Gerry Nicholls writes that this budget “makes me yearn for the days when we had relatively fiscally conservative leaders, like Jean Chretien.” I wish I could argue with that. (This guy’s gloating is surprisingly restrained, probably because his leader will likely vote for this spendthrift budget.)
After months of speculation, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty on Tuesday tabled a federal budget that is big on income tax cuts and even bigger on deficits.
Flaherty’s spending plan includes $40 billion in economic stimulus over the next two years in the form of infrastructure spending and tax cuts.
The budget comes at a massive cost — $85 billion in deficit over the next five years. The deficit in the 2009-2010 fiscal year will be a shade under $34 billion.
The budget is remarkably different than any other one proposed by the Conservatives under Prime Minister Stephen Harper — with massive government spending on everything from roads, social housing to the arts.
“We must do what it takes to keep our economy moving, and to protect Canadians in this extraordinary time,” Flaherty said. “Making new investments is more challenging in such a time; but it is also more necessary than ever.”
Both the NDP and the Bloc Quebecois have stated that they will be voting against the budget. In order for it to pass, the support of the Liberals is needed.
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff said that he will not make a decision immediately on whether to support his budget. He will meet with his caucus and is expected to announce his decision Wednesday. Pundits have noted that much of the budget does seem to meet the requirements for his support Ignatieff put forth over the last month.
I’ll give the last word to a CTV.ca commenter: “when times were tough in our family, we always went on a big spending spree. It’s always a joy writing bad cheques. Makes one feel all fuzzy and warm inside.”