OTTAWA, March 29, 2012 /CNW/ - Ray Pennings, Director of Research for Cardus, said that while this budget was consistent with the Prime Minister's classical federalism, it might not move fast enough for many within his own party. "We've now had six budgets where economics has played second fiddle to the politics of survival. Canadians were looking for a blueprint. This is another long, slow, nail-biting crawl toward an ever vaguer federalism."
That budget's sloth will also expose the fault lines between at least six competing factions in the Conservative party, which while not exclusive to one another, had wins and losses only partly understood today that will shape this government, its opposition, and the policies of this country for years to come.
Will this budget rally the Conservative party's various conservative factions around Prime Minister Harper's classical federalism? Maybe. Populists and fiscal conservatives will find a better home in this budget, than social conservatives, liberal conservatives, libertarians and Red Tories. And even those not enthralled will continue to lobby in the halls of power, than swelter in the ignominy of a scattered and defeated opposition. But that opposition will not be destitute forever, and with the purse of Conservative fracture to unite it, a shrewd opposition will find a way to tempt disaffected Tories over the line from the Prime Minister's federalism. Much depends on Canada's opposition party, and its capacity to capitalize on this disaffection, and pull support from the Tories.
This glacial, lowest common denominator budget may not be enough to sustain the big tent conservatism needed for perpetual power. What remains to be seen is how long, and what damage, the inevitable fault line conflicts will rend.
A copy of Cardus's full analysis is available at http://go.cardus.ca/budget2012
For further information:
Ray Pennings (403)479-4590