QP Live: On the eve of the 'do nothing' budget - Macleans.ca

QP Live: On the eve of the ‘do nothing’ budget

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Tomorrow’s the day when budget, usually so benign a word, will take its place as a Twitter trend in Ottawa. Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will table what the political bubble loosely predicts will be a “do nothing” budget—whatever that means. Every dollar spent does something, right? You’d hope, anyway. So, that in mind, parliamentarians return to Ottawa from their weekends.

Let’s have some fun today. Let’s gamble a bit, no money involved.

Every day, the NDP asks a bunch of questions. Usually, the party—much like the Liberals beside them—focuses its efforts on one or two major issues. Last week, electoral reform. The week before, veterans affairs. And so on.

The official opposition’s last question almost always departs from the day’s primary targets. The party has asked nine different questions in the 10 days of questioning since the House returned from its winter break. MPs have asked about a toxic leak at the Port of Quebec, the government’s ongoing litigation related to a rail bridge in Quebec, a contraceptive drug that Health Canada is considering for approval, service cuts at Canada Post, funding cuts for refugee health care, the plight of a Canadian journalist imprisoned in Egypt, flood damage in a northern aboriginal community, service cuts to the Algoma Central Railway, and skills training in Quebec.

What will be the NDP’s finale on Federal Budget Eve? Go ahead. Guess. The winner gets a blog post praising them effusively. Good luck.

Maclean’s is your home for the daily political theatre that is Question Period, when MPs trade barbs and take names for 45 minutes every day. If you’ve never watched, check out our primer, which we produced with J-Source. Today, QP runs from 2:15 p.m. until just past 3. We tell you who to watch, we stream it live, and we liveblog all the action. The whole thing only matters if you participate. Chime in on Twitter with #QP.

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The NDP, toiling in the calm before tomorrow’s budget, may continue to push the government on electoral reform, as well as poor job growth, coming labour battles, and citizenship reform. The Liberals will keep tying their questions to the plight of the middle class.

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