Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Speculation about a budget amendment

Suppose Iggy proposes an amendment to the budget. He can do this before deciding whether to vote for or against the budget. Offering a proposal makes the Liberals appear more collaborative, co-operative, constructive, etc.

There are three outcomes:

A) The amendment fails to pass. This means it was not supported by either the government, the NDP or the BQ. OK, I guess either the BQ or NDP could support it, but not both. Result: Iggy can safely pass the budget and avoid accepting responsibility for it. Since the coalition didn't support him he can justify not defeating the budget based on that lack of support from partners. Further, Iggy can run an election campaign filled with "I told you so, but you didn't listen".

B) The amendment passes with coalition support. I don't expect this, because then it would force the coalition to vote for the budget. After all, why pass an amendment then defeat the budget? It makes you look foolish. However, it could happen - how could the NDP argue against the ideas of a Liberal partner? I'll leave that as an exercise for Mr. Layton.

C) The amendment passes with Conservative support. Depending on what's in the budget this could anger the Conservative supporters further, a dangerous choice for Mr. Harper. It makes him appear even weaker. I don't expect this outcome is very likely, but it is possible. Voting for the amendment would guarantee passage of the budget and continued government. In this case, expect Harper to return and exact his revenge in the future sometime. To quote Mr. Burns - "I'll let the sword of Damacles dangle about his head, while I bide my time. Yes, excellent." Result: Iggy demonstrates he's the most powerful man in the house, and gets what he asked for - so be careful. On the downside, he must share the responsibility which is probably suicide.

I expect Iggy's best outcome would be A), so I expect a very aggressive amendment designed to fail, yet provide help for the next campaign. EI restructuring, limits to tax cuts and easing restrictions so municipalities can access the money easier, faster are my guesses.

We'll see, in just 3.5 hours.

Overall I thought the budget was the best I expected from Harper, and I must give him full credit for trying. If you've seen my comments around other blogs, I never expected Harper to deliver a budget with so little conservatism - and my evidence is over at the Blogging Tories. He certainly appears to be on the ropes... for now. But he must not be underestimated.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. How about d) the amendments are proposed, and the government goes down to defeat?

    Your whole message makes it seem like you're hoping the government doesn't get defeated.

  3. Yes Scott, I hope it isn't defeated - with the Conservatives choosing their own terms of defeat. I'm OK with a coalition (if necessary ;-) but it must be justified.

    My impression is that Harper really, honestly tried his best. This is probably the best he could do. Not that it's great IMHO, but I never expected it to be this good (I suspected more poison, honestly).

    And I'm not ready to completely trust someone who would vote down a budget without reading it, though I could co-operate with them. Keeping a straight message would be difficult, though long term I think coalitions make sense, but early attempts would probably fail and provide lessons for future success.

    Point in case: we have 1 potential coalition leader reading the budget, another who doesn't need to. If they're serious, why aren't they on the same page already on this first issue? Layton should've listened to Iggy to read the budget... honestly, what does Layton have to lose by reading it, and then rejecting it?

  4. website design pricecredit cardsThe launch was celebrated by an all-night book signing and reading at the Natural History Museum in London, which Rowling attended along with 1,700 guests chosen by ballot.[45] Rowling toured the US in October 2007, where another event was held at Carnegie Hall in New York City with tickets allocated by sweepstake.[46]

  5. Eurogroup chairman Mr Juncker gave his backing to a German plan that a proportion of future bailout money should be paid into an escrow account that can only be used by the Greek government to repay its other, private-sector lenders.
    an plan that a proportion of future bailout money should be paid into an escrow account that can only be used by the Greek government to repay its other, private-sector lenders.

    Extended Warrantycompare life insurance