Roundup: Procurement and protectionism

A couple of different reports on military procurement came out yesterday. One of them, from the Commons public accounts committee, which looked into the F-35 procurement reports by the Auditor General and PBO, completely watered down the findings so as to tone down the criticism of the government’s handling of the file. So, good job there in holding the executive to account, government backbenchers! Meanwhile, an independent panel report recommended that Canadian companies take the lead with building from scratch or taking the major role with follow-on support contracts for the various military procurements being undertaken, though Rona Ambrose noted during QP that the government was better suited to be a customer of Canadian industries than a subsidizer, so take that for what you will.

Senator Patrick Brazeau turned up at the Senate chamber yesterday in order to be there as the Chamber voted to force him into a leave of absence, and to curtail his spending abilities in order to protect the reputation of the Chamber. That motion, signed by the Senate leaders from both parties, was passed with no debate, with only Brazeau himself objecting. And yes, the Senate is able to police its members, expelling them if they get too far out of line, and they haven’t ruled out legal action if the misspending allegations prove true. Also under increased scrutiny is Senator Pamela Wallin for her travel expenses – and most of it is to Toronto, where she also owns a home (on top of her putative primary residence in Saskatchewan).

Justin Trudeau has come out with a brave position – leave the Senate as it is, and simply focus on better appointments. Like I said, brave given all of the populist noise currently permeating the media, and probably the only smart thing anyone can say about the subject given the minefield that is abolition or reform without a greater vision of what it means to Parliament as a whole. Susan Delacourt reposted her 2011 piece on the costs of abolishing the Senate from a strictly owed-compensation viewpoint, and it doesn’t include likely payoffs to appease resistant provinces, or the ongoing costs of the increase in court challenges of flaws in legislation that the Senate would otherwise have caught, or even the added costs of increased Royal Commissions or other government studies that would normally have been done in the Senate for a fraction of the cost of setting up new processes for each one.

The Ethics Commissioner wants the rules changed so that MPs will stop using her as their sword-and-shield in the media with regards to complaints about other MPs, where sometimes the complaints are publicised before they’re filed, or where she is unable to respond in a manner she would like to when it happens.

Mark Carney appeared at a Commons committee here to talk household debt and currency, while John Baird was at his own committee talking about Mali. Baird also slammed the homophobic comments of Christian Crossroads, who receive CIDA funding, while those comments were removed from the group’s website. And incidentally, a recent study shows that CIDA has been funding religious charities at a far greater rate under the Conservatives than before.

That single mother in PEI who had her EI cut off because she didn’t have a car got her benefits reinstated after her protests.

Liberal MP Kirsty Duncan has been appointed to the Council of Economic Advisors – in Scotland.

Here are the three things you need to see from last night’s political shows, which doesn’t include manhunt coverage of breathless speculation as to whether or not Canada would be mentioned in the State of the Union address.

And Carly Rae Jepson will be headlining the Canada Day noon show here on Parliament Hill. Yay!