Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Incase You Missed It (I Did): The Budget Got Through

Stephen Harper's government lives to die another day, but how did a threat of non-confidence end up passing 211 to 91? Are we still heading for a massive federal deficit? (Image: National Post) Well, as reported by CBC, the Members of Parliament got down to business and passed a budget. After all the hubbub over the past couple of months, this seems a bit anti-climatic.

The country is still heading towards a deficit, which is projected to continue until the 2011 fiscal year (at the very least). There are plenty of spending initiative to kick-start the economy, which have been so effective in the United States. Of course there are some positive features to note...

Highlighted by the CBC in its article, perhaps the single most important change to the budget bill, is the provision that forces the Conservative government to update parliament on the progress of the budget initiatives. This provides the opposition with a chance to see what's going on, and, perhaps, ground upon which to start a non-confidence vote if the budget is mishandled.

Also of note is the movement by the NDP and Bloc to strike down this amendment when the Liberals proposed it -- though they obviously failed, the sentiment is starkly apparent. Similarly, with a few special exceptions the Liberal party supported the budget in the vote earlier today while the NDP and Blog stood their ground voting against the budget.

Now, while I'm sure there are many of you who dislike the coalition initiative -- and as hard as I try some of you may never hear any of it -- but the opposition should not split like this. In effect, the result is a Conservative Minority against a Bloc + NDP alliance with the Liberals in the middle, effectively holding the power. This is far less ideal in a democracy than a coalition government.

We'll have to watch how this plays out closely. Maybe Ignatieff will make his plans known now that this is out of the way. I find it hard to believe there is no hidden powerplay beyond what has come out today.