By Frank Moher
Ladies and gentlemen, the Canadian Minister of Finance:
When asked by Lang if the plan would saddle future governments with a revenue shortfall in the billions of dollars, Oliver replied, ‘I heard that by 2080 we may have a problem. Well, why don’t we leave that to Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s granddaughter to solve that problem.'”
If anything demonstrates the expediency of the Conservatives’ election-year budget, not to mention their dwindling bench strength, it’s this latest bonerism from Oliver, which surely has the same staying power as his infamous one about “environmental and other radical groups.” We can imagine the conversation in the PMO this morning:
STEVE: Joe, come in but don’t say anything.
JOE: Yes, Mr. Prime Minister.
STEVE. Joe. I just said don’t say anything.
JOE: I’m sorry, Mr. —
STEVE: And by “Don’t say anything,” I mean “Don’t say anything ever again.” Ever. Got it? Never. Don’t ever, ever say anything to anyone other than your wife ever again. Got it?
JOE: Yes, Mr. —
STEVE JOE SHUT THE FUCK UP!!!
Or something like that. But the best thing about Oliver’s faceplant at the end of a long, hard budget day is that the Conservatives will never again be able to drag out their hoary old “Liberals/NDP/leftists/anyone-else-we-don’t-like want to mortgage our children’s futures” mantra. Because if you are concerned about handing down debt to our children, you must be even more upset at the prospect of handing it on to their children, the poor little tykes. But now the Finance Minister says that’d be fine. So, there you go. There will be peace in the valley, and on the Hill.
Of course, anyone inclined to fall for a budget that allows the Conservatives to campaign on the promise of increased infrastructure and defence spending, even though that spending isn’t projected to occur until 2017, isn’t likely to examine Oliver’s remarks too critically. If they did, they might develop a frontal lobe. The Cons are now well-positioned to recant their promises after the election, if, say, the price of oil declines further, or there’s another global fiscal meltdown, and their “balanced budget,” which actually comes with a razor-thin surplus of 1.4 billion dollars, turns to butt-wipe. Not that we aren’t used to governments recanting their promises. But when they dangle those promises, it usually isn’t at the end of a stick so long you can barely see the carrot.
But those increases to Tax Free Savings Account limits will still kick in right away for those of you with some extra cash floating around. And don’t worry about Stephen Harper’s grandchildren — they’ll be fine. Yours might be screwed. But his will be fine.