Roundup: 50 officials, few answers

For his one-hour appearance at Finance Committee last night, Jim Flaherty brought along fifty – yes, fifty – department officials to help him answer questions on Omnibus Budget Bill 2: The Revenge. Because they were so concerned about the cost of answering Order Paper questions that this exercise was perfectly justified. What made it worse is that the sole hour seemed to be eaten up with either fulsome praise for Flaherty from the government side, and attempts to get him to talk about a future stimulus programme if the US goes off the “fiscal cliff” from the NDP. Nice to see that everyone is taking this seriously.

Here is everything you need to know about Harper’s trip to India, and why our trade deals are stalling.

Despite the strange firing of that local reporter in his riding, Conservative MP James Bezan stands behind his criticism of the CNOOC-Nexen deal. Good to know.

The Auditor General is warning against the practice of forgoing needed maintenance in our embassies abroad. Not only does it make things worse – and more expensive – down the road, but really? This is the face we want to put forward to the world? Crumbling and increasingly decrepit buildings? Charming.

Here’s a look at that $8 billion in spending cuts, and how they came from the previous round of expenditures reviews, not the current austerity measures.

Economist Stephen Gordon shows how “starve the beast” conservative economics appear to be working in Canada, unlike the States.

Remember Suaad Hagi Mohamud, the Canadian woman the government abandoned in Kenya believing her to be an imposter? Well, she settled her lawsuit with the government, but it cost them $1.5 million in legal fees. The Liberal immigration critic is now trying to see what that actually breaks down to mean.

Liberal MP Dominic LeBlanc’s Private Members’ Bill on giving the Chief Electoral Officer the power to levy bigger fines is up for debate, but looks doomed to fail as the Conservatives say that they won’t support it, as it needs to be seen in the broader discussion on the Act. Apparently piecemeal reform is only good for the Senate (where it’s unconstitutional), or the Criminal Code, where none of the sentencing provisions make any sense any longer.

With an election a little less than three years away, the Conservatives have launched radio ads against Thomas Mulcair to brand him with the fictional “carbon tax” that doesn’t actually exist.

David Bertschi has officially entered the Liberal leadership race. He failed to be the Conservative incumbent in Ottawa-Orleans in the last election. Glen McGregor notes that Bertschi’s website seems to have lifted a few of its graphics ideas from other political sites – like the UK Conservatives’. Oops.

And here is your recap of last night’s political shows, and all of the warnings of the American “fiscal cliff.”