Monday, March 19, 2007

The Federal Budget 2007: Hoo, Boy, That Don't Look Too Good

So, uhm... does anyone like this year's budget?

Being unemployed right now, lucky me, I had nothing better to do than stretch out on the couch and watch the CBC coverage of this year's budget rolling in. (My life is a thrill ride! Whoo!)

I must have missed the official announcement that the Conservatives have changed their slogan to "That's Our Canada", because Jim Flaherty busted that phrase out no less than eight times during the half of his speech that was televised. YES FLAHERTY I TOO HAVE NOTICED THAT WE LIVE IN CANADA THANK YOU

The actual budget itself is hardly a combative piece of legislation; it's the quintessential big-spending crowd-pleaser budget, with a little for everybody (unless you like tax cuts, in which case... I... don't know what to tell you) but not too much for anybody.

Well, go figure; as it turns out, you can't please everybody. When you try to throw everybody a bone, nobody gets any of the actual meat -- and Parliament is a gathering spot for hungry, angry carnivores. hay look at me everybody i am mister political pundit lol

To recap the CBC experience:

-- blah blah blah money flying everywhere blah blah blah even more money flying everywhere because Conservatives spend a lot of money for some reason blah blah blah THAT'S OUR CANADA blah blah blah THAT'S OUR CANADA blah THAT'S OUR CANADA blah blah dick THAT'S OUR CANADA blah blah THAT'S OUR CANADA THAT'S OUR CANADA THAT--

-- Jack Layton said the NDP hates the budget, and for pretty much all the reasons you would imagine the NDP would hate a budget. Act surprised.

-- Stephane Dion said the Liberals hate the budget; his English pronunciation always reminds me of Grover from Sesame Street, for some reason, but damned if he isn't as clear as possible about his stance. "It's a bad budget," he blurted out during his interview, which as far as I'm concerned is a totally awesome way of phrasing any Parliamentary discourse. He never seemed more than seconds away from blurting out "THIS BUDGET IS TRASH" and tearing the booklet apart with his teeth. (Note to Self: get elected to Parliament somehow, one day, and then do this on national television.)

-- Elizabeth May said the Green Party hates the budget; she insists that the Greens would totally force an election over this budget, if they had any say in the matter, at all, ever.

-- Gilles Duceppe said that the Bloc Quebecois can tolerate the budget, but only just enough to keep it out of Andre Boisclair's way in the upcoming Quebec provincial election. If you were playing a drinking game and took a shot every time Duceppe mentioned seperatism or sovereignty, you would not be legally capable of driving until tomorrow at the earliest.

-- Danny Williams, the Conservative Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador, hates the budget and hates it hard; this is a particularly bad sign, considering that you might expect Premiers of all people to be placated when the budget throws one and a half billion dollars at the provinces. Danny Williams, in Danny Williams fashion, was characteristically blunt -- "I wouldn't have expected an Irishman like Jimmy Flaherty to disappoint me as greatly as he did today" was his opening line, and he didn't get any nicer about it from there. (Man, people were savage about this budget today.) Then I genuinely lost count of how many times Danny Williams namedropped Saskatchewan for reasons that I only vaguely understand, unless "Newfoundland and Labrador and Saskatchewan" is the full name of his province. So, no, the Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador (and Saskatchewan) is not happy about this. Jim Flaherty claimed in his address that the days of big-battlin' between the federal and provincial governments are now over with this budget; I am forced to conclude that Jim Flaherty is a big honkin' liar.

-- The chief economist of the Bank of Montreal kind of liked the budget; the chief economist of TD Bank most certainly did not. But they're both big-bank economists, so who cares.

-- Andrew Coyne hated it, basically proclaiming it the death of fiscal conservatism in Canada; Chantal Hebert shrugged her shoulders and suggested that Harper might just want to go ahead and call the election directly if this is what he has to work with. They're from the National Post and the Toronto Star, respectively, so I've never heard of either of these people before. But they seem nice.

-- And Don Newman, the old wizard of CBC political coverage, didn't tip his hand one way or the other (journalistic integrity, and all that) -- but he did work in a "KABOOMBA!" during his analysis, so everybody had a good laugh.

The budget has the Bloc's support (because the Quebec provincial election is apparently important enough to dictate the entire sphere of Canadian federal politics; hey, who's up for another round of western alienation?), so the budget and the government are going to survive the first vote. After that, well, pfft, nobody has any idea what's going to happen at all. Canadian politics, baby! Whee!


Anonymous said...

This was the single best budget wrap-up I may have ever read.

James Howard said...

Much appreciated!

Mind you, there aren't a lot of budget telecast wrap-ups out there -- but that's probably for the best, all things considered. The idea of the annual federal budget drawing the same widespread media scrutiny as the Oscars is hilarious in my head, but it would be beaten to death quickly in actual practice.