The Layton intrigue

How many of the NDP leader's demands does the federal budget have to meet to ensure its passage?

A month ago, Stephen Harper invited Jack Layton over for a chat. Afterward, the NDP leader listed five “proposals” for the federal budget:

1. Remove the federal sales tax on home heating bills.
2. Restore the EcoEnergy program.
3. Increase the Guaranteed Income Supplement to aid vulnerable seniors.
4. Strengthen the Canada Pension Plan
5. Improve access to family doctors.

According to various leaks and hints, it seems the EcoEnergy program will be renewed, some kind of assist for vulnerable seniors will be provided and student loan forgiveness will be offered to new doctors who choose to practice in rural areas. Depending on what else is included, that’s three (two and a half?) out of five and so whether or not the budget passes would seem now to depend on whether that’s enough for the NDP.

There is some question now as to whether Mr. Layton will announce a position today or tomorrow. I’m told no decision on timing has yet been made.

In the meantime, Rob Silver considers the long, meaningful history of the EcoEnergy retrofit program.

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