If Flaherty's budget is released on March 22nd (and the rumors indicate that this is the case) then some Canadians (not me) will be voting on May 2nd. Unless of course, an opposition party votes with the government. All the Conservatives need is one party, whether it be Liberal (not likely) the Bloc (even less so) or the NDP (plausible).
This plausibility increased Friday afternoon when Layton and Harper met behind closed doors.
CBC: NDP Leader Jack Layton outlined his party's budget wishlist to the prime minister Friday afternoon as talk in Ottawa continued to turn to whether Canadians will see a spring election.
Well this can go either way. Harper risks an election and he gets his majority or we have the exact same situation we do now minus millions of dollars and Ignatieff.
Or Flaherty's budget is tweaked to accommodate some of Layton's requests. If Layton's wishlist is fulfilled he is willing to let the corporate tax cuts slide. So let's see what old Jacky wants:
GST off home heating bills – I can see the Tory cabinet shrugging their shoulders saying "why the hell not, it's a tax deduction." I'm for it... but I'd also like to see the GST (and every other tax) abolished as well.
Restore the EcoEnergy Retrofit program – I don't see this happening. Once a program is scrapped its unlikely to rear its ugly head again under the same government. Plus, like I explained in my NDP critique, these retrofit programs are resource destructions masquerading as “energy-saving” projects.
Increase the Guaranteed Income Supplement for seniors – Fuck seniors. Sorry, but there's no polite way to put it. We've reached the point where every year more and more baby-boomers are going to eligible for entitlements like this. These are unfunded liabilities and I'm sure as hell not going to pay for the retirement of the world's richest generation. Hopefully everyone else in my generation will agree and we can have a situation like in Egypt, albeit with less violence and a better outcome. But more to the point – Harper is unlikely to go for this (then again he might).
Changes to the Canadian Pension Plan – Like the abolition of this ponzi scheme? Doubtful for both parties. I don't know the specifics of what Layton wants, but I'm sure it can be summed up as throwing money at the problem. Perhaps Flaherty's budget will throw money at the problem, but not as much as Layton was asking for. Just enough for him to vote for it.
Increase access to family doctors – That's great Layton, let's just wave a magic wand and fix our health-care issues without actually looking at the core problems. Again, I'm sure Layton's proposal is to throw money at the problem and Harper is likely to follow through on this to get the NDP vote. Not a single family will have better access to a family doctor. It amazes me that despite the obvious doctor shortage this country has, we still cling to our socialist health-care system. Hell, instead of looking at the real problems we insist that this shortage is due to unpatriotic doctors leaving for higher pay in the USA. When it comes to Canada's domestic problems a majority of us like to scapegoat the Americans.
Considering that the NDP haven't really moved in the polls, it's possible that they will avoid this million dollar fiasco by voting for Flaherty's budget.
Speaking of which, despite voter turn-out diminishing year after year, the budget for Elections Canada has skyrocketed. It has quadrupled over a decade, to be exact. $138.6 million this year, an increase of $106.6 million from twelve years ago. It's going to get worse too, an additional $30.9 million has been requested for this year, and that's without an election. The bureaucrats at Elections Canada have constantly underestimated their budget and requested more money. And to avoid any illusion of political meddling, the House and Senate always sign the check.
Goddammit I hate democracy.