Today, the House of Commons goes about its annual business of critiquing and defending a federal economic plan. Yesterday, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty told the country how he planned to return a formerly deficit-prone government to surplus by 2015. His plan involves a continued freeze on departmental spending, deferred capital spending at a procurement-challenged defence department, and billions in savings on the backs of bureaucrats’ benefits.
The opposition is never happy with this government’s big plans. This budget will herald a predictable, and perfectly legitimate, exercise in opposition unhappiness. The NDP will moan about plenty, and balancing a budget by attacking public servants—their words, potentially, not mine—will headline. The Liberals will say the budget offers little to Canada’s ailing middle class.
The first budget implementation bill, when it arrives in the House, will offer the first real look at how the government hopes to move ahead with its plans. For now, with only a 419-page book of densely written intentions in front of parliamentarians, the rhetoric will fly.
Maclean’s is your home for the daily political theatre that is Question Period, when MPs trade barbs and take names for 45 minutes every day. If you’ve never watched, check out our primer, which we produced with J-Source. Today, QP runs from 2:15 p.m. until just past 3. We tell you who to watch, we stream it live, and we liveblog all the action. The whole thing only matters if you participate. Chime in on Twitter with #QP.
The big issue today is yesterday’s budget and the various attempts it makes to dig the federal government out of deficit.