Our fiscally conservative government at work

“Who has time to think about where the money is going at a time like this?”

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty acknowledged that Ottawa will foul up as it rushes to dole out $40-billion of stimulus spending, but said the potential for gaffes is acceptable because aid must be expedited to counter the economic downturn.
“There will be some mistakes made. But it’s worth that risk to help the majority of Canadians during what is a serious recession,” he said yesterday following a weekly meeting of Conservative MPs.
It was a remarkably frank admission from the Tories, a party that prides itself on fiscal rectitude and campaigned on a pledge to safeguard coffers.
[…]
Toronto Dominion Bank chief economist Don Drummond, a former senior Finance official, said Mr. Flaherty’s comments seem to be aimed at inoculating the Tories against future stimulus snafus.
“I guess it’s preconditioning for the inevitable,” he said.
He said he fears the imperative to speed up infrastructure spending will result in unnecessary construction, such as Quebec’s underused Mirabel airport. “Even with the best intentions, there just hasn’t been sufficient planning,” he said.

Damian P.

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6 thoughts on “Our fiscally conservative government at work

  1. I don’t know how it works in other jurisdictions, but take a look at the history of two hospital centres planned here in Montreal:
    http://www.chumtl.qc.ca/chum-2010/partenaires-historique-ccv.en.html
    and
    http://www.muhcfoundation.com/timeline/project
    It has gotten to the point where before a blade of grass is disturbed anywhere, there have to be hundreds of impact studies, primarily because of environMENTAL concerns. Thus things that need to be built are perennially delayed. Consequently, if they ever get built, they end up costing much more than when first planned.
    Our infrastructure has been neglected for decades, and money has to get out fast if the current budget is to achieve its objective of keeping Canada at work. So Flaherty’s statement can be interpreted by the cynics as just covering his proverbial, a just in case …
    In addition to the cynics, the purists tsk-tsk the demise of conservative principles, but don’t offer any solution to those piddling plebeian problems of how to pay one’s mortgage/rent, groceries, or anything else if one is not working.
    Those purists should be reminded about Russell Kirk’s conservative principles
    http://www.heritage.org/research/politicalphilosophy/hl86.cfm
    especially this one:
    “Tenth, the thinking conservative understands that permanence and change must be recognized and reconciled in a vigorous society.”
    And talking about infrastructure, how come the ancient Egyptians, Greeks. and Romans could get things built to last for centuries?

  2. FDR said:
    It is common sense to take a method and try it. If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.

  3. I don’t recognize the Conservative Party. It seems that all of the huffing and puffing during the Gomery Inquiry was window dressing and nor sincerely held. Too bad. So long Steve HArper, we hardly knew ya.

  4. Minister Flaherty was referring to the $3B Emergency fund announced the following day,
    not the entire $40B stimulus,
    at least that’s my read from this in context CBC report:
    ”He says it’s essential to get *a portion of the $40-billion stimulus package in the budget spent soon after April 1, the beginning of the government’s fiscal year.
    “There will be some mistakes made, but it’s worth the risk to help the majority of Canadians during what is a serious recession,” he said.
    http://www.cbc.ca/money/story/2009/02/25/stimulus-spending.html

  5. “It has gotten to the point where before a blade of grass is disturbed anywhere, there have to be hundreds of impact studies”
    Now you cite environmentalists as the reason for this, but I think a more significant reason is that contractors and builders have demonstrated ad nauseum that they need to be forcibly pushed into not making stupid decisions.
    The prevailing attitude is that if it’s not in the blueprints or the budget, it’s not in scope. This stupidity costs money.
    “Consequently, if they ever get built, they end up costing much more than when first planned.”
    Because, unless all of these regulations popped up magically between the plan and execution, the original plan was insufficient.
    You can tell when a plan has been poorly made when it doesn’t get the price right. This is usually a symptom of attempted cost savings that were simply “too cheap” to work. It happens all the time, to exactly the “right” people.

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