This is a fascinating time to be following Federal politics in Canada.
The most entertaining aspect of all is sitting back and observing Stephen Harper's shrewd machinations bear political fruit. We Tory backseat drivers tend to worry and obsess when we detect what we perceive to be a tactical error in policy or maneuvering, but rest assured that our Fearless Leader has a very far-sighted plan. He is always ten moves ahead of everyone else.
And this budget is no exception.
Chantel Hebert describes the breathtaking ten minutes during the budget announcement that PQ Leader André Boisclair held the fate of this Parliament in his hands. Dion had apparently already decided not to support the budget without even reading it and Jack Layton would only support it if given the political spotlight to rewrite it.
And word was out from the government that the budget would stand as is. No Liberal-NDP shenanigans this time.
So Duceppe called Boisclair to discuss the options which were obviously either to immediately go to the polls or not. Since they felt they couldn't explain the rationale behind voting down all that money to the Quebec electorate, they opted to support the budget. This has its own interesting ramifications because now they have to explain why separatists are propping up a federalist government. They are also forced to admit that federalism can have its rewards.
Brian Laghi of the Globe calls it a game of political chicken. It seems that even though Harper has a minority government, he also has carte blanche until such a time as the opposition parties decide they've had enough.
What will be the tipping point?