Roundup: Digging into Wallin’s expenses

Now that journalists have had a couple of days to really dig into the Wallin audit, they’re starting to turn up all kinds of things. Like how she billed the Senate for some of her activities as Chancellor of Guelph University, while not charging the University as she ordinarily would have. Or how she charged the Senate to attend a couple of functions in her capacity as a director for Porter Airlines – even though it’s part of the director’s remuneration for the airline to pay those costs. Or that she was supposed to attend a function at a Toronto arts club that allegedly had to do with the Afghan mission and was cancelled at the last minute – and yet the arts club has not record of any of this. Glen McGregor even finds that some of her meetings may have constituted lobbying not registered with the Commissioner of Lobbying, because of loopholes in the rules. And then comes the news that Wallin, Mike Duffy and Patrick Brazeau would all have been told that it was okay to bill some partisan activity to the Senate – so long as it was related to Senate business and not a fundraiser – as part of their two-day “boot camp” upon being appointed. Well then, one supposes that it’ll be a good thing that the Auditor General plans to audit all senators’ expenses, though it will need to be done in phases and an interim report may not even be ready for 18 months. Note that the Commons continues to resist bringing in the AG to look at their own books.

Paul Wells goes through the documents emerging as part of the Supreme Court reference on Senate reform, and finds that the academic on the government’s side is the sole outlier in the belief that the government can make these changes without the provinces – and some of the arguments will point to the government’s position being an assault on the very principles of federalism on which this country is founded, which is not an unfair assessment.

John Baird has summoned Egypt’s chargé d’affaires to Canada in order to express the government’s concerns over the situation in that country.

The government opened up a new Arctic training centre for the Canadian Forces with little fanfare, which is pretty much out of character – unless they plan to make a big deal about it when the PM goes on his annual summer trip up there in a couple of weeks.

Changes to the temporary foreign workers programme mean that people looking to hire nannies or live-in caregivers from abroad will also be hit with the $275 processing fee.

Maclean’s Econowatch slices the middle-class income stats down gender lines and finds some interesting trends with no easy answers.

Briefing notes prepared for the government’s decision to shut down the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy show that they were looking to tout the “significant” research and policy work being done by a number of environmental organisations, hence why they felt that NRTEE was redundant.

The CBC looks at whether ubiquitous data mining could ever replace the census. (Hint: no).

Michael Den Tandt thinks the government may delay the decision on the CF-18 replacement fighter jets until after the next election.

Andrew Coyne takes apart the wireless industry’s ads trying to counter the entry of Verizon into the Canadian marketplace, and finds the arguments to be without any logical consistency. Imagine that. Glen McGregor sources their stock images to the States and England, and yet it’s about Canadian telecom and protecting our industry – and considering one of those images was used by AT&T in the States, well, it is a bit awkward.

And Steve Murray rather brilliantly imagines the job ad for the next communications director for the PMO.