Today's budget laid bare the next steps of the Harper agenda:
Not one new childcare space.
Nothing to make prescription drugs more affordable.
Nothing for forestry communities.
A pitance for manufacturing.
Six dollars in tax cuts for profitable companies for every dollar to help people.
The response of Jack Layton and the NDP: No way.
The response of the official opposition Liberals: Sure thing. Harper's agenda is our agenda too!
Liberals say they can vote for the budget because of all the things it does that they agree upon. In short: the Harper agenda is their agenda. Liberals are acknowledging that on the major issues of the day, the war and the economy, there is virtually no light between Dion and Harper.
So what is the point of the 90-ish people sitting in a caucus collecting cheques and calling themselves "Liberals"?
This long-overdue question is starting to be asked by observers like the Toronto Star's Jim Travers on the Newman show today:
"How do they [the Liberals] make themselves relevant in the near future? This government might now last until the fall -- might last until October 2009 to the fixed election date. And basically they have endorsed the Conservatives' management of Afghanistan, and the Conservative management of the budget. So that doesn't give Stéphane Dion very much room to build an image, and a lot of people also asking inside the party, well, 14 months after you were elected leader were you not ready to go for an election when you had an minority government?"
Two years after the election, Conservatives have never had it this good, and never imagined they would.