Monday, March 19, 2007

Bla Bla Budget

So if you didn't get excited by today's budget, you were either under a rock or just a regular Canadian citizen. It wasn't that exciting because there wasn't that much of a potential of a non confidence vote, so there was very little possibility of political chicken. Nonetheless, let's go with an overview.

This is pretty Harper-esque, retail politics light on policy. I have to admit, it'll be strong enough to campaign on, but I surmise that eventually Canadians are going to demand a little more, at least if there is a competent opposition (this time -- re: 1990s). Anyway, the highlights: there was a little for seniors with being able to cash out RRSP's later, more child tax benefit, investment to curb wait times and improve electronic hospital records. Those are probably some of the things the can win some points on. The bad, well very scant environmental action. There was very little in terms of lessening oil sands subsidies, not much addressing cities and transit -- this I think was a huge mistake, and not that many items to appease to the prairies and BC. This kinda makes sense because the Tories don't need to play to their base, but that's also how we got the Reform. There were some just some things in the budget that could play out as issues but maybe not. First the fiscal imbalance. I call this a maybe simply because it could go either way. Obviously Nfld and Sask are going to be livid in that their funding schemes re: petroleum won't be as beneficial, but the other provinces such as PQ and ON will be pretty pleased, so this is why this might not have such strong legs. Also, let's be honest PQ and ON are what Harper needs. More randomness, a couple of the health initiatives aren't going to be implemented until 2014... can't wait! Same thing for Oil sand subsidy reduction, it's going to be phased out by 2015. Well as least it's not decades like the original clean air act.

As for the part that I liked the most: the reaction. The most significant was Danny Williams. He was actually livid, he was so mad he actually put Paul Martin in a better light than Stephen Harper and we know he's no Martin flag à la flag flop. He was on Mike Duffy live and he said to Flaherty, "If your government doesn't keep promises to us (nfld/sask), then how can the rest of Canada trust you?" That's pretty significant coming from a fellow Tory. He had Flaherty by the throat and when Flaherty tried to slick his way out of it by saying that Williams still had the provisions of the Atlantic Accord, Williams quickly pointed out that those were Liberal provisions. I almost felt bad for Flaherty. Other interesting things were Andrew Coyne calling this a bigged mismanagement than the Liberals ever did, but maybe that's a good thing cause the Liberals "mismanagement" kept them in power for a while. David Miller (toronto mayor) said the budget was crappy, and while I was at work while this happened, apparently Andre Boisclair helped Duceppe's decision to support the budget. Why do they want to separate? They already have so much control!

Anyway, it's not a good budget, but it's a book with very nice covers. Let's see which pages get turned in the next few weeks!

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