University of Toronto
2 min

Big speech – few details

While Harper get set to talk to the Americans and the world about just how great Canada’s economy is in these troubled economic times, Michael Ignatieff gave a major economic speech in Toronto yesterday that promised a few things. Like that he wouldn’t raise taxes, and that that the deficit is actually structural by this point, and that expenditure control won’t be enough to get us out of the hole. But…he’s not going to raise taxes to get us out of it, which means…more cuts, a la Paul Martin? He’s not saying much besides “good government and growth,” which is still pretty vague at this point (but hey, it’s not actually a writ period, so he’s allowed to be – right?) But he does promise to open up the books to take a look at just how bad the mess really is (remember when the opened up the books after Jim Flaherty ceased being the Finance Minister of Ontario?), and that they’ll make sure the Parliamentary Budget Officer is really an independent officer of Parliament. Mind you, they say that now in opposition, but things look mighty different from the Langevin Block. How many other opposition leaders came in with promises to do things like reform access-to-information, only to turn around and run the most information-restrictive government in the history of the country? *coughs*Harper*coughs* Yeah, I’m not going to hold my breath on this one.

Oh, and the Conservatives’ comeback to the speech? Consists basically of “Yeah, well you’re just going to call an election to kill our fragile economic recovery and raise taxes! So there!” Or something constructive and mature like that.

Incidentally, Ignatieff says the fact that the Conservatives spent five times as much to advertise their party (aka “the Economic Action Plan”) as they did H1N1 shows their “contempt for the public,” which is one more reason he’s no longer supporting them. As for those ads, the website promoting the “Economic Action Plan” – in contravention of Treasury Board guidelines – underwent a quick revamp after The Canadian Press’ little expose, and at least thirty photos of Harper were scrubbed from it. That said, they didn’t scrub the partisan phrase “Harper Government,” but that may yet come.

Jack Layton – mastermind of a devious plan – now refers to himself as the “Leader of the Effective Opposition.” Okay, sure – if that’s what helps you sleep at night.

Remember those live-in caregivers who accused Liberal Ruby Dhalla of many bad things? They’re now complaining that no one seems to be investigating her. They also say they’d be undergo further investigation to counter the “lies” about them. Like the story from your former employer who didn’t have very good things to recommend your character? Official responses are that no one can comment on ongoing investigations, but funny how this would be coming up again when an election is still quite possible.

Up today: Harper heads off to New York to talk up our economy before heading to the G20 in beautiful scenic Pittsburgh. That said, he’s also likely to avoid more questions about climate change – because Canada’s Back™ means following the Americans’ lead.