The two expressions of Joe Oliver.

This is not to imply that Canada’s Minister of Finance is two-faced. It is just that he seems to have only two expressions. One is that dour look that we have all come to hate. He uses it when giving financial news—which is usually bad news. The other expression is that look of surprise. That is the look he puts on in the House of Commons when he is supposed to answer a question.

And you can imagine the looks of surprise across the House when and if he ever gave a straight answer to a question.

That look of surprise was on just about everyone’s face in the House the other day when the Finance Minister recanted on possible changes to the Canada Pension Plan. He told the House that his department would be consulting with us about the possibility of allowing us to make voluntary contributions to our individual CPP account.

This was not the Joe Oliver we have come to hate and despise. He had ridiculed those making that suggestion ever since getting the job. Jim Flaherty might have been a bit more encouraging about some improvement but Oliver used his dour face. “It’s a job killer” he told us. Why it supposedly a job killer, he did not say.

It is interesting that the Ontario Liberals have been making motions about doing something to improve pensions in Ontario. It must have been because they saw a political benefit in helping Ontario voters improve their pensions. Maybe the Conservatives thought they were wrong but the Ontario Liberals not only won re-election last year but came back with a majority. Any promise with that kind of mojo was of interest to the Conservatives. They had to have a piece of that pie.

What is most likely about the Ontario move was that they thought they might force the federal government to do something. And the plan worked. The only problem is that nobody really believes that Joe Oliver will find out anything. All the Conservatives want out of this promise is to keep their majority in October.

Can you imagine just how dour Joe Oliver’s expression would be if he got a chance after the election to announce the results of his investigation. If you look closely though you would also see just the glimmer of a gloat when he announced his findings that changing the CPP would still be a job killer.

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