Roundup: Reheated economic policy

Andrew Scheer came out with his first economic policy plank yesterday, and it was pretty much a tepid reheated policy of the Harper era that plans to be packed into a private members’ bill at some point this parliament. The idea is a “tax credit” for parental EI benefits – because Harper-era Conservatives loved nothing more than tax credits, and tax credits are the loophole in private members’ bills that let them spend money without actually spending money, because the rationale is that they’re reducing income rather than raising revenue, but if I had my druthers, I would see that loophole closed because a tax expenditure impacts the treasury just as much as an actual spending programme does. Add to that, tax credits are generally not tracked by the Department of Finance, so their ongoing impact is not reported to Parliament, nor is their effectiveness really tracked either – and yes, there is an Auditor General’s report from a couple of years ago that states this very problem with them.

And add to that, this announcement is yet another sop to the suburban family voter that the Conservatives want to try to recapture from the Liberals. Of course, like most of the plans of the Harper era, the tax credit structure doesn’t actually help a lot of the families who need it, and the benefits tend to go towards those who make more money in the first place, which one suspects is why the Liberals’ Canada Child Benefit was seen as a more advantageous plan to that same voting demographic that Scheer wants to target. And don’t take my word for it – here’s Kevin Milligan and Jennifer Robson to walk you through why this isn’t a well though-out plan from an economic or policy standpoint.

Good reads:

  • Justin Trudeau held a town hall in Edmonton last night, and explained that the veterans lawsuit is ongoing because they’re demanding more than can be afforded.
  • Trudeau also commented that he won’t resurrect electoral reform unless something other than PR is on the table.
  • Trudeau doesn’t think he’ll ever live in 24 Sussex, given how badly the property has deteriorated and how long it’ll take to renovate (when they finally get around to it).
  • The Heritage Committee study arising from M-103 was tabled, and the Conservatives refused to sign on because they didn’t like the term “Islamophobia.”
  • Here’s a look at how women on the Hill are starting to find other avenues than the whisper network to combat harassment.
  • NDP MP Erin Weir was suspended from caucus duties pending an investigation into undefined allegations of non-sexual harassment (that may be politically motivated).
  • In light of yet another Human Rights Tribunal ruling on First Nations child welfare, the government committed to fully funding programs dating back two years.
  • Mélanie Joly gave a few more details on the cultural exemptions in the new TPP-11 deal, citing protections for digital content that the original TPP didn’t.
  • HMCS Charlottetown had a near-brush with some Russians while deployed in the Mediterranean, but the commodore in charge is shrugging it off.
  • Thanks to a Court of Appeal ruling and an ongoing programme review, Fintrac can’t levy any fines against organizations that break the rules, leaving Fintrac toothless.
  • Here’s a look at how it’s difficult to complain about IRB tribunal members who prove to be biased, aggressive, or incompetent.
  • The Senate has opted not to force Senator Beyak to remove the offensive letters from her website until after the Ethics Officer completes his examination.
  • The spat between the NDP governments of Alberta and BC is heating up over the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
  • Colby Cosh looks at automation coming to the oilsands, and why Albertans shouldn’t fear it.
  • Supriya Dwivedi says that the summer jobs programme changes by the Liberals will be a political win regardless of the opposition to them.
  • Paul Wells crankily drags Trudeau for his inconsistency on his electoral reform pronouncements (but also has some sharp words for voters in there too).
  • Robert Hiltz looks at how the immolation of the PC Party in Ontario is turning the province into a one-party state run by the Liberals, which isn’t good for anyone.

Odds and ends:

The Independent Senators Group came out with a new logo…that has the House of Commons Mace, instead of the Senate Mace on it. Oops. Awkward…