Your budget round-up

So, that was the federal budget. What can
we say? Some 19000 federal jobs to be cut over three years, two thirds of which
will likely be by attrition, while also tightening public sector pensions.
(Note: the total public service still will remain larger than when Harper took
office). Raising the eligibility for OAS to age 67 by 2023. Ten percent of the CBC budget over three years. Buh-bye Katimavik. Cuts to CIDA, and several officers of Parliament, the brunt of which will be the Chief Electoral Officer,
but before you get jumpy, remember that Elections Canada can draw the
Consolidated Revenue Fund to make any investigations it needs to, so it’s not like
the Conservatives can starve out the Robocon investigation, no matter if that’s
what it may look like, so take a deep breath and relax. There are cuts to Scientific
Research and Experimental Development tax credits that industry actually is not
in favour of. Greater tax-free thresholds for cross-border shopping. It’s going
to go after charities that take foreign funds (a direct sop to the Ethical Oil
crowd who want Tides Canada reigned in). They’re imposing timelines for environmental assessments of major projects (but I’m a little concerned of the utility
of this exercise when a good chunk of these assessments are actually provincial
jurisdiction). And they’re getting rid of the penny, which just seems like the
most obviously gimmicky distraction to everything else that’s going on.

Here are a bunch of budget reactions from party leaders and otherwise, and thoughts from John GeddesPaul WellsJohn
John Ibbitson, and Andrew Coyne.

Elsewhere yesterday, the Chief Electoral
Officer appeared before the Procedure and House Affairs Committee, and refused to take the Conservative bait about supposed mistakes on the voters list.

Over in the Senate chamber, Conservative
Senator Nancy Ruth took her caucus colleague Senator Nicole Eaton to task for
her “foreign money” inquiry, as Eaton tries to prove that all of these
environmental groups getting foreign funds are somehow subverting our democracy
and undermining our economy.

Here’s more about Conservative MP Garry
Breitkreuz telling a class of teenagers that they should be armed – especially
young women in order to avoid being sexually assaulted. Because that’s worked
so well in the States.

And after today, it’s a two-week Easter
break for MPs. Well, we say break but they’ll be off in their constituencies
doing all the glad-handing they can get in, while Conservative ministers spend
the next few days doing good news announcements about the budget, which we all
know is a huge priority for Canadians.

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