So that explains why we're talking about Seniors Day, volunteerism awards, and re-writing the Canadian anthem. Inspirational stuff indeed.
But budgets are not vague, and they provide a much more concrete look at a government's priorities and its focus. So what to make of today's budget?
Well, as with the throne speech, it appears to be a case of "full steam ahead". There's very little sizzle in this budget - no spending cuts, no tax hikes, no tax cuts, no surprises.
That's not necessarily a bad thing. The mood of the nation seems to be one of cautious optimism - "we're on the way out of the recession so let's not do anything rash to mess this thing up". So that's what the government did.
And politically? Well, this isn't an election budget full of popular goodies. It's an election-avoidance budget. I don't think any of the opposition parties are particularly eager for an election and, at first glance, there isn't a hint of controversy in here that will tempt them into one. Yes, the Tories have again flipped the bird at the environment, at foreign aid, at education. But I just can't see one measure in this budget that, by itself, would repulse enough voters to justify an election. Are the Liberals going to run on higher taxes or higher deficits? I doubt it.
So, on the whole, it's a bit of a snoozer. There are some welcome moves - cutting tariffs, closing tax loopholes, and at least acknowledging that innovation is, you know, important. But just as there's nothing to scream at, there's not a lot to get super excited about. And I suspect that holds true on all sides of the political spectrum.
Which begs an interesting question - if nothing has changed, why on earth did we need a three month prorogation to "recalibrate"?
Labels: Budget 2010