Flaherty to table budget on January 27
Published Sunday, November 30, 2008 5:05PM EST
Last Updated Friday, May 18, 2012 9:38PM EDT
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said Sunday he will table an early budget in January, as the Conservatives try to stave off a possible coalition between the opposition parties.
"On Tuesday, January 27, we will present a complete, comprehensive budget," Flaherty told CTV's Question Period.
"We will have consulted...nationally with the provinces, the territories, the municipalities and that will come on as soon as Parliament returns."
Flaherty said the government will be holding pre-budget consultations with each of the provinces in December, as well a series of January meetings with all of Canada's first ministers, prior to delivering the budget.
The Conservatives have also retreated on measures in its fiscal update, including a proposal to ban public sector unions from striking.
But Liberal MP Michael Ignatieff said Flaherty's appearance on Question Period did little to persuade opposition members from banding together and defeating the government during the non-confidence vote on the fiscal update set for next week.
"I didn't hear anything in Mr. Flaherty's statement that backs us off this ledge," said Ignatieff, who is a candidate to replace current Liberal Leader Stephane Dion.
It's believed the confidence motion on the fiscal update will be on Dec. 8.
On Sunday, the Conservatives announced they would back away from a ban on public servants striking. They had already relented on a contentious plan to drop $27-million worth of annual taxpayer subsidies to the political parties that comes from $1.95 per vote in the general election.
"That was an ill-conceived and provocative gesture," Ignatieff told Question Period. "But our objection to...the autumn statement was its economic content."
Flaherty said he was "disappointed" that it had not been supported by opposition members in the House of Commons.
"I'm disappointed that the opposition parties did not want to lead be example with respect to the contribution to political parties," he said.
"We are going to freeze the contribution level, the subsidy level on that, but we will not seek to eliminate it, because the number one issue is the economy."
The finance minister also defended the level of economic stimulus the Conservatives had put forward in recent weeks, and suggested Canada was sitting ahead of the United States and the United Kingdom.
He said opposition members "are crying for some sort of scattered, shotgun, back-of-the-envelope, throw-money-around stimulus," that will not be effective in dealing with the current economic problems.
Liberal MP John McCallum told CTV Newsnet that he questioned how much Canadians could trust the Conservative government to deliver what they are promising, when they are in a vulnerable position as a political party.
"I don't think the statements that they make today on the brink of falling as a government are terribly credible for us, or for Canadians," he told CTV Newsnet on Sunday.
McCallum said the Conservatives have failed to deliver the help that Canada's struggling economy needs.
"They had a chance to deliver what was needed for the economy," he said.
"What they did last year has clearly not worked. What we needed was something last week. They had the opportunity to deliver what is clearly needed for a weak Canadian economy."