Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The budget will not pass

Because it is not meant to.

This budget is an election budget and nothing more. The Conservatives have no intention of ever implementing it. They only want to run on the promises contained in it.

Stephen Harper wants an election. That is obvious and he wants it because he knows that now is the best opportunity for him to achieve his much coveted majority. If he is forced to wait until the fall or beyond he knows that his chances of winning the next election is in doubt let alone winning a majority government.

So his government produced the budget with the idea of triggering an election. He wanted the opposition to defeat it so that he could say to Canadians: "See all of these goodies that we were going to give you. Well the opposition parties just took them away so give us a majority government so that we can give them all back."

Of course, if Canadians fell for that they would find the new budget of his new government missing alot of what is in this document.

Unfortunately for Mr. Harper, the Bloc threw a monkey-wrench into his plans although it is only temporary. It is still very likely that an election will be triggered at some point this spring although Mr. Harper may find he no longer completely controls the circumstances of its triggering.

I believe this will play out in one of two ways.

1. Jean Charest wins the Quebec election. If that happens Mr. Harper will present a poison pill in the House of Commons, probably in the form of one of his more draconian crime bills and he will make any vote on it a matter of confidence. Such a bill will be completely unacceptable to the opposition parties and they will be hard pressed to accept it. If they do not then we are on our way. If they do he will continue to present poison pills until he gets the result he wants. Mr. Harper will of course blame the opposition for the election, he will blame them for taking away all of the goodies contained in the budget and he will claim yet again that the opposition is "soft on crime".

2. Andre Boisclair wins the Quebec election. If that happens the Bloc will want to take advantage of the PQ honeymoon and Mr. Duceppe will suddenly decide that the budget is not such a great deal for Quebec after all. So sometime in April when a vote on the budget comes up the Bloc will withdraw its support for it and we will again be off. Mr. Harper will still claim the opposition took away all of the goodies in the budget and campaign on that.

Either way this budget is nothing more that a bunch of promises that are meant to be used during an election campaign and Stephen Harper will be trying his damnest to make certain it is used for that purpose.


Blogger A View From The Left said...

I don't see the Bloc voting against it. They wont get that amount of money - especially with the PQ in power - offered to Quebec again.

March 21, 2007 6:51 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

It will be interesting to see how many CPC members show up for that vote.

March 21, 2007 6:54 PM  
Blogger Steve V said...

The Clean Air Act may provide another opportunity, before the budget ultimately passes. Although not the preferred file, if done while the budget is still front and center, Harper may conclude it's worth it.

I noticed toward that the Liberals may support more of the crime measures, which is interesting, because it takes away another wedge tool. Soft on crime and supporting mandatory sentences, I don't think that will fly.

March 21, 2007 7:09 PM  
Blogger Steve V said...


March 21, 2007 8:00 PM  
Blogger ottlib said...

view from left:

The Bloc's goal is separation not squeezing more money out of the Federal government. The chance to Increase their influence in the national Parliament and give their provincial brethren a boost might be considered worth it.

As well, they would just claim that the amount is not sufficient and then they could still continue to use the "fiscal imbalance" meme to advance their cause.

Robert: That might be a little too obvious. Any vote in the House would be televised live and I am certain at least one of the TV networks would do a head count and point out anyone missing from each side of the House.

Steve: I do not think the Conservatives want to be defeated on the CAA. It is widely regarded as completely useless and for them to bring it to a vote without substantial changes, calling it a confidence measure in the process, would not be the preferred way to begin their election campaign.

It would put them on the defensive out of the gate and it would take away from the budget.

March 21, 2007 9:10 PM  

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