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A missed chance to build toward Canada's future

From Wednesday's Globe and Mail

There is no single great, stirring national project in this budget, no compelling direction ...Read the full article

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  1. G Finn from Canada writes: Tory times are TOUGH TIMES.
  2. Desmond Whitton from Canada writes: The Conservatives have no idea where to take the country; no broad and ambitious vision for the country's future; thus this "everything but the kitchen sink" budget.
  3. JT Sekouli from Canada writes: The CPC thinks like a 20th century party in the 21st century world we live in. They only know how to play partisan games in order to appease the rich and fool the poor into believing that their politics are best for them (a total fallacy). This country needs nation building and vision during tough times like these and unfortunately we have a party in charge that is ruining our country and spending our hard earned money without any plan. The hubris of Harper is intolerable. It is time for a change. Bring on Ignatieff for PM.
  4. on the Plateau from Montréal, Canada writes: The Globe and Mail endorsed these folks for two elections in a row, chapeau!
  5. warren standerwick from North Vancouver, Canada writes: What direction is the government taking us in? Every direction. It is meant to address macroeconomic problems, but it is determinedly micro in its partisan aims

    I give this summary an A
  6. Josiah Smith from Japan writes: A big chunk reason why the Canadian economy is dropping like a stone right now is because we're all focused on selling goods, materials, and services to the States, same as many other countries around the globe.

    We, China, and Japan are hurting badly because the US can't buy our stuff anymore, and until we get off our dependence on one country to be the prime generator of our economy. We've really got to re-think how we do business before our businesses can do well again.
  7. Jeffrey Poulin from Calgary, Canada writes: Whatever happened to Harper's new naval seaport in the Arctic? It was never intended to happen.

    Why don't the Tories start thinking about a national dream? Because they can't. They are bereft of creative energy.

    Howzabout this? Revive the Arrow LOL.

    In one fell swoop they ruined our aerospace industry for generations. Now they are going to spend us into ten years of deficits to create a nation of home renovators.

    Zero leadership. Reactionaries of the worst order.

  8. Let me tell You How It Is from United States writes: "There is no single great, stirring national project in this budget, no compelling direction. "
    /
    /
    Such as? How about some ideas editorial board? What a whining, complaining condescending editorial.
  9. Jim Bo from Canada writes: It is a disconnected budget that lent itself well to being released in little snippets of leaks over the last few days. The medium is the message.
  10. Seasoned Warrior from Been down so long it looks like up to me, Canada writes: There is no budget on heaven or earth that would satisfy everyone. There is no budget that would satisfy Jack Layton - even if all $64 billion was turned over to him to spend as he sees fit. Because all this carping isn't about the budget at all. It is nothing more than sour grapes from people who simply won't accept the results of the last election, who won't accept the face that this is the government that the voters elected. If Ignatieff doesn't support the budget (which I doubt), the gg has the option to call an election. If that happens, I believe the voters will certainly punish the opposition parties by giving the tories a majority and sending Jack Layton to a well-deserved oblivion. Ignatieff's turn will come - but it isn't his time yet.
  11. Victorian Canuck from Japan writes: A good editorial. I completely agree.

    The lack of vision in recent Canadian politics will seriously deteriorate the country unless someone jumps in soon.

    In my opinion, this is a result of neo-liberal economic policies (AKA globalization). We have to wait for the Yanks (and other economic powers) to make a move before we act ourselves. This has turned the government into "money managers" rather than "visionaries." Ironically the only party leader with a vision is Duccepe.
  12. Seasoned Warrior from Been down so long it looks like up to me, Canada writes: Victorian Canuck - get real! The only vision Duceppe has is getting more transfer payments for Quebec and enjoying being the puppeteer in Jack Layton's coalition.
  13. J D from Canada writes: Yeah, we need a great uniting project. How about sending a Canadian to the moon? Or a permanent sea station under the arctic sea?

    Forget the economy and let's build a future on false dreams. Get real. This weak critique is below the Globe.
  14. West Coast Not West from Canada writes: After the opposition kicked him in the shins for being such a partisan twit, it looks like Harper has lost the will to govern.
  15. Western Clods from Vancouver, Canada writes:

    Victorian Canuck pretty much has it right.

    The tories lack statespeople right now. They're mired down with a caucus of mediocre middle management "yes" men. The only answer they have to situations like the recession is "let's do what the states did, except smaller". Instead of investing in something our children will be proud of (they're the ones paying for this, after all), they've essentially flushed $40 billion down the drain so a few people will still have a construction job for another year or two.

    It's sad, but it seems to be all we can expect from a government where over 40% of their MPs don't even have a basic university degree. If there was ever a time to have educated, intelligent people in charge, it's now.
  16. Pierre-Yves P from Canada writes:
    You are absolutely right: this budget sucks. Iggy should refuse defeat it, and we should get back to the polls a.s.a.p.
  17. MSV . from Toronto, Canada writes: big national projects and national pride go hand in hand. both have been sorely lacking in canada for far too long. where are exciting promises of national high-speed rail networks, massive investments in renewable energy, or major commitments to health research? canada can be a leader in all of these fields yet we are content to stand idly by waiting for our cue from the united states.
  18. No Hoar Like An Old Hoar from If I had known I would get caught I never would have done it, Canada writes: ... total federal spending rising to a crescendo of $294-billion in fiscal 2013-14.

    That's insane. Why in God's name are they blasting money five years into the future to deal with a recession that's happening now? I really never believed they were capable of this level of blithering folly.
  19. Seasoned Warrior from Been down so long it looks like up to me, Canada writes: By all means let's delay doing anything about the economic situation while we have an election. During that election campaign we will get a good look at the budget plans from the Liberals, the Bloc and the NDP. I am sure there's will be abolutely wonderful and will please everyone. It will be a tough choice deciding whether to vote for Michael, Gilles or Jack. I really love Jack's idea of providing government subsidies to families earning up to $188,000 a year. I am sure the people on minimum wage and those losing their jobs love that idea too. And let's make sure every auto worker keeps their job. It doesn't matter if no one is buying the cars because we have lots of space in this country to park them.
  20. JT Sekouli from Canada writes:
    Seasoned Warrior wrote:

    "There is no budget on heaven or earth that would satisfy everyone"

    ______________________________________________________

    This is true, but the point is we need a group of visionaries that can lead us beyond our collective abyss and bring us to the forefront of a new economy and a new canada. I think the tide will turn for the better as soon as we replace Harper. We need a vision fast and one that would use this money for the betterment of Canada - not just for political appeasement.
  21. Saskatchewan Free and Strong from Mongolia writes: A poor editorial. It don't matter what government is in power, and what budget is proposed.......someone always finds something to pick apart.
  22. Seasoned Warrior from Been down so long it looks like up to me, Canada writes: How about Jack Layton's vision. With his promise of $5000 a year per child, we could encourage all the women in Canada to get pregnant in 2009. That's it - make 2l009 the year you get knocked up!
  23. Seasoned Warrior from Been down so long it looks like up to me, Canada writes: Anyone remember Pierre Trudeau's vision - for a just society. Are we there yet?
  24. R. M. from Regina, Canada writes: What does the G&M want? What grand project do they have in mind? Another national railyway? Extend the St. Laurence to Winnipeg? Blast a new pathway through the Rockies?
  25. David Simon from Canada writes: This budget is supposed to beat the recession-not to create a 'stirring national project'. Nobody campained on such a platform (except for Dion-and he lost).
  26. reality man from Canada writes: "The government forecasts $80-billion in debt, but what will we have to show for it when the economy does recover, beyond debt itself? The government had the opportunity to take the global economic crisis and turn it into an opportunity to do more than throw public funds around. In that, it has fallen short."

    Of course! Stephen Harper has no vision except winning majority. While Obama is talking of using the package to transform the American economy and to move it into a sustainable green direction that will create a new generation of jobs Harper just concentrates on winning votes and propping up the oil industry. Stephen Harper has very limited imagination and intelligence. He is simply a failure, the worst prime minister in Canadian history and the last vestige of George W. Bush.
  27. Ryan Ginger from Canada writes: The point raised earlier about the Arctic is right on target. This government stumbles from one crisis to another, they don't know where they're going, really. One day, we're told we have to "use it or lose it" in the north; the next day, the economic sky is falling. I bet the Tories are going to "go green" when it suits them too, right?

    Tough economic times are no reason to not have a vision. Let's start thinking big about Canada again.
  28. Mr Bright from Canada writes: Tlhis is not a Tory budget, rather a Liberal budget under Tory guise.
    The deficit's to help fortify future infrastructure, aid communities, and build our educational and technical institutes. Now where have I heard that? Harper? No. Chretien. I've that from him. Mulroney? Even way back then. Trudeau? Even when he was in power the same soundings.
    What do we have to show for it? Larger debt and same problems as before. Politicians, whatever their political stripe, haven't changed their tune or their behavior.

    Dear Ontario Tories, don't think that the est. $300 - $500 savings to benefit Middle-class households will start a spending spree -- it'll barely cover your monthly Rogers cable bill and heating for the household. All Flaherty has done is to delay your savings until you fill out your 2009 income tax form. Meanwhile your mailboxes will be stuffed with plenty of fliers proclaiming how well you've done under the Tory umbrella.

    That is -- if you're still working this week or the next.

    Yesterday's news: 70k were laid off in the States.

    Big things, bad things, are still happening.

    Bright
  29. True Canadian from Canada writes: I am disappointed. If you are an auto worker laid off in Ontario, the extra 5 weeks EI won't help much. It's not enough. Obama is gearing his recovery plans towards developing new green technology. We are going to spend 50 million. How will we compete. The matching funds sounds great for opera theatres and other projects but not now. Montreal, alone, has 700 projects that need immediate attention. There's no way the municipal government can come up with half the money. I hope that Iggy offers an alternate budget and if Harper refuses to change the budget, we should have an election.
  30. Trillian Rand from Canada writes: A good article that not only correctly sums up the current budget, but the current crop of politicians that we are supporting.

    All to often politicians react to situations, whether because they are unable to see what is needed or because doing nothing is a surer way of keeping votes than making mistakes. And we accept this mediocrity.

    Elected politicians are our employees. They should have the skills to not only keep the country running, but to make it better, yet all too often we find we have elected caretakers rather than visionaries. Yes, we need to repair what we have, but we also need to look to the future and start building now what future generations will need. To do otherwise is to callously disregard the welfare of our own children and grandchildren.

    Not only do many politicians lack imagination or foresight, they sometimes seem to want to prevent it in others. We are a rich nation. We are better off in this time of recession than almost anyone else. We should take this opportunity to put ourselves at the forefront of technological innovation, not look to what others are doing before even thinking of acting.

    How often has Mr Harper said it is time for Canada to take it's place on the world stage? This budget could have been his opportunity. Could have been.

    It might be argued that no government action will get us out of this situation, that all that needs to be done is to give the appearance of doing something. Perhaps we will one day wake up and want to spend more than we earn - and will. When that day comes, will we look back on today and wonder, "What if?"
  31. Larry Hallatt from Canada writes: This budget is a disaster lmany suggest no vision for building a modern society for the future, no great investment in making the country efficient or building new technology based industry and employment. Where are the apprenticeship and internship jobs. General training is useless and too many University and College programs are designed for old buggy whip industry. Forget the autio sector....create a fast European style train system Windsor to Quebec City running down the centre of the 401 and autoroute 40.? Where is the biotechnology investment National research Council monies to find medical cures to cut our huge pharmaceutical and medical costs?. Where are programs to fast track and license our immigrants who have skills?. As several have said, where is the support to diversify trade away from a US dependent branch plant economy? We need programs to build our SME and have them export beyond North America. Where is our International Marketing programs? Canada should build trade centres to display Canadian products and establish 10 international distribuyion hubs where SME can ship product and have it available for purchase in foreign non US markets. None of the Five Federal Parties have any National dream or plan. They all are bankrupt and the greedy arrogant politicians strive for personal power. Who serves the Nation....we can't see any of these 5 Party leaders serving Canada.
  32. P Martin from St. John's, Canada writes: This "budget" was pathetic. It shows, yet again, how incapable Harper is to lead this country. The sooner he is gone the better.
  33. Lucien Ngenda from toronto, writes: Like I said before, and I will say it again. We have elected a PM that only qualifies to be an Alberta minister of OIL drillers. Who should Canadian blame for this mess? Themselves. I mean all of us. Starting from G&M.
  34. Barbara Popel from Ottawa, Canada writes: Good commentary.
    One minor mistake, though. The source of the phrase "a preferential option for the poor" is the Catholic church, not "left wingers in the 1970s and 1980s".
  35. D JL from Canada writes: Reality is that the Canadian economy is not going to recover until

    1. The rest of the world starts buying raw materials.
    2. The USofA starts buying cars again. (why didn't GM Canada want the Can. Gov money???)

    The Canadian Gov. cannot get us out of this hole without the rest of the world. But we do have to support the rest of the world in the spending aspect.
  36. steve allan from Canada writes: I share most of the views expressed in this editorial. The editorial board did a good job of summing up the confusing nature of this budget.

    More should have been done on the green front and EI benefits should have been extended for workers facing hardships. After watching the CBC National news tonight and seeing that poor couple in Wallaceburg, Ontario where both spouses lost their jobs and the husband suffered serious health issues, it's hard to argue against extending EI benefits, particularly when they are both on the verge of losing their benefits.

    Having said this I agree the Tories did just enough to hold on to power, but this budget remains very weak on ideas.
  37. siren call from Canada writes: I agree with the general thrust of this article.

    Harper had a vision, an arctic vision as others have pointed out.
    Use it or lose it was the crass cry and while that was cringe inducing, at least Harper was moving on a northern project of importance.

    Today, Flaherty used the same slogan:

    TORONTO, Jan 27 (Reuters) - Canadian Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said on Tuesday that billions in budgeted infrastructure spending will be "use it or lose it" money that provinces and municipalities will lose if they do not spend.

    "This isn't money that's going to roll over year after year," Flaherty said in a television interview. The Conservative budget included about C$12 billion in infrastructure spending.

    Flaherty also said the Conservatives are prepared to fight an election if the opposition Liberals vote against the budget and bring down the government. With less than 50 percent of seats in the House of Commons, the Conservatives need the support of at least one opposition party. (Reporting by Cameron French; editing by Rob Wilson).
    ................................

    And that, my friends, is Canada's time on the international stage.
  38. barb johnston from Calgary, Canada writes: Most economists agree that the government needs to spend in order to reinvigorate the economy, but what do the Conservatives think they are doing? They have pandered to every conceivable interest group, with no plan to help people who are unemployed or whose life savings are at risk. It will be truly shocking if this incoherent orgy of spending does anything to help people, like the 71000 people who lost their jobs in November, the month of Flaherty's infamous economic update.
  39. Keating Gun from Canada writes: A $2,000 per Canadian and $8,000 per four-person household, the budget is an expensive version of the same old same old. For example, $2B is enough money to fund needed low-cost housing in perpetuity while returning the whole $2B to government in just a few years, while perpetual funding rolls forward on its own. However the government chose to "fund" broken down housing which could easily have been sold or refinanced for repairs and then competently run going forward with reserve funds. In the budget plan, no money comes back. Nothing is created but future liabilities and a few, very few, housing units. Speculators, broken down boarding houses and slums can all remain and continue to rake in money for needless misery, with the money mostly from government transfers (the taxpayer).
  40. Apu Nahasapeemapetilon from Vancouver, Canada writes: G Finn from Canada writes: Tory times are TOUGH TIMES.

    Do you remember the early 1980's under PET? Double digit unemployment, double digit inflation, interest rates over 20%; massive deficits and a growing debt. Liberal times are TOUGH TIMES!
  41. Randy McClure from Canada writes: Well, the current brand of reform conservatives simply don't think the federal government has any role in the country other than defence, customs, international trade, foreign relations and criminal law. Even that last point is dicey, given attempts to re-write the criminal code to allow provinces to determine their own sentencing standards (this was cancelled) which would have led to variable rights -- and the effective destruction of the country (thank you Truydeau, your Charter has saved our bacon several times now since the cons have re-united). These guys are provincialists and see the country as a loose confederation of semi-autonomous provinces. Harper himself has expressed admiration for the Belgian model with a very weak central government and squabling linguistically separate regions. This direction would lead to our ruin. At the very least it would lead to a dogs breakfast of a country. One not worth defending, or living in. It's time to take back more power for the central government, but in a fair way -- by adopting proportional representation which would lead to good regional representation by whichever party wins. All parties but the Bloc are national parties with significant numbers of votes in all provinces and would therefore win significant seats in every province and region -- even the Greens, but our first past the post system gives the illusion that everyone in Saskatchewan and Alberta is conservative and everyone in Newfoundland is Liberal and that quebec is dominated by separatists when the combined federalist vote is almost 60% in la belle province. Our system produces phony governments and therefore lies to us all. Change the way we vote and you will change the country. Right now we're living a lie.
  42. steve allan from Canada writes: -----------Apu Nahasapeemapetilon from Vancouver, Canada writes: G Finn from Canada writes: Tory times are TOUGH TIMES.

    Do you remember the early 1980's under PET? Double digit unemployment, double digit inflation, interest rates over 20%; massive deficits and a growing debt. Liberal times are TOUGH TIMES! ----------

    Yes I remember it very well, probably better than you. Those problems were brought to us by Reagan and his crazy attempt at crushing inflation at any cost. It had nothing to do with Trudeau.
  43. Anton Norbert from Brampton, Canada writes: Hurrah for the G&M for you recommended the party didn't you.

    Thank you Paul Martin for your insight in protecting our banks. You are the real HERO.
  44. white wolf from Canada writes: the government is a minority with very little vote support has presented a budget that will set Canada back a decade

    they should all be arrested or fired for such irrresponsible actions for this country and the same for the oppositon for allowing it to continue
  45. Bobby Dy from Canada writes: I just made similar statements about the research granting councils on another thread. However, it is even more incompetent than what is highlighted in the article. They increased funds for training graduate students in research but, as stated in the article, the budget highlights SAVINGS from the CIHR and NSERC. That means, more students but nothing for them to work on so no actual training. Stupidity in the extreme. Then, there is the fact that the model that India and China are following is the proven road to prosperity. Governments that invest in research create societies with higher standards of living. This government has absolutely no capacity to understand this relationship at all. Because of this, not only did this government not create a budget that places us in a strong position in the future, it is completely incapable of doing so because of ideological rigidity. The government needs to fall.
  46. Kenneth Yurchuk from Canada writes: There are three key points that will not allow me to support this budget:

    1) Failure to restructure EI, leaving tens of thousands of unemployed workers ineligible for EI benefits. Extending the benefit period by five weeks is OK as far as it goes but the budget does not truly deal with the structural inequities in the system.

    2) Permanent tax cuts = permanent structural deficit. The government has hamstrung itself by reducing revenues to the point that it's la la land prediction of a return to surplus in five years is a fantasy that would leave Stephen King gasping.

    3) Much of the infrastructure spending will require provincial and municipal contributions. The provinces may be able to cover their nut, but many municipalities are already running on fumes. This may prevent much of this money flowing any time soon, much like the much ballyhooed, but in practice, unspent 33 billion infrastructure fund from previous budgets.
  47. C K from Vancouver, Canada writes: My views on this are as follows. In economic terms, if the aim is to spark aggregate demand, then it really does not matter how folks get the money. What was Friedman's comment on solving deflation: drop cash out of helicopters, or something to that effect? The country is just as much in debt no matter how the money is frittered away, on a dozen petty items or a "national vision". In political terms, this budget is a classic result of minority government, party A using taxpayer money to - in effect -- purchase parties B, C and D's support. The implicit idea in the editorial that this budget is solely Conservative work ignores a) the past 8 weeks in the House of Commons, and b) the current political bargaining solution.

    Of course as true fiscal Conservative (about one of perhaps a dozen in this statist debacle of a country), I'd have much preferred Harper to have brought in a bone dry Thatcherite document in the very first instance in November, slashing personal income taxe etc, and at least have his government fall with it's principles intact. And if Dion and Jack wanted to be in charge while this economic storm rolled through, fine... let them be in charge and bear the consequent effects (which will not be good).

    The latter is all wishful thinking on part because these jokers are not really Conservatives; they are social conservative, provincial-rights, populists. (Canadian left-wingers need to get this straight: the next time we have a Conservative PM and government in this country, it will be the first time. You folks have no right to complain: fiscal Conservatives are the one's that are disenfranshised in Canada.) I digress...
  48. Tom Abraham from nelson BC, Canada writes: According to the CBC, the house of commons sat for a total of 5 days between June 2008 and yesterday. This was due to the summer break, the illegal election called by Harper, and Harper's prorogue. 5 DAYS!! Imagine the budget that could have been created had some serious debate occurred during the most crucial economic period of the last 50 years. Instead of ridiculous partisan posturing and vitriolic opposition bashing, they could have been working on a plan to bring Canada into the new economy, turn ourselves into competitors instead of also-rans. Now we have a budget designed purely to keep Harper's bunch in office. What a total waste. The (not) conservatives deserve to be returned to the backwoods of Alberta for the utter lack of vision and care they exhibit for Canada. Even though the coalition is not an ideal situation - I thank the participants for forcing the (not) conservatives show their true colours. Canadians can do so much better.
  49. C K from Vancouver, Canada writes: Tom Abraham from nelson BC: the most crucial economic period in the last 50 years. Give me a break: go online and check unemployment figures and interest rates. This is not the Great Depression, this is not stagflation and oil shocks... In fact, the Canadian situation -- our banking sector and (until today) our public sector debt situation -- were far better than almost any OECD country. Naturally, a contraction of the American economy will hurt us, and the fall in commodities prices will too. However, it is not an unreasonable argument given the fundamental soundness of the Canadian economy to say that the best course of action was to do nothing. (Indeed, it is also arguable - and perhaps only slightly less reasonable - to suggest that we might all be better off if Parliament were prorogued 365 days a year.) Remember the medical dictum: above all, do no harm.
  50. Mike Keith from Saskatoon, Canada writes: There are a few well thought out components of the budget, but like most of the conservative views it does lack long term vision and ignores science and the environment. Hopefully the opposition will propose some reasonable changes and the money will start to flow. I'm also disappointed that there is such a demand on small municipalities to partially fund projects.
  51. Mickey Hickey from Toronto, Canada writes: Catering to the base again. The base does not understand visionaries they do understand tax cuts. $20 billion personal income tax cuts of which approx 10% or $2 billion be the effective stimulative effect. $18 billion added to the deficit for nothing. $12 billion for equipment and vehicle financing adds very little stimulation, largely wasted and more debt to be paid by the taxpayers. The portion going to infrastructure is not enough to keep the country from sliding further into the doldrums. The Conservatives are quite simply incapable of direct spending on projects that will benefit the country in the medium to long term. Infrastructure spending has a multiplier effect of 1.4 nothing else comes close. An added benefit is that the gov't has complete control over the amount, timing and what project to fund. Funneling money through banks, corporations, individuals dilutes the effectiveness of the funds spent. The banks make foreign acquisitions, the corporations and consumers spend on products from abroad or simply stuff it in the bank. The Calgary school of economics has failed us in that it produced a Master that is not masterful.
  52. T N from Canada writes: I believe, if the Conservatives were given a majority in the last election, we would have seen more 'vision' in this budget. Reality is, a minority government must appease the opposition and this budget accomplishes that. This is as left a budget as you will see from the right. Making those dollars help as many as possible as quick as possible was the obvious goal. In a couple of years we will see how it pan outs. I don't mind this budget.
  53. Truly Disgusted from Calgary, Canada writes: Birdshot budget - lacking any real direction.

    Designed to keep the Cons in power no matter that most of the content goes against their core beliefs. This budget also covers up the fact that there would have been a huge deficit without any of this new stimulus due to their bumbling management and misguided cut to the GST (rather than income tax cuts).

    The one Cons principle that they seem to stick to is giving back more to people's pockets - and making sure future governments are smaller (or less services - Libertarian-ism) since they will have less revenue regardless of the economic conditions.
  54. a b from Toronto, Canada writes: Everyone who voted for the Conservatives or was anti-Coalition should quit their whining -- this is exactly what you voted for directly or indirectly. If you wanted a vision, you should've voted for the Liberals and their Green shift.
    Of course the Conservatives don't have a plan -- THEY NEVER DID. And the other parties warned everyone about that. They never had one on their website until the debates pushed them into it. And it was just like this budget -- all over the place without a vision.
    But we voted them in anyhow.

    Hope I'm wrong but I think Ignatieff will back it. He has to. His party is broke.
    This going away to 'think about it' is just to save face I think.
  55. T N from Canada writes: That's it a b. I think a recession is the perfect time for green shift taxes. What?!
  56. Louis Rastelli from Montreal, Canada writes: Overall a good editorial, but more generous to the Conservatives than need be. The cynicism of this budget is hard to overstate.
    It's not hard to be jealous of the States' new direction when our government is still spending more time on political and ideological calculations than on governing, even during the worst crises.
    It's also not hard to envy Ignatieff, knowing what came of others who tried to stick to the high ground in the face of Harper's strategizing.
  57. Paddy O'Lantern from Hillsburgh, Canada writes: So you want a big national project, but didn't get one.

    Good!

    Successive governments at all levels have ignored basic maintenance for decades.

    Let's get the things we have repaired, replaced or expanded before we build monuments to our own short-sightedness.
  58. Sylvia Wilson from Canada writes: Canada has produced its share of Nobel-winning scientists. Google using the words, Canada leading scientists and read the linking hits:

    http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&q=Canada leading scientists&btnG=Search&meta=

    Why isn't there funding in this budget that encourages them?
  59. Robin Hannah from Canada writes: Oh my god, all these quivering hatreds.

    This is Canada, right?
  60. a b from Toronto, Canada writes: T N : I'm not saying the Liberal Green Shift way was the way to go. But all of a sudden everyone's crying for some kind of forward thinking vision/plan. The Conservatives never had one. So why would they have one now?
  61. Larry Hallatt from Canada writes: Tonight on the Comedy program Jon Stewart he said something completely outside the box as a passing joke, but it makes complete sense when you analyze it. He said instead of giving the banks two trillion dollars in bailout money and expect a trickle down affect..... money should be given to main street instead eliminating most debt. Banks would become flush with cash and the credit crisis would end.....through a trickle up effect. Think about it 2 trillion dollars $2,000,000,000,000 With two trillion, it is possible to give 200 million US citizens each $10,000 and have them pay down their debts load. That means 2 out of three people in the US would get money....almost everyone over the age of 10. 200,000,000 each getting $10,000 In some families (who have five ) that would be $50,000 Alternatively, the lowest 20 million families in the US could be given $100,000 each to reduce their debt load. 20,000,000 families each getting $100,000 They could pay down home mortgages, car loans, student loans, credit card loans, store credit................the money would flow back to businesses and banks in huge gobs and the vaults would be over flowing and they would need to make loans....since money under the mattress or in the cash draw is useless and earns nothing. The depression/recession would be over in a month. Sometimes a simple idea makes all the sense in the world. People with low debt, then tend to buy new things...stimulating purchases and the economy......
  62. Chris E. from Canada writes: Nobody should pretend that the Canadian economy will tun around if the world starts buying raw materials.

    Few Canadians are needed to work in the resource harvesting sector, and the money won't trickle down. The paper plants, smelters, canneries, and refineries were where the jobs were, and they're gone.
  63. siren call from Canada writes: Larry Hallatt from Canada writes: .... He said instead of giving the banks two trillion dollars in bailout money and expect a trickle down affect..... money should be given to main street instead eliminating most debt. Banks would become flush with cash and the credit crisis would end.....through a trickle up effect.
    .................

    Yes, yes, that's all very good and well.

    But if the peons, er working class, didn't have to worry, fret, scrimp and save -- how would you incentivize them to show up for work in the morning?

    Or buy their 3rd ipod in the hopes that would relive the nagging in their gut that something is wrong. Or relieve it through "religion" - the kind that parts them from their money and funds the right?

    Also -- the law of unintended consequences: Relieve poverty and un-incentivize crime activity. You want prisons closed and cops out of work? Really?

    Thanks but we'll just stick to trickle down. It doesn't work but it separates the peons from their betters.
  64. even steven from Wayout West, Canada writes: What BIG project would the G&M like to have happen? How about moving the capital of Canada to Winnipeg, the true geographical center of Canada.... build all new buildings to house the thousands of bureaucrats. And it is just like Ottawa, with the French city of St. Boniface right across the river!
    Wow infrastructure, a massive building spree, just like Brazilia. Go West young people go west!
    build a high speed railway linking Toronto and Montreal to Winnipeg to go along with it
    This is obviously what the G&M had in mind. and they could move their headquaters to Winnipeg too!
    Regional development....
    Let's move Air Canada's maintenance center back to Winnipeg. And relocate the armed forces back to Winnipeg.

    What about it G&M ???
  65. Paddy O'Lantern from Hillsburgh, Canada writes: For all those looking for visionaries in our Parliment, try to understand the meaning of the word "visionary". There are two basic meanings:

    1) thinking about the future with imagination or wisdom.

    2) relating to supernatural or dreamlike visions.

    Example of the first - Sir John A. Mcdonald - Building a nation with every spike of the railraod.

    Example of the second - Pierre E. Trudeau - A constitution that pits province against province and is designed for the benefit of bureaucrates.

    There are no politicians of the first kind in this country. Trudeau saw to it that there never will be again!
  66. Matt C from Canada writes: I agree with the editorial. No vision whatsoever. This budget moves in all directions but goes nowhere. Zero creativity.

    I was looking forward to green infrastructure and more money for retrofits - but there's nothing. Efficiency of all our industries, transportation, and residential homes is vital to our future economy. We also desperately need to get away from a commodity-based economy and start producing products of value. There are simply too few jobs to be had in the resource sector to sustain Canada alone.
  67. Robert M from Canada writes: The Harper government lacks depth on economic matters. Mr. Harper blew the November 27th Economic Update, and then went into fire drill mode to come up with a bunch of ideas (not policies).

    They do not have a deep understanding of the current economic issues. The fire drill consultation process did little to change that. It was a populist process of taking an idea from everyone who spoke in the consultation and cobbling together a budget document. When there are scores of ideas in a budget like this, it is bound to have some good and bad measures, as well as significant omissions.

    Whether or not a populist government continues to be acceptable to Canadians is a matter of debate. Let's see if the other senior politicians demonstrate that their team has a deeper understanding of economic issues affecting low income Canadians, municipal and provinicial governments, and Canadian businesses.

    It will also be helpful to hear comments from knowledgeable persons in a variety of fields to help Canadians evaluate the merits and the drawbacks of specific ideas. Are the proposals to improve access to credit appropriate? Will spending measures provide effective stimulus? Will the tax cuts provide effective stimulus?
  68. Stan Consultant from Canada writes: The editors might rethink their position favoring new-fangled infrastructure over the old-fashioned variety when their toilets overflow because the sewers backed up after the watermains broke.
  69. William J. (Willy) Godfrey from Whitby, Canada writes: Dear Mr. Ignatieff:

    DEFEAT THIS BUDGET!!!!

    BRING THIS GOVERNMENT DOWN!!!!
  70. Wilma Guywin from Allover Canada, Canada writes: Robert M from Canada writes: The Harper government lacks depth on economic matters. Mr. Harper blew the November 27th Economic Update, and then went into fire drill mode to come up with a bunch of ideas (not policies).

    Iggy likes it. Just watch tomorrow.
  71. bill johnson from Quebec, Canada writes: The G&M hit the nail on the head. The research councils got screwed. I looked and looked to see what investments had been made to the councils. NADA. ZIP. ZILCH. So, exactly how are we going to support new grad students if the profs get their grants cut, and, they will be cut? Tragic. Fix the bricks and mortar but hollow out the inside. I am very disappointed at this short-sighted view.

    Also, what gives with Waterloo getting cash for their institute? No other worthy players in the country? Big, stupid government. Exhibit 1.
  72. siren call from Canada writes: What is going on here?

    It seems some "conservatives" (whatever that may mean now) are really angry at Harper. So they are taking their greivance out on Trudeau.

    Is that reasonable?
  73. siren call from Canada writes: bill johnson from Quebec, Canada writes: Tragic. Fix the bricks and mortar but hollow out the inside. I am very disappointed at this short-sighted view.
    ..................................

    Many of Mr. Harper's truly bad ideas come from Alberta.

    Here, we have been spending gazillions on bricks and mortar. Little on faculty and staff, unless it's a high profile hiring.

    All this with the complete compliance of tenured faculty.

    Mr. Bobby Dy?
  74. First Name: Last Name: from Ellesmere Island, Canada writes: quote: "The government had the opportunity to take the global economic crisis and turn it into an opportunity to do more than throw public funds around. In that, it has fallen short."
    .
    Dion's Greenshift plan is looking pretty good. Too bad Harper didn't go in that direction. 80 billion would have gone a long way towards transforming the economy for the new age, when oil becomes pricey again and scarce, while my children are paying off this debt.
    .
  75. First Name: Last Name: from Ellesmere Island, Canada writes: .
    Interesting to hear the comments about the new university buildings without researchers and staff to use them. Hopefully the budget will be amended to recognize this obvious ommission. Technological innovation is what will produce the construction and manufacturing jobs of the future.
    .
  76. William Davidson from Tahsis, Canada writes: The Steven Harper government lacks vision, creativity and enthusiasm for our country. This budget goes in every direction and and consequently will never reach any destination.

    Many parts of the budget are laudable but none go far enough. Unlike the American plan our government has no plan.

    This would have been a good opportunity to invest in alternative energy and a time to transition ourselves away from the traditional fossil fuel economy. A sizeable, even grandiose investment should be made supporting all manner of scientific innovation.
    At the same time we need massive retraining programs and educational opportunities for all those folks who will find themselves out of work over the next months and years.
    Canada has a lot of talent. I didnt see anything in the budget supporting the arts.
    If we are going to run a deficit lets do it right, take a few chances and see if we can get a return on our investment.
  77. KT Ocean from Canada writes: An excellent summary of the budget by the G&M. So much money and so little focus and, consequently, reduced impact. And this government was just elected 3 1/2 months ago and endorsed by the G&M and essentially all other media (the Star was the exception). Harper has never had any vision for Canada. This budget is better than it would have been if not for pressure from the oppositon, but it shows that even under the threat of being fired, Harper simply cannot produce.
  78. Red Suspenders from The Big Chair, writes: Here are 4 reasons the budget should be rejected:

    1. It is incoherent - this is well covered by the Globe and others.

    2. It fails to invest - it neglects the hard side of Keynsian economics, paying back when the good times roll. The plan should include (a) cost/benefit analyses and estimated ROI for all this spending and (b) a mechanism for extracting that return specifically to address the deficit/debt.

    3. The stimulus is not quick enough - the objective should be to insert stabilizing spending before market participants make crisis-driven choices. The spending in this budget will take too long and require too many hoops and other commitments. In this sense, the budget is indecisive.

    4. The spending will last too long - the peak of cash outflow under this plan will be in 2013-14, which is practically a whole business cycle away. This means that the government will spend right throught the next bull market and be flat broke if another downturn materializes.
  79. Brad Smithee from Canada writes: "Seasoned Warrior from Been down so long it looks like up to me, Canada writes:
    There is no budget on heaven or earth that would satisfy everyone. There is no budget that would satisfy Jack Layton - even if all $64 billion was turned over to him to spend as he sees fit. Because all this carping isn't about the budget at all. It is nothing more than sour grapes from people who simply won't accept the results of the last election, who won't accept the face that this is the government that the voters elected. If Ignatieff doesn't support the budget (which I doubt), the gg has the option to call an election. If that happens, I believe the voters will certainly punish the opposition parties by giving the tories a majority and sending Jack Layton to a well-deserved oblivion. Ignatieff's turn will come - but it isn't his time yet."

    hate to say it again, but read your history and your constitution. Canadians don't elect governments. We elect individual MPs. Whichever party has the most MPs in the House has the first right to try to form government. In the case where there's a clear majority, there's no real contest. In a case like we have now, the House has to sort it out. They're big boys (sometimes). Never have Canadians elected a government directly. And thank goodness. With a few key adjustments (prop rep comes to mind), this is the best way to adequately represent the true wishes of the population. Old partisanship has to be destroyed, in favour of working together in the best interests of the country.
  80. Red Suspenders from The Big Chair, writes: Post Script:

    Regarding my earlier point #2 ... one method of taking back returns would be for the Liberals to introduce and amendment suggesting a Green Tax that would scale into effect as the recovery takes hold.
  81. Another Opinion from Toronto, Canada writes: I'm not sure there's really anything the Canadian Government can do to help solve a global recession.

    That being said, if we're going to spend billions anyway, why not at least do it for a reason? Several people have complained that the Globe didn't offer an alternative approach to a budget in the form of a theme or objective. That's really the easy part.

    How about improving our business infrastructure? Upgrade roads, rail lines, transit and shipping facilities, as well as providing incentives for productivity improvements and technological upgrades?

    Don't like that one? How about pursuing a plan for future competitiveness? Increase post-secondary funding and research funding, provide incentives for research and development, and offer grants for business pursuing new technology?

    It may be nice to get money for your home reno project or 5 more weeks of EI, but that's not going to get us out of a recession. If we're going to use the money, why not use it in a way that will echo for years to come?

    By the way, for "even steven", the geographic centre of Canada is in Nunavut, not in a city 70 miles from the US border.
  82. kevin o'connor from Canada writes: Silly article. The goal when you are facing a crisis is to get out of the crisis, not some overarching transformation or change that is more rhetorical than real. Harper has caved, come to his senses, seen the light, whatever spin you want to put on it. I would have made the stimulus even bigger but Harper has generally come around to the right policy. Let's be thankful we have a minority government. The threat of losing his job focused the PMs mind. He needs to have his feet held to the fire to make sure he follows through, but this budget doesn't deserve to be defeated. This is the type of budget the Liberals would have introduced, and without the threat of the coalition, we would never have seen such a sane approach from this government.
  83. kotter 49 from Canada writes: And a budget driven by that pompous strutting fool Jack Layton would be better exactly how?
  84. Plus 8 from Mont Tremblant, Canada writes:

    Sad disappointment. When something grand and stirring was needed, we received politically driven appeasement. My father always said "you can't cure stupid".

    It is more a campaign plan than a stimulus budget. Admittedly it is better than Nov.27 but only in so far as it recognizes that money must be spent to stay in power. There is no direction, theme or enthusiasm to it.

    end
  85. Mimi Williams from Edmonton, Canada writes: Stephen Leacock comes to mind. "he flung himself upon his horse and rode madly off in all directions" This budget could have done lots to help those that need help. There could have been some forgiveness for student loans so that our young, new workers could be relieved of some of that burden. The people who are just starting their lives are much more likely to spend that extra money than those of us who can live with the old couch for another couple of years. There could have been some move to address the disparities in EI eligibility. There could have been investment in research and development so that we are less reliant on fossil fuel development and bricks and mortar to provide jobs in the future. There could have been day care spaces funded so that families with young children could have a choice about employment instead of parenting in shifts like so many are forced to do now. There could have been lots. Instead, there is little. At any rate, the Conservatives have presented a mammoth budget full of money that will never be spent (as I predicted Monday) and full of perceived "goodies" to hogtie the Liberals into supporting it. I'm still waiting to find out how repaving my driveway is going to stimulate the economy. Besides making it easier to shoot a few hoops with my son, what good will it really do anyone besides my family? Bring them down!
  86. Mooney Pilot from Smartville, Canada writes: Just another bailout for Harper's corporate donors.
  87. Dan Shortt from Toronto, Canada writes: Desmond Whitton from Canada writes: "The Conservatives have no idea where to take the country ..."
    -------------------------
    And I suppose the Liberals do ...?
  88. kotter 49 from Canada writes: The economy was projected to drop a whole .8 of 1 percent in 2009. For that we accumulate another 34 billion of debt. I am disappointed with Flaherty for buying a continuation of power with such a waste. On the home renovation credit, still will be cheaper for everyone to pay cash.
  89. Michael B from Canada writes: Further to this editorial's chief complaint... Look at this from Michael Ignatieff's speech Jan 23 to the Canadian Club:

    "Conservative governments don’t build national institutions like medicare, a constitution, a flag, childcare, or the Kelowna Accord. Liberal governments do. And that&8217;s what we need to do now.

    We need to build a budget that looks forward, that binds our country together and makes us stronger today and much stronger tomorrow."

    http://www.liberal.ca/story15592e.aspx

    See? The Libs get it... so get with the program and stop supporting Harper in elections due to their mythical fiscal management capabilities.
  90. Michael B from Canada writes: Ruth, further to your comments on always waiting for the US before we set any policies... also from Michael Ignatieff's speech to the Canadian Club:

    "We do not need to drift with the tide.

    We can act.

    We can choose. "

    http://www.liberal.ca/story15592e.aspx
  91. Hockey Guy from Ottawa, Canada writes: No real vision in this budget, more of a shotgun approach to problem solving, trying a little of everything and hoping something will work and be enough to get by on. A technique tried by Nortel execs as well in the last few years or so ... hope we don't get the same results...
  92. Hockey Guy from Ottawa, Canada writes: To kotter 49: True, which is why Harper needs to seriously consider the changes that Ignatieff is likely to request, maybe between these two we can get a budget with a vision.
  93. D D from writes: Your comments regarding lack of research support are right on target. It's insane to throw money into infrastructure when there is no support for people to use it! In Toronto, the second MaRS tower is on hold because they are worried that they may be unable to find tenants. The government should be fully funding CIHR and NSERC. This is money that goes directly into the local economy. 60-70% of all research spending is used to support trainees and research assistants. Starving the research councils while building empty buildings is typical of know-nothing politicians who only wish to have walls that they can put plaques on. Harper and Flaherty are way over their heads. Boy they make Paul Martin look really good...
  94. Sober Second Thought from Toronto, Canada writes: My favorite waste of money in this budget is the $35m to increase slaughterhouse square footage. Wow - I had no idea that this was the reason the Hot Dog supply was threatened.
  95. s carter from calgary, Canada writes: yet another politiking exercise by the CPC.

    CPC = no vision for the future.
  96. Vic Hotte from Kettleby, Canada writes: Politicians can't cut ribbons right at the beginning of the development of intellectual property -- where one or more skilled individuals get together to plan innovation. For instance, it was Canadian medical researchers, working on their own, who discovered the existence of cancer stem cells, and how their relationship to failures of chemotherapy treatments. Canadian governments only pays attention and tax money to P3 projects (private-public parternships) because large corporations wine and dine politicians and fund their election campaigns. Politicians can cut ribbons and put brass plaques with their names on it at the opening ceremonies for new bridges, roads and buildings. That's why existing roads, etc, are seldom repaired ... no ribbon-cutting required. Politicians have short-term (re-election, maintain power) reasoning skills, and they appeal to shallowness in thinking. This budget ensures our economy will remain mired in the type of thinking that got us all the way to 1950.
  97. Seasoned Warrior from Been down so long it looks like up to me, Canada writes: What is this continual whining about "vision". Do any of you have a vision for your own lives let alone the country? Do you really just long for an orator like Obama? Do you secretly wish you were American? Get real. I challenge all of you, including the G&M to come up with a national "vision" that will stir all of us and include all of us. It should serve every province and region of the country and please and appease every interest group, political party, religious group, atheists, young and old, rich and poor, people of every colour, immigrants and native born, optimists and pessimists, fat and thin, smart and stupid, unionists and non-unionists, urban dwellers and rural folk, car drivers and cyclists, Jack Layton, and on and on and on... In other words, you must include everyone in your wonderful vision. Of course we envy the US because they did it with their moon landing. But, please note that was not something on their own soil. So, should we could include external projects of "vision" like a tropical retreat from Canada's winters? Or copy the US and have our own space program? Or build a rapid rail line from coast to coast? Or build a bridge to Europe? Or build the biggest igloo in the world? World peace? An end to poverty? Solar panels on every roof in the country? The biggest theme park in the world? You know, "build it and they will come"! Come on folks - ante up your "vision" and how it would be achieved - instead of just complaining that the government doesn't have one. That goes for the Globe and Mail too - come on - let's hear what the Globe would find acceptable as a stirring national "vision".
  98. Bob Duvan from Toronto, Ont, Canada writes:
    " It is meant to address macroeconomic problems, but it is determinedly micro in its partisan aims."

    The macroeconomic problem is the slowdown; the remedy is to boost demand by injecting money where it translates quickly into demand. Grand visions OTOH require time to develop and sell - they are not providing solutions to the present task. That is not to say that Canada doesn't need some broadly conceived economic initiatives to help it cope with the global changes under way.

    But a mish-mash of measures is the most practical way to deal with the present challenge whether it shows a partisan bias or not. The Globe's editorialisers seem to have stuck a wet finger into the air and finally discerned that the Canadian public doesn't share their infatuation with Harper and his neo-con vision of Canada's future.
  99. Bob Duvan from Toronto, Ont, Canada writes:
    " It is meant to address macroeconomic problems, but it is determinedly micro in its partisan aims."

    The macroeconomic problem is the slowdown; the remedy is to boost demand by injecting money where it translates quickly into demand. Grand visions OTOH require time to develop and sell - they are not providing solutions to the present task. That is not to say that Canada doesn't need some broadly conceived economic initiatives to help it cope with the global changes under way.

    But a mish-mash of measures is the most practical way to deal with the present challenge whether it shows a partisan bias or not. The Globe's editorialisers seem to have stuck a wet finger into the air and finally discerned that the Canadian public doesn't share their infatuation with Harper and his neo-con vision of Canada's future.
  100. Chris S. from Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada writes: Simplified for the lowest common denominator, vision is some sort of plan for the long-term. This budget doesn't attempt to plan for the future. What future benefits will a deck on Flaherty's cottage in Muskoka bring Canadians? Where is all of the spending out of this $85 billion that will boost our lagging (even behind the US) productivity? How will this position Canada to better compete on the global stage? Nay, this is naught but a grab-bag of politically-motivated gimmicks disguised as stimulus in order to woo the segment of population the Harper Conservatives feel is most ripe for the picking. All of this on the backs of future Canadians. For shame.
  101. Seasoned Warrior from Been down so long it looks like up to me, Canada writes: What is this continual whining about "vision". Do any of you have a vision for your own lives let alone the country? Do you really just long for an orator like Obama? Do you secretly wish you were American? Get real. I challenge all of you, including the G&M to come up with a national "vision" that will stir all of us and include all of us. It should serve every province and region of the country and please and appease every interest group, political party, religious group, atheists, young and old, rich and poor, people of every colour, immigrants and native born, optimists and pessimists, fat and thin, smart and stupid, unionists and non-unionists, urban dwellers and rural folk, car drivers and cyclists, Jack Layton, and on and on and on... In other words, you must include everyone in your wonderful vision. Of course we envy the US because they did it with their moon landing. But, please note that was not something on their own soil. So, should we could include external projects of "vision" like a tropical retreat from Canada's winters? Or copy the US and have our own space program? Or build a rapid rail line from coast to coast? Or build a bridge to Europe? Or build the biggest igloo in the world? World peace? An end to poverty? Solar panels on every roof in the country? The biggest theme park in the world? You know, "build it and they will come"! Come on folks - ante up your "vision" and how it would be achieved - instead of just complaining that the government doesn't have one. That goes for the Globe and Mail too - come on - let's hear what the Globe would find acceptable as a stirring national "vision".
  102. Seasoned Warrior from Been down so long it looks like up to me, Canada writes: What is this continual whining about "vision". Do any of you have a vision for your own lives let alone the country? Do you really just long for an orator like Obama? Do you secretly wish you were American? Get real. I challenge all of you, including the G&M to come up with a national "vision" that will stir all of us and include all of us. It should serve every province and region of the country and please and appease every interest group, political party, religious group, atheists, young and old, rich and poor, people of every colour, immigrants and native born, optimists and pessimists, fat and thin, smart and stupid, unionists and non-unionists, urban dwellers and rural folk, car drivers and cyclists, Jack Layton, and on and on and on... In other words, you must include everyone in your wonderful vision. Of course we envy the US because they did it with their moon landing. But, please note that was not something on their own soil. So, should we could include external projects of "vision" like a tropical retreat from Canada's winters? Or copy the US and have our own space program? Or build a rapid rail line from coast to coast? Or build a bridge to Europe? Or build the biggest igloo in the world? World peace? An end to poverty? Solar panels on every roof in the country? The biggest theme park in the world? You know, "build it and they will come"! Come on folks - ante up your "vision" and how it would be achieved - instead of just complaining that the government doesn't have one. That goes for the Globe and Mail too - come on - let's hear what the Globe would find acceptable as a stirring national "vision".
  103. Seasoned Warrior from Been down so long it looks like up to me, Canada writes: What is this continual whining about "vision". Do any of you have a vision for your own lives let alone the country? Do you really just long for an orator like Obama? Do you secretly wish you were American? Get real. I challenge all of you, including the G&M to come up with a national "vision" that will stir all of us and include all of us. It should serve every province and region of the country and please and appease every interest group, political party, religious group, atheists, young and old, rich and poor, people of every colour, immigrants and native born, optimists and pessimists, fat and thin, smart and stupid, unionists and non-unionists, urban dwellers and rural folk, car drivers and cyclists, Jack Layton, and on and on and on... In other words, you must include everyone in your wonderful vision. Of course we envy the US because they did it with their moon landing. But, please note that was not something on their own soil. So, should we could include external projects of "vision" like a tropical retreat from Canada's winters? Or copy the US and have our own space program? Or build a rapid rail line from coast to coast? Or build a bridge to Europe? Or build the biggest igloo in the world? World peace? An end to poverty? Solar panels on every roof in the country? The biggest theme park in the world? You know, "build it and they will come"! Come on folks - ante up your "vision" and how it would be achieved - instead of just complaining that the government doesn't have one. That goes for the Globe and Mail too - come on - let's hear what the Globe would find acceptable as a stirring national "vision".
  104. Seasoned Warrior from Been down so long it looks like up to me, Canada writes: What is this continual whining about "vision". Do any of you have a vision for your own lives let alone the country? Do you really just long for an orator like Obama? Do you secretly wish you were American? Get real. I challenge all of you, including the G&M to come up with a national "vision" that will stir all of us and include all of us. It should serve every province and region of the country and please and appease every interest group, political party, religious group, atheists, young and old, rich and poor, people of every colour, immigrants and native born, optimists and pessimists, fat and thin, smart and stupid, unionists and non-unionists, urban dwellers and rural folk, car drivers and cyclists, Jack Layton, and on and on and on... In other words, you must include everyone in your wonderful vision. Of course we envy the US because they did it with their moon landing. But, please note that was not something on their own soil. So, should we could include external projects of "vision" like a tropical retreat from Canada's winters? Or copy the US and have our own space program? Or build a rapid rail line from coast to coast? Or build a bridge to Europe? Or build the biggest igloo in the world? World peace? An end to poverty? Solar panels on every roof in the country? The biggest theme park in the world? You know, "build it and they will come"! Come on folks - ante up your "vision" and how it would be achieved - instead of just complaining that the government doesn't have one. That goes for the Globe and Mail too - come on - let's hear what the Globe would find acceptable as a stirring national "vision".
  105. Seasoned Warrior from Been down so long it looks like up to me, Canada writes: sorry - my computer started acting up and I did not intend to post my comment 4 times.
  106. Mimi Williams from Edmonton, Canada writes: Seasoned Warrior, it's not you something is wonky with the site. It did that to me on another thread and to someone else on this one.
  107. Seasoned Warrior from Been down so long it looks like up to me, Canada writes: Thanks Mimi - first time that it has happened to me.
  108. Mimi Williams from Edmonton, Canada writes: Niceties aside, I'll challenge you but by the time I finish typing Ignatieff might already have burst the bubble.

    Vision doesn't have to be grandiose. It can just be forward thinking. For example, infrastructure monies being spent could have been disproportionately targetted towards public transit projects in order to address environmental concerns and provide clean choices for our selves, children and grandchildren.

    It can be just about looking at your own ideas through the lens of another to be sure that when you're swinging that hammer to build your deck, your not hitting your neighbour in the head, knocking them unconscious.

    Here comes Ignatieff. I'm done.
  109. Chris S. from Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada writes: Mimi, good post.
  110. Seasoned Warrior from Been down so long it looks like up to me, Canada writes: I quote from the Globe and Mail article itself: "There is no single great, stirring national project in this budget". So I repeat my challenge - see above.
  111. gary wilson from Calgary, writes: Don't worry G&M ... Harper's "growing into the job." Remember? That's how you endorsed him. Give him two or three more budgets and another $40 or $80 billion into deficit and he'll start to get it right, maybe even develop some vision. All we need is patience. He's growing into the job.
  112. The Bubble from Canada writes: Harper not having vision should come as no suprise, why would anyone expect forward thinking from this man who's finance minister is the spitting image of Lou Costello.
    I'm a bad boy...
    Canadians are such suckers.
  113. Bill Harrison from Canada writes: If your editorial was designed to get all the Harper-haters agreeing with you, then you have succeeded. However, your editorial, and those who so slavishly support it, has failed to give alternatives to the budget. It is one thing to critize, and another to offer different solutions. Probably why editorial writers and their followers never run for public office - they would have to responsible for what they say and write!
  114. Comments closed, censored, hidden, deleted, disappeared from Mini Bush-Obamatieff village, Canada writes: "There is no single great, stirring national project in this budget, no compelling direction." --- Of course, that minority lot, opportunistic amateurs all, never had any vision, any clue, any plan, any leadership.... --- That should not be pointed out to us who, after all, never supported them in front of the whole nation in the first place, as the Globe did, and would never have even dreamt of voting for them. --- This article is only for internal consumption at the Globe, I'm afraid. Now I agree, it should be mandatory reading for all employees there, as a condition of employment...
  115. Just In from Canada writes: This Budget is the Mother of All Pork Barrels.
  116. jan nx from Bouvet Island writes: Re the Budget.. depressing $80.0B.. and how will we repay this? The Alliance party are economically rudderless and we're going to end on the rocks. Can I opt out of this politically invoked debt somehow?
    Please!
  117. Ed Case from Kelowna, Canada writes: In fairness to this government, Canada has not had a coherent sense of direction for decades. We are a rag-tag collection of petty provinces/regions/special interest groups who spend all their time snarling and spitting at each other and the federal government with no thought as to the good of the county as a whole, and its future. There is no strategic plan for the country which looks at economic, industrial, social and educational issues as a whole to devise a forward direction and a future for our grandchildren.

    The tragedy is that this is just the time to forge such a plan for the short, medium and long term, but our current governments - like their predecessors - worry only about gaining/retaining power, not the future. Even worse, it's not their fault: they are merely reacting to the 'me-focused' electorate they serve.
  118. Mike L. from Canada writes: My big disappointment. If we are going to blow a big wad on infrastructure: the rail "upgrades" are no more than lipstick on a pig. Where's the real high-speed rail?

    Second, there are hundreds of thousands of Canadians who do not have access to affordable broadband access. And I'm not talking of remote areas, I'm talking of less than 100 km of a city of 3 million. This is scandalous. This was our big chance and the Tories blew it. Thing is I'm not sure Iggy's gang would have done any better, as they had plenty of input on this budget and are supporting it.
  119. Chris S. from Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada writes: ~$450 million for VIA, to "upgrade service" in the Windsor-Québec City corridor. That's an insult. This government has no imagination or desire to even think about the future. Harper did not rise to the occasion. I hope his probation includes a curfew.
  120. Johnny Test from Pork Belly, Canada writes: Bill Harrison from Canada writes: If your editorial was designed to get all the Harper-haters agreeing with you, then you have succeeded. However, your editorial, and those who so slavishly support it, has failed to give alternatives to the budget. It is one thing to critize, and another to offer different solutions. Probably why editorial writers and their followers never run for public office - they would have to responsible for what they say and write!

    We live in a country of whiners unworthy of real leadership.
  121. gary wilson from Calgary, writes: Worst PM ever
  122. Brian Jones from Vancouver, Canada writes: With every politician in the land demanding their piece of the pie, what did you expect. Our entire economy is dependent on demand from other countries. No amount of stimulus is going to fix that. They should have done nothing but let people get EI for longer periods of time. The world has been drunk for ten years on over consumption & easy money. Forget peak oil, start thinking that the last ten years was peak demand and is not likely to be repeated anytime soon, no matter how much governments try to prime the pump. Get used to less demand for cars and everything else. Have we learned nothing.
  123. Randal Oulton from Toronto, Canada writes: >> "There is no single great, stirring national project in this budget, no compelling direction."

    Well, this is Canadian confederation. There never was.
  124. dave crosier from ottawa, Canada writes: President Obama gets it. Spend the money to create the jobs of the future in sustainable energy technology. While we pave roads and build sidewalks, America will build the factories and create the technology for the future. Solar, wind, and geothermal energy technology are at a critical stage of development. I suggest that Ignatief add the following amendment to the economic stimulus package: establish a sustainable energy credit union for all canadian homeowners, schools and businesses so that they can get low interset loans for solar panels wind projects and goethermal heating and cooling systems. The money saved in energy every month should cover the cost of the loan meaning it cost no extra money at all. A $10 billion dollar investment could lead to up to $ 100 billion in loans. These loans would be paid back with interest within ten or so years and the national debt could be payed off with the proceeds. smog and greenhouse gasses could be reduced, money saved in energy after the loans are paid off would go back into our economy. Amend the budget. SUSTAINABLE ENERGY NOW!

    Cheers,

    Sustainable Energy Man

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