Budget election showdown '11

It's on, baby!

As if on cue, this showed up in the Inkless Emailbox today:

Liberals call on NDP to stand against additional unaffordable Conservative corporate tax breaks

OTTAWA – As Finance Minister Jim Flaherty makes pre-budget overtures to the NDP, Liberal MPs today called on the NDP to demand the cancellation of Conservative corporate tax breaks at a time of deficit in favour of easing the economic pressures on average Canadian families.

“Choosing families over large corporations is a matter of principle that the NDP can’t barter away,” said Liberal Public Works Critic Geoff Regan. “We’re calling on the NDP to take a principled stand against billions in more corporate tax giveaways during a time of deficit – money that would be better directed towards relieving the burden on middle-class families.”…

“We’re disappointed that the Conservatives ignored our advice to stop borrowing money to cut taxes for our largest corporations,” said Mr. Regan. “Now it falls to the NDP to take a principled stand in favour of middle-class families by refusing to support the Conservatives’ unaffordable corporate tax cut plan.”

Me again. Wells. As I said, it’s as if on cue: as if the Liberals had decided there’s no point voting against the budget if the NDP simply pulls a Layton Fall ’09. Wherever could the Liberals have got that idea? Hmm.

The NDP is, of course, ill-disposed to take advice from Geoff Regan. On the Twitter machine, NDP spokesman George Soule told me his party “won’t be taking any lessons on ‘principled stands’ from the Liberals.” So the trash talking is well begun.

As always, the Conservatives need only one dance partner. So the Liberals could get cold feet, or the NDP could pull a Layton Fall ’09 — or the Bloc could be paid a little HST-harmonization hush money or stadium sweetener. But the optics of a Harper government surviving thanks to the Bloc are a little more delicate these days than they have sometimes been in the past. Let the dance begin.

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