OTTAWA—“I know Joe Oliver is saying that it’s about oil prices, but the truth is that we just don’t have enough paper on hand,” said a source inside the Conservative caucus, who prefers to remain anonymous.

In other words, it’s not finance or politics that’s causing the delay – it’s just logistics.

In recent years, Canadians have become used to the budget being an omnibus bill.  Last year’s budget, presented by the late Mr. Flaherty, was 419 pages.  It appears that Mr. Oliver seeks to blow that record out of the water with a whopping 1,700 page tome.

Parliament runs on paper.  Every bill is printed and delivered to hundreds of recipients.  Bills are often reprinted as they go through votes in the House of Commons and the Senate, particularly if there are amendments, and are often printed again when they are given Royal Assent.

“When we checked our paper supplies we were sure we had enough for the first printing but there was no way we would be able to print the budget a second, let alone a third time,” said our source.  “Normally we would just order more paper, but with budget cuts we can’t afford to do that until the new fiscal year. “

“Our supplier tells us that if we put our order in on April 1st they can get enough paper delivered to us by the middle of April.  That means the Finance Minister can present his budget at the end of April, or in early May at the latest.”

Photo: Jenni C (flickr)

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