Roundup: Interim PBO and the search for a replacement

In a rather surprising announcement at the end of the day yesterday, the government has named the Parliamentary Librarian as the interim Parliamentary Budget Officer until Kevin Page’s replacement can be found. That process is internal to the Library, and Page has expressed concerns that the makeup of the committee charged with the search is being kept secret, but I do get concerned when opposition parties want input into those processes, because it ultimately erodes the accountability for those appointments. Look at the questions surrounding Arthur Porter these days, and how Vic Toews skirts accountability by pointing out that the opposition leaders were consulted on his appointment. That’s why the prerogative power of appointment should rest with the Governor in Council – because it keeps the executive as the sole resting place of accountability. Meanwhile, the job criteria for the next PBO have been posted, and they include qualities like “discreet” and “consensus seeking” – perhaps not too surprising after the battles that Page had with the previous Parliamentary Librarian over his role.

Here is a look at the Correctional Investigator’s report on Aboriginals in Canada’s prisons, and his recommendations to address that massive overrepresentation.

All ten provincial governments have served notice that they will be intervening with the Supreme Court reference on Senate reform. This promises to get very interesting indeed.

Canada is quietly funding grassroots groups in Uganda fighting the proposed anti-gay legislation in that country, training them to do things like communications and engaging along the language of international human rights.

On a related note, over on I wrote about Canada’s adoption of the Commonwealth Charter, which will be able to used to pressure Commonwealth countries like Uganda to shape up their human rights record – especially around laws criminalising homosexuality.

Stephen Harper is expected to head to Yellowknife on Monday to announce a devolution deal with the Northwest Territories similar to one that the Yukon signed in 2003.

Aaron Wherry tries to do the math to dissect the Conservative talking point on the NDP’s spending plans.

Our training mission in Afghanistan, due to end in March of 2014, is expected to cost some $522 million by the time it’s complete.

In matters relating to privilege in the Commons, the Procedure and House Affairs committee is looking at ways of opening up Access to Information when it comes to some documents of the Commons – but certainly not all, especially as there are in camera confidences to consider. Meanwhile, NDP MP Pat Martin is launching a claim that says that the government’s abrogation of its duty to Charter-proof all legislation is a breach of MPs’ privilege. We’ll see how far that argument goes.

Here are six of the potential stumbling blocks to the Canada-EU free trade agreement.

Apparently in cases where contract bids are tied, public servants can resolve it by means of a coin toss to determine the successful bidder – and had to recently.

Today in Senate revelations, Senator Boisvenu has agreed to pay back $900 in residency expenses – even though he was operating with the letter of the rules – and says that those particular months were claimed in error. And still no word on when or how Senator Duffy will pay back his $90,000 in improper expenses (or about the legal questions surrounding his residency and eligibility to sit as a Senator for PEI).

Over in the Liberal leadership race, the CBC profiles Martha Hall Findlay on her second run for leader. Meanwhile, Marc Garneau says that if Justin Trudeau wins, he’ll be 100 per cent supportive – but the race isn’t over yet.

Here are the three things you need to see from last night’s political shows, including the Correctional Investigator talking about his report on Aboriginals in prison.

And Steve Paikin lays out the case for why Stephen Harper might – might – step down this summer. Might.