Roundup: Robocall charges laid

Former Guelph Conservative campaign worker Michael Sona has been charged in connection to the misleading robocall affair in the last election. Sona continues to insist he is innocent – without the access or means to pull it off – but one former Elections Canada lawyer suspects that they may be hoping he’ll take a deal and provide more information in exchange for a lesser charge or to have the charges dropped.

In its annual report on plans and priorities, HRSDC notes the likelihood of another incident of loss of personal data because of the proliferation of mobile storage devices, as well as retiring employees who don’t necessarily tell their successors where they’ve left everything. (And as someone who has dealt with records management in federal departments before, let me say that upon retirement, some employees simply shove everything into a box and leave it in a basement for years – not cool).

Our diplomats are in a legal strike position. Canada’s back, everyone! Meanwhile, the government is expected to pay out some $3.5 billion in severance payouts thanks to the changes to the collective agreements in the past year that eliminate those payouts going forward.

John Baird has finally started to smooth out diplomatic relationships with the United Arab Emirates so that Canadians no longer require visas to travel there – but this has been a mess of his own making, if you remember the 2010 spat over landing rights.

TransCanada is pressing ahead with their plans for a west-east pipeline, which would mean 1400 km of new pipe being laid to extend it to St. John, NB, where oilsands crude could be refined and reach tidewater.

The investigation into those radicalised Canadians who wound up in Algeria turns up a third young man from London, ON, who also joined them, but is currently believed to be jailed over there. Jason Kenney wants you to know that we’re not losing the battle on home grown terror threats, and that our police and intelligence agencies have great success in early intervention.

Liz Thompson maps out sponsored travel that MPs accepted, and breaks down which MPs took the trips and how much each was worth. (And just a reminder that if MPs actually had travel budgets, they wouldn’t need to use sponsored junkets to “learn about issues”).

Thomas Mulcair says his door is always open to Bruce Hyer if he wants to come back to caucus – but since he’s not making any promises about relaxing the iron fist he has on his caucus, I’m not sure that Hyer will be too receptive.

Senator Pamela Wallin is stepping down as chair of the National Security and Defence Committee – and its associated veterans subcommittee – for “personal reasons,” which appear to be an ill family member.

Conflict of Interest disclosures show that Rona Ambrose spouse is a wealth fund advisor, which again brings up the questions about cabinet ministers and their spouses having holdings with holdings in publicly-traded securities.

What’s that? The Conservatives have attack ads against Justin Trudeau ready to roll out? YOU DON’T SAY!

Over in the Liberal leadership race, Martin Cauchon emerged briefly from the time tunnel to 1995 to declare that Justin Trudeau isn’t guaranteed to win on the first ballot, at which point the second choices in the preferential ballot kick in and will “make things interesting.”

Here are the three things you need to see from last night’s political shows, including a fascinating interview with a security expert on radicalised youth in Canada.

And the National Post’s Jen Gerson writes a really good rebuttal to that Thomas Homer-Dixon piece in last weekend’s New York Times, which confuses his personal beliefs with fact.