Roundup: Five more for the Upper Chamber

Stephen Harper marked the Friday before the House comes back by fulfilling his constitutional duty to appoint senators – in this case, five new ones to fill vacancies. Included in this batch is Denise Batters, the widow of a former Conservative MP and a tireless activist for suicide prevention after the death of her husband. Note that she is the kind of person you want nominated to the Senate. Also included are another “elected” (and I use the term loosely) nominee from Alberta, who as it turns out has a penchant for expense accounts. Remember how Senate elections are supposed to ensure that these kinds of people don’t get selected? Yeah, good luck with that one. There’s a bit more about the other appointees here.

AFN National Chief Shawn Alteo is laying out timelines for his talks with Stephen Harper, and is looking for concrete progress within four months. John Geddes looks at how the First Nations file will dominate the return of the Commons next week. Here is a look at the letter that the Attawapiskat band council delivered to Chief Theresa Spence that demanded the end of her hunger action.

The Supreme Court has ruled that according to the civil code in Quebec, unmarried couples don’t have a right to alimony. Quebec of course being the place where common law relationships are most prevalent, and yet their own distinctive law code leaves that bigger distinction than under the common law that the rest of the country follows.

The government has signalled that it will offer credit flagging for six years for the people whose personal data was lost when HRSDC lost that portable hard drive full of student loan information.

Kady O’Malley digs further into the issue of Parliamentary Secretaries being barred from writing letters to agencies like the CRTC just as cabinet ministers are.

Tony Clement met with protesters outside of his New Year’s levee, including with First Nations demonstrators. The president of the local NDP riding association decided to get his two cents in and kept interrupting Clement. Clement went back to his demonstration. And now the NDP riding association president wants Clement to apologise. No, seriously.

And Susan Delacourt writes about robocalls, and how they have the power to turn people off of politics – even if they’re done with the best of intentions.