Earlier today there was a headline on Yahoo!’s homepage that caught my eye, “Liberals demand budget change”. What was this all about, I wondered, could we be in for some more political drama?
Sadly, no. The big budget change turns out to be the inclusion of three “detailed progress reports”, something that can be summed up as one of the most obvious ideas ever. I’m actually quite surprised that the Conservatives didn’t include something like this in the original budget, since they’re so big on accountability. Unless of course… no, no, I’m sure Harper will follow through with his budget promises, even the arts and cultures one.
Oh sure, the Liberals tried to spice things up by mentioning that they’d defeat the government if the reports show that the 2009 budget isn’t saving the economy but I wouldn’t put much faith in that, unless of course the polls show the Liberals and Iggy with a healthy lead over the Conservatives.
The inclusion of these accountability reports might be a bit of a dull move but it is a smart one. After all, who’s going to complain about forcing the government to show that a) it’s keeping its spending promises and b) those promises are doing some good? By demanding that the government show that it’s being responsible, Ignatieff himself comes off as someone responsible, someone who maybe you might want to vote for.
At the same time, the fact that in theory he could bring the down every 90 days gives him a sense of “edge”, that he’s here and ready to do battle with Harper. Sure, it’s no coalition but then that whole coalition thing was kind of scary and confusing to many Canadians. However, bringing down the government because it “lied” about how it was spending our tax dollars, that’s something people can get behind.
To be honest, I’m rather looking forward to these reports. To me, spending billions while cutting billions in tax revenue seems counter-intuitive but hey, maybe it’ll work. I just hope that these reports come with clear, digestible summaries and charts that will allow pretty much any Canadian to understand exactly what’s being spent (or cut) where. That way ordinary Canadians, and not just the politicians, can pass an educated judgement on the 2009 budget.