Budget 2007

I know most of my fellow Libloggers will classify today’s budget as everything from “a disaster” to “the end of Canada”. Personally, I’d say it’s not bad. I mean, with the Canadian economy in the shape it’s in, it’s hard to deliver a bad budget. Harper resisted the urge to go down the typical conservative route of massive upper class tax cuts, massive middle class tax cuts, massive corporate tax cuts, and military spending. It reminds me a lot of the kind of budgets Ralph Goodale delivered during the Martin months; lots of scattershot spending with no real theme and enough pre-election goodies to satisfy everyone and cut off the opposition. With that in mind, a few general comments:

1. There’s some good analysis of the budget here and here.

2. Via Wells comes this gem from Mario Dumont:

The premier called Dumont “an empty shell” last week. Now Dumont says, approximately: “Well, I say he’s a hermit crab. You know what a hermit crab is. It’s those little creatures that have no shell of their own and need somebody else’s shell to live in. Mr. Charest has no record to run on, so he has to run on Stephen Harper’s.”

The BQ supporting the budget certainly is good news for Charest who I still think can salvage a minority win.

3. Andrew Coyne was, predictably, in a bad mood calling this the most free spending budget in the history of confederation.

4. Not that Phil Fontaine is ever happy, but he certainly wasn’t happy with the budget.

5. Danny Williams waging war with Ottawa has become somewhat comical outside of Newfoundland, but I suspect there may be some repercussions for the flip-flop on equalization on the Rock. There are also some votes to be lost in Saskatchewan. That said, there are a lot more votes in Quebec and Ontario than Newfoundland and Saskatchewan, so I doubt Steve will lose much sleep over this.

6. The Liberals and NDP have both been rather ineffective at communicating why this is a bad budget. I’ve watched the coverage and read the press releases and it’s hard to get a clear message or theme as to what’s wrong with the budget from either of them. Obviously Flaherty has done a good job of not giving them anything to latch onto.

7. If Harper was going to “fix” the “fiscal imbalance” by spending in provincial jurisdictions, he should have directed more to education. The post-secondary component of this budget is a joke. More for the RESP program won’t improve access or quality to higher education for any Canadians.

8. Like I said bellow, anyone who thinks this will mean the end of the provinces asking for more from Ottawa needs to lay off the ganja.

So, when all is said and done, a very political savvy budget which won’t do much harm but won’t do anything to drastically improve the lives of Canadians either.

Posted on by CalgaryGrit in Budgets

About CalgaryGrit

A former Calgary Liberal, now living in Toronto. My writings on politics can be found at www.calgarygrit.ca and online at the National Post.

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