After QP yesterday, Justin Trudeau rose to seek unanimous consent for his four motions on greater transparency for parliament – MPs posting expenses, opening up Internal Economy, and calling in the Auditor General. None of them passed, and apparently it was the NDP who denied consent (though some reporters heard Conservatives dissent despite the party line being that they were in favour). What did pass was a motion from Nathan Cullen that would ban MPs from using their travel points to go to speaking gigs, as apparently the latest bout of Trudeau bashing is to assert that he apparently used his MP expenses to do speaking gigs, despite there not being any evidence to support this, and the fact that most speaking gigs include airfare as a standard part of the deal.
Down the hall, Senator Tkachuk has stepped down as the head of the Internal Economy Committee because of bladder cancer. Senator Gerald Comeau is due to replace him in that role. Shortly thereafter, the Auditor General appeared at committee to discuss how his audit of the Senate would proceed, and he said it could take 18 months to get a preliminary report. Oh, and its seems that the Internal Economy steering committee may have been alerted as to Senator Pamela Wallin’s travel expenses some 18 months ago, but didn’t send it to outside auditors until a year later.
Meanwhile, Stephen Harper’s former advisor Bruce Carson has come out of the woodwork to say that it’s unusual that Harper wouldn’t be aware of the Wright-Duffy deal, and that he wasn’t aware of the “secret” party fund that the PMO had access to. Oh, and that fund – can’t be audited by Elections Canada, no matter how many times the NDP demands it, because Elections Canada doesn’t have the authority. Why don’t they have the authority? Because parties won’t allow them to. And given their behaviour to date, I doubt the NDP would throw open their own books either.
Oh dear – it seems that the government was given a corrected report on the statistics involving Not Criminally Responsible recidivism rates, but continued to use the statistics from the flawed initial report. Small wonder why – there was a coding error that made the recidivism rates look much larger, which they could use as part of their attempts to create a moral panic around the issue. And so, the debate has continued using incorrect figures because Rob Nicholson hasn’t bothered to table the corrected report. Way to go.
While the NDP may have decided to let Speaker Scheer decide on whether or not to suspend James Bezan and Shelly Glover over their disputed election filings, Scheer seems content to wait until the courts have made a decision, which could be sometime in the fall.
On the Eve Adams file, she says that things like toothpaste and mouthwash were for campaign volunteers who were “literally” living in the campaign office – err, except that they were claimed as “personal” expenses. A large chunk of those expenses were also apparently for childcare, though the address it was billed to is a hair salon. Adams also expensed a “victory dinner” at Hy’s and her parking tickets.
For some reason, Peter Van Loan’s chief of staff was part of the selection committee to replace the Parliamentary Budget Officer. And no, they won’t give a rationale as to why. Kevin Page says that this politicisation of the process means that it should be restarted.
PostMedia talks to a former Mulroney chief of staff and a former director of appointments under Chrétien to talk about the considerations that they witnessed when it came to Senate appointments.
Rob Nicholson has announced the composition of the MP panel that will help select the next Supreme Court justice. The inclusion of Jacques Gourde on the panel – an MP who hasn’t met a talking point he wouldn’t read – seems to me to be merely due to the fact that he is from Quebec, which is where the next Justice must be selected from. Also on the list is Shelly Glover, who is not a lawyer, has no judicial experience, and as mentioned above, probably shouldn’t even be sitting as an MP right now. Inspired choice.
Treasury Board may soon have to report every government data breach to the privacy commissioner, which could end up being a very big task for her office if the volume of breaches is as quietly big as it’s been reported in the past.
The RCMP is joining an international task force against foreign bribery. The Force has had some success in dealing with this issue, and they’ve just received new powers to further enhance their ability to combat it.
For those of you still keeping score, Peter Penashue says his $25,000 Innu loan has been fully repaid.
John Ivison takes umbrage with the claim that Thomas Mulcair made at a Canadian Club luncheon that he wouldn’t be beholden to any special interests, and lays out all the myriad ways in which the NDP are beholden to unions.
Here is more talk about the burgeoning challenge to the constitutionality of the royal succession law, which could end up in the Supreme Court. James Bowden takes note of the arguments the two professors are putting forward about the absurd position of the law as it relates to the Crown of Canada, and he provides some of the primary documents involved in the case.
And here’s some behind-the-scenes footage of Stephen Harper doing impersonations of Nixon, Joe Clark and Brian Mulroney. Make of it what you will.