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Ten politics stories that have nothing to do with the budget

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at the Global Progress luncheon sponsored by the Center for American Progress March 11, 2016 in Washington, DC.

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By Chris Hannay (@channay)

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In Ottawa, the most highly anticipated release this season is the 2016-17 federal budget. The document drops Tuesday, and the rest of the week will be taken up with reviews (Is the deficit too big? Not big enough? Does it leave the door open for a sequel?). No parts of the budget have been leaked yet, so in the meantime let's look at what else is going on in the world of politics.

> As Bombardier seeks a $1-billion bailout from the federal government, the aerospace manufacturer is still planning to shift some of its production from the Toronto area to Mexico and China. "The optics aren't good when they're asking for that kind of money from the Liberals," said a union president.

> Former Supreme Court justice Ian Binnie delivers his arbitration report today into the expenses of 14 senators who disputed the results of an audit.

> Where is Stephen Harper? The former prime minister has kept a very low profile since he lost the last election, and The Globe's Ian Brown went to find him. (for subscribers)

> Okay, this one is kind of related to the budget: NDP Leader Tom Mulcair is changing his tune. "What we put on the table in the last campaign was based on the known economic situation then ...If the economic situation today required us to run a deficit to be able to do the types of things that we have promised to do to help people, that's what we would do."

> How Brad Wall – whose election platform is "boring," according to rivals – is becoming Alberta's other premier.

> Justin Trudeau's Liberal government is getting high approval ratings in a new Abacus Data poll – even among NDP voters, but not among Albertans. Every group was positive about the trip to Washington, however.

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> As the amount of federal lobbying skyrockets, pharmacy groups are trying to convince the Liberals to give them a piece of a new legalized marijuana market. (for subscribers)

> How a program funded by the Office of Religious Freedom is teaching young Syrians to reach across sectarian divisions. The House will debate a motion put forward by Conservative MP Garnett Genuis to save the office, which may not be long for this world.

> Barack Obama is the first sitting U.S. president to set foot in Cuba in nearly 90 years. He's there today to press for more economic and democratic reforms.

> And if you're still struggling to understand the success of Donald Trump in the Republican primaries, Vox has a fascinating long read on the rise of American authoritarianism that the Donald is tapping into. (Then again, it could be the first-past-the-post voting system that's to blame.)


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"[Finance Minister Bill] Morneau's challenge, when he delivers his first budget on Tuesday, isn't living down bigger-than-promised deficits. It's living up to expectations that the government can get the economy rolling. Mr. Trudeau campaigned on hope, and now Mr. Morneau has to squeeze it onto a financial statement." – Campbell Clark (for subscribers).

Frances Woolley (Globe and Mail): "From an economic point of view, parents with steady jobs – and fathers, in particular – are the best taxpayers. When their taxes increase or their benefits are cut, they suck it up and keep working, because the mortgage has to be paid (technically speaking, they have highly inelastic labour supplies). Cutting the various tax credits for better-off families introduced by the Harper government is unlikely to have significant negative effects on parents' work efforts, so it makes good economic sense."

Nik Nanos (Globe and Mail): "Even with the focus on the Trudeau Liberals for the coming budget, how the main opposition parties respond to the budget may reveal more about what to expect for 2016 politically." (for subscribers)

Hugh Segal (Globe and Mail): "If there is to be a viable and modern centre-right set of humane policy choices in a truly competitive election, Conservatives have much work to do that precedes, and is more important than, choosing the next leader."

Karin Klassen (Calgary Herald): "As loud as Albertans are screaming, it does seem that [Premier Rachel] Notley is listening, and the promises, and the policies, are appearing to be flexible."

Jen Gerson (National Post): "If Mulcair's team is halfway competent, and if he demonstrates an understanding of the party's grievances at the convention, his survival is more than likely. Absent an obvious, aggressive and well-organized counter-movement, grassroots discontent tends to fizzle out pretty quickly. It's all very well to be unhappy. It's another matter to do the work."

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