Flaherty offers opposition pre-budget input

Canada's Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty adjusts his glasses as he talks to the media prior to...

Canada's Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty adjusts his glasses as he talks to the media prior to holding pre-budget consultations with the business community in Toronto, Nov. 7, 2013. (Mark Blinch/Reuters)

Jessica Hume, Parliamentary Bureau

, Last Updated: 9:58 PM ET

OTTAWA – Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has written a letter inviting opposition parties to participate in pre-budget consultations, but the sharply worded communication could just as easily be interpreted as a veiled threat.

Flaherty explains to his “dear colleagues” that “with the global economy still fragile, it is critical that all Parliamentarians remain focused on what matters to Canadians – jobs and the economy.”

He goes on to detail how “significant challenges from beyond our borders, especially from Europe and the United States will continue to negatively impact Canada.

“For that reason, I will not entertain the traditional ‘laundry list’ of new spending or subsidy programs typically sent from the opposition,” Flaherty writes. “Learning from the terrible experiences of free-spending jurisdictions around the world, I hope that the opposition will forgo their traditional approach and refrain from demanding costly new spending initiatives that would increase the size of government, jeopardize our return to balanced budgets in 2015 and beyond.”

The letter ends with his thanking them in advance “for your participation in the pre-budget consultation process.”


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