Roundup: Transparency behind closed doors

In the wake of the defeat of Justin Trudeau’s four transparency motions on Tuesday, where the NDP confirmed that they were the ones who denied consent, Nathan Cullen took to the microphones to accuse the Liberals of making it up on the fly, that the NDP weren’t informed about the motions (err, except for that public press conference in front of the Centennial Flame last Wednesday), and that it was all a big stunt so that take credit. Add to that, he went on to laud all the work they were doing behind closed doors to improve transparency. No, seriously. Cullen also says that they’re concerned that female MPs will be put in a position of jeopardy if their places of residence are disclosed under these new rules, which seems like pretty weak sauce because I’m sure it would be a pretty simple amendment that they didn’t need to include their address as part of the line item on housing or hospitality costs. Oh, and after QP yesterday, Elizabeth May moved a motion to investigate MPs using the travel points to participate in by-elections, and it was voted down, Gordon O’Connor in particular making motions to kill it.

Over in the Senate, it appears that they’re looking to send the residency issue of all senators to committee in order to develop clear guidelines and plug any of the loopholes in the regulations that some Senators *cough*Duffy*cough* have been using. As for Senator Mac Harb, whose expenses fall within the grey area around housing rules according to Deloitte, had his living expenses reassessed going back seven years – for as long as they keep these kinds of records. His new assessment is that he owes $230,000. Harb has a former Supreme Court justice as a lawyer, and he continues to fight the demand to repay.

After more than a year of avoiding the media (and the Ethics committee) Dean Del Mastro suddenly appeared on the talk shows last night to basically call out Elections Canada and tell them to either charge him or tell him to go about his business. Of course, the fact that he did this in such a coordinated manner yesterday suggested that Del Mastro was the day’s distraction sauce, trying to take the heat off of the PMO.

From the UK, Stephen Harper has signalled that Canada is signing onto new transparency rules for extractive industries internationally, and that he won’t set “artificial deadlines” on the Canada-EU trade agreement.

The Conservatives defeated Thomas Mulcair’s bill to make the Parliamentary Budget Officer an independent officer of Parliament, not that this should come as a big surprise to anyone.

Rob Nicholson’s office is trying to claim that they didn’t table the revised crime statistics related to Not Criminally Responsible recidivism rates because they weren’t sure it was another attempt to “mislead parliament.” You know, instead of it being a coding error the first time, which they would obviously see if they a) had anyone who knew the first thing about research methodology, and b) weren’t self-interested in the need to keep using higher figures to justify trying to create a moral panic. Liberal MP Ted Hsu is raising the matter as a point of privilege.

On a challenge by MP Michelle Rempel, Glen McGregor did ask male MPs about their campaign expenses for things like their hair.

The former Commons law clerk says that the House can move to suspend James Bezan and Shelly Glover as a matter of privilege until they get their election expenses cleared up if it so chooses. Not that it would happen given the Conservative majority, but the option is there.

The association that represents RCMP members has created a new legal defence funds to assist accused Mounties, as they say the newly passed legislations allows the Commissioner to act as judge, jury and executioner. They also claim that the new law is unconstitutional, for what it’s worth.

Aaron Wherry talks to Brent Rathgeber about being a backbencher, an independent MP, and how things ran in Alberta when he was an MLA, before Wherry writes a longer essay on Rathgeber and what he represents.

John Ivison looks at the First Nations “workfare” training programme that was announced in the budget, and the fact that it seems to be a hit with most First Nations.

The various farewell bashes for Mark Carney end up costing the treasury some $30,000.

And Steve Murray begins a project to “unboring” our history, starting with national referendum on prohibition.