Beleaguered Senator Mike Duffy went to the media last night, and declared that he was going to repay the residency expenses he’s been claiming for his “secondary” residence in Ottawa. He claims, however, that he still qualifies to sit as a PEI senator – because the cognitive dissonance, it burns! As his excuse, Duffy said that the Senate rules are fuzzy and the form wasn’t clear – err, except it was. It’s two ticky boxes, and fill-in-your-address. No, seriously. But no, this repayment doesn’t halt the audits, or the question as to his residency being in line with the constitutional requirement for residency. And while Charlie Angus may huff and puff and demand the RCMP be brought in, one has to ask if the RCMP were brought in when MPs were found to be improperly claiming housing allowances a few years ago. No? Didn’t think so. Meanwhile, the former editor of satirical Frank magazine reminisces about his fractious relationship with Duffy, and it paints a pretty interesting picture of the Senator back in the day.
Stephen Harper made a small cabinet shuffle to put Bernard Valcourt in the Aboriginal Affairs portfolio on a full-time basis, and after a couple of other secondary portfolio shuffles, he put Kerry-Lynne Findlay into the Associate Minister of Defence portfolio. Remember when that was all about procurement? And how that file is now in Public Works’ lap? Could someone please explain to me why this associate minister position remains relevant?
One year after blowing open the whole robocall story, Steve Maher and Glen McGregor write about what they still don’t know. And yes, Elections Canada considers this their top priority. In not unrelated news, that court case being brought forward by the Council of Canadians alleging voter suppression – including by robo-calls – won a bid to admit the testimony of those who said they got the misleading calls and failed to vote as a result.
Thomas Mulcair is in the next batch of Private Members’ Business to be brought up for debate – and yet he has nothing tabled on the Order Paper with which to debate. Awfully glaring oversight, no? Considering that we’ve known for two years that this slot was coming up.
Greg Weston has a rather damning look at the ineffectual and confused response by the Cyber Incident Response Centre to significant hacking attacks, and how it is underfunded, lacking in clear mandates, and in desperate need of facilities and direction.
Oh dear! It seems that the entire fleet of F-35s in the States is being grounded because of cracked engine turbines. But remember, this is the right plane, for the right plane, etcetera, etcetera.
Despite claiming that a new paint job for the Prime Ministerial airplane would be cost neutral, it turns out that it’ll cost an additional $50,000. Oops. Fiscal austerity, everyone!
The Ethics Commissioner has apparently cleared Andrew Cash of any wrongdoing with his CBC questions and Dragon’s Den earnings. As you were, everyone.
Over in the Liberal leadership camp, Marc Garneau said that he disagrees with Justin Trudeau’s status quo defence of the Senate, and says that he wants an elected, term-limited Senate with an Australia-like tie-breaking mechanism, and yes, he’ll negotiate with the provinces. Which is all well and good, but that doesn’t sound like an articulation of what he wants a reformed Senate to actually do, which would seem to me to be a pretty big omission. Trudeau, meanwhile, is defending a comment he made about the irrelevance of Parliament these days, which Aaron Wherry parses here. One of the things I agree entirely with Wherry with is that this sounds like defeatism – even if Trudeau wants to become Prime Minister to change things. But I would take it a step further and say that MPs really are masters of their own fate, and their relevancy of otherwise is in their own hands. If they want to be more relevant with debate, they are the ones who can push back against their leaders or actually engage in that debate on their own rather than simply reading the scripts that have been prepared for them. Nobody is holding a gun to their heads.
Susan Delacourt looks at the premise that Canadians are taking a rightward shift politically, and complicates it with the politics of consumerism and post-partisan politics. Worthwhile reading.
Here are the three things you need to see from last night’s political shows, including the interviews that Senator Duffy gave to the media, despite the burning cognitive dissonance.
And for a trip down memory lane, CTV’s Roger Smith found an old colouring book put out by the Liberal election campaign in 1963 – and it’s pretty awesome.