Budget to Nowhere
If the political pundits are correct then the Harper Government has thrown out the first few planks of their election platform with yesterday’s Budget 2011 (part 1) announcement (here is a link to the Budget 2011 Speech if you want to read Mr. Flaherty’s words too). I dub it part 1, since there will be another one, if there is an election. Budgets can be fun and exciting times, and no doubt our friend Larry MacDonald has been locked up with a bunch of other folks in the budget enclave, Larry always has interesting stories from those lock ups.
So what does this Jim Flaherty’s budget do for you and me? Remember, don’t get too excited, because if there is an election and the Harper Government doesn’t get a majority or is removed from power, then we will be enduring another budget cycle again this year (if not many more). What happens with yet another minority government? Let’s not speak of such, it means more of the same kind of Government again, and I for one would love to see any Majority in power for a while (within reason).
Given all opposition parties have said they will not support this budget, don’t get very excited about any of this however, some of the highlights from the Jim Flaherty Harper Government budget include:
- A balanced budget pledge by 2015-16, this is good, stop spending money you don’t have Harper Government.
- Lots of fun little tidbits of money going around like:
- $5 Million to the Calgary Stampeded for their 100th anniversary
- $5 Million to the Grey Cup for their centennial as well
- $25 Million over 5 years for Toronto’s harbor front
- Up to a $300 Tax Credit for those caring for a “disabled” loved one (how disability is interpreted is still unclear, whether it is disabled in CRA’s eyes, or another interpretation)
- Children are now counted as active if they are taking Tuba Lessons (i.e. the Active Child credit will include the Arts as well). Hope that is Marching Tuba Lessons.
- Elimination of mandatory retirement at age 65, for federally regulated jobs. Guess that means I can now work ’til I die? Maybe that wasn’t the exact idea behind it, but it may be how things end up.
- Helping lower-income Seniors out a bit more, with a top up to their old age security payments. Can’t argue with that one, no Politician is going to say that is a bad idea, but they might say it isn’t enough.
- More money for full and part-time students in Grants and Loans? Not clear on how that might help middle class folks, but it might. If you are a Doctor or a Nurse and go work in a remote area, your loans would be forgiven too (what is remote? Scarborough? Barrie?).
A well described Hodge Podge (or Dog’s Breakfast) of bits and pieces, but a little bit for everyone, and not much for anyone, fine and dandy.
Now let the fireworks commence, will the Tories survive the week? When will a Spring Election be? Is Jack Layton ready for a campaign with his dodgy hip? Will Mr. Duceppe wear a funny hair net? Will Michael Ignatief find another way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory? Why do I keep asking questions I can’t answer?
Hold onto your hats, this Budget may be forgotten, but some of it might come back in the fall, depending on who gets into power.