Delivering a federal budget is a bit like being a hockey goalie: you might turn in a stellar performance and rack up a shutout, but you’re still going to get whacked all over with a puck about 30 or 40 times in the process.
Even a finance minister who doles out goodies to just about every type of industry, such as John Manley did last month, will still hear a good number of boos from some corners of the arena. Manley, in what will probably be his first and final budget, reversed former finance minister Paul Martin’s conservative tradition and opened up the coffers to some of the largest clamourers for funds, including the health care and education industries.
Being so chock-full of handouts that satisfied so many groups, the budget ruffled few feathers and was therefore blown off the national media’s radar screen in record time. But behind the surface-scratching news items, there were the inevitable voices of derision.
Ironically enough, some of the loudest of those voices were heard coming from Manley’s former pet sector, the IT realm. At the outset of his ascent to becoming Prime Minister Jean Chr