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.