In a very unintended way, I think Jack Layton delivered the rationale, as to why the budget should pass. The comment by Layton came in reaction to a question on the series of budget leaks. Layton referenced social housing, infrastructure, prior to making the above statement. Also noteworthy today, the Throne Speech referenced a few Iggyisms, verbatim phrasing, which was representative of who the true authors of this budget really are. The point- if you were given the budget releases to date, and had no knowledge of which party was delivering the announcements, what party would you think crafted these initiatives? I would argue, the LAST party chosen would be the Conservatives, much more Liberal, a healthy dose of NDP, but little that resembles the Harper government we have all come to know.
I completely agree with Jeff, on hunting dogs and power grabs. A credible argument for toppling the government is completely undercut, when said offering includes almost all the original demands made. Even if the document includes other measures which don't jive with you sensibilities, you must view it all in totality. It is entirely laughable to suggest that Ignatieff and the Liberals will be "caving" should they support this budget. Oh sure, partisans may float the characterization of "propping up", but I have a very calm confidence that the frame will resonate with virtually no one. The reason? This budget has the Liberal fingerprints all over it, the same arguments made since day one, no wavering or amending as we moved forward. Stephen Harper has moved,, I will posit, moreso than any previous government in Canadian history. The chasm between the Conservative government of today, and the proposals offered in November, or the election for that matter, is so substantial, I think people are still having trouble comprehending the movement.
This government has already caved, they lost a long time ago. The only "victory" I suppose, would be clinging to power, but it's supposed to be about the economy, so that consideration supercedes. As for the idea of "trust", completely well founded, but don't forget the opposition isn't neutered moving forward, they will have a strong role on the "accountability" front. If promises aren't fulfilled, or shell games are in operation, a minority parliament always leaves the opposition with plenty of tools. The fact of the matter, at this moment, delivery is secondary to the optics of presentation. You can question the sincerity, but that hardly justifies rejecting the spirit of the initiatives, which is surely what Canadians will look at.
Just imagine, the Liberals rise to defeat the government, when everyone agrees that their checklist was, for the most part, met. That scenario does bring back the power grab angle, Harper can use all the "compromise" to show the opposition wasn't interested in solutions, but control. Politically, Harper is well armed and I see plenty of pitfalls.
I don't "trust" Stephen Harper, nor do I believe he's changed or his recent conversion authentic. However, absent of any huge surprise tomorrow, the government has covered its bases on the substance of the budget. Again, I'm hard pressed to think of another historical example, wherein a government of the day shifted so profoundly policy wise, it's really unprecedented. I don't believe Ignatieff will suffer, should the budget pass. Canadians will exhale, they could care less about, all they want is politicians to get on with it. If anything, I think Ignatieff will come off well, putting partisanship aside, in the name of national interest. Hollow cries from other politicians aside, who is really going to support the "weak" narrative, in this instance? Nobody.
Stephen Harper does sound like a New Democrat, sounds a lot like a Liberal too, sure as shit doesn't sound like the new Conservatives. That's the underlying reality, all the other arguments for coalition, elections aside. People no longer care how we got here, all they care about is getting somewhere. We'll have to wait until tomorrow, plenty more to come, but it's pretty hard now to see a OVERALL justification for defeating the government.