Roundup: The AG and the power of compliance

While Transport Canada went on record stating that three of the deficient areas found by previous audits were going to be rectified within a specified timeframe that had to do with an “extension” granted by the Auditor General’s office, the AG’s office said that they’re not in any position to grant any extensions because they don’t have enforcement mechanisms – it’s all Transport Canada’s responsibility to ensure compliance. So, yeah. Well done Transport.  Elsewhere, Maclean’s has breakfast with the president of Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway, where he sort of clarifies some of his comments from the previous day.

New figures from National Defence show that a significant portion of their allocated budget going unspent at a time of cost-cutting. Of course, this brings up the theory that this is “stealth deficit cutting” by the government, designed to make the department’s books look better. Or, it’s yet more examples of just how broken the procurement system at DND really is, and how this government is simply too inept to actually fix the inefficiencies while the minister is too busy proving that he’s the best friend the troops ever head. Maybe. Meanwhile, the government has asked KPMG to evaluate the individual shipbuilding contracts now that the shipyard contracts are settled.

The PBO released a report saying that First Nations in BC need another $13 million from the federal government to keep their schools from deteriorating. It also says that they’re being underutilized, and that the increasing costs could decrease if they run at the same capacity as other provincial schools.

While the government has extended its consultation period on its upcoming victims’ rights bill, victims advocates – including their own hand-picked former Victims Ombudsman, is questioning its worth, and wonders if it won’t just clog the justice system even further. For her part, NDP MP Françoise Boivin calls it “playing politics” and then points to the number of Private Members’ Bills that would address the same issues. Yes, that was the pot calling the kettle black, since pretty much none of those PMBs will ever see the light of day and have only been tabled to make a point – otherwise known as playing politics.

Even though her husband is being accused of stashing money in offshore tax havens, Liberal Senator Pana Merchant has been elected to the board of directors of the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, which advocates for greater transparency among world financial institutions. Still no word about the status of her ethical filings with regards to her husband’s accounts, however (though Senator Cowan, the Liberal senate leader, has assured us that she was taking care of it).

With Senator Marjory LeBreton soon to be leaving cabinet, it also leaves a vacancy with her spot as back-up PM in the event that something happens to Stephen Harper. That new role will need to be addressed in the coming cabinet shuffle, as will the composition of those important cabinet committees. Kady O’Malley has the current list of designated cabinet back-ups here.

A trio of people are going to court to argue that making immigrants swear an oath to the Queen is “discriminatory.” Um, okay. Here’s the thing – Canada is a constitutional monarchy. Always has been. The Queen of Canada is our head of State, and as such, she embodies the state. To swear allegiance to the state is to swear allegiance to the Queen. And if you don’t like the fact that we’re a constitutional monarchy, well, nobody is forcing you to take the oath of citizenship.

BC Premier Christy Clark won her by-election in Westside-Kelowna, and can now take a seat back in the Legislature (which is sitting over the summer to make up for the election). Clark is now looking for a non-smoking home in the riding.

Ryan Gosling takes to the pages of the Globe and Mail to talk about farm animal regulations. No, seriously.

And Steve Murray’s Unboring History project profiles William Stephenson, a Winnipeg-born fighter ace/inventor/industrialist/spy and one of the inspirations for James Bond.