Reaction to Monday's federal budget continues this week.
Are you still reading? Seriously?
Evaluating a federal budget can be about as exciting as a trip to the DMV: We'd understand if you'd already checked out of this column and moved on to Bar Watch—or Savage Love. (Admit it: You've already read Savage Love, haven't you?)
But, in an effort to reward your persistence, allow us to elevate the budget discussion to a point-form, soap-operaesque level. Without further ado, we present to you, kind reader: The 2007 federal budget Rage-o-Meter.
Our thinking? You can always judge a budget by whom it annoys the most, and angry people are just plain interesting. Here goes:
1. Peter Kelly. Rage level: mild. Our mayor was perhaps not as pissed as some of the other folks on this list, but he was disappointed nonetheless. Kelly was disheartened that the budget did not specifically mention a national transit strategy; he also said that the budget does not do enough to address crime.
2. John Hamm. Rage level: quietly infuriated. The former premier fought tooth-and-nail to separate Nova Scotia's federal equalization payments from our offshore oil and gas revenues. The new budget breaks that accord by capping equalization payments, unless the province opts to give up more of its long-term offshore oil and gas interests. For Hamm in particular, who lobbied so hard against such an arrangement...that's gotta sting.
3. Danny Williams. Rage level: admirably passionate. Pissed for the same reasons as Hamm, but whereas Hamm has yet to make a public comment, the Newfoundland premier is refreshingly upfront about his rage. "It is terribly misleading and disingenuous, and I am quite frankly appalled that the prime minister and his government would betray the voters in this way," said Williams in a release. Oh, snap!
4. Rodney MacDonald. Rage level: tooth-grindingly bitter. Even our current premier, who has been supportive of Harper in the past, thinks the equalization-offshore revenue deal is sketchy. He seemed genuinely angry in a press conference earlier this week, but restrained himself, saying only that he was "disappointed." For the record, we would have preferred something like, "Stephen Harper is a total jerkass." Come on, Rodney. You were thinking it.
5. Stephen Harper (circa 2004). Rage level: insincerely pissed. We don't have a time machine, so it's difficult to say for certain, but ostensibly, the 2004-model Harper would be upset with the 2007 version of himself. Three years ago, during a debate in the House of Commons about non-renewable resource royalties in the Atlantic provinces, the opposition-leading Stephen Harper made comments that seem oddly applicable to the current offshore debate:
" can only get what they were promised if they agree to remain have-not provinces forever. That is absolutely unacceptable...What is at stake is the future of Atlantic Canada, an unprecedented and historic opportunity for those provinces to get out of the have-not status that has bedevilled them for decades."
That right there is some confusing, contradictory, two-guys-in-one-body shit—it's essentially what Harper 2007 is asking of us.
It's enough to make anyone register on the Rage-o-Meter.
Now go read Savage Love. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org