Roundup: Economic Action Pandas!

Drop everything. Forget about the budget, or Peter Penashue, or EI reforms, or anything. Why? Pandas. Yes, those pandas that we made a deal with China are arriving in Canada today for a five-year period. Pandas! Economic Action Pandas! Are you distracted yet? Pandas! And yes, Stephen Harper will be making a big photo op out of the event. But did he mention the pandas yet?

Elizabeth May and the Greens have decided not to run a candidate in the Labrador by-election in order to ensure a Liberal victory in the riding – as those 139 Green votes in the last election would have ensured a Liberal victory had those votes indeed gone to the Liberals. During the Liberal debate on Saturday, Joyce Murray claimed victory for this move, and claimed it as the model for the kinds of “cooperation” that could happen in the next election – but as someone pointed out, this is more like capitulation for the Greens, and it perpetuates the magical thinking that “cooperation” is even possible, let alone desirable. The NDP, meanwhile, had no plans to similarly stand down, and had a nomination meeting where Harry Borlase was chosen out of the hundred or so ballots cast to run whenever the writ drops.

The Canadian Forensic Mental Health Network is concerned the new Not Criminally Responsible bill will make matters worse for the mentally ill who commit crimes, as well as the general public, as more mentally ill offenders wind up in jail and don’t get treatment, creating an even bigger public safety problem.

Peter MacKay denies the rumours that he’s looking to get out of politics.

Here’s an interesting little infographic about the history of “budget shoes” in Canada.

What’s that? Thomas Mulcair told a labour group that the NDP is the only party that they can trust on their issues? You don’t say!

Saturday was the final debate in the Liberal leadership contest (my take on it here). Susan Delacourt sees it as a stark choice between the Liberals trying to make it on their own, or pinning their futures on some kind of “cooperation” agreement, and notes that Justin Trudeau has decided that thirty years of trying to placate Quebec with some token gesture has been an entirely failed policy, and that it’s time to come up with a new way to engage them with the rest of Canada as a whole. In terms of fundraising, it seems that Hall Findlay and Murray are also fighting it out for second place, Hall Findlay edging Murray out, but Murray has more donors and seemingly more momentum. Over in the National Post, Michael Den Tandt argues that Trudeau isn’t as vacuous as you might think.

And Scott Feschuk gives you a handy, if satirical, lexicon of budget terminology.