Some are already calling it the border budget. Martins budget includes a number of measures aimed at speeding the flow of goods and services across borders.
But its not just a question of ensuring that trucks are not caught in long lines at border crossings. Its about the whole corporate and trade agenda of this government and the speed with which the border between Canada and the United States is being erased.
Martins budget has more to do with trade and opening up opportunities for business than it does with security. The new border infrastructure will be developed with private sector partners. Increased funding for municipal infrastructure is biased in favour of public private partnerships (P3s). Much of the funding for research is to be channelled through the corporate sector. Even international aid is often tied to lucrative contracts with Canadian companies.
But its not just a question of what the budget does. Its also what it doesnt do. The lack of new federal funding for health care, education and reinvestment in public services is increasing the pressure on provinces and municipalities to look to the private sector for capital and operating funds. And it spurs on the push by the privateers to turn public services into a source of profit.
Under international trade agreements, many of these corporations are likely to be transnationals, creating few jobs or other economic spinoffs for Canadians. In this sense, too, the budget, is opening up our borders to the Americanization of our health system and corporate control of vital public services.