Why do finance ministers wear new shoes to deliver a budget?


Canada’s set for the presentation of a new national budget. It promises to be both painful and divisive, so I’m trying to concentrate on the trivia around it.

Canadian Finance ministers have a tradition of buying new shoes before a budget. Every pre-budget news report involves following the current minister to the mall to analyse his purchase. I wasn’t sure where this originated, and it turns out to be a fake rite that turned into a real one:

This may be taxing to your mind, but the practice of wearing new shoes on budget day seems to have started simply by accident in 1966, when Liberal finance minister Mitchell Sharp delivered his budget.

Someone told him finance ministers traditionally wear new shoes when presenting the budget. “So I accepted that at face value and bought a good pair of shoes that I wore budget night,” he told the Toronto Star in 1991. He donned another new pair in 1967. “Later, I learned there was no tradition behind it at all,” he said.

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