Roundup: Another heavyweight for Trudeau

Justin Trudeau announced a new advisory council yesterday, co-chaired by MP Marc Garneau and retired General Andrew Leslie, former commander of the Canadian Land Forces Command, and later the author of a report on how to best transform the Canadian Forces in an era of fiscal restraint (most of which has yet to be implemented). Leslie noted that his decision to become a Liberal was cemented last week when Trudeau was the only leader to come out unequivocally against the Quebec Charter of Values, and he certainly puts a big dent in the Conservative claim that the Liberals are bad for the armed forces. Leslie is also considering a run for a seat in the next election, but his high-profile role at this point is a signal that Trudeau is gathering some heavy-weights to his team, which will bolster his credentials in advance of the next election.

CBC has uncovered evidence that two days before the government was due to sign a contract for their arctic offshore patrol ships, they were warned by their own experts that the contracts were overpriced – and yet they went ahead and signed them anyway. Part of the issue seems to be the way that Irving Shipyard is estimating its man-hours, which makes little sense to evaluators. But way to go on carrying on with our broken procurement system undaunted! Meanwhile, a report by the Rideau Institute decries the plans to carry on with plans to spend $2 billion on new armoured vehicles, despite the fact that they’re Cold War-era technology that nobody seems to want, including the Canadian Army itself – and yet the government decided to carry on anyway. Well done, procurement geniuses!

Industry minister James Moore had a speech at the Canadian Club of Ottawa about how their plans to increase competition in the telecom sector was them just “getting started,” and hinted that there were more plans like that on the way. Moore also said that it’s become clear that the decision to ban corporate donations is finally giving the government room to move on certain files that they never could have before.

Jim Flaherty announced a two-year extension of the temporary accelerated capital cost allowance for new machinery and processing in order to help businesses become more competitive. But they’ve been extending this for years now, which makes me wonder if our companies are simply slow on the uptake, or if it’s not such an effective measure that it’s still being extended.

After several instances of privacy violations, the Canada Revenue Agency is setting up a tracking system to prevent its employees from improperly – or illegally – snooping through taxpayers’ files.

The seven Conservative MPs who faced a court challenge over their elections results due to allegations of misleading robocalls will get modest legal costs awarded to them, and nowhere near what they asked for.

Kevin Milligan looks at better ways to get money from the rich rather than just raising their taxes (since that tends to only enrich tax lawyers and accountants rather than government coffers).

And BC NDP leader Adrian Dix is stepping down, two months after his disastrous election campaign.