Monday, January 26, 2009

Days of our Paliamentary Lives Returns

After a six week hiatus, Days of our Parliamentary Lives returns this week, with all new episodes.

With all the twists that went on before the holidays, you may need to refresh yourself on the current plot lines here. Last time we left our hero Steve, he was clinging to his political life due to his steadfast belief that a stimulus package was not needed.

Well it's a very different Steve who returns tonight, ready to spend, spend spend! There has also been a casting change, with Stephane Dion leaving the show, being replaced by Michael Ignatieff. Will the government survive? Will Canada be plunged into a winter election? Will the coalition take power? (spoiler alert: yes. no. no.)

As much fun as the political insanity we saw in December was, I suspect this week will be rather anticlimactic. The central players have all learned their lessons (hopefully), and the Tories will manage to sneak out of this one bruised, but not defeated. That said, after what we saw before Christmas, making predictions of any sort is a recipe for looking foolish.


UPDATE: If you want to read the throne speech, it's a quick read. Full text here.

9 Comments:

  • Days of our Parlimentary Lives, lol...I spit my coffee onto my keyboard! Perhaps " Old and The Restless"...or " Bold and The (not so) Beautiful", "As Ottawa Turns"... or the one starring Jack Layton..." One Life to Live"...

    Should make for an interesting week!

    By Blogger Shane, at 1:49 PM  

  • The central players have all learned their lessons

    Yes, until the budget is passed, then all bets are off. Watch for the anti-Iggy adds to start this weekend.

    By Blogger Greg, at 3:00 PM  

  • Infrastructure preferred way to create jobs: CIBC

    TAVIA GRANT
    Monday, January 26, 2009
    Infrastructure spending, not tax cuts, is a more effective way to create jobs and boost economic growth, according to an economic report released on the eve of the release of Canada's federal budget.

    The infrastructure economic “multiplier” is significant, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce economist Benjamin Tal said. He estimated every $10-billion of spending on infrastructure can potentially create about 115,000 Canadian jobs and lift economic growth by almost 1.5 percentage points.

    That's “well above the stimulus effect of a tax cut of a similar size,” he said. Personal tax cuts of a comparable $10-billion would create half the number of jobs – 57,000 – and boost GDP by just 0.8 percentage points.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 3:30 PM  

  • "Yes, until the budget is passed, then all bets are off. Watch for the anti-Iggy adds to start this weekend."

    I would doubt it. Harper used attack ads strategically, to soften opposition support in advance of confidence votes, or to exploit temporary openings. His major confidence vote having passed, he wouldn't need to run attack ads in the short-term. Harper is unlikely to force an election soon - the economy is in bad shape and his budget gives him a chance to make his mark on history. I think Harper will try desperately to stay in power for two years, so he can run during a recovery, with the benefit of new constituencies bought over by the 64 billion dollar deficit.

    Secondly, Iggy is much more defined than Dion was (thus more immune to attack ads), and has more positive traits than Dion. Moreover, Harper's approval ratings are low - you run personal attack ads when you believe you compare favourably to the other guy.

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 4:31 PM  

  • "Infrastructure spending, not tax cuts, is a more effective way to create jobs and boost economic growth, according to an economic report released on the eve of the release of Canada's federal budget."

    That is true, but there is a limit to how much infrastructure the country needs. I believe the next budget will include 7 billion in new infrastructure spending, and the next one will have a hefty chunk too.

    Spending, even stimulus spending, should be judged on both its short term effects, and its long-term public policy rationale. Building roads that are not needed doesn't pass that test. Cutting taxes (income and corporate, esp.) do, and help convince business that the government remains committed to low taxation. Stimulus shouldn't just about the short-term, it should also be about credibly demonstrating the existence of good prospects for long-term growth in Canada.

    (the real reason tax cuts should be limited in scope is that, given the government's commitment to balanced budgets over the long haul, were the stimulus entirely made up of tax cuts, people would expect a tax increase in two years).

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 4:36 PM  

  • “Building roads that are not needed doesn't pass that test. Cutting taxes (income and corporate, esp.) do, and help convince business that the government remains committed to low taxation.”

    However, there are lots of infrastructure needs that have been ignored during the era of low taxes, particularly in provinces with right-wing governments.

    Report says infrastructure in Victoria is near collapse
    By Richard Watts, Times ColonistJanuary 25, 2009

    Victoria's sewer system -- including the outfall at Clover Point, above -- were marked "poor" in an engineering report.

    Presented to councillors last week, the report said Victoria's infrastructure is among the oldest of any city in Canada, some of it over a century old.

    The report suggested it would cost $20.7 million a year extend the life of some elements of the infrastructure and replace what's broken, but noted the city has budgeted only $10.4 million for the task this year.

    "We are trying to play catch-up with rehabilitation and get to the point where we can do proper maintenance and plan for replacement," said Mike Lai, an assistant director in the city's engineering department.

    Each of five types of infrastructure was graded: civic facilities and buildings were deemed fair, as was the water system, while storm drains and sanitary sewers were both marked poor. Only roads received a good grade.

    Even the Johnson Street Bridge, designed by Joseph Strauss, the same man who designed the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, is identified as nearing the end of its service life. Opened in 1924, the bridge is one of only a handful of bascule bridges -- a type of movable bridge -- left in Canada. The bridge has a number of seismic issues, said Lai, adding the city is now awaiting an engineering report on the structure.

    By Blogger JimTan, at 7:18 PM  

  • Canada will get what they almost always get-a Liberal/Tory coalition. Liberals clearly feel comfortable with the Cons leading that coalition at the moment, I suspect we will see low level hostile banter from Iggy while he rubber stamps Harper's agenda. Good luck with that Liberals..

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:49 PM  

  • Manitoba is the most left wing government in Canada and their record on infrastructure updates and maintenance is abysmal.

    By Anonymous Don M, at 10:02 PM  

  • I do not believe that Ignatieff will make the same mistake Dion made at the start of last year - prop up Harper so he can stay in office even longer.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/politics/obama-ready-to-cut-karzai-adrift-1513407.html

    Reveals what many of us Liberals were concerned about at the start of last year.

    We should not have continued our mission in Afghanistan.

    We should not prop up Harper so he can stay in office even longer.

    By Blogger MississaugaPeter, at 1:18 AM  

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