This page provides information about budget speeches given by the Minister of Finance since 1867. Customize your table to suit your needs. Rearrange the columns by dragging them. Filter and sort the data using the table tools. Export the data or share your reports by creating permalinks that are always up to date.
Notes about new shoes on budget day
The origins behind the Canadian tradition of the Minister of Finance wearing new shoes to deliver the budget speech in the House of Commons remain unknown.
This custom is uniquely Canadian among Westminster parliaments. For example, in the British House of Commons, the Chancellor of the Exchequer brings in the speech in a red despatch box and the Chancellor is permitted to take any liquid refreshment while delivering the budget speech.
The earliest mention of Canada’s new shoes custom that we have been able to verify appears in newspaper articles related to the April 5, 1955, Budget Speech. According to these articles, Walter Harris chose to wear “almost new” shoes instead of brand new shoes. We were also able to verify from newspaper articles that Donald Fleming did indeed wear new shoes when he presented his budget speech on March 31, 1960. The type of shoes was not specified. In both instances, the newspaper reports referred to the new shoes as a budget “tradition” but they did not offer much detail to help solve the mystery surrounding its origins.
Despite not knowing how this tradition began, later finance ministers have run with it. More recently, their choice of budget footwear has made more than a fashion statement. The type of shoes has been interpreted as an indicator of the content of the budget. For example, in 1994, Paul Martin wore work boots, given to him by Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, to emphasize job creation. In 2007, instead of new shoes, Jim (James) Flaherty purchased a pair of skates for his son, to highlight his budget’s family-friendly measures. And in 2015, Joe Oliver donned New Balance brand sneakers while presenting a balanced budget.