Say what you like about the Tories: they don’t do things by halves. When they spend, they spend. When they go into debt, they do it $100-billion at a time. And when they decide to put an end to conservatism in Canada — as a philosophy, as a movement—they go out with a bang.
We can safely say that the strategy of incrementalism, at least, has been put to bed. With this historic budget, the Conservatives’ already headlong retreat from principle has become a rout: a great final leap into the void. For there will be no going back from this, for the party or for the country. Whatever the budget’s soothing talk of “temporary” this and “extraordinary” that, and for all its well-mannered charts showing spending obediently returning to its pen, deficits meekly subsiding, “investments” repaid in full, we are in fact headed somewhere we have never been before. We are on course towards a massive and permanent increase in the size and scope of government: record spending, sky-high borrowing, and — ultimately, inevitably — higher taxes. And all this before the first of the Baby Boomers have had a chance to retire, and cough up a lung.