The Tory Platform
With all three opposition parties ready to vote down the government, we're now almost certain to be in a campaign by the weekend. Which means today's budget becomes the de facto election platform for the Conservatives. And while it's a pretty uninspiring budget, it's a very impressive platform.
While I'm a little disappointed there's no blogging tax credit in this budget, Jim Flaherty appears to have given every single other Canadian some kind of token tax credit - something voters are sure to notice as they complete their taxes this April.
Have a sick relative? Well, there's the family caregiver tax credit, stolen from the Liberals' Family Care plan. Have a kid who plays piano? There's a tax credit for that. Are you a low income Senior? Here's an extra $12 a month.
Expecting to be mercilessly attacked on their corporate tax cuts, they've closed a corporate tax loophole. Knowing they'll be attacked on a dirty environmental record, the ecoEnergy program gets extended to much fanfare (even though it has existed for 14 years).
But surely this will anger the Tory base, n'est-ce-pas? Well, there's a tax credit for volunteer firefighters. And programs to get more doctors in rural areas.
The budget lacks direction. Nothing in it will do a lot for the economy. Most voters won't get more than a few dollars from it. But the budget is full of the kind of promises that sound good in stump speeches and look good in commercials.
Today we saw the Tory platform and, truth be told, it's an impressive document.