Thursday, March 4, 2010

Ignatieff: NO election over budget.

Why Ignatieff announces his intentions in advance is puzzling. There will be no drama to the debate now. Harper can rest easy while the BQ and the NDP can now take firm opposing conditions and vote against the budget. Ignatieff is no improvement on Dion. In fact Dion at least had a clear policy on the environment that he tried to advance. Even though it failed at least Dion showed some imagination and principled policies. Ignatieff seems to be floundering around waiting for Harper to self destruct while he props him up just as Dion did.

No election over budget: Ignatieff

CBC News
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff responds to the budget on Parliament Hill on Thursday. (Blair Gable/Reuters)
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff says his party will not trigger an election over the federal budget brought down Thursday.

While the Liberals oppose elements of the budget, Ignatieff said Canadians are in no mood to head to the polls. He said Liberals will vote against the budget but not in sufficient numbers to defeat the government.

"The key thing is that Canadians are saying to me and have been saying for a long time — and I get told things once, I don’t need to get told twice — give us an alternative."

Ignatieff said the budget includes nothing about green technologies, the demographic crisis facing pensions or youth unemployment. He said the Liberals are busy coming up with alternatives on these issues.

"When that alternative is ready, when Canadians can see a clear choice between cuts and freezes and gimmicks and an alternative that gets this economy going and really meets the challenge of growth, then, maybe, we’ll have an election.

"But remember where we are. We’ve had three or four elections in the last few years, and I got told clearly by Canadians last autumn, 'Don’t do that again.'"

In this year's budget, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty pledged to continue the stimulus measures rolled out in the last year while vowing to return to balanced books as soon as possible. The government said it will tackle the $54-billion deficit by spending less than previously projected on defence and foreign aid, closing tax loopholes, streamlining government departments and freezing budgets. Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe and NDP Leader Jack Layton have said they will not support the budget.
Layton said there is not enough in the document for job creation.

"It's a budget that actually leaves the unemployed and seniors and the other victims of this recession behind," Layton said.

Layton said instead of focusing on the unemployed, the Tories are giving billions of dollars to big banks. He also accused the government of making major cuts to the environment and housing.

"I think that there’s some seriously misguided choices in this budget and it’s not one that we’re going to be able to support."

Duceppe said he doubted the government will be able to balance the budget over the coming years, and that they should be taxing high income earners to help get out of the red.

"Having a tax on those making more money to have them helping more than those that can't help, that would be a reasonable measure," Duceppe said. "The same thing that to cut those fiscal advantages to the oil companies, three billion dollars a year. So this is just unacceptable."

Duceppe also slammed the government on the environment, saying they should stop giving fiscal advantages to the oil companies.

But Flaherty defended the budget saying the government needs to impose fiscal restraint to tackle the deficit.

"This is the smallest new-spending budget in over 10 years in Canada. I like it. It's what we needed to do," Flaherty told CBC News. "We have to make sure that we bring our country back to fiscal balance over the medium term otherwise we would have a structural deficit and I don't want to have one."

He denied NDP and Bloc accusations that the budget favoured corporations, saying that the government has closed some tax loopholes.

"There are going to be some unhappy people in some of those executive suites when they analyze this," he said.

Flaherty said the government has spent a lot of money on Employment Insurance and that the economic action plan has created 135,00 jobs so far, with 220,000 jobs in total created by the end of the next fiscal year.

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