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Hill Dispatches

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Karl Nerenberg has been reporting on federal politics from Parliament Hill for rabble.ca since September, 2011. In his long career, he has won numerous awards as a broadcaster and documentary filmmaker.

Jim Flaherty says goodbye to Mark Carney

| November 26, 2012
Jim Flaherty says goodbye to Mark Carney

Rob Ford is gone, it seems, and Mark Carney is off to the big time in London.

Ford says he's a true fighter, if not a deep thinker, and he warns us all that it may be too early to write him off. 

As for Carney, he'll feel right at home in the UK, he says, even with his unmistakably heartland Canadian accent (no mid-Atlantic Michael Ignatieff he, despite his years in Britain). 

Carney's wife is British, he told reporters at Monday morning's surprise news conference, and he has friends in "the City" (what Londoners call their financial district.)

Even the NDP's Guy Caron was full of good thoughts for Carney, and the prudent monetary policy he has shepherded for Canada since 2008. 

One reporter queried whether in endorsing Carney the Official Opposition was, in effect, endorsing the government, since, after all, was not the “prudent policy” the government's? 

Caron (an economist by trade) riposted that monetary policy is one thing (and the Bank of Canada's thing) and fiscal policy (the government's thing) another. One could approve of the former while disagreeing with the latter.

As for Finance Minister Flaherty, he grew testy when asked about matters other than Carney's departure, especially the government's plans to balance the budget by 2015. 

First Le Devoir's Manon Cornellier and then her colleague Hélène Buzetti bravely endeavoured to put that issue to the Finance Minister.

Flaherty gave Cornellier the brush off and snapped let's stick to today's topic folks.

Then, when Buzetti persisted, this dialogue ensued:

Flaherty: "Yeah, we are on track to balance in the medium term. We always intended to balance the budget by 2015 and that's what we intend to do still." 

Buzetti: "But how? That's the question because that's not what your economic update says." 

Flaherty: "No, I think we laid out the numbers quite clearly in the economic update. I think if you -- if you review it, you'll see that there's a $3 billion cushion each year that is allowed in the budget planning and when that is taken into account it will not be difficult to balance the budget in the medium term -- barring of course shocks, economic shocks from Europe or the United States or elsewhere and I'm sure Governor Carney will help protect us from those." 

At which point there was laughter all around. 

Nobody raised the Budget Omnibus Bill, C-45, which is now before Parliament, but the Minister would likely have responded, if asked, that it is a done deal, and there are no surprises there.

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