What was so special about April 11, 1995?

16Nov09

I was just browsing through old editions of the Globe and Mail — April 11, 1995, to be exact — and I came upon this passage from a story by then-Ottawa reporter Edward Greenspon. Its headline read: “Time bombs in budget mostly still ticking”. Here are the opening paragraphs…

After six weeks orbiting in the stratosphere, Finance Minister Paul Martin’s budget came back down to Earth last week in the vicinity of Toronto’s lakeshore.

The announcement by the board of the Harbourfront Centre that it will shut down the cultural and recreational centre due to federal cutbacks is the most obvious sign yet of how the budget is beginning to impact on communities and groups across the country.

But it certainly is not the only one. The Public Service Alliance of Canada tried during the week to arouse public concern about air safety by charging the federal government with skimping on firefighters at a number of smaller airports. And groups as disparate as the International Planned Parenthood Federation and the Canadian Weightlifting Federation have had their grants eliminated.

Over the next year, hundreds of such announcements will trickle out of ministerial offices—some of them perhaps reinforcing the notion that the government is truly serious about its war on the deficit, but others reducing services or imposing user fees in areas Canadians never contemplated.

Some questions:

1. Was this the last time a federal finance minister was described as “orbiting in the stratosphere”?

2. How long will it be before these kinds of stories resurface in Canadian media?

3. Can any government of any political stripe avoid this outcome (assuming they do want to avoid it)?

(Note: Both Greenspon and John Stackhouse share bylines on the front page of this edition of the Globe. Two future — one of them now former — editors-in-chief while they were on the rise. Neat.)

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2 Responses to “What was so special about April 11, 1995?”

  1. 1 Peter Flynn

    Hey Nick,

    I think the article was mentioning Martin’s budget rather than Martin himself as “orbiting in the stratosphere,” nor will there probably ever be a Finance Minister described in the same manner haha. The reference, imo, relates to how the cuts in spending contained in the budget hadn’t been seen in hard or realistic terms until the announcement of the closing of the cultural and recreation centre. It made the effect of the cuts “hit home” in a sense… good article.

  2. Good point, Peter. I suppose what I meant is even broader: When was the last time that any action taken by any finance minister was described similarly?


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