Guessing game (I)
The following is an excerpt from the Premier’s year-end interview with Debbie Cooper of CBC Here and Now on December 26.
One of the two statements — either the clip from the Premier, or the follow-up question from Cooper — is genuine. The other is a complete fabrication. It is up to you, gentle reader, to figure out which one.
PREMIER WILLIAMS: Well, you know, we’ve gone from a $147, approximately, of oil down to as low as one point in the market $33 last week. It’s unbelievable that in a, six-month period or a nine-month period that could actually happen. Forecasts are varying now.
My personal feeling is that oil will eventually come back in the 75 to 80 range, at least, because Iran and Venezuela and the tar sands and Saudi Arabia all feel that those prices have to be up in that range. If it stays low, we will incur deficits. We’ve already projected out that if, if oil is below $60 a barrel, we will incur multi-hundred-million-dollar deficits.
But, you know, the good thing is, is that all during this past period as we were having surpluses, we were paying down debt. And we were criticised at times, they’re saying, oh, you’re paying down debt you shouldn’t just put it, you know, on the account. But when you do that you, you increase your borrowing capacity because if you or I, you know, depleted our line of credit and paid it off, well, then we have the ability to draw back on that when we need it and that’s exactly where we are.
COOPER: OK, wait, wait, wait, hold on just a cotton-pickin’ second here, Premier. Are you telling us, are you seriously telling us, that we have paid off the borrowing of the past, in order to make it easier to borrow again today or in the future? Come on, now! Really? Are you telling the people out there in Here and Now Land tonight that the virtue in paying down the provincial debt is that it makes it easier for us to go back into debt? Are you out of your gourd? Isn’t that the same sort of fiscal tomfoolery and incompetence that Ross Wiseman used, ostensibly, to justify crossing the floor to your party back in 2001?