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Something about balancing a bucket list.

New Finance Minister Joe Oliver posing with Premier Alison Redford, noted fiscal disciplinateur.
Premier Alison Redford


It’s no secret, folks.  There are holes in the Conservative ship, and it appears ready to sink.  This is bad news for Conservatives.  What’s worse is that Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, the man the Canadian government was using to plug those holes, just resigned.

This news is both shocking and disappointing.  Canadians have been riding Flaherty’s emotional and economic roller-coaster for years.  If you ask Jim, the economy is paradoxically stuck in a cycle of successful failure in which budgets disintegrate when money is needed, and balance when an election is around the corner.  Flaherty’s Canada can find $220 million to fund vague objectives in Ukraine, but it can’t muster $5.2 million for the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy.  It can find $50 million to shut down the world-renowned Experimental Lakes Area, but it can’t find $2 million to keep it operational.  It can find $1.9 million for a fake lake at the G20, but I can’t keep this list going or this article will never end.  The point is that Flaherty’s coaster is a wild ride.  After 8 years, when we’re finally figuring out how to ride the damn thing without vomiting everywhere, the conductor is quitting on us.  To be honest, it’s a bit infuriating.

Jim doesn’t understand what life is like for the average Canadian living on his rollercoaster because he simply can’t relate to the average person.  Many Canadians struggle to hold down gainful employment.  They work long hours in difficult conditions and still lose their jobs because some public official saw them as collateral damage in his grand plan.  Flaherty doesn’t have to worry about losing his job like that.  After turning a $13 billion surplus into the one of the largest deficits in Canadian history, it’s abundantly clear that his job security isn’t tied to his job performance.  So why on Earth would anyone leave a job like that?

Is it for family reasons?  Health reasons?  Out of boredom?  Is it because he has a feeling of disgust when he looks back to what he’s done while in office?  No?  Well then, why? Oh, right, money.  Flaherty is leaving his public sector job for the private sector…the sector he showered with tax cuts.  Nice.  Now he can make more money working there.  This stinks almost as much as old man Vic Toews’ soiled undergarments, which are now occupying the benches at the Court of the Queen’s Bench in Manitoba.  How long has Toews been out of politics?  Less than a year.  Who appointed him to be a judge?  Peter MacKay, the guy who replaced him as Justice Minister.  While Flaherty’s short stature and nerdy disposition mean that he is by no means as cool and popular as tough guy Vic Toews, we can probably assume he has friends willing to hook him up with a sweet job.  Good for him!  He planted a seed and now it’s maturing into a fat pay-cheque.  Forget that he stole the seed from the Canadian public.  Forget that his wages will be higher because ours are lower.  He’s successful now, so good for him!

As might be expected, friends had kind words for Flaherty as he said his goodbyes.  Deceivin’ Stephen Harper, a robot best known for his ongoing reign of terror as Canadian Prime Minister, said that Flaherty demonstrated a “sincere desire to leave the country in better shape than it was when he entered politics.”  He could have mentioned that Canada’s road to Hell was paved with Flaherty’s good intentions, but, for whatever reason, he decided against it.

Immediately following Flaherty’s announcement, the race began to replace the man that spent the last 8 years picking Canadians’ pockets for a salary of over $200 000 per year.  The pool of candidates was deep, and the expectations were low.  Who sunk to the challenge?  None other than Joe Oliver: the man whose skull is as thick as tar sand in January.

Bitumen sinks to the bottom of the barrel, so it’s no surprise Oliver won this contest.  He has all the necessary skills.  For example, he has experience lying.  While Flaherty spent much of his time in office confusing the terms “deficit” and “surplus” Oliver has made every effort to distort the connection between burning tar sand and contributing to climate change.  Even truth can’t stop him, so he’s perfect for the job.

He might even be better than Jim was.  Unlike Flaherty, who left public service for the private sector, Oliver has already worked in the private sector.  Unlike Flaherty, who is a lawyer with a limited understanding of math, Oliver is a lawyer with an MBA.  This is good.  Flaherty didn’t realize he was screwing Canadians when he botched all those budgets, but Oliver will!  Sure, he’ll suppress any feelings of guilt until he is on his deathbed, but Canadians should still be thrilled.

With an election 18 months away, we here at The True North Times look forward to another year of budgetary balancing acts, which we hope will be able to strike a balance (for a few brief seconds, at least).