Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Not Appalled

The budget has left me with a "not appalled" feeling, which is I believe the desired effect. In large part, this is a budget introduced by a party governing a minority who wants the government to last at least until the next budget.

I think the only people appalled by the budget are those that believe it should have honoured Liberal and NDP election promises.

You can read the budget for yourself: Budget 2006, Focusing on Priorities.

That all said, and even though the opinion is that this budget will stand as is, I think it would be good for the Conservative Party to negotiate with the NDP to include some of NDP's priorities for a few reasons:
  • The CPC shouldn't just rely on BQ support for the budget because the last thing you want is someone to say that this budget "lacks legitimacy". By not relying on the BQ for support (who have already publicly endorsed the budget), the CPC can campaign on the fact that they represent Quebec views better than the separatists as recent polls seem to indicate.
  • The employment tax credit will cost about $1.3 billion for 2006 and $2.5 billion for 2007 - based upon Statistics Canada indicating there are 16.4 million working Canadians as of March 2006 (that figure times $77.50 and $155.00 respectively for the amounts of the credit). Since this employment tax credit was a bit of a surprise anyway, this means that there is almost $4.8 billion dollars that could be "amended" in some meaningful way (more funding for post-secondary schools, more funding for (gasp) day care spaces, aboriginal spending, etc.). Plus, that's $4.8 billion over two years, not stretched out over 5 or 10. Maybe the Cons realized this and that's why they didn't include it in the basic personal amount increase ...
  • Strategically, this would continue to demonstrate that the CPC plays a more open role in negotiating legislation than its predecessor.

An okay budget - I feel it was what it needed to be.

On another note, I feel obliged to comment on the Kelowna Accord. I'm not an aboriginal affairs expert, but I do have a somewhat general problem with new governments immediately reversing what a previous government has agreed to do, and I say that "in general" because I believe that the Kelowna Accord was negotiated with the Government of Canada, not the Liberal Party of Canada.

Commitments entered into by the "Government of Canada" should be honoured. Sometimes it's not easy to differentiate between a commitment made by the GoC and simply a partisan commitment by the governing party.

In short, the Kelowna Accord had generally a positive response by all impacted parties with largely no political win-fall for the Liberal Party (in most aspects) and the current government should have made some effort to maintain it in some form as an act of good faith - even if it was in a slightly but not significantly reduced version - until the "review" could occur.

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8 comments:

AC said...

The problem with the Kelowna Accord is it's long on wind and short on specifics. It also didn't address the needs of aboriginals living off reservations. In short it was typical of Liberal policies under Martin.

Jim said...

The problem with the Kelowna Accord is it's long on wind and short on specifics. It also didn't address the needs of aboriginals living off reservations. In short it was typical of Liberal policies under Martin.

And, that may be a fair position to take. I just think that in light of my argument that the Accord was negotiated with the Government, that it should be included in some capacity until the particulars can be worked out.

It's like booking vacation time or getting a raise from your job, then to have your boss change. The new boss says, well your raise is cancelled because I think it doesn't address the needs of the department. Your new boss may be well within his or her rights to do so, but you feel cheated, nonetheless. Going forward, your relationship with your new boss is no longer the same as it was previously.

HearHere said...

The Kelowna Accord "budget" of 5.1 BILLION over FIVE years was a one page piece of paper by Paul Martin written during the election in response to a 19 page wish list by aboriginals. There were no specifics, no programs or measures or allocations. Just a number.Just an election promise because no funds were budgeted for in spite of Martin having tabled THREE budgets in 2005.

This Kelowna "wish list" did not address the concerns of the 79% of aboriginals who live OFF reserve

There were no new funds allocated whatsoever by the Liberals.

There is an existing Aboriginal budget of $9 BILLION per year !! $9 BILLION!!!!

This new budget adds $450 million for water systems & housing on reserves, $300 million for northern & Inuit housing, $300 million for off reserve housing and also 2.2 BILLION for the residential schools settlement.

So the Aboriginals were the absolute BIGGEST WINNERS as a segment of the population in this budget. Why are they also the Biggest whiners??? Misinformation and outright lies.

In fact the Aboriginal's annual budget is MORE than the military.

Thee is another bugaboo - the Accountability Act calls for audits and the ability to dollow the money given to Aboriginals. They are fighting that. NO ACCOUNTABILITY on $9 BILLION PER YEARwith dismal results. There comes a time when enough is enough don't you think?

Trevor said...

>>The CPC shouldn't just rely on BQ support for the budget because the last thing you want is someone to say that this budget "lacks legitimacy".<<

That line got me thinking, so I did some research. The Conservatives and the Bloc together got 46.8% of the vote and 175 seats. The Liberals and the NDP together got 47.7% of the vote and 132 seats. (You could add in that the Green Party got 4.5% of the vote and have said they oppose this budget.)

I am not saying that the Conservative budget propped up by the Bloc is any less legitimate than the Liberal budgets of the past decade - they are both illegitimate in my opinion. Parties that bring in budgets almost always received less than 50% of the popular vote. (The liberals running around 40% for the last 3 majorities. The only exceptions over the last 30 years being the Liberals propped up by NDP in the last minority with 51.4% popular support, The PCs from 1984-1988 with 50.03%. So that is a grand total of 5 budgets in 30 years)

Until we have some form of proportional representation people will always be able to say that the government lacks legitimacy. Our current system works against voters from all parties (except the Bloc, which always gets more seats then their vote %: 68% of Quebec seats with 42% of Quebec votes in 2006. The Bloc has won more the half the Quebec seats in every election they have been in, despite never getting 50% of the Quebec popular vote and were the Official Opposition 1993-1997 despite finishing 4th - I repeat 4th! - in the vote count.). Prime examples include 1993. The Reform and Progressive Conservative parties won 54 seats (18%) despite receiving 35% of the popular vote. Together their 54 seats equaled the Bloc’s seat count even though the Bloc garnered 1.8 million votes to the Reform/PC’s 4.7 million. Even more to the point, if you just take the Progressive Conservatives from that 1993 election they had only 2 MPs from 2.2 million votes. That is one seat for every 1.1 million voters. But the Liberals won a seat for every 31 thousand voters. That is a shame and meant that a vote for the liberals had 35 times the value as a vote for the PCs. Unfortunately in every election this happens.

Jim said...

Hearhere said, The Kelowna Accord "budget" of 5.1 BILLION over FIVE years was a one page piece of paper by Paul Martin written during the election in response to a 19 page wish list by aboriginals.

This is not true - this was a process lasting months that included the provinces and aboriginal leaders. I think this is something Monte Solberg mentioned, but it doesn't make it true.

And, going through the rest of your response, it seems it would have been better to address in the budget, how that $9 billion would be spent. Because, despite having that huge budget, there is not enough funds to provide a safe living environment.

Aboriginals living off reserve have access to provinicially funded services that on-reserve aboriginals do not.

As to it being an election promise, how many votes did the Liberals gain with this Accord?

Jim said...

Trevor,

I was actually referring to a comment Stephen Harper made when C38 was passed. He said SSM "lacked legitimacy" because it required the BQ to pass. So, of course the parallel is, if the budget requires the BQ to pass, it may "lack legitimacy".

Your point about % of popular vote is likely valid. It's interesting to note, then, that the 2005 budget prior to the amendment had actually 69% of the popular vote (because the Cons were going to support it), whereas that support dropped when the amendment was included (52%).

Trevor said...

Jim,

Good point on the support of the Conservatives pre-ammendment.

CuriosityKilledTheCat said...

Is Harper a treaty-breaker, like Bush?

A valid question, given his giveaway with respect to NAFTA (the softwood surrender), and now his brushing aside of the Kelowna Accord, which Premier Campbell rightly calls a "moment of truth". The Premier was right: The honour of the Crown is at stake. It was at stake with the NAFTA dispute over softwood.

Does Prime Minister Harper have the same view that President Bush has as regards the duty of the head of a state to honour treaties and accords?

Or are we seeing the beginning of Harper's agreement with Bush that he, as Prime Minister, is above the law?