Roundup: The RCMP’s ClusterDuff revelations

The ClusterDuff detonated yet again yesterday with the revelation of RCMP documents related to their ongoing investigation into his expense claims, and it looks like Mike Duffy is headed toward charges of fraud and breach of trust. In particular, the revelations include word that the party was prepared to pay off his housing expenses when they believed it was $30,000 worth, but it was at the point of $90,000 that the party backed away and Nigel Wright stepped in, in a move he believed was “ethical” because it would protect taxpayers. Oops. Wright’s lawyers also say that Wright knew Duffy, but they weren’t friends – contrary to one of the versions of the story that was being circulated at the time, and that the conditions attached were that the expenses be repaid immediately and that Duffy stop talking to the media. And yes, it looks like the RCMP have seen the bank draft from Wright to Duffy’s lawyer. Oh, and three people in the PMO appear to have known what was going on – remember that Wright took sole responsibility – and they still insist that the PM was out of the loop. The RCMP also believe that Duffy has a demonstrated pattern of filing false expense claims and double-dipping, so really, it’s not looking very good for the Ol’ Duff at this point.

Senator Mac Harb, meanwhile, is paying back some $51,000 under protest while he continues his legal challenge. This covers two years of expenses, but going back seven years, the total bill goes up to $231,000.

The Toronto Star looks at the additional incomes of Senators – all but 17 claim outside income from various sources, and most Senators will tell you it’s not a bad thing because it keeps them involved in their communities. PostMedia also updated their timeline of the recent Senate-related woes.

Here’s a look at how the trans rights bill almost made it to a final vote in the Senate, but wasn’t able to before they rose – and how that may be complicated by Senator Nancy Ruth’s proposed amendment. My own understanding is that it’s because Nancy Ruth was trying to build support for her amendment that it didn’t advance in time.

In advance of the cabinet shuffle, two more eventual resignations were announced – the first was Minister of State for Consular Affairs, Diane Ablonczy, who won’t be running in 2015 (ostensibly to do with riding redistribution). This resignation will no doubt pave the way for MP Michelle Rempel to be elevated to cabinet. The other soon-to-be-resignation was Government Leader in the Senate Marjory LeBreton – though the notion that her replacement won’t be in cabinet raises a lot of questions about the government’s commitment to accountability. (I wrote more about the background of LeBreton’s departure here). Harper says that he’ll consult over the summer on her replacement as Leader of the Government in the Senate.

National Defence is abandoning its plans for three mobile Tim Horton’s outlets to accompany Canadian Forces deployments. Despite the enthusiasm for the project, they were determined to no longer be required. That sound you hear is the morale of Canadian troops deflating.

The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has rebuked the federal government for withholding documents on the underfunding of First Nations’ children’s services, and has ordered rolling three-week document releases to avoid a document dump.

A group of Aboriginal chiefs led by Manitoba Grand Chief Derek Neepinak are planning to meet in order to look at forming an alternative to the Assembly of First Nations. Neepinak is downplaying any conflict between the AFN and the proposed National Treaty Alliance.

Jesse Brown looks at the issue of 3D printing and law enforcement, especially when it comes to the problem of printing guns.

Pundit’s Guide parses the latest party financial returns, puts them into broader context, and notes the $7 million the Conservatives are setting aside, and the other $7 million they’re devoting to a secret project (likely new software).

The CBC continues their look at unpaid internships, how labour codes apply, organisations that appear to use them responsibly, and how they fit into the dynamics on Parliament Hill.

In the event that you missed it, the Conservatives have been rebranding themselves as “Canada’s Founding Party.” Err, except that the party was actually founded in 2003, and they are most certainly not the party of Sir John A. Macdonald, and even if you ask former Prime Ministers like Joe Clark and Kim Campbell, they’ll tell you that their party no longer exists. So yeah – nice try, but no.

And the family of Terry Fox will lend their private collection to the new Canadian Museum of History.