Monday, November 10, 2008

Harpers minority sets sail today for a two hour meeting

This afternoon’s two hour, first ministers meeting will actually be the initial launch of Harpers new minority government or at least the first time we get to see it in action.

The Prime Minister will meet with the premiers and territorial leaders this afternoon to discuss the global economic crisis.

Harper has billed this afternoon's political summit as an "exchange of ideas" in advance of his trip to the G20 meeting next week in Washington.

Unfortunately by the sounds of it, the premiers who have already had one meeting on the economy since the federal election, have a list of ideas that are more focussed on fixing the immediate problems here in Canada.

Changing of RRSP rules from Gordon Campbell & Gary Doer
  • Federal rules force 71 year olds to cash in your RRSPs, which this year would be disastrous
  • Companies would be required to inject their own cash into the pension plan to maintain that federally mandated ratio.
  • Bankruptcy created through pension insolvency doesn't protect workers
Support of manufacturing through federal loan guarantees from Charest and McGuinty
  • Banks believe it's too risky to lend money to a manufacturer whose biggest assets may be accounts receivables from a big U.S. customer.
  • The premiers are looking for loan guarantees that they say will give the banks confidence enough to lend money.
Removal of all inter-provincial trade barriers from Campbell and Stelmach

Infrastructure spending is on the wish list of all premiers
  • Municipal leaders last week said $3 billion in unspent infrastructure cash is a ready-made stimulus package just waiting for action.
Although the expectations are high for the premiers and even Jack Layton who hopes "Mr. Harper will bring forward — finally — a plan for the Canadian economy in this economic crisis", I don't really think you can expect too much as today's meeting.

The meeting doesn't have a formal agenda, no communiqué will be issued when it ends and as Harper noted on the weekend "Obviously we are in a period of global economic instability. There are no easy solutions".

But a plan would be nice.

Unfortunately it seems that Canadians choose the Skipper and Gilligan and not the professor.



Reference Montreal Gazette here.

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