It’s Budget Day, everyone! And in what looks to be an otherwise stay-the-course budget, it appears that the big shiny object is going to be…cheaper hockey equipment. Because that matters more than anything else, and Stephen Harper must solidify his credentials as the Hockeyest Prime Minister in the history of ever! Okay, so it’s actually lowering one specific tariff, but still. Meanwhile, Les Whittington gives the five myths of Conservatives budget making. Scott Brison finds a “leaked” copy of Flaherty’s budget speech.
MPs of all stripes – including a few Conservatives – were criticising Flaherty’s move in calling Manulife Financial to stave off a mortgage war. More surprisingly is that one of his own cabinet colleagues, Maxime Bernier, was publically critical. It remains to be seen if this will be treated as a case of “Mad Max” being a maverick, or if this is a breach of cabinet solidarity, Bernier not being a “team player,” and he’ll be bounced out of cabinet – yet again. Andrew Coyne finds the irony in Flaherty lecturing people about taking on too much debt considering how much he added to the national debt.
For his final report as Parliamentary Budget Officer, Kevin Page put out a report that looked at crime-related costs – police, courts, and prisons – and adds them up across the country – because three quarters of what goes on is at the provincial level. More than that, he found that the costs have been steadily increasing, while the crime rate has been falling for a couple of decades now. John Geddes talks to a couple of criminologists about what this all means and hopes that it will take some of the emotion out of the debate – however that seems like an awful lot to ask.
The Senate produced a report on money laundering, and how the system that attempts to track these transactions needs to be changed in order to more effectively combat it. These recommendations including better information sharing with law enforcement (with guidelines developed with the Privacy Commissioner). And how much media coverage did this get? Not a lot. (But remember, the Senate apparently doesn’t do anything but rubberstamp things).
As part of the provincial government’s aid in winning the shipyard contract, it seems that the Nova Scotia government is also subsidizing Irving Shipyard employee salaries. These revelations keep getting better all the time.
That biologist with the study grant for the Experimental Lakes Area is seeking permission to continue to use it this summer, so that she won’t lose a year of research time while the government negotiates with any new willing organisation to take over managing the site.
The bill on extending human rights protection to the trans community has passed the Commons and is off to the Senate.
Liberal MP Scott Andrews put a question on the Order Paper, asking how much Peter Penashue’s last ministerial photo op cost the treasury. IT should be reported back by mid-way through the by-election, assuming it gets called within the next couple of weeks like expected.
On a late night flight, a passenger asked Justin Trudeau if he can defeat Harper. Trudeau borrowed a phrase from his father and said “Just watch me.” And cue the outrage, because his father was talking about the War Measures Act and the suspension of civil liberties, and how awful it is that Trudeau is being so flip about it.
James Bowden looks at why the bill to limit prorogation in Ontario is unconstitutional, and does not take the politics out of prorogation, but in fact does just the opposite.
John Geddes looks at the two proposed War of 1812 memorials, and why they really aren’t suited for Parliament Hill.
And here are the three things you need to see from last night’s political shows, including Kevin Page talking about his final report.