It's taken a couple of hours to gel but there is a clear consensus emerging from the left and centre that the Harper budget is a travesty that will do next to nothing to help Canada bounce back from a recession.
The more you read, the more it becomes clear that a lot of snake oil has gone into the production of this budget. It's a plan crafted mainly for spin potential rather than to help the country and the Canadian people.
The unnecessary measures to thwart pay equity are bad enough but the ludicrous middle class tax cuts are inexcusable. A government doesn't make tax cuts when they can only be paid for out of borrowed money.
What infrastructure spending there is has been grossly overstated. The priorities are skewed. Missing is the essential emphasis on investment spending, the sort of infrastructure programmes that will pay big dividends in the long-term, and visibility. The public needs to know where the money is going. They need to see it and they need to see it in every part of the country. Doing that means going big.
The Tories have had plenty of time to come up with big ideas, the sort of projects that can capture the public imagination and the public's support. But the budget doesn't contain that sort of substance but, then again, it can't because the actual infrastructure spending is a pittance of what would be needed for any realistic investment.
Harper has mastered the Bush/Cheney/Rove art of saying what people want to hear and then delivering just the opposite. Remember when Harper admitted that global warming was the greatest threat to mankind and needed urgent action? So, what's he done in your neighbourhood, in your province?
No, this is a budget that reveals incredibly insincere commitment to rather loudly stated promises. It's a hoax, a fraud ginned up with Harper's electoral fortunes first and foremost.
I guess it's fair to say that the Harper budget is "predictable." What remains uncertain is what we can expect from Michael Ignatieff. Will he and the Liberal Party choose Canada or Stephen Harper?