Brian Tobin kisses John Manley’s ass; cities get the shaft

The Globe And Mail: A budget that few can fault. Is Brian Tobin looking for a job as John Manley’s pool boy? His comment in The Globe And Mail reads like a love letter from someone with a teenage crush on our federal finance minister: “John is so dreamy. Did you see him deliver that federal budget? Nobody delivers a federal budget like him.”

Personally, I feel that the 2003 federal budget lacked vision in several areas, but most importantly in terms of funds to cities. The federal budget allots a $3-billion investment over 10 years in municipal infrastructure. Frankly, that amount is so small as to be insulting. That’s $300-million per year, for all of Canada for infrastructure renewal. One city alone can spend that much on a highway or on public transit upgrades. Toronto is aching for funds to put towards public transit and could easily use one third of that money to upgrade its fleet. Speaking of public transit, where are the tax deductions for transit passes my MP, Carolyn Bennett, hinted at in her recent newsletter? Was Dr. Bennett truly hoping for deductions or was she simply misinformed?

With regards to the funds earmarked for cities, Manley says that the $3-billion is part of a larger picture:

“The money announced (Tuesday) doesn’t buy a kilometre of subway in Toronto … it’s half the money for Halifax harbour,” said [NDP Member of Parliament] Blaikie.

Manley replied that “only” the NDP would pretend that $3 billion was a “pittance” and that the budget’s infrastructure spending was part of a larger picture.

I find it amusing that Finance Minister John Manley could have been answering the criticisms I list above. Does this make me a member of the NDP?

Who would have thought I’d ever get worked up over a federal budget? Next thing you know, I’ll be writing to my MP, scowling and cursing at kids and beginning sentences with “back in my day” or “when I was young”. Now where is that nurse with my pills?

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