Finance Minister Jim Flaherty in Toronto, December 19, 2012.
Credits: DAVE ABEL/QMI AGENCY
His spring budget must stay this course.
Alberta Premier Alison Redford, the faux conservative, is already crying the bitumen blues, and warning of multi-billion-dollar revenue shortfalls because the oilsands' lesser-grade crude keeps falling increasingly below the going price for oil in North America.
If she were a true conservative, Redford would have seen this coming, and would already have a contingency plan in place.
Instead she is screaming that the sky is falling.
Suggestion? Try rehab for your spending addiction.
In Ontario, premier-designate Kathleen Wynne takes over a scandal-plagued minority government with an $11.9-billion deficit, which Finance Minister Dwight Duncan recently claimed was suddenly now $2.9 billion less than projected.
Must have been a miracle.
After all, if Wynne's predecessor would never lie, and we're talking of course of Pinocchio Premier Dalton McGuinty, why would one of his trusted cabinet ministers lie about suddenly stumbling upon almost three-billion bucks?
And then, of course, there's Quebec, deep into a corruption scandal and run by separatist fanatic Pauline Marois who, if she had three wishes as premier, would use them all to drive the last anglophone out of the province.
The only glimmer of hope Canadians have in coming out of the global downturn with a few dollars to spare is for the Harper Conservatives to ignore the provincial sideshows and concentrate on being one a few federal governments that has ever come close to keeping its promise.
If world economists are correct, and the positive economic signs emanating from Europe and the U.S. don't implode, Flaherty could very well craft a budget concentrating more on the domestic issues that need attending in Canada -- like housing, energy and commodity markets.
But he must be cautious.
While Canadians have begun to modestly decrease the household debt that concerns Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney, Flaherty must warn Canadians that interest rates will indeed rise, and that now's the time to start living within our means.
It's a novel concept, yes.
But it's been known to work.