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Fastest time in which a campaign promise was broken?

It has to be pretty close:

With the election results barely a week old, Conservatives are muddying the waters around a central – and surprising – campaign pledge. The revised 2011 budget that the government will present next month will not show a surplus by 2014-15 as promised in black and white in the Conservative campaign platform, even though the government insists it still intends to deliver on the election promise.

I’ve heard that if you’re going to break a promise made in a campaign, it’s better to do so earlier in the new mandate then later, so voters have time to forget you broke it. This particular one seems almost too early, however.

Am I surprised? Nope. This is coming from the same government and the same Finance Minister who revised their Budget before the campaign 17 days later, claiming they’d find 11 billion $ in savings they didn’t have in the Budget in March. Now they’re back to the earlier Budget numbers, or worse.

UPDATE @ 9:07 am: I was wrong – it’s not quite the fastest election promise on a Budget broken. Harper did that in 2008:

Whether this is Mr. Flaherty backing off or merely putting off this election pledge, it has already lasted longer than Mr. Harper’s 2008 election deficit pledge, which survived just three days after that year’s vote

Obviously, that broken promise didn’t have an effect on the Harper government. We’ll have to see if they can be made to wear this one. It might be easier this time around, since we’ve had 3 budget number revisions in less then 2 months.


5 comments to Fastest time in which a campaign promise was broken?

  • Mark McLaughlin

    If the promise is to eliminate the deficit one year earlier don’t you have to wait until that year to find out if they did it or not?

    You and the rest of Liblogs are being a little silly here.

    • Projections say they won’t balance, whereas they were saying prior to the election and during it, that they would. You can’t claim to be able hit a fiscal target by year X, but not be able to explain the specifics of how.

      Liars, liars. Pants on fire.

      The trick is this: they will play the shell game for a few years, proclaim “money is tight” “economy not so hot” while spending hundreds of millions on ads to convince enough of us that they never lied, and then run the next election on “trust us: balanced budget is right around the corner” rehashing the same tax cut promises we just heard.

      Heck, we’ve seen part of this game already in Ontario under the Conservatives. Eves, in his last election, claimed they could find another $800 million in unspecified savings to fund tax cuts without sacrificing the balanced budget. In the end, despite claiming that surplus, they left us after good economic times with a structural deficit of $6 billion/year. And people wonder why McGuinty had to raise a health tax.

      Flaherty was finance minister under Harris for a good time. We watched, and learned. He’s a scam artist.

      • Mark McLaughlin

        “they will play the shell game for a few years, proclaim “money is tight” “economy not so hot”

        I agree with you to a point. They will play this game to give them cover when they slash program spending somewhat but not as a delay to a balanced budget.

        They will want to go into the next election having slayed the deficit and they will hack and slash to do it instead of having it hang over their head. They will then ask for a mandate on what to do next while pointing to their success.

        It’s the blueprint to their next majority. If anything, they are more likely to overstate the red ink in the budget only to pull a rabbit out of their hat before the next writ drop.

        It’s the old Liberal trick. Makes for a pleasant surprise come the end of the fiscal year.

        • Except that both the IMF and the PBO have called BS on their budget numbers already, calling them overly optimistic. Flaherty’s “independent” projections are selective, and from corps who want their corporate tax cuts justified. So their stated slashing will have to be much, much deeper, and the rabbit will be hard to pull out of the hat.

          I agree that they may cut drastically, especially to civil service employment levels, which is what they are calling for anyway (bet they omit the PMO and PCO). The effects of those cuts don’t manifest themselves to the country as quickly as, say, eliminating programs. Like what Harris did to the Ministry of the Environment in Ontario: he gave it a budget sufficient to print letterhead, but that’s about it. It took the revelations around Walkerton to understand just how empty that ministry was.

          I think they are more likely to delay a balanced budget by a year of two, but frame it as necessary to preserve certain program spending in light of the “unanticipated economic conditions.”

          If the economy does outperform, well, they’re be lucky. The public never consults the original projections.

  • What more can we ask of the CPC. We have to make them pay for this.

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