Harper’s Bread

Buttered on one side.  Today’s editorial at The Star:

As he unveiled his new “economic advisory council” this week, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty seemed delighted with himself. “In this time of unprecedented economic turmoil, I am bringing some of Canada’s best minds together to find solutions and help launch a timely recovery,” he said.

Flaherty also mentioned that he had called each of the 11 members of the council personally and told them: “Your advice is needed for your country.” He said they would provide input for next month’s budget and on an ongoing basis afterward.

We welcome any move that broadens the range of advice for Flaherty and the federal government beyond what they received in preparation for the narrow and partisan economic statement they produced last month.

The idea seems to have been borrowed from U.S. President-elect Barack Obama, who has set up an “economic recovery advisory board” that includes economists, academics and business and labour leaders. The Ontario government has set up a similar panel that includes Jim Stanford, an economist with the Canadian Auto Workers union.

But Ottawa’s advisory council appears unnecessarily tilted to one side of the economic equation and, therefore, may not be the generator of good ideas that it could have been. The council includes representatives of some of Canada’s richest families (the Thomsons, the Desmarais and the Irvings), a few other CEOs, and a couple of consultants. The chair, Carole Taylor, is a former provincial finance minister in British Columbia. There is one economist, Jack Mintz, formerly of the C.D. Howe Institute, now with the University of Calgary.

Where are the voices of labour or of small business?

And are these really the best and brightest economic minds that Flaherty could scrape together?  [more]

That’s what I’m sayin’.

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