Finance Minister Jim Flaherty talks budgets – and leprechauns

OTTAWA  – Finance Minister Jim Flaherty introduced the idea of balancing budgets with leprechauns in the House of Commons on Thursday.

When the NDP’s Glenn Thibeault asked about banks putting consumers on the hook for fraudulent online transactions, Flaherty responded that the government takes fraud seriously and is consulting with Canadians to update the consumer protection code. He added that he’s meeting with bank executives in Toronto on Monday.

Then Flaherty introduced this nugget – an apparent reference to comments Liberal leader Justin Trudeau made in media interviews that the Conservatives are balancing the budget artificially and without a vision for growth in infrastructure, education, training and trade.

If you grow the economy, Trudeau said, “the budget will balance itself.”

“I am more concerned, actually, with the Liberal leader’s idea of being able to balance the budget automatically,” Flaherty told the House. “I know that we are taking a break and that St. Patrick’s Day is coming up, so I hope that he catches that little person, that little leprechaun.”

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After question period Flaherty clarified his comments. Sort of.

“Just the Liberal leader’s idea that the budget will balance itself, and being of Irish heritage, I know that what he must be thinking is that there’s a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow and over St. Patrick’s Day I’m sure he’ll search out a leprechaun to lead him to that pot of gold so that he can balance the budget. So I’m just trying to aim him in the right direction.”

No one followed up.

(Here is the audio, courtesy of Paul McLeod, Ottawa bureau chief for the Halifax Chronicle Herald).

AUDIO: Flaherty explains “leprechaun” jab at Trudeau

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