Roundup: Gun obsession and political direction

As if there weren’t enough problems to worry about in the wake of the floods in Southern Alberta, a small storm erupted yesterday with the revelation that the RCMP seized some unsecured firearms when they were conducting legitimate search and rescue operations. Not just unsecured firearms, but those left out in the open in evacuated homes. The RCMP explained this, as did the premier, but that didn’t stop the “government is seizing our guns!” conspiracy theorists from having an epic meltdown and theorizing that they were using gun registry data to target houses and enter them illegitimately. And to compound that, the PMO put out a statement that advised the RCMP to spend their time and attention elsewhere (as though unsecured firearms isn’t an actual offence that are well within their duties), which was perilously close to political direction – something that the PMO should not be doing when it comes to the Mounties. Meanwhile, High River’s fire chief had some pretty harsh words for the federal government when it comes to their interference – most of which he deemed to be posing – and cuts to emergency preparedness funding.

Because We The Media are still boggled by the fact that the Senate does its job, we now have interviews with Conservative Senator Richard Neufeld, who says that he wasn’t appointed to be a rubber stamp. Indeed, he’s spoken out against Harper’s Senate “reform” bill with some very compelling reasoning. Never mind that Senators aren’t actually supposed to toe the party line mindlessly, but why shatter preconceived notions?

Questions are being raised about the travel expenses of Conservative Senator Thanh Hai Ngo after he has been claiming expenses to visit Vietnamese-Canadian events around the country. As he is the first Vietnamese-Canadian Senator, Ngo feels that this kind of role of speaking to these groups are part of his role as a Senator, though it’s a fairly broad definition of “representation,” or “Senate business,” and it’s likely the Senate will review said spending and may insist on a certain level of repayment.

On the subject of repayment, Senator Patrick Brazeau was supposed to have repaid his housing expenses yesterday or face having his pay docked. It doesn’t look like he delivered a cheque, so this could get ugly. Brazeau wants a public inquiry into the issue, believing that he followed the rules. Senator Mac Harb has until Wednesday to make his own repayment, though he has made an application for judicial review, so he may wait on the outcome of that before he makes any repayment. Oh, and it seems that the RCMP have asked for search warrants when it comes to their investigation into Senator Mike Duffy, so that looks like it’s going to get really interesting.

Ruh-roh! The Commissioner of Elections has seized Dean Del Mastro’s 2008 donor records. You know, after he went to the media and teared up in the House to claim that he was told that he was cleared of any wrongdoing. So um, yeah. Investigation still ongoing, it would seem.

The Liberals and NDP are sending out fundraising pleas, the NDP in particular putting up an artificial deadline plea to make their quarterly returns look good to “show their strength.” The Liberals, meanwhile, are offering to put to donors’ names in a draw for a barbecue with Justin Trudeau. One wonders who will have the better outcome.

The government is planning on ramping up advertising spending on brand announcements and historical promotion of events leading up to the nation’s 150th birthday celebrations in 2017.

The TSX had grave concerns about the government making an “important announcement” at its headquarters, regarding its task force on getting more women on corporate boards. With some changes to the language of the releases they got around it, but they didn’t want to be seen as endorsing government policies.

Former Conservative staffer Michael Sona will be facing indictable charges rather than less severe summary ones, when it comes to the voter suppression/misleading robocall case in Guelph. Sona maintains his innocence.

Former Harper advisor Bruce Carson’s trial for influence peddling charges has been delayed because he’s undergoing surgery for possible lung cancer.

While Rob Nicholson twists himself into a logical pretzel to defend his unconstitutional royal succession bill, Paul Benoit and Garry Toffoli poke giant holes in his assertions and prove the separation of the Crowns, and thus the need for proper succession legislation in Canada.

Maclean’s gives their top ten moments from QP for the past year. Some of them were great moments, but I will dispute their number one moment, which was ridiculous and I would qualify it as a low point.

Susan Delacourt wonders if beer and doughnuts do a better job of selling Canadian identity than politicians do, which is a rather depressing notion.

And Helena Guergis has been denied the ability to sue Harper and several other Conservative MPs for the way she was dismissed from cabinet (and caucus). Because no, despite what Democracy Watch may think, Crown prerogatives are not justiciable, because we live in a system of Responsible Government. So sorry. *sad trombone*