Roundup: From omnibus to minibus

At long last, the budget implementation bill was tabled yesterday, and at around 125 pages, it’s far less of the omnibus bills that the government was so fond of last year. Not that it’s too unexpected, given that the budget itself was a pretty thin document, and so Flaherty’s joke is that this one is a “minibus.” It does have a number of measures including the tariff changes, the attempt to revive the National Securities Regulator, integrating CIDA into Foreign Affairs, and taking things like Winterlude and Canada Day back from the National Capital Commission.

Perhaps the biggest issue in the bill, however, are the changes to the temporary foreign workers programme, which Jason Kenney announced yesterday. Those changes include a moratorium on the accelerated labour market opinions, imposing new fees, and scrapping the poorly understood fifteen percent wage-gap provisions. No one is happy, however, from business groups who say this will hurt industry, and labour groups who say it won’t go far enough. Meanwhile, here’s a look at accusations of how the outsourcing industry has been scamming Canadian businesses through these kinds of temporary foreign worker regulations.

Adam Goldenberg and Catherine McKenna write about how Thomas Mulcair’s demands for the Supreme Court to turn over documents related to the patriation is more of a threat to their independence than anything those documents – if they do exist – may or may not contain. That it also tries to build a partisan case against a Liberal named Trudeau as part of a narrative about Quebec nationalism is also problematic if the Supreme Court is being dragged into it. Mulcair, meanwhile, is doubling down on his comments and, bizarrely, says that they’re somehow in defence of the independence of the Court, which makes no sense at all. Neither the Conservatives nor the Liberals want to play his game. Jonathan Kay, who has written books about the attraction to conspiracy theories, lays out just how ridiculous Mulcair’s assertion that a conspiracy is taking place actually is.

Global crunches the numbers, and gives a picture of what the “Big Red Machine” Liberal ground war campaign might look like based on the numbers of registered voters in the recent leadership campaign.

Because those replacements for the Sea King helicopters are so overdue, it seems that the Royal Canadian Navy has had to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to refit one of the frigates that they already outfitted for the new helicopters, so that it could revert to house a Sea King once more when it was due to be deployed. Should we tack this cost onto the penalties that the company already owes?

In what is likely to be an increasingly common story amid riding redistributions and open nominations, Conservative MP Patrick Brown has decided to run in the newly created riding out of his former one, which was a tough choice for him. I’ve heard this kind of angst from a couple of other MPs who need to decide which portion of their former riding they want to run next time in.

Three New Brunswick MPs have come out against the anti-Trudeau ad campaign – including a Conservative, who says that he won’t be sending out those fliers to his riding.

Over in Labrador, two sources are now saying that the project Peter Penashue claims to have held up was the replacement of the Sir Robert Bond bridge, though the provincial transportation department denies there was any delay, which continues to give credence to the theory that Penashue is making it all up.

And it’s Stephen Harper’s 54th birthday today. He’ll be spending it in the Netherlands, in the lead-up to the coronation of the country’s new king. (My mistake – he was here for QP after all today, and the Governor General is representing Canada at the coronation).