Roundup: The utterly shameless Senator Duffy

The ClusterDuff exploded yet again yesterday with new revelations – this time a series of emails from July of 2009, when Senator Duffy was trying to lobby for a) a cabinet post as a minister-without-portfolio and b) compensation for an “increased role” within the party, mostly to do with fundraising activities that he was trying to find some way of making additional money off of. This was about six months into Duffy’s time in the Senate, and paints a picture of just how shameless and entitled he has been in his role as a Senator, especially as there was no way he would get a cabinet post as there is already a minister from PEI, and to get a post to simply do fundraising for the party is antithetical to the role of a minister of the Crown. He was also apparently cautioned with his travel expenses, but it keeps going back to the point of wow – he really is that shameless. On Power & Politics, John Ivison speculated that the leak of these emails came from PMO in a pre-emptive attack against any dirt that Duffy himself tries to dish out as he fights back, but it’s hard to get past the wow factor of just the sheer brazenness of it all. It also puts the focus more on Duffy himself as the problem rather than the Senate as a whole, which is really where the lion’s share of the blame does belong. Michael Den Tandt writes how Harper has lost the credibility to be given the benefit of the doubt when it comes to any of his excuses in this matter. Colby Cosh argues that the attention we’re paying to the ClusterDuff affair is distracting from the real problems facing our country, such as those uncovered in the Federal Court ruling on misleading robocalling. Maclean’s offers up a new cheat sheet of the people involved in the Senate expenses scandals.

The NDP are trying to draw attention to the travel costs of Senators during the quarter of the 2011 election. Too bad that at least one Senator on that list has refuted that he did any campaigning, and was using his travel for other work (and considering he does a lot of policy work and writes a lot of reports, that’s clearly a credible statement).

The premier of New Brunswick, David Alward, has put his Senate “election” plans on hold pending the Supreme Court reference on Senate reform. Which is just as well because his plans had raised a few flags when it comes to the creation of senatorial districts within the province, and how that would come about.

Remember how Stephen Harper has named the head of his RCMP security detail as the new ambassador to Jordan? Well, it turns out that there are allegations of harassment against Bruno Saccomani, and there is talk about career sabotage and suspicion within the unit he commands. Where it gets really interesting are when leaked memos and performance reviews come into the picture, along with accusations that other members of the unit are trying to sabotage Saccomani. Yeah, this looks great for an ambassadorial appointment, and as a reflection of Harper’s judgement.

Remember when those partisan op-eds showed up on the CIDA website, and the minister later claimed that it was all a mistake when the staff was populating the website? Well, Access to Information documents show that no, it wasn’t a mistake, they took pains to ensure those pieces were translated and formatted properly on the website, and then used the excuse that it was all a mistake when they got called out on it.

While the Conservatives are trying to shut down Elizabeth May’s ability to introduce a number of report stage amendments to the (much smaller) omnibus budget bill, the other opposition parties are rallying to preserve her right to do so.

Apparently the interim Parliamentary Budget Officer isn’t getting the information she’s asking for – even though Tony Clement insists that she’s getting all of the information that she’s entitled to.

There are accusations of bid-rigging and bad procurement practices at AECL, before the government privatised it and sold it off, and there are audits that were done into the practices that aren’t being made public either.

Arthur Porter has changed his mind and will fight his extradition to Canada to face fraud charges after all.

Oh dear – former PMO Comms Director Dmitri Soudas also had tax problems of his own.

The “frosty” relationship between premiers Clark and Redford is thawing quickly as pipeline politics remains a major issue for both.

Kathy Dunderdale is not happy with the way her province is being treated in the Canada-EU free trade negotiations.

Here is a more in-depth look at the legacy of Dr. Henry Morgentaler.

And it’s a rite of spring, as a red-wing blackbird starts attacking people passing by the Senate.