Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Friday's Finance Committee meeting

So there's a bit of a controversy over this Friday Finance Committee meeting to get an update on the Canadian economy. A motion was brought to have the committee hear from independent economists in addition to hearing from Jim Flaherty and Mark Carney. It was rejected. Here is what the Conservative MPs had to say in rejecting the motion:
“It’s imperative, in my opinion, that we not do anything that might worry Canadians,” explained Conservative MP Shelly Glover, Mr. Flaherty’s parliamentary secretary, in rejecting Ms. Nash’s motion. “I think that hearing from the Minister of Finance and the Bank of Canada will help to reassure them, as they should be, that there is concern, but that we are proceeding, as parliamentarians, in their interests.”

Conservative MP Randy Hoback suggested the comments from Mr. Flaherty will be more reliable than what independent economists have to say.

“I want to make sure that we don’t have people coming into this meeting and start speculating and start giving their opinions and their impressions which are based on what? A crystal ball?” he told MPs. “I think it’s better that we stick to the facts and I think the two people who can provide the best facts are the Finance Minister and the Bank of Canada.”
So that is what the meeting will be limited to, with no other opinion to be brought before the committee. These two are major economic players in Canada, of course. But why in serious economic times is it preferable to limit the federal Finance Committee to less opinion rather than more? It's not as if such persons are infallible.

The remainder of the Globe article is largely dedicated to the Globe attempting to demonstrate that the Conservative MPs are correct. They interview some of the sought out private-sector economists in an effort to have them say what they might have said before the Finance Committee. To show how all that's really needed at committee is Flaherty/Carney since the economists all agree with them anyway. Then they go on to characterize the economists as "untroubled at being left out of finance committee meeting Friday." As if that is relevant. They have a sub-heading to that effect and everything.

Anyway, I'm sure the Conservatives appreciate the back-up and the opposition will see how silly they were in trying to seek out additional opinion.