Thursday, January 29, 2009

Budget Update - Ignatieff Liberals to support Conservatives with amendments - Vote tonight

Budget Expected to Pass -

Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff has decided to support Harper's minority Conservative Party in the commons and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's budget. Asking for only amendments which holds the government accountable to parliament by providing fixed date updates (which would in themselves be confidence items) to show that the massive economic stimulus plan is feasible. The Liberal amendments and the budget vote itself go tonight so look for updates here later.

NDP leader Jack Layton has said that Ignatieff has decided to form a different coalition - a Conservative/Liberal coalition. This after the liberals have apparently backed off entirely on their previous agreement to form a coalition with the NDP and Bloc to defeat Harper's minority and assume control of pariament with their combined 62% of the electorate's votes. When first hearing of Ignatieff's appointment the Canayjun reported right here that "Iggy" would probably forsake Dion's coalition plans and prop up the Conservatives [ Coalition news and Iggy and the Rosedale Gang ]. It's reported today that the NDP have released a series of scathing ads regarding Ignatieff and the Liberals siding with the untrustworthy Conservatives.

Ignatieff has 'blinked', obviously uncertain whether the Liberals could actually win an election if a non-confidence vote were to trigger one (which it certainly would as the Liberals have apparently abandoned the coalition - it's no longer an option.)

Most of the major portions of the budget were leaked prior to it's release, so there's not much point posting that old news here. The Canayjun Canada News blog did correctly predict however, the shortcomings of one major portion - $2B dollars for social housing. That is the minority Conservatives method of having strings attached to the major budget amounts - even for the $12B in infrastructure spending - in having the provinces and municipalities match 50% of the funds released. This has proved well nigh impossible in the past, and will be even more so for cash strapped regional governments during a worldwide economic recession and huge job losses. Less people working, less tax revenue.

An overview of the proposed budget our politicians are voting on tonight is worth reading though. Check the links below and come back to the Canada News page later to read about the outcome. It's best to start with some of the brief synopsis links posted by news organizations - but by all means read the actual document form the finance department - a rather large PDF, but all the detail you need to make your own judgement instead of listening to the hype.

Budget Links Online:

Bad-times budget delivers billions

Budget Highlights

Ontario's McGuinty support feds' budget

Liberal amendments

go to vote

Tories 'fine' with Liberal demand for stimulus updates

Coalition over - Ignatieff calls for reports on budget impact

2009 Budget, or Boondoggle 101?

Text of the Budget Speech

The 2009 budget Online from the Department of Finance

It's no news the Canayjun is a strong supporter of the NDP (a viable alternative to the Harper minority regime) and I also came out in support for the coalition - did you sign the petition? But the Coalition's effectiveness came and went in December with Harper's strategy of suspending (proroguing) parliament and muzzling a democratic vote process. With the two months that has gone by now - the mood of the Canadian electorate has changed. Recent polls suggest Canadians prefer an election to a coalition. Coalition governments are a part of our democratic tradition here in Canada, the majority has a mandate to govern parliament, there is no requirement in the case of a minority government, such as the current Conservatives, to lock parliament into an ineffective partisan model. As blogged here recently - "Joe Clark's Progressive Conservative minority govt fell to non-confidence. (Joe and other leading PC's by the way did not join the Reform-Alliance-Conserative merger that spawned our minority Harper government). Ontario's minority Conservatives were defeated by a majority Liberal-NDP Coalition. Canada's political history has many ruling democratic coalitions..." But at this point it no longer seems a workable strategy because there is no guarantee of coalition - the GG (Michaelle Jean) acts on the advice of the Prime Minister - the real likelihood is that a non-confidence vote will only result in another lengthy election process. There is no clear majority leader amongst the electorate yet, with the outcome - another ineffective minority parliament. Better to let the opposition assume their important role of pressuring the ruling Conservatives in session, as the mere threat of Coalition has done this time, and establishing clear directions for Canadians to choose come the next election. It won't be a Conservative majority - did I say yet Harper has never won one?

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