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Karl Nerenberg has been reporting on federal politics from Parliament Hill for rabble.ca since September, 2011. In his long career, he has won numerous awards as a broadcaster and documentary filmmaker.
The story the 2015 budget tells of the Canadian economy is not a happy one.
The budget may have gotten the majority of its headlines for its (mostly previously announced) boutique tax measures, such as doubling the limit for contributions to tax free savings accounts (TFSA), but this budget is much more than a catalogue of small-bore tax measures.
It also includes a description of the current state and prospects for the Canadian economy, and on that score it is brutally frank.
There's one measure in Finance Minister Joe Oliver's 2015 budget that even his harshest critics are likely to agree with: extending compassionate care benefits through Employment Insurance.
Those benefits will go from six weeks to six months, and will no doubt be welcomed by thousands of family caregivers.
In a rare instance for this government of following the evidence, the budget quotes a Parliamentary Committee report from 2011 that pointed out how desperate the lives of so many who care for sick or disabled relatives are, and how crucial their contribution to the economy is.
The Committee report assigned monetary value to caregivers' work: $25 billion per year.
On the first day of the Mike Duffy trial, both the prosecution and the defence made arguments that were damaging to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his inner circle.
Crown Prosecutor Mark Holmes said, "Sen. Duffy was probably ineligible to sit in the Senate as a representative of Prince Edward Island."
Holmes added that this trial will not decide that thorny constitutional question.
But folks in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) must have collectively winced when they heard that assertion from a non-partisan public official.
The PMO had, it seems, made great efforts to establish that Duffy could be a Prince Edward Island resident for the purpose of representing that province in the Senate, but not for the Senate expense rules.
There are two lessons we can learn from the trial of Senator Mike Duffy even before it gets very far.
First, Prime Minister Stephen Harper has happily used the Senate not for its constitutional purpose but rather to provide taxpayer-funded, partisan star power to his Conservative Party.
And second, behind the shield of a compliant parliamentary majority, Harper's taxpayer-funded Prime Minister's Office (PMO) has become as much a partisan agency of the Conservative Party as an office of the government of Canada.
When the Prime Minister appointed Duffy and Pamela Wallin to the Upper House he knew they did not live in the provinces for which they were appointed.
The Constitution specifies rather few qualifications for Senators.
It is two out of three for the North American continent.
The United States and Mexico have both submitted detailed and ambitious plans for combatting climate change to the United Nations, ahead of the Paris meeting that will try to forge a new climate change agreement in December of this year.
The U.S. plan relies on the authority of the President, since the Republican-controlled Congress would not likely agree to any serious anti-global warming measures.
It includes regulations to make steep cuts in emissions from cars and power plants, coupled with a speedy timetable.
The plan assumes that President Obama will formulate and put in place all necessary regulations before he leaves office less than two years from now.