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One quick question about this infrastructure spending..

I see that the Conservatives are going to spend 12 billion $ on infrastructure projects, conditional upon the provinces and the municipalities coming up with 9 billion$ of their own before the upgrades will get started.

My question is: where do the Conservatives think their “partners” -and I’m thinking here in particular of the municipalities – are going to get these extra billions of dollars? It seems to me like a throw-away part of this Budget, where they won’t spend on any of these projects because the other levels of government didn’t have the money. They’ll just shrug their shoulders and say “oh well – they didn’t meet the conditions”.

I’m still reserving judgment, but at this point, from what I’ve seen, I’m inclined to urge Ignatieff and the Liberals to reject this, and put it in the Governor-General’s hands of choosing the coalition option or if necessary, an election.

What may ultimately stop the Liberals is not their distaste of this Budget, but the fact they may not want to take a chance of Jean acceding to Harper’s request for new elections, if they were to vote this down. If the G-G were to refuse the coalition option and go to an election instead, I’d say so be it, but I know others in the LPC don’t agree.

UPDATE, courtesy of Azerb: The Progressive Economics Forum pokes holes in the budget:

Unfortunately, the budget doesn’t include any measures to increase access to Employment Insurance (which only 40% of the unemployed now receive) or EI benefit levels, nothing to strengthen public pensions, no funding for a national anti-poverty plan, and no significant increased investments in social needs such as early learning and childcare, social services or health care. At the same time, ignoring the advice of virtually every economist in the country, the Harper government is charging ahead with broad-based personal income tax cuts that will cost about $2 billion a year and provide the greatest benefit to those with the highest incomes. Hidden, but still included in this budget are the cuts to transfers, controls on program spending, weakening pay equity for federal employees and the privatization plans announced in Harper’s disastrous November Economic and Fiscal Update.

Is that number large enough of a tax cut to get Iggy and company to reject this, along with its other deficiencies as mentioned? Tune in tomorrow morning at 11 am.

UPDATE 2 @ 6:32pm: On the plus side (if true) Andrew Coyne thinks this Budget marks the end of Conservatism in Canada as we know it.

UPDATE 3: Heh. Another prominent conservative Gerry Nicholls, is now officially yearning for the return of Jean Chretien. And I now see James has done another update of another Blogging Tory officially condemning this Budget. So we have a situation developing here where the progressive Left thinks many of the stimulus is going about it the wrong way with too many caveats and of course, too much tax cuts, while the fiscal Milton Friedman/Ann Rynd wing of the Conservative Party are recoiling in horror at the whole exercise.

I half-expect Stephen Taylor to come out with a post entitled, “the ends justify the means” in order to calm down the developing riot/revolt over at Blogging Tory central.

6 comments to One quick question about this infrastructure spending..

  • Roll Tide

    @Mike

    I remember Bob Rae first few years very well. I own a small business, Rae handed out money that my competitors gleefully took and spent on Florida vacations.

  • What a terrible, horrendous waste of money.

    Iggy should defeat it and bring in a better one – this makes the coalition look endearing by comparison.

    Of course, the irony is, a “better” one would be one with either of these two:

    1) No tax cuts, but spending cuts and closed tax loopholes to prevent a deficit.

    2) Tax cuts but with even more spending cuts, in order to prevent a deficit and put more money back in Canadian’s pockets.

    1) is the normal Liberal model

    2) is a true Bill Davis fiscal conservative model.

    Instead we have increased spending, tax cuts and a deficit the biggest in Canadian history, which will balloon our debt and have dubious effect on the economy.

    Stephen Harper 2009 imitating Bob Rae 1991.

    Terrible. The Conservatives need to be defeated before the bankrupt the country.

  • Roll Tide

    This budget, aside from the tax cuts, is Liberal lite.
    The Liberals will pass it Scott. They cannot risk an election, or a coalition with Separatists, it would be a disaster.

  • WG, it’s tempting to let Harper “wear” this terrible economy he’s leading us further into, but I think you’re right that it’s better if Iggy stands up to the abuse now, and finds a way to stave off defeat in coming elections (assuming he finds a more competent finance minister than Harper has).

  • They only increased the personal exemption to just over $10,000. What do they think, that students with summer jobs, and poor people living on minimum wage can afford to pay any income tax?

  • This is an ugly budget… and WILL NOT help the situation much – the inducements to buy homes may in fact make it worse! Unfortunately, it has been sugar-coated with enough tax cuts to the middle class and to those who control the media in this country, that it may just “pass” the “public test” Harper likes to run. The feigned interest in showing they were “listening” to other parties is a joke too. They didn’t sit down with anyone.

    With something THIS important, I’m thinking these guys really honestly don’t have a clue… not just ideologically driven, but don’t have a clue at all. If we defeat them, let’s make it QUICK, so we don’t let them go around the country selling it.

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