Discussion of the federal budget died down to a soft whisper within a week of its introduction to Parliament by Finance Minister Bill Morneau.
That can be taken pretty reasonably as a signal that, like the shoes Morneau chose to wear for the occasion, it’s quite ordinary, certainly not spectacular, and probably not terrible.
Indeed, while there will be some continued posturing in the House of Commons – glowing terms from Government-side members and condemnations from the Opposition – no one is comparing it to the Trump-Ryan healthcare fiasco that unfolded south of the border.
The Trumpcare vs Obamacare non-event flooded news channels all over the world, and easily drowned out anything as insignificant as a budget that will set the course for all of Canada through the coming year.
Actually, last week’s budget will set the country’s economic course for a lot of years, as the Liberals themselves predict that its “modest” deficit sets the stage for an eventual surplus in 2022, while the Opposition has “calculated” that the Morneau budget’s course leads to “massive” deficits right up to 2055.
Meanwhile, economic commentators and media pundits tend to be split between “meh” and… well… actually, “meh” is pretty much the consensus.
That may be because they’re still trying to figure out what makes Donald Trump and his motley crew tick. Trump’s caprice is likely to have a greater impact on Canada than any budget drawn up by Parliament.
Indeed, even Trump’s toilet-time tweets have the potential to wreak more damage on us than anything Trudeau The Younger could possibly inflict from Ottawa.
Without going into details of the budget here, if you’re having difficulty figuring what’s good or bad about it, follow these simple guidelines.
If the Liberals are crowing about a line item, and the Conservatives and NDP are consumed with anger that it would be included in as important a document as a federal budget… it’s nothing to be concerned about.
If the Opposition hates it and the Government is doing its best to ignore it… that’s smoke that could burn swaths through the economy or social structure.
If the Liberals are trumpeting the greatness of an item while the Opposition is trying hard to talk about something else… that’s a good one.
If the Liberals like it, the Conservatives say it’s too much, and the NDP shouts that it’s not enough… that’s Canada!