Boiling the budget down to the number that matters most

March 2, 2010

Let’s assume the federal budget to be delivered day after tomorrow maintains, as advertised, more or less a holding pattern for 2010-11 on spending and taxes. The real news (after fun surprises) will be in whatever framework it sets for shrinking the deficit over the next few years.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper summed up the challenged yesterday this way: “We know we cannot … spend at this kind of level indefinitely.” Given the $50-billion-plus deficit Ottawa is now running, his point might sound unassailable.

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The fine art of not gloating

September 10, 2008

With Layton and Harper deciding to let the girl into the tree house after all, you’d think Dion would have rubbed it in a bit. But he didn’t. Talking to reporters in a high school library in Walkerton, Ont., Dion  merely asked allowed why they hadn’t agreed with him all along that Elizabeth May had to be let into the TV debate. “Everybody knows the Green party represents something in this country, including Madame May,” he said simply. “So it’s good news.” Hard to know how to interpret the moment. Did Dion display a dignified reluctance to gloat, or a lack of the necessary instinct for the jugular? Will Canadians ultimately view his restraint as prime-ministerial, or are voters waiting to see more fight in the man?

By the way, the Liberal tour was in Walkerton to announce $50 million for beefed up food-safety inspections. Poor little town: it’s name our national shorthand for ingested death.

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September 10, 2008

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