The drama of the “secret” party fund won’t let go as government MPs keep contradicting themselves. One minute there’s no fund, then there is one, but it’s the same as the rest of the Conservative Fund, so no story here, then on Saturday, Chris Alexander says it’s the same Fund, but some funds are administered by the PMO because they deal with his schedule… And yeah. It continues to confuse because nobody can get their messaging right.
The Senate is preparing to look at the question of what “residency” means in its rules as the fallout from Duffy/Brazeau/Harb continues to play a role in the debate. Wallin, however, is not really part of that discussion, and while some of her corporate obligations hold Toronto as her address, she doesn’t maintain a secondary residence in Ottawa and she does have a residence in Saskatchewan, so they are treating it as largely a non-issue. (Her travel claims, on the other hand, do remain the key issue with her).
Speaking of Brazeau, he is due to be in court today to face his charges of assault and sexual assault.
And Duffy? Well, photos emerged from January of last year when he was on a Caribbean cruise with his wife – the dates of which correspond to yet more time that he claimed he was on Senate business. Oh, but he paid those expenses back and called it an “administrative error.” You know, part of that pattern that goes beyond just the one assistant that was on maternity leave like he tried to claim (and an excuse which was thoroughly deconstructed by the Senate Internal Economy Committee).
Justin Trudeau told The West Block on Sunday that he would welcome Senator Harb back into caucus once he got his housing issues sorted – assuming of course that the RCMP don’t need to get involved. This led some Conservative staffers writing in Peter Van Loan’s name to issue a press release to decry how this as yet more proof that Trudeau was “in over his head” – no matter that they haven’t said that they would forever exile Pamela Wallin if her audit issues are resolved. (Duffy, however, is likely done for). “Van Loan” also brought up Senator Merchant, never mind that a) it’s her husband’s account in question, and b) Senator Cowan has stated repeatedly that she is working with the Senate Ethics Officer to resolve the situation. Also on The West Block, Nathan Cullen tried to say that putting MPs’ expenses online as Trudeau proposes would eat up half of their staffers’ time (a dubious excuse), before he tried throwing shade at Trudeau.
Brent Rathgeber says that he feels liberated now that he’s no longer constrained by party whips, and that he’s looking forward to asking actual backbench questions that are designed to hold the executive to account – something he has never been able to do as a Conservative backbencher. Yay, someone who takes his role seriously!
The federal government looks poised to raise the nuclear liability cap, which is seen as ridiculously low in the post-Fukushima world. While it’s rumoured the cap will go from $75 million to $650, environmentalists way that anything less than unlimited liability is a subsidy to the nuclear industry, while critics say that an unlimited liability means a company that suffers an accident will simply declare bankruptcy and walk away from their liabilities, thus forcing the government to pick up the clean-up tab anyway.
Bernard Valcourt says that as he travels to various First Nations around the country, he can understand why Aboriginal youth are rebelling, but sees more signs of consensus than confrontation.
Canada Post is putting Benjamin Franklin on its 250th anniversary stamp – that’s right, the American Founding Father. Why? Because he was the first deputy postmaster in British North America, post-Seven Years War and pre-American Revolution, when he established the postal service between Halifax and Quebec City. The things you learn.
And James Bowden finds even more evidence that the government’s royal succession act is unconstitutional. But hey, political expediency is more important than the constitution, right?