More random than usual…

This post, I suspect, will look a lot more like what I would normally tend to post on my much less interesting personal blog. I’m sitting on a bus passing through Moncton, New Brunswick on the way to Canadian Forces Base Gagetown to a training event and I have been finally trying to catch up on recent news.

This week saw the Speech From The Throne as Parliament came back from their Olympic prorogation, and the introduction of the new federal government budget, a fairly uninteresting budget announcing a plan to try to cut spending nominally and hope that growth in the economy will balance the budget. I think many provincial leaders were happy to hear that there were no cuts to transfer payments. Basically nothing surprised me.

The Throne Speech, however, was a little more interesting. In it, the government announced its intention to study the idea of changing the words to the National Anthem, specifically one verse – “True patriot love in all thy sons command” – to something more – how did they put it – gender-inclusive. Ridiculous. Also telling that they didn’t mention changing “God keep our land glorious and free”, another potentially divisive line. They have since backpedalled on the stupid idea but not before taking a bollocking from the public and media over it. I hope whoever inserted that into the speech is seeking new employment.

The budget thing is what I’m interested to watch. Until last year when Canada’s Economic Action Plan (a stimulus plan to ease the brief but sharp recession Canada experienced in the wake of the global credit nightmare) kicked in, we were accustomed to budget surpluses and paying down the national debt, but unfortunately Wall Street shenanigans had a knock-on effect in Canada and a deficit became basically inevitable.

I don’t see that as a terrible thing. It’s a small deficit fuelled mainly by shrinking tax revenue from the slowdown which should ease once that slack is taken up. If it looks like it’s becoming more persistent than the prospect of a modest hike in income or sales tax wouldn’t be impossible to sell to the electorate. I’d gripe but accept the GST being raised again if it would help in a very progressive way to balance the budget.

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