"OTTAWA - As the sovereign debt crisis rocked Europe and the U.S. economy spun its wheels with a jobless recovery, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty remained the steady hand at the tiller in 2010 on his way to being voted The Canadian Press business news-maker of the year.
They started out with verbatim accounts from a news service, but by now they are adding info and more background on it. Of course many, many Canadians read these things as soon as they come out, and at that point they are virtually identical and and simply a copy of the glowing PMO press release. Most of them never check back to see how public opinion and some time to digest it sways the discourse over the course of a day or two. Here is some of the information that was added later in the news cycle, and keep in mind that the readership decline quite rapidly after a story breaks, and that most who have read it will not re-read it!
With the loonie near parity with the U.S. dollar and signs of the economy recovery taking hold, Flaherty could boast of a record better than most of his peers around the world in 2010.
"I think what we saw not only in Canada, but around the globe was a very aggressive policy response," said Paul Ferley, assistant chief economist at the Royal Bank.
"And certainly the infrastructure program, as well as various tax cuts in hindsight, look like they have been very successful in terms of helping to sustain the recovery."
But despite his success in helping keep the Canadian economy on track, the coming year brings even more challenges for the finance minister as the vast majority of the stimulus spending comes to an end and he faces the task of balancing the budget to meet his target of 2015-16.
"I think the government did well in terms of identifying just how deep the economic hit was and opted to respond in kind," Ferley said.
"Now the fallout from that are a fairly large debt and deficit, numbers not as bad as what we are looking at south of the border or in Europe, but still, imbalances that at some point will need to be addressed."
Flaherty has said there will be no major new spending in his 2011 plan, but also there will be no major new cuts either.
"In 2010, it became clear that Canada had emerged from the deepest worldwide economic crisis since the 1930s in relatively good shape," Flaherty said.
"But we are mindful that the recovery is fragile and there are still too many people out of work. So we are sticking to our plan. "
|Flaherty, having forgotten his glasses, proudly holds up|
what he thinks is Harper's personal copy of 900 page Omnibus Budget Bill!
OK, it was 108 print and online business news editors and broadcast news directors. Gee that seems like an impartial group eh? Of course I am still looking for details on who actually voted.
In even later versions some reservations to the choice are starting to be expressed. The huge deficit that was such a surprise to our boy Jim, the discrepancies between all of his predictions and the actual numbers, and his persistence in taking of all the credit for the work of Paul Martin. The constant criticism of the Office of Kevin page who has always seemed to doubt Flaherty's skills as a Finance Minister. The rampant spending on vote buying projects and the outright lies that they are telling as to the real impact on Canada. No mention of any of this in the early versions however.
Not that I am suggesting that any of us stop to think about any of this, and certainly not that the MSM will care if you simply put your head in neutral and play along with this silly little sham that they would like us to call real Journalism.
I am hoping that some real criticism will emerge in the Main Stream Media, before the 48 hour news cycle ends tomorrow. It is unlikely, but at least the real media, the people's media (the social media) is already all over this story asking real questions and secretly laughing at the lack of vision, the lack of long term memory and the lack of testicularity displayed by the Finance Minister and by the Canadian Press.