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Last year, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty altered the usual tradition of the person in his position getting a new pair of shoes for the budget, instead putting on a display for the national press corps that included going into a shoe store in downtown Ottawa to pick up a pair of old shoes he had resoled.

He said the resoled shoes -- rather than brand new shoes -- were a symbol for the budget, which was going to be tight for tough times.

"You don't throw money around when times are tight," he said in Feb. 2008. "In fact, you never throw money around, but you want to be especially careful now in a time of economic slowdown."

Of course then he went on to deliver a budget that ratcheted up spending by over $5 billion ... but I digress.

Another year, another budget is on its way and this time I’m going to predict that Mr. Flaherty will revert to tradition and sport a pair of shiny new shoes on Jan. 27 as a symbol for a budget that will be all about spend, spend, spend, stimulate, stimulate, stimulate.

I’m not sure he can expense the shoes as part of the economic stimulus package but at the very least, it would send the right signal that it’s actually okay to spend some money to get our economy humming again.

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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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