Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Federal Budget Surprises

So, the Conservative government of Stephen Harper released its second budget since coming to power. Many thought they'd never see the day when Harper would even get one passed, let alone two...but from my perspective, it looks like that is exactly what will happen.

Minister of Finance, Jim Flaherty looks like a five year old who has just been told by his mommy that his etch-sketch mural is the nicest thing she's ever seen. But that aside, he certainly does have cause to celebrate if this budget does indeed pass, and from the smell of things, it likely will.

The real surprise in this budget is not the new tax free savings account (though with Canadians savings as low as they are it really is a good idea), nor is it the extra funding for police an public transit (both vote winners) but it is the lack of a bitter pill for the Liberals.

It was expected that Flaherty would throw in some sort of budget item in that the Liberals simply couldn't accept. That has not happened. It may not be the most exciting budget, and certainly the Liberals would like to see it juiced up a bit, but there is nothing particularly difficult for the Liberals here.

Perhaps Harper's government isn't so desperate for an election afterall. Perhaps it's because their economic forecast for Canada is going to be a lot more positive than was expected by many and the consequences will be that the Conservatives can claim that they avoided a world wide slow down with their fiscal management.

Again, Liberal leader Stephane Dion is the loser. The fact that the media seems to hardly be mentioning him in this debate is telling. Unless he finds some serious issues to use as a wedge against the Conservatives, he is finished.

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