It's budget season everywhere, and it's all about debt and deficits and the elusive quest to balance the beast, which can only be done, it is said, by cutting services or raising taxes.
There is a distinct change of tone in the 2013 budget. It is a matter of tone more than substance, but the jackboot style of Budget 2012 has been replaced with a kinder, gentler message.
The triumphal Harper plan -- trash the public sector, and let the oilsands economy pick up the slack while transforming Canada into a right-wing energy superpower -- is on the skids.
In the aggregate, this budget is on austerity autopilot. We need job-creating programs like infrastructure investments -- but what we got was cuts in infrastructure spending.
For the Harper Government, the optics of tabling a balanced budget by 2015, in time for the next election, seem to trump the reality of unemployed Canadians right now.
The Fraser Institute has a new report warning Ontario could become the next Greece or California because of the size of its debt.
Despite the upbeat messaging around the "Update of Economic and Fiscal Projections" there are concerning underlying trends with the country and its finances.
In a year that the UN has declared the "International Year of Co-operatives" the elimination of the only federal program for co-op development is not only hard to understand, it is misguided.
If Justin Trudeau really wants to serve the country rather than the rearguard of his party, he has no choice but to acknowledge the reality: The NDP is the new Liberal party.
In the 1990s, CTV broadcaster Eric Malling told Canadians the sad tale of a baby hippo shot by authorities at a New Zealand zoo. They had big deficits, so there was no money to expand the hippo pen.