This is a test of public sector productivity. I'll try to meet it.
First, fiscal decisions are for the Minister of Finance, so we'll defer to him on those and not provide advice. We'll take those decisions as given and adjust monetary policy accordingly.
Second, we want to avoid, in the extreme, being in the situation of European governments, where the scale of fiscal austerity being required of a large number of countries is now materially affecting the growth outlook in those countries and, furthermore, is not yet having the effect on confidence.
I'll make the general point that the measures that have already been enacted by the Spanish and Italian governments are in the order of magnitude consistent with long-term fiscal sustainability in those economies--and here I refer to enacted measures, not announced, muted, or debated ones. Just as Canadians learned with difficulty in the 1990s, you don't get credit for announcing measures and passing the budget. You only get it when you actually implement them. Even then there's a lag. So the tough measures are taken. You're getting a slowing in those economies. You'll get further slowing because of these measures, but not the credit in terms of market confidence or market interest rates. That's an important point to recognize, and that's part of our dynamic there.
On crude and gas prices, I'm glad you raised that technical box. As you know, we're trying to draw out how the relationship between Canadian gas prices has changed from an historic one. One would usually have looked to WTI oil prices and a margin off those for Canadian gas prices. The fact is that WTI used to move quite tightly with Brent crude. Depending on where you live in Canada, are you getting refinery oil that's a blend of either Brent or WTI, or out in Alberta? It's a very different feedstock into the refineries. Because of supply constraints in the United States—which, in part, some pipelines might help alleviate—a bigger differential has grown between WTI and Brent. So even though WTI has come down, as we've all seen, Canadian gas prices have not come down as much as they historically would have. Some of it is margin expansion, which goes to your question, but a large part is this actual dynamic, which I hope is relatively well explained in the box.
On the balance of payments and the current account, we obviously watch this. The current account deficit has increased. A large part of it—not all of it but a large part—has been due to an increase in investment in imported machinery and equipment. So that is a good current account deficit. If you're going to have a current account deficit, you want to be importing investment machinery and equipment that will ultimately make your businesses more productive—and one expects to build exports over time to pay back that deficit over time. But it is something we watch, and we'll be happy to have further discussions on that in subsequent meetings.