The opinions expressed in this editorial are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Decima Reports. Scrod is a fish. Screwed is a past participle. Brian Tobin is familiar with both.  After the federal budget, the Industry minister must wonder what hit him. He got sandbagged by Cabinet colleague and leadership rival Paul Martin in the latter’s economic statement. The much-vaunted broadband initiative plummeted in the government’s priority list.Tobin is partly the author of his own misfortune, by leading with his chin in the days before the budget. He leaked the supposed date of the event, only to have Martin move it ahead by one day. His strong-arming of industry leaders to endorse the backbone scheme was seen as unseemly by others around the Cabinet table. Martin also contributed to the uproar by issuing what was a political budget rather than an economic one. His moves appear to be directed as much towards would-be Liberal leaders as they were to Osama bin Laden. Rewards or punishments were handed out with an eye to the next party leadership convention. One striking facet of the budget process is how secrecy has gone out the window. There was a time when finance ministers respected the Parliamentary tradition of keeping the details of a budget under wraps. That has gradually fallen by the wayside in this country. When a television cameraman filmed a page of the budget that then-finance minister Marc Lalonde waved around during a photo op, Lalonde performed a little fiscal slight-of-hand and presented a budget with minor amendments. Today, the budget is barely written when ministers dash to leak information of their pet projects to the national media. To know what’s going on, it is better to be a member of the Financial Post than the financial community. Maybe it’s time to surrender the anachronism of budget secrecy. Let’s adopt a system similar to the American one where budget proposals can be debated and scrutinized before they are passed. It could lead to an arrangement that will please governments and taxpayers alike.