Roundup: Salary freezes vs casework

MPs say they’re fine with continuing the freeze on their own salaries, but they don’t want their office budgets cut – and indeed, some want an increase – because their offices are busy doing front-line EI and immigration casework because of cuts to Service Canada. All of which is infuriating because MPs offices aren’t supposed to be doing this kind of work, and it’s something that should be addressed. It’s not only not your MP’s job to do this paperwork, but it starts blurring lines between the political offices and the civil service, which is a Very Bad Thing. This is how bribery and corruption happens, and we need to start putting those barriers between these offices and the civil service in before things get any worse.

The political loans bill is moving ahead, but the Liberals have concerns that it puts too much ability for banks to decide who should be able to run for office or not, seeing as they’ll be the primary entities able to make political loans once it passes. The NDP say they want to limit the same kinds of loans from previous Liberal leaderships – while their own last leadership contest features their own candidates taking out loans from private individuals. Imagine that.

CBSA is hiring private security guard companies to guard high-risk prisoners. Yeah, this is going to end well.

Oh, look – the Department of Finance has quietly admitted that we have a structural deficit after all. Imagine that! So when Jim Flaherty keeps saying that the Parliamentary Budget Officer was wrong, it turns out that he was trying to deflect attention, or as Paul Wells puts it, what Flaherty means is that Page is usually right but he hopes you won’t notice.

Remember last summer when controversy erupted that the federal government was going to stop testing water in 21 sites in the North, only to back down and say that the changes “weren’t authorised”? Well, as it turns out, it was authorised, and they got caught out, documents show. Funny that.

MPs are concerned about breaking up communities and “communities of interest” in the new riding boundaries being proposed.

And here’s a look at the new CSIS/CSE establishment being built in Ottawa.