Roundup: Exit Penashue

In a surprising turn of events, Intergovernmental Affairs minister Peter Penashue resigned his seat after it was proved that he accepted improper political donations in the last election, which included free flights, an interest-free loan, and dressed up corporate donations. And then he paid back $30,000, which was more than the amount that the CBC had calculated, and they had no idea where the money came from, since the campaign was broke, hence the need for the loan. Penashue won by only 79 votes then, and plans to contest the nomination. His former Liberal Challenger, Todd Russell, has lately been fighting the Lower Churchill project because it hasn’t properly consulted with the Innu communities in the region, and is taking the next few days to consider if he’ll run again.

Jim Flaherty has announced that March 21st will be the date of the federal budget – or Economic Action Plan 2013™ as they have branded it. No, seriously. Erica Alini reminds us of some of the economic realities with respect to growth facing the budget. Economist Stephen Gordon looks at what will be in the budget, and what should be in the budget.

Stephen Harper says that we’re still looking at long-term options for engagement in Mali, and that we’ll continue to loan that C-17 as long as France needs it.

PostMedia looks at why Harper is introducing more government bills in the Senate than any PM in over thirty years. The answer they come up with is that because the Senate is less partisan, these bills are getting better scrutiny from the start before the partisan dynamic of the House is brought in. The other likely excuse that isn’t mentioned is that Government House Leader Peter Van Loan is a terrible manager of the House timetable, and that ineptitude means that they’re using the Senate as a kind of relief valve to keep bills going rather than get bottled up in the House, where he again invokes Time Allocation because his terrible management can’t get bills through otherwise.

Two senior bureaucrats have been suspended after they were caught rigging contracts at the Canada School of Public Service. And while people may wonder about lax rules, it seems that this was a case where strict rules were put into place – but they simply weren’t followed, which makes the creation of even more rules a dubious solution.

Paul McLeod calls out the fact that while Charlie Angus may huff and puff about how not transparent the Senate’s expenses are, Angus’ own expenses are even more opaque, and that the Senate is actually more transparent than the Commons.

Four of the candidates from the NDP leadership contest have outstanding debts – and Brian Topp is complaining about how unfair the system for repayment is. You know, like he didn’t do when the NDP had teamed up with the Conservatives to put the system in place for the sole purpose of screwing over the Liberals, who were in the midst of their own contest at the time. Oh, the irony.

Over in the Liberal leadership race, Greg Weston looks at Garneau’s departure and the meaning of the supporter/registration numbers being thrown around. Aaron Wherry looks at just what Garneau was putting on the table, and finds little of it was new from previous Liberal campaigns. It also appears that the robocall poll that Garneau cited was done improperly, and didn’t conform to CRTC guidelines. Oops. Meanwhile, Maclean’s looks at Trudeau’s star power effect in Quebec, and how he’s attracting a younger demographic there away from the NDP.

The ethnic outreach “scandal” continues to ricochet in BC, where the premier’s deputy minister found that there was indeed an instance of public funds being used on partisan ethnic outreach, for which Christy Clark apologised and saw the party reimburse that money. Not that the provincial NDP are blameless, where they also used caucus funds to hire a candidate for their own ethnic outreach services.

Here are the three things you need to see from last night’s political shows, including the lengthy reveal of the various components of the whole Penashue resignation.

And Chris Selley takes the writers of the Jack biopic to task for their bad, ham-fisted script. And he’s entirely correct, and I noticed it all the way though. (My viewing companion can attest to my calling out “And now it’s time for a flashback” and the likes throughout). Just because your subject is beloved, it doesn’t justify bad writing.