Cherry-picking will get you cherries
Oh, thank goodness for pollsters who are all geared up to tell us what we already know, for what would we do without them?
Tuesday, Corporate Research Associates released its polling on the last federal budget, polling which it says shows that “Atlantic Canadians support key federal budget measures.”
Now, only four measures actually got examined by the pollsters, but it’s worth looking the numbers, just the same.
In total, 74 per cent indicated that they supported increasing the federal child tax credit — why don’t we just say it like it is, that 74 per cent approved of the federal government giving them a cookie.
Another 73 per cent supported the federal plan to reduce the small business tax rate. We could call that one approving cookies for your local shop- keeper in the hopes that they will pass a bit of that free cookie on to you.
Some 63 per cent supported increases to the annual amount that taxpayers can put in a tax free savings account — tax-free cookies in the future, everyone!
And, last but not least, around 47 per cent supported the minimum amount that holders will be allowed to remove from registered retirement income funds, meaning taxpayers with big retirement savings will be able to keep cookies they might have lost to the tax man. (This, of course, was the wild card in the poll because 21 per cent of Atlantic Canadians didn’t know what the heck the budget measure was about, presumably because, come retirement, they won’t have an RRIF to rub together to pay for even one single cookie.) The long and short of it? The poll suggests people like the parts of this pre-election budget that gives them stuff. Holy moly in a bowling alley! That kind of conclusion just blows my socks off.
Of course, we all know the only measures that matter in the budget are the ones that give us things, right?
That part of budget legislation that enables the RCMP to turn back the clock and gets them out of a jam for destroying information they promised to save? The strange situation where Canada’s highest upholders of the law apparently broke the law they are sworn to uphold, except their political masters decided to give them a bye? We don’t care about that. No cookies hiding anywhere there.
What about the part of the budget act that allows the federal government to unilaterally change negotiated sick leave clauses for federal civil servants — and, in the process, allow the government to skirt portions of legislation that examine whether simply overriding the negotiating process is a violation of the Canadian Rights and Freedoms? Those are civil service cookies — we can’t have them, so the civil servants shouldn’t either, right?
What about the $292 million in new annual prison and security spending? Now, there’s a lot of cookies. Or the multi-billiondollar shortfall for health care after the expiry of the federal Health Accord? Maybe Granny can’t get an MRI until next No- vember, but hey — chocolate chip. Yummy.
We love, love, love the budget. We’d tell you if we weren’t so delighted about stuffing our mouths with all the goodies we’re going to get.
When the metrics you use to measure something are entirely — entirely — based on asking people about the benefits they stand to gain, the results are nothing short of tautology. Do you like what you like? You do? Quelle surprise!
Eight-two per cent would like frosting with that. Sixty-three per cent might prefer bread and circuses.
And that’s not unexpected, either.