universities) can absorb enormous amounts of money just to keep themselves going until endowment portfolios and other sources of funds recover. Education is the engine of our economy.

    -
  56. James ofthewest from Canada writes: I would agree no such public consent has yet been granted for the accumulation of a new large deficit. ...............A concrete commitment to fiscal responsibility is more than a political strategy. It is a vital component of our economic recovery. Then why is Ignatieff not calling for a election so he can run on a deficit reduction plan That's right, a plan to responsibly reduce the deficit.Not Liberal/NDP coalition backed by the Bloc its peculating deficit spending
  57. Robert in and around Calgary from Calgary, Canada writes: Well Scott, the public had no choice under Paul Martin. They had a majority and bracket creep, tax increases and fiscal policy were the norm for the day and they were routinly voted down by the opposition only to be voted up by a whipped majority Liberal Party. Paul Martin balanced budgets on the backs of the provinces and ordinary taxpaying Canadians. He routinlt spent surpluses to avoid meaningful debt reduction in place of deficit reduction. The public voted for Mr. Harper to balance budgets and refrain from deficits. Instead the opportunistic opposition wanted deficits and more spending which in the long run will mean market tinkering and job creation programs that may never have any real impact on the nation jobless rate. The LPC while in power used EI financing to pay people to remain unemployed in seasonal jobs but it wasn't until the the economy actually produced them that we saw a decrease in the unemployment figures.
  58. Western Bear from Canada writes: History 101:For those that don't know about history Here is a condensed version: Humans originally existed as members of small bands of nomadic hunters/gatherers. They lived on deer in the mountains during the summer and would go to the coast and live on fish and lobster in the winter. The two most important events in all of history were the invention of beer and the invention of the wheel. The wheel was invented to get man to the beer. These were the foundation of modern civilization and together were the catalyst for the splitting of humanity into two distinct subgroups: 1. Liberals, and
    2. Conservatives. Once beer was discovered, it required grain and that was the beginning of agriculture. Neither the glass bottle nor aluminum can were invented yet, so while our early humans were sitting around waiting for them to be invented, they just stayed close to the brewery. That's how villages were formed. Some men spent their days tracking and killing animals to B-B-Q at night while they were drinking beer. This was the beginning of what is known as the Conservative movement.
  59. Western Bear from Canada writes: Other men who were weaker and less skilled at hunting learned to live off the conservatives by showing up for the nightly B-B-Q's and doing the sewing, fetching, and hair dressing. This was the beginning of the Liberal movement. Some of these liberal men eventually evolved into women. The rest became known as girlie-men. Some noteworthy liberal achievements include the domestication of cats, the invention of group therapy, group hugs, and the concept of Democratic voting to decide how to divide the meat and beer that conservatives provided. Over the years conservatives came to be symbolized by the largest, most powerful land animal on earth, the elephant. Liberals are symbolized by the jackass. Modern liberals like imported beer (with lime added), but most prefer white wine or imported bottled water. They eat raw fish but like their beef well done. Sushi, tofu, and French food are standard liberal fare. Another interesting evolutionary side note: most of their women have higher testosterone levels than their men. Most social workers, personal injury attorneys, journalists, dreamers in Hollywood and group therapists are liberals. Liberals invented the designated hitter rule because it wasn't fair to make the pitcher also bat. Conservatives drink domestic beer, mostly Bud. They eat red meat and still provide for their women. Conservatives are big-game hunters, rodeo cowboys, lumberjacks, construction workers, firemen, medical doctors, police officers, corporate executives, athletes, Marines, airline pilots and generally anyone who works productively. Conservatives who own companies hire other conservatives who want to work for a living.
  60. Western Bear from Canada writes:
    Liberals produce little or nothing. They like to govern the producers and decide what to do with the production. Liberals believe Europeans are more enlightened than Americans. That is why most of the liberals remained in Europe when conservatives were coming to America . They crept in after

    the Wild West was tamed and created a business of trying to get more for

    nothing.

    Here ends today's lesson in world history:

    It should be noted that a Liberal may have a momentary urge to angrily respond to the above before forwarding it.

    A Conservative will simply laugh and be so convinced of the absolute truth of this history that it will be forwarded immediately to other true believers and to more liberals just to tick them off.

    And there you have it. Let your next action reveal your true self...
  61. Hairy Wrangellian from Saltspring Island, Canada writes: Western Bear: Actually, history was a little different. In the beginning, we lived in caves, killed animals for food, dragged women home by their hair, dragged our knuckles on the ground, and beat on each other with clubs.

    Then, some people started to figure out better ways to live - those are liberals and other progressives. The ones who refused to leave the caves and their clubs, those are the conservatives.
  62. Western Bear from Canada writes: Hairy:

    Well spoken, but how DO YOU get these groups together? It is like the Isreals' & Hamas. If we do not show the "Irony", & that we are (in fact) the SAME? How go WE start a conversation {of intelligence} between "sons/daughters of the same mother?"

    I have not yet figured this out, but I am open to suggestions.
  63. Fake Name from Canada writes: " Robert in and around Calgary from Calgary, Canada writes: The public voted for Mr. Harper to balance budgets and refrain from deficits."

    Haha ... that's wrong on so many levels. First, the budget was balanced before Harper won, so electing him "to balance it" isn't possible. Second, he's the one that took it to the brink of a deficit even before the recession. Third, considering Flaherty's record of asset sales to gloss over an operating deficit, Harper may in fact have been running a camoflaged deficit for two or three quarters already.
  64. Fake Name from Canada writes: re: Brain Jones and cost overruns by contractors

    True ... they always lie about how much something will cost. But maybe in the current economic climate when private-sector business is drying up, they'll only over-run by 180% instead of 200%.

    Why the quoted price isn't a binding part of the contract on this sort of thing, I've never figured out.
  65. A C from west vancouver, Canada writes: Western bear
    You would be my ideal educated idiot/ you explained it perfectly

    Question What is your present status in life?

    Possible professional student aged 45 yrs?

    Possible credit card debt of approx $8000.oo?


    For someone to spend all the time on dribble such as you have tells
    me that you have mastered typing

    Now find out what is the meanimg of common sense?

  66. hangin right from Van, Canada writes: Yo little bear : funny angles, but ya forgot about how the Cons and them made up religion to make things worse and complicate things.

    and yo Bear , the Europeans obviously were smarter than Bushs Americans , don't even have to explain why its so obvious.

    if ya want the groups to get together then eliminate religion from the equation .

    Cons never did anything to help people get their Equality , Liberals however worked on respecting peoples Equality and provided access to it while the Cons tried to destroy it and take it away for it threatened their control over others that they never had to begin with.
    and as for feeding at the trough and BBQ like you say , oh just look at all the extra Ministers , appointments and waste of money Harper has gone through in these tough times just to cater to his Conservative pals.

    And according to your logic , then the Liberals(including the girlie-men and testosterone women ) have provided alot for society to evolve and help one another , and just so ya know , all the careers you mention that are owned by Cons , well dear little bear, Liberals make up a huge segment of those careers as well.

    Oh and just so ya know there little bear, beer was invented by women with a hole in the ground a long time ago(do some research and ya will find that out to be true.)
    cheerio little bear. papa bear is calling you back to the cave.
  67. A C from west vancouver, Canada writes: Could not resist
    A friend of mine just mentioned that for the Liberals to be idolizing
    Mr Ignatieff, a academic American, with no political skills.
    Bush supporter and Republican philosophy,s and being imported from
    the USof A. Age 61 lived as American for 55yrs.
    Famous repeated IGGY cliche "US AMERICANS" will have to change to
    "US CANADIANS"
    IGGY "THE CAN/DOM CANDIDATE"

    Possiibly the Liberals would have been better off voting for
    Cliff Klavin of Cheers fame.
    Good for a laugh
  68. M Liggins from Pleasantville, Canada writes: A C from west vancouver, Canada writes: Western bear
    You would be my ideal educated idiot/ you explained it perfectly
    For someone to spend all the time on dribble such as you have tells
    me that you have mastered typing
    Now find out what is the meanimg of common sense?

    AC--after reviewing your self serving diatribe on another globe article, then seeing your smug, demeaning self satisfied post here, we're all wondering why the need for a personal attack, unless you have no factual or logical basis to continue the debate. My experience is that anyone using the term "idiot" to describe another usually belies a lack of critical thing as well as projecting a personal shortcoming onto others.

    You demean yourself, and your "argument" by use of an unwarranted ad hominem.

    By the way, it's "Drivel", not "dribble".
  69. John Francis from Canada writes: The Harper Politburo is going to introduce a Trudeau budget. At some point this spending will be reflected in higher taxes or reduced services. Even worse since almost every OECD country seeks to borrow to finance deficit spending expect the cost of money to go up. You are going to pay with higher interest rates on your mortgage and car payments, tuition costs and everything else.
    Why are we having problems? Because our primary customer no longer wants to buy what we sell. We need to find a new customer or new product categories. Paving new roads is simple porkbarrel politics that benefits friends of Stevie but does nothing for the long term outlook.

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