Roundup: Taking the fall for Duffy

It’s a curious case of loyalty in action. Mike Duffy’s former assistant is trying to take the blame for his claiming per diems when the Senate wasn’t sitting because apparently expense claims are hard! Oh, except the claims don’t all fall within the time that she worked within his office, and she is a veteran of several other offices, and should have known what was okay to claim and what wasn’t. And she would almost certainly have been the person who booked the travel, so she should have known where he was at when the claims were made. More importantly, Duffy signed off on all of it, and he is ultimately responsible. It’s a valiant effort, but one that is wholly undeserved. Here’s a list of what he was trying to claim, and the new spending rules adopted by the Chamber, and the question has been asked why Senate finance officials didn’t cross-check his claims with the audit once it was done, while Conservatives in the Senate tried to rush to call it case closed. Marjorie LeBreton calls the abuse of expenses a “betrayal” of the Senate, and she’s right.

Because Thomas Mulcair made an issue of Nigel Wright’s severance pay – and ruining his prosecutorial credibility when he made the smart-ass suggestion that it would amount to $90,000 – Liz Thompson looked into it, and Harper’s spokesperson assured us that they would only pay him the bare minimum of what they are obligated to.

The CRTC has handed out a series of fines to pretty much all political parties for robocall infractions in the past couple of years – the federal Conservatives and NDP, the Ontario Progressive Conservatives, the Wildrose Party in Alberta, Liberal MP Marc Garneau for a call during his leadership, Conservative MP Blake Richards, and calling firm RackNine. The total fines were some $369,900, and everyone is totally sorry and cooperated with investigators, and so on. Now it remains to be seen if Elections Canada will be given the power to deal with infractions on their side when it comes to misusing robocalls.

John Baird had a busy day yesterday, announcing new sanctions against Iran, banning all imports and exports, while also expelling the consul general of Eritrea because he was demanding taxes from Eritreans in Canada.

It was Denis Coderre’s last day in the House yesterday. He officially resigns as of Saturday as he makes a bid to run for the mayor Montreal.  His farewell speech is here.

An al-Qaeda letter found in an abandoned building in Mali shines a light on the kidnapping and ransom of Canadian diplomat Robert Fowler. Michael Petrou puts it into some additional context.

Dr. Henry Morgentaler, who shaped this country’s laws (or lack thereof) on abortion, died at the age of 90 yesterday. The Justice Minister’s response to his death – that the government was not going to reopen the abortion debate. So we can take that as a testament to his legacy then?

Arthur Porter isn’t fighting his extradition from Panama, and will return to Canada to face fraud charges. I will point out once again that Vic Toews spent Question Period reminding the opposition that their leaders signed off on his appointment, which is an object lesson as to why it’s not a good idea for anyone other than the government to conduct appointments, as they are the ones that need to be held to account for them.

Economist Stephen Gordon looks at comparisons between top earners in Canada and the US to show that taxing top earners in Canada won’t generate that much additional revenue. (It’s also a bit of a cautionary tale as to why we need to stop relying on American economic analysis and applying it to Canada as is).

Mike Moffatt continues to take apart Jim Flaherty’s nonsensical answers when it comes to the iPod tariffs that Flaherty says don’t exist, while the CBSA continues to try and collect end-user certificates.

And Andrew Coyne quite correctly points to the culture of expediency as a main culprit behind all of the scandals engulfing the Conservatives, but it’s more than just appointments that they have been so expedient on, but also a raft of legislation including some pretty big things, like the royal succession bill. Rather than do it properly and get the provinces on board, they tried to find a loophole and at best passed a bill that has no effect on the Crown of Canada, and at worst makes us a de facto colony of the British Crown once again – because they insisted on being expedient.