Today in ClusterDuff reverberations, we hear that the Government Leader in the Senate, Marjorie LeBreton, wants to call in the Auditor General to do a full comprehensive audit of Senators’ expenses, not just the systems and administration audit that he did in 2012. There have been concerns in the past that the AG, being an officer of parliament, would be in a kind of conflict auditing his own bosses, but we’ll see if those remain. LeBreton didn’t consult with the opposition about the motion, but the Liberals have since said sure – but audit the Commons’ expenses in as comprehensive manner as well. And the Government Whip, Gordon O’Connor, doesn’t sound like he’s too keen about that idea, pretending that the last AG audit into systems and administration on the House side was “comprehensive” (which it wasn’t). There are also questions as to whether the AG’s office is set to handle this kind of forensic audit, or if it wouldn’t be better to send it to an outside firm with that kind of expertise. Elsewhere, Senator Tkachuk says that they will be setting up a permanent audit subcommittee for the Senate, but they are still discussing whether or not it will have outside members (such as what Senator McCoy suggested, as they do in the House of Lords).
The RCMP, meanwhile, say they are still looking into what evidence there is with regards to the audits and the Wright-Duffy affair, but haven’t yet started a formal investigation. The town of Wadena, Saskatchewan, is divided over the question of Pamela Wallin, so much so that her family is apparently getting death threats from some people. Here’s a handy catch-up of the audit facing Wallin, and the political consequences for the PM.
Thanks to some Order Paper questions, we may know what Nigel Wright’s salary was by sometime this fall. It also appears that Wright will be represented by his predecessor as Chief of Staff, Guy Giorno, interestingly enough.
It looks as though CTV pulled Don Martin’s epic Duffy takedown on Friday after the nervous broadcaster sought legal advice.
Former “elected” Senator Bert Brown says that the Senate’s problems are because people mindlessly follow their leaders. Um, didn’t he gripe that Senators are obligated to support the PM who appointed them? And there is dissent in both caucuses over bills. Apparently he didn’t pay attention to Conservative Senator Pierre-Claude Nolin on the crime bills, or Richard Neufeld on his precious Senate “reform” bill when Neufeld called out its many problems. (Perhaps we need to stop interviewing Brown, whose grasp on reality – not to mention the constitution and the rules of the Senate – seems to be increasingly tenuous at best).
It looks like the Canadian Forces National Investigation Service was also looking into how CTV’s Bob Fife got information on former Chief of Defence Staff Walt Natynczyk’s use of Challenger jets, because the top general was miffed about the exposure. Fife said that he asked the NIS several times whether they were investigating him, and they told him no, which we now know isn’t the case, and is a worrying sign about the NIS being used for political purposes.
Irwin Cotler’s Order Paper question about the costs of the omnibus crime bill to date has come back with some answers, but for others it remains too soon to tell how many people have been affected by the new provisions. Meanwhile, Rob Nicholson insists that the Not Criminally Responsible bill is “reasonable,” but won’t provide a lot of details on things like ensuring that there is adequate capacity for treatment in provincial mental health facilities.
Another Order Paper question result is a look at federal loan repayments, but lo, there is disagreement between departments on disclosing repayment rates and such.
RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson hit back at some of the harassment claims against the Force while at a Senate committee hearing yesterday. It was an oddly combative tone, in contrast to the more contrite tone that he tends to strike on these issues, but he nevertheless admits there are bona fide cases they are looking to deal with – but he nevertheless finds some of the claims “outlandish.”
Kady O’Malley previews some of the more interesting policy resolutions for the upcoming Conservative convention.
The CRTC has laid out a new code of conduct for wireless carriers, which allows exits from three-year contracts and caps roaming charges and so on. So far so good, right? Well, it sounds like it’s more like baby steps in a market that remains largely devoid of competition.
A number of nations signed a treaty to regulate the global arms trade – but not Canada. Baird isn’t saying that we won’t – just not now, and they need to consult Canadians, and so on.
Mike Moffatt looks at the issue of retroactive taxation hurting Canadian businesses.
Economist Stephen Gordon gives an introduction to the issue of productivity, and why it’s important for our economy.
The Canadian Bar Association’s magazine interviews Bob Rae about his transition from going from interim leader back to MP.
And Andrew Coyne sees signs of independent thought emerging in an otherwise devoid wasteland that is Canadian politics, and is pleased by what he sees.