As Christina Blizzard notes in her T.O. Sun column this morning, while the latest Stephen Harper budget seems to have laid an egg in Quebec, where it is quite accurately perceived as a blatent attempt to buy votes for Jean Charest's Liberals in next week's election, it will almost certainly have the effect of greasing the skids for a Liberal return to power in Ontario. For one thing, if Ontario Finance Minister Greg Sorbara can't craft an election year balanced-budget this week and still sprinkle goodies over the citizenry, then he is beyond incompetent. It was clear in 2006 that McGuinty's bunch was fiddling the books so it looked like the Province was running a deficit. This year the message will be SHAZAM! we're back in black and election-ready and, by the way Ontarions, here's a wad of program spending.
Note that Harper's attempts to buy Ontario votes have been fairly subtle and low key. At least, there will have been a respectful distance between the handing over of Federal dough and our Provincial election. In Quebec, by contrast, the Tories have acted like a John waving cash before a street-walker: here's the dough, now render me some services. Who would wonder at a backlash? The real question is: does Harper's budget doom Jean Charest rather than secure his victory?