04.20.2015 07:49 AM

Does Joe Oliver hold the fate of a government in his hands?

Not really. The last time a budget single-handedly sank a government was in the Fall of 1979, when John Crosbie offered up a fiscal stinker that ended Joe Clark’s flirtation with power. Other than that disaster, I can’t think of a federal budget – in and of itself – that killed off a government. 

Besides: Joe Oliver’s pretty smart. Not for him impolitical, imprudent musing about government fiscal policy. Oliver is a disciplined message machine, from what I’ve observed. He’s no ideologue, either. 

But does trouble loom on the horizon?

Mr. Oliver’s Nov. 12 fiscal update forecast economic growth of 2.6 per cent in 2015, but now he is only counting on 2-per-cent growth because of the drop in oil prices. Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz said growth will only be 1.9 per cent and has warned first-quarter figures will be “atrocious.” 

 However, Mr. Poloz used the release of his April 15 Monetary Policy Report to highlight some positive signs on the horizon. The worst impacts of low oil may have peaked, he said, and the Canadian economy should soon start to see some of the positive economic impacts of lower energy costs.

Waiting to the Fall to have an election? I’ve always thought it was risky for the Consetvatives to do that. What if Poloz is wrong – and plenty of economists say he is – and things are getting worse, not better?

I run a small business. I have great people working for me, and great clients to work for. I watch the ebb and flow of business very, very carefully. And I don’t get the sense that anyone thinks that the country’s economy is in great shape. Most folks, in fact, are quite nervous. 

So, good luck, Joe Oliver. A government’s entire fate may not be in your hands. But a lot of it is.  

6 Comments

  1. smelter rat says:

    I thought you were going for a Whitehorse reference there, but then i remembered you’re a punk, and probably never even heard of them 🙂
    “The Fate of the World Depends on This Kiss”

  2. Lance says:

    Well, it sure doesn’t hurt a governing party to go into an election year with a balanced budget. At least that is the way the Conservatives are going to spin it.; And of course, the Opposition will attack the Conservatives about the other years that the government ran deficits. It will be interesting to see which message will resonate more.

  3. Africon says:

    These figures about a balanced budget are just so much hogwash and anyone that believes them is nuts.
    Just like any government’s unemployment figures especially when compared to the figures for number of people gainfully employed.

    What most folks do understand is their own personal financial state of affairs – income, disposable income, savings, the cost of food, gas, utilities and not much else.

    What this country needs among other things is to rebuild it’s infrastructure when interests rates are so low and will be for some time.

    Plus or minus a billion or two on Joe’s budget matters not a wit.

  4. P Brennan says:

    I think the north american economies are poor and getting worse..supported in the US by the fed and massive amounts of money printing …as US goes so do we …I beleive we are all in for a very rude awakening in next 12 months ..although I have been saying that for 36 months…the CDN budget will likely be balanced using GM share proceeds and other allowable spinning the Feds will do which is not a bad thing ..better than added debt but many clouds on horizon …

    • cgh says:

      Quite right. The most ignored story by the media over the past six months is Switzerland’s desperate attempts to control the rising value of its currency. It says very bad things indeed about where Europe is headed, and by extension the world economy.

  5. Kelly says:

    They didn’t really balance the budget. And now we’re poorer. They sold national assets in GM at a loss of $3.9 billion. Without that cash, the books would not be “balanced”. Also, they’ve cut $30 billion a year in taxes that could have balanced the budget sooner and been used to pay down debt that we continue to pay interest on. Conservatives are terrible money managers. Just look…across all levels of government they’ve run more deficits as a percentage of budgets tabled than any other party. NDP has the best record.

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