A federal budget of pittances

Paul Wells explains how the budget extends Harper’s advantage

Chris Wattie/Reuters

Chris Wattie/Reuters

It’s the solutions to problems you didn’t know we have that are most telling. “Many students, especially those who live in rural and suburban communities, often require a vehicle for travel,” the 2014 federal budget document says. “Public transit is not an option for them.” So the Harper government will no longer consider the value of students’ cars when assessing their eligibility for Canada Student Loans. About 19,000 student commuters will qualify for larger loans. The cost to the federal purse will be $7.8 million a year.

It’s a pittance, but this was a budget of pittances, and they add up.

“Some people will say this budget is boring,” Jim Flaherty told reporters. “I take that as a compliment.” The budget announces no ambitious new programs and no big new cuts. It was designed to ease the federal government out of deficits, a task Flaherty nearly accomplished this year and will complete with a $6.4-billion surplus next year. Flaherty’s method is consistent: to compensate for growing transfer payments to provinces and to individuals, “our government has reduced direct program spending for the third year in a row,” he told MPs during his budget speech. “That is something no other government has done in decades.”

But there is always room to do something new when total government spending is at a quarter of a trillion dollars. Flaherty’s budget seeks to accomplish political goals in at least three ways.

First, it offers the Conservatives a chance to campaign with a surplus in the 2015 election, one they can promise to allocate toward new tax cuts.

Second, it seeks to pacify two controversies that have sapped the government. On resource development, the government’s 2012 attempt to pit resource companies against environmentalists simply aggravated controversies over major pipeline projects. The new budget picks no new fights on that front. And the government is trying to shake a growing reputation as an enemy of science. The budget announced a Canada First Research Excellence Fund that will grow to $200 million a year for university-based research.

Third, the budget continues the work of Stephen Harper’s life by seeking to build voter support for the Conservative party. That long-term effort has already substantially increased the Conservative vote among Jewish voters, Roman Catholics, new Canadians and parents of large families. Now the budget bestows particular favour on populations that might be wooed next: it’s a rural and suburban budget more than an urban budget, and it encourages college education and the skilled trades more than university education.

The assessment exception for car-owning students is a good example: it benefits those who drive to commuter colleges over those who walk or take public transit to leafy downtown campuses. One of the largest expenditures in the budget, in terms of dollars per beneficiary, is a $305-million plan to extend broadband Internet coverage to 280,000 rural and northern households, at more than $1,000 per house. The budget expands Canada Student Loans to apprentices in the skilled trades, and announces the feds will start administering a Canada Jobs Grant for skills training on April 1, whether the provinces agree or not.

The budget documents go to great lengths to demonstrate a need for a major focus on college education and vocational training. “The supply of apprentices in Canada is relatively small compared to other countries,” says one chart—which shows Canada actually already has more apprentices per capita than England, France and the United States. Another chart announces employers’ “increased difficulty hiring skilled trades workers,” but it shows job vacancies in the trades passed those in the “science-based occupations” only a year ago and still stand barely higher.

How, then, to explain Employment Minister Jason Kenney’s recent fascination with college education over universities? In a recent interview he noted that Germany has half of Canada’s university participation rate. On Twitter he posts photos of himself visiting career colleges as often as he once showed himself at Tibetan community dinners. A possible explanation for the Conservatives’ fascination with college education comes from three pollsters Maclean’s contacted.

The raw numbers vary from one pollster to another, but Ipsos Reid, Abacus and Ekos Research have all found lately that vote support correlates closely with educational attainment. It’s among voters with a college education that the Harper Conservatives are most competitive with the Trudeau Liberals. It’s among university graduates that the Liberal advantage is greatest. Ipsos found a 16-point Liberal lead among university graduates; it shrinks to only one point among college grads. Ekos found the Conservatives three points ahead of the Liberals among college grads, and nine points back among university grads.

“This is a critical new fault line,” Ekos’s Frank Graves told Maclean’s. “These gaps across university and college [cohorts] didn’t exist in the pre-Harper period.”

With 20 months to go until a probable 2015 election, Harper is concentrating on areas of advantage that might help him win a fourth consecutive campaign. Victory has never come easily for him. The Senate expense scandal and the arrival of two strong new opposition leaders, Justin Trudeau and Thomas Mulcair, ensure next time will be no different. In 2011 Harper told an interviewer he wanted to make sure he stayed busy throughout his majority mandate. Lately his government has been as good as his word.

Flaherty’s budget is only part of a broad policy offensive. Since the House of Commons returned from a long winter break on Jan. 28, several ministers have delivered sweeping reforms. Two of the most ambitious changes came from rookie ministers. Democratic Reform Minister Pierre Poilievre overhauled the Canada Elections Act in ways that, his opponents claim, will increase the Conservative party’s fundraising advantage and limit Elections Canada’s ability to play referee. Immigration Minister Chris Alexander bolstered the Conservatives’ tough-on-crime credentials by saying he’ll strip Canadian citizenship from any dual citizen found guilty of terrorism.

Even when it isn’t cutting or spending in attention-grabbing ways, a government can still campaign. Harper is betting he can extend his advantage in countless small ways, thoroughly enough to offset the erosion in support that threatens any long-standing government. The fate of his government, and his legacy, depends on the effort.


A federal budget of pittances

  1. A friend of mine said that you go to University to get an education and you go to College to get a job. He went to College.

    I’ve also heard that you go to University to learn critical thought and analysis, you go to College to do as you’re told. In College “why” is less important than “how”.

    None of those imo is totally true as some may argue that in University you’re indoctrinated with “Political Correctness”.

    What ever the reason, Harper is calculating correctly. Promote College, the place where he has the advantage, would any of the other parties do otherwise?

    • I like how your comment starts out balanced. But I’d rather see Harper spend our money responsibly than strategically for the purpose of getting elected.

      • Those who are advocating college versus university education make a fair point. Indeed, the degrees in University that are most “college like” are the most valuable. Law, dentistry, medicine, engineering are really just highly skilled trades. Like the electrician, most eventually go from working for others to having their own small business.
        The humanities is not about learning a skilled trade. While in some respects it is about expanding one’s knowledge horizons, in practicality it is an indulgence (and when combined with a lock-step ideology favoured by youth- it is a self-indulgence). Rather than practical learning it becomes about developing a healthy dose of moral superiority, with the key ingredient being a blinding obedience to political correctness. The siren song of superiority is far too tempting to many, and so, rather than the hard work of a practical education, they flock to feeling so much smarter than the rest of the world – “correctly smarter”.

        • Is it them or their parents who think that? My feeling is rather that many who go to University do so simply because they think it is the smart thing to do to get a career. Unfortunately for many of them that turns out be a bad judgement. I don’t think moral superiority enters their mind. Financial superiority likely does!

        • Hi Biff!

          Not unexpectedly, I totally disagree with you. When we are being lectured about how college degrees get you jobs, and that is better than university degrees that get you knowledge, we are being lectured by someone who feels morally superior because he chooses the practical route, instead of those silly airheads who choose to fill their heads with knowledge instead of job skills.

          Of course, people with university degrees do get jobs. Even good jobs. Even people with liberal arts degrees. You do not HAVE to go to university to get a good job – but going to university does not hamper you from doing so.

          So many people who do not go feel the need to trash those who do.

      • Define “responsibly”. Your responsibly may be someone else’s irresponsibly. Isn’t it at least arguable that providing support for the things voters say they want is serving the citizens responsibly? Isn’t that what they are supposed to do?

      • Everything that a democratic elected government does is related to getting elected. However, that is not a bad thing, that is equivalent to doing what they think the voters want, which is why democracy works.

        • I disagree. Some governments do things for the country instead of for the party.

          Let us look at the Youth Criminal Justice Act as an example. It was never popular with the masses. It was always the right thing to do.

    • this is a nonsense comment based on generalizations. A friend of mine said that a friend of yours has an irrelevant and outdated opinion.

    • Unfortunately once again the Cons are focusing on what will serve the oil companies the most. The problem of trades workers being available in cities and towns across Canada deepens as they all get trained in their home provinces and quickly move out to Alberta. More one tracked mind from this government. Get reelected and push oil.

      • There are massive new bridges being built in Windsor and Montreal. All those condos and subways being built in Toronto don’t need skilled tradespeople. What about the Ring of Fire projects? Or all the new metal mines in BC, or potash mines in Saskatchewan. Or the massive hydroelectric project in Labrador.

        • Canada is a collection of colonial provinces being bilked for Ottawa to play power broker. Its why I support the concept of The Republic of Western Canada where we ditch Ottawa. As Ottawa costs us too much and provides too little for the costs.

          Ottawa is about illusions. But the bridges are a better deal than rusty subs, defective F35s, fake lakes, 29.5% general administration bloat and all the other peoples money for nothing programs going on.

      • You say it like it is a bad thing. These are jobs that pay into the 6 figures. The Liberals and NDP used to represent these folks, but now they want to put them out of work.

        • That is what Ottawa does best.

          Tax me more for useless waste, I have less to spend on other peoples real jobs.

          Tax me more to buy a job, I will spend less on other peoples jobs.

          Add in $45 billion of tariff, duties and taxes to inflated my costs of basic living, I have less to spend on other peoples jobs.

          Give me devalued money causing inflation, I will have to spend less on other peoples jobs.

          Tax my dentist more, they up my bills and thus I have less to spend on other peoples jobs.

          The reality is that we have become economic slaves of statism-state. Only options on our ballot effectively result in who gets more of our money for their back room buddies while doing less of benefit to us.

          Not one option on the ballot for less government, less taxes, less waste, less money for nothing programs of more waste…just use the taxpayers like tax slaves of state. We have the best corrupt government that back room money can buy and we pay with our taxes and grand kids debt.

      • Sadly this is precisely the opposite of reality. Oil isn’t “pushed” by this government or anyone else.
        Oil is demanded. Because people drive cars and expect things made in factories (as opposed to in huts), it is a very valuable commodity. Canada is rich in oil, and so the industry sells that oil to….well….pretty much everyone eventually, including ol Jed here.
        If only the industry could utilize robots instead of people – daring to earn a living off this industry – then perhaps the ugly vice of envy wouldn’t vex Jed so much. In the mean time, the likes of Jed will have to endure all of those workers enriched from their labors in the oil industry.

        • People would literally starve to death without oil.

          As a planet, we have the capacity to feed 7 billion ONLY BECAUSE OF OIL!!!

          Be darned if I am going to swim the ocean with flour/wheat, barley and canoloa, plow the fields manually. Might do it so I can eat, but not so 7 billion can eat.

          Reality is we are hooked on oil more so than a heroin addict is to heroin.

          Thats the stark reality.

      • So you would vote for NDP or Liberals that would unemploy them, we would get a 20 cent dollar and you get to pay 5 times as much for homes, groceries, gas, cars, taxes…..

        Hey, if we all worked for the governemtn, were taxed 100% to fund government, who is going to feed us and keep us warm in the winter?

        Biggest reason people can’t get jobs is Canada is a tax inflated economy of ponzi debt fraud by their own bloated government. Statism bloat policies, have driven up the cost of living to a point where our labours are unfordable.

        Isn’t that we don’t get paid enough, its after income/employment/property/utility/sales taxes and $45 billion of hidden taxes we don’t have the net value incomes to buy tax inflated products. Its why cheese is $15/kg in Windsor and the same block of cheese is not much more than $5 in Detroit. Lots of hidden taxes in food to get the poor, disabled and low income people.

        Canada is so tax greedy, that we tax workers with povertly level minimum wages and retired with poverty level incomes and then tax them again of food, shoes, clothing….just mindless tax greed.

        Part of what we don’t have jobs, is we are too busy sending too much wealth for Ottawa consumption and not spending enough on each others jobs.

    • Most go to university to go in debt for Marxist indoctrination.

    • Having been to college and university, I can say college is a far far better deal for most people. College is far closer to reality, and real world and less politics.

      You go to college to learn the real world, you go to university for academic indoctrination of fuzzy logic to disguise the truths. Puke learning, give the prof what he wants to hear and pass.

      Case in point, want to learn to be an accountant, college teaches journals, double entry principles and the practical ways it works. Go to university, they teach theoretical BS that doesn’t work in the real world. Keynes is a good example, unemployed looking for a job he realized politicians would hire him if he told them they could spend out of control. Back it up with fuzzy and unrealistic to the real world theory….totally useless in the real world, but good if you want a job with the BoC or governemtn propelling such myths.

      But as a student, you puke back what you are taught even though you know has social factor the idealistic academia ignore. As if you don’t, your fanatasy driven idealism academic that hasn’t seen the real world for 3+ decades will fail you out.

      College if you want an honest good career not based on academia BS and idealistic illusions. Much of university is about indoctrination.

  2. The money for the loan thingy would be better spent extending transit to connect schools with students. Many campuses are located in populated areas and might have decent ridership.

    • Only for colleges in large urban areas. Look at Grande Prairie Regional College in Alberta for example. Serves the community of Grande Prairie but also students in Dawson Creek, Peace River, Spirit River, Beaverlodge, Hythe, Valleyview, etc… Or Olds College where students will drive from Innisfail, Didsbury, Carstairs, Sundre, Bowden, etc…

      • I did make sure to qualify my statement by saying “many”. I would be interested in the overall data but specific examples of remote institutions, by themselves, aren’t particularly useful.

      • Why not foster eLearning and do it all over the Internet?

        Here is a hint, universities are about indoctrination and colleges are about skills.

        BTW, I have been to college and university, college generally has better value unless going for something like a doctor.

        • Your first sentence is an interesting idea which could also be explored. As for the rest, there is a reason nobody cares what yo think.

      • Red Deer College….one of the best.University courses AND trades training……few graduate without finding employment.

  3. Sometimes I wish the world was more like those coca cola commercials from the 1970s

  4. ‘It’s among voters with a college education that the Harper Conservatives
    are most competitive with the Trudeau Liberals. It’s among university
    graduates that the Liberal advantage is greatest.’

    Well that answers the questions about why this govt is promoting plumbers, and is also known for being anti-science eh?

    Wrecking the country’s future for votes….it’s the Con way.

    • All the unemployed BAs out there would certainly agree with you. The employed BAs are too busy flipping burgers. It really seems to gall some people that BAs & B.Scs, many who grew up in upper middle-income familes, can no longer out-earn certified tradesmen. There’s a reverse class envy going on where those who fancy themselves as upper crust are now openly jealous of the income being earned by the great unwashed blue collar workers. They see this as a problem in desparate need of fixing.

      • Stop with the Con propaganda. A bachelor’s degree in anything is entry level.

        • Which I found out myself the hard way some years ago. Thanks for agreeing with me.

          • So upgrade.

          • Done. At a community college. Thanks. Not plumbing. Accounting. A nice, clean, whitish-collar accounting designation that Emily would approve of. Many of my clients are blue collar types, with healthy incomes. Alas, I suspect many of them will be in for a shock when this housing cycle is over, and the boom turns into a bust. That’s why I don’t understand the contempt for the high income trades that I’m seening. Their succes has nothing to do with Harper, and everything to do with economic cycles in housing and commodities. A few years down the road many of those tradesmen will be bankrupt. Just like they were in the early 1990s, when qualified tradesmen were washing up in the aisles of Home Depot working as “customer service associates”. Remember those Home Depot ads boasting that “Our sales associates are qualifed tradespeople and apprentices”? You’ll see them again some day. So don’t be jealous. Be happy for them. The party won’t last.

          • Canada needs more educated people. That requires university.

            And doctors, lawyers, chiropractors, scientists etc….professionals ….don’t envy welder’s wages.

            Also….any job that can be done by a robot…..will be.

          • Says the bot.

          • Was your house built by robots or by lawyers?
            By the way, chiropractors are hardly an example of a profession that will thrive in a scientifically literate society.

          • Houses are now being built by robots Donny….I’m sorry, but they are. Shift happens.

          • Star Wars wasn’t a documentary.

          • Well I was speaking in general terms, but…… either they’re not looking very hard, or they aren’t very good.

            Check any ER in the country. Ask to see the surgical waiting lists. We are importing medical people to help.

          • No Emily….we are not “importing surgeons.” Yes, we have long wait lists but we do not have enough OR times to facilitate the surgeries.
            BTW: Canadian graduate doctors don’t have to ‘look hard” for jobs…normally. However, when they increase the number they educate and don’t keep up the infrastructure to support more procedures, they run into problems.


          • Yeah we are. We like South Africans too.

            We don’t have enough OR times? You mean we don’t have enough hospitals. Well, whose fault is that?

          • If you read the articles, you would see that the provincial governments responded to long surgical wait times by opening up spots in Canadian med schools for more surgical residents but forgot to build more operating rooms and train more operating room nurses and other staff needed to facilitate the surgeries. Therefore, they have more surgeons graduating then they can offer jobs to and they have many Canadians still languishing on wait lists requiring surgical procedures. It is necessary to open more hospitals per say but you need to realign the resources in the ones you have.
            What we are importing South African doctors and other foreign doctors for are jobs in small communities as family physicians. These are positions that many Canadian grads don’t want to take. Those foreign doctors typically work in the small community for a few years as their contract requires and then due to burnout move to a larger centre. Orthopedic surgeons are not typically found in a small centre because there is not the infrastructure (OR staff), etc. to support their work. In Alberta, some mountain communities like Banff, do have Orthopedic surgeons because they encounter more than average trauma injuries and are very close to a major centre if something goes awry.

          • So we have a healthcare system that ‘forgets’ to put in operating rooms….and doctors who don’t want to take community jobs?

            Sounds like a badly run system to me

            Or a way to push for private medical care.

          • Who is going to build your Hospitals , Surgeons ?

          • People who know what they’re doing?

          • As I Understand might happen in those professions !

          • Depends, I knew a few tradesmen that went to other countries on downturns. One is now a super-rich magnate in building condos for Canadians and Americans to retire in low tax nice weather counties.

            I knew a science (not fluffy degree, but real scinece teachign degree) laided off as political budgets, excessive wages caused junr staff to be laid off, so she went overseas and has no intention of coming back. Stating while I make about 1/2 the wages, I get taxed less and the cost of living is peanuts…good weather too…

            You know Celine Dion and others are not coming back to Canada, inflation and taxes make it a multi-million dollar avoidable mistake.

          • What contempt? Give me an example.

          • See Emily’s comment. See all 13,000 of them. Donny was referring directly to that.

          • So one person. I thought he was referring to a general contempt rather than just one person. My mistake.

            I ask, because I thought he was quite openly contemptuous of people with university degrees. Maybe I am wrong about that too.

            It goes both ways, this contempt.

    • The fundamentalists want the stay at home moms to get a break with the income splitting scheme.

      • Fundies want stay-at-home moms…period. Frees up jobs for men ya know….cuz there’s lots of men out there wanting to be wait staff at Hooters, and receptionists and cleaners and all. And it’s God’s will.

        • Keep talking Emily. you are pretty much guaranteeing another Conservative majority.

          • LOL I’m that important, am I?

            Get real.

          • Will Cons. be phoning Lib/NDP voters, (while pretending to be from Elections Canada) redirecting these voters to non-existent polling booths as in 2011? Canada’s shame! 200+ Ridings of voter fraud.

            These same people want to change the voting laws?

    • Which is the Liberals Achilles heel, too much acedmic idealism and BS, but they can ad-scam/sponsorship and in the case of Mulroney-Airbus, remember, Cons/Mulroney started it with cash envelopes, Liberals bought the planes anyways with NDP union support. Liberals even paid Mulroney $2.1M more to settle.

      Fact is none of these parties represent the people who make this country work.

      • That one was so confused as to make no sense at all.

  5. Looking at current trends in the labour market, focusing on colleges and the trades makes sense. There is a building shortage of skilled tradespeople in this country. Ten years from now, this will be seen as good economic management when the product is seen. Stephen Harper is, above all, the economist Prime Minister.

    • We’re short on trades due to the booming housing market. It’s boom bust with trades. I was in high school during the early 80’s condo boom and several of my classmates left to join the trades ($22/hr was HUGE money back then). As long as Toroncouver continues to crank out condos we’ll need more trades. Of course if anything should happen to that market, like it always does, poof go the jobs..

      • The problem can be viewed at a micro level rather than just a macro level. A lot of people outside of Toroncouver don’t want to go work there. Those people aren’t going to be affected by whether condos are being built there or not. They need the skills to take the jobs that already exist near their homes and for most of small town Canada, the trades are a really good place to look at right now according to both government studied and my own perception as a small-town Canadian

        • True, but what happened last time was the last crop of apprentices graduated just as the boom ended. Those guys (I was in college by then in my small town) never made it to the big city, and there was a flood of people coming home to look for work/live back with the parents. There just was not enough work to go around no matter where you were. Not saying this will happen this time, but it sure sounds familiar to me.

    • I think you meant to say marketing PM, didn’t you?

    • Obviously by market trends you mean Oil expansion. Its not a coincidence that the Cons are focusing on building a worker army for the Oil Companies. Government subsidizes the education while the companies reap the benefits.

      • I think that’s how just about any government should operate. You look at what the growth industries area, and make sure the supply of workers is there for the industries. That also has the effect of making sure that workers have the skills they need to get jobs in demand areas… or am I wrong?

        • Or you could say that it’s the responsibility of employers to train the employees they need, when they need them, since governments have a tendency to catastrophically fail at predicting future job markets.

          Ten years from now, we’ll have a glut of skilled tradespeople who can’t find work because there’s twenty of them for every job opening. Same thing happened with teachers in the 90s, scientists/engineers in the 70s, IT people in the late 90s and early 2000s.

        • I mostly agree with what you are saying. My concern is that the growth area of particular concern is not improving the plight of a majority of the country and is isolated to one resource rich region.

  6. The Cons are doing more of the same and nobody notices. The omnibus crime bill is still the most offensive piece of legislation ever passed by a government and for that this government will never get my vote.

    • The fair elections act may be quietly even more disturbing. A government intent on discouraging voters from taking part in elections is truly disheartening

  7. I pray for a minority government. Since I believe all the parties equally unworthy of trust when in the majority I don’t even care who forms the government. Inability to control is the only way to rein in larceny and corruption

    • That’s a good prayer to have. But it’ll probably take a majority govt to undo some of the damage SH has done.

  8. Presumably this article suggests the greater the education the greater likelihood you’ll realize the CONservatives are just playing the same old game.

    • Hence their constant persistent attacks on education (that isn’t trades related) and their pandering to those who insist that their gut feelings, superstitions or beliefs are valid ways of knowing.

      Equate a real education with revealed knowledge and it’s all faith based.

  9. I guess there’s a case to be made for this segmenting of the electorate…IF it’s possible to feel sure whoever happens to be PM is not allowing the political part of his brain to override his/her inner pragmatist or more principled half. By now I’m convinced this rarely happens with Harper. Yes it’s possible to do both, but we should be worried this PM is constructing ,more than anyone who’s come before him, a political machine that relies on a formulaic or simplistic model of good politics über good policy, a minefield that any future PM may never get out of, or worse, may never see the need to get out of. Lets face it Delacourt is right, our broad based commonalities that underpin our citizenship matter less an less. It’s our potential to serve a purpose as consumer,both socially and politically,that increasingly matters.

    • Good post. And depressing.

      • I’ll let you share the other half of my bottle of vodka if you like? Thx :)

  10. It continues to discourage me how little the government’s actions really have to with governing the country. Instead they focus on schemes to consolidate power and change the citizens perceptions on what is really going on in Ottawa. Are we Canadians really so stupid that they could fall for this again?

    • Welcome to the 24/7 campaign. While I remain hopeful this will change, particular under JT and possibly Mulcair…I’m not actually that optimistic. Whoever thought this a good idea for democracy ought to be democratically flogged. Although I suspect the real cuprit is evolving technology and the nature of adversarial politics itself. If only our politicians, parties and the media itself had a choice!

  11. The Feds are doing less for Canadians while charging us more and, of course, our pols are delighted with themselves. Not in every industry do people swan about highlighting their incompetence but that’s how pols role.

  12. I am in Guelph and live on a street with three large students homes and there are numerous cars on my street that belong to kids who go university and driveways won’t hold all the cars. Changes to student loans will help more than rural people driving to college. Many students have cars now, much more so than I was in uni 20 yrs ago.

    And Graves can pull the other one with theory he’s peddling about how no class division existed in voting before Harper. Middle classes have been socialist for decades.

  13. A fair and balanced assessment.
    The rest of the hyperventilating Ottawa “elite” media should take note.

  14. I said it before a lot of empty promises from all of them no matter who they are Harper Trudeau wynne Horvath its all talk on cereal boxes there’s always a budget the citizens will pay for it election time is around the corner and that crap well fly how come the education universities and colleges make a big deal now and never did a year ago or 2 election time all vote for none

  15. Actually, Ottawa spends over a quarter trillion, $282.6 billion to be more accurate. Thats federal alone. With a $1.8 trillion economy, that means Ottawa gets 15.7% of the economy, provinces and city taxes extra.

    So taxed are we that we don’t have as many kids and don’t have enough leftover after hidden and real taxes to spend as much on each others jobs.

    And so few of us will question how Ottawa REALLY spend all that money. Like a church, our government survives on “blind faith”.

    Want jobs? Let people have more of their own money to spend on other peoples jobs. The affordable exchange of goods and services drives jobs, and all governemtn does is make the exchange expensive for less jobs.

    Hey, tax people for autos, and fewer people can afford autos. Tax me to buy a job, I spend less on someone else’s job…. +1 – 1 = 0 net jobs.

    Ottawa bloat is built on deceit and illusions, statism and taxes is all they know to every problem. All the parties do is argue and deceive to spend our money, and that is the only option on our ballots.

    Conservatives have proved to be no different than the other tax greedy politicians, and why we need better choices on the ballot. All our parties reprenet not the people, but represent government bilking the people.

  16. It goes against every conservative principal to run a surplus! Either the Budge is an outright lie never intended to be implemented or just a blind shameless election ploy, trying to appear Liberal without saying so.

  17. Harper’s majority was the product of one man: Micheal Ignatieff, who was a disastrous choice because he simply could not connect with voters in any meaningful way. Some former PCs voted for Harper, some Liberals voted for Jack Layton, and the rest stayed home. Remember, Harper barely beat Martin and Dion, so the personal popularity of Harper has always been a bit of a mirage and not to be counted on for much. And now, after eight years of economic mediocrity/slow motion stagnation and non-stop politicization of virtually everything they touch, he’s become tedious.

  18. No one says you have to move to Alberta when you get a job here, and you will, as a tradesman. But the bottom line is no sales tax, provincial exemption of nearly 18k, and high paying construction jobs which will parlay into high paying shutdowns. Go ahead and go to college or university for 2-4 years, incur debt and then wonder why the world doesn’t need more philosophy majors.
    What we need is tradesman, and they will make 150k per year.
    Can’t say more than that.