On Tuesday April 21st, Joe Oliver presented his first budget as Finance Minister. Its 518 pages have been universally described in less than flattering terms. It is really the Conservative platform dressed up as a budget -- long on promises, short on funding. It's been obvious for years that climate change is not a priority for this government, but to produce a 518 page document that is the basis for the Conservatives' next election platform and not mention the existential threat of the century is truly appalling.
The Conservative budget's failure to initiate a process of comprehensive tax reform is a missed opportunity to lift Canada's prospects for long-term prosperity and growth. Tax reform and simplification would improve Canada's international competitiveness, productivity and economic growth, from both a personal and corporate perspective.
Leaving aside the fact that getting Ottawa out of the red required Finance Minister Joe Oliver to deploy some skillful manoeuvers, not to mention seek a little help from contingency funds, the budget delivered this week clearly demonstrated spending restraint that is not as common as one might expect in today's economic environment.