My friend S. caught this whopper from last night’s speech from the Premier. Last night’s story about the deficit, the election and the decision to implement the HST doesn’t quite gibe with anything else the Premier and the Finance Minister have said about the events of early 2009.
In other words, he’s lying again.
Here’s the story Colin Hansen told reporters about the $2 billion plus deficit that emerged like the immaculate conception – you know, no real father – after the 2009 election.
“Hansen said he was told during the campaign in the lead-up to a provincial election in May that revenues had dipped by about $300 million.
“I took that to mean that would be annual, over the entire calendar year.”
Hansen said he was confident the government could handle the shortfalls and still keep the deficit at $495 million.
“At no time did finance officials suggest to me that that $495-million deficit was not doable.”
CBC Sept 2 2009
Last night the Premier said this about the deficit and the election:
“Something took place. We were all part of a global economic meltdown. We were losing revenues. And I actually had a chance to talk with the Minister of Finance about the challenges we faced as we lost those revenues…”
That’s where the HST comes in. The situation was terrible. But he knew there was 1.6 billion on the table if the government initiated the HST. ‘That was our fix’, was his basic message last night.
Those two stories don’t add up. First Hansen was briefed on a minor deficit and it wasn’t much to worry about.
Now the story changes. They were briefed. And it was big. A global meltdown had wrecked the budget. The situation was dire and they needed not $300 million to plug the hole but $1.6 billion. Campbell talked with the finance minister and said, “hey check out that HST offer.”
There are so many stories coming out of the Premier’s mouth he’s starting to sound like a kid caught one too many times – ‘no, no, this is the real truth this time, really’.
This new story doesn’t just contradict what Campbell and Hansen have said about the deficit and the election. It contradicts what Hansen told the Legislature about how the HST came about. Here’s what Hansen told the House in response to Bruce Ralston’s questioning:
Ralston: “There was no discussion either by the minister or his officials of the implementation of an HST. Is that the minister’s position then?”
Hansen: “That is correct.”.
Ralston: “I understand that the minister has made his position very clear — no discussion with any of his officials, no public comment, no decision taken between January and May. Was there any discussion at any point with the premier about Ontario and its implementation of the HST, the investment climate and the reasons why British Columbia might want to reconsider its position?”
Ralston: “And by discussion, I mean personal contact, face-to-face, or any exchange of memos at the deputy minister level or through the email network or anything. There’s simply no discussion at any level between the minister of finance, his officials and the premier and his office and his officials about the HST between January, when it was first raised publicly in Ontario, and the end of May. Is that the minister’s position?”
Hansen: “That is correct.”
Either Hansen lied and mislead the House. Or the Premier’s lying again.
Actually I’d say both are true. The Premier’s lying about everything and Hansen mislead the House.