Roundup: 28 ineligible donations, $47K overspent

It seems that Peter Penashue accepted 28 different improper or illegal donations during the last election, and overspent his campaign by $47,000. You know, small change, and apparently he keeps claiming that it’s not his fault. Err, except that he signed off on all of it, and as the former Chief Electoral Officer said, those signatures mean something, and when the Elections Commissioner completes his investigation, this may yet result in criminal charges – albeit not before the by-election will be called, unfortunately. Laura Payton asks the outstanding questions about what happened in the Labrador election, and Peter Penashue’s resignation – most of it revolving around the money (most of which came from the party itself, it seems). Meanwhile, the former leader of the Newfoundland and Labrador Liberals has announced that she will contest the nomination for the Labrador by-election. She may yet have to battle Todd Russell for that nomination if he decides to throw his hat back in the ring.

Charlie Angus is yet again demonstrating the depth of his civic literacy by deciding that he wants to haul the Senate Ethics Officer before the Commons Ethics Committee to discuss the Estimates. Err, except that the Senate Officer, being an Officer of the Senate, can’t actually be compelled to attend a Commons committee without Senate permission, because the Senate is not a government agency – it’s a coordinate House of Parliament. Angus wants the Ethics Officer to explain herself in the wake of the “scandals” going on in the Senate. Never mind that maybe Angus should look a little closer to home at the usefulness of the Commons’ own Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner, and the rules that she wants updated and powers that she wants added to her own mandate in what is a role that seems largely useless considering how often she narrowly reads her mandate to declare that almost nothing is in her purview. But whatever. So long as he can huff and puff some more about how awful the Senate is, it distracts from the fact that the Commons remains less transparent and responsive than the Upper Chamber…

Outgoing Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page blames a “weak” public service for not serving Parliamentarians in turning over documents and in not being transparent. Um, okay. You know whom else he could blame? The MPs themselves, since they apparently can’t do their own jobs of holding the government to account and would rather Page do their homework for them. After all, math is hard, and they have a Private Member’s Bill that will never, ever see the light of day that they’re too busy championing instead. But seriously, MPs have the power to reform the Estimates process to make it less arcane, and to compel the production of documents if they actually bothered to do their jobs. The problem is that they don’t, and that isn’t the fault of the public service – it’s the fault of the MPs who don’t even know their own job description, and instead act only on the orders of the twenty-somethings in their respective leaders’ offices.

Liberal MP Gerry Byrne is threatening to launch a breach of privilege complaint after more than a dozen federal departments have refused to provide documents to the Public Accounts committee related to their past performance audits.

John Geddes looks at what another round of cuts is going to mean for the Canadian Forces, which is already having a hard time with its procurement needs and ensuring that its front-line forces aren’t taking a hit.

Here’s a look at how the government in Nova Scotia is funding the Irving Shipyards upgrades, while in BC, Seaspan is paying for their own shipyard upgrades by themselves.

An immigration lawyer is concerned that reality TV cameras are accompanying CBSA officers conducting raids. And really – do we really need a Border Security reality show? Apparently the government feels it’ll be “educational” about things like phony immigration cases. Sigh. And yes, the Privacy Commissioner is planning on looking into this.

IRPP recommends new regulations be brought in for robocalling and privacy concerns for political databases, which currently have no rules in place, and no penalties if the information is lost or misused.

CBC’s Ira Basen gives a brief history of religion in Canadian politics, and says that it still asserts some influence to this day, especially within the Conservative ranks.

The late Senator Eugene Forsey’s daughter laments the facile discourse that dominates the media about the Senate, and talks about what her father may have suggested be done about the institution.

Adam Goldenberg eviscerates the “unite the progressive vote” call that Joyce Murray champions, and (rightly) considers it to be nothing more than an invitation for Stephen Harper to win the next election.

Here are the three things you need to see from last night’s political shows, including the former Chief Electoral Officer taking the whole Peter Penashue ordeal to task.

And next week, the two finalists for the planned War of 1812 monument for Parliament will be unveiled, which could be good or a total disaster – we’ll have to wait and see.