Economic update leak a way to distract from deficit?

The big leak about this afternoon’s economic update is that the government will eliminate the $27-million subsidy to political parties. “Sources” have been busy propagating the news yesterday to as many major media outlets as they could (but not Maclean’s bloggers apparently – theys must be pissed).

If this little maneuver comes from the flacks at the Prime Minister’s Office (Tory Teneyke and the gang), and and it probably does, the question is why.

Well, they know it’s going to be controversial, but probably fairly popular. Everybody will suffer, why not those dastardly politicians? It’s probably difficult for folks to accept the argument that this would effectively lead to a single-party system for a little while, the elusive “permanent majority” as they say down south.

I bet the leak is all about the deficit. That is what the newspapers would normally focus on this morning – the threat of a multi-billion deficit that may take at least 24 months to get rid of.

In the long winter nights that are coming to Ottawa’s drinking establishments, perhaps the Conservative flacks will tell the tale of how they eclipsed a $5-billion deficit with a $27-million cut.

WAS-I-EVER-WRONG UPDATE: No deficit after all. So this morning’s leak wasn’t about covering that up, it was about getting the political funding thing covered in the morning, so that precious TV time tonight would focus more on other aspects of the announcement – mostly, the fact that they don’t intend to run a deficit. A quick look at the early coverage indicates that it is indeed the case. It’s easy to do good PR when you have good material to work from.

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