From denial to acceptance: the story of a budget

It’s always fascinating to watch the elaborate process of a government shifting from denial to acceptance. Instead of a simple, “Oops, we goofed,” there’s always lots of chin-stroking, earnest pronouncement and, this time out, a desire to spread the blame by getting collegial and consultative all of a sudden.

Just weeks after saying there wasn’t an economic crisis and that there would be no deficit, the Conservative government is now admitting what we all knew already: Canada is looking at deficits for at least the next four years and most likely this year too – despite the forecast of a $2.3 billion surplus.

As part of the necessary shift, it’s not surprising that Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has formed an 11-member economic advisory committee to help him shape the upcoming January budget. After getting pelted with criticism over his recent economic statement, he clearly wants to spread the responsibility around, and the options of including other people from business and academia, created the perception that the Tories are on top of the file and prepared to dig in for the duration.

By the time this is all over, perhaps they will even succeed in convincing themselves that they always knew things would be this tough.

Gordon Buckland