[Enter political pundit armchair]
Well, the Conservative Canadian government that hijacked the country last year and essentially dissolved the government, junta-style, to avoid being ousted, has delivered a budget packed with spending designed to make them more palatable to middle of the road Canada, which usually votes centrist. This is a budget filled with opposition line items and it had to hurt chief dickwad and ultra-conservative religious nutbar Harper to approve it. It is also, of course, half economic necessity, given the times, as much as half political jockeying for power. If you’re either gullible or cynical, you might want to play with those percentages a bit. Anyway, after getting their pants pulled down by the culture vote in the last election, the wolves have decided get out their sheep costumes and try to buy a few votes back by playing nice. How nice? This is the question. Analysis seems to be confused in pinning down the amount. A good piece at the National Post (NaPo, Steven?) outlines the projects in question and puts the figure at $335M while the Ceeb, which seems increasingly a Conservative mouthpiece some days, is saying $438M. It’s funny to hear big business and conservatives congratulating the government on deficit spending when last decade they were screaming like babies at it. Another big question is how much of this will end up structural, meaning, there’s some question as to whether, given the likelihood of an extended recession, the Conservatives can ever dig us out of debt. How’s he going to reign in the tax cuts? And this is where you should look if you don’t trust their motives. I guess it doesn’t matter, so long as he gets power by playing to the suburban voters who may have been hesitant to buy his schtick last time. So, is this budget a vote-buy or a stimulus package? After months of saying don’t panic and that we were better off than everyone else in the world and that we were going to post a surplus, Harper sudddenly seems awfully ready to change his tune and spend spend spend into a huge deficit. Nearly losing power can change your perspective when you’ve got big plans for ramming right wing ideals through the moral sphincter of a centrist country. Yes, some of this money is good and overdue, but some is ill considered and ill spent (where’s the environment in here, in any sustainable way?) Tax cuts aren’t the way to go. And who gets left out? Quebec (all but ignored) and women (around equity and child care) are particularly neglected. But they don’t matter, do they, given that they’re statistically less inclined to vote for him in the first place. Perhaps there’s room in the budget for a dictionary so Harper can look up “karma”.
[Exit political pundit armchair]