Roundup: Budget madness!

So, that was the budget – or Economic Action Plan 2013™ – A Responsible Plan For Jobs, Growth and Long-Term Prosperity© as the government would otherwise brand it. And there’s not a whole lot to it, with little in the way of new spending, little in the way of tax cuts or measures, extending a few of their existing incentive programmes, and one particular measure for First Nations, tying training dollars to making it mandatory for those receiving income benefits (which Thomas Mulcair dubbed as “workfare” and a slap in the face). It’s also going to fold CIDA into Foreign Affairs as a whole, but it’ll still keep its own minister, so Julian Fantino’s job is still safe. (Scott Gilmore considers this a good move because it will enhance the coordination of our foreign aid, which is often met with the two departments not speaking to one another). Canada Day, Winterlude and the Tulip Festival are being wrested away from the more independent NCC and being handed over to the Department of Heritage, which could be worrying if you hear the horror stories that I do about the competence of the staff in that department. Justin Trudeau predicts the budget will create friction with the provinces after it declared it would create the skills training program and that the provinces have to pitch in – while the government has consistently removed itself from a productive relationship with said provinces. And as if on cue, Quebec calls the budget a “frontal attack” on its economic interests, and “economic sabotage.” iPolitics gives you the nine most inane pieces of wisdom out of the budget. And if that wasn’t enough budget madness for you, iPolitics also has an e-print edition of budget coverage.

In terms of analysis, economist Stephen Gordon is not sure there is a real problem with skills shortages the way it’s being defined, and also takes a crack at the revenue and expenditure numbers as well as the deficit projections. John Geddes notes the inherent contradictions within the budget and the way it proposes to address problems. Paul Wells takes note of the places where Harper is retreating in this budget after they got chastened by the reactions to last year’s budget. Andrew Coyne considers the budget bloated, cynical and incoherent – but we expected that. Tim Harper is reminded of just how much the government is trying to eliminate the deficit in order to keep those election promises of new programmes like income splitting that they made in the last election. And Michael Den Tandt finds that prayer seems to be the budget’s secret ingredient.

And now, cabinet ministers will disperse across the country to sell the “good news” of the budget.

Elsewhere, a lawyer for the Parliamentary Budget Office was arguing before a court to get clarity for the PBO’s mandate.

Kady O’Malley looks at how the government joined forces with the opposition to completely contort all of the House rules in order to rule Mark Warawa’s Private Member’s Motion on condemning sex-selective abortions as non-voteable. Yes, the government likely went along with it to avoid another six months of Niki Ashton getting up to declare that the government has a secret agenda about clamping down on abortion, but it ended up being a clumsy and ham-handed move that cannot end well – especially as Warawa is now whipping up the social conservatives, as they all get back up on their crosses to cry out about how oppressed they are.

On the Peter Penashue front, his local paper digs into the corporate donations and finds a lot of the paperwork is hard to match up, raising a lot of questions about what went on.

Here is a look at the demographic time bomb facing the royal family when it comes to the number of engagements that they perform.

In the Liberal leadership race, last place candidate David Bertschi finally took the hint that it was his time to sashay away, in large part because he was having a difficult time raising enough money to pay back his loan to himself.

And here is your recap of Budget Day coverage on the political shows.