Part pragmatism – you have to stand up for a long time to deliver a budget speech – part photo-op, in this odd Canadian tradition federal finance ministers don a new pair of shoes on the day they are delivering their budget.
Some may feel you can walk this soleful tradition back to Canada’s Westminster roots. But that’s a dead end. Instead, it began in 1960 when Donald Fleming – Minister of Finance under John Diefenbaker – wore a fresh pair of shoes for budget day. New leather gave rise to a new wonkish fad.
Canada’s finance fashions have been varied since then. John Crosbie wore mukluks during his ill-fated 1979 budget under Joe Clark. In 1994 – for his first budget – Paul Martin trotted out work boots he had received as a gift from Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. And in 2008, Jim Flaherty sported re-soled shoes in the name of austerity.
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