Time was we could all afford to yawn or change the topic when we heard such news as the federal finance minister is meeting with his provincial counterparts in Saskatoon.
The economy being what it is, however, we no longer have the luxury of plugging our ears and humming: these are pre-budget consultations which have a direct and immediate bearing on our respective bottom lines – not to mention the political and economic consequences that hang in the balance.
The provinces are in dire need and are pushing for the federal government – which most of them were actively dissing up until a couple of months ago – to push forward with big-ticket infrastructure projects to kickstart the economy. That’s supposed to be the golden bullet that will create jobs and, of course, get tax revenues rolling into government coffers once again. The catch is that many of these projects were supposed to be public-private sector partnerships (known as Three Ps in certain circles) and the private money isn’t really there anymore.
On the political front, if Finance Minister Jim Flaherty doesn’t get it right, the Opposition will defeat his January budget and send us all back into political purgatory – wasting even more time at such a critical juncture.
So stay tuned: who knew Saskatoon could be such a hot spot in December?