Canada’s finance minister Jim Flaherty can’t balance his own books

So, let’s get the dynamics straight. You have Jim Flaherty overtly bashing the budget officer, which requires sheer gall, given the past public record on "predictability". That Flaherty is able to get away with his criticisms represents a failure to simply track the record. Those very clear and easily supported facts aside, when now have the spectacle of a Finance Minister who can’t even keep his office in check, never mind the country:

OTTAWA – Finance Minister Jim Flaherty couldn’t keep his own office budget in the black last year, published figures suggest.

Flaherty breached Treasury Board guidelines by overspending by more than $430,000 last year, according to government documents.

Flaherty spent $2,868,222 on his ministerial office in 2009-10, while Treasury Board rules cap spending for ministers with extra regional responsibility and a parliamentary secretary at $2,437,370.

"I’m amazed," said Liberal Treasury Board critic Siobhan Coady. "If you can’t control your own budget for your own department, how can we be assured that you are going to control the budget for the whole country?"

Let’s start connecting the dots here, because the pattern is clear and striking. There are plenty of excuses, but no matter WHERE you look, whether it be the PMO budget, cabinet, spending on self promotion, event spending, every expenditure imaginable, shows a Conservative government that has ZERO credibility on the fiscal restraint front. The fact Flaherty and Harper are able to go on offence, actually preach, is stunning and frankly represents a failure to hold to account. The Conservatives have managed the most BLOATED government in Canadian history, by a country mile, completely betraying the messaging we hear.

Here we sit, with Flaherty crafting his next budget, the the central theme being restraint in trying times, and yet we have all these contradictions swirling around. It’s like the leader of the AA meeting has booze on his breath.


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