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Flaherty can’t answer why?

For Immediate Release:


May 22, 2012


Flaherty can’t answer why?


OTTAWA - Last week at the Senate Standing Committee on Banking, Trade, and Commerce, Senator Ringuette questioned Finance Minister Jim Flaherty and his departmental staff on increases to Canada’s foreign exchange reserves and our commitments to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).


Why is Minster Flaherty increasing Canada’s IMF commitment from $6.4 billion to $24 billion?


At a time when government jobs, services, and programs are being slashed by the Harper Government to save $5 billion over the 3 years, Minister Flaherty has increased its commitment to the IMF from $6.4 billion in 2010 to $24 billion in 2012, while in the budget bill only requests the approval for $11 billion.


When asked why this has happened, Minister Flaherty could only refer to a meeting several years ago and provide no details or explanation to support the decision.


Why is Minster Flaherty doubling the foreign exchange reserves?


Senator Ringuette also questioned the Finance Minster on the increase of Canada’s Foreign Exchange Reserves from $30 billion to $60 billion in the last 5 years and how many Euros are in the reserve.


Minister Flaherty tried to deflect and say the question should be asked of Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney, but Mr. Carney had previously told Senator Ringuette in committee that the Finance Minister was the one responsible.


Put into a corner, the Finance minster had to use a lifeline and phone a friend, Assistant Deputy Minister Jeremy Rudin, who could not provide an adequate economic rationale for the 100% increase in the reserve or say how many Euros there are.


Mr. Rudin could only provide a couple of vague examples that could only account for a small portion of the increase.




Senator Ringuette said the following of the budget meetings; “This has been a constant theme during these budget hearings, Minsters and departmental staff unable, or unwilling, to provide data, projected costs or savings, or an adequate rationale for the substantial changes found in the over 400 pages of the omnibus budget bill. We are being asked to blindly accept increases in commitments and reserves of billions of dollars without a proper explanation; this is not how the parliamentary process is supposed to work, where is the transparency, where is the accountability?”


A transcript of the committee meeting can be found here;


For Additional Information:


Tim Rosenburgh

Office of Senator Pierrette Ringuette

(613) 943-2248