28

Is Flaherty’s offer of budget help for seniors enough for the NDP?


 

Now that we have a date for the federal budget, March 22, the big question is whether it will pass or become the trigger for an election.

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty sent a pretty clear signal today about what he’s willing to do that just might allow Jack Layton’s NDP MPs to vote for the budget, keeping the Tory minority alive, without feeling utterly humiliated.

After announcing the budget day in Parliament’s Centre Bloc, Flaherty was asked by a reporter if he felt any pressure to include items in his 2011 fiscal plan that might allow the Layton to support it in the House. Not surprisingly, Flaherty denied any sense of obligation to sweeten the deal for the NDP.

But after declaring there would be no significant new spending, and repeating yet again that the budget’s main focus would be reducing deficits and getting the government’s book back in the black, Flaherty pointedly signaled the likelihood of measures that might allow Layton to tick off at least one item from his NDP budget wish list.

“If you actually look at people who need help in Canada, there are a group of older people in Canada who are not entitled to Canada Pension Plan benefits who could use some support from government and that’s something we’re looking at,” the finance minister said.

It’s not the first time he’s mentioned this inclination. On Feb. 1, after meeting with private-sector economists, Flaherty spoke of the need for “targeted measures” to help seniors, mostly women, who don’t qualify for CPP because they spent their working lives raising children and were never employed outside their homes. “And that’s something that, you know, all Canadians I’m sure would like us to address,” he said. “So, happy to work with the NDP about issues like that.”

However, Flaherty doesn’t want any budget move along these lines to be credited too directly to Layton, as though the Tories need to be proded to be compassionate. So he made a point today of linking this sort of targeted income-security policy for seniors to niche initiatives in previous Tory budgets, like the working income tax benefit and the creation of the Registered Disabilities Savings Plan.

Layton met with the Prime Minister on Feb. 18, and released a list of budget proposals that included measures to help poor seniors, such as an increased Guaranteed Income Supplement. But the NDP leader also asked for far less likely measures, such as removing the GST from home heating bills and doing something significant to make it easier for Canadians to find a family doctor.

The focus, it seems clear now, will be on seniors’ benefits, and whether whatever Flaherty delivers is enough for Layton.

 

 


 

Is Flaherty’s offer of budget help for seniors enough for the NDP?

  1. Does Harper even want to avoid an election anymore ?

    Why not go to the polls and crush the Liberals ?

    Just sayin' Cats

  2. Does Harper even want to avoid an election anymore ?

    Why not go to the polls and crush the Liberals ?

    Just sayin' Cats

      • There's never a guarentee of anything.

        The question is whether it would be better to go now or to go later. An election NEEDS to happen at some point before fall 2012.

        Cats away!

  3. Well the govt has to pay attention to seniors, and they'll shortly be the biggest group, so Flaherty had better start doing so.

  4. Well the govt has to pay attention to seniors, and they'll shortly be the biggest group, so Flaherty had better start doing so.

    • Income splitting for Seniors was in the last budget.

      • And that's it eh? One thing and it's done?

        Nope

  5. the big question is whether it will pass or become the trigger for an election.

    Perhaps this is the problem: The big question is no longer what the budget provides for seniors, for families, for the unemployed, etc… The big question is now whether it'll trigger an election or not. Never mind the actual content.

  6. the big question is whether it will pass or become the trigger for an election.

    Perhaps this is the problem: The big question is no longer what the budget provides for seniors, for families, for the unemployed, etc… The big question is now whether it'll trigger an election or not. Never mind the actual content.

    • I agree….it's all anyone has talked about for years. And we're no sooner over one election and they start talking about the next one.

      What we're actually doing, or where we're going as a country….never comes into it.

      • Harper's found his footnote in history — he's the anti-Pearson!

  7. I agree….it's all anyone has talked about for years. And we're no sooner over one election and they start talking about the next one.

    What we're actually doing, or where we're going as a country….never comes into it.

  8. Since Flaherty was talking about helping low income seniors on Feb 1st, no brainer that he will go for the GIS increase. Politically this ties in well with the recent "elder abuse" case in Toronto that Fantino has commented on.

    There was money left over from the Home Reno Tax Credit budget, so $200 M for EcoRetrofit looks possible.

    CPP increase needs all provinces on board.

    No GST on home heating – winter is nearly over.

    You can't pull a GP out of a hat.

  9. Since Flaherty was talking about helping low income seniors on Feb 1st, no brainer that he will go for the GIS increase. Politically this ties in well with the recent "elder abuse" case in Toronto that Fantino has commented on.

    There was money left over from the Home Reno Tax Credit budget, so $200 M for EcoRetrofit looks possible.

    CPP increase needs all provinces on board.

    No GST on home heating – winter is nearly over.

    You can't pull a GP out of a hat.

    • winter is almost over – it's – 25 outside my door right now. Could you confirm that for me? I'd like to put my tomato plants out.

      • Lol!! Been a westcoast transplant for so long now those Ontario winters have become a chilhood memory!!!

      • Yeah, it's more or less spring here in Vancouver. Well, Vancouver spring which means it's raining, but spring nonetheless.

        Not sure why removing the GST from home heating bills is a good idea. Doesn't that mostly benefit people living in big homes in cold provinces? My BCHydro bill is like $25 a month living in a Vancouver condo, so I'd save like $1.25 a month. I think I'd rather everyone just pay the GST on their bills.

        • Seconded. If the goal of the policy is to target support to people who cannot afford their heating bills, find a way to target support to low-income households… not everybody.

          An across-the-board home-heating GST cut disproportionately favours those with high heating costs… typically the more wealthy.

          Good politics? Perhaps. Good policy? God no.

  10. winter is almost over – it's – 25 outside my door right now. Could you confirm that for me? I'd like to put my tomato plants out.

  11. Lol!! Been a westcoast transplant for so long now those Ontario winters have become a chilhood memory!!!

  12. Yeah, it's more or less spring here in Vancouver. Well, Vancouver spring which means it's raining, but spring nonetheless.

    Not sure why removing the GST from home heating bills is a good idea. Doesn't that mostly benefit people living in big homes in cold provinces? My BCHydro bill is like $25 a month living in a Vancouver condo, so I'd save like $1.25 a month. I think I'd rather everyone just pay the GST on their bills.

  13. Harper's found his footnote in history — he's the anti-Pearson!

  14. There's never a guarentee of anything.

    The question is whether it would be better to go now or to go later. An election NEEDS to happen at some point before fall 2012.

    Cats away!

  15. Seconded. If the goal of the policy is to target support to people who cannot afford their heating bills, find a way to target support to low-income households… not everybody.

    An across-the-board home-heating GST cut disproportionately favours those with high heating costs… typically the more wealthy.

    Good politics? Perhaps. Good policy? God no.

  16. Income splitting for Seniors was in the last budget.

  17. And that's it eh? One thing and it's done?

    Nope

Sign in to comment.