REALITY CHECK – Will Campbell Come Clean on State of the Books Today?

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Even though Gordon Campbell pledged during the election that the deficit would be no higher than $495 million, just last week the finance minister said he wouldn’t bet his mortgage on it.
So as the government presents its public accounts today, the real question is whether they’ll break their promise on the deficit and which programs will be on the cutting block in September.
Here is just a sampling of the Campbell government’s waffling…
First Gordon Campbell promised to hold the line…  “I can tell you this: The deficit for 2009-10 will be $495 million maximum.” Gordon Campbell (in the Vancouver Sun), April 24, 2009.
Then the premier started waffling… “When the facts change, you have to be willing to look at the facts. When facts change, we have to be willing to change.” Gordon Campbell (on CBC Radio), June 8, 2009.
At the cabinet shuffle the finance minister said he was confident they’d stick to $495 million… “If I were in a position to table a budget today it would be a deficit of $495 million or less… I am still confident that come Sept. 1 we will be able to deliver on that.”  Colin Hansen (in the Vancouver Sun), June 11, 2009.
But then last week when asked whether he would bet the mortage on that $495 million promise, the finance minister said… “No” Colin Hansen (on CHNL), July 2, 2009.
And yesterday the social development minister stuck to the $495 promise… “Coleman says the government is holding firm on its promise to hold the deficit at $495 million dollars.” CBC radio (3pm), July 8, 2009.
Only to say something different shortly later…  “I don’t know yet, at this point in time I think we’re pretty close to holding the line on that ($495 million deficit).” Rich Coleman (on CKNW at 4pm), July 8, 2009.