Roundup: The good news rollouts

The Liberals’ planned rollout of all kinds of “good news” announcements for Small Business Week – reductions in the small business tax rate by 2019, and changes to their planned amendments to Canadian-Controlled Private Corporation (CCPC) rules to crack down on those who use them to avoid paying taxes – were very nearly overshadowed by a Globe and Mail article that cried out that Bill Morneau hadn’t put his shares into a blind trust after all. As it turns out, this was largely a non-story – Morneau followed the advice of the Ethics Commissioner, who felt that because of his particular share structure that he wouldn’t need a blind trust but an ethics screen instead – though there are some added complications around it (see Glen McGregor’s tweets). This after the “revelation” about Morneau’s French villa – not that he had forgotten to disclose it, because he had already – just that he didn’t disclose the particular ownership structure, which is a French corporate structure not uncommon with the ownership of non-commercial real estate, known as a Société Civile Immobilière. Again, a non-story that the opposition (and certain media outlets) pounced upon, trying to make a bigger deal out of them than was merited.

And then there was the Prime Minister’s tax cut announcement at that Stouffville restaurant, and the somewhat bizarre behaviour by Trudeau in the Q&A period after where he tried to answer questions directed at Morneau (no doubt trying to keep control of the message and not let it get railroaded by the non-stories about his villa and shares, but it came off as smarmy). And back in Ottawa, his backbench critics seemed mollified by the morning’s announcements, so we’ll see if that holds in the days ahead. (Not to be outdone by all of the Liberal press shenanigans, Andrew Scheer walked out on a press conference when asked about his former campaign manager’s association with Rebel Media.)

Meanwhile, neither Chantal Hébert nor Andrew Coyne are impressed with the theatrics of this government’s attempt to change the channel on the pummelling they’ve received.

Good reads:

  • Bombardier announced that they will sell the majority stake in their C-Series jets to rival Airbus, and that has everyone freaking out, especially over Canadian jobs.
  • American NAFTA negotiators now say they want an end to Supply Management in Canada, which the government predictably calls a non-starter.
  • Canadian Forces in Iraq are safe after Iraqi and Kurdish forces fired on each other over possession of Kirkuk.
  • The plan to buy used Australian F-18s could be more complicated than it sounds.
  • There are questions about the delays around refitting a Coast Guard vessel, and the government is reviewing whether they will have to pay the full $4 million tab.
  • First Nations groups are saying that provisions in the Access to Information Act reform bill will make it harder for them to defend their treaties.
  • The Canadian teen who plead guilty in a terror plot in the United States has written to a judge asking to be put in contact with Omar Khadr’s lawyers.
  • Health Canada appears to be killing off a rare disease drug regulatory framework.
  • The government looks to be tightening rules to prevent another occurrence like the way in which a third-party contractor defrauded a First Nation.
  • Kady O’Malley thinks it’s time to stop giving millionaires the Finance Minister portfolio given the constant headaches around ethics and disclosure.
  • Martin Patriquin walks through why Niki Ashton is wrong to blame the media for her leadership defeat.
  • Stephen Gordon offers a primer in behavioural and “nudge” economics, which just won the “Nobel” prize.

Odds and ends:

The Department of Finance sent Paul Wells some background on previous years’ budget document spends. The “outrageous” cost of last year was on the lower end.

The Conservatives plan to spend their next Supply Day hammering on the Morneau Shepell conspiracy theory. Cripes.

On the occasion of his 20th anniversary in the Senate, Senator Serge Joyal takes the National Post around some of the paintings he’s donated to Parliament.