09.15.2015 07:18 AM

KCCCC Day 44: anatomy of a bad, bad day


  • Justin Trudeau had a bad, bad day yesterday.  It came to my attention late, around bed time, and from only one media source.  As such, he may have dodged a bullet – most of the media didn’t notice, or it was too late to file anything about it.  But have a bad day he did.
  • David Akin’s report details why, and (if you’re a Liberal), it’s unpleasant to read.  The whole thing is right here.  Below, however, we will break David’s report down into digestible bits, for ease of consumption.  At the end of it, let the rest of us know in comments if you think Day 43 will hurt the Liberal leader, or if no one cares/notices.
  • Trudeau: “Mr. Harper has put us in deficit this year.” Akin: “Absolutely false. So far this year — FY16 — we have data from three months or the first quarter. After three months, we are in surplus to the tune of $5 billion.”
  • Trudeau: “As for last year’s numbers, we know—and we saw Mr. Harper under-spending and making cuts to veterans affairs.” Akin: “Nope. Wrong. Look to the table at page 16 of the Consolidated Financial Statements of the Government of Canada — a document which the Auditor General has verified — and you’ll see that the Department of Veterans Affairs spent $121 million more in FY15 than FY14, an increase of 13.5%.”
  • Trudeau: “[Cuts] to aboriginal affairs.” Akin: “Wrong again. Page 16 again. Aboriginal Affairs spent a whopping $1.986 billion — billion, with a ‘b’ — more in FY15 than it spent in FY14. That was an increase of nearly 30%.”
  • Trudeau: “[Cuts] to seniors.” Akin: “Strike three. I’ll quote from the AFR (p. 19): “Elderly benefits consist of Old Age Security and Guaranteed Income Supplement and Allowance payments. Total benefits were up $2.3 billion, or 5.5 per cent, in 2014–15, reflecting growth in the elderly population and changes in consumer prices, to which benefits are fully indexed. The increase in elderly benefits also reflects the accrual of retroactive payments.”
  • Trudeau: “It was a political goal that actually has helped us slide into the recession.” Akin: “There is no economist anywhere that has concluded the actions or inactions of the federal government caused two successive quarters of negative GDP growth, the narrowest of definitions of recession. Moreover, as consumer demand remained strong in the first half of the year and employment growth was also strong in the first half, the consensus view of most economists is that Canada was never in a recession. In any event: A sitting prime minister puts the country in recession so he can get credit for balancing the budget? After running six deficits that were incurred to pull us out of recession? Does that even make sense?”
  • Trudeau:  “Canada is the only G7 country in [recession] right now.” Akin: “While only a handful [of economists] would say we were in a shallow technical recession earlier this year, there ain’t any I know of to say we’re still in recession.”
  • Sigh.  At the start and end of his column, David writes that Trudeau’s war room failed him.  But I beg to differ.  I know some of the folks in that war room.  They know all of the stuff above.  They would have advised this: “Mr. Trudeau, if you don’t know, don’t wing it.  Say to the media you will get back to them with a reaction.” Or: “Don’t stomp all over your own event.  Let that happen, get it covered, then come back to the news about the budgetary surplus later in the day.” Or: “Whatever you do, don’t provide evidence in support of the main CPC/NDP criticism of you – that you just aren’t ready, that you’re not up to the job.  Don’t do that.”
  • But he did that.  The coming days will tell us whether Justin Trudeau’s bad day will show up in attack ads, or the next leaders’ debate, or Messr. Harper and Mulcair’s talking points.  But – in a race as tight as this one – I think all of those things are going to happen.  In an election where the economy is the issue, you had better know your economic facts.


  1. ian turnbull says:

    I suspect the media will ignore it. Mulcair and Harper will build it into their messaging, attack ads and debate lines. It just completely feeds into his branding as not being ready.

    I am starting to believe Trudeau will suffer the same fate as Hudak. Most conservative leaning voters in Ontario were not happy with McGuinty or Wynne and were very motivated to vote them out last election. The issue in my mind was that Hudak was so incapable of the job that it trumped those voters disdain for Wynne. No matter how much they did not want to see Wynne elected they had absolutely no confidence in Hudak. These voters either stayed home or held their nose and voted for Wynne.

    Trudeau may suffer the same fate. Progressives can’t stand Harper and many voters are sick and tired of him. However when voting day comes around how many of those voters truly believe Trudeau (at this stage in his life) has any capability whatsoever to run this country? My guess is that it will be very few.

    • Lance says:

      Ian is right – it demonstrates that the Conservative ads were bang on.

      Just because “no one notices or cares” doesn’t mean that Trudeau’s hasn’t proven, in spades, that he just isn’t up to it. It isn’t that he isn’t ready, it is that he never will be.

  2. Joe says:

    But without trying to get all science fictiony here – if you re-imagine your space time continuum and grow the economy from the heart out the books will balance themselves after three years of 10 billion dollar deficit per year. Thus Spoke Boy Blunder.

  3. Brendan says:

    Aside from Akins blog, no one even blinked and Trudeau managed to insert that this surplus was political and on the backs of the most vulnerable. The other two guys gave each other a reach around.

    Let’s see what happens at the debate, this set it up perfectly.

    • ralphonso says:

      Sadly, facts don’t matter. Perception does. Trudeau has effectively branded the budget, branded himself, and put both Mulcair and Harper on the backpedal.

  4. Larry C says:

    He did have a horrific day…you cant spin it any other way. Of course his words will be used in ads why would the opposition not do it?

  5. Rob W says:

    So is this article completely false? http://ottawacitizen.com/news/politics/federal-departments-left-8-7-billion-unspent-last-year

    There are certainly competing stories out there.

    Who’s right?

    • Joe says:

      They both could be right. One is not exclusive of the other. You can increase your spending without reaching your spending limit.

      • Mervyn Norton says:

        As the Ottawa Citizen piece notes (quote):

        … Former parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page said he had no doubt the Conservative government ordered senior public servants to “put the brakes” to spending to ensure a surplus during the election campaign. “It’s a big chunk of spending,” he said. “And it’s not easy for a lot of the departments.” Page, who now teaches at the University of Ottawa, said lapsed funding has a direct impact on Canadians, and whoever wins the election will face a difficult situation that may involve either re-opening the taps or making more cuts….

        So, yes, you can see spending marginally increase despite severe cuts to approved programs. But you can’t see it if you are intent on bashing Trudeau.

        • Joe says:

          30% is marginal? In whose world is 30% marginal. Besides which what authority is Kevin Page? Every one of his predictions were wrong.

          • Joe says:

            OK Dan I’m game please inform me which of Kevin’s predictions came true. I was always under the impression he was a politician and thus as respected as all other politicians.

          • Scott says:

            I’ll chime in with f-35 fiasco. My old brain could come up with a few more but I don’t want to strain it.

          • Joe says:

            From my understanding of the F 35 debacle (the machine is a piece of crap) the actual accounting was more of a matter of potatoe – potato. I project it to cost this much over 10 years and you project it to cost that much over 20 years. No great conspiracy or correct Kevin/wrong DND.

    • Kevin T. says:

      I think this unspent funds story is more harmful because it feeds a general narrative the public is hungry for, it is a time for change and there are two viable options for the ABC crowd.

      • Matt says:

        So you’d rather have government agencies pissing away money the don’t need to spend just so they can say they spent every penny allocated to them?

        • terence quinn says:

          How do you know they were going to ;is it away. I know someone who has had an application for a food grade profduct in demand by the factories that want it and he hasn’t heard a peep from the CFIA for 9 months except that the aid off half the staff. The rational I heard is that the remaining staff are “working to rule” because of the needed cutbacks

      • Vancouverois says:

        That may be the narrative that you, as a committed anti-Harper voter, are hungry for. Uncommitted voters may have a different view.

        Especially if Trudeau’s incendiary claims that the surplus comes from veterans and other vulnerable groups turns out to be false. The idea that Canada can balance the budget without shortchanging anyone is bound to have a wide appeal, if the Tories (or NDP) can make it stick.

        • Ridiculosity says:

          Basic math would tell you that if you don’t spend any money you can balance a budget.

          A monkey could do that.

          Problem is that if you don’t spend any money or invest money in things that can generate a financial return you’re gonna flatline eventually.

          • Vancouverois says:

            And if you consistently spend double the revenue you’re taking in, you will soon go bankrupt. So what? Reductio ad absurdum is not a viable argument here.

            The Liberals have to make the case that their proposed spending is indeed worthwhile. It isn’t enough to throw around buzzwords like “investment” and “infrastructure” that supposedly justify going into deficit. Especially not when the justification for it is a questionable claim that we were, recently, in a recession that has now passed.

            What exactly is a Liberal government going to spend the money on, and how exactly will it provide enough of a return to be worth the added debt and interest on that debt?

    • Alvin says:

      Likely both. The article you mentioned is all departments. Akin mentions 1 or 2 specific departments.

      • Matt says:

        Akin mentions the departments Trudeau claims were cut to show , in fact they spent as much as 30% MORE than the previous year.

    • MC says:

      Ditto to the answers above. A key is, though, that on the trigger points — veterans, the elderly, First Nations — Trudeau was wrong (possibly willfully so, but at least negligently so). But that doesn’t mean we couldn’t spend more on those.

      Likewise, I am doing home renovations, that my home clearly needs, and have a spending limit that far exceeds what I am actually going to do this year. Why? Because the future is uncertain. I don’t want to spend everything I can now, increasing my debt, because that would make my future position more fragile no matter how beautiful my home would be.

      One has to choose, sometimes, because the trappings and imagery of the ideal, and readiness for reality. I choose the latter, both as a homeowner and a voter. Trudeau is a no-go for me.

    • Rob W says:

      That was my thinking. If they’re both true, then Akin is only doing half his job, no? Certainly Trudeau needed to provide more detail and background to counter Akin, but David is also responsible to pull all the details together?

      • Nicole says:

        To be fair to Akin, he also reported on what he called pork-a-palooza, where the Conservatives so responsibly spent 1 billion dollars on conservative ridings in 1 day prior to calling the election.

        So you can see why there is cynicism regarding the claims that this current government would be considered more fiscally responsible than the other two parties. Anyone who is not a blind partisan and has been around long enough knows that every party will play games once in power as they all have (well not the NDP, but only because they have not yet formed a government federally). So a lot of the voting will come down to who they like best as leader. Trudeau should have waited to read the report, but this didn’t make a big splash in the news which was lucky for him and the negative ads by the Tories and NDP in the upcoming weeks won’t have much of an effect since there are only so many ways you can spin “Just not ready”, as this message has been playing for months. Those who are inclined to believe he is not ready will continue to believe that… those who think the ads aren’t fair are unlikely to change their minds.

        Besides, I think that there is another story broiling on Twitter that will make Harper not have a very good day today, especially if any of the major publications pick up on the Baird allegations.

  6. Matt says:

    No Warren it wasn’t too late in the day for other media to report on Trudeau’s lies.

    They chose not to report them to protect their preferred Prime Minister. After all, the reporters are registered as 3rd party advertisers for this election.

  7. Michael Bluth says:

    Certainly plays into the Just not Ready narrative.

    Akin was dead on that the key point was the war room failing Trudeau.

    Trudeau has repeatedly proven his ability to deliver a talking point well.

    When it comes to the ability to think on his feet and adjust on the fly he is still a work in progress.

    Gotta minimize those unscripted moments.

  8. DougM says:

    I’d be surprised if the media picks this up and runs with it. But the Economy debate is sure looking like its going to be the debate of the election!

  9. SF Thomas says:

    Trudeau did certainly mess up, a surplus is still a surplus, especially to the wider public. That being said he has a point about how the Conservatives got there with thing like under-spending on veterans. He could also point out the premature GM share sale.

  10. Maps Onburt says:

    The $8.7B of unspent money is not a story despite how much the left would like it to be. In a $290B budget its mice nuts. Since Paul Martin put the screws to the civil service back in the late 90’s it has become a mortal sin to over spend your budget so departmental managers are very good at ensuring they don’t over spend because their performance rating depends upon it. This has happened EVERY year since the late 90’s.

    • Maps Onburt says:

      Meant for this to be a reply to Rob W’s post

    • lance mclean says:

      Exactly!! In my job I run projects on an approximate budget of 1.6 million per year, and this is after a 25% decrease for 2015. I expect myself to find savings of atleast another 5%, so a 3% saving (8.7 billion out of 290 billion) is not out of whack with reality. In these tougher economic times all departments should be looking for savings, 3-5% is not unreasonable.

      I find it interesting that private corporation manage to do tis all the time but government departments at all levels say they just cannot find these savings. Then I walk down the street and see 5 city workers installing a stop sign, read about government contracts going excessively over budget and bid high to start. There also tends to be a mentality that once you get the money in your department you must spend it or you will not get the same next year ( I have worked under these type of Gov contracts for other companies) therefore the budgets are spent to the max. Implementing a system/mentality of determining true budget requirements are and then budget adherence is far more efficient than what has typically went on.

      • Mike says:

        Every conservative rides into town proclaiming that they are going to find efficiencies. The proverbial gravy.

        After 10 years in government you would think that those fabled efficiencies would have been found. If they exit they either were never there to be found, or the government is incompetent.

  11. Mohamed says:

    I don’t think it was a bad day. Akin doesn’t sound overly objective here, neither does the CBC with this: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/aboriginal-affairs-spending-shortfall-amounts-to-1b-internal-document-says-1.3100937. Everyone is spinning, no one knows what to believe. Yawn.

  12. cassandra says:

    I doubt voters were catching on to this, Trudeau was saying what they wanted to hear, so they will not look too deeply. Unlike the pundits, and conservative watchers.
    I mean if folks dont pay attn to debates, to arguments over policy and to any scandals, why would they all of a sudden have laser like focus on newbytes.

    • Vancouverois says:

      I think you can be pretty sure that both the Conservatives and the NDP are going to take the next four weeks to make damned sure that everyone in Canada pays attention to this.

      • terence quinn says:

        That would be good news for Trudeau because he sill successfully spin the fact harper held back almost $8BB of planned spending from last years budget which was passed by the house.

        • Vancouverois says:

          He can try, but the more he tries to criticize the Tories for everything — first for running deficits, then for not spending enough — the more credibility he loses.

      • cassandra says:

        probably, but again by then I hope the parties throw alot of muck that sticks to Harper as he has made a 10yr trick of lying about all sorts, and getting facts wrong, and fudging details etc.
        I guess I am more questioning how much attn canadians are really paying attention to the newsbytes. I mean we have 40% that dont vote.

  13. Leslieville Bill says:

    I’ve had a feeling all along that Trudeau is one small step away from disaster. It’s not fact based but more emotional on my part. Perhaps it’s due to lack of political experience that I think he’ll be more gaff prone. Perhaps it’s because of the people that he chose to surround him. Anyway, let’s hope, for his sake, that yesterday is not a bad sign going forward.

  14. Al in Cranbrook says:

    So, why is David Akin – formerly of Sun News – the only scribe to pick up on this?

    Which is to say, where the hell is everyone else?

    The Libs are peddling BS, and have been peddling BS since day one. That’s clearer than ever now.

    Thing is, the NDP are peddling even more BS than the Libs, beginning with the steaming pile of BS that Harper somehow is responsible for two recessions. And I’ve yet to see one column among the usual suspects calling him out for it.

  15. Christian says:

    Last night’s National covered the reactions of all three leaders. There was no commentary other than “Justin Trudeau stuck to his claim that the country is still in deficit” they then let him speak for himself and he came across like a total idiot who doesn’t know his economic basics or even reality. He’s feeding the narrative and he better stop now.

  16. Danny Aldham says:

    In some ways it might be good for Trudeau; A wake up call before Thursday’s Economic debate. We are all entitled to our own opinion. We are NOT entitled to our own facts.
    But this blunder and the NDP’s hidden agenda revealed http://t.co/P1mZ2YDtGM days before the same debate feels like a shift in the wind.

  17. Scott says:

    Lots of Cons agreeing with Akin. No surprise there. If departments were told not to spend 8.7 billion then that is tantamount to cutting, just like Trudeau said.

    • Vancouverois says:

      No. No, it isn’t.

      Honestly. As Our Host has pointed out before, you fanatic Trudeau supporters are NOT doing JT any favours by constantly defending his blunders as genius. Really, you aren’t.

      • Scott says:

        Yes, yes it is. If you Con fanatics can’t see that you’re blind.

        • Vancouverois says:

          Ah, so once again, anyone who doesn’t fall into line and acclaim Dear Leader as a genius when he screws up is a “Con fanatic”? Spare me.

          And let’s be clear: increasing spending by 30% instead of more is not equivalent to a cut in funding. When you try to claim it is, you’re just making a fool of yourself for all to see.

      • ottlib says:

        No offence Vancouverois but that statement is dumb.

        This is a political website. Looking at the commentators, for all of the entries on the site, you notice that they are mostly the same people and I would wager a great deal of money that 9 out of 10 of them have already made up their minds on what they want the outcome of the election to be. The host of this website can correct me if I am wrong but I doubt non-political Canadians are visiting this website in their 100’s of thousands as part of their decision making process for the election.

        This website provides us political addicts with a safe place to come and talk politics. It saves us from alienating friends and family when we decide to talk their ear off about the profound political implications of Stephen Harper farting in public. It is probably saving some of us from winding up alone and friendless, sitting in a dimly lit room, wearing week old, RedBull stained pajamas, muttering and giggling to ourselves as we pore over the latest offerings from Nanos, Graves and Bricker.

        In short this website provides us with a wonderful service but it really is just one big circle-jerk.

        So, we can all come here secure in the knowledge whatever we say here, profound or inane, will have absolutely no impact on the outcome of the election or an impact on the wider Canadian society.

        • Vancouverois says:

          Actually, you’ve just told me I’m completely correct. If our posts here don’t win hearts and change minds, then I’m right: Scott isn’t helping Trudeau by posting his relentless pro-JT propaganda here.

          However, I was addressing the larger point. As our host posted a while back, Liberals should be giving Trudeau honest feedback. When a True Believer like Scott insists against all evidence that a Trudeau screw-up is actually brilliance in disguise, and dismisses all valid criticism of JT as vicious smears from evil Conservative party hacks, he’s undermining the causes he’s supposedly supporting.

          • Scott says:

            You are such a typical Con. You come here, you Cons and bombard this site with mindless Conservative propaganda, not to mention a ton of concern trolling and have the audacity to criticize me for supporting my party. It is to laugh. I also notice that you can call me a fanatic but I can’t return the favour. Nice, very Conservative of you.

          • Vancouverois says:

            So now using the correct definitions of words (“increase” != “decrease”) constitutes “Conservative propaganda”?

            Wow. I guess the Trudeau cult of personality really is… a cult.

        • Maps Onburt says:

          I really disagree with your first line but the rest is bang on. sites like this keep me from boring my friends and family to tears on Facebook!

  18. Ridiculosity says:

    Canadians do not give a rat’s ass what David Akin thinks or says.

    What they were talking about yesterday was Trudeau’s announcement that he will cancel Harper’s plan to increase the age of retirement to 67, increase the Guaranteed Income Supplement for lower income seniors by 10%, and enhance the Canada Pension Plan.

    End of story.

  19. MF says:

    Also, some 900 million was magically transferred out of the deficit column as a contingent liability for sick leave benefits for public servants. This despite the fact that this is a matter before the courts based on Charter arguments. So an accounting convention is being used to lessen the deficit. At the same time, the government refuses to disclose the cost of the replacement program. And, the matter is before the courts. So that 900 million may find its way back to the debt column.

  20. Al in Cranbrook says:

    Mulcair must be coming unglued right about now…



    Will the real NDP please stand up?

    Ummm…I think they just did!

  21. Ronald O'Dowd says:


    I would qualify it as a horrible day. As for just not ready, is he at 43 more ready than Joe was at 39?

    Depends on the mood of the voters. They clearly gave Clark a pass. As for Trudeau?

    • Christian says:

      And Clark lasted how long? Voters quickly realized their mistake and when Clark gave them the opportunity they took full advantage of it!

  22. Lyndon Dunkley says:

    In general, I am a fan of anything that alerts anyone to JT’s complete inappropriateness to be the leader of anything, never mind a country. Who cares if he knows if we have a surplus or a deficit when he thinks the best plan for the economy on his first potential day in power is to go to the Paris climate boondoggle? When that answer didn’t drop him to May’s level of support, I lost faith in the maturity of this country’s electorate. The NDP aren’t any better if this Leap Manifesto bullshit is actually supported beyond the fringe of the party.

    I also believe the manner in which the economy is discussed by the media is a red herring. When average Canadians are discussing the economy during really uncertain times, are they worried about a slight surplus or deficit or are they concerned with their jobs, bank accounts and debt? I doubt the thousands of recently unemployed Albertans woke up yesterday and said “at least Canada posted a surplus last year.”

    • Scott says:

      Going to Paris and rubbing shoulders with and creating good feelings with other world leaders just happens to very good for our economy in the big picture. Trade works better with friends don’t ya know. Better dam bet that Canada wouldn’t have lost that security council seat if Trudeau was in there.

      • Lyndon Dunkley says:

        I guess I missed the reports of all the trade deals coming out of the prior CC conferences.

        No one cares about the UN anymore. If it can’t stop Putin in Eastern Europe or any of the atrocities in Africa or the Middle East, it doesn’t really have a purpose anymore.

        And I thought your infatuation with boy wonder was naive.

  23. Domenico says:

    I think you are missing the larger point Warren. Trudeau delivered his message on his narrative on point and on theme. Whether or not it is completely accurate at this point is just that not important. Sad, but true.

  24. cgh says:

    This is what happens when you pick style over substance. Does anyone imagine for even five seconds that Garneau would be having these kinds of problems? He may have lacked some colour, but Garneau had real substance, a quality entirely lacking in Trudeau. I’ve tended to vote Conservative over the past decade, but Garneau I could have voted for, not the current nitwit pretending to be Liberal leader.

    This is what threatens democracy. All political parties lose power eventually. Democracy survives because there are acceptable alternatives. Throughout the 20th century, the Liberals were regarded as Canada’s natural governing party for their ability to choose leaders with considerable common sense. However, since the departure of Chretien, the party seems lost in a cloud of dope-smoke. Garneau was entirely acceptable as an alternate to the Harper regime; Trudeau is not. And every day, he just adds more evidence that he’ll never be ready.

    • cgh says:

      Certainly a bad day for all the rest of us. Notice that the front-benchers in this thing are all rich snots unlikely to be badly hurt personally by any of this stuff. I thoroughly despise Cadillac Communists.

    • davie says:

      Bad day for NDPers who want to continue to move right thinking that they will appeal to people who doubt climate change or the causes of climate change.

      Good day for lefties who were wondering who the hell was going to speak about reality in this election campaign.

  25. DavidS says:

    hopefully the LPC gets it right during their next leadership convention

  26. K from Saskatoon says:

    Too muddled and too superficial of an analysis to grab the public eye I would think. Not to say that Trudeau’s statements aren’t bullsh*t, but it’s the same kind of bullsh*t that anyone spews when talking about irrelevant surpluses/deficits of a few billion dollars. The statements still work because they tie in to actual cuts (e.g. local veteran affairs office closures). Year on year change in spend at a department level is only one way of looking at numbers. It can hide the detail of what actually changed in terms of programs.

  27. reader says:

    Agree with others that say the big picture here for Trudeau, that the small surplus is not really a plus given how it was achieved. Trudeau’s key message is how it was achieved (1) required cuts to groups that needed more funding and (2) missed out on helping the economy. Kevin Page makes the first argument in a link others have provided. While Don Drummond spoke effectively to point (2) of Trudeau’s: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/video/video-don-drummond-says-surplus-no-reason-to-cheer/article26360788/

    Bottom line is there are reputable economists arguing the same key points as Trudeau. As to details, Kevin Page and others say no one knows those because not all departments have reported and we won’t know until after the election is over. But we do know details from 2013-14 and from that we know veterans and others were hit particularly hard in unspent funds.

    Yes, CPC and NDP will try using this. I think it all depends on whether the Trudeau’s key message that even with this surplus we have an economic problem with unspent funds to groups in need and not investing for more jobs and a stronger economy. If Trudeau sells that well enough and it resonates, then fine. If he doesn’t, then he’s in trouble.

    • billg says:

      Its a surplus, explaining why doesn’t matter because, well, its a surplus.
      How do you sell that having extra money is a bad thing to the average Canadian.
      How do you sell that finding savings for Canadians isn’t a good thing.
      Sometimes you just have a bad day in politics.
      Telling Canadians that the economic sky was falling and then finding out there is a surplus is a bad day.
      Trying to tell Canadians why governments shouldn’t try to find savings would make the day worse.

      • davie says:

        My leftie economics is pretty shallow, as per capitalist propaganda.
        When someone says, ‘We are putting money back into the pockets of Canadians,’ I think, ‘Why did you take it in the first place?’

        I also see both unlooked for deficits and unlooked for surpluses as equal signs of mismanagement. Someone is bungling budget making. (I admit, though, a surprise surplus is better than a surprise deficit…still, a surprise surplus means someone doesn’t have a handle on managing our money.)

        I also do not see government of our finances as a savings plan. Extra income should be planned for and targeted (pay down debt, contingency for catastrophe, that kind of thing…) and therefore not called a surplus.

        Both surpluses and deficits should be explained as clearly as possible so that we know what is happening, why the budget is out of whack, and how we can fix it.

      • Scott says:

        Get real. A surplus would have been money left over after the 8.7 bill had been spent.

      • cassandra says:

        wait til the cons find even more savings by phasing out healthcare, I mean think of the money back in the govt coffers, oh will they reduce taxes to cover it, no probably not!
        But hey its a surplus who cares:P

  28. C Pinder says:

    User Actions

    Andrew PotterVerified account
    Our story on the $8.7b in lapsed spending by the feds is entirely accurate. It’s not $800m as @davidakin claims. http://ottawacitizen.com/news/politics/federal-departments-left-8-7-billion-unspent-last-year

  29. Al in Cranbrook says:

    Just did a search of CBC’s website.

    NDP Manifesto? Apparently never happened, or not newsworthy, or what? No mention so far.

    From the “Canada’s billion dollar news we don’t think you need to know” dept.

    • davie says:

      I think it is a citizen initiative, not a n NDP Manifesto. It has NDP supporters involved, maybe all the signatories are supporters, but it is not an NDP thing. They want it to be.
      Yeah, I agree, though, CBC is usually a lot quicker in giving us the latest from Toronto.

  30. ottlib says:

    Truthiness has become a tried and true method of winning votes. George W. Bush won two elections by means of it and the Republicans are only competitive in the US because of it.

    We all know that Mr. Harper is the master of “The Big Lie” Repeat a lie often enough it becomes the truth regardless of the facts. We have all seen that many times before.

    For years, those opposed to conservatives have tried to fight this truthiness with the actual truth and failed miserably in most cases. Certainly, that has been the case here in Canada for the last decade.

    So it is interesting that Mr. Trudeau has taken a page from Mr. Harper’s book. Mr. Trudeau has been hammering the same economic themes since before the election began. He will probably not change that although he might tweak them a bit, before the economics debate, to take into account the announcement of the surplus.

    Will this actually hurt him? Probably not. Certainly not any more than the zingers that have come from the Conservatives over the last 12 years or so.

  31. Al in Cranbrook says:

    Ipsos: http://ipsos-na.com/news-polls/pressrelease.aspx?id=6989


    “Four in ten (38%) Canadians believe that Stephen Harper and the Conservatives would ‘make the best decision for Canada on the Syrian refugee situation’, placing the Tories significantly ahead of the one in three who believe that Thomas Mulcair and the NDP (32%) or Justin Trudeau and the Liberals (30%) would be best to manage this file. Interestingly, even two in ten Liberal (18%) and NDP (15%) voters believe that the Conservatives would make the best decision for Canada.

    The decision about how many refugees Canada should take in and through what process has largely been centred on the idea of security and whether the process of accepting refugees should be fast-tracked despite security concerns. On this debate, seven in ten (71%) voters more closely believe that ‘we can’t compromise Canada’s security, and individual Syrian refugees should go through proper screening to make sure they aren’t terrorists even if this slows down their admission to Canada’, including a majority of Tory (87%), Liberal (66%) and NDP voters (61%).”

  32. Slideshow says:

    Considering the Citizen is standing by the story, I think this is pretty much a wash in terms of “bad days”. The LPC can stick to their story, Akin and the CPC will stick to his, it becomes a he said/she said situation, and the public dismisses the whole thing as “just politics”.

    Meanwhile, the whole “who cares about a budget when my family is suffering” line may well get traction. Sure, Coyne was getting sniffy about it on Twitter, but the only reason the public cares at all about budget balances is the suspicion that it will affect the economy and, in turn, their own well-being. Decouple those things, make it clear that the government chose a dash for a “surplus” over their families’ well-being, and the public will likely go along with it.

    (After all, it’s not like the “run a deficit” thing didn’t poll well. It did. Quite nicely.)

  33. Sean says:

    There is a theory that Trudeau will get the rest of Canada to bail out Wynne’s unionized Ontario by raising taxes and running a deficit ( investing in infrastructure and other revenue generating programs). Now that the books look good, this theory will get more light, perhaps so much light that Canadians outside of Ontario will see how Wynne and Trudeau are planning to take the country for a ride.

  34. Aurelia says:

    Today, finally was the very first time anyone non-political said one word to me about the election. And she said she didn’t like Mulcair, because “he seemed crabby”.

    We finally have the kids settled in school, (unless a school strike happens !!!!! and then all 5 fed. party leaders will have to dance naked for anyone in Ontario to give a damn) and might have the first family dinner this weekend, or next. The public is just waking up that an actual election is on. Except no one cares about the initials FY and no one reads those quarterly things except Tony Clement’s mother–he agreed as I recall.

    I do know that a lot of people are worried about their jobs and the economy. That’s the other thing everyone has talked about at the pub. And at the coffee shop. And the moms at school.

    It’s not a scientific poll. It’s just a feeling. And what I hear. Meh. We’ll see.

  35. pod says:

    This will not Hurt- Because the CONS have a NO GROWTH economy YOY

  36. Kev says:

    Not one person outside the bubble has heard of this supposedly terrible day or David Akin.

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