When Tony Clement saved a few billion bucks

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Manning Networking Conference at the Ottawa Convention Centre in Ottawa February 28, 2014. Photo by Blair Gable for Maclean’s Magazine
Adrian Wyld/CP
Adrian Wyld/CP

Agreements are in vogue among the government’s front benches. Earlier this year, Employment Minister Jason Kenney convinced every province to sign on to the Canada Job Grant. He announced a tentative agreement. Later, Prime Minister Stephen Harper travelled to Seoul to conclude trade negotiations. He announced a free-trade agreement. Today, Treasury Board President reached a settlement with federal unions over health benefits for retired public servants. He announced a negotiated agreement at a press conference.

Kenney, whose task seemed gargantuan, outwitted his skeptics. Clement, whose relationship with unions is supposed to be testy, sounded almost low-key as he outlined his accomplishment (an unusually raspy voice contributed to the understated delivery). Tories are in trouble on a number of fronts, notably the party’s proposed electoral reform and its inability to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court, but they’ve managed to hack away the kinds of wins that find their way into campaign materials.

Who to watch

Pierre Poilievre’s electoral reform is on its way to setting a record for most weeks at the top of the NDP’s hate list.

In the news

The government will limit debate on its cyberbullying bill. Political staffers no longer face a lifetime gag order.

Maclean’s is your home for the daily political theatre that is Question Period. If you’ve never watched, check out our primer. Today, QP runs from 2:15 p.m. until just past 3. We livestream and liveblog all the action.