Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s recent budget, despite the headline slapped on Wednesday’s Metro, is equally unsurprising as it is uninspiring.
The usual agendas - like the government’s slow creep toward complete tax shelters for the wealthy, as the Star’s Thomas Walkom points out - are furthered along, while Canadian cities, Peterborough excluded, are neglected.
As if on cue, Mayor David Miller complained about the raw-end of a deal that Toronto consistently receives from the federal government. And he has a point, even if it’s not a new one. But rather than plead for more money – which Miller seems to do on an hourly basis – why not build a case using an economic statement from provincial Finance Minister Dwight Duncan?
As a comparison, Duncan, in the short time he’s been in finance, has kept the books balanced while infusing Toronto’s public transit, infrastructure and universities with much-needed dollars. On cities, the Windsor MP has even outdone his more urbane predecessor, super-Liberal Greg Sorbara.
For his next budget, due out next month, Duncan has already promised to out-invest his federal counterpart on infrastructure.
So for pointers on the city agenda, Flaherty need to look no further than Duncan’s last mini-budget, which delivered more to City of Toronto than all of Flaherty’s combined.
Witness this little tidbit from the Globe:
Much of the city's ability to present a virtually balanced budget lies with Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan's mid-December economic statement that pledged $500-million for the "immediate demands" of transit operations across the province. Toronto's share is expected to be in excess of $100-million this year.
Though throwing money at a gigantic voting bloc in a gigantic city is hardly visionary, Duncan’s progress, slow as it may seem, outpaces Flaherty’s by at least a city block.