Thursday, May 28, 2009

Jim Flaherty is sinking man, but does he know how to swim?

If things were functioning correctly back at the homestead I may get some video up later tonight, but for now the transcript will have to suffice. But Bob Rae made Jim "biggest deficit in Canadian history" Flaherty look rather foolish in question period today.

Bob asked a rather simple question: 37 days ago Flaherty was saying the fiscal situation was on track, but this week he announced a record-setting deficit of $50 billion, minimum. So what the heck happened in those 37 days?

Jim’s comebacks amounted to mocking Bob’s record as Ontario premier and asking if he hates auto workers or not. Oh, and pleading it’s not his fault there’s a deficit so leave him alone.

If this is the best Jimbo can do he must really be at the end of his rope.

Bob Rae: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, 37 days ago, the Minister of Finance knew that the forest industry was in trouble. He knew that E.I. was up. He knew that the auto industry was in the tank. 37 days ago, Mr. Speaker, the minister said at that time, “I'm staying with our budget projection. We're on track.” I'd like to ask the minister a very simple question which he has still not answered. How could he have made such a terrible statement a mere 37 days ago with respect to the financial situation in Canada?

Jim Flaherty: Well, I pay attention to the questions from one of the leading Canadian experts in deficits. And having brought Ontario through that period from 1990 to 1995, so that by 1995, the people of Ontario were paying $1 million an hour in interest only on the debt accumulated during that time. Creating a permanent structural deficit in the second largest government in this country. Here's what the member for Toronto Centre says -- again another hypocritical position. He says if we had a deficit now at the federal level, is that going to be the personal fault of the government. I don't think so. And I don't think that's an intelligent position. And no reasonable person should –

The speaker: The Honourable member for Toronto-Centre.

Bob Rae: Thank you Mr. Speaker. Mr. Speaker, I'm an amateur in this regard. The minister -- ( interjections ) the ministers got the phd -- ( interjections )

The speaker: Order. Order. We can't -- you have to have some order. I have to be able to hear the honourable member for Toronto-Centre. He has the floor. Order.

Bob Rae: -- Minister has become the expert. The minister's become the expert. He's going to win the Nobel Prize with respect to the financial situation. I simply want to ask the minister -- ( interjections )

The speaker: Order. ( Interjections ) Order. ( Interjections ) Order. Yes, there will be more. But we have to have some order so we can hear it. The honourable member for Toronto-Centre has the floor. We'll have some order. Even if it's addressing a Nobel Prize winner. ( Laughter ) ( interjections )

Bob Rae: Thank you, Mr. Speaker. If the Conservative Party takes pride in receiving the Nobel Prize on deficits and debts, that's fine. Mr. Speaker, we know that the Prime Minister spent the last 37 days holed up in his basement watching tapes. I simply want to ask the minister -- I simply want to ask the minister, what has happened in the last 37 days to so drastically change the numbers which he's coming to this house with, Mr. Speaker? That's a simple question.

Jim Flaherty: You know, as much -- humor. This is a serious time. Unemployment is worse than anticipated. The recession is deeper and broader than was anticipated by anyone -- this is a serious time and a serious subject. We have the auto negotiations with respect to Chrysler and general motors, and I'd be interested to know the member's position on that. Is he against supporting the auto industry in Ontario?

UPDATE: Make that a $57 billion deficit.

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