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Showing some budget sense

It's quite possibly the most important federal budget that will be introduced in my lifetime, and it's one I hope will be passed and endorsed by Parliament.

It's quite possibly the most important federal budget that will be introduced in my lifetime, and it's one I hope will be passed and endorsed by Parliament.

As I pen this column on Wednesday morning, Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff said his party will support the budget if the Conservatives agree to provide regular updates on the budget's implementation and cost.

Amendments were set to be tabled Wednesday afternoon requiring Stephen Harper and his government to provide Parliament with a report in March, June and December. If the Liberals are not satisfied with those reports, then they reserve the right to defeat the government as a sign of non-confidence. The first vote on the budget was held Jan. 29, the second will be on Feb. 2.

I applaud Ignatieff for taking this approach. It's a prudent stance and one that doesn't give the Conservatives a free pass. The Liberals are putting the government on notice and giving them a chance to govern, which is what all the parliamentarians should be doing. On the other hand, I'm more than a little disappointed in New Democrat Jack Layton. Layton condemned the budget before it was even released on Tuesday, saying he and the Bloc Québécois would defeat it no matter what. I guess the cooling off period and the prorogue of Parliament did little to cool the power trip that Layton is on. He clearly is looking at his own political aspirations and not what is right for the country.

Sure, the budget has flaws, but I ask you to point to any budget document released in the past few years by any government that has not. This budget includes concessions on affordable housing and tax benefits for low-income Canadians. The measures in this budget are designed to address the pressing economic concerns that are plaguing all Canadians. There is funding for forestry and construction jobs and infrastructure funding - which means projects on the Sunshine Coast such as a new wastewater treatment facility in Sechelt and harbour expansion in Gibsons could be a reality sooner rather than later. There's a big boost in culture, tourism and sports spending - three initiatives that are huge to the viability of the Sunshine Coast as our tourism and arts communities go hand-in-hand in creating positive economic growth.

In a poll conducted by Canwest News Service and Global National this week, nearly six in 10 Canadians hope the budget will pass. You can count my vote in that poll too.

Another election won't do our economy any favour and defeating the government now, which is what Layton wants by forming a coalition government, is not the way to go either. Pass the budget, continue to hold the Conservatives accountable, and work together to strengthen the economy and get this country moving again in a positive direction. That's showing good budget sense and good sense for all Canadians.

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