The House is back today, and so is QP, but it remains to be seen if Stephen Harper will deign to make an appearance or not. He rarely shows up on a Monday unless he has travel or other duties later in the week. But when he does show up, whether it’s today or Tuesday, there will finally be an opportunity for him to start answering questions in the House about the whole Clusterduff affair. Meanwhile, Senator Marjorie Lebreton continues to insist that there wasn’t any document trail between Nigel Wright and Senator Mike Duffy, and that she doesn’t really run things in the Senate. That said, she is considering allowing the Internal Economy committee hearings into the Duffy audit to be held in public – were it to actually be her call as opposed to the committee’s – but it should be noted that any testimony made in public then falls under privilege. In other words, it can’t be used by police. Sure, it can guide them as to where to look and come up with their own evidence, but it is a consideration that should be made. Oh, and a former RCMP superintendent says that it certainly looks like there are grounds for criminal charges with the whole expenses issue, and that breach of trust – which is an indictable offence (and would be grounds for automatic dismissal from the Senate) is likely the route that the RMCP would take.
The Globe and Mail has a look at Senators Duffy and Wallin’s campaign activities during the last election. It’s not clear that Wallin was “double dipping” the expense claims the way that Duffy appears to have, but both were big draws for fundraising events throughout.
Randy Boswell provides a glimpse at some historical political corruption in this country, and the ways in which small bits of malfeasance can fester and grow larger as the players get bolder.
Shock and outrage as Justin Trudeau says that *gasp!* the provinces need to play a role in opening up the constitution in order to reform the Senate! Wait – what? Yes, this is shocking, apparently. Also, he points out that Quebec has 24 seats in the Upper Chamber, and that Alberta and BC each have six, so Quebec has an advantage. OH NOES! WILL SOMEBODY STOP THIS MADNESS! And then in the very next sentence, which everybody conveniently ignored, he said, “We’ll have to improve it.” But hey, he’s just trying to return to the bad old days of the Liberals taking advantage and ripping off the Senate, etcetera, etcetera. So, somebody having a modicum of civic literacy on the topic of our parliamentary institutions is something we should be freaking out about? Has the state of our democracy fallen so low?
Chief Electoral Officer Marc Mayrand will be before a Commons committee on Tuesday to talk about robocalls and party voter identification databases – the timing rather fortuitous after the Federal Court ruling on voter fraud in those six ridings that was handed down in the last week. With more attention being paid to this issue, it may be time for the Conservatives to finally put out their bill on the issue (though I am beginning to suspect that it will come in the fall post-prorogation and Throne Speech at this rate, as there is not really enough time left on the calendar to deal with it before the House rises for the summer).
Here is a look at the faux outrage over the temporary foreign workers programme and at some of the realities behind why we need these workers to keep the economy going, as the needed skills and the unemployment rate have little to do with one another.
It seems that there may have been some kind of breakdown in communications between CSIS and the RMCP in the Jeffrey Delisle spy case, where CSIS had been alerted by the Americans of Delisle’s activities but chose not to alert the RCMP while they continued their investigation, apparently because of fear that their investigative techniques might become the fodder of courtroom testimony, and it was the FBI that later went to the RCMP to alert them. It’s all a bit sordid, and CSIS doesn’t seem to want to answer any questions about it.
A large trove of papers and maps from the estate of an early governor general of the Canadas (as in, united Upper and Lower) is going up for auction in the UK, which is going to be a test of whether or not Library and Archives Canada is still in the business of collecting works of major historical value, or if their funding and governance problems will mean that this kind of opportunity passes them – and the country – by.
And Scott Feschuk asks Nigel Wright for ninety thousand new adjectives to describe Mike Duffy. And it’s a hilarious read.