Roundup: Truth and ministerial accountability

As mentioned earlier, the Speaker has ruled that there was no prima facia breach of privilege in the government’s answers on the F-35s in the House. So what does this actually mean. First of all, it should be noted that Speaker Scheer parsed things pretty finely, and in that respect, noted that it was difficult to prove a deliberate misleading, which is why he couldn’t make his ruling. (You can read the text here). Fair enough, one supposes, but there were some additional eyebrow-raising aspects to this, in that he pretty much dismissed the notion of ministerial accountability out of hand. In other words, not his problem. This means that as always, this remains a problem for the Crown, and in that, it means that the only people who can punish the Crown for ministers not taking responsibility would be the Commons, by means of withdrawing their confidence. And of course that would mean in this case that backbenchers would have to be sufficiently exercised to want to punish their own party’s government (which this current lot of spineless louts is highly unlikely to do). Marc Garneau raised the additional point after the ruling that this further insulates a government from the actions of the civil servant because they can henceforth claim ignorance, and ministerial accountability may well be a past concept.

Here is the text of the motion the NDP are proposing for splitting the omnibus budget bill. Elizabeth May blogs about the various changes found within the bill and wonders if government spokespersons haven’t read the bill considering that their talking points don’t match the reality of the text. Maclean’s Aaron Wherry has an extremely trying interview with Peter Van Loan about the bill, and his justifying the omnibus-ness of it all.

The Veterans Ombudsman has released a scathing report about the conduct and performance of the Veterans Review and Appeal Board, saying some 60 percent of cases were handled improperly. The minister’s response? That they’ll soon be launching a new Action Plan™ to deal with it.

The NDP “digital issues” critic wants to investigate if social media sites are doing enough to protect privacy. Fair enough – but I don’t think that labelling them “Big Data” is really helping anyone.

Here’s a look at the number of contaminated sites that need cleaning up across the country.

And a potential Liberal leadership candidate is launching trailers for his “exploratory committee” bid, but there are cautions about what kind of fundraising he can actually do at this stage.

Up today – the Mental Health Commission is releasing their first report, outlining their strategy, priorities and recommendations, which includes the need for $4 billion in new funds over the next ten years.