When Stephen Harper went down to defeat in the last federal election, it seemed that his Conservative Party would, of necessity, pivot toward a kinder and gentler future.
The party's hard-edged appeal to identity politics had proven singularly unsuccessful.
Depending on who one talks to, the NDP's first Quebec leadership debate drew anywhere from 250 to 400 people on Sunday afternoon in Montreal.
Those are decent enough numbers considering the party could not fill a 500-seat hall in Quebec City for one of the marquee debates that led to the election of Thomas Mulcair as Jack Layton's successor in 2012.
It is sometimes held that Finance Minister Bill Morneau backed away from a promise to end lucrative tax breaks for the well-to-do in last week's budget because of Donald Trump.
With the mercurial Trump occupying the White House, the theory goes, Morneau figured it would be foolish to fiddle with the Canadian tax system. Better to wait until American intentions become clearer.
It was shoddy journalism, not a debatable take on Quebec society, that cost former Ottawa Citizen editor Andrew Potter his "dream job" as head of McGill university's prestigious Institute for the Study of Canada this week.
Canada's Federal Minister of Transport, Marc Garneau, imposed new rules that will affect recreational drone pilots in Canada. The new regulations, which came into effect immediately when announced two weeks ago, put strict limitations on people using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) near airports, buildings, and people.
Bill Morneau works in a building named after Jim Flaherty. No pressure there. The very walls seem to ask why Morneau, a political rookie whose adult life before politics was spent in some fairly cushy corporate precincts, can't seem to display the offhand charm and crusty wit of his late Conservative predecessor.
Wednesday's budget will be about the middle class and innovation. Maybe it'll even be helpful! That would be nice. Unfortunately, the Trudeau government's handling of both files so far has left them in something close to a shambles.