Kevin Page asked Finance Deputy Minister Rob Wright to turn over details on the projected spending reductions in departments and asset sales that the government has said will generate $10 billion in savings over five years. These are seen as key to the maintenance of a federal surplus.
Page's letter, sent on Dec. 3, has now been posted on the budget office's website. It asks for a reply this week.
He also asked for economic data and assumptions used for the 2008 budget and recent economic statement. Finance refused to give the data for the 2008 budget even though the numbers are routinely turned over to Bay Street forecasters. The assumptions, key to estimating the impact of economic volatility, used to be published by previous governments.
In his economic statement, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty projected a budget surplus of $100 million for 2009-10 based on the sale of about $2 billion in assets that he didn't identify.
Page tabled his office's assessment of Flaherty's economic statement last week, but the report got lost in the storm of the political crisis sparked by the Liberal-NDP coalition's attempt to topple the Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative minority.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper has misplayed the financial crisis from the start. The lack of political leadership in this country is staggering. Now Mr. Harper – who dictates lines to his Finance Minister – has finally woken up to the fact 2009 will be one grim year for the domestic economy. '10 doesn't look too hot either. Someone will wear responsibility for a deep recession. The Conservatives are skating hard as they prepare to pin this one on the banks. The politicians will claim the banks hoarded capital, and refused to lend, and that sent consumers and corporations over the cliff. It's nasty, it's cynical, it's destructive and it doesn't happen to be true. But that's clearly going to be Mr. Harper's line.
Rising card transaction fees may mean higher prices, retailers say
Hyer Questions Gov't on Credit Card Processing Fees
Friday, 28 November 2008
Ottawa, ON -- Thunder Bay Superior North MP Bruce Hyer was up in Question Period on Thursday. Hyer was questioning the government over the cost of credit card processing fees.Here is the transcript of the exchange in the House of Commons:
Canadians were besieged with advertising messages that promoted borrowing over those years. With credit so cheap and housing prices surging ahead, households took on a lot of risk. Now debt burdens look much too high.
We can take some comfort from the fact that the loans outstanding here are nowhere near as risky as mortgages in the United States. According to the Canadian Housing Observer, Canada has “a negligible subprime mortgage sector; [and] it is characterized by prudent underwriting.” And in Canada, mortgage insurance to protect the lender is mandatory for high-ratio loans.
But there is no insurance to protect the borrower when housing values decline or when someone in the family loses their job. If you ask people living in homeless shelters what sent them on a downward spiral, the common theme is a combination of losing their job, being unable to work because of injury or illness, and then losing their home.
This is a terrible price to pay for doing what was advertised as the smart thing to do.