Inside Politics

Flaherty heads west to unveil fall fiscal update during House break

As the twitterverse lit up over Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau's $250 per head cocktail reception for Toronto-area "ladies," the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce was rolling out an open invitation to anyone interested in sharing the "intimate experience" of watching Finance Minister Jim Flaherty deliver this year's fall fiscal update next Tuesday alongside local MP and finance committee chair James Rajotte.  

For a mere $49.95 --$69.95 for non-members -- ticket-holders will "learn about the plans that our federal government has in the coming months as they work to keeping our economy strong and getting us back to a balanced budget."

The lunch event is co-sponsored by the Angus Watt Advisory Group and National Bank Financial. and tables of ten are -- or, at least at press time, were -- available.

Needless to say, the attendance fee goes to the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, not the Government of Canada.

According to Chamber spokesperson Bobbi Menard, they don't expect to make money at the door based on the ticket fees, and  "no financial arrangements whatsoever" have been made with the minister's office for travel or accommodation costs.

"The Edmonton Chamber is neutral in respect to political parties," she told CBC News.

"We are open to hosting educational events, with guests from all political backgrounds that are judged to be of interest to our members."

This isn't the first time Flaherty has delivered his annual autumn financial statement outside the borders of the parliamentary precinct.

In fact, the last time he did so was in 2008, when he unveiled his proposal to end per-vote subsidies -- which, of course, very nearly brought down the then-minority government -- in the House of Commons.

Since then, he seems to have made a point of taking the fiscal update on the road. In subsequent years, he's unveiled the always highly anticipated numbers in Victoria (2009), Mississauga (2010), Calgary (2011) and Fredericton (2012).

Under previous Liberal governments, the update was traditionally presented to the House finance committee, a practice that Flaherty continued until 2008. 

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