Roundup: Chasing answers in Peru

It only took a week, a trip to Peru and a question from a foreign journalist before Stephen Harper finally said that he was sorry over the whole Nigel Wright/Mike Duffy affair. Well, he was sorry that Wright giving the cheque happened – we’re not quite sure yet if he’s sorry that he appointed Duffy to the Senate. (Video here). So, there’s that.

Meanwhile, back home, the NDP have decided to launch a new campaign, that they say will be part of the next election, about trying to abolish the Senate. Because you know, the constitution is something that can be changed on a whim, in particular because abolition would require the unanimous consent of the provinces. In other words, Mulcair is promising to do the impossible because he won’t have to follow through with it, and he can blame the provinces if he forms government. Yay using constitutional vandalism as though there were no consequences as a political tactic! Here’s a great post on the short-sighted ridiculousness for this kind of abolition rhetoric.

As for Senator Duffy, he says he’s pleased that the Board of Internal Economy is looking over the audit again, and says he’s confident he’s done nothing wrong. Absent from his assurances are the fact that he stopped cooperating with the auditors once his payment was handed in, and the fact that it has been proven that the Conservative majority on the subcommittee removed the most damning passages from the report, including the fact that his primary residence is not in PEI. And because the report is going back to that same committee – and possibly the subcommittee – the Liberals in the Senate have asked that it be opened up to the public for the first time ever, not that it’s likely to happen. One does hope, however, that the added scrutiny – and Duffy’s disgrace and the souring of his caucus – will mean a much more thorough process this time around. The Senate’s Conflict of Interest committee has also directed the Senate Ethics Officer to investigate the Wright/Duffy affair, and that report will be made public upon conclusion. Oh, and the Star has been going through Duffy’s expense claims, and lo and behold, he charged the Conservative campaign on several other occasions when he was also charging his per diems to the Senate. He also claimed expenses on a week when the Senate and its committees weren’t meeting, and yet he was in town to deliver a speech to the Ontario Association of Police Services Boards, for which he was also paid. Yeah, he’s totally going to be exonerated.

And then there was the debate on the proposed new rules for the Senate, which got off to a rather ugly start when Government Leader in the Senate, Marjory Lebreton, said that this whole expense scandal was somehow because her government opened up the Senate’s books to the public, unlike those awful corrupt Liberal senators of old, and how Ottawa is a town full of Liberal elites and media lickspittle. Yeah – she’s classy. (Lebreton has a long history of taunting the media). Some Liberal senators are trying to make the point that these new rules are an attempt to distract from the audits, but they’ll likely go through by sheer weight of the Conservative majority (for whom none of them want to be seen to be against tighter rules).

Also of note – Senator Pamela Wallin refuses to answer questions about her own expenses, while Senator Elizabeth Marshall is asking that her compensation for the Senate Selection Committee be reviewed now that it’s become a public issue.

As for Harper’s trip to Peru, it seems to be about exporting his Responsible Resource Development™ plans to that country, and helping them to streamline their environmental assessment plans to help alleviate the bottleneck of resource development projects in that country. Back home, Joe Oliver refuses to say how his department plans to spend their planned $16.5 million ad budget for their Responsible Resource Development™ campaign.

Here’s a look at the revelation of salary levels in the PMO.

The Privacy Commissioner’s office has released a report into just how much personal information could be gleaned by the IP data that the now dead Internet surveillance bill would have afforded police. It’s kind of frightening just how many personal details could be reconstructed from what would have been available to police without a warrant, had the bill passed.

Despite the “reset button” having been pushed on our replacement fighter jet procurement process, pressure continues to mount for Canada to buy the F-35s as a series of deadlines are upcoming while we remain part of the joint strike fighter development process.

And a Conservative riding president in Quebec has resigned in frustration, saying the party apparently has no desire to win sits in the province after they showed complete and utter disinterest in helping her riding out, despite having a credible candidate in place. Ignoring your own grassroots? What would Preston Manning say?