In the past couple of days of Senate revelations, we find that Senator Pamela Wallin has an Ontario health card and not a Saskatchewan one, which raises the question about her residency – no matter that she spent 168 days in Saskatchewan last year. Wallin also apparently repaid a substantial amount in expense claims before this whole audit business started, which is also interesting news. Senator Mike Duffy, meanwhile, could actually end up owing $90,000 plus interest on his living expense claims rather than the $42,000 that was cited over the weekend. Oops. Tim Harper looks at the sideshow that is Senator Duffy’s non-apology and smells a deal made to save his job. Senator Cowan says that repayment doesn’t answer the questions – especially not the ones about residency, which means he may not be up to protect Duffy – or Wallin and Patterson’s – seats. And those Senators who’ve been silent on their residency claims are now being called before the Senate Internal Economy committee to explain themselves. Terry Milewski goes through the entire housing claims allegations and fixes an appropriate amount of scorn on the idea that two ticky-boxes are “complex” on the forms.
The Estimates have been tabled, and it looks like Defence and Foreign Affairs are taking big hits, while Public Safety is being spared the knife.
As you may have heard from QP, Diane Finley says that it’s “performance targets” for stamping out EI fraud, not quotas to cut people off. Just so that we’re clear.
Jason Kenney admits that the Private Members’ Bill to strip dual citizenship from Canadians accused of terrorism is “largely symbolic” and will be “rarely used.” Then why bother to hijack it and wasting everyone’s time? Oh, right – because leaping onto populist things is Kenney’s shtick. Gotcha. Perhaps he needs to tone that down, no? After all, he’s a minister of the Crown.
And we have another privacy breach – this time a Department of Justice lawyer on loan to HRSDC working in the Employment Insurance Appeals division, and she lost a USB key with the personal information of another 5000 Canadians. Cripes. But I’ve said it before based on my own personal experience from my pre-journalism life. There is just no culture of personal responsibility when it comes to records management in the public service. Most of the employees there simply don’t care because nobody believes it’s their responsibility. And that’s not something you can pin on any government of the day – it’s the institutional culture that needs to change, and perhaps this airing will be a good start. In related news, an encrypted FINTRAC laptop in a locked case was stolen out of a car in Calgary – but hey, at least this time they remembered to encrypt it and put it in a locked case, which is more than most of the other data breaches – right? Oh, and the NDP want to bring forward mandatory reporting for data breaches – but it would become a daily merry-go-round of reported breaches, I’m quite sure.
Oh dear – it seems that Charlie Angus – the ethics critic – and Carole Hughes were found to be trying to improperly interfere with the Ontario Electoral Boundaries Commission. I actually can’t wait for this to come up in QP, and to watch Angus and others try to equivocate and rationalise it.
Kady O’Malley looks at the list of upcoming Private Members’ Business due to hit the House’s calendar.
The Supreme Court has agreed to speed up its Senate refrence hearings, and has set aside three days in November to hear arguments. Quebec, however, is not happy with the request to set aside their Court of Appeal reference on the constitutionality of the government’s reform bill.
Poor Helena Guergis – just lost her appeal in Ontario, and is being ordered to pay $118K in legal fees to Harper and the others she tried to sue.
Over in the Liberal leadership race, Marc Garneau tried challenging Justin Trudeau to a one-on-one debate, not that Trudeau was biting, saying that he’d like everyone to get a one-on-one with everyone else – dozens of debates! And in somewhat surprising news, hot republican mess George Takach pulled the plug on his campaign, and is backing Trudeau.
Here are the three things you need to see from last night’s political shows, including Alison Redford’s sense that Keystone XL approval is being tied to environmental regulation action in Canada.
And the Canadian Forces launched their first satellite into orbit, on a mission to map space debris in orbit and approaching the Earth.