31 December 2007

Consistently inconsistent finance minister

The man who only eight months pooh-poohed the idea of balanced budget legislation has now decided that  balanced budget legislation is a good thing.

In April, 2007, provincial finance minister Tom Marshall said:

"I don't know if I agree with balanced budget legislation," Marshall said.

"I certainly would agree with fiscal responsibility legislation … but I'm not prepared to be locked in automatically to a balanced budget every year," he said. [Emphasis added]

In December 2007, Marshall told his hometown newspaper:

“I would like to see us come forward with some fiscal responsibility legislation that would make it a commitment of every government to ensure that, as a principle, we budget for a balanced budget, recognizing it won’t be possible to always have a balanced budget,” said Marshall. “And, if we can’t balance the budget, there would be an obligation on the government to explain and disclose to the people of the province why it didn’t happen and to disclose a strategy to ensure we get back to a balanced budget over a certain period of time.” [Emphasis added]

Of course, this is the same fellow who in the spring budget felt that $55 million was a fine amount by which to reduce the provincial debt but who, by the fall, had decided it was a paltry sum.

One wonders what's next on the finance minister's agenda of policy flip flops.