Ignatieff will support the budget but with two conditions:
The Tories make amendments that include improvements in employment insurance and infrastructure but without adding more to the deficit.
The Tories issue an update three times a year on the types of progress being made in terms of the deficit, infrastructure, creating jobs, and regional fairness.
Fife said the first update would be in March when government estimates have to be approved by Parliament.
"He's really going to be holding the government to account here if they don't meet these requirements then the government will be defeated," Fife said.
I would categorize the "update" requirement as a stroke of political brilliance. The chief concern, if the Liberals support, then they take the economy off the table, they've lost the leverage for criticism, is completely addressed with the demand of government accountability. This requirement translates to sustained pressure on the government, the Liberals are free to scrutinze and reacess, keeping the government on the defensive. In essence, the opposition will drive the agenda, ensuring compliance, any deviation or slowness on the government's part, they will "wear" it. Rather than "propping up" the Conservatives, the Liberal role will be to ensure compliance, and make adjustments where necessary. The amendment also means, the Liberals enjoy set benchmarks for future non-confidence, as well as addressing the "trust" issue. We effectively put an ankle bracklet on the government, so we can routinely check their whereabouts, what they've been up to.
The Liberals aren't giving the Conservatives a post-budget reprieve, they will be held to account, and the intitiative remains. If Flaherty is "rosy", if his projections miss the mark, any evidence of promises unkept, there is a mechanism to reveal the failures, and react accordingly. Rather than budget support translating to endorsement, it's a wait and see attitude, and we are left to criticize and show our non-confidence in the future. This amendment basically says, we'll pass the budget, but we don't trust you guys, the Liberals will have a future accounting role. Fast forward, and you can see how this requirement can pay dividends, both politically, and the genuine interest in making sure the economy does receive the stimulus promised.