Monday, June 06, 2011

Rerun Season

For the first time in a long time, we have a budget that can be judged on its content, rather than its electoral implications.

So while the opportunity now exists to read the actual document without worrying about who will vote for and against it, there's not a lot to be said about it - it was basically a re-release of Flaherty's March budget with the political subsidy phase out and a promise about HST cash for Quebec thrown in. As the least surprising budget in Canadian history, it will be hard for anyone to write anything remotely insightful about it.

So I'm not going to try.

If Flaherty can recycle his budget, I can recycle my response. Here's what I wrote about the budget back in March - it still stands today, except for the part of the electoral implications:

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.

The point is, it was a platform-budget full of populist policies well suited for the pre-election landscape of the time. I obviously don't expect Jim Flaherty to re-write a budget he was just re-elected on, but starting next year, I hope we start to see more substance and a greater long term focus from Jim.

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  • As a conservative, I cannot wait until the CPC's do the conservative thing, and rid Canada of these inane tax credits... I won't hold my breath

    By Blogger James McKenzie, at 3:52 a.m.  

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