Monday, January 31, 2011

Out of character

Jim Flaherty is continuing to try to narrow any discussion about the budget, presumably to avoid having the opposition's proposals discussed while helping the Cons to claim credit for more interest in helping workers than they deserve. But let's take a closer look at what Flaherty is really saying:
Mr. Flaherty, in a broadcast interview from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, offered a taste of what’s ahead this week as Parliament resumes Monday after a nearly two-month break. Squabbling over corporate tax cuts, approved by Parliament in 2007 but now a focal point of Liberal opposition, is expected to dominate debate in the buildup to the 2011 budget, which the Minister said would be tabled some time in March.

Mr. Flaherty opened the door to compromise with the opposition parties on initiatives such as the retraining of older workers laid off from industries undergoing deep restructurings, such as the auto and forest sectors. The minority Conservative government only needs the support from one of the parties — such as the NDP or Bloc Quebecois — to get the budget passed.
So at base, Flaherty considers it a matter of "compromise" for a Con budget to contain even the type of minimal retraining assistance that he's willing to countenance in order to secure an opposition party's support. Which can only suggest by implication that an uncompromised Conservative position would involve nothing of the sort.

In other words, left to their own devices - say, after winning a majority - the Cons themselves wouldn't see any more need to do anything for older workers than they seem to for seniors based on the NDP's requests. Which means that even the limited range of workers who may see potential for some small amount of relief in the Cons' budget should be highly wary of rewarding Flaherty for anything they get.

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