Roundup: About those “robust” audits

Two new reports from the Auditor General show that the honour system is alive and well in both the Commons and the Senate, and it was all just a cursory look without digging into any MP or senator’s expenses. While the Senate has been making reforms to their internal processes before the current spending scandals erupted, the Commons has not, and it seems that only Justin Trudeau has been championing a more robust audit process by the AG. To hear Thomas Mulcair tell the tale, as he was all spring, the AG did a thorough and comprehensive audit and found no problems, which clearly is not the case.

Despite making a lot of noise that he would personally need to sign-off on any public service hospitality bill over $5000, the Prime Minister has quietly delegated that authority to the Clerk of the Privy Council instead. The Clerk need only report to Harper every six months about the various hospitality bills that he signed off on.

As a stopgap measure to replace the Sea King helicopters, Sikorsky is floating a proposal that we take their helicopters as is, and gradually phase in things like software upgrades to make them more operational. The government doesn’t want the new helicopters until the new software is fully installed, much like the four “training helicopters” that they’ve delivered to us. Err, except those training helicopters currently can’t fly at night or over water. Oops. The other problem is that accepting the proposal would also mean acknowledging that these helicopters are “under development,” which is not how their contract was structured, and that could mean legal headaches down the road. And with the maximum penalties that can be levied against Sikorsky having nearly already been reached by the late delivery, there are also few options for the government to punish the company for this ongoing procurement disaster.

What’s that? Nearly half of Ontario’s jails are overcrowded? You don’t say! But hey, mandatory minimum penalties and more parole restrictions are just the ticket!

More letters have revealed that Marc Garneau was thanked for his work in helping to get the Canadarm displayed at the Aviation and Space Museum – weeks before they snubbed him at the opening. Classy!

Paul Wells notes the change in tenor with regards to Stephen Harper’s Arctic policies, and the banishment of the trite phrase “use it or lose it.”

In a story that only appears in the Winnipeg Sun, Shelly Glover says that the CBC is essential to minority language communities in this country.

A plan to ship old nuclear steam generators down the St. Lawrence Seaway in order to be recycled in Sweden has been cancelled after the company allowed their transport licence and certificate to expire as they re-evaluate their options. Opposition groups are claiming victory.

In a rather well-crafted post, Colby Cosh argues that Justin Trudeau’s talk of legalising marijuana doesn’t go far enough, and points to the many ways that the policy could be made even more rational.

There is speculation that high-profile journalist Chrystia Freeland may be contesting the Liberal nomination in Toronto Centre. Paul Wells evaluates her candidacy, and the potential pitfalls already evident therein.

John Baird is off on a two-week Latin America trip.

The largest diamond found and processed in Canada – 35 carats – was found near Attawapiskat.

And Philippe Lagassé gives a primer on the difference between the Crown, the Sovereign, and Elizabeth II, so that you know which aspect is being spoken of at any given time.