Finance Minister Bill Morneau is shown at Ryerson University in Toronto on March 3, 2017. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)
BUDGET DAY IN OTTAWA
If you’re on Twitter and you follow political journalists, today will be a quiet one. Most of the Parliamentary Press Gallery is headed into the federal budget lockup this morning, where we hand in our cellphones and lose access to the outside world for about seven hours. (It’s not always a bad thing.) In return, we get to study the hundreds of pages of the Liberals’ second budget before it is publicly released in the House of Commons at about 4 p.m. (Eastern Time). Watch theglobeandmail.com at that time to see what we’ve spent the day writing.
As is customary for the days leading up to a budget, a few items in the document have leaked out. There will be an increase in defence spending (without a lot of detail), funds for “social infrastructure” (with a lot of detail), measures to make the lives of women easier — like more child-care spaces and extended parental leave — and measures to help business, such as investments in innovation and skills training.
And then, of course, there’s always the chance of a shiny penny story. That’s the one item in a budget that cracks through the Ottawa bubble and actually gets talked about among regular Canadians. The Press Gallery has been keeping an eye out for such a story ever since the 2012 budget, in which the shiny penny story was literally about, er, the penny.
OTHER CANADIAN NEWS YOU SHOULD KNOW
Canada is considering banning electronic devices larger than a mobile phone in the carry-on luggage of inbound flights from some countries in the Middle East and Africa. This comes after the U.S., and then the U.K., announced bans based on unspecified security threats.
The Canada-EU trade deal, still awaiting ratification by European parliaments, is expected to ‘pass smoothly,’ according to the EU’s trade commissioner. Cecilia Malmstrom says she foresees no problems in around 75 per cent of the member states. Where things may go awry, however, is with the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism, a process by which businesses can sue governments.
As Canada celebrates its sesquicentennial, community groups and individuals from across the country have applied to the federal government for funding to make the festivities a nationwide affair. But data provided to the Globe show that finding funding has proven to be a hard task, with the majority of applications being rejected.
And last week a woman allegedly stole two cars on Parliament Hill and tried to improperly gain access to Centre Block. The Globe has learned that she is an employee in the Privy Council Office.
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U.S. NEWS YOU SHOULD KNOW
Repeal and replace. That has been the GOP’s mantra for health care, with the idea that a replacement would be an improvement on Obamcare. A new analysis shows that more people would lose their coverage with Trumpcare (or Ryancare) than with a full repeal of Obamacare. Behind the scenes, Mr. Trump has turned his bully pulpit against members of Congress by saying that if they don’t vote for the bill, they’ll lose their seats. But that hasn’t stopped at least 27 Republicans from publicly stating that they are opposing or leaning toward opposing the bill.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is eschewing traditions left and right, leading to a bumpy start to his role as America’s top diplomat. The latest sign? He is skipping a NATO meeting in April and will travel to Russia late next month as well. Mr. Tillerson, former CEO of ExxonMobil, was awarded the Order of Friendship by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The U.S. stock market suffered its steepest drop since the election yesterday. Market strategists had differing explanations for the fall, but many turned to uncertainty related to Mr. Trump and Republicans healthcare reform plans and the trickle down effect on tax reforms.
LUNCHTIME LONG READ
And with all the talk of affordability and the middle class, the New York Times has published a fascinating series of profiles of people living right at the median income in neighbourhoods across the United States.
WHAT EVERYONE’S TALKING ABOUT
Ian McGugan (The Globe and Mail): “Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau insists his budget on Wednesday will focus on skills and innovation, but it will really be about that loud man in the White House. Canada’s first budget of the Donald Trump era is an exercise in marking time until the murky clouds around U.S. policy begin to clear.” (for subscribers)
Som Seif (The Globe and Mail): “The United States – our biggest competitor for both talent and capital – is in the midst of policy changes that will likely include major cuts to personal and corporate taxes. For Canada to raise taxes on capital gains while the U.S. is shifting course would be irresponsible.” (for subscribers)
The Globe and Mail Editorial Board: “Women who have been sexually assaulted must be able to believe that the people they turn to for help – the police – will take them seriously. The [Status of Women] committee has added a powerful voice to the call to fix Canada’s unacceptable unfounded rate.”
Lawrence Martin (The Globe and Mail): “The New Democrats rose under Mr. Layton. They continued that rise, moving to the precipice of power under a leader staying his course. Why on account of a campaign’s cruel twist of fate would they want to turn hard left and change that script now?”
Sarah Kendzior (The Globe and Mail): “Twitter has proven an ideal medium for a narcissistic liar under federal investigation. Mr. Trump’s tweets cannot be ignored: he is the President, and every tweet has the potential to tank stocks and inflame foreign powers.But it is difficult for journalists to challenge the tweets directly. Mr. Trump’s Twitter is a press conference without a press. There are no follow-up questions, no spontaneous back and forth, no accountability on the President’s end.”
Kathleen Parker (The Washington Post): “[Neil] Gorsuch’s selection to replace Antonin Scalia is the sanest act committed by a president whose first 60 days have left him with an approval rating under 40 percent and persistent questions about his stability. President Trump should be sending champagne to Gorsuch — for life — for projecting enough grace to benefit those who haven’t a knack for it.”
Written by Chris Hannay and Mayaz Alam.