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Budget Day from the Finance Minister's point of view

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Finance Minister Jim Flaherty is generally known as one of the more affable members of the federal cabinet.

Sure, he is the one that has taken the axe to thousands of civil service jobs and had to deliver the bad news of now six deficit budgets in a row.

But he's usually smiling, always good for a laugh or two in a press conference or during Question Period.

What he's not is all that prolific on social media.

Except apparently on what should be one of his busiest days of the year.

On Thursday, while I, along with most of the national press corps, was stashed away in the Ottawa Conference Centre, locked up for hours without access to cell phones and twitter and Facebook, Flaherty was finally finding his tweeting fingers.

Throughout the day, he tweeted several times about what he was doing.

"Follow me at this account tomorrow to see what a Budget Day looks like from my POV" he started with, Wednesday night.

Thursday morning, just after lock up started, he began.

"The big day is finally here. Stay tuned."

And it continued. Photos of him arriving at the office, in meetings with staff, the new budget shoes, his press conference with reporters in lock-up.

He has only tweeted 33 times himself, and about 30 of them were yesterday.

Whether this is a sudden turnaround and we'll see the finance minister on Twitter more often has yet to be determined. It seems unlikely.

The "day in the life" tweets come on the heels of Prime Minister Stephen Harper doing the same thing a few weeks ago.

The tweets don't really shed any more light on the decisions being made, or what Flaherty thinks. But for people who want a bit of an insider's view of what a finance minister does on the biggest day of his year, it offers a bit of fun.

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About Mia Rabson

Mia Rabson is a born and bred Winnipegger whose interest in politics seemed clear when she dressed up as Prime Minister Brian Mulroney for Halloween in the 7th grade.

Her interest in writing was no surprise to her parents, who learned early in Mia’s life that no piece of blank paper — or wall, for that matter — was safe in her hands.

She holds an honours BA in English from Queen’s University, a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Western Ontario, and has completed a political journalism fellowship in Washington, D.C. with the Washington Centre for Politics and Journalism.

Prior to working for the Winnipeg Free Press, Mia briefly worked for the Detroit News in the paper’s Washington bureau.

Mia joined the Free Press team in February 2001, and in April 2001 was appointed to the Manitoba legislature bureau. In December 2004, she was appointed bureau chief at the legislature. She became the newspaper’s parliamentary bureau chief/national reporter in Ottawa in January 2008.

In 2008 she was nominated for a Michener Award with a team of reporters from the Free Press for its coverage of the province’s child welfare system.

She counts reliving the invasion at Dieppe, France, with veterans of the failed Second World War expedition and overcoming her fear of heights to touch the Golden Boy statue atop the Legislative Building among her favourite experiences as a reporter.

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