Roundup: Economic update choices

The fall economic update was released yesterday, and while the rapid pace of economic growth has meant more revenues and a smaller deficit, it also means that the government isn’t going to put too much more effort into getting back to balance anytime soon, keeping the focus on reducing the debt-to-GDP ratio instead (which is going down faster). Instead, finance minister Bill Morneau insisted that they would be “doubling down” on investing in the middle class, mostly by indexing the Canada Child Benefit to inflation earlier than planned, as well as enhancing the Working Income Tax Benefit (and I will note that this part of his speech seemed to be one where Morneau acknowledged that singletons existed and needed a hand up too). There was some additional programme spending in there as well (for more, the National Post outlines eight things in the update).

While the economy is growing at an enviable pace, it could put the government and the Bank of Canada in a bind as the need to start withdrawing stimulus measures comes to the forefront, and deciding whether fiscal or monetary policy should make the first move. There is also a marked shift between last year’s update and this year’s in that the focus is moving away from longer-term goals to short-term ones (and that could be political reality setting in). Critics accuse the government of using the update to try and change the channel on the recent headlines around Bill Morneau’s assets and disclosures, while Andrew Coyne gives his signature scathing look at the choices of the deficits, and around the rapid growth in government spending.

Good reads:

  • Justin Trudeau credited the government’s economic message for the by-election win in Lac Saint-Jean on Monday night.
  • Bill Morneau dismissed the concerns raised in the latest Monreau Shepell conspiracy theory, Bombardier edition (because they’re obviously a stretch).
  • A Federal Court judge says that the Board of Internal Economy is not subject to parliamentary privilege, and the NDP satellite offices case is moving ahead.
  • The Commons committee looking into M-103 is hearing calls for better hate crimes data collection, as well as a more concrete definition of Islamophobia.
  • MPs on the Commons immigration committee are taking a look at the rules around medical inadmissibility for immigrants.
  • Documents from Health Canada show that the department wasn’t prepared to deal with the Human Rights Tribunal orders around First Nations child welfare.
  • A Federal Court judge slammed the government for dragging their feet in responding to a lawsuit by five CSIS employees.
  • The government has finally agreed to fully staff the climate research station at Alert.
  • Here’s a profile of our new American ambassador.
  • The government is looking to settle the land claim where Parliament Hill is situated, but that process could take five to ten years.
  • Éric Grenier crunches the numbers from Monday’s by-elections.
  • Chris Selley looks at the end of the Sudbury “bribery” trial, and both how poorly it was handled, and how the elections laws themselves are a bit of a problem.
  • My column looks at the problems with Jagmeet Singh’s plans to only turn up in Ottawa on Wednesdays for the next two years.

Odds and ends:

Kady O’Malley previews the next batch of Private Members’ Bills that are being added to the queue.

Here is a look into what the Canadian Forces wrote off for losses, thefts, and items too damaged to be recovered.