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The strategists

Pundits want a budget with brains and heart

From Monday's Globe and Mail

What message needs to be delivered by the government (as well as the opposition) in today's Throne Speech and tomorrow's budget to instill confidence that the economic crisis is being taken seriously, without causing further panic or alarmism? ...Read the full article

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  1. Catherine Wilkie from Canada writes: Messaging is great for those who are not worried about paying the bills.

    Actions, I fear, are too late.

    The politicians all look ineffectual and dishonest.

    The October election was when the reality should have been discussed.
  2. Common Sense from Canada writes: Give our PM some elbow space! Pundits don't have the answer, and Iggy is not the solution to the problem. Massive spending is going to set our country back for years, so let a fiscally responsible man do his job, and then we can judge how he did. The last thing this country needs is a toxic coalition calling the shots, while they line the pockets of their cronies. We have seen how the Libs handle our tax dollars, so with the NDP part of the mix, we'd have a real mess!
  3. Ian D. Niall (who is staunchly apolitical) from Right here, Canada writes: Coon Sense - "We have seen how the Libs handle our tax dollars" - what makes you think this will be any different? I predict that a big chunk of stimulus money will go to building bureaucratic empires to run the stimuls programs, and buying lost of new toys for the bureaucrats.
  4. G H from Canada writes: Common Sense from Canada writes: Give our PM some elbow space! ... Why did the PM consistently lie and cover up in the last election. If you say he did not, then you are blind and deaf. PM Harper has had 3 years of 'elbow space' and now is the time to govern. Stop the bashing, finger pointing, bullying and partisan grab for power (and I know he isn't the first to do this ... but dragging up every past mistake made by every PM is not going to help). He has shown no stomache for governing in a minority situation, and has acted like a boss not a leader. I am all for giving things a chance, and for compromise. Harper has difficulty with compromise, and his actions should be watched and monitored. So stop making him out to be a god ... he is an economics major from 30 years ago that has been working toward being PM since he got out of school. Admirable - yes, however he is not ruling a communist state. Start repsecting the people that PAY him to do a job. If I acted like he does at my job I would be fired. Why should he be any different. You Cons make me sick ... like sheep to the slaughter
  5. Durward Saar from Canada writes: Tell me Terrie O'Leary were you Paul Martin's adviser when he misappropriated 54 billion from the EI fund to "balance" the budget? Why yes you were, so why would we ask advice from someone willing to misappropriate funds from the workers and companies of Canada to make one man and one party look good at the expense of everyone else in the country?, we know with Libs Canadians come last.
    The NDP should stick to the fantasy realm and leave running reality to others better suited for the job, such as anyone else.
    Think tanks are notorious for not containing any real thinkers just re-hashers of failed ideology like Greg.
  6. Chris S. from Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada writes: "Fiscally responsible"? Give me a break. Maybe if we repeat these lies enough times, they'll come true. That seems to be the modus operandi of the Harper Conservatives. As for this economic advisory board of "eminent" Canadians, isn't eminent another word for elite? Aren't the top 5% of the men (and a few women) responsible for this mess of corporate greed and corruption we find ourselves in? This advisory board is nothing but a rubber stamp to lend credence to whatever the PMO ordains. I'm not buying it and neither should you.
  7. A reader from Canada writes: I'm so fed up with both the Liberals and the NDP. Taliban Jack wants to defeat the government on the budget without even hearing it. We certainly don't need a politician that puts his interests ahead of Canada. It also appears Layton doesn't believe in the democratic process. Doesn't the man realize Canadians have voted for the Conservative party to lead and not the NDP? Ignatieff is opposed to permanent tax cuts. This man has spent thirty years out of the country and hasn't been contributing to its coffers during that long period of time . He has no idea on how much Canadians are being taxed at all levels. Why should more help be provided for those not paying into the system as compared to those that do pay into it? The Liberals in their statements are enablers to those not wanting to work rather than providing them with incentives to work and to be productive members of society. The federal Liberals don't believe in true justice. Liberals feel that without justice, they are creating work for many. Lawyers, judges, social workers, police, the court system, insurance companies, the gun industry are but a few that benefit by our lax justice system that appears to provide more protection for the criminal than for the victim of crime.
  8. Chris S. from Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada writes: A reader: Canadians didn't vote for a party to lead, they voted for individual Members of Parliament to represent them. Get your facts straight.
  9. Philly Canuck from GTA, Canada writes: Chris S. and all the rest of the world: Please stop using the word ELITE as a perjorative. While I (admittedly a PhD) would acknowledge that SOME learned and academically oriented folks lack any practical intelligence, I would also say we are better off with smarter reather than dumber people in charge. The whole use of "elite" as the new insult for those who have abrain, whether used by conservative supporters up here, or the republican right in the States is getting old...and please, allow me to remind that the number of current onservative MPs with an education is lower than the numbers of recent government...and look where they got us! (From a FORMER PC backer...bring back Bill Daivs-like government, PLEASE)
  10. stan unknown from winnipeg, Canada writes: I'm so fed up with both the Liberals and the NDP.
    Neither Jack or Iggy have any ideas other than meetings, demanding Harper spend more in a hurry and then yell at him for being in a deficit.
    That's our opposition at work ,when their not writing books, or on holidays. Both parties can't sell memberships, their followers just go ya ya with what ever their leaders of the day say. We can trust both of these of parties to act out poorly 21 times out of 10
  11. Bruce Berry from Winnipeg, Canada writes: Some common myths on view here today. Myth one: Conservatives are fiscally prudent and Lib are profligate. The truth is that Conservative govts rack up deficits as much or more than Liberal - Martin turned it around lets all remember. Second myth - career business people have some special insight into running an economy. Runing a company - yes, but an economy - sorry no. The USA has just shown that blending business and govt together too closely is a recipe for economic ruin. Flaherty's economic advisory panel is so narrowly based that it cannot possibly produce anything but self-serving and blinkered ideas.
  12. Chris S. from Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada writes: Philly Canuck from GTA: I was using the word elite to refer to a group of wealthy people who control our lives. This is an accurate descriptor. I agree with your assertion that learned != elite.

    "If a nation expects to be ignorant and free in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be."
    --Thomas Jefferson
  13. Augustus Jones from Ottawa, Canada writes: Give me a break folks. If you believe that our government can solve all problems, then don't read my post. The time has come to realize the truth: we wanted to believe that we could be wealthy without working hard. We borrowed, we consumed and we believed that our excesses would last forever. It didn't and it has come to a stop. The Keynesian fallacy has finally showed its true nature and what are we seeking to do? EXACTLY THE SAME THING. Governments do not create wealth. Governments exists as a means of coercion and compulsion so that individuals leaving in a society can live peacefully: nothing more. Unfortunately, everyone seems to believe that governments can save us, that they are some sort of guide-like creature with omnipotent and omniscient powers. It does not. The government is about to embark on a while spending spree that will NOT get us out of the hole and that will empoverish us all (ultimately, we as citizens will bear the deficits which they will have created). Governments should get out of the way - stop inflating - balance their books - get out of programs which add no value (CATSA is a great example) - stop subsidizing failed industries - let markets work - AND MOST IMPORTANTLY punish the individuals which have defrauded the masses from their savings. Unfortunately, everyone wants to believe in miracles. That's why most believe Obama will change things ... he will not. He can't. No government has the power to manage the economy.
  14. John Longshot from Canada writes: Pundits??!!..... LOL
  15. J M M from Canada writes: Harpers gov. is putting Canada first while the opposition parties are putting themselves first. It wont matter what the budget brings it will be criticized. There is no county who will not be running a deficit, Canada's will be fairly short lived. The economy is a world wide problem, not Harpers fault. Its time for the opposition donkeys to grow up and started thinking of Canadians-- if not shut-up.
  16. Bruce Berry from Winnipeg, Canada writes: Augustus - unhindered and unregulated markets is a major cause of this financial crisis - thereby robbing savings from people who did work hard. Even so, a lot of the so-called increase in wealth of this cycle was imaginary. Governments, having encouraged the greed and bubble-blowing (and your lovely markets very efficiently pumped it to the max) now have to intervene.
    Where we agree is that when they intervene they should not prop up failed industry (one of these being investment banks) . I think govt should directly help the people displaced as the market corrects itself and giving money to the banks won't help those hurting the most.
    Augustus, the days of ideology are over. The market will let you and your children starve to death if that is the correction req'd. There could be bread lines and and a lot of tear gas for years if the govt screws this up. Their track record aint' so great ....
  17. Kevin Desmoulin from TO, Canada writes: I wonder if these pundits are thinking about losing their jobs, this article came across if we "common people" are dumb and no will to think for ourselves.
  18. A reader from Canada writes: Chris S. from Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada . You are wrong, our democratic system gives the power to lead to the party in which Canadians vote in the most number of MPs. You are right however when you say we vote for individual MPs. When I voted for the local Conservative, I knew that if Canadians elected more Conservative MPs than Liberals, NDP and Block, Harper would lead. If you voted for the Liberals, I believe you were under the impression Dion would lead his party only to find out otherwise. Ignatieff wasn't even elected by the Liberal faithful. Taliban Jack does not have the support of the majority of Canadians. His party gained less seats than in the previous election yet he is trying to get up to six cabinet seats through the back door. This is not what democracy is all about. Most of Layton's support comes from Northern Ontario, the support is not national.
  19. J M M from Canada writes: Kevin Desmoulin--your answer to your "wondering" could be to listen to the pundits on the Don Nemman program, they are clueless, almost amusing. They know alot about nothing but still keep their jobs.
  20. Ken Walter from Canada writes: Some one please explains how social housing is going to improve the economy. Don’t get me wrong I think it’s a noble idea. But is this going to help the economy by increasing consumer spending. The middle class stills seem to be left out in the cold holding the tax baby.
  21. Augustus Jones from Ottawa, Canada writes: to Bruce Berry - I agree partially with your post. The markets were never unhindered and unregulated - governments intervened and promoted ridiculously low rates to create bubbles ... and are now proposing to do exactly the same thing. Economies are not cyclical - it is man's intervention in the economy which creates these cycles. Look to history and you will see that cycles appeared whenever inflation was pursued as a policy. Given some of your arguments, I'm lead to believe that you accepted that inflation is created by monetary policies (not the fallacy which everyone seems to believe that it is somehow the result of the discrepancy between demand/supply). I do not support either right or left wing ideologies. I am what we call a "classical liberal" who fundamentally understands that individuals, not governments, run the economy. Unfortunately, this is not a popular notion because it would entail that governments should get out of running our lives and let individuals go after their own wants. If government was to do one thing it would be to eradicate inflation (this would be the first step towards the realization that individuals have a true choice and are not forced to spend or invest). I also understand that economic growth comes from savings, not spending. Keynes fooled everyone with his ridiculous notions that consumption made the wheels of the economy turn. He was the biggest proponent and defender of deficit financing and everyone in power was alluded by its fallacy. History has shown that Keynesian economics does NOT work, yet here we are trying to do exactly that. Since the beginning of the 20th century, we've seen a progressive erosion of the free market. It doesn't exist anymore, but this is not to say it shouldn't be our first priority. We need to discuss more because everyone should understand this.
  22. Bruce Berry from Winnipeg, Canada writes: A reader- no, you don't have it right yet - the "power" is not -automatically- given to the party with the most seats. A group of MPs must show the GG that they have the confidence of the House and can therefore form a govt. This is usually the party with the most seats (in our recent experience) . But any grouping of MPs that can present themselves as cohesive and responsible enough can ask to form the govt. This is our system, and this is democratic - governance by the MAJORITY of elected MPs. Look up "parliamentary democracy" in Wikipedia. BTW - many countries function quite fine with coalition govts.
  23. Bill Harrison from Canada writes: So the G&M gives us pundits from the Coalition, but it would have been nice to hear from someone from the Conservatives. Nothing like managing the news! Layton is going to vote against the budget sight unseen which is wonderful from a man who believes he should be in cabinet and be managing the affairs of the country in a coalition with the Liberals who simply believe it is their entitlement to be the government. Interesting how pundits always have all the answers but never have the courage to put their names forward for public office where, if successful, they would have to be responsible for what they propose and what they enact.
  24. Marian Ruccius from Gatineau, Canada writes: According to the estimates of many homelessness and social housing experts, it would take an additional $3 billion per year in normal times to just stay even with regard to Canada's housing deficit, and $4 or $5 billion per year, year over year for several years, to actually improve the housing/homelessness situtation. So a budget which includes less than $3 billion per year for social or affordable housing should be defeated on that basis alone, quite apart from the general benefits to the economy as a whole of expanded public investment in housing. Social housing benefits the economy over the long term by improving the nation's capital stock and reducing social costs, but, to respond to Ken Walter: in the short term it helps the middle class by increasing the circulation of money, by creating direct construction jobs (very important since construction workers have a high marginal propensity to spend), by raising demand for a vast range of construction supplies, by thereby creating jobs among those suppliers, by creating a vast number of service sector jobs for all the services demanded by workers, and also by stabilizing the financial sector, which can reinvest workers' savings.
  25. J M M from Canada writes: Bruce Berry--sure countries have done okay re: coalition but they don't have a party like the Bloc-a gimie, gimie party with no interest in their country!!
  26. Bruce Berry from Winnipeg, Canada writes: Augustus thanks for clarifying - essentially I think that govts are relatively powerless to lead us out of the basic consumption overshoot we have created. The solutions will be tried from the bottom up, and the bureaucracy will just obstruct wherever the new way crosses an old boundary. What they can do, and probably will, is print money like crazy in an attempt to return to the happy motoring and suburban bliss of the past half century. I think we both know that won't work. You might like this: http://humorland.wordmess.net/20081025/what-the-real-crisis-is-like/
  27. Bruce Berry from Winnipeg, Canada writes: JMM - I always thought the Bloc truly did have the interests of their country at heart - they just disagree with us about which country that is :)
  28. gar gurr from Canada writes: It is a good thing we are all not like Honest Jack Layton who has criticized Harper for not keeping his word,but was ready at the drop of a portfolio with a coalition made up of separatists to drop his big mantra TAX BIG OIL TAX BIG BANKS.I do not know how honest NDPers put up with this power grasping phony
  29. Bruce Berry from Winnipeg, Canada writes: Hey JMM - I should have added that maybe a coalition is a good way for regional interests to have some access to power and thereby diffuse what otherwise become longstanding sense of grievance and disenfranchisement.
  30. Yvonne Wackernagel from Woodville, Canada writes: Just stop and think how much better off this Country could be if we had had a capable Conservative Prime Minister over the last three years. And until we get rid of Stephen Harper, Canada will continue to be in a muddle.
  31. ron tattrie from Canada writes: Bruce,I don't see how a coalition could help regional interests when all of their elected members are from a small area in central Canada.The conservatives on the other hand represent geographically 90% of Canada.
  32. Bohemian Grove Club Member from Canada writes: The Liberals, maintain the fiction that the Conservatives have frittered away the surplus left behind by previous Liberal governments, and that Canada would be in better shape if former prime minister Paul Martin had won the election of 2006. There is little evidence to support this. Before Martin's government fell in 2005, it embarked on a nationwide spendathon that totalled $11 billion in spending pledges by their own count, followed by a fall mini-budget in which Finance Minister Ralph Goodale announced $39 billion in tax cuts and spending programs. Mr. Goodale's plan would have reduced the surplus to between $2 billion and $3 billion, only marginally larger than Mr. Flaherty's budgets planned. That small cushion would have been just as quickly overwhelmed as the Conservatives' has been. What's more, Mr. Goodale's tax cuts were precisely the sort Mr. Ignatieff is now claiming would be disastrous for the economy. Reductions promised for Canada's highest tax brackets -- which Mr. Ignatieff now dismisses as unacceptable -- were scheduled to take effect in 2010, so the Liberals would have been cutting taxes for the richest Canadians in the midst of a downturn. It is time for such games to cease. The Conservatives are making a valid effort to limit the damage of a crisis they did not create. The government threw away much hard-won credibility with Mr. Flaherty's ill-starred economic update in November; now they have a chance to earn some back. Mr. Ignatieff has an opportunity to establish himself as a more credible alternative to Mr. Harper than his predecessor was able to manage. Both would benefit themselves, and the country, by putting the posturing and gamesmanship aside, and cooperating on the task at hand.
  33. A reader from Canada writes: Yvonne Wackernagel from Woodville, Canada writes: Just stop and think how much better off this Country could be if we had had a capable Conservative Prime Minister over the last three years.

    I respect your opinion however it is a minority opinion. The majority of Canadians have in the last two elections shown that they strongly disagree with your position. When they voted for a Conservative candidate they knew Harper would be the leader of the party.

    I'm really in favour of another election for one reason only and that is to see the Liberal and NDP support diminish even more than presently.

    There is no party that can satisfy all Canadians all the time. The Liberals are so wishy washy that even they themselves don't know where they stand on issues. The NDP under Layton in my humble opinion has absolutely no credibility as they are not even prepared to listen to the budget to see if it has merit. Jack's interests are wholly Jack's interests not the countries.

    Both the Liberals and NDP appear to favour those who are not paying into the system and to and punish those who are contributing heavily to the government coffers by imposing more taxes on them.
  34. Brett Williams from Canada writes: A reader - but the majority of people didn't vote for the conservatives. THAT IS THE WHOLE POINT. Only a minority of Canadians did. The coalition could have been created on election night - you know that right? On Oct 14th they could have gone to the GG and taken power since they had more seats.

    Second of all - I fail to see where your last statement about Libs punishing those who contribute to the government is coming from. What did the Libs want in the budget that would do that?

    As usual 90% of posts on this threat are purely partisan and totally biased. No one on these boards seems to be able to look objectively at the situation or parties. A shame because this is hurting Canada.
  35. bob london from Canada writes: Credible input? Dippers? Do you even know how to add or subtract?
  36. Alistair McLaughlin from Canada writes: Pundits have neither brains nor heart.
  37. Alistair McLaughlin from Canada writes: That first guy is a case in point. He wanst aid, not just for currently failing industries, but for industries that have been struggling for decades. How many scarce resources must we plough back into failing industries before we realize this is the LEAST efficient use of tax dollars? Diverting money from successful areas to failing ones makes no sense. It never did.
  38. Bruce Berry from Winnipeg, Canada writes: Ron Tattrie - a coalition caucus of regional interests would find it necessary to have policies and pass bills that reflected those interests - hopefully tempered by the need to successfully balance them or the coalition falls apart. What we have now is the prospect of alternating Lib/Con minorities, stalemated in moving their agenda ahead by the fact that no majority wants them. I will not vote again until a proportional voting system has been given a fair referendum. I will spend my election time energies working on that. To my mind, having a decent voting system is fundamental, the rest will fall into place after that.
  39. Sam . from Canada writes: Chris S,

    Do't know where you live or which cloud you're currently on but let's be at least honest. Canadians rarely just vote for a person as MP. Most vote for the party person on the ballot. It is a rare occasion taht you will have a Lib, NDP, Con or Bloc party-suuporter vote for another party's candidate because of who he or she is. There used to be a joke that a party could run a dog in certain ridings and still win.
  40. weird world from Canada writes: To suggest that "elite" business leaders are the best judges on how to get us out of this mess is ludicrous. Afterall it was the incompetence and corruption of so called business leaders (especially in the financial field) that created this mess. Does anyone really think that business leaders have the best interests of the Canadian public at heart. Their bottom line is how much more profit can they suck out of the average Canadian.
  41. Chris S. from Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada writes: A reader: I voted for an MP based on their skills and dedication to my community, the party with which they are affiliated is a distant second. I know how my country works, unlike most Canadians, who are being hoodwinked by a government desperate to cling to power. It is shameful that such ignorance is capitalized upon by the Harper Conservatives. They should know better. I'm sick and tired of the politics of division. We need a Prime Minister who knows how to play nicely with others.
  42. Chris S. from Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada writes: Sam . from Canada: You should know where I am from, it's listed with every post I make. To suggest that people vote blindly for a party ignores the fact that political parties weren't even listed on the ballot up until recently. It's become painfully obvious that most Canadians need to be sent back to school to learn about their responsibilities in a civil society. Unfortunately such education will certainly not come from the Harper Conservatives, quite the opposite it seems.
  43. Ed Long from Canada writes: The economic advisory panel??? It was appointed by the government and although I have great respect for Carole Taylor, there will be no drama between that panel and the PM.

    The coalition is toast and the NDP will go back to alternatively reminding Canadians of coulda, shoulda, woulda and, occassionally, proposing meaningful policy.
  44. The Phantom from Canada writes: Dump Harper and his Reform Party clown troupe.
  45. jim reed from dungannon, Canada writes: Sam...you say...""Do't know where you live or which cloud you're currently on but let's be at least honest. Canadians rarely just vote for a person as MP. Most vote for the party person on the ballot. It is a rare occasion taht you will have a Lib, NDP, Con or Bloc party-suuporter vote for another party's candidate because of who he or she is. There used to be a joke that a party could run a dog in certain ridings and still win.""

    This why we need proportional representation.

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