Thursday, March 04, 2010

Budget Day

Yesterday's throne speech was merely the appetizer for today's banquet dinner. Throne speeches are by their very nature vague (as are opposition parties when they vaguely criticize throne speeches for being too "vague"). The main objective of a throne speech is to illustrate the government's direction, but this becomes far less important when we get them every friggin' year, and the direction seems to be "full steam ahead".

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"?



  • why on earth did we need a three month prorogation to "recalibrate"?

    I read on CalgaryGrit yesterday that the time was required to finesse the finer points of Senior's Day - I think he's right.

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 8:37 PM  

  • Well you can't ever accuse the conservatives of not having their priorities straight.

    Didn't anyone notice those hugh massive rallies in the street, demanding a "Seniors Day"

    Oh and lets not forget the hugh outcry for an anthem change.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:42 PM  

  • I think an anthem change is a nice idea... and I doubt any critics would be unhappy if the Liberals or NDP tried to do the same thing.

    While we're at it, let's toss the anthem - keep the title, get some bilingual lyrics, and have David Foster do the music. I'm there!

    By Blogger Jacques Beau Vert, at 10:18 PM  

  • if nothing has changed, why on earth did we need a three month prorogation to "recalibrate"?

    To get the chairmanship of the Senate committees.

    (Also, you made a small typo there: you wrote "three month" when you actually meant "seventeen sitting days".)

    Also, if we're going to change the anthem, I vote for going back to "The Maple Leaf Forever" (the real one, not the crappy CBC version).

    By Anonymous The Invisible Hand, at 12:34 AM  

  • Invisible Hand

    You are a freakin genius

    You sound a lot like Shadow from 308

    Tory brain trust really has to get their posters straight

    Can they not come up with anything better than you?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:46 AM  

  • Invisible Hand - OK. Why the hell did we need a 17 sitting day prorogation to recalibrate?

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 9:34 AM  

  • I don't mind a debate on changign the anthem. Personally, I couldn't care much either way.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 9:35 AM  

  • Hold on a sec: who said the Conservatives want the anthem to be changed? They've only indicated they will ask Parliament to consider the question.

    So far, the only MPs I've heard wanting it changed are from the Liberal bench, such as Anita Neville, who as critic for the Status of Women is presumed to speak for the Liberal Party on such questions as gender inclusiveness of national symbols.

    The Liberals claim the Conservatives don't include them in anything, but when a proposal meets their own demands they claim the Conservatives are stirring up trouble?

    By Blogger Paul, at 3:37 PM  

  • Invisible Hand - OK. Why the hell did we need a 17 sitting day prorogation to recalibrate?

    As I said, it was to get the chairmanship of the Senate committees. (As opposed to the Liberals' claim they were trying to avoid the detainee committee, an explanation that doesn't make any sense.)

    Anon 12:46am: I have no idea who "Shadow from 308" is, and the "Tory brain trust" has never told me to post anything.

    People like you really need to get over claiming that anyone who disagrees with you must be a "little shop of Tories" Conservative Party plant. (Kady O'Malley was especially bad about that...)

    By Anonymous The Invisible Hand, at 1:55 AM  

  • For my part every person may read this.

    By Anonymous sex shop blog, at 3:07 PM  

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