It's a terrible budget for any number of reasons, but on the surface it looks great. It's obviously intended to buy votes from the kind of people who don't examine these things past the initial "Hey, we're getting money!" part. Unfortunately, there are lots and lots of people like that, and when the worst the Opposition can say in a ten second sound bite is that the budget isn't Conservative enough... well, it just doesn't play on the six o'clock news.
So old Stevo was one happy boy. If any of the opposition parties voted against his budget, he could say "But you guys said you wanted me to spend more money on the provinces and the environment!" And if they voted for it, he could play it to make them all look like hypocrites when the next election came.
Yep. Harper had hit the ball squarely onto the green and had it lined up nicely for a birdie putt. Easy peasy.
Then his idiot caddie came along and kicked it into the rough:
Quebec tax break could blow up in Harper's face
In promising Quebecers a tax break, Charest painted a target on a federal budget that until then seemed unusually bulletproof. In a single statement the Quebec premier made Harper look like a dupe and added substance to complaints from other provinces that Conservatives have become big spenders primarily for partisan advantage.
It remains to be seen if that's enough to spare the country a spring election. But it's already taking the first blush off the budget and threatens to change Harper's image from shrewd strategist to calculating manipulator.
...Thanks to Charest and federal gamesmanship, Harper will now have a tougher time finding a sympathetic audience if his government tries to make suicide look like murder.
Excuse me while I do my little happy dance...
TEE HEE HEEEE!
TODAY'S UNSUBSTANTIATED POLITICAL PREDICTION:
When the election comes, Conservatives will be staying home in droves. Most of them won't vote Liberal because they've decided we all have horns, but they won't be able to stomach Harper's betrayals and broken promises either. So they'll decide all politicians are a bunch of lying crooks and simply not vote.
I'm pretty sure that's my Dad's plan.