Of course, this year's announcement the day before Hallowe'en seems to be an obvious attempt to give out treats to squash the memories of last year's Income Trust trick. On the surface at least, one would surmise that this is the strategy.
However, other pundits are wondering why Flaherty would spend all his political capital now, rather than wait for the spring budget.
Don Martin's take on this is likely as accurate as any - Minority all but begging for an election.
Still, the hurry-up tax offensive makes a suspicious columnist wonder if the Conservatives are plotting legislation the three opposition parties will have to vote against, thus forcing a fall election after all. There could be nothing worse for a Conservative finance minister than entering a campaign saddled with missed spending and tax-cut opportunities.
He'd much rather rush his fiscal blueprint into the Commons under the Conservative flag now than risk waiting for a spring budget.
And as a bonus:
Besides, Mr. Flaherty effectively neutered criticism by rolling the GST cut into a colossal combo of other tax relief that spanned the income spectrum.
Bottom line: A two-income household of four earning $100,000 saves $427 in taxes from just this statement, with hints of more to come in the spring.
That finally paints the Conservatives in true blue colours after they posted several budgets of liberally increased program spending.
True blue. Heh. I like that.
Perhaps only a cynical columnist could see such Machiavellian strategy in a simple economic update, but there may be a grain of truth in it. Or at the very least Flaherty is hedging his bets.
Ironically, with the aid of the Bloc and the NDP continuing to oppose anything Harper lays out, the government is now holding all the cards in a minority situation that no one expected to be able to continue this long.
And so this year, the Hallowe'en trick was played on Stephane Dion.