Roundup: Vacuous yet patriotic ads

Oh, focus group testing. Once again you pull through in calling out the government’s somewhat Orwellian-named “Responsible Resource Development” ads as being light on substance but hey, they’re uplifting and patriotic. Just the way the government likes them to be. These ads come as part of tweaks being made in advance of the government putting out another $9 million worth of them in the coming months. Meanwhile, remember that promised federal-provincial oilsands monitoring regime? A year later, still nothing in place. But at least they intend to have a “world class system,” which is what counts – right?

Vote attendance figures for the Commons are now published, with the best attendance (the Government House Leader and Whips respectively), and worst (NDP MP Romeo Saganash, who was on leave to deal with his alcoholism). Mind you, this is not actual attendance figures, because those aren’t made public (unlike the Senate).

Retired senator Lowell Murray is concerned that if the Senate residency issue proves widespread, it could cause a constitutional crisis. He does have a point – if the government becomes reluctant to let those senators go if the allegations prove true, it could get nasty. And in the cases before us, the biggest danger seems to be from Senator Duffy, because his being named a Senator from PEI seems to have been out of convenience rather than giving him a seat from Ontario, where he’s lived for decades. It also should have been a challenge to Duffy to actually move out there if he planned to represent the province. None of this is the Senate’s fault – it’s Harper’s for making the appointment knowing that Duffy didn’t there, and Duffy’s for not living up to his obligation. That said, the fact that the government hasn’t gone out of its way to stick up for Duffy the way they have for Wallin suggests that if push came to shove, they would be content to let him walk.

Speaking of spending controls, it seems that they’re not as apparent for cabinet ministers as the government claims. Travel expenses for said ministers are apparently never challenged by their departments, and there’s no documentation to show that it has been since the Conservatives took over. Oops.

CRA is wrapping up six years of investigations into offshore bank accounts in Lichtenstein. While they found some $22.4 million in taxes owing by Canadians who have accounts there, they are collecting only $8 million to date, as the rest is being challenged in court.

The premiers of Quebec and New Brunswick met yesterday to talk about that east-west pipeline.

In advance of his meeting in Venezuela next week, John Baird is concerned about that country’s growing ties with Iran.

Pundit’s Guide draws some contrast between the way the Liberal leadership race is going, and the provincial NDP leadership race in Saskatchewan.

And here are the three things you need to see from last night’s political shows (and yes, they were still on, despite it being a holiday for most of the country).