Oh, Senator Mike Duffy – your leaked emails keep painting quite the picture. More emails leaked to CBC yesterday showed he was trying to claim more fees and expenses from the party for his campaign activities, and while the party says they’ve never compensated him, we’ll never find out if that’s true because parties are exempt from these kinds of disclosure rules. Nevertheless, it confirms the picture that has been developing about Duffy himself, which Ralph Goodale put it best when he said “Mike Duffy was absolutely self-possessed with his aggrandizement.” Add to that picture even further with Don Martin calling Duffy out for being a sycophant actively lobbying four Prime Ministers for a Senate appointment, and for him being a faker of the highest order. Ouch. (And it’s a YouTube clip because CTV ended up pulling it down from their website). Senator Tkachuk, who has been accused of whitewashing Duffy’s audit report, now says that he’s disgusted by Duffy. And Stephen Maher writes about his own disappointment in Duffy’s behaviour leading up to and post-appointment, and the way in which Duffy’s old friends are abandoning him.
Meanwhile, Global went looking into Duffy’s expense claims and found him charging per diems while at an event touting affordable housing in Charlottetown, and he tried to claim it for a day when he appeared on CTV’s Canada AM from Charlottetown to discuss Jack Layton’s death. So the pattern continues to prove itself. Apparently Duffy tried to speak to Harper after caucus in mid-February about the claims, at which point Harper told him to make the repayment, and two days later, Duffy appeared on television to say that he was going to do just that. The fact that this story from caucus was released and confirmed by the PMO’s comms director shows just how far the party is willing to go to continue distancing themselves.
Former Parliamentary law clerk Robert Walsh doesn’t really see a role for Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson in investigating the Nigel Wright cheque. Liberal Ralph Goodale is turning to Access to Information to find the documentation between Wright and Duffy on payment and any agreement they might have had.
In the wake of the ClusterDuff affair, Chantal Hébert wonders why Harper can’t simply admit that he’s human and makes mistakes.
In case you were worried that this was all about Duffy, we also find that Senator Patrick Brazeau claimed Senate resources for his legal expenditures in order to defend himself against the claims he was abusing his housing allowances. And because the audit found against him, the Senate has asked for the reimbursement of that $4000.
Stéphane Dion sort of endorsed an elected Senate, provided it was well thought-out and didn’t result in American style gridlock and its regional balance better distributed. But the thrust of the argument is that the issue is not reform or abolition, but the Prime Minister’s judgement in making appointments. (And wow, this story is a confusing mess).
The bill to allow for same-sex divorces for non-residents is about to pass a deadline agreed to by a court that agreed to stay proceedings to wait for the bill to get royal assent within a year – but the bill hasn’t moved past the introduction stage. Rob Nicholson says they’ll pass it whenever the other parties want to give unanimous consent, but that’s unlikely to happen. The NDP believe the bill is flawed because it won’t touch issues around things like custody (not that a Canadian court could have any effect in their home jurisdictions, which makes this position a huge problem). The Liberals believe the bill is unnecessary, and that the Justice Department simply needs to reverse its position around the validity of these foreign marriages, not to mention that the kinds of divorces granted in the bill are limited to there being agreement from both parties. And really, the bill itself is a bit of a mess, but the problem stems from Canada becoming a marriage tourism destination without enough “buyer beware” warnings for people who want to get married here without sorting out the legalities in their home countries for the possibility of divorce. So yeah – big mess all around.
The Speaker has sided with the government in disallowing officially independent MPs like Elizabeth May and the Bloc members from moving report stage amendments to the budget bill because they had a (very brief) opportunity to do so at committee, even though they weren’t allowed to participate in the debate of said amendments. Scheer promises a full rationale of said decisions soon.
Susan Delacourt looks at the curious lack of concern among Conservatives that their party database was apparently “hacked” by parties unknown in order for make those misleading robocalls. (Incidentally, the group that brought that challenge to the Federal Court won’t be appealing to the Supreme Court).
BC has officially objected to the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline – as it currently stands. Which sounds a lot like a bargaining position to get Enbridge to be more transparent about some of their plans, to adjust others, and to keep the line of negotiation going.
And Aaron Wherry wonders if this is the worst month that Canadian politics has ever seen.